Called to Faithfully Love

Great to see all of you this morning. I am curious who was at camp this week? I like to just see hands. Oh, the brave souls. Wow. Thank you guys for serving and thank you for those who participated. I know it has to be a great time and I’m sure we’ll get to hear a lot more about the great things that happened up there, so amen. It’s great to be together. Welcome to all of you who are here in the auditorium. Welcome to all of you who are watching online. It’s great to have the opportunity to do this. I continue to be amazed at the technology that I can be here in Florida and can have a meeting with someone in Paris at the same time. It’s just sort of crazy like that. But thank God for the technology. We’re going to continue with Hebrews today. It’s been a rich study. I hope you’ve gotten a lot from it. I really do. For those who have not been with us, the letter to the Hebrews was written to a Jewish audience and hence the name Hebrews.

It was written to a Jewish audience and it was written to emphasize the superiority of Christianity over the Old Testament system. And so you go through the book and he talks about Jesus being so much better than the angels. He’s better than Moses, his tabernacle is better, his covenant is better. And on every front, Jesus is better. And so we continue to hammer that theme home, and we’re going to practice it one more time. Theme of the book is Jesus is Better. All right. If you don’t learn anything else, you got the main reason for reading the book. All right, you’re good there. But after the Hebrew writer has done a great job of just kind of laying out all the reasons why Jesus is better, then he gets to Chapter 13, which is almost exclusively practical applications. He takes the time to tell them practically what it’s going to look like to live the Christian life in this day and time. And so the title of the lesson, you can say Real Christian, but I like the subtitle even more that we’re called to faithfully love. Called to faithfully love. And every point that I make here with you today will have love as part of it.

And you’ll see that in Hebrews 13. Now, the idea of being called to faithfully love, I don’t know what that does to you, but if you stop and you think about it, that’s a bigger deal than maybe we acknowledge. And the reason for that is that there’s so much hatred and bitterness and envy and bad stuff going on in homes. It happens in the church, it happens in our neighborhoods. It happens on our job. And so this idea of being called to faithfully love is very important. Even in the last couple of weeks, we’ve had the whole abortion issues come up with the Roe versus Wade being overturned. And it’s the kind of thing where, and I will say this upfront, I believe abortion is taking a life. Okay? I will just say that’s what I’ve always believed. I’ve never been in favor of abortion. But the thing I want to point out to you by way of helping introduce this subject is I want you to think about what if you know someone, a woman who’s on the other side of that issue? Maybe it is perhaps an unwanted or unplanned pregnancy. Now, don’t take me saying the wrong thing here.

I’m not saying I’m in favor of abortion, but I’m trying to help us to realize that we need to see what love would look like in those situations. We need to think about it. I know of a sister who was a part of our church who got raped. What do you do with that if she comes up pregnant when it’s not something that she’s planning on? And I’m just throwing it out for your consideration. I think we need to have a lot more compassion sometimes with people rather than just being judgmental and what is wrong with you? And you’re going to hell. I mean, someone after the first service, they said same thing with the LGBTQ community. I’ve got some great friends who are a part of that community. They’re not disciples. They’re not part of our fellowship, but we are great friends. I believe at the end of the day, I’m not going to convert them through my religious positions. I’m going to convert them through love. And that’s all I’m talking about, is we need to have a lot more compassion. So that’s just my introduction, all right? That’s not the sermon. Amen.

Thank you for that. We need to have a lot more compassion. So we’re going to talk about this thing about being called to faithfully love, because this is a big deal. It’s bigger than I think we realized. So Hebrews 13, verse one, we’re going to start reading there and you can follow along with me. In verse one, he says, keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing, some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering. Marriage should be honored by all and the marriage bed kept pure. For God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, never will I leave you, never will I forsake you. Love is the fulfillment of the law. Love is the fulfillment of the law. And the Hebrew writer here gives five essential marks of true discipleship of a loving Christian before Christ.

And we’re going to look at those right now, the five are and I’m going to make sure I say them all with that word love, because I want to make it easy for you to recall. But first of all, we’ve got to love one another as brothers and sisters. We’ve got to love one another as brothers and sisters. Secondly, we’ve got to love strangers by being hospitable. We’ve got to love strangers. And I’ll just throw this out. One sister told me at the end of the first service, she said, with this whole abortion thing and all that’s going on, I decided I’m going to volunteer at a clinic just to help. I think it’s great for us disciples to think what is a loving thing to do, and there may be some strangers that you will be able to help along the way. Thirdly, we’ve got to love those who are oppressed and suffering. We need to show Jesus’s sympathy and be helpful. Fourth, we’ve got to love our spouse. The marriage bed is to be sexually pure. And fifth, we have to love and be content with God’s gifts to us. Got to love and be content.

So we’re going to go ahead, we’re going to get into what this looks like. You see that little picture of these two little guys? You got to love kids. You just got to love kids. I mean, if you don’t love kids, I’m going to tell you, you don’t have a place in heaven. I’m just going to throw it out there. But you got to love little kids. I actually saw a video of this, and they show these two guys running up each other and hugging each other. And it’s so cool because they don’t care about race and they don’t care about how much money you have. They don’t care about the argument they had five minutes ago. They’re good, they’re ready to go. And he said, We’ve got to keep on loving each other as brothers. We’ve got to do that. God calls us to that. And the kind of love he’s talking about here is agape love. And we know this term, if you’ve been around for a while, we talk about agape love. This is the highest form of love. It’s love regardless of the circumstance that’s going on. And when you think about that kind of love, you could start listing a bunch of things.

You could say, well, the loving thing to do would be to pay my brother Carlos for doing a great job of painting my house. Pay him what he’s worth. I mean, I’m not an Ad for Carlos, but he’s a great painter. He did paint my house, by the way. And I remember he wanted to show me some love, and I said, no, bro, don’t give me a discount. I want to treat you fairly, okay? I can put down that’s a loving thing to do. We got people that do various trades in the church. The loving thing to do, I think, is to treat them fairly, okay? You borrow their equipment, you don’t return it broken. I had somebody do that with me, and I don’t have a bad attitude, I really don’t. But I remember I loaned someone something of mine, and I’m not going to tell you what it was because somebody may feel indicted, but I lost something of mine and it came back broken, and nobody told me. I got to open it up and find out. That’s not loving. We can list a bunch of quote unquote loving things to do, or we can just decide to be loving, whatever that means.

And that’s the point of this section. And you got to know first corinthians 13 love is what it’s patient. Love is kind. It doesn’t envy, it doesn’t boast, it’s not rude, it’s not selfseeking. Love doesn’t delight in evil, but it rejoices in the truth. Love keeps no record of wrong. Guys, you can’t do that if you don’t have agape love. I can’t be patient with somebody I’m mad with if I don’t have the love of God going on in my heart. And that’s why I want to encourage all of us as disciples the kind of love I’m talking about today. Everybody here can do it. If you’ve got God’s spirit. I say if you’ve got God’s spirit. Romans five, verse five. You can just write a couple of references down. God says that kind of love has been poured into our hearts. That’s in Romans five, verse five. Also in one, John 419, he says, we love because he first loved us. God shows us what love is all about. That’s why we can love. But I really like one Peter 122, where it says, seeing that you’ve been purified so that you have a sincere love for your brothers, he says, now, love one another deeply from the heart.

God shows us what love is so we can do this. And I want to encourage you with that. And not only that, Jesus sets us an example. In John 13 I love this. I’m going to read just the first verse. John 13, verse one. It says, It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. What it says here is that Jesus knew who he was, and yet he still chose to serve them. He takes on this lowest job of washing feet. He takes on the job that the servant of the house was supposed to do. Apparently, no one took the time to do it. These guys probably sat around looking at their feet, looking at each other with a sheepish grin like, wow, nobody’s doing it. And Jesus just gets up and he takes time to wash your feet. Now, the thing that blows me away is that he washed Judas’s feet. Now, he’s the Son of God. He knows what Judas is going to do.

He knows Judas is going to betray him. He also knows, and sometimes we forget this little fact about Judas, that Judas regularly helped himself to what was in the treasury. So Judas was also a thief. So you got Jesus, who is fully aware of whose feet he’s coming to. And now if I’m Jesus, I’d probably get there and want to twist that ankle a little bit. I’m just keeping it real, you bum. I know what you’re up to. I know what’s on your mind. I mean, how can you sit there looking all innocent? Because I know what you’re thinking. I know exactly what you know. Whatever. Or maybe I get that little bowl of water and I just pour it on his feet and then go to the next person and I do nothing for him. Jesus didn’t do that. He still washed his feet. And my belief is that he probably washed Judas’s feet even better than the other guys. That’s the kind of love God has poured into your heart, into my heart. We can do this. So we got to love the brothers and sisters. We got to have that kind of love for each other.

Second Corinthians 514 says, for the love of Christ controls us, compels us, constrains us. The love of Christ is what gets us going. And keeps us going. That’s what God expects. So in addition to loving our brothers and sisters, we’ve got to love strangers. We got to love strangers. Let’s go ahead and read Hebrews 13, verse two. Yep, I’m at the right one. Okay. He says, do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing, some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. Now, broadly defined, hospitality is the act of being friendly. And welcoming to guests and visitors. It’s helping a stranger in need. It’s a reception of guests and strangers. And the Hebrew writer says, love strangers. Show them hospitality. And he said, in the process, some of you entertain angels, and we’re unaware of it. And, you know, I know every now and then you might have someone who comes up to you and they’ll say, well, I met this woman today, and I believe she was an angel. I don’t think that’s out of the realm of possibility. I think it totally happen. I think it happens probably a lot more than we are aware of.

In Genesis 18, you remember the three guys that showed up to tell Abraham and Sarah about having Isaac, and they’re interacting and feeding them food and all this stuff, and they realize God is among them. And I think it’s Judges 13. Manoa, Samson’s dad angel appeared to Manoa’s wife to tell her, you’re going to have a son. You’re going to have Samson. They didn’t know. And that’s all I want you to keep in mind about an angel. You don’t know if you’re entertaining an angel. You may be entertaining an angel, but the point the Hebrew writer is making is, love strangers, show hospitality. Let God sort out who you are with. But you need to have a mindset of loving strangers and showing them hospitality. So we love our brothers and sisters. We love strangers. We show hospitality. Thirdly, you got to love those who are oppressed and suffering. Love those who are oppressed and suffering. Hebrews 13, verse three. Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison and those who were mistreated, as if you yourselves were suffering. He says, I want you to remember Christians in prison.

I want you to remember them. I want you to think about them. Show them sympathy. Show sympathy to disciples who are suffering. Show empathy. Empathy is to get inside and feel what somebody is feeling. Some of you are so good at that, and I appreciate that. You’re the kind of person that man somebody hangs out, you’re going to feel a lot better after they leave you. That’s just the way you are. That’s the way you communicate. And I appreciate that. There are some examples in the New Testament. There are a couple of ways I’ll just throw out. If you want to learn to be more sympathetic and show more empathy, you can first of all decide, I’m just going to be present. I’m just going to be present in that all somebody wants. When there’s a loved one who’s lost, isn’t that all Job of his three friends? Just sit here, guys. Stay quiet. Don’t open your mouth, or else you’re going to be in the Bible to show you what shouldn’t be said. I mean, sometimes all we have to do is be present. And I love in Timothy what it says here. Paul says he says, may the Lord show mercy to the household of Onisipherous, because he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains.

On the contrary, when he was in Rome, he searched hard for me until he found me. May the Lord grant that he will find mercy from the Lord on that day. You know very well in how many ways he helped me in Ephesus. Paul says, man, this guy refreshed me. He got it wrong. He searched for me. He searched for me until he found me. He was there for me. And sometimes that’s all we need is for someone to be present. Look at what Paul said in Philippians. Philippians four, verses 14. Another way we can show love and sympathy is simply by doing what you can do. It says, yes, it was good of you to share in my troubles. Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the Gospel, when I set out for Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only. For even when I was in thessaloniaca you sent me aid more than once when I was in need. You have a situation where Paul is in need. He had needs, and these guys went out of their way to meet that need.

In other words, if you love someone, you don’t have to spell out here’s what love means. You got to do this and this. It’s kind of like the husbands are told to love our wives. God doesn’t give them all his feet. Well, you get up in the morning, you got to give her a kiss. You got to acknowledge her when you get home at night you have to let her use her 30,000 words by talking to you. And you just got to go through it, guys. You don’t have to go through all of that. Just do the right thing. Just love her, man. Just do what I told you to do. And I better keep going before I get us guys in too much trouble. Let’s look at Romans chapter 13, Romans 13. And this is what Paul gets at here in Romans 13, verse eight, he says that no debt remain outstanding except the continuing debt to love one another. For whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. The commandments you shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not covet, and whatever other command there may be are summed up in this one command, love your neighbor as yourself. He said, you don’t have to list out all of these, here are the to-dos. Just love your neighbor as yourself. So talked about loving our brothers and sisters, loving strangers and what did I just say? Okay, yeah. Loving those who are oppressed and suffering. And now loving your spouse. Loving your spouse. And we need to talk about this briefly. Hebrews 13, verse four. Let’s read this. It says, marriage should be honored by all and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. Our society has gone crazy sexually. Nowadays, what does a guy tell a girl? Well, if you love me and then you fill in the blank. Now, if you love me, you will protect my purity. If you love me, you will protect my holiness. That’s what God calls us to. That is real love. I remember once sharing first, Timothy five, two with a brother. And there was a situation where he was out of line in terms of sexuality. And I said, this verse says that you are to treat your sisters with absolute purity. Absolute purity. I said, how would you like it if someone treated your daughter the way you’re looking at this sister?

And he said, I would kill him. It was sobering. He shocked me. Because you want people to get it, you want to understand. But he totally got it. He realized that it’s wrong. God wants us to flee sexual sin. You all remember the story of Joseph and Potiphar in the Old Testament, in Genesis? This woman kept saying, Come sleep with me, sleep with me. And he would get in that house and out of that house, he would do his job. And he kept on going. He said, look, my masters put me over everything around here except you, because you’re his wife. How can I do such a thing in sin against God? He simply would not. Finally, one day he’s in there, she grabs onto his cloak and then she accused him of trying to rape her. Got him in trouble throwing in prison. Sometimes doing the right thing can hurt, sadly. But God says, you got to flee. He ran out of there. He said, I got to get out of here and I don’t know what it is for you. It may be pornography, it could be lust, it could be masturbation, it could be orgies, it could be any of a number of sexual sins.

But God says flee immorality, you got to get away from it. You got to run. God wants the marriage bed to be pure. God wants the marriage bed pure. There should be mutual fulfillment in marriage. You are there for each other. And when it comes to sexual matters, the husband and wife only have each other to meet that need. So sexual purity. Number five, he says, we need to learn to love God’s gifts to each one of us and not be guilty of covetousness. Okay, yeah, perfect. I can’t read in the back, which you can read up front hopefully, so I have to make sure I’m at the right spot. But Hevrews 13. Verse five. I love this. It says, Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have because God has said, never will I leave you, never will I forsake you. The Bible says we’re to love the gifts God has given to us and to avoid covetousness. There are so many warnings in the Bible about that. But I want to ask you about show of hands and those of you online, you can raise your hand, we can’t see you anyway.

But how many of you have ever had anyone come to you and confess the sin of greed? Let me see the hands. So we have about four people or five. Yeah, we don’t hear that very much. Most people don’t talk about greed even though we all struggle with, we want the bigger car, we want the nicer car, we want the promotion. We just go down to that. We want more money. We don’t have enough. And he’s just saying, look at it. You got to guard your heart against being covetous. Now, I’m not saying don’t have ambition.

You can be the CEO of a company and you rather flip burgers at Wendy’s. Not that I’m going to posts to Wendy’s. Then I think you’re selling yourself short. You need to do more. And I want to embarrass him. But we have a brother in our midst right now who a brother reached out to me and said, hey, want somebody from church to work? I gave him his brother’s name and since then his brother’s gotten promotion after promotion after doing extremely well. I’m super proud of him. I think we need to be ambitious. Not selfishly ambitious, but be ambitious. Go after be the best that you can be. But what he’s talking about here is don’t be covetous, don’t be greedy, don’t be the kind of people you can’t learn to be content where you are. One Timothy six, verse six says, Godliness with contentment is great gain. You have to be able to get to a point where you can say, you know what, God, I’m doing the best I can where I’m at, but I love what I have and I’m grateful for what I have. And what’s amazing is that he is very likely talking to some people who have lost everything.

And that’s why I want to read you Hebrews ten, verse 32. It says, remember those earlier days after you’ve received a light when you endured in a great conflict full of suffering. Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution, and other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. You suffered along with those in prison and joyfully accepted what? The confiscation of your property because you knew that you yourself had better and lasting possession. So do not throw away your confidence. It will be richly rewarded. The good news here today is that if you have Jesus, you have it all. You are okay. You are not lacking anything if you have the Son of God in your heart and life. And I wanted to ask you, you remember the Old Testament, the story of Balam greed got him to a lot of trouble. You remember the story of Aiken? Aiken stole some of the devoted things, he hid them in his tent and ended up he and his family died as a result. Of course, we know about Judas. Judas ended up going the way of destruction because of his greed.

And who could ever forget Ananias and Sapphira? Guys, covetousness is bad news and God takes it very seriously. Don’t have a love of money. Money is not sinful, but don’t have a love of money because that is wrong. So after talking about all these areas of love, he kind of shifts gears here in Hebrews 13, and we’re going to wrap up here in a few minutes, but he talks about love for faithful leaders. Let’s read. Hebrews 13, verse seven and eight. And then we’ll read 17 to 19. He said, Remember your leaders who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. In verse 17, have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority because they keep watch over you, as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you. Pray for us. We are sure that we have a clear conscience and desire to live honorably in every way. I particularly urge you to pray so that I might be restored to you soon.

And you know that last verse, he wants to be restored. So it shows that the Hebrew writer had a connection with them. Apparently he was with them at one point, and he looks forward to being restored to them. But I want to just say in general, before I look at a couple of things here, I just want to say how much I appreciate the support that Lepatic and I get as leaders in this church from all of you. I really am grateful for that. If you lead at any level, whether you’re a mom leading in the home, or you got a business online or you’re a family group leader, or you’re a church leader, as we are, leading is challenging because people are challenging. And some of you know, I’ve shared this joke when I worked at Links many years ago. One of the drivers said something that made the CEO of the company trying to think like, okay, what are you thinking? He said, I would really love my job driving the bus if it weren’t for the people. And the CEO kind of looked at it like, do you realize you wouldn’t have a job if it wasn’t for the people?

But that is one of the challenges of leading, is that once you’re dealing with people, guess what? We’re all sinful. And James says, we all stumble in many ways. Not a few ways. First of all, it says we all stumble. Then it says in a whole bunch of ways. And guess what, married people, you’re with someone who stumbles in many ways. And guess what, folks? With a roommate, you’re with someone who stumbles in many ways. So we may as well accept it for what it is. But I know in spite of all that, I really have felt the love and support of all of these years from all of you. And I thank you for that from the bottom of my heart. Because at times it is challenging and we’ve been through some highs and lows. We’ve had some moments of great ecstasy and great events and great fun, but we’ve also had the valleys. We’ve literally been in the valley of the shadow of death sometimes. Some of you know, we had the funeral yesterday here for Jose Roche, and I was blown away because this room was filled to the brim. And we started bringing in chairs.

We filled up that aisle by the wall. So we took away access out of here and we filled up that aisle with chairs, and we put another row of chairs in the middle. We put more chairs in the back, and people were still standing. And then we had 50 more chairs set up in the fellowship hall. We literally use every available seat for those there that were here yesterday and people were still standing. And I said, only in the kingdom of God can you have those kinds of relationships and friendships and connections with people who are outside of Christ. You wouldn’t know and wouldn’t care, but yet in the church, it’s amazing. And in a couple of weeks, we’re going to have a similar set up here, probably for Don McKinley, right here in the same auditorium. But I am grateful even for those challenging low points, because you guys have made us feel loved. You supported us. And I’m a people pleaser. I like being liked. I can go to a weird place if you don’t like me, but that doesn’t mean you don’t tell me the truth. I want to know the truth because that will make me a better leader.

But at the end of the day, we’re super grateful. And he talks here about how you got to remember your leaders. Here’s a little secret. Everything that happened in the past wasn’t all good, but it wasn’t all bad either. Some of you are Christians today, your disciples because of someone who’s probably not even around anymore, I know the guy who helped me and studied with me, he’s not even around anymore. But I love Him dearly because he shared Jesus Christ with me. So everything that happened in the past wasn’t all bad. But the other thing he says here that I think we have to take note of. He says, Remember your lead you spoke to consider the outcome of the way of life. And then the next one, he says, have confidence and submit to their authority. Now, I was on my heart, don’t believe he has to tell them submit to their authority if they weren’t tempted to not submit. But let’s face it, if you agree, it’s not submission. Come on, wise, god says, Submit to your husband. Well, if he treated me right, if he was a good husband, if he was awesome like Patrick Hall, then it’d be easy to submit to Him.

You know what I’m saying? I mean, submission implies that there might have been some tension there, but you have to learn to submit anyway. And so what is he calling for? For the leaders. He said to the members, obedience, we need you to obey. Make our work a joy by obeying. But then he also says, Pray for us. Really pray for us, because we really need all the prayer we can get. We’re going to hit this last section of Hebrews Nine before we take Communion. And when we get to that point, if you need a communion cup, the ushers will give that to you. But I want to read this section together. Loving Christ also means identifying with Jesus and offering a right sacrifice. And that’s what this section gets at. It says, do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings. It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace, not by eating ceremonial foods, which is of no benefit to those who do so. We have an altar from which those who minister at the tabernacle have no right to eat. The high priest carries the blood of animals into the most holy place as a sin offering.

But the bodies are burned outside the camp. And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood. Let us then go to Him outside the camp bearing the disgrace he bore. For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come through Jesus. Therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise, the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices, God is pleased. We don’t have near enough time to sort of unpack all of this, but this is one of those places if you do daily Bible reading, you can sort of get through and say, okay, I read a God. I don’t want any clue of what that’s all about, but I at least read it. So bless my heart for reading it, and I think there will be a blessing that we read it. But let me just point out a couple of things. He warns them against being carried away by strange teachings. And if you look at the very beginning, he talks about how it’s good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace, not by eating ceremonial foods.

So apparently in the church there was some sort of teaching going on that was promoting this idea of eating certain foods. And that’s how you really get close to God. Some think that because of all those Jewish laws in the Old Testament, that maybe some of the brothers and sisters were being tempted to go back and kind of be under that old system again. Then the others that feel like, okay, there were Greeks there. They had a lot of strange teachings about food. Some of those teachings about reincarnation that they believe that when you die, you reincarnate, you come back in another body, then you come back in another body, and eventually you finally merit release, and you’re no longer in that cycle. And so in the meantime, for you to hasten that release, you have to be austere with your body. You didn’t eat meat. You had to do certain things. In other words, talk about strange teachings. Who knows? Maybe that’s what the Hebrew writer had in mind. There was some strange teachings. But I think the big picture point of this particular session is that God wants us to be enamored with Jesus.

And he refers back to the day of Atonement. He talks about how the blood would be spilled and it would be poured out, it would be taken and the Holy of Holies and all that. But the sin offering, the sacrificial offering would happen where? Outside the camp. And so he said, Let’s be like Jesus. Jesus suffered outside Jerusalem. Jesus suffered on the hill of Calvary. He suffered a death of criminals. And he says, let’s join in his death. And I think it’s his way of just reminding Him all the stuff I’ve said to you about the better tabernacle, the better covenant, the better sacrifice, better priesthood, better than Melchizadek, just remember that’s what this is all about. So let’s suffer with Jesus outside the camp. Let’s not get caught up in this world. Let’s be willing to connect with Him. And that’s a very elementary kind of a quick view of this. I would encourage you to study it more, but there’s a lot of good meat there. So to wrap this up before we take communion, just to remind you, faithful love. Faithfully love. We got a faithfully love, brothers and sisters.

We got a faithfully love strangers, we need to faithfully love those who are oppressed, we need to faithfully love our spouse. And if you’re not married, your future spouse. I’ll just throw that in there. And we got to be loving of the gifts that God has given us, but let’s also love our leadership. Let’s make their work a joy, and let’s love the sacrifice of Jesus. So as we get ready to take Communion, verse 13, I’ll remind you of that. It says, let us then go to Him outside the camp bearing the disgrace that he bore. Jesus suffered a horrible death. It was a disgraceful death to be hung on a tree. The Old Testament even talks about that, and he just reminds of God. That’s where we want to meet Jesus, right out there. Let’s meet Him outside. Let’s meet Him at the Hill of Calvary. Let’s take on his humiliation, his isolation. Let’s take on what he took on. And guys, every time we take Communion, it’s a good reminder that we get to identify with Jesus’s death and to continue to proclaim his life to this world. So let’s go ahead and pray, and we’ll take Communion.

Almighty God, thank you so much that we are blessed to have the privilege and the honor of suffering with Jesus. I think back to our baptism and how baptism, you said we actually got to participate in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. And thank you for the forgiveness of sins that came about as a result of that. Thank you for the newness of life that we have because of that. Thank you so much that every single day you’re continuing to make us holy, that we’re being more and more made like Jesus. We’re being sanctified. And right now, Father, you bless us with an opportunity. Remember Jesus death, burial and resurrection. Again, as we take these emblems the bread which is his body, the wine which is his blood, father, he spilled his blood. He poured out his life so that we could have a relationship with you. And thank you for the opportunity of remembering Him, and thank you for this day to worship together. We pray in Jesus name. Amen.

Can You Feel the Heat?

We’re going to get into our lesson for today. And what have we been studying for a long time now? Hebrews. Hebrews. But as you can see, the title of today’s lesson is can you Feel the Heat? Because we’re going to talk about the discipline of God. Now, last time we kind of jumped ahead of this section and we talked about the two mountains, mount Zion and Mount Sinai. That was purposeful. We had Tyler, who talked us about twelve one through four, we jumped to 18 to 29.

Now we’re coming back to do chapter twelve, verses five through 17, talking about God’s discipline. Now, when you mention God’s discipline, when you think about it, what do you think about? We think about, Oh, God is mad at me, what have I done? God is upset. In other words, we look at discipline and it’s a negative thing. But guys, I’m hoping that by the end of this service you’ll see that God’s discipline is a discipline of a loving father. Discipline is a good thing. Correction and training and direction from God is a very good thing. And so I’m looking forward to talking about this today. So let’s say a prayer and we’ll dive in. Dear God, thank you so much for the opportunity to be together today. Thank you for Your word. Thank you for the direction that it gives us, for the hope that it gives us. Thank you so much that we can know what your will is as we ponder Your law. Bless us as we get into it today, as we talk about Your discipline and the kind of love that you have for us, help this to be meaningful to us, to make a difference to all of us who are here in person and for those who are listening online, father, we love you. We praise you in Jesus name, amen.

And as we’ve been going through this, we’ve talked a lot. We know the theme and say it with me. Jesus is better. He’s better than Moses. He has a better priesthood and he has a better sacrifice, and he’s a mediator of a better covenant. You can just go down the line. He’s better than the angels. He’s better than everything. And so we’ve been summarizing that Jesus is better. So if you’ve got a relationship with God, you already win. You’re ahead of the game. All right? So I’ll encourage you with that. We’re going to be going through this, but we’re going to go ahead and start at the beginning of chapter twelve, because I want you to catch the flow of this section as we get into verse five. So let’s go at the very beginning of Hebrews twelve, verse one. Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance, the race marked out for us.

Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before Him, he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endures such opposition from sinners so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved or corrected by Him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastises every son whom he receives. It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons, for what son is there whom His Father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us, and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they discipline us for a short time, as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good that we may share his holiness.

For the moment, all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields a peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. May God bless the reading of His Word. At the beginning here of Hebrews twelve, he talks about how Jesus for the joy set before Him in bringing many sons and daughters into God’s glory. He endured the cross. Jesus endured incredible suffering so that we could have a relationship with God. He had the faith. The Bible calls Him the pioneer and perfecter of faith. Jesus had the faith that if he endured what he was going through, that it was going to lead to a good end. And certainly it has. That’s why we are here today. And so the first thing I want to put before you is that I want you to encourage your own heart to have the kind of faith to endure what God brings your way. We’ve got to have that kind of faith or else we’ll get this discouraged. There are two reasons he gives for having that kind of faith. One, because Jesus has that kind of faith, he considered what he was going through worth the suffering.

He had the faith to keep on going. And if Jesus felt that way and his faith led to his death, no one here has shed your blood for the cause of Christ. If he could go through it and lose his life, then certainly we can go through it for the pains that come our way as well. But the second reason here that we got embraced times of testing is God uses those times of testing as discipline to make us more like Jesus. We need to learn to embrace suffering, correction, challenge, difficulties. We’ve got to learn to embrace that. It saddens my heart, and I’ll say more about this in a moment, but it saddens my heart that sometimes I see people that are going through a difficult time and they get angry with God and they’re mad with God, and they forget that this simply shows that God loves you. He is treating you as a son. The great saints of the Old Testament went through a ton. By faith, Abraham left and went to a place that he didn’t know if. By faith, Abraham sacrificed Isaac. By faith, Noah built an ark. By faith, and you can just go on and on and on about these great men of God who had the faith to endure some challenging things, but now they’re part of that great heroes of the faith that we read about in Hebrews eleven. God wants us to embrace suffering. One, because they did. But two, here it says in the beginning of chapter twelve, we haven’t resisted to the point that Jesus has. We haven’t had to go through anything quite like what he’s gone through. So any suffering we go through is nothing compared to what Jesus went through. But in this section and our focus today, he talks about how we’ve got to learn to bear hardship and affliction and suffering and correction, because this comes from the hands of a loving and gracious father. God loves you, and any good dad disciplines his child. Let’s just face it. I went on Facebook and it was just kind of cool to look at different Facebook pages and see dads with kids. I think I saw one with Tristan with little Arya, his little two year old. I saw another one with Drew Deering and his son Benjamin on his shoulders. I see these pictures and these little cute cuddly bundles of joy. They grow up, yes, they do. But before they grow up, they hit the twos.

And they call it the Terrible twos for a reason. But then they hit age nine and they go through stuff, and then they hit age 13 and they go through stuff. I’m telling you right now, it’s not loving to let these little bundles of joy do whatever they want to do. It’s not loving to do that. It is loving to set directions, to give them some boundaries, to give them some correction when they need it from time to time. And it was really cool. One brother came to me after the early service and he said, Eddie, what you said today was so on point, because we have been trying to work on that with our kids. Because, you see, if you’re an illegitimate father, if a child is not your child, then you don’t care. I mean, I go out on the street, I see some little kid out of line. Now, I care in a general sense of humanity. That okay, I’m not going to let him go do something stupid that’s going to be hurtful for somebody else. But at the end of the day, I’m not there to train him because he’s not my child.

And that’s what the Hebrew writer says here. He said, look, guys, if you don’t accept this as God’s discipline, then really you’re saying you’re an illegitimate child, that God doesn’t care. But God does care, and that’s why he disciplines us for our good. But one of the things I wanted to share with you is this concept patria potestas. Back in the first century, and this has to do with the Romans, let me tell you what this is all about, because he’s talking about God as a father and the discipline he brings. Well, this is something that would have had kind of a double impact for them, because this idea of patria potestas, a Roman father, by law, had absolute authority over his family. Absolute authority. If a son gets married and he starts to have grandkids and all that good stuff, guess what? The father still has absolute authority over him. A Roman dad could keep or discard his newborn child. Yeah, that’s what I think. What? Praise God we don’t live in that time anymore. But he could sell them into slavery, and ultimately he even had a right to execute his kid. Now, praise God, over time, society and all that kind of changed that a little bit.

But the main thing I want you to understand about this, patria potestas is that a Roman son never outgrew that influence. He could grow up, he could become President of the United States, he could be some world famous figure, but he was still under the thumb of his dad. Now, why is that important? These guys were here. The Hebrew writer talking about God is our father and him being a loving father and it had to be an encouraging thing when you consider, well, praise God, I’m not under some arbitrary, sinful person who has that kind of authority over me. He is saying the cool thing about God is that he’s not an illegitimate father. He is a good dad. He loves you, and the things he brings your way are for your benefit. They are to help you help us and enable you to be more like Christ. So to prove his point, he refers back to proverbs three quoted in the Old Testament. It says, my son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline or be weary of his reproof. Again, his correction. For the Lord reproves him whom he loves as a father, the Son, and whom he delights.

God loves you. And I know for a lot of us, because I don’t think I’m atypical when you’re going through something tough and you don’t quite understand it and it doesn’t make sense to you, typically where I can first go is, okay, God, what’s wrong? I don’t get it. I don’t like this. This isn’t right. And we’re going to say more about this in a moment. You can approach the discipline in a weird sort of way if you don’t really look at it the way God intends. So let’s talk about this. How should we look at discipline? Got five different ways I want to put before you. You can look at this one and just accept it, and your mindset is more que sera sera what will be, will be. I have no control. Anything that happens in this world happens because it’s God’s will. So I just saw it accepted. In other words, you accept it, but it’s kind of a defeated acceptance. I don’t have a choice. I’m stuck. A second way you can look at it. You can have this grim sense of determination that let’s just get it over with as soon as possible.

Let’s just get it over with. I’m in it. You struggle, you’re defiant, but again, there’s no gratitude for what’s going on. There’s just defiance about it. A third way. And in some respects, this is the saddest one that I’m presenting to you, is that you can accept it, but with self pity. There are people in our world who look at what they’re going through and they feel like they are the only person in the entire known world going through what they’ve been through. And it’s, oh, woe is me. My life is just horrible. My life is ruined. God, why me? I mean, you can have a person like this. There can be a death in the family, someone who’s just passed away, or you can have someone with a debilitating illness or sickness, maybe a roommate or a friend, and all they can think about is themselves. It’s all about self pity and it’s really sad. This will destroy. But there are people that feel that way. Unfortunately, I think you have people out there who look at discipline and say, it’s punishment I deserve from a vindictive God. God hates me. I have literally heard people say that that with what I’m going through, it just shows that God doesn’t love me at all.

And they just look at it as a form of punishment. Well, obviously the best way to look at discipline is that it comes from the hand of a loving father. You look at it, you recognize, I don’t quite understand it, God. I don’t know what’s going on. I don’t know how to deal with this. I’m not sure what to make of this. I don’t quite understand. But you know what? I love you, God. I know you love me. I know you’re a gracious father because you’re remaining involved with me. You haven’t kicked me to the curb. So I know somehow, some way, it’s going to work out. Somehow your will will become known to me. What I’m saying to you today is I know that even today some of you are going through stuff and you can have one of these views of it. You can get mad at God, you can get caught up in self pity. You can have this force resignation that I just got to put up with it. Or you can decide, okay, like Jesus, I’m going to have the faith that for the joy set before me, I’ll keep on going.

I’m going to keep on trusting God. That’s what I’m encouraging you to do today. Once you make the decision that you’re going to trust God no matter what, that’s what Jesus did. I mean, when Jesus went to the garden and he is praying, he’s trying to get himself ready to go through the most horrific event in human history. He had to go to God once and pray, and he had to go again and pray and go again a third time. And he’d go back to his friends and they’re falling asleep. He said, I’m about to go through something that’s going to be incredible and all you guys can do is sleep. But Jesus got his heart in mind. He said, God, I will have faith. And God, I know I for one and my character and I share this, I’m an adult child of an alcoholic. All right, if you look up that terminology, some of the counseling people know there are certain tendencies that we have. I can easily get down on myself. I can easily feel like, yeah, God doesn’t love me. So I have to tell myself, I have to train myself to know God does love me.

The fact that I’m going through this shows that he cares, and that’s what I’m trying to encourage you to do. So once you get your faith where it needs to be, you say to yourself, okay, the patriarchs have faith. When they went through tough times. Jesus wasn’t mentioned in Hebrews eleven, but he’s mentioned in Hebrews twelve. Jesus had faith with what he went through and for the joy set before him he kept going. God wants me to now have faith and to believe regardless of what’s going on. Now, God, what do you want me to do? And that’s kind of what he gets into in the next section of Hebrews. The last section will hear today in Hebrews twelve, verse twelve, let’s read this together. Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms he’s getting into some practicals. He’s giving them some direction. Okay, now that you’re thinking is right, now that you’re looking at things in a Godly way, here’s what you need to do. He says, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. Make level paths for your feet so that the lane may not be disabled, but rather healed. Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy.

Without holiness, no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. See that no one is sexually immoral or is Godless like Esau, who for a single meal, sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son? Afterward, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected. Even though he sought the blessing with tears, he could not change what he had done. Okay, like I said, the Hebrew writer is now turning his thoughts towards some practical things that we can think about. He knows that there are going to be times in the Christian life where you’re flying like an eagle. Life is good, you’re happy, you’re excited, you’re loving life. Things are going great. There going to be those times when you run and not grow weary. You’re walking, not faint. But then there are other times when it’s going to be a struggle just to go one day at a time. And I think that’s why in Luke we’re told if any man will come after Christ, he must take up his cross daily because there are times when we have to do it that way.

Now, the two extremes you got to avoid. First, you got to avoid the extreme where you ignore or you minimize God’s discipline. Okay, what am I talking about? I’m talking about how sometimes God is trying to get you to see something, and so he does this. And you don’t listen and so God says, and you’re still not listening. And finally God says, Oh, you’re talking to me? Sometimes I think God does that with us as husbands. I’ve been married a long time. I know I have my time when I’ve been pretty stubborn and my wife has had to put up with me. And I tell her, I said, babe, I’m sorry you’re stuck. And she would come back and she said, No, I’m glued. So we know who’s the spiritual one in my house. She’d have the right kind of thinking. What I’m saying to you is that if God’s trying to get your attention, you better listen, because he loves you. You are his child. If you are a child of God, he loves you. He’s trying to get something over to you. You got to listen or else the banging will get harder. But the other thing you don’t want to do is you don’t want to go to the other extreme where you’re too hard on yourself.

And some of you I know, I like that you so beat yourself up. I mean, God is trying to get you to see something. You feel like you’re the worst thing on earth and how can God love me? How can I even be a Christian? I must be going to hell because this wouldn’t be, no, he said, don’t do that. I don’t think you need to go to that extreme. He’s trying to help us with some responsibilities that we need to have towards each other. Okay. I think there’s a two fold responsibility we all have. Jesus said the greatest command is to love God and to love others. In the church, we’re always going to have people who are weak and struggling and not doing as well. And one of the best things you can do is to come alongside them. For me to say to Malik Bro, I know you’re going through some stuff right now, but we’re friends and you know I love you and I am here for you and let me encourage, let me put courage into you. That’s one of the most gratifying things you can do. Some of you do that routinely for others and there’s nothing said from the pulpit because you wouldn’t want that.

You don’t do it for the fanfare and for the adoration and for the accolades. You do it simply because you care. We’ve got to be that way with each other. We will have people who are faltering in their faith and we’ve got to be there for them. I think one of the best things we can do for each other is to walk worthy of our calling. How does that relate to this? He talks to you about making sure the pathway is level and your feet aren’t lame and that you’re able to go. I think one of the best things we can do for each other is to set a good example. And some of you know what I’m talking about. Some of you know my story. I share with you sometimes for the sake of dealing with my purity. And I’m driving down the road and I see something that maybe I know I don’t need to take a second look at. I’ll imagine, what if Jake Jensen was sitting beside me in the car? Would I want him to see me take this second look? And that is biblical, guys, I really think. And I’ll give you a couple of reference you can study out.

We are our brothers keeper. Romans 14 says I shouldn’t do anything that’s going to cause a brother to stumble. Even a freedom you have in Christ. He says you shouldn’t do that if it’s going to cause your brother to stumble. One Corinthians Twelve talks about how we’re all members of one another. When one part suffers, we all suffer. When one part rejoices, we all rejoice. I don’t have a right to isolate myself and be a Lone Ranger disciple. There’s no such thing. Matthew 18 Jesus said if you cause a brother to stumble, then you need to have a millstone neck tie wrapped around your neck and thrown into the sea. That’s how serious God is about us caring for each other. So he’s reminded us we have a Christian duty. We have a duty to each other. We have a duty to God. We offer God our heart. We offered each other a great example and a walk with Him. Let’s go and look at another thought here, and this is very important. Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy. Without holiness, no one will see the Lord. I don’t know where your mind goes.

Like he says, make every effort. Every already messes with me. And he says to live at peace with everybody. Not with some, not with just the people you like. In other words, you are after the highest good for the whole body. You’re doing all that you can to deal with things. Now I think the real key to that is your own personal obedience. And let me just share a verse here from Proverbs three, verse one and two. It says, My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart for they will prolong your life many years. And do what? And bring you peace and prosperity. God says through our obedience to his word, it will lead to peace and prosperity. When you’re aiming at peace, you’re after the highest good for everyone. You’re after what leads to their welfare. Question I will put before all of us here this morning is there anyone that you can think of right now that you are not at peace with? Is there anyone? That’s a rhetorical question I definitely don’t want you to answer. But if there is anyone, then you need to have the motivation to go.

He says make every effort. You go to them. Now what does the Bible say? And as much as it depends on you, you live at peace with all men. All you can do is your part. You know what I’m saying? If a person rejects you and they don’t want to listen, then at least you’ve done what you can. Okay? But there should be a mindset that I’ll take the initiative, I will make whatever effort I can to resolve this. Very important stuff. Key here, he says, is complete obedience. Now once we start doing that, we’re going to have forgiveness flowing. We’re going to have forbearance going on. We’ll have each other going the extra mile to care for each other. You’ll not be as easily bothered and not nearly as touchy about things. But the main thing I want you to understand about this is that this takes effort. He said make every effort. This kind of thing just won’t happen in the church. It will not happen. It’s a lot easier to just pretend I’m okay. And some of you I know I like me, rather than embrace that conflict, ah, it’s not really bothering me that much.

Yeah, it bothered me at the time, but I’m okay. And everybody around you is like, liar. You know, you’re not okay. You got to make it right. God says, do the best you can. Now, the other thing he talks about here is holiness. He said, we have got to aim at holiness. He said, aim at peace with everybody, do all that you can, make every effort, but aim at holiness, too. And holiness comes from this word is hagiosimos. But the adjective form is hagios, which means different, it means other, it means sacred, it means holy. So the man or the woman whose hagios must in one sense always be different from the world. You’re always set apart from the world. Your standards are different, your conduct is different, your ideals are different. And your goal is to stand well with God, even if you don’t stand well with men. That’s what it means to be holy. So he calls for that. He says, Aim for peace, aim for holiness, be separate, be apart, be what God wants you to be. And then in verse 15 of Hebrews Twelve, he says, and see to it that no one falls short of the grace of God, and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.

And again he says, Okay, make every effort to live at peace with everyone. Now, he’s saying, make sure no one falls short of the grace of God. You kind of get the impression that God wants everybody at his party. You don’t want anybody to be left out. He says, I don’t want anyone to miss the grace of God. And one commentator said that he really believes that it would be similar to a well, the idea is that we don’t want anyone to fail to keep up with God’s grace. And it will be similar to travelers on the road back then that you have a bunch of people, they’re all traveling, they’re going in one direction, and every now and then they would just stop to make sure everyone was there. Did anyone get left behind? Did we leave anyone back in the wayside? Who knows? That maybe why they noticed that Jesus was not there. You remember they had gone to Jerusalem to worship and all of a sudden they realized, Where’s Jesus? And they checked one little van and they checked the Mercedes after that, and he’s not there. And they said, well, where’s Jesus?

And then they realized he was missing. God goes after the straggler. He wants everybody to make it and be right with Him. I believe God appoints the times and places so that we’ll seek Him Acts 17. But I believe God also appoints just the right people around us to help keep us faithful and we need to be aware of that. So we don’t want anyone to miss the grace of God. He also doesn’t want anyone doesn’t want a bitter root to come up in his church. Okay, what are we talking about with a bitter root? Deuteronomy 29 gives us an explanation, I believe, of that. It says, make sure there is no man or woman, clan or tribe among you today whose heart turns away from the Lord our God to go and worship the gods of these nations. Make sure there is no root among you that produces such bitter poison. And a definition of this idea of that root and I wrote this down a root of bitterness is any false and corrupting influence that damages relationships with God and others. It begins with just wrong thinking. You can have this view, okay, I don’t like that.

I don’t go along with that. And then you start going to other people. This wasn’t just an Old Testament problem. Paul refers to this in Acts 20, and look at what he says. I know that after I leave now, Paul is talking to the elders from Ephesus. He says, I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock even from your own number. Men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw the disciples after them. Now, I want you to think about this, and I hope I can bring this home to you. Paul is talking to elders. He’s talking to a group of men who have been vetted. The church is taking the time to consider them to look at the outcome of their life. God gives four or five places in the New Testament where he says, here are the qualifications for anyone who serves in this role. He must be above reproach. He must be blameless husband of one wife, not giving them much wine. You can just go through the list. Here are the defining characteristics of an elder. We have several men in our church that we have been talking to and working with to try to train for eldership.

So you have people like that who have now been put in this role to help shepherd and oversee the church. And Paul looks at them and he says, even from your number, a bitter roots is going to grow up. There are going to be people, even from among you, that are trying to draw away his own following. And he says, it’s not to happen in God’s church. God does not want a bitter root to grow up at all. One of the ways this bitter root manifests itself, sometimes we can have people in the body who they look at the church, maybe the church feels too strict to them, and they think back to their old life and they say, okay, it wasn’t so bad, and why can’t we allow immorality in the church? And why can’t we do this or that? And I think that’s why he puts this last section in here that I’ll read for you again. He says see to it that no one is sexually immoral or is Godless like Esau who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son. Afterward, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing he was rejected.

Even though he sought the blessing with tears he could not change what he had done. He refers back to Esau. He says see to it that no one’s sexually immoral. He refers back to Esau. He uses Genesis 25. I’ll give you these references. Genesis 25 28 to 34. That’s the place where Esau is out in the field. He comes in, he’s famished. He’s really hungry. He goes to his brother Jacob and he says hey give me some of that stew that you have. And Jacob said well sell me your birthright and then I’ll give you some stew. I mean you got a guy who is so central, he’s so driven by his feelings, by what’s going on that he’s willing to sell what he has as the birthright of the oldest son just to have some food. Now unless you think, okay, it can’t be that bad. Well we have people who sell their souls for drugs. We have people who sell their souls for alcohol. We have people willing to sell their souls for sexual morality. And I think that’s why he puts that in here. There are people who are willing to do that and we need to understand that it’s not just the thing where we need to put down Esau.

We are Esau sometimes. And he said but that’s not to be the case in the church. So the bottom line guys, of a lot of this stuff and I want to summarize just a couple of thoughts before we take communion. Esau wanted to change what he had done but he could not. There is a certain finality to life. There are certain things that once done can’t be undone. A young man who gives up his purity can’t recapture that. A young woman who gives up her virginity can’t recapture that. It can never be done. God will forgive. I believe God will forgive. That’s the gracious loving God we have, he will forgive. But even God won’t turn back the clock to undo what you’ve done. And that’s what happened with Esau. He saw it with tears but it was too late. But praise God he will still forgive us. To summarize just a couple of thoughts from today. You got to live a life of faith if you’re going to understand the discipline of God. You got to live a life of faith or else you’ll be despondent, you’ll be sad. You just feel like I can’t do life.

You got to live a life of faith to understand his discipline. You also need to walk worthy of his calling, not only for your sake, but for your brothers and sisters. That’s God’s expectation. We are to aim for peace and holiness. That needs to be your every effort. I’m going to make things right. I will do what I can to make things right. I’m going to strive for holiness. He also says, I don’t want you to miss the grace of God. I don’t want you to get left behind. I don’t want you to get left behind. Then he says, and you don’t need to make any allowance for bitter roots in the Church. Got to deal with that. The right of Hebrews, the sermon preacher of Hebrews, brings us to a choice, and that is, will we go back to always a life and reject Jesus? Or who is a mediator of a new and better covenant? Or will we walk forward in faith towards Christ, towards Mount Zion? We can do that today. We can do that today. You can make that decision. Our God is still a consuming fire. Now, as a disciple, we are blessed to have the heat of God refining us, correcting us, molding us, making us more like Jesus.

But one day he’s going to be a consuming fire to those who have not submitted to his discipline. Praise God if you’re a part of that, and I hope you are. And that’s why when it comes to taking the communion, it’s really a great time to be reminded that, wow, Jesus suffered for me. He went through a lot. He showed me what real faith is all about, despite difficulties. Jesus did this for me and God. I am so thankful. And so when you get ready, take the emblems. And if you need those Ray is in the back, Ray if you head up this towards the front. If you don’t have a communion cup and you want to take that Ray King and Gil will get that to you. But we’re going to go ahead and say a prayer because for the joy set before Him. And I’ll read a portion to the verse. For the joy set before Him, he endured the cross, scorning his shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endures such opposition from sinners so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Let’s pray together.

Almighty God, Father, we thank you. We thank you so very much that we have times like this where we can think about and meditate on Jesus, where we can think about Your incredible love. I pray, Father, that we will walk with you closely, that we’ll have the kind of faith that says, you know what? God loves me. He’s my father. I’m struggling with what I’m going through right now. I’m being tempted to think about it in wrong ways. I’m tempted to have resentment and self pity and all of that. But God help me to see what’s going on as Your loving discipline and help us, God, to embrace that every single day. Help us for the joy set before us. And maybe that joy won’t even completely surface in this life. It may be when we get to face you for eternity and you take us to our well prepared room by Jesus. Father, help us to humble ourselves before you now and to really trust you to lead us and guide us and give us what we need. Father, thank you for the emblems that we take, the bread and the wine, the body and blood of Jesus. Help us to be grateful as we do that now we pray in Jesus name. Amen.

The Glory of the Tabernacle

You can give it up for us. She’s an awesome lady, and really, we’re a better family with her than we would ever be without her. There is no doubt. And I’m sure I’m preaching to the choir because you feel the same way. And I appreciate Marcus mentioned about those of us who lost Moms. My mom is no longer around neither is Lepatic’s and so this day could be a little bitter sweet for some. And yet I encourage you to be comforted and cherish those good memories on this day. My hope and prayer is that all of you moms will really be pampered today. Really just feel great and love it and be thankful for those that made you a mom. But here’s the thing. I thought about it. I said, okay, we’ve been studying Hebrews. Now, if you’re new to our fellowship, I’ll catch you up with a couple of statements as to what we’ve covered. But I thought, that’s okay, is Mother’s Day. How can I call it a sort of wrap Mother’s Day in the Hebrews? And I thought not really sure how I would do that, because I thought I said, there’s some cool moms that we could talk about.

And here’s your quiz for today. I’m going to give you the name of some folks. Who was Moses mom? Anybody remember the name? Jacobed was Moses mom. How about Samuel’s mom? Hannah. Very good. How about the mother of all living? Eve. I don’t know what names I heard, but it’s Eve. All right. I got to make sure you’re awake. Who is Isaac’s mom? Sarah. How about Jacob and Esau? Okay. Rebecca had her moments where she was shown a little favoritism. Still a good study. How about Solomon’s mom? Bathsheba. And John the Baptist’s mom? Elizabeth. And you got to know this. How about Jesus mom? Yes, you guys are good. This is awesome. Y’all must be all UCF students. That’s why you got that right. So, really, there are a lot of cool moms that we could talk about from the scriptures. But I thought that video really said it all. I’m cracking up because, like Marcus, a lot of us here, if you’re honest, you’ve had those things watch behind your ears, all of that kind of stuff. That was awesome. So to all of you moms, we can’t say thank you enough because we do know we’re better with you than we were ever would be without you.

So thank you for being here. Now, that being said, we are going to go ahead and get into Hebrews today, talking about the glory of the Tabernacle. Now, if you’ve been with us for part of this study, we’ve been doing Hebrews for a couple of months. And one of the key messages is what is Jesus is better. Very good. There’s been a lot of repetition of that because we want that indelibly stamped on your brain. And one thing about this whole section is that the Hebrew writer knows these people. We don’t know who the Hebrew writer was. It could have been a woman, could have been a guy. We don’t know. But one way or the other, this person had a relationship with these people. He’s concerned that they have drifted. He’s concerned that they’re getting away from some of those basic teachings. And I couldn’t help but think about that, because I’ve been around a long time. And when you’ve been around a while, it’s easy to start to drift. It’s easy to take for granted. Ask anybody who’s been married a couple of minutes and we can start taking each other for granted.

It doesn’t take long at all. And one quick thing I’ll share on that Marcus mentioned about the family groups this week. We are also starting a mini series to help marriages this week, May 11, all on Zoom. And that’s purposeful because we want as many people who would like to participate, to not be encumbered by what to do with the kids or having to pack up and clean up and come to a building. It’s all on Zoom. It’s a short six part video series. Okay. And so it’ll start May the 11th. You’re welcome to join in for that check with your family group as far as what your group has going on before, just sort of bowing out. But we decided to do this because people kept coming to me as one of the elders, saying, are we going to do something on marriage? Are we going to do something on marriage? This video series comes highly recommended. It was very good. So if you’re interested in that touch base with me or Marcus and we’ll give you more information about it, I’m sorry. Thank you. And the name of it is Sacred Marriage. And I’ll tell you what, this is aside from what I have to say to you today, I have not recently listened to the audiobook all this past week, all 16 chapters. I have not had anything in recent years that I find myself spontaneously sharing about, you know what I mean? So there’s some things that even affected me. And I just find myself thinking, okay, I look at this difference with Lepatic a little different because God is doing something and it’s a good study. So if you want to know more, be happy to share more with you. Okay. But today our focus is to get back into Hebrews. The glory of the Tabernacle is going to look at Hebrews chapter nine, part of what he says there is that there’s a better priesthood, a better sacrifice, and a better Covenant. It’s much better. And so all of the Old Testament priesthood, all of those sacrifices. And we’re going to get into that a little bit. Here’s the thing about today, I’m going to need you to kind of queue into what’s going on because you can hear all this stuff about the Tabernacle and you think, oh, boy, I don’t want to hear this, but it’s good stuff.

There are a lot of cool parallels that will help you as far as your relationship with God. But there are three things of the priesthood, the sacrifice, the better Covenant. But one of the message of Hebrews is that all of the priesthood, all of those sacrifices, all of that old Covenant, didn’t give us access to God. It didn’t get us there. It only took us so far, and that was as far as it would take us. And at the end of the day, who is our only access to God? It’s Jesus Christ. Jesus says, I am the way. And we know that scripture very well. And so there are three things here. And these are scriptures that you can write down. You can study them at your leisure with the better priesthood. Chapter seven talks about how unlike those old priests, Jesus doesn’t have to go in and make the same sacrifices over and over and over again because he sacrificed himself once. That makes him a better priest. Chapter eight talks about the Covenant, and it talks about how Jesus is the mediator of a better Covenant because it’s built on better promises. So we have that to look forward to in chapter nine, the better Sacrifice.

The law required that everything was cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood, there’s no forgiveness. Well, Jesus shed blood, but whose blood did he shed? It was his own blood. He was the only one who could be a perfect sacrifice. So he’s a better sacrifice. And that’s what the old covenant was all based on is those three things. And that’s what we’re going to get into tonight. Once that new Covenant comes into place, it automatically means the old Covenant is no good. It would be like if I was driving a 2022 car, and some of you would be so excited because I never owned a car the same year that it was born, you know what I mean? I just don’t do that. And so if I had a 2022, though, and all of a sudden we go through the year, and then January 2023, the new cars come out. What does that automatically do to my car? It makes it old. It’s sad, but Eddie’s going to still drive it till it dies anyway. But that’s what he’s saying about the Old Covenant. He says guys you got to let it go. You’ve got to let that go because something so much better is here in Jesus.

And that’s what we’re going to look at today in a special way. But it’s the kind of thing where you could find yourself asking a basic question. In chapter seven, he talks about how we got to have a better let’s see, seven was about the better priesthood. Chapter eight was about a better Covenant and say, okay, you say now we have a better priesthood in Jesus. Right? Right. You say we have a better Covenant in Jesus in chapter eight. Yeah, that’s right, too. And so the basic question could become, why do we need this stuff anyway? Why did God even Institute the old Covenant system? Why did he Institute this whole Tabernacle and all that stuff? What’s the point? Isn’t it useless? And the answer is a resounding no, it’s not useless at all. Here’s the secret about God, and I got to share this with you. God gives a lot of detail in the Bible and places, and you could be so tempted, if you’re like me, to just sort of bypass all that detail. You know how you get to the genealogies and Matthew and it goes. And this person begot, this person viewing the King James Version begat, begat, begat, begat.

And you think, okay, God really have to read all of this. Now, how many of you, truth be known, you check out and you say, I’m not going to read it. Put up your hand. Be honest. Okay, we got some, honest folk. I found another section in the Old Testament where God took every single tribe one by one, and he says, okay, and this tribe needs to bring twelve Bulls and seven goats, and they got to bring a hen of oil and you got to bring an ephah of flour mixed with olive oil. And it’s got to be baked a certain way. And he would give the exact same thing for the next tribe, and the next tribe, all twelve tries. I mean, it’s like 72 or 80 verses in one chapter, and most of it says the exact same thing. And there have been times when I’m so tempted to say, okay, God, really do I really need to read through all of this? And I said, but you know what? God, for whatever reason, put it in the Bible. I mean, he could have after the first tribe says and all of these other tribes did the exact same thing.

But God doesn’t do that. He spells it all out. And I said, well, God, if you took the time to spell it all out, I’m going to read every single one. And guys, I came across something I had not seen before. I didn’t think, Eddie, you got OCD, but I did. I came across something I had not seen before because there’s one section talks about how every tribe had to bring a silver Basin. And I got to this one tribe where it just said Basin. And I said, Whoa, what happened to the word silver? What happened to the adjective? Why doesn’t it say a silver Basin? And I looked at it again and I looked at the tribe before and the tribe after. And sure enough, they said, silver Basin, this and this and this and said, silver Basin. So I went to the end when he summarized what everybody brought and he said, twelve silver basins. And so I thought some translator messed up. They forgot the word silver in this translation. But I noticed that because I took the time to read it. And I know it’s tough. I’m not giving you a law if you can remember what the first tribe was without having to read it again, kudos to you.

I’m not like you. I read all of it. My point in saying all of that is that God came up with this Covenant. It’s from him, and it is not purposeless, it is not useless. And it’s very important the stuff that we’ll get into. The Hebrew writer is asking these guys to give up the old and to embrace the new, to give up what was a symbol or a picture and embrace reality in Jesus. Now, let me take you through how that looks. And I’m going to use Marcus and Amy. I can just see Amy, she’s got this great picture of Marcus. Marcus is away from home. She’s got this great picture of Marcus. And she thinks, boy, that was such an incredible time. Man, he looks so great. Oh, my goodness. Man, God, you’re so good to me. Look at what you bless me to have in this man. And she’s just going on and on and she’s just fawning over that picture. And then all of a sudden he said, that’s what she does. And then all of a sudden Marcus comes in. It’s kind of like that scene you see at football games where they’ll have the wife on the football field, maybe on the 50 yard line, and they’re honoring her for some reason.

Her husband husband’s off in the military. And all of a sudden they bring him in, they bring him from behind. And it’s like if you’re there, it’s like, oh, my goodness, little kids are involved. It’s hard not to be tearful right along with just the joy of that whole scene. And it’s so amazing. But it would be like her continuing to admire the picture when Marcus is there. Um, I’m right here, Amy, you can hug me. Don’t hug my picture. That’s kind of what God is trying to say to these people. He said, look, get rid of the old it was just a picture. It was just a symbol. But you got reality now in Jesus. Jesus is the one who brings a better priesthood, a better sacrifice, and a better Covenant. And so that’s what we’re going to look at today. That’s what he’s trying to get over to the Israelites. So we’re going to go ahead and read Hebrews nine, verse one. And it says, now the first Covenant had regulations for worship and also an earthly sanctuary. Now, we could read on, but we’ll go to that in a moment. Was the sanctuary worthless? Hopefully, you’ve already begun to see that.

I don’t believe it was at all. And we’re going to see some reasons why it’s really helpful. But the sanctuary, like I was saying about these other places in the scripture, it was ordained by God. Anything God decides to do is important. If God decides to put extra words in the scriptures, read them. God thought it was important, but it does say it was an earthly sanctuary. That is critical.


Because everything in this world will be burned up. Nothing in this world lasts forever. So by its design, God says, this is an earthly temporary arrangement that I have for you. So the old Covenant was not bad, and it wasn’t useless. It was just temporary. But we’ll see some reason why it’s helpful. And we’re going to go ahead and read chapter nine, verse two. We’ll read this section. “A Tabernacle was set up in this first room where the lamp stand and the table with his consecrated bread. This was called the Holy Place. Behind the second curtain was a room called the Most Holy Place, which had the golden altar of incense and the gold covered Ark of the Covenant. This arc contained the gold Jar of Mana, Aaron’s staff that had budded. And the stone tablets of the Covenant. Above the Ark were the Cherubim of the glory overshadowing the atonement cover. But we cannot discuss these things in detail now.” And it’s kind of interesting. It says, okay, we’re not going into detail. You think to yourself, you just gave us a lot there. But believe it or not, this isn’t a very detailed account.

And I think that’s purposeful because he knows that they understand this. He’s talking to Hebrews, they know this background of it. But this stuff is really powerful because God takes the time in the old Covenant to talk about this stuff. Do you know that in the Bible there are only two chapters that deal with creation and 50 that talk about the Tabernacle? 50. That means that God thinks it’s a big deal. And there is something that we need to learn from this. And for those of you who want to study it out, 13 of these references are in Exodus. Chapters 25 to 31 and 35 to 40. 18 are in Leviticus. Chapters one through 10, 16 and 17, 21 through 25 and 27. I’m not going to repeat all these if you’re not writing it down. Don’t worry, I’ll give it to you. Numbers has 13 and Deuteronomy has three. And then there’s reference here in Hebrews. So the point is, this is a big deal. The Tabernacle was a big deal to God. Why would he take so much time to make sure we understand it if it was not a big deal? So what we’re going to do is we’re going to look at a few things about it, okay?

And there’s kind of an artist rendering of the whole thing with the curtain and all of that. And we’re going to look at a couple of things about this. First of all, you see the door is on the east side and there’s only one door into the Tabernacle. There’s one door. There’s one way in, one way out. There’s one door to Tabernacle. How many doors are there to God? There’s one. And Jesus is it. Jesus says, John 14, verse, Jesus, verse six. Jesus says, I am the way and the truth and the life. And no one comes to the Father except through me. It’s only through Jesus. Acts four, verse twelve says, There is no other name under the heaven given among men by which we can be saved. So it’s only through Jesus if we say, well, wait a minute, what about Islam? What about Hinduism? What about Buddhism? What about the Quran? What about the Bhagavad Gita? There are other writings, there are other religions. Are you saying that Christianity and Jesus is the only way to God. Yes, I am saying just that. Jesus is the only way to God. Well, gosh, Eddie, that sounds like you’re kind of arrogant.

I mean, what makes- Jesus makes me think that way and say that. There is one way to God. Christianity is very exclusive, and that is the way God intended it. But you go from that door, the first thing you come to is the altar. That’s where the sacrifices were done. You can see the Bull or cow there. That’s where the sacrifice is done. And in case you don’t think this through, there’s a lot of blood involved in this thing. They will slit the animals’ throat, they catch the blood in some sort of Basin. They probably have to stir it and keep it from starting to coagulate and all of that. And then the priest would go around shaking blood all over the place. He would shake blood on people. They would shake blood on the sides of the altar. Tradition says seven times on one side, seven times the other side. There was a lot of blood. This was a very bloody ceremony. But the idea of that altar reminds you that Jesus is our sacrifice. Jesus is our sacrifice. And all I’m trying to do is show you some parallels so that if you ever see an image like this again, you can leave it thinking, okay, yeah, there’s that one door, and there’s the altar.

Well, behind the altar. Then you’re going west is the labor of the wash area. That’s the area where the priest will wash their hands and their feet, because you can see it’s a bloody business that they’re doing. The thing I like about this set up is that you have the altar and you have the wash area. The altar, when we came to Christ, Jesus dealt with all of our sins through his sacrifice. Amen? We understand that. But then we continue living the Christian life, and we mess up and we sin and we fall short. So we need that continual cleansing. And in a sense, that’s kind of a picture that I hope you can take away from this with that wash area behind the brazen altar. And then from there is the Tabernacle itself. It was 45 X 15 X 15. It was a cool structure. The first part of it is called the Holy place. And in that area was the golden lampstand. That was on the left side. On the right side was the show bread, where they would put the twelve loaves of bread representing the twelve tries of Israel. And in front was the altar of incense.

I said, okay, talk to me about it. Go to the lampstand where the lampstand do. It provides light. Jesus is the light of the world. Trying to give you some connections that you can make to hopefully leave with some things to think about it. But Jesus is our light. He is a light of light. He has a light that lights our path. Guys we depend on him. But then you got the bread. And what did Jesus say of himself in John six? He said, I am the bread of life. Amen. What does he say when he was tempted by Satan in Matthew four? Man does not live by what? Bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. Jesus is the bread of life. Jesus is one who sustains us. And then the altar of incense. I thought about how Jesus really represents our intercession with the Father. If you look in the Bible, Revelation eight and some of this you have to just look at. If you look at Revelation eight, it talks specifically about the incense that came up before God with the prayers of the Saints. Jesus is interceding for us.

One Timothy two, verse five. There’s one mediator between God and man, and that’s Jesus. And that’s the altar. of incense. But then you go to verse three. It says, behind the second curtain was a room called the Most Holy Place. Through the second curtain. If we go through this second curtain, and in reality we couldn’t, could we? Because the only one who could go into the second curtain was the high priest. And he only did it once a year on one day. They would tie a rope around this man just in case he messed up while he was in there. They could drag him out because you would fall dead on the spot. This is powerful stuff. But once you get into that Holy place, let’s just assume we can go on and you get there and there’s the Ark of the Covenant. In that was Aaron’s staff that had budded, you would have the tablets of the stone. But I love that it talks about the mercy seat and the atonement cover. Mercy seat. Atonement. Let’s talk atonement what is atonement. Well, Jesus’s atonement for our sins. So really that’s the place where we meet with God.

And I know this is some crazy stuff probably for you to follow, but it’s good stuff. Main thing I want you to understand is that there was only one way to God that’s through that door. The sacrifice occurs, daily washings occur, the light to light the path, the bread of life, Jesus. The altar of incense, the prayers going up. That’s what we get to have before God. But here’s the thing. God no longer communes over that mercy seat. And great verse for you just to write down. Exodus 25 22, it says, God said they’re above the cover between the two cherubim that are over the ark of the Covenant law, I will meet with you and give you all my commands for the Israelites. So God would meet on the atonement cover. God would meet at that mercy seat. That’s where we meet with Jesus as disciples because we get to bypass all of that other stuff all the way into God. We don’t have to stay at the door. We don’t have to stay in the outer courtyard. We can go all the way and we can go into the Holy of Holies.

And so what does this represent for us is that we can have a walk with God. We can be in close proximity with God. Now you go to verse six and you guys are doing great. You’re hanging with me. In verse six, he says, when everything had been arranged like this, the priests enter regularly into the outer room to carry on their Ministry. It says arranged like this. And so every day these priests would go in, they put on their robes and they do their thing. They have to trim the lampstand. They have to continue to do the incense for the altar of incense. They have to continually every Sabbath, change out the bread. At the end of the week, the priests would get to eat that bread. And again, it’s kind of an allusion to Jesus. Jesus is always on duty, guy. He is a high priest who is always at work. He never takes a day off. He never says, okay, I’m tired today. I’m not going to be the light of life for you. I’m not going to be your sustenance today. I’m just going to take the day off. Jesus does that.

In verse seven, it talks about how but only the high priests. And anytime you see the word but or therefore those are always good turning point words, you know what I mean? He’s been talking about this altar and how it was set up and all of that. And then he says, but only the high priests entered the inner room, and that only once a year. This was the day of Atonement. Let me make sure you follow this. All year long, I mean, basically God had a relationship with the Israelites, just as he has a relationship with us if you’re a Christ follower. But at some point you mess up, don’t you? You sin, you fall short. That’s why we teach people. Isaiah 59 Our sins have made a separation between us and God. And so we know we have to deal with sin. And so these guys will go to the priest. When they realize they’re sin and they come to their knowledge, they will go to the priest and sacrifice will be made. The subordinate priests, if you will, were probably the ones doing those sacrifices on a regular basis. Because let’s face it, how often do you need forgiveness of sin? Every day, every hour, every few minutes.

We don’t even know how many sins we commit. So we need forgiveness all the time. So I don’t really know how often these priests have to make those daily sacrifices, but they probably did it pretty much every day because every day we would all sin. But then the day of Atonement, that would be that one time per year when all of the sins would be accounted for. In other words, right now, if I were to ask you, okay, if I were to pick on my buddy Christine Boyle and say, Christine, what sin have you committed today? You say, Well, I got mad at Kevin again. She wouldn’t do that. She loves Kevin. But say, she would say, okay, I was short with my husband. Well, in reality, God is aware that Christine has some thoughts long before that about her husband. But Christine may not be in touch. And so it talks here about there being sins committed in ignorance. So the day of atonement would be the catch all for all of them. You can know that all of your sins are going to be forgiven on that day.

And at least for a few minutes, you’re okay. At least for a few minutes. Not the most encouraging thing, but here’s the good news for you and me. I got to show you this verse in one John, chapter one. This is one of my favorite scriptures in the Bible. I absolutely love this because here’s the good news for you and me. “But if we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another. And the blood of Jesus Son purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” With the Israelites, sin would sever the relationship with God. When it came to their attention, they’d go to the priests and they would offer sacrifices for that and that kind of thing. And even the day of atonement, maybe for a few seconds you would feel okay. But here’s the good news. If you are a follower of Jesus, if you walk in the light as he is in the light, can I tell you a secret about that? You won’t even do that perfectly.

You can do the best you can, but you won’t even do that perfectly. But if your mindset, if your bent is to walk in the light, that if your heartfelt desire is I’m going to be right with God when I sin, I’m going to do my best to be open about that, get help. I want to grow. I want to change. I want to be what God wants me to be. If that is your heart, your sins are forgiven. You walk in a continual spiritual bath. Your heart is being sprinkled clean every single day, every single moment. You don’t have to worry. Am I going to heaven now? And now I’m going to hell with what I just did. You don’t have to live your life that way. Guys, you can be fired up when you take Communion that God is good to me and I’m okay, guys, I have been around a long time and I really don’t worry in every single moment. Well, God, am I saved right now or am I going to hell? No. God doesn’t want you to live that way. That would not be encouraging for anybody else. God wants you to have that assurance.

And so I encourage you to walk in the light, even today when you take Communion. I want you to take Communion, but make a decision. God, if there are some things you need to talk to somebody about, just talk about it. Give it to God when you take Communion and that will be great. And so before we take Communion, though, I want you to just talk briefly about the ritual. And I won’t get into all the details because time won’t permit. But what would happen is that priest would get on his road and on his shoulders there would be the onyx stones with the twelve tribes of Israel. On his breastplate would be the twelve tribes of Israel. Kind of reminiscent of God. God carries us on his shoulders, just as that lost sheep in the parable of the sower, luke 15, what did he say? He took that sheep, put it on his shoulders. God carries you and me every day, but he also holds us close to his heart, and I hope that encourages you. And so he would go in, he would take the blood of that Bull and he’d sprinkle it around all over the place to bring about atonement, at least in a general sense, bring about atonement.

But we know it doesn’t give total access. But what’s the point that the Holy Spirit is trying to make with all of this? From Hebrews chapter nine. I don’t want to read this for you sometimes. Okay. God, what are you trying to teach us? What? God spells it out right here, verse eight. “The Holy Spirit was showing by this that the way into the Most Holy place had not yet been disclosed as long as the first Tabernacle was still functioning. This is an illustration for the present time, indicating that the gifts and sacrifices being offered were not able to clear the conscience of the worshiper. They are only a matter of food and drink and various ceremonial washings, external regulations applying until the time of the new order.” In other words, he’s saying the three thoughts that he’s sharing with us here. The worship of God was limited in the old Covenant. Worship of God was limited. As long as that old Covenant was in fact, and Jesus hadn’t come, that’s all he had, that was the best that they had, but it was limited at best. Secondly, that the cleansing was imperfect. It wasn’t able to clear the conscience of people.

It could only take us so far and he wants them to understand that. And thirdly, that it was temporary. He talks about food and drinks and various washings, all of that stuff is temporary. But then comes the really good news in the very next verse. And we got to read this because we’re going to end on a very high note, verse eleven. And this will be explored probably a lot more in the next session we have. But Hebrews 9 in verse eleven. “But when Christ came as high priests of the good things that are now already here, he went through the greater and more perfect Tabernacle that is not made with human hands, that is to say is not a part of this creation. He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves, but he entered the most Holy place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption. The blood of goats and Bulls and the Ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean, sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. How much more? How much more than will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death so that we may serve the living God?”

Jesus has gone into a much better Tabernacle. And if you’ve got a relationship with God, you get to have this incredible redemption that he has brought about. And he’s making that contrast. Guys, unlike these guys, where could the people go? They couldn’t go any closer than the outer court. They couldn’t even get into the Holy place. They had to stay outside. Well, Jesus makes way all the way up for us to the mercy seat, to the atonement covered with God. And that’s what I want to share. And we’re going to end with Hebrews Ten, verse 22, great passage that I think summarized what we’ve been talking about. It says, Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with a full assurance that faith brings. Having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Guys, we get to be in God’s presence. Our hearts are sprinkled clean, unlike the size of the altar, our hearts are sprinkled clean. We can have sincere confidence as we go to God. So when you get the Communion, if you need Communion, ushers have it in the back.

When you get Communion, I want you to think about what you have. You are blessed. You are blessed. If you’re a follower of Jesus, you have access to God. They could only go so far, but you have access to God. So let’s go to God in prayer and take the Communion. Father, we are so grateful to have this time together today. I know these are deeper things. These are headier things and things that require us to sort of wrap our minds around it. And yet I see so many cool parallels to Jesus. The one door and Jesus being the one door, the place where the sacrifices are made and Jesus being our sacrifice, Jesus cleansing us daily just as the priests had to be cleansed, the lampstand lighting our way, the bread that sustains us, the incense, the prayers of the Saints as you intercede for us and for the arc of the Covenant, for the atonement cover the mercy seat. Thank you, Father, that we get to have a relationship with you and thank you so much that you gave us these symbols and this way of looking at this. And I pray God that we’ll be even more thankful that we can have a relationship with you.

And I pray specifically for those who have not yet embraced the relationship with you or for those who are maybe refusing to do that. I pray that they’ll understand that they are refusing the only access to the Father and help us all to really be grateful and to go after that. Right now we’re about to take the emblems, the bread and the wine, the body and blood of Jesus and I pray that we’ll take it with gratitude and humility. Father, we love you. Thank you for our time together. We pray in Jesus name, amen.