Hebrew Series -- Part 3 (6/07/05)
Rev. Marlin D. Harris
















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Persevering Through Pressure
Hebrew Series -- Part 3 (6/07/05)

Rev. Marlin D. Harris, Pastor

It has been such an exciting and impactful series.  We have entitled this series of messages through the Book of Hebrews "Persevering through Pressure, Persevering Through Pressure".  We are dealing with in this first volume of sessions from the Book of Hebrews, building a faith that will last, building a faith that will last.  And of course there is a strong theme that runs throughout the entire book of Hebrews that deals with the faith or the quality of faith that we build, the quality of faith that we build.  So we have entitled this session building a faith that will last. 

Chapter 4 is where I want us to begin looking.  We are going to look at several passages throughout Hebrews 4, so if you would find and look at me, and say ďAmenĒ when youíve got it.  Let me quickly remind you that the theme through the Book of Hebrews has to do with Christ being better, Christ is so much better than the old traditions, the old ways that the Jews have learned from their religion Judaism.  Judaism taught them a way to approach God, through sacrifices, offerings of the Priest, the law and all the rest Ė these were elements of Judaism that prepared them to approach God, and so they utilized all of these different vehicles and instruments to connect with God, and the writer of the Book of Hebrews is stressing very hard throughout the entire book that Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of those OT shadows, that those shadows had been fulfilled through Christ and that there is no other way to get to God except through Christ.  The shadow is not sufficient to bring us to God and that is the theme of this Book, Christ is better, Christ is better.

Weíve learned already that the writer tried to express in chapter 1 that Christ was better than the prophets and the writer sought to express in the latter portion of chapter 1 that Christ was better than the angels and he also sought to express in chapter 2 that Christ was better than Moses, and he also sought to express at the close of chapter 3 and here in the outset of chapter 4 that Christ offers us a better deal, that there is a better rest. 

We spoke on last week about the rest of God, the R E S T, the resting of God and how weíve entered into that rest.  A Sabbath rest, that Sabbath is not a day, Sabbath is a life.  Sabbath is a life.  It was a day in the Old Covenant to be a shadow, to demonstrate, to serve as a picture that painted the fact that it is a life after Christ.  Before Christ it was a day.  After Christ it is a life, and the quality of that life is eternal.  So then the Sabbath of God is an eternal Sabbath and the Sabbath rest that God wants us to participate in, to experience, to practice and to inherit, is an eternal rest.  So we donít celebrate the Sabbath on a day, we can, there is nothing wrong with that if you choose to do that, but it doesnít make you more right or less right with God, it just means that you observe a particular day. 

But the Sabbath is not a day, its not Saturday, its not Sunday, the Sabbath is the quality of eternal life, and so it says that God did rest from all of His works, and so I want to close this issue on the Sabbath and open the issue about Christ being our High Priest and show the connection.  So I want you to look if you would at what the Scripture says in verse 9 of Hebrews 4.  When youíve found it say ďAmenĒ. 

Hebrews 4

 9There remaineth therefore [there is still left] a rest to the people of God.

 10For he that is entered into his rest

[meaning those of us who have entered into our rest],

he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.

[ceased from our works, works toward salvation, works to be saved, works to strive toward being saved and right with God.  There is no work that we can ever do that would ever save us.  So it says the person who has entered into his rest, is the person who has stopped working just as God did from His (verse 10).  So it says the only work that you and I ever have to do is to labor therefore [not to be saved] but labor therefore to enter into that rest.  He says work hard so that you can rest.  Whenever we are understanding the  Scriptures, coming to faith, the work of faith, cultivating the Word of God that is sown in our hearts, it blossoms and it buds into a plant of faith and reaps a harvest of faith -- that is a strong work that requires us to walk away from the things that we have learned and known about God for all these years, that never made us right with God, and to walk into this new experience with God through Jesus Christ.  He says ďBut once that labor is done, once it is done, you enter into your rest. 

He says now if we donít enter into that rest, lest any man should fall after the same example of unbelief.  So then Scripture here is teaching from the perspective of analogy, not doctrine, but analogy, illustration, example -- that the only thing that you and I have to worry about doing is believing; thatís the only thing.  Not works, not deeds, not efforts, not good works, not doing nice things, doing things that are considered to be well and acceptable before God, NONE OF THAT WILL EVER SAVE YOU.  Now that is what we do after we are saved because we are saved.  We donít do that to stay saved, or to keep our salvation, or remain saved Ė we do good works because we are saved.  There has been a regeneration in our spirit man, a reprogramming of our heart whereby we want to please God with our works. 

Itís almost like because He gave us Grace, something we didnít deserve, we now seek to give unto Him gracious acts of our works and deeds in appreciation for the Grace He has given us.  We do not work to be saved nor do we work to stay saved.  The only working that is to be done (this is not doctrine, this is example Ė that is what the writer is trying to get us to see, is an example), and the example he gives us is that the only work you have to do is believe.  The only striving you need to do is faith and Paul expresses this whole issue of faith even greater when he said that the faith that you and I have, that brought us to salvation, isnít even ourís.  He said that faith is a gift from God; that God gave us the faith.  He expounds on it in another place and he demonstrates in the Book of Philippians when he says ďThat as a matter of fact, it is God who worked it in you, both the will to do right and the ability to do rightĒ.  Are you getting what Iím saying?  So any work that I could do, I do because God gave me the ability to do it.  So the little bit of work that I have to do Ė Believe/Faith Ė that little bit of work I have to do doesnít even come from me. 

Salvation is completely, wholly and totally a gift that comes from God.  It is ours to accept or ours to reject.  Here he is very clear, he says please donít fall after the same example of the children of Israel, of unbelief.  They did not enter into Godís rest because they could not believe.  The rest for the children of Israel was Canaan, the land of promise, the land beyond Jordan, the land beyond Jericho; that was the rest for the children of Israel.  They could not enter into that promised land because of their doubt and unbelief in the wilderness.  He is saying ďthat becomes an example for usĒ.  Donít miss the promised land of everlasting life.  Guys it is not heaven when you die, its everlasting life today.  Here now, right here, everlasting life.  We receive it the moment we get saved.  The moment faith is activated we receive everlasting life.  He says ďthe only thing that would stop you, the only thing from receiving everlasting life is unbeliefĒ. 

So here he now expresses to us the mode and the vehicle as to how we come to believe. Whatís the thing that gets us to believe and what is the thing that prepares our hearts to be receptive or receive by God Ė verse       #12.

 12For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Verse 12 expresses to us the Word of God.  He just got finished talking about entering into His rest for the first 11 verses.  Now he jumps from the Sabbath rest of God, everlasting life, and he mentions the Word of God with the word ďForĒ.  You see that word in there Ė ďFor the Word of GodĒ Ė it is almost as if he is saying ďbecause of the Word of God or as the result of the Word of God Ė he is connecting the Word of God with belief, and what he is saying is you can believe because there is a Word of God.  We believe, faith, because of the Word.  As a matter of fact faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.  If there is no Word of God, there will be no faith.  The Word of God is the thing that supplies the faith.  If there were no Word from God we would have nothing to believe. 

He says ďThis Word that you have from God is not just any ordinary run of the mill kind of word.  It is not some revelation that comes to a prophet while he is sitting up under a tree over in Mecca Ė not that kind of word.  Itís not some word that comes through ascetism, by starving yourself and trying to reach Nirvana over in Asia Ė not that kind of word.  Itís not the kind of word that you get by deep meditation, and deep thought and it conjures up out of your inward spiritual self Ė not eastern mysticism Ė thatís not the kind of word we have Ė WE HAVE A WORD THAT THE BIBLE CALLS THREE THINGS Ė LOOK AT THE SCRIPTURE IN VERSE 12 Ė (1) THIS WORD IS QUICK.  (2) THIS WORD IS POWERFUL.  (3) THIS WORD IS A TWO-EDGED SWORD. 

Alright first thing QUICK Ė anytime you see the word quick in the Scriptures, when it does not mean quickly or soon or immediately Ė it means ALIVE.  When it says that the Word of God is quick, it is saying the Word of God is alive.  It is a Living Word.  As a matter of fact the Greek word for quick is the word ďzao[1]Ē and the word zao means life but it means a quality of life that cannot be denied or diminished.  Zao is the same word that is used in John 10:10 when it says that he has given us life and life more abundantly.  It is the same word that is used whenever eternal life is spoken of, zao -- eternal life, everlasting life, a quality of life that cannot be diminished, that cannot be denied, that cannot be stopped, an everlasting life, a never-ending life.  He says ďthe Word of God is that kind of life, its alive. 

You see, the book is not alive.  The book is a book.  We need the book so we can read the words, but the book is not alive Ė the Word is alive, and as you read the Word in the book, the power of the Word takes life in us.  When something is alive you develop relationship with it.  Any other book that you read, those words arenít alive.  They are just words that come out of some manís thought.  These Words come out of Godís thought.  So the Words that are breathed from God, the Words that are inspired, breathed from God Ė THOSE WORDS ARE ALIVE Ė THEY HAVE LIFE TO THEM.  THEREFORE YOU CAN DEVELOP A RELATIONSHIP WITH IT.  YOU CAN BOND WITH STUFF THAT IS ALIVE.  LIFE SAYS RELATIONSHIP.  THE WORD OF GOD IS THE ONLY WORD THAT YOU CAN DEVELOP A RELATIONSHIP WITH.  IT IS ALIVE FOR THE PURPOSE OF BONDING, RELATIONSHIP.  THE WORD BEING ALIVE, ONCE YOU RECEIVE IT, THE LIFE THAT IS IN THE WORD GETS INSIDE OF YOU.  IT HAS TRANSFERABLE LIFE TO IT.  THATíS WHY WHEN YOU TOUCH THE WORD WITH FAITH, FAITH MAKES THE POWER OF THAT WORD COME ALIVE IN YOU. 

The next thing it says is that it is powerful.  Its quick, its alive and its powerful.  The powerful Word of God means it is efficacious (it is a funny word that simply means ďit is effective for producing a result).  What it is saying is that the Word of God is powerful in the sense that it can bring about a desired result in your life, in my life.  That as we read the Word of God it produces a net change in us.  It is impossible for you to read the Word, for you to believe the Word, for you to receive the Word, and not be changed by the Word.  What bothers me is that there are so many folks who can quote it, who know it, who can recite it and repeat it, but there is no change in them because of it.  Itís almost as if its quick but it ainít powerful.  You know its alive but its not powerful.  If the Word of God is going to be the Word of God, it has to bring about a change.  If it does not bring about a change in an individualís life who reads it, itís because that person is reading it without faith, and when he reads it without faith, thatís what stops him from entering into Godís rest.  Do you get the connection here? 

So if I want to bring about change in my life, in my habits, in my lifestyle, change in my manner of living, change in the things I do, what Iíve got to do is get into the Word of God and Iíve got to make the Word of God get in me.  Iíve got to put my faith in the thing that Iím reading and seeing and investigating and studying.  Iím not reading it so that I can debate it later on.  Iím reading it because I believe it to be true and I open my heart for it to have a change in me, and whenever you connect with Godís Word, it is alive and it is powerful. 

Okay now, this third thing is an issue that is going to really kind of rattle us a little bit.  The power of the Word comes from its sword.  It says it is sharper than any two-edged sword.  Now that is a double-edged sword.  A double-edged sword was a literary device that was used in those days in which this Scripture was written, to demonstrate dual purpose.  So whenever they said something was a two-edged sword, that means it has two purposes.  One purpose of the Word of God is to convict us, to change us and challenge us.  A second purpose of the Word of God is to encourage us, to inspire us and to move us in the right direction.  It encourages and it convictsIf you and I are going to have a relationship with the Word of God we have to have a relationship with both edges of the sword.  You cannot be changed by it by only wanting encouragement from it.  If all you want it to do is tell you the stuff that is good, and all the promises and whatís going to happen, and how you are going to be blessed, and how you come into your season and all this good stuff, and then you close the book and believe thatís going to bring change.  No, it will motivate you very much but it is not going to bring change, because change requires both edges of the sword, and the other edge of the sword is the conviction edge.  Youíve got to be convicted toward change and encouraged to stay changed and what happens to many of us is that we read the Scriptures and we do not mix into it the conviction necessary to change.  Hereís how this sword works change.  It says

 piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

The first thing it says here is that it divides asunder soul and spirit.  The second thing is that it divides asunder joint and marrow and then it says it discerns thoughts and intents.  To discern means to distinguish between, to make judgment from; to divide asunder means to separate.  It says that the Word of Godís purpose is to separate your soul from your spirit.  Now you would think you donít want to separate your soul from your spirit; you want to keep them together.  No, your soul is the part of you that is natural, carnal, contaminated, must be renewed, must be changed.  Your soul is polluted.  What has polluted your soul is your flesh.  There is nothing good or bad about the flesh other than the flesh pollutes the soul because it pulls the soul away from God. 

Now class you know what the soul is donít you?  The soul is the seat of your mind, your will and your emotions.  Your soul is your rationale, your intellect, how you think, how you feel, how you reason, how you understand.  The soul is the part of you that is natural, carnal.  Your soul is the part of you that gives you the ability to know yourself, to be in tuned with yourself, to be aware of yourself.  The problem with our spiritual walk is that we have too much self in our spiritual walk so its very hard for us to hear the mind of Christ when we are too busy thinking with our own mind.  Itís very hard for us to see the will of God when we are too busy wanting our own will.  Itís very hard for us to feel the passion that God feels when our emotions are too strong.  In order for me to balance what I think, in order for me to balance the way I feel, in order for me to balance what I want Ė my will Ė in order for me to balance how I reason, how I understand, how I intellectualize ideas and concepts, in order to balance that against what is right with God, the spiritual side, I need something to come and divide between my carnal thinking, my natural self, and Godís perspective.  There has to be a standard that I can measure my soul by and allow it to be cut where it needs to be cut.  Are you getting it?

The Word of God is that utensil that is utilized in order to get our soul corrected.  So Iím thinking one way about my life, my issues, my concerns, my problems, my cares, my career, my family Ė Iím thinking one way about all of this stuff going on in my life, and itís on my mind, its developing certain thought patterns in my head.  If I donít get the Word of God to come in that thought pattern in my soul will start confusing the sanity and the straightness of my spirit man, and when my spirit man becomes confused in its straightness, it gets grieved and I grieve the Holy Spirit within me because my soul is telling me you ought to do this, you should do that, you better think this, it ainít going to work here, it ainít going to work out right there, you better watch it here Ė are you getting what Iím saying?

Let me explain it like this.  My flesh, my body is the house I live in.  My soul is the furniture and decorations of that house.  My spirit man is me in the house.  I can appreciate the  house if the furniture and the stuff that decorates the house is right, but it is very hard to eat off of a dirty plate.  I mean it is very difficult.  Have you ever been into a nasty house?  Just plain nasty house.  You walk in and you donít want to sit down.  You are like, and they say ďDo you care for something to drinkĒ?  ďNo, I donít want anything to drinkĒ, because the house is dirty.  Now Iíve been in some nasty houses that look good on the outside.  I never knew that house was that dirty until I opened the door and stepped on the inside and said ďWhoaĒ, because the outside of the house is not where the person lives.  The outside of the house is just the external covering for the person, but the inside of the house is where the personís personality takes shape in the house. 

So if that person is prone to junk, junk is going to be in the house.  If that person is prone to sin, sin is going to be in the house.  If that person is prone to negativity, negativity is going to be in the house.  If that person is prone to ugly habits and addictions, habits and addictions are going to be in the house.  Are you getting what Iím saying?  And whenever you start decorating your soul with these sins, these habits, these addictions, these mindsets, this evil, this wickedness Ė whenever you start putting draperies of iniquity up on your window and whenever you start putting dishes in your cabinet of lust, greed and pride and selfishness Ė your spirit man has to live there.  Your spirit man has to live there.  There is no other house he can go to.  Are you getting what Iím saying. 

So what the spirit man must do is he has to call a cleaning lady, cleaning man or cleaning company.  We need somebody to come to the house who has cleansing agents and set what is not in order in my house in order.  Are you getting what Iím saying?  The Word of God is the cleaning company.  The Word of God is the cleansing agent.  Whenever you bring the Word into the house it has the power to divide the pollution of the soul from the purity of the spirit so that the spiritís purity does not get polluted by the soulís contamination.  Are you hearing what Iím saying.  He says and its just that sharp. 

Hereís what else it is able to do.  It is able to divide asunder, not just the soul and the spirit but joints and marrow.  I want to move on but there is so much in this one verse.  Joints and marrow.  My joint is my function, how I function.  My marrow is my essence.  Did you not know that all of the essential ingredients in the blood stem from the marrow?  When it is time to do a blood transfusion, they get into the marrow because the blood and the marrow are one and the same.  The blood is the life of the person; suck out his marrow and you have just sucked out his life.  At the very core of who we are is the marrow.  The joints are how I function.  My marrow is who I am.  When my function and my identity doesnít match each other; when Iím functioning one way and my identity is another way, when my life is defined by Christ but my function is defined by sin, I need somebody to come and separate the two and put something in order, and he says the Word of God has power to get your functions straight so it can match whatís going on inside your life.

How do you get believers who are saved but donít live it.  Saved but there is nothing in the way they function that even hints that they are saved.  I mean itís a shock Ė some folks come to church just visiting, heard about New Life, they sit in the back and they look up and say ďThat look like, no it canít be.  She wouldnít be in church raising her hand, thatís someone who looks like her.  That really is her after she done said what she said to me yesterday.  I canít believe sheís in church with her hands raised.  The issue is that the function of the person does not match the life of the person, and the way you get the function to match your marrow is the Word of God.  See thatís how powerful it is, thatís how sharp it is. 

Itís not just that sharp, but it can discern between the thoughts and intents of the heart.  Iíve learned a very viable lesson and then I definitely have to move on, and that I am still learning and that is that you donít know what is in your heart.  You donít know whatís in your heart.  Many people donít know why, what the real motive is behind the stuff they do.  Many folks do good stuff for the wrong reasons and had no idea they were doing it for the wrong reason.  Many people will tell you that ďI will never do such, say such, this will never happen to me, I am not that kind of personĒ, and given the right circumstance, at the right time, under the right kind of pressure, facing the right kind of problem, they will break that commitment in a minute and be shocked at themselves.  Have you ever shocked yourself?  Have you ever said something and when it came out you were Ė you couldnít believe you said it.  It just came right out, because you donít know whatís in your heart.  The only way you and I are ever going to learn whatís really in our heart is if we utilize the standard of the Word.  The power of the Word, the Living Word of God and when the Living Word begins to open unto us its job is to go into our heart Ė pierces Ė goes in between Ė it penetrates and when it gets in the heart the Word begins to let me know what the thoughts and the intentions of my heart is. 

You cannot live the life that God wishes for you and I to live if you do not have an intimate, personal relationship with the Word of God.  I mean you just cannot get it on Tuesday nights when you come here guys.  You just canít get it on Sunday morning, you just canít get it in some radio program or some television program.  If you are going to have a life that pleases God where your heart doesnít have sticky, icky, yucky stuff inside of it, when your house doesnít have dirty dishes in the pantry, stuff you donít want other folk to see because its so messed up, you cannot get that stuff straight until you develop a love affair with this Word.  And this is the only way, the only way, that we have any hope of pleasing God.  The only way. 

Hold up pastor, the Bible says Ė as a matter of fact the same book you are teaching in, the Bible says in Hebrews 11:6 Ė without faith it is impossible to please God.  You are saying that the Word of God is the only way we have any hope to please Him.  Is there a contradiction?  No, because faith and the Word go hand-in-hand.  They go hand-in-hand you see.  Faith is the ink, the Word is the pen.  If youíve ink with no pen, you still canít make a letter.  And if youíve got pen but no ink, you still canít make a letter.  You need faith and Word to walk together.  When you get the Word mixed with faith, the quickness and the powerfulness of the sword comes in and it ainít going to be pretty guys.  It is not going to be pretty.  Whenever you start committing yourself to reading the Word of God, studying the Word of God, getting into this Word, the first, two, three, four months is going to be hard for you because you are going to get up from the table or from your study room and you are going to feel like ďMan I ainít got nothing right.  Iím not doing this thing right.  Every time I open that book it is showing me something about me I donít want to seeĒ.  But donít you give up, stay in that book, you stay in that book, and soon whenever that month is over you going to start seeing change take place in your life because you cannot do what you used to do when youíve got a Living Word on the inside of you.  It is a convicter.  It convicts us.  It is a sword guys.

Now this is the thing that really got me.  Look at verse 13, and Iím sorry for spending all this time on just two verses but thatís what the Lord wanted to do.  Verse 13 says ďNeither is there any creature that is not manifest in its sightĒ.  Huh, you are not listening, I told you to listen to whoever is up here talking, make sure he says it right. 

 13Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight:

Wait a minute.  Didnít verse 12 talk about Word.  Verse 13 is talking about a Him.  Is it trying to suggest that the Word is a Him.  My Bible says ďAnd the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.  And the Word was with God, and the Word was God, the same was in the beginning with God, and everything that was made was made by him, and without him was not anything made that is made and in Him was the life and the life was the light of all menĒ.  (John 1-5) 

It is the Word of God that is a Him and the Him is Jesus Christ, because the Word was made flesh.  This means the Word was made Him.  Catch it please, get this!!!!  If I want to know the Word, I have to know Jesus.  Now I know guys, Jesus ainít popular today.  I understand.  He is outdated, Heís some man who lived some 2,000 years ago that Michelangelo painted and Michelangelo painted him a little bit wrong.  His nose was not pointy, he did not have blue eyes, his hair was not blond.  He lived in the deserts of Judea in the Middle East.  When Herod was looking for him as a boy they took him to Egypt in Africa and hid him.  Now you canít hide no blond hair, blue eyed pointy nosed boy in Africa.  Iím not teaching on that right now.  He is considered outdated, he is old fashioned.  His message is not relevant for these times.  Let me tell you something.  There is not a thing in this book that is not relevant for these times.  As a matter of fact, I would submit to you that the times are so messed up, the ages and the days are in such disarray and there is such enormous calamity in the culture because we have forgotten about the message of the Word. 

I mean whether its war (thereís a Word for it).  Whether it is trouble, trauma or strife Ė thereís a Word for it.  Economic decline (thereís a Word for it).  Political unrest (thereís a Word for it).  Generational suicide and genocide (thereís a Word for it).  Crime in our streets, a generation that is being lost to drugs, crimes and a hip hop culture (thereís a Word for it).  Identity crises (thereís a Word for it).  Perversions (thereís a Word for it).  Are you hearing what Iím saying.  I mean everything that we claim we want to rid our society of, the Bible tells us what it is and how to get rid of it and Jesus said ďThe whole book is about meĒ.  He said THE WHOLE BOOK Ė CAN I SHOW YOU THAT.  STAY RIGHT WHERE YOU ARE IN HEBREWS AND FLIP OVER TO CHAPTER NO. 10.

The writer is speaking on behalf of Christ.  These are the words he said Christ said. 

Hebrews 10

 7Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.

This means that the incarnate Christ, Jesus in the flesh, stands before his Father and he tells his Father ďHere I am Lord, Iíve come to the world, Iíve come in the volume of the book, the whole thing was written about me.  That means in Genesis when we had the creations Ė the ďLet there beísĒ, it was written about God.  The patriarchal message of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and Joseph and Judah and Reuben, Simeon, Dan, -- it was all written about Jesus.  And in Exodus, the whole pattern of the tabernacle was written about him.  The journey through the Red Sea was written about him.  In Leviticus the entire context of the law was written about him.  In Numbers the whole journey through which they went from one end to the other seeking for their land, their water, their rest, the manna that came Ė it was written about him.  In Deuteronomy the whole givings of the criteria and the culture through which God would establish His kingdom.  To move from Deuteronomy over into Joshua, the whole thing was written about him. Every judge that ever judged, was written about him. Ruth was all about Him.  Esther, all about Him.  1st Kings, 2nd Kings, 1st & 2nd Samuel Ė All of that written about Him.  The Chronicles were all about him.  David about Him, Solomon about Him, Jeroboam, Reheboam, all about Him.  He is the Living Word. 

Listen, He is everything that they were trying to say.  So what they were trying to say ďHe isĒ.  So when Isaiah spoke he said ďThus sayeth the LordĒ.  When Jeremiah spoke, he said ďThus sayeth the LordĒ.  When Ezekiel spoke he said ďThus sayeth the LordĒ.  When Jesus came He said ďVerily verily I say unto youĒ, because the Lord was talking through the old covenant but in Matthew the Word was born in a manger and when the Word got up out of the manger he said ďI say unto youĒ.  He is the Living Word.  Are you hearing what I am saying to you.  If you want to live a changed, renewed, holy and healthy life youíve got to have a relationship with the Word who is Jesus.  Nobody else claimed what he claimed.  I mean nobody had the gall to say ďI am the ChristĒ.  I am God in the flesh.  I am the way.  No man comes to the Father except by meĒ.  Nobody had the gall to say it, and even if they did say it and several folk have said it, they couldnít back it up.  I mean its one thing to say ďI am the only wayĒ.  Its another thing to say you are the only way and then prove it by getting up out of the grave.  I mean no matter what you think about Christ, about Jesus, he is a good teacher, a prophet, a nice man, a wise person, he was somebody that I used to know that lived at one time Ė no matter what you think about Jesus there is one thing you cannot deny Ė his tomb is empty Ė it has been 2,000 years Ė weíve found everybody elseís bones.  We found the elephant manís bones, we found the bones of the tyrannosaurus rex, we found the bones of the dinosaurs, but we have not yet found his bones and he is the only person who said what he said and what he said has lasted, written and rewritten and rewritten in every language known to man.  It is a best seller.  No other book has sold like this book and he said ďNow how are you going to put that much credibility in somebody you think was crazy.  He had to know what he is talking about.  Are you hearing what Iím saying.  He had to know what he was talking about, and he had to be who he said he was. 

And hereís what he says, go back to Hebrew 4. 

There is no creature that is not made manifest in his sight.

Look at the rest of it.  It says:

but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.

That with whom we have to do means with whom we have to deal with.  Iím trying to move on but every phrase keeps yelling at me Ė say something about me.  He says ďYou may disregard and ignore this Word all you want now, but the Word is going to catch up with you.  I guess thatís why you do not have mass numbers of folk flocking to Bible study.  Now you put up a concert and they will be there two on a mule.  [Laughter]  Two on a mule means that we are really trying to get there, so we are going to pack the mule.  Rather than having one person per mule, we are going to put two on the mule to show you that we are coming in big numbers.  And if weíve got five mules we can get ten people (thatís South Carolinian) for those of you that are from the city.  If you are having anything other than the Word, it would be attractive.  Anything other than the Word, it would be insightful and interesting and folk would come for it.  B

But nobody wants to come for the Word.  You are the strange people because the Word will open your life.  It will open up your heart and expose you naked.  He will expose you naked before Him.  You cannot hide.  I mean there are times when I do not want to read this book.  Can I testify with you.  There are times when I have things in my mind, things in my heart, things that I know are not right within me and Iím nursing this bad feeling I got.  I ainít ready to give it up.  I ainít trying to stop right now.  Iím going to hold onto this here just a little bit longer.  I ainít going to let it go just yet, and I know Iíve got to get up and study that Word, and I do everything I can to avoid going to that chair because I know the moment I get in that chair and the moment I grab this book, I can read something totally unrelated to what Iím dealing with and the Word will jump all on me. 

He said that everything is naked, everything is open before the eyes of whom we have to do.  The one whom we have to deal with.  You either going to deal with him now or you are going to deal with Him later, but rest assured every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess.  Please understand that you and I are going to face the Word and when we face the Word Heís got two questions to ask us, just two.  The first one is your name in the Book of Life.  Is your name in the Lambís Book of Life.  Itís a yes or a no question.  If the answer to that question is no there is no need for the second one.  Are you saved?  Have you given your life to Christ?  What kind of life did you live after your name got written in that book.  Okay your name is in the book, thank you Lord, Hallelujah its in the book.  What kind of life did you live after it got in the book.  Did you love?  Were you compassionate?  Were you kind?  How was your service?  Did you work for Me?  Did you honor Me?  Are you getting what Iím saying?  And if our answer is no to any of those the first thing He is going to know is you must not have been paying attention to the Word.  Iím supposed to be teaching through the Book of Hebrews, not these two verses.  Verse 14.

 14Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.

Let us grab a hold to with conviction and donít let go of what we have professed.  Here he says ďseeing then (this means ďsinceĒ), since we have a great high priest.  This means in light of the fact that we have a great high priest whose passed all the way up into the heavens, donít let go of your faith because the only way you can get to where the high priest has gone is if you get there by faith.  Profession, faith Ė hold fast to your profession, hold fast to your faith.  Whenever people lose their faith, hereís what I say Ė they never had it.  They never had it because you canít lose something like faith.  You canít lose Grace, if you lose Grace you never had it.  You canít lose faith Ė you never had it.  Hereís the issue Ė if Iíve got faith the only person that needs to be convinced that I have faith it is me because if Iíve really got it, God knows, I donít have to convince Him.  Iím the person who has the question.  My job is to grab a hold to my faith and hold onto it for dear life.  Are you getting what Iím saying. 

Why do we come back here week after week, why do we open this book day after day and study it.  Why do we pray and spend time on our knees before God because we are holding fast to our profession.  Can I be honest with you?  I know that I am eternally secure.  I know that I am eternally secure; I am going to heaven Ė no question in my mind about it.  And the reason why Iím going to heaven is because my faith is in Jesus Christ.  Everybody got that.  But there is something else I do know, I know others who have lives that are totally different from mine, and they say their faith is in Jesus Christ but there is no evidence whatsoever that they have such faith.  Their lifestyle does not say that in the slightest.  My job is not to judge them, my job is to look at their life and quickly look at mine and make sure, I mean make sure Ė make my calling and my election sure.  I know Iím going to heaven, I have no doubt about that in my mind but the issue is Iím going because of my faith.  I want to make sure that my faith ainít phony.  I want to make sure my faith is not fickle.  I want to be certain when I lay my head down at night that what I believe, I believe.  I donít want to be one day looking at television and I see somebody on TV telling me about some other way, some other truth, some other avenue to God is Jesus and Ė I donít want to pause the channel on channel 2 or channel 12 and look and question ďIs that trueĒ?  That might be true; that could be true Ė are you hearing what Iím saying to you.

I donít want to go off into college like our children will do, when they get to college they are going to be blasted with every kind of belief system there is.  Everybody is going to try to convert and change your child the moment they put a foot on a college campus.  I donít want to be that child on that college campus who doesnít know if they really believe, and along comes somebody else thatís talking good and sounding good and I donít know whatís true and whatís not true.  So to make sure that I donít make that grave error, I study my faith.  I learn my faith.  I rehearse my faith.  I believe my faith.  I pray in my faith.  I experience my faith.  I walk with my faith.  So whenever somebody else comes by and they sound good, talk good but it ainít what I know Iíve been persuaded of.  Hold Fast!

 15For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

Our priest was tempted with the same stuff that we are tempted with Ė he just didnít sin.  Our priest is touched with the feelings of our weaknesses, not because he was weak but he was tempted just like we are.  It says

 16Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Verse #1 of chapter five begins with the Word ďForĒ.  The word ďForĒ here as weíve already told you

1For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins:

 2Who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity.

 3And by reason hereof he ought, as for the people, so also for himself, to offer for sins.

 4And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.

 5So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, [the Father] Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee.

 6As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.

Let the church say Melchisedec.  Now weíve got to learn about this fellow Melchisedec.  It says in verse 6 that Jesus was made a priest after the same order of Melchisedec.  The word ďorderĒ here does not mean rank, file, or manner.  What the word order means is the same custom and system.  It means the system in which Melchisedec was a priest is the same system in which Jesus is a Prieset.  So what Melchisedec was and represented so Jesus is.  They are in the same order.  It says it again in verse 10. 

Called of God a high priest after the order of Melchisedec. 

Now from verse 11 all the way to the end of chapter 5, then chapter 6 the entire time in chapter 6 up until verse 12 the writer takes a parenthesis.  He picks up this whole issue of priestliness in verse 13.

For when God made promise to Abraham because he could swear by no greater, he sworn by himself and he said surely blessing I will bless thee and multiplying I will multiply thee. 

He goes on to talk about how God confirmed the promise Ė we will talk about that next week.  I want to get to this Melchisedec issue.  Verse 20.

Hebrews 6:20

Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.  He says it three times not telling us who Melchisedec is.  But he says it three times that Jesus Christ was made a priest in his system.  Now here is who he is in chapter 7. 

Hebrews 7:1

For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him.  To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all he had won in the battle, first being by interpretation king of righteousness and after that also, king of Salem, which is the King of peace.  This Melchisedec has no father, no mother, no descent.  Has neither beginning of days, he wasnít born nor end of life.  He wonít die, but made like unto the Son of God abides a priest forever.  STOP THERE!

Melchisedec shows up on the scene in the Book of Genesis and in the Book of Genesis Abraham and his nephew Lot were in trouble with the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah, and the other heathen nations around them.  Lot was in trouble in Sodom, Abram gets the folks in his house goes down to Lotís land and defeats these kings; defeated some three or four nations with just one household.  Obviously God was with him; God gave him great victory.  God sustained his life and gave him the battle.  When Abraham who just experienced this great victory that God had given, Abraham leaves from the battlefield going back home.  On his way going home Abraham gets confronted with this king, his name is Melchisedec.  Melchisedec comes to Abraham and blesses him.  When Abraham sees him the Bible says ďAbraham gave him a tithe of everything he won in the battle and he was blessed by this king.  Who was he?  He was the king of a place called Salem.  Salem is the same as Shalom which means peace.  He was also a king of righteousness.  So he was a king of peace and a king of righteousness.  Then it says that this Melchisedec was a man who had no father or mother.  Strange fellow ainít he.  Nobody can say Iím your pappy and Iím your mammy.  He has no dad, he has no mom, he has no children.  Then it said Melchisedec did not have a birth date and he doesnít have a death date, and on top of all of this he is a king of peace, of righteousness with no earthly parents, no earthly children.  He has no beginning of days, no end of days, and heís a priest under the most High God.  The only person I know that fits that description is Jesus Christ. 

Now I know what you are doing, you are raising your hand and you are saying ďHold up pastorĒ.  He had an earthly momma, her name was Mary.  Melchisedec is not the earthly representation of Christ, he represents Christ not in his earthly form, but in his heavenly form, and in his heavenly form Jesus has no earthly dad, mom, or children.  In his heavenly form he has no birth date, no death date.  He is from everlasting to everlasting.  As a matter of fact the same qualities of the Father so are in the son and Melchisedec is the human shadow of Jesus who is the substance and the reality and because Abraham couldnít handle a visit from Jesus, he had to send a shadow so Abraham could get a glimpse of what the son was going to be like.  Are you hearing what Iím saying?

Oh, it has happened many times before.  You remember Shadrach, Mischach, and Abnego Ė they were in the fiery furnace.  When they were in the fiery furnace Nebuchanezzer looked in and he didnít say ďI see the face of the son of GodĒ, he said ďI see one that has the form of the Son of GodĒ because if he had seen the manís face it would have blown him away.  The glory of Christ is so great no man can behold his face.  God was trying to get Abraham to see who his own seed was going to be.  Abraham I am going to give you the stars of the sky, the sand of the sea for children.  You are going to have a generation and a nation after you and from you will come that blessed Messiah.  Abraham leaves from a battle that God won for him.  The odds were stacked against him.  While leaving the battle God says ďI got to show Abraham what Iím getting ready to bring to Abraham.  I want to show Abraham what is going to be in his loins.  I want to show Abraham whatís going to come from his dead wifeís womb.  I want to show Abraham the evidence of the miracle, but if I show him everything now it will blow him away; he wonít even have enough power to believe me.  Hey, Iím going to send the shadow of my son and call his name Melchisedec, King of Peace, King of Righteousness.  No mama, no daddy, no birth date, no death date Ė Abraham when you see him just hold on a little bit longer and years down the road hence will come Melchisedec in the flesh.  His name is Jesus Christ; he is our high priest who has passed into the heavens.

When Abraham saw the shadow of his own seed he went and got the tithe and gave an offering to the shadow.  Tithing is for the OT.  If Abraham tithed to a shadow, donít you think you and I ought to give tithe to the real thing.  Anytime you see the presence, the power, the blessedness of Christ it makes you give an offering.  I ainít talking about money guys.  So go ahead, you can relax, I ainít talking about money.  Iím talking about praise.  Iím talking about worship.  Iím talking about reverence.  Iím talking about giving Him glory.  How can you not worship?  If Abraham gave tithes to a shadow, surely we can give tithes to the substance.  You ainít got time to come to church doing this Ė ďI ainít going to praise God today because Iím tiredĒ.  Donít you know that Melchisedec in reality is standing right in front of you.  He is to be worshipped. 

I donít want to stop but I have to stop.  GIVE HIM PRAISE! 


[1] 2198. zao dzah'-o a primary verb; to live (literally or figuratively):--life(-time), (a-)live(-ly), quick.