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Persevering Through Pressure - Part 8

Not Turning Back From Our Faith (7/19/05)

NEW LIFE CHURCH

Pastor Marlin Harris

We were at the halfway point and we were able to take a break and do some quick review of chapters 1 thru the beginning of chapter 7 and were able to answer some questions last week as it relates to this book, trying to make certain that we understand the book of Hebrews, and this midway point is a good place for us to have done that. 

Now I want to begin the second half of the book of Hebrews and expand on the topic or expand on the idea of the priesthood of Jesus Christ, the priesthood of Jesus Christ.  I am entitling this second portion of the book of Hebrews, the first portion was building a faith that will last until the end.  Building our faith and placing our faith in that which is solid, Jesus Christ, in that which is solid and not on fleeting notions, not on Moses, or angels, or prophets or rituals of the past but putting our faith on Jesus Christ that enables us to persevere until the end.  And it crescendoed into this wonderful passage about Christ being our hope, this anchor of our soul; that is a crescendoed to that closing first section, how when you put your faith on Jesus Christ and in Jesus Christ alone that you have confidence, there is confidence that your faith will last until the end.  Your salvation is secure and assured until the end

This second portion Iíve entitled it ďReligion vs. RelationshipĒ, establishing a relationship with Jesus Christ as opposed to developing religious practices and having religious convictions and going through a lot of religious motions. This whole section that we will talk about, chapters 7, 8, 9 and 10 in particular Ė these four chapters deal specifically with the primary religious system of the Jewish world and that is Judaism, the primary religious Ė the only religious system of the Jewish world and how the writer of Hebrews is calling these Jews from practicing that religion of Judaism to building upon the relationship that they should have with Jesus Christ, and he juxtaposes both of these ideologies against each other and he shows how Judaism, the religion of Judaism, that is the religion of the Jews, was nothing more but an index finger that pointed toward the faith of Jesus Christ.  That Jesus Christ is better than the Jewish religion because Jesus Christ is the substance of what the Jewish religion expressed in a shadow.  That Jesus Christ is the reality of what the Jewish religion expressed only in practice, only in theory, only in picture form, it was a caricature of what Jesus is in actuality, and he sort of opens up full blaze on this same notion and topic in chapter 7.  In chapter 7 he demonstrates the superiority of Jesus Christ as a priest over and above the priesthood of the Jews.  He demonstrates and I will repeat that again, he demonstrates the superiority of Jesus Christ as a high priest over against the priesthood of the Jews and he does it through three significant arguments. 

Argument No. 1 is the historical argument and the historical argument of Jesusí priesthood is the topic or rather the issue of Melchisedec in the first few verses of chapter 7.  Weíve already dealt with him, we wonít belabor the issue of him any longer except to mention that he demonstrates that Melchisedec is this priest that Abraham met who is greater than Abraham himself and if Melchisedec is greater than Abraham, than he is greater than the lineage of Abraham.  And he uses the example of tithing as an expression of the greaterness (a word I just made up) of the greatness of Melchisedec.  And he uses the illustration of tithing to demonstrate this by saying that the lesser tithes unto the greater and the greater blesses the lesser.  And because Abraham gave tithes to Melchisedec, he not only recognized the priesthood of Mel, he recognized his priesthood by giving to God through him (thatís the office and thatís the duty of a priest) but Abraham also recognized the greaterness of Melchisedec.  He recognizes this greaterness of Mel by giving tithes to him, and it mentions that Melchisedec received the tithes before the law.  There was no law.  So if he received tithes before the law then that would mean that everybody from Abrahamís lineage through Abrahamís family line would have given tithes to Melchisedec because they were all in Abrahamís loins at the time he gave his tithes. 

Now why is this significant?  This is very important, not so much because of the tithe (we taught on that last week, that tithing is not a part of the law; tithing is not a practice, it is an issue of truth, of faith and love toward God) but that is not the issue he is trying to demonstrate and express; it is almost a given here, but he is trying to demonstrate and express the issue that if Melchisedec is greater than Abraham than the priesthood of Melchisedec is greater than the priesthood that Abraham is the patriarch over and Abraham is a patriarch over a priesthood called the Levitical priesthood. 

So if you will find in your Bibles verse 11 of Hebrews 7.

11 If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron?

Now I need to stop at that 11th verse and define a few terms for us so we will know exactly what the Bible is talking about.  Abraham is the father of the Jewish nation and from him comes Aaron.  He is a Jew and from Aaron comes the Levites and the Levites are the priests or the priestly line in the Levitical priesthood; therefore Levitical comes from the word ďLevitesĒ and the Levites are the sons of Aaron who is the son of Abraham (a few several generations removed of course Ė about 400 years), but he is from Abrahamís lineage and Aaron is Godís choice to serve as a priest between him and the people.  Between God and the Jews Aaron is Godís choice to serve as a priest.  Moses is Godís choice to serve as a prophet so Moses is prophet and leader and Aaron is priest and mediator.  And as Aaron serves as priest and mediator Godís choice is that He chose that only those who come from the direct blood line of Aaron could serve as priests between God and the Jewish nation.  Only those between the direct bloodline of Aaron and this direct bloodline of Aaron is the tribe of Levi.  Aaron, who comes from the tribe of Levi and all of his sons are Levites and these Levites serve as priests, that is their job; they are born into it, they never have to wonder what they are going to do with their lives.  They never have to wonder about what school they are going to and what job they are going to take, and what career they are going to have.  If you are Aaronís son, grandson or great-great-great something, you are going to be a priest; thatís what you are because that is what you were born to be. 

Now this is Godís choice and the job and function of a priest (I shared this with you a few Tuesdays ago) is primarily to stand between God and man and to bring man to God and God to man.  His job is to be the go-between, to bring man toward God and God toward man.  The priest in the OT, the Levitical priesthood, Aaronís sons, Godís choice for mediating between him and man, those priests were pictures and prefigures of Jesus Christís  ministry.  The difference is that these Levitical priests were the pictures of what Jesus was to do.  The priest of Melchisedec is the picture of who Jesus is to be.  The Levitical priesthood pictures and points to what Jesus does, so they sacrifice and give offerings as Christ was the sacrifice; thatís what he did.  They would bring man to God through the elaborate system and order of offerings and that is what Christ was to do, to bring man to God by offering himself.  The Levitical priesthood always pointed to what Jesus Christ was to do. 

Now they did not point to who Jesus Christ was to be because there were some flaws in their priesthood.  The first flaw in their priesthood is very obvious in that they were human, they are men, they die and just as they die they have to pass the priesthood to another.  They could not serve as a proper picture of who Jesus Christ was supposed to be because their death prohibited the picture from being seen clearly because Christ is a priest who never dies.  The Bible says ďHe ever lives and makes intercession for usĒ.  He never dies; he is an ever living, everlasting, eternal priest so these priests could not picture what he was to be, they could only picture what he was to do. 

The second problem with their priesthood is that their priesthood is always based upon birth, it is based upon birth so they have to be born into that particular order of priesthood.  It is not based upon their willingness, it is not abased upon their choice, it is not based upon their volunteerism for it, itís based upon birth.  That could not serve as the proper picture for who Christ was to be because Christ chose to respond to the need of mankind and come to earth to die for manís sins.  It was Christís choice, Jesus chose it, He was not one who did it against His will, He did it in His will.  So the volition of Christ is completely unseen in the picture of the Levitical priesthood and that volition, that choice of Jesus Christ is what clearly makes him an acceptable redeemer.  It was not the job of the priest to redeem, it was the job of the priest to offer sacrifices.  The people had to be redeemed by the sacrifice that they brought. 

So it was the priestís job to offer the sacrifice and it was the peopleís job to bring the sacrifice that brought about redemption.  So you brought the lamb (thatís the sacrifice), and the priest took the sacrifice and burned it or killed it toward God as an offering; that was their job.  It was two particular functions rolled up into one action.  Jesus Christ is both functions.  He is both the offering and the offeror.  HE is the sacrifice and the sacrificer.  And the Levitical priesthood is limited in its ability to show the redemptive nature of Christ so he has to be a willing sacrifice who is offered unto God and the Levitical priesthood is limited in its ability to show that, so thatís its second flaw. 

And there is yet a third flaw of the Levitical Priesthood and that is that it has to come from the tribe of Levi, and if you are going to be a priest you had to come from the tribe of Levi.  There is nothing inherently wrong with the tribe of Levi other than the selection for the tribe of Levi points everybody to an OT concept of religion.  The rights, the rules, the rituals, the procedures, the sacrifices and as long as the Jews were looking to the Levites as their priests they were always looking toward religion.  The religion of the Levites could never lead them to a relationship with God.  So he had to call Christ out of that religious system, away from, apart from, having nothing to do with that religious system.  He calls him out of a totally different tribe. 

So our priest comes from a different tribe altogether, not from the tribe of Levi and our priest comes to do away with the necessity for all of the laws and all of the commandments, and all of the rituals of sacrifices and offerings, he comes to do away with its necessity, not its morality, and not its picture, but itís necessity.  To do that, to fulfill the law, he cannot be under the law and yet fulfill the law.  So he is coming from a totally different tribe which points people away from the religious system and order of sacrifices, rights and rituals and all the rest that are the bulwark and the steadfast of the religious system and the religious order.  Do you understand that?  Now what I just said is explained in the verses that follow.  Perhaps I should just read the verses and allow the scriptures to interpret and explain themselves.  It says:

11 If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron?

Perfection is the word for completion or fulfilment.  If perfection, fulfillment, completion (this deals with people being able to live at their highest level with God); this is salvation and sanctification.  This is a personís ability to live at the highest level in the eyes of God.  Only a saved person can live in the full pleasure of the God who created him.  If that type of fullness, if that type of completion and perfection could come by the Levitical Priesthood, if the Levitical priests could truly bring man to God and God to man and connect the two and the two would never have anything between them again, then there wouldnít be any other need for another priest.  But there is a need for another priest because God calls another priesthood order.  In Psalm 110:4 we have the OT record spoken through David as God calling the Lord a priest and Davidís Lord is Christ before the cross.  God calls Davidís lord Christ before the cross, he calls him a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.  This Melchizedek represents a whole different priesthood.  He is not from the tribe of Levi, he isnít even from the Jewish race and Melchizedek represents a change in the order of the priesthood.  It says if the first one was fine then you wouldnít need to change and have another one.  But since the first one was not fine, you have to have another order and that order did not come from Aaron, it came from Melchizedek.  Verse 12. 

12 For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.

The law stated that in order for you to be a priest you had to come from the tribe of Levi.  And the law stated that in order for you to have a right relationship with God you had to go through a priest from the tribe of Levi, and the law stated that if you were going to be atoned for your sins you had to go through the tribe of Levi with a sacrifice offering unto God as an atonement for your sins; this is what the law stated.  Here he says that first priesthood wasnít good enough to bring us to fulfillment in our relationship with God.  It was only a shadow, only a type that pointed us to it but didnít take us all the way.  So there had to be another priesthood.  Psalm 110:4 states that there is another priesthood, another whole order of priests that is called an order after Melchisedec.  So this Melchisedecan order of priesthood which only has one priest Ė Jesus Christ Ė he is the only priest because he is one forever; you donít need to have another one since he is the only one.  And this one priest forever, which we will learn as we go along, is sufficient to be both sacrifice and sacrificer, so he is the redeemer and the priest all at the same time and here it says since we have a whole different order we need to have a whole new understanding of the law.

Because the old understanding of the law was only a picture.  Now weíve got to take the picture and make it animated.  Weíve got to take the shadow and bring a substance into it, and the substance is Jesus Christ who comes after this whole other order of priesthood that Aaron and the Levites had nothing to do with.  So he goes on here and he says:

13 For he of whom these things are spoken pertaineth to another tribe, of which no man gave attendance at the altar.

Which means the person of whom these things are spoken about comes from a whole different tribe, not the tribe of Levi, of which no one from that tribe ever gave attendance to any of the ministry of the altar or never offered any sacrifices or functioned as a priest.

14 For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Judah; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood.

It says one of the reasons how we know that Jesus, if he is a priest, heís a priest after this other order and not the old one of the Levites, is because he didnít come from the Levites.  Then it says in the next verse

15 And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchisedec there ariseth another priest,

16 Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life.

He says the thing that gave the priests under the Levitical system their authority, their power, their authentication was the commandments of the law and their job was to teach them, to interpret them, to express them to the people so that the people would hear the law and commandments of God and as they heard the law, judged their life, they would bring sacrifices for the sins of their life that did not line up with the words of the law and thus they would be atoned.  Here it says that this took place in the old system.  Now in this whole new system, here it says this is not the case for how we are made right with God in the new system.  Verse 16

16 Who is made, not after the law of a carnal [fleshly, natural] commandment, but after the power of an endless life.

The way I was right with God under the Levitical system was through the sacrifices offered by the Levites.  The way I am right with God under Christís system, under Jesusí system, is through trust and faith in his life and his life is a never-ending life.  One said to be right with God you needed to have a ritual and a practice Ė sacrifices for them.  The other said to be right with God you need to have an endless and everlasting life Ė Jesus Christ for us.  The point is one is religion, the other one is a relationship.  One is based on doís and doníts, the other is based on a person and when you trust the doís and the doníts to bring you into right relationship with God, you are ignoring the person because the two are mutually exclusive. 

Religion is nothing more but the practice of a people, of a culture, of a group whereby they utilize normal earthly natural rules to restrict them and bring them to God.  Whatever that concept of God might be.  Thatís all it is so whenever you are in an Islamic religion there are rules, sets, rituals that you do that if you practice them then you believe that you will come towards God.  If you are a Buddhist, Hindu or of any other kind of religion you practice these rules that will bring you toward God.  If you are a Christian, many Christians see Christianity as a religion.  So if you see Christianity as a religion then what you do is you learn the rules.  What are the rules for being a Christian?  When you learn the rules you practice the rules.  The Bible calls it a carnal commandment, a carnal commandment.  Carnal means earthly, natural, human, a human earthly commandment which means it points to the natural man.  It speaks to the flesh.  It speaks to that about man to which is natural for him, not spiritual, but natural.  Which means anybody who is natural can do it.  Any living person can be a vibrant, active and good member of any religion.  I mean if you wanted to you could swap today.  I mean you could get the religious handbook of the world and choose your religion Ė seekism and swap Ė just follow the rules. 

Are you hearing what Iím saying?  I mean you want to be a Jew?  Well itís going to be kind of hard for you to come into that religion because you got to get born into it.  But if we just take that one out, you could swap to Judaism, just follow the rules.  The problem is that the rules of Judaism and any other religion will never get you to God.  It wonít get you to God because rules do not carry with it redemptive value.  God intended for us to live a certain kind of life and if we live that kind of life it would bring us to him, absolutely.  So in order for us to know what that kind of life was he had to establish some rules.  So he had the law in place to show us what the life was.  The law was our schoolteacher; the law taught us what God requires but it was not only our schoolteacher Ė God used it as a schoolteacher but the devil uses it as a tempter toward sin.  So I would not have known sin if I had not read in the law such and such a thing is sin.  Paul said ďI wouldíve never known lust until I read thou shalt not covetĒ.  He says and the devil took what God intended to be good and used it to bring death to me.  So now because I know the commandment I have no excuse to not do the commandment, but the carnality of my body, the carnality in the flesh of my mind and body does not allow me to do what I know is right.  I know its right but I canít do it because I am weak to do it, so now the thing that was supposed to show me God has shown me death.  Because along with every law there is a penalty, along with every law there has to be a penalty.

Now letís read on for just a little bit here. 

15 And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchisedec there ariseth another priest,

16 Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life.

17 For he testifieth, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.

18 For there is verily [truly] a disannulling [rendering powerless] of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof.

It doesnít mean that it is etched out and washed away and no longer in existence.  It means it is rendered powerless.  There is a disannulling, a rendering powerless, of the commandment going before because of its weakness and its unprofitablesness thereof.  Now let me explain the last two words and then we will look at this disannulling.  Weakness and unprofitablesness.  Weakness means that it doesnít have enough strength, right.  Well strength to do what?  Strength is always for a purpose.  Whenever you have strength to lift something then the purpose of the strength is to lift the thing.  I cannot fulfill the purpose because I donít have enough strength to do it. 

Unprofitableness, it means it doesnít bring back a profit; it is not enough money for me to make any benefit off of it.  There is no benefit to me.  I can do it, I can do it, I can do it, but itís not going to benefit me anything.  On one hand it serves no purpose, doesnít have enough strength.  In the other it serves no benefit, doesnít have any profit.  What is the purpose of the law?  The purpose of the law is to point man to the righteousness of God.  The purpose of the law is so that you and I may be able to see what God requires; thatís the purpose of the law.  And the law was meant to state if man can see what God requires, then man would be able to walk toward God.  So the law now becomes a mediator between God and man so that man can walk toward God by keeping the law.  You donít need sacrifices, you donít need bulls and goats and calves, all you need is to see the law and do it.  If you see it and do it then you donít have to atone for nothing. 

The problem is the law in itself cannot make a man do it.  I mean you can say all day 55 is the speed limit, thatís the law.  You canít make me do it.  You can beg me, plead with me, but if I want to drive 70 Iím going to drive 70.  And as a matter of fact I truly believe that if I didnít see the speed limit I might be more inclined to drive slower.  But that word ďlimitĒ just kind of gets next to me.  And when I see the word ďlimitĒ I want to know who says itís a limit; I bet that isnít the limit.  My dashboard says 160, thatís the limit.  So there is always a fight and a struggle between what I want, my dashboard, and what the government wants 55.  What I want, my flesh, and what God wants, the law Ė always a struggle.  It didnít start when I got older.  It started when I was born.  I was born with a bent toward myself.  I like me and I wanted all the stuff I wanted and I was the center of my universe, and I had no understanding of God, no concept of God.  Somebody had to tell me about Him.  I was born wrapped into me before I could talk, I was aware of myself.  Before I could even reason good I knew me.  I knew when I hurt, I knew when I was hungry, and I knew when I had a need.  Are you hearing me? 

And that knowing of me, that self-awareness which makes me in the image of God, you see.  So He canít take it away from me because if He takes it from me I am no longer in His image.  What makes me a part of Godís image is my awareness of self, my reasoning, intellectual ability, my passions, my emotions, my heart, my feelings Ė that makes me a part of his image.  He canít remove it but the very thing that makes me a part of His image is also the very thing that makes me a sinner.  So what has to happen is God has to establish some system that could regulate my flesh, my me-ness, so I could get to Him.  And the moment you tell me what I cannot do is the moment you have implanted the desire to do it. 

So when God says to Adam and Eve do not eat this tree Ė you can eat any tree you want, donít eat this one.  You can have any tree in this garden, but not that one.  When He said ďDo not eat that oneĒ, Satan says ďAha, I now have an opportunity to trick Adam and Eve because I am going to appeal to their desire to rebelĒ.  So he comes up and he says ďWhat did God say to you, you canít eat anythingĒ.  ďWe can eat any tree except that oneĒ.  Why?  ďWell I donít knowĒ.  ďDo you think if you eat it you will be just as smart as GodĒ?  ďWell maybeĒ.  ďWouldnít that be niceĒ?  ĎYes that wouldí.  And immediately he appeals to the vanity of my flesh and when he appealed to my own personal vanity he is appealing to my own personal glory and man in his own glory always goes against Godís glory. 

The law was to put my glory in check but Paul said ďI didnít even know I had glory until the law told me what I hadĒ.  It is unprofitable because it doesnít benefit me at all.  The law served no benefit for me.  I mean if it did anything it messed me up.  It made me sinful, it made me aware of my sin, and it made me aware of how far I was from God.  It made me aware of how weak my relationship with God was.  It kept me in sacrifices and offerings to atone, to atone, to atone, to atone, rather than pulling me closer to God, it pulled me further away from God.  All the rules and all the laws, they piled up against my personal vanity.  I want to read to you what Paul says about this.  Put your ribbon in Hebrews 7 and come over to Romans 7, and in Romans 7 you will see what Paul has to say about this issue of the law.  He says in verse 7-10. 

7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.

But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead.

Sin was dead to me is what it means.  My understanding, my concept, my idea of sin was dead so without the law I wasnít guilty because I canít be guilty of what I donít know.  Without the law I am uninformed.  Without the law I am ignorant so sin to me is dead.  What is sin?  How can I break something if I didnít know it was there to be broken?  He goes on and he says

For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.

10 And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death.

He said he commandment, the law which God meant to bring me toward life, I found it to bring me toward death. 

11 For sin, [taking opportunity by the law] taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it [sin] slew me.

12 Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.

13 Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, [or rather that it might be clearly seen as sin] working death in me by that which is good [which is the law]; that sin by the commandment might become [extra] exceeding sinful. 

And it goes on to mention.

14 For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.

The law is a standard I canít reach because I am a natural man and I am a slave to sin. 

15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.

And you see he goes back and forth with this soliloquy that we all know so well where he says I want to do right but I canít, and when I make up my mind to do right evil is always present with me.  He never had the struggle within his own conscience until he read in the law you shouldnít be doing what you are doing.  Then he had to deal with ďwhy do I want to do it if I shouldnít do it.Ē The law was unprofitable in that it benefited the person none at all in his progression toward God.  Now let me just pause there and say this.  If the law that God wrote on tablets and gave to Moses on a mountaintop with glory that shined Mosesí face couldnít profit and benefit the folks in bringing them toward God, what makes us denominational Christian people believe that a law today is going to make anybody progress toward God.  If that one didnít work you know yours isnít going to work. 

You will be more holy if you donít go to movies, you will be more holy if you always wear dresses and no makeup, you will be more holy if you donít put jewelry on Ė NO YOU WONíT, NO YOU WONíT.  I mean if you canít get holy off of Thou Shalt Not Kill, Thou Shalt Not Steal, Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery, Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness Ė if that wonít make you holy, going to the movies is a light thing.  I mean if you are already messed up you can go to the movies, have fun, enjoy yourself, put all the makeup you want on.  IF the Ten Commandments wonít help you, this isnít going to help you.  Are you getting what Iím saying?  Itís unprofitable.  And what we do in our churches thinking that we are bringing people closer to God is we give them a whole list of rules.  I just mentioned to you some of the most popular rules like movies, makeup and those kinds of things Ė those are more popular and controversial, but there are all kinds of small simple silly rules that we put inside our church.  We put them inside of church covenants.  We put them inside our church disciples, inside of Statements of Faith, and they are not biblical at all Ė they are just silly rules.  And what a person does over a period of time, they learn how to keep the rules, and they become good rule keepers and they know all the rules but they never met the Christ.  And if you know the rules but you donít know the Savior, you are not saved Ė it is unprofitable.  Are you getting what Iím saying?

ďPastor I am so glad you are teaching this because Iíve been dying to get away from some of these rules.  As soon as service is over, tonight I am going to the nearest bar I can find and get me the biggest drink I can get.  I have wanted this martini for the longest time.  I can taste it.  I see the olives ď.  Are olives in martinis?  Oh I canít wait to get it because Pastor said I could drink because there arenít any rules.  Now hold on.  There are rules, keeping them wonít bring you any closer to God without the Savior.  But if you have the Savior, truly have the Grace of the Savior, the Savior has something that He puts in you called the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spiritís job is to change your heart so that you no longer keep the rules because you have to.  You now keep them because you want to.  It is a changing of the motivation, not a changing of the rules.  The rule is still spiritual, it is still good, it is still holy, and it is still just Ė you still shouldnít kill, you still shouldnít steal and you still shouldnít commit adultery.  You shouldnít do any of that but if you donít kill, steal or commit adultery and you donít know Jesus you are still going to hell.  But if you know Jesus and you so happen to steal, kill and commit adultery and you know Jesus, the Holy Ghost will convict your heart and work on changing you so that now you keep the rules because you want to keep them.  It is sanctification that Hebrews isnít really trying to deal with.  Do you understand what I am saying? 

Can I give you a safe way to look at the law and have a doctrine about should I keep rules or not.  Here is a safe way to look at it.  First of all, since the purpose of the law was unfulfilled, the purpose of the law is unfulfilled so if I use law to get me to God Ė thatís its purpose Ė I am always going to fall short.  Got it.  So since the purpose of the law was unfulfilled then its practices are now not necessary.  I donít have to anymore practice and practice and practice and practice and see what my score is toward God.  No longer do you have to practice the law to get to God because you can get to God through Jesus Christ.  However, itís punishments as well are now invalid.  Its purpose was unfulfilled, it didnít get me to God.  Its practices are no longer necessary because I canít do it and do it and get to God, and its punishment is now invalid.  Nevertheless its principles are always unchangeable.  Its purpose is unfulfilled Ė it wonít get me to God, practicing it wonít get me a high enough score to be saved because of Jesus Christ itís punishments are no longer valid, but that doesnít mean that itís principles are now no longer needed.  The principles of the law are still needed.  And we get into this big debate about ceremonial law, moral law, and all the other aspects and strata of the law and should we keep this one or that one or the other one, like the dietary laws.  Can I share something with you?

All the Bible is true, all of it.  Every last bit of it is true.  I find it awfully strange how the things that the law says donít eat, are the things that make you sick.  You donít see any connection at all between that?  Well it says you shouldnít eat any swine but now we are under Grace we can eat all the swine we want.  Well you are right if you are saying eating the swine will not stop me from getting to heaven, and it wonít.  But if you saying eating the swine isnít nothing wrong with it.  No there is something wrong with it because too much pork and barbeque will give you high blood pressure.  Amen.  Now I thank God for Grace because I had some barbeque when I went home.  My uncle is a barbequeist.  He served me some barbeque Ė I didnít need to pray ďOh Lord heal the barbeque of the high blood pressure.  No I ate it.  But I understand that my eating of that pork is not a sin against God at all.  Jesus Christ fulfilled that but it is a sin against my body.  Are you hearing what Iím saying? 

We could go on and on.  There are all kinds of laws that we have to look at.  This one is popular.  A man should not wear anything pertaining to a woman and a woman should not wear anything pertaining to a man and the first thing we say is ďA woman cannot wear pantsĒ.  And I say to you pants donít pertain to a man.  What it means is that a man should not dress in such a way that he perpetrates being a woman and a woman should not dress in such a way that she perpetrates being a man.  Guys that is in the law.  Is that still true today?  Yes, Yes, Yes.  Will it stop him or her from getting to heaven Ė No, if you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, but it isnít cool.  I mean everybody knows it is wrong, it is now 4,000 years later and it is still wrong if a man walks up in here with makeup on his face, lipstick on his face, a wig on his head, got on a dress and high heels and sits on the front row, that is wrong, that is wrong and if I see that you better believe I am going to preach from that text. 

And you canít tell me ďOh Pastor we under Grace, thatís law, thatís why Iím preaching it because it is law.  Obviously the grace didnít help the brother, he need to get a little bit of law to help him out Ė do you hear what Iím saying?  There is still right and wrong, right and wrong.  No more should we take a gun and shoot somebody Ė that is still wrong.  Homosexuality is still wrong, are you getting what Iím saying?  But I am not saying that if you are a murderer, or if you are a homosexual or anything of that nature, you canít get to heaven.  Yes you can because our priesthood is not based on a carnal commandment.  It is based on an endless life, Jesus Christ.  But when you get Jesus Christ in your life, He gives you the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit is a spirit of whom, it is the spirit of God.  And God still wants what He has always wanted Ė He still wants a holy people.  The difficulty was when I was in the Old Testament I couldnít be holy because it doesnít happen and I use the excuse to remain in sin by grace, saying I am under grace I can do this and it is okay. 

Brother you missed the whole point.  You missed the whole point.  Are you getting what Iím saying?  So he says, come back to Hebrews.  I got a little excited on that just a bit.  Come back to the Book of Hebrews.  Hear what it says in verse 17:

16 Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life.

17 For he testifieth, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.

18 For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof.

19 For the law made nothing perfect [it made nothing complete, it made nothing whole] but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.

20 And inasmuch as not without an oath he was made priest:

21 (For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by him that said unto him, The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec:)

I read the word Melchisedec so many times in this 7th chapter and I read it in the sixth chapter as well as the fifth chapter, there are three chapters in Hebrews that talks about Melchisedec and it mentions him over and over again.  To teach him seems a bit strange to us because we havenít heard much about Melchisedec.  We donít hear his name mentioned.  We donít hear him preached very often so when you listen to something about him it seems a bit strange to hear it.  But if it is mentioned this many times in the Bible it must be significant.  The whole issue with Melchisedec is that he was a spiritual priest and God is trying to get our eyes off of the religious system and onto the system of the Holy Spirit.  So the law will no longer be written on tablets, but it can now be written in our hearts.  Can I get you to hold your place in Hebrews 7 and flip over just a little bit to what the Bible says here in Hebrews 8?  In Hebrews 8 look at what it says in verse 9.

Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt [thatís the old law, thatís the covenant of the law]; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord.

10 For this is the covenant [this is the law, this is the new relationship] that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; [Look, I am not going to do away with the law, I am not going to do away with having one and let you live any way you want, He says] I will put my laws [which laws, which ones Ė the same ones] into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:  I am going to take the same laws and rather than have it in a tablet or on the pages of a book, I am going to put it in their minds and in their hearts.  This new relationship we have with Melchisedec, with Jesus Christ, is such that he puts the same laws in our minds and in our hearts and He makes it so that we can be unto Him a people.  A people means His people, belonging unto Him.  Now catch here what He says.  He says

11 And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. Thatís the old covenant of the law.  He says when I place my spirit in that manís heart where the laws, that which I require for holy living is written in his heart and in his mind, he will not need any man to teach him ďKnow the LordĒ, because he will know Me, he will know Me because I am in Him.  It kind of goes with the idea that we have already talked from chapter 5, the latter portion of chapter 5, where we dealt with this whole issue where we were teaching that if you are growing in Christ, there ought to be progression in your knowledge of the doctrine of Christ, that you ought to know something about Christ as you are growing in Him.  If you are growing in Him and you donít know anything about Him, you never learned anything, you know nothing more today than you knew last week Ė there is something wrong with your growth in Jesus Christ.  And then in chapter 6 he says maybe He is not really in you because when He is really in you, there is a natural, there is an innate and inherent knowledge of Him, and there is a desire to know Him even more, to know Him even more, to grow in Him even more.  He goes on here in this 8th chapter and he says

12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.

13 In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.

All along we had to keep the law, keep the law, and keep the law to be right with God.  Follow the religion, follow the rules, keep the rules and be right with God.  He is saying ďthatís the old systemĒ.  This new system, this new covenant, this new relationship that I have with you now is I am going to implant within you the desire to know Me.  And as long as you have a desire to know Me, then disobeyeing my law, my will, my desires, none of that will be pleasurable to you because you desire to know me.  You will be My people, My people.  What about when you sin pastor, what about when you sin? 

Well when you sin you do not need to have another sacrifice.  You donít need a bull, a goat or anything like that to offer a sacrifice.  Now when you sin He says a sacrifice has been made once and for all and this sacrifice that was made once and for all allows God to be merciful to my unrighteousnessí.  I am not living under condemnation, I am living under Grace and what is Grace.  Grace is Godís unmerited, undeserved favor that He has poured upon my life.  Yes it is balanced by responsibility, you better believe that and if I truly have Grace I want to be responsible that I donít frustrate or misuse the Grace that I have.  But the good news is that I do have Grace and the Grace makes it possible for any person of any kind and any background to come before God, to stand before God and get Grace in time of need.  But if a person comes before God and says to Him ďI want to take your laws and I want to trample them and ignore them and not do themĒ, He is going to say ďI thought I wrote them in your mind, and I thought I wrote them in your heart.  You can come to me no matter who you are, or where you come from, you can come to me for forgiveness and acceptance and I will forgive you and accept you, and I will do it a million times in a day if I need to.  But you canít come to me in rebellion against what I wrote in your mind and in your heart because if it is really in your mind and in your heart, deep down within, it will pain you to obey it.  Does everybody understand that?  Can I close chapter 7 if you would.  I know I told you about chapter 10 but we will come there on next week and search the analogy there.  Verse 22 says

22 By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament.  [Thatís the better covenant.]

23 And they truly were many priests [these Levitical priests were many priests], because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death:

24 But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood.

25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.  He is able to save them to the uttermost.  He can take us in salvation to the zenith of our personal spiritual potential]

26 For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; [This is the prerequisite for a priest so HE had to atone for His own sins so He could have this testimony about Him.  But Jesus is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, higher than the heavens without any sacrifice for His own sins]

27 Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for this he did once, when he offered up himself.

28 For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; [weaknesses, sin] but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore.

It says the word of the oath, the word of the oath, the oath is the promise of God.  Godís oath is His promise.  We taught you that God cannot lie.  He is not like man.  He is immutable in His counsel and immutable in His will.  When He promises He will bring to pass what He promises.  God said of Christ you are a priest forever.  After a totally different order, not a religious system, but by a relationship through your life being endless.  God promised to Christ He would be a priest forever.  Then God promised to us that if we trust in Christís priesthood we would be His children forever.  So the endless life of Christ I receive His endless life by trusting in Jesus Christ, thereby I have everlasting life.  Thatís why it said He is consecrated for evermore.  He is set apart, and set aside and just as Christ is set aside, so when I trust Him, I also am set aside. 

When Christ came to earth He came to earth, became a man, died on the cross, went in a grave, rose from the grave and forevermore He has never been the same.  HE now is a man who died and a Christ who intercedes for evermore; thatís His ministry.  He has secured our salvation forevermore.  Never the same again.  Jesus in heaven prior to the cross was not interceding for mankind because mankind had nothing to believe in except the priest Ė they had to intercede.  Jesus after He died on the cross ascended into heaven now He intercedes for mankind forever.  Just as He is never the same, I will never be the same.  Just as He was raised anew, I will be raised anew.  He was consecrated forever more, I, you, we are consecrated ever more.  He is so much better than the old priesthood because that old priesthood, that old religious syst4em could never do this Ė give Him praise and glory. 

 

 



 

 

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