The Indestructible Priest

This morning. Are you ready? We continue our study of the book of Hebrews. So let’s get it going here. The theme of the book is this, and you can say it with me again, Church.

The theme of the book is Jesus is better. I do want to thank Eddie for warning us last week about the threat of falling away from chapter five and in chapter six. And we do have some deep waters to explore today in Hebrews. So let’s go ahead. We’re going to dive in headfirst right away.

I do want to give credit. A great resource for me, especially for today’s lesson, has been a podcast entitled Exploring My Strange Bible by Tim Mackey, borrowing many of his ideas today. You have other resources on the handout that we have. Of course, that handout is just a small part of a resource link that we have for you, a resource folder of a lot of study that we’ve done on Hebrews. So I hope that’s helping you as well today.

But that handout, it’s good to just have a piece of paper in your hand because today’s topic is dense. All right, here we go. We began where we left off two weeks ago, and we’re going to get there right now. It’s at the end of Hebrews six. We’ll start in verse 19.

The Bible says we have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the Order of Melchizedek. So if you’re like me here, you’re very inspired by the front end of verse 19, our hearts get warm and fuzzy. We studied this out a couple of weeks ago. Jesus is the anchor for our soul. But then as we start to move into verse 20, it probably doesn’t hit the same way.

We have curtains, we have high priests. And then for the third time now in Hebrews, the writer mentions a mysterious priest named Melchizedek. So who is this strange dude? And that really gets us started today with that question, who is Melchizedek? And I personally was never taught about Melchizedek in children’s Church learned a lot about Abraham and Moses and Noah.

And the list goes on and on. No Melchizedek. And by the way, why does the priesthood even matter to us here in the 21st century? And I will give you a spoiler alert on this one. The core meaning of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus hinges on your ability to fully embrace Jesus as your priest.

And specifically in our study today, a priest in the Order of Melchizedek. And I acknowledge most of you probably did not wake up this morning thinking about the priesthood of Melchizedek. Some of you maybe, I don’t know, but probably not. But here we go. This is a core teaching, and it’s really the heart of the sermon in Hebrews.

And when we talk about priests in Hebrews, immediately I think we’re in a disadvantage in 2022. Unlike us today, the priesthood, this was deeply embedded in Jewish culture for centuries. All right? At the time that Hebrews was written, the temple was still standing and coming in contact with a priest, that was really part of the rhythm of daily life in Jewish society. And really as well, pagan religions had priests as well to help them get to a deity. But today, most of us never really deal with priests. So it’s important we get some of the backstory here, and we’re going to spend some time on that today, because this is not abstract biblical history. If being a priest is a core part of the identity of Jesus and we claim to follow Jesus, we need to understand what this means.

So let’s start here. We’re going to go back to Hebrews chapter five. We’re going to go back a few chapters here to chapter five. And here we can find a definition for the priest. Hebrews five, verse one, for every high priest chosen from among men is appointed to act on behalf of men in relation to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins.

Now, he can deal gently with the ignorant and wayward, since he himself is beset with weakness. Because of this, he is obligated to offer sacrifice for his own sins, just as he does for those of the people. So, in other words, the high priest serves as this special chosen mediator between humans and God. All right? And what this implies here is that there is a breach in the relationship between humans and their creator.

And we want to take this for granted. But if you think about it, for many, many people, this is scandalous. The implications of this are scandalous. This is offensive today. This is unacceptable.

Here’s what I mean, number one. So you’re telling me my sin has separated me from God. You don’t know me. You don’t know what I grew up with. You don’t know my experiences.

You don’t know my life. That’s so mean. That’s ignorant. That’s judgmental, right? Or number two, so you’re telling me I can’t fix myself?

You’re telling me I don’t have access to a higher power when I want to? I’m a spiritual person when I want to be and need to be. I need some priest to save me? I’m not helpless. So you’re trying to save me?

You saying this person needs to save me? I’ll find my own way. I’ll jump the gap and get to a higher power. I’ve got Wi Fi. I can just DIY this problem. I don’t need a priest telling me what to do.

But here it is. Whether you believe this or not or whether you’re offended or not by it, it doesn’t make it any less true. There is a breach between human beings and their creator. And this is really the overarching theme of the entirety of the Bible and the role of a high priest is to bridge this gap for broken people like you and me. Now, I will say this, even though we’ve become an increasingly do it yourself culture, you and I are not completely unfamiliar or even opposed to the concept of meeting the mediator between us and something or someone else. And here’s what I’m saying by this. I’ll show you a picture. This is the engine of my Toyota Corolla. Be amazed. 2004. Older than all my kids, nearly 200,000 miles, and it’s just getting broken in.

We’re just getting started.

When I’m driving, I’m never thinking about the engine when I’m driving around. All right, as long as it’s working.

But when my car is not working properly, I’m suddenly very aware of the engine. And then I’m forced to get out of the car, and I open up the hood when I can figure out how to do it. No trunk. That’s the hood. Okay, here we go.

The hoods open up. And because I’m a man, I pretend I know what I’m looking at. And then I get completely overwhelmed and confused. I’m like, okay, that’s the battery. I think I’ve changed that before I jump started that before. That’s where I put the windshield Wiper fluid in there. If you give me about five or 6 hours, I think I can change the tire. But when I look at this engine and something’s wrong, I’m lost. I’m simply not qualified to fix the engine or even tinker with it. If I mess with it, I can make it even worse.

And so I am more than willing to pay an expert who is qualified to fix the engine for me because I’m not qualified to do it. I can’t fix it myself, and I don’t want to. So I take my car to the shop, or I take it to an auto repair temple, if you will.

And these are sacred spaces, you know, the auto repair shop, it’s a sacred space. It’s set apart for a particular purpose. They’re there to repair broken automobiles. I don’t go there to have lunch with a friend or to hang out. It’s set apart for this purpose to fix my engine.

And at these auto repair shops, there is a priesthood of sorts, individuals called mechanics. Thank God for them. And they are uniquely trained. They are qualified to repair the car. And most of them even have a special uniform.

They have this adult onesie, you know, they’re set apart when you see them there, right? But their sole purpose is to utilize their unique skills and training to do one job. They repair cars. And so when I open the hood of my car and there’s a problem, I need someone to bridge the gap. I need someone to be a mediator between the car and me.

I need someone to do what I cannot do for myself. I need a mediator. I need someone to fix my broken car so I can drive it again. So it’s a crude parallel, but in a similar way that’s the concept of priesthood in the Bible, something has broken, something has been morally compromised, something’s been distorted in our relationship with the Creator, in our relationship with our fellow human beings, it’s broken and we don’t have the capacity to fix it.

We look under the hood of humanity and it’s a mess. We’re stuck. We don’t have the skills, we don’t have the qualifications, we don’t have the expertise to fix this. And whether we admit it or not, we desperately need someone who is qualified to do something about this. So in the story of Israel, that group of people were called priests.

And these priests, what they would do is they would represent broken, compromised people before the justice and Holiness of God. And they would do this with specific animal sacrifices prescribed by God so that sins could be forgiven both for the priest and the people. Now, next question here to contemplate is, could anyone in Israel become a high priest? Could anyone just say, hey, I want to be a high priest? Okay, done.

No, let’s look at a scripture on that Hebrews five, verse four. Can anyone become a priest in Israel? No. It says no one takes this honor for himself, but only when called by God, just as Aaron was. All right, so in Israel, you had twelve tribes or the twelve sons of Jacob, and only one tribe of the twelve was selected by God to be priests. That’s the tribe of Levi.

And among that tribe, only the family of Aaron could be high priests, and they become the go betweens the mediators, and they had special uniforms for that as well, all right? And so in addition to Levi, all the tribes had a unique role in Israel. And to give you a sneak peek ahead, it’s relevant to what we’re talking about today is starting with David, only one tribe could provide the King, and that’s the tribe of Judah. So back to our original point.

You could only become a priest if you belonged to the tribe of Levi, and you were from the family of Aaron. So with this in mind, now just imagine you’re living in the first century, you’re in a Jewish village, you live in a Jewish village, you’re steeped in the priesthood for centuries, you’re in this village, and all of a sudden, there’s this new preacher that comes to town. He’s a preacher, he’s a Prophet, he’s a Rabbi, and his name is Jesus. He comes to your town and he heals a paralytic. And we see this in Mark, chapter two.

He heals the paralytic and then he sees the faith of this man and he boldly says to him, Son, your sins are now forgiven.

And today we hear this and we hear the story many times. For some of us, it’s a very familiar story we’re thinking, well, what’s the big deal? What’s wrong with these people? Because their reaction wasn’t so good. Some people got angry at this.

They were upset. There go the Pharisees again, there are those stubborn people that are just so stubborn and stiff necked.

But I have to tell you, we can think what’s wrong with those people. But back then, if you and I live back then, we may have had a very different reaction than we do today because of the priesthood, because this is shocking what Jesus says here. It’s rebellious. It seems that way. You can see all the negative reactions in Mark, chapter two.

They’re steaming with anger. You just don’t do this sort of thing. There’s only one group of people who’ve been called by God to forgive sins. Only priests are uniquely qualified to pass along forgiveness.

You look at the story like, who is this guy waltzing around from town to town acting like he’s a priest? And on what authority? Let’s find out about that authority. Hebrews, chapter five, verse five.

So also, Christ did not exalt himself to be made a high priest, but was appointed by him who said to him, you are my son today I’ve begotten you. And he says, also in another place, you are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek. So there’s our answer. Jesus did not exalt himself to be a high priest, but God chose him.

Are you with me? Wheels spinning here? All right, so I wanted to rework our slide from earlier, and we see it in the scripture we just read. Jesus was destined to become both King and high priests forever.

And this is where the Old Testament gunslinger, the writer of Hebrews, begins to spell this out for us with messianic prophecy. From Psalm two, verse seven and Psalm 110, verse four. He’s telling us, yeah, this is it. This is a prophecy fulfilled. The Messiah would be a King from the family of David, the lion of Judah, and he would be a high priest, not from Levi, but from the order of Melchizedek.

Okay, so this now takes us to chapter seven. And I would say many of us know who King David is, right? We’ve heard of him. But who in the wide world of sports is Melchizedek? And why would Psalm 110 forecast the Messiah to have the priesthood of Melchizedek?

What’s all this about? And Melchizedek I’ll share with you, I believe he’s a historic figure. He’s in this narrative. And when I say historic figure, in my opinion, he’s not an angel, he’s not a ghost. He’s a real human being.

But the most important thing is to understand here for the purpose of what the author of Hebrews and the Holy Spirit wants us to see is this, Melchizidek is an Old Testament type of Christ. It’s a deliberate foreshadowing of Christ, so we can understand better who we have in Jesus and what he is for us. Now, Melchizedek, we don’t know much about him. We have a grand total of four verses on Melchizedek before Hebrews. But here’s the catch. Everything that we do know about him has massive symbolic importance.

And thank God for the writer of Hebrews. Man here, she pulls it all together for us. And you can see here in the timeline, if you were a Jew growing up and passing on these teachings over centuries, you’re like, what in the world? We love Abraham. But who’s this guy Melchizedek? And what happened here?

We want some answers. You see Melchizedek, he first shows up in Genesis and we’ll cover that in a few minutes. Then 800 years later, we have one verse of prophecy about him in the Psalms. And then finally, a thousand years later, the Hebrew writer finally explains the prophecy. Are you with me?

All right, here we go. Let’s go to Hebrew seven, verse one. We’re going to learn more. Let’s read Hebrew seven, verse one. And we’ll start right there. For this Melchizedek, King of Salem, Prince of the most High God, met Abraham.

All right, so what the writer is doing here? He’s recapping the narrative from Genesis 14. So he met Abraham. And Melchizedek met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the Kings. And he blessed him.

And to him Abraham appointed a 10th of everything. He is first by translation of his name, King of righteousness. And then he is also King of Salem, that is King of peace. He is without father or mother or genealogy. Having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but resembling the son of God, he continues as a priest forever.

So to recap this, Genesis 14, there’s this big war. A coalition of Kings capture Abraham’s nephew, Lot. Lot is always getting in trouble, right? And so Lot gets captured in this war. Abraham gets together a band of soldiers.

He defeats the bad Kings, rescues Lot. And one of the Kings that Abraham fights for on the good side is a King named Melchizedek. And you’ll start to see some of these pieces if you get a little lost. I’m lost too. Just go to your handout and to follow along.

This is very dense material, but yeah, Abraham fights for a King named Melchizidek who shows up on the scene three verses in Genesis about him. Melchizedek is the King of Salem. I’m not sure if you caught this, but that city would later become Jerusalem. Same place. Okay, God’s doing something here and it’s fun, at least for us later.

It wasn’t so fun for the Jews, like 800 years, 1000 years, Where’s this all going? And then Salem. Follow me on. This is another word for Shalom. So what then? Ok, well, Melchizidek is the King of Shalom.

He is the King of peace.

Alright. And then the actual name Melchizedek means righteousness. So he’s also the King of righteousness. And you put all this together. Not only is Melchizedek a King, but he’s also priest of God most high.

So he’s both King and priest. This is different. It’s bizarre.

So I think you see where the writer is going here with this is Psalm 110. That one verse. It starts to take shape. Melchizidek was both King and priest at the same time. And I think we need to understand that’s unheard of no other figure in the Bible held both offices.

I think a lot of you would be familiar with King Saul, the first King of Israel. Right? And he’s about to go to battle, but he’s sitting there and he’s waiting because they need to make a sacrifice before they go to battle. And Where’s Samuel, the priest? He needs to come in and do this.

And Samuel’s late. We don’t know where Sami’s up to what he’s doing, what’s going on? We need him to come in here and make the sacrifice. And so Saul gets impatient and he makes the sacrifice. And then, of course, as you would see in the story, then Samuel comes right in that same moment like, what are you doing, man?

I’m the priest. You’re the King. Separate offices. God’s not happy. They always were separate offices.

That always happened in the Bible. That is, until Jesus.

And I love this because Jesus not only saves us as a priest, but he also cares for us and protects us as a King.

This is so rich, and we’re not going to be able to cover it all today. But you also see in verses one and two that Abraham gave a tithe to Melchizedek as his priest. And it was Melchizedek that gave Abraham his blessing, not the other way around. That’s big. I know our minds are just like, well, I’m trying.

Okay, here we go. But that’s really, really big. And look at this. The Hebrew writer preaches this to us. This needs to be emphasized.

He says in verse four, if you haven’t gotten this already, see how great this man Melchizidek was to whom Abraham, the patriarch, gave a 10th of the spoils. So think about this. I mean, we have to go back in time and imagine ourselves entrenched in Jewish culture and religion. Think about how incredible this would be if you grew up around the priesthood. The dots would start connecting here.

Puzzle pieces coming together. The Levites, now, you know about them, right? They didn’t receive land when they went to the promised land. The Levites didn’t get any land.

They were going to be ministers. All right? The go betweens, as we’ve learned. And so instead of getting land, they were paid with tith es, right? They didn’t work the land.

They just got money from the other tribes. That’s how it worked. But with Melchizedek. Follow me on this. The Levites were not receiving a tithe, but instead they were paying a tithe through their great grandfather Abraham.

Tell me that ain’t cool. All right, that’s pretty cool. You can’t make this stuff up so how are we doing? Head spinning? All right, here we go.

That’s okay. Study it out deeper. Take your time. But the point the author is making here is this. And it’s with great symbolism that only God could work out through the Holy Spirit.

Great symbolism, theatrical irony. The priesthood of Jesus is better.

And then you skip ahead of verse seven. It said it is beyond dispute that the inferior is blessed by the superior. So the author here reinforces that it’s not only he who receives the tithes, but it’s also you got to pay attention to who is giving the blessing. And in that culture for thousands of years, the one who gives the blessing is obviously an authority over the one who receives the blessing. So Melchizedek is greater than Abraham.

Therefore, Jesus is far greater than Abraham.

And you see up here on the screen the second scripture I have. I believe this truth is exactly why Jesus was almost stoned to death by the people in John chapter eight. This is a big deal because there’s this big go back and forth they’re trying to work through. They believed in Jesus somewhat, but as the conversation kept going and kept getting more intense and wasn’t going so well. And finally they said that Jesus in John 8:53, so are you greater than our father, Abraham, who died? Is that what you’re saying Jesus? Who do you make yourself out to be? And Jesus said to them in verse 58, truly, truly, I say to you before Abraham was, I am.

So in other words, yes, I’m greater than Abraham. And to be honest, that’s because I’m eternal.

So what we’re talking about here is an eternal priesthood. If you want a title for the lesson today, it’s the Un, or shall I say it this way? The indestructible priesthood. And this cannot be stated enough regarding the priesthood of Jesus. Let’s read again verse three, verse three.

I’ll get it up there for you. So, seven, verse three, Melchizedek is without father or mother or genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but resembling the son of God he continues, a priest forever without father or mother or genealogy. So what is that all about? And I personally don’t think this doesn’t mean Melchizedek is not human.

I think what it means here and what the author of Hebrews wants to see is that his ancestry had nothing to do with his priesthood.

Now, if you’re looking for some really great bedtime reading tonight, go to 1 Chronicles six. It’s a genealogy of priests.

But that was important to them, right? It meant everything in that society if you wanted to be a priest. So if you couldn’t trace your name to 1 Chronicles six, you could not become a priest. But you see, with Melchizedek, and this would have gotten the original audience attention. Wow.

And I hope it gets our attention today as we understand the backstory better. Melchizedek had no genealogy to validate his priesthood, yet he was.

We don’t find it in Genesis 14. He predates the Levitical priesthood. So here’s the big point that Hebrew author is making here. Melchizedek’s priesthood is not based on the lineage of his family. And in this way, he resembles the Son of God.

Jesus had no human biological father. In Isaiah 53 eight tells us Jesus had no descendants because he was what, cut off from the land of the living. But Melchizedek and Jesus both were chosen by God to be priests. Again, the point is not because of their ancestry, but because of their righteousness.

Then it goes on to say they both had neither beginning of days nor end of life. This is important. It’s highlighted in red. For thousands of years, Israel kept replacing their high priests. Why? They kept dying.

They were mortally weak. They were mortal, corrupt humans representing fellow simple, broken humans before God.

And in contrast, we don’t hear anything about the death of Melchizedek. And I think the Bible intentionally leaves this out. So in a way, his priesthood and his legacy lives on, right until we can learn about Jesus. And that goes back to the prophecy about Jesus in Psalm 110. Jesus is always our priest.

Yes, Jesus died, but Jesus was raised from the dead and still lives. So verse three ends by saying this of Melchizedek and Jesus. He continues as a priest forever. So a better translation here could be this unique priesthood is perpetual. The priesthood of Jesus in the order of Melchizedek is ongoing.

That’s why it’s relevant for you and me today. Let’s keep reading in verse 13 about this ongoing priesthood of Jesus. Hebrews seven, verse 13. For the one of whom these things are spoken belonged to another tribe, another tribe other than Levi, from which no one has ever served at the altar. For it is evident that our Lord was descended from Judah.

And in connection with that tribe, Moses said nothing about priests. This becomes even more evident when another priest arises in the likeness of Melchizedek, who has become a priest, not on the basis of a legal requirement concerning bodily dissent, but by the power of an indestructible life. For it is witnessed of him you are a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek. So there it is.

If you don’t know now, you know. It’s right there in red in verse 16. And I really believe it’s one of the best verses in all the Bible. It’s the knockout punch. Jesus is uniquely qualified as a priest on behalf of sinful, broken, immortal people. How?

By the power of an indestructible life. Jesus is your indestructible priest.

And you’ll hear me say this a lot. It’s one of my favorite things to talk about. I’ll make this statement at the top of Jesus resume. These words are written, indestructible life. Those are his qualifications to be a priest forever.

I’m with that. In the Greek this word literally means unstoppable.

I’d say to our brothers and sisters in Christ here today, to friends, family, if you’re visiting with us. Jesus is unstoppable.

Jesus conquers death.

The primary credentials Jesus brings to the table as a priest is that he is the author of life.

Jesus ascended from the grave and he’s taken his rightful place as high priest forever.

So let’s read the exclamation point the author gives us on this in verse 23.

It says in Hebrew seven, verse 23. The former priests were many in number because they were prevented by death from continuing in office. But he holds his priesthood permanently because he continues forever. Consequently, now listen to this, all right? He who has ears let him hear this.

Consequently, Jesus is able to save to the uttermost. Jesus is able to save completely those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them. For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest. And I love this description. It’s fitting that we have such a high priest because Jesus is Holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens.

He has no need, like those other high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for the sins of the people. Since he did this once for all when he offered up himself. For the law, appoints men and their weakness as high priests. But the word, the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a son who has been made perfect forever.

Today I’m preaching and just trying to make it through the day. My heart is really hurting. A good friend of mine, Art Coulson, passed away last Sunday, and as his friend and just going through all that, I’m personally emotionally exhausted and drained. I’m hurting. Art and I have known each other nearly 20 years and he most recently has lived in Gainesville.

We were together many years in the Broward Church. That’s where we appointed him an elder. We’ve been good friends, our family are friends. We’re partners in the gospel. I can’t believe he’s gone.

It was just 1 minute I’m texting with him and he’s on my shortlist when I go to Gainesville, who I want to spend time with. 1 minute we’re talking and going to a football game together last fall and then he died. We had his funeral yesterday. I’m still in shock, still stunned.

But the victory is this, for Art I can confidently say it’s not goodbye. It’s see you later.

And here’s why, not because he’s some good guy. I think he is. But it’s all because he chose the right priest and he stayed faithful to that priest, that indestructible priest, until the day he died.

And we can see this in this language in verse 25. And you and I can have the same confidence. Check out the exact words the writer utilizes here. It’s emphatic. It’s meant to convince us to make the right choice with Jesus and stick with it.

It’s meant to give us confidence in our Salvation. Again, verse 25. Consequently, Jesus is able to save completely those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them. Death is an enemy. Eternity is a scary thing, but in Jesus we can always rest secure.

I rest secure. My heart is hurting, but I rest here knowing that Art has Jesus as his high priest.

It’s the same for us. If Jesus is your priest, Jesus saves you completely. There does not have to be any doubts if I’m doing this or I’m doing right, I’m doing this or following this or that. No, Jesus is the priest. We have a priest who is uniquely qualified to fix our engine in ways no priest has ever done before.

And if you remember, at the beginning of the lesson I asked, well, what does the priesthood of Melchizedek even have to do with us today? Come on. I barely even heard of this guy. But now you tell me, which priesthood would you rather have representing you?

Would you want one of the priests of the past or people in pop psychology or the latest trends out here telling us the way to live every generation and then they have to be replaced because they die off? Is that the priest you want? Or do you want a priest who lives forever to represent you before the Almighty God?

That’s exactly why this matters today.

And I’m telling you, even though we live now, in the 21st century, we all choose our priest, even if we’re not even actively choosing it. You choose by default, right? The world is going to tell you there are many ways to get to God. You can reach the higher power. You can be spiritual on your own in any number of ways.

The world is going to tell you there’s no breach between you and God. That’s too harsh. That’s too judgmental. The world is going to tell you you can just DIY it.

Your instincts will tell you you can DIY your life, DIY your spirituality, live your own truth. Find a better way that works for you. Pursue happiness. Be what you’re born to be.

That’s a lie. I’m here to tell you that’s a lie. You cannot do it yourself. You cannot save yourself. And I beg you to understand this.

I appeal to you to wake up. Stop drifting. It seeps into the Church as well. It’s a Satanic way of thinking. You see, the Levitical priesthood died out long ago, but many other religious priesthoods live on today.

In our modern, self righteous truth is relative American culture. There’s always a way to scratch our itching ears with a lesser priesthood than Jesus.

So the question is, which will you choose? Which priesthood will you obey?

Will you choose a priesthood that dies with every generation?

Or will you choose the indestructible priesthood of Jesus. Jesus is the only one qualified to fix us, heal us, and restore our relationship with God.

Living water challenges. Let’s water these seeds from the scriptures that we’ve read today. Let’s do something with this.

First of all, maybe you’re here today. And I know all of us could be in different places. Maybe you’re here today and the world has influenced you in such a way where you think, well, I don’t even know that I need a priest. I’m good or my parents are good. So maybe I’m good.

You know what I mean? Are you even wrestling with the idea that you need someone to bridge this gap for you? You need to sit and wrestle with that hard truth.

And then some of us, we could be sitting here in guilt today. And all of this that we’re studying needs to become good news to you again.

Maybe you need wisdom and you’re going through a very challenging or confusing season in your life. I appeal to you. Remember verse 25, this priest is always available. Jesus cares more about your life than you do.

Meet with Jesus, meet with Jesus today. Come to Jesus today. If God feels distant and I know a lot of times we say this, I can feel this like, well, God feels distant to me right now. Or if you don’t feel close to God today or doubting God’s decisions, you actually could be relying on the wrong priest. And that’s why that gap is there.

You need to come to Jesus.

Jesus is a perpetual priest? Jesus is alive? Jesus is here today to meet you in your brokenness? Jesus wants to heal you? The promise still stands?

Jesus is our indestructible priest?

I’d like to highlight verse 27 Because I think it’s fitting. As we prepare to share Communion together, verse 27 introduces a very important idea about this superior high priest.

See, Jesus is not only a priest that just offers just any everyday sacrifice, right, Jesus. There are many priests. They all offer sacrifices. But in this case, Jesus himself is the sacrifice. He’s the priest that sacrifices all of himself.

He’s the perfect sacrifice once and for all. And you think about all the other priests, the biblical priests, you think about all those that are telling you how to live your spiritual life today in the present. All of those so called priests in the future, they have very little skin in the game with their sacrifices. None of them died for you.

But in the case of Jesus, we have something better. Jesus paid the ultimate price when he offered himself up for you and for me. So with this in mind, let’s celebrate Jesus at this time. We share Communion as we do each week. To remember his death, to remember his blood, to remember his body.

Jesus the indestructible high priest.

Anchor for the Soul

I do want to say happy spring break. Some of you have already had your spring break and you’re coming back from it. You can enjoy the last few hours of it. And then the public schools around Orange County and Seminole County and some of you guys, your spring break is about to begin. So I say Congratulations to you and I hope everyone has stayed dry with all the thunderstorms that we’ve had here recently that have brought this cool weather as well. We had an opportunity Wednesday night. Amy and I hung out with the Avila small group out in the Oviedo area and to start off our discussion of the Bible, it was raining, so we just want to spend some time talking about storms. So we’re all sharing our horror stories about the worst storms that we had ever experienced. And then Christine Boyle, of course, gave us the upstate New York perspective, a different kind of storm, so to speak. She told us about as a child experiencing a Blizzard where her family survived up in Buffalo. Obviously, they did survive, but Christine was telling us it was so bad with all the snow that literally their family had to eventually dig their way out to be able to get through the door and open the windows just to get through the snow.

But whenever the conversation turns to storms, my wife always seems to come up with the scariest story. You see Amy as an eleven year old in South Miami, Amy and her family survived one of the worst storms, one of the worst Hurricanes the state of Florida has ever seen. Hurricane Andrew. If that rings a Bell with some of you look at this monster, you can see it before it comes and barrels into South Florida. It made landfall as a cat five. Max, sustained winds of 200 mph. And all of Amy’s family, they were hunkered in the hallway for hours trying to find safety. The eye went over the top of their neighborhood. It sounded like a freight train on top of them, just ripping through everything, tornadoes everywhere. And Amy’s dad was just there holding on to the doorknob just to keep his family safe for hours, just holding on, Amy and her family would have gotten sucked out of the house. It was that severe. So without something or someone to hold on to, Amy and her family certainly would have been lost. But here’s why I share this. Not only do we have the literal storms in our lives, but even more so, all of us experience the metaphorical storms as well.

And when it comes to the storms, horrific storm such as pain and suffering and tragedy, it’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. All of us here today are just about to enter a storm. You’re perhaps in the middle of a storm or you’re coming out of a storm. That’s how it works. When storms come, they can be so devastating. They have the potential to destroy your faith and to just rip out your soul. So that begs the question, when the storms come, what will sustain your commitment to God and to God’s promises. This question. This is exactly what Hebrews answers for us over and over again. Please turn with me into your Bibles to Hebrews, chapter six. That’s our text for today. Hebrews chapter six. I’m skipping ahead. Eddie Francis will preach on Hebrews five next Sunday, so a lightning quick recap of Hebrews thus far. Hebrews, it’s a sermon to older Christians, and these Christians have endured. They’re still around the Church, but many are in danger of drifting away. And the overall theme of Hebrews is simply this. And it’s been said before, and you can say it with me.

Jesus is better. We must pay attention to Jesus. Jesus will restore our lost humanity. The word of Jesus is better than the prophets. Jesus is better than the Angels. Jesus is better than Moses. Jesus is better than Joshua and the rest he offered. And the author warns us all throughout Hebrews, do not drift away. Do not miss out on Jesus. And just two weeks ago, Tyler Owens gave us a recipe for rest from Hebrews chapter four. So this leads us back to our question today, when the storms come, what will sustain your commitment to God and his promises? Let’s find the answer here in Hebrews six verse nine. Hebrews six, verse nine. It says, Though we speak in this way, and I’ll stop there for a minute, in this way, we speak in this way. Well, what way? Well, in the prior section, this is what he’s referring to, speaking in this way of warning you, challenging you, confronting you. And again, Eddie’s going to cover this next week, though we speak in this way, verse nine. Yet in your case, beloved, we feel sure of better things, things that belong to Salvation. For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name and serving the Saints as you still do.

And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness, to have the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you may not be sluggish but imitators of those who through faith and patience, inherit the promises. So overcoming the storms of life to claim God’s promises. That’s the point of this section we just read, and we see later in chapter 10 verses 32 through 36, verse 36 is highlighted on the screen. We learned that these Christians were bullied. They lost their jobs or they were thrown in jail because they followed Jesus. And the author appeals to us or appeals to them. In chapter ten, verse 36, you must endure in order to receive your promises. And here in chapter six, verses ten and eleven, same message. He feels hopeful they will endure, and he reminds them to keep on doing the right thing until the end even when the storms come. Facts, as a Christian, you will get beaten around by the waves. And our culture right now is a rip tide. It’s pulling us away, and the Bible gives us warning signs. All of the cultural rip tide. Watch out. It’s pulling us away.

Pulling us to what our instincts would tell us is better. A better life, better career, better politics, better causes, a better truth. Find a better spouse, a better soulmate, a better gender. That suits me better. And while you’re at it, give me a better Church with a better doctrine on the gay lifestyle. If you’re not getting persecuted as a Christian today, take a biblical stand on sex and see what happens next. Here comes a Hurricane. You and I are in constant danger of getting pulled away by the currents of culture, the currents that tell us that there is something better than this old way of Jesus. The storms will test you. Do you really trust God? The storms will expose with your heart has been truly transformed by the Gospel. Look again in verse twelve. Here, we’re told we must have trust and patience or we won’t last. We won’t make it. Without trust and patience, we won’t make it. These are the motivators for you to follow Jesus and to make difficult choices even when you don’t want to. Our trust and our patience in Jesus must be greater than what our instincts and our culture tell us to do.

Do you trust God? Your commitment to Jesus, your commitment to the Church? It’s only as strong as your trust and your patience in God. Now this is a picture of the attic in my old house. We moved out of that house a few months ago. The attic is not supposed to look like that. Moving out, I was clearing a lot of things out of the attic. I was in a rush, wasn’t paying close attention. And instead of stepping on the plywood or the board, I definitely stepped on the drywall ceiling. The drywall floor went straight through, and it wasn’t a clean hole either as you can see. I was clearing things out with my arms, not on purpose, hitting nails. And it was just not a good situation. It was very painful and scary because I’m scared of heights. It’s not very tall, but when you fall out of the attic, it’s quite an experience. I don’t recommend it. So I fell right through the attic floor. And a couple of months later we’re moving into a new house. New attic. No hole in the attic as far as we knew. So the first few times I’m going up in the attic to try to check it out, store things, see what’s up there.

I’m very hesitant, as you might imagine, and so I’m afraid to move. And every move is very cautious and very slow. I’m afraid to move because what’s happening? My instincts from before. Okay. My instincts are telling me you’re going to fall again.

I doubt that floor can hold me, so it was scary, but I had to move on. Eventually, I had to trust that these wood beams could more than support my weight, so that I slowly and patiently walked in the act. The reason I say this story is the same way our commitment to Jesus will be very weak until our trust in Jesus overrides our instincts. We will have our doubts about many different things having to do with God. We will doubt God’s promises. We will doubt God’s word. We will doubt God’s timing. But when this happens, the writer of Hebrews calls us to imitate those with trust and patience. And speaking of trust and patience and those incredible virtues, let’s now read verse 13. When God made a promise to Abraham, there it is. Since he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself, saying, Surely I will bless you and multiply you. And thus Abraham, having patiently waited, obtained the promise. Verse 16. For people swear by something greater than themselves and in all their disputes and oath is final for confirmation. So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise, the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us.

Verse 19. We have this, the sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizidek. Abraham, and there’s really so much going on here in these eight verses. I would not be surprised if you were with me for the first couple of verses. And they’re like, what oath and promised, and it gets dense very quick here. So there’s a lot going on. Remember, again, that our author is an Old Testament gunslinger. So the original audience is steeped in Jewish history and Torah. So I think we need to take a moment and understand the teaching here with Abraham. And you’ll be familiar with some of this or perhaps a lot of it, but I think it’s important to understand the text here in Hebrews. You have in the very beginning, Genesis one through eleven, God creates the world, makes humans in his image, and he gives us honor. He gives us Dominion over all creation. He puts us in charge. But by Genesis three, we’ve already ruined it all.

It didn’t take long. And this downward spiral begins for humanity. And then in Genesis twelve, this is God’s counter move to restore humanity. And it all starts with a conversation between God and Abraham.

God promised Abraham. God will restore humanity by making Abraham a great nation. He’s going to do it through Abraham’s family. God will restore the Earth. He will restore humanity. God has a new plan. All right, so it’s going to happen through Abraham. So what needs to happen for Abraham to become a nation? Well, he and his wife Sarah need to start having babies and lots of them if you’re going to make a nation. You know the song, right, father Abraham? Yes. I thought that was fitting here. Right? Father Abraham had many sons and daughters. Okay, right. It’s both. Amen. But you really couldn’t sing the song when the promise was made, could you? How many kids do they have when this promise is made? Zero. And how old are they at this time, Eddie? As old as dirt. Yeah, you said it. I didn’t. I’m just repeating you. Abraham and Sarah, they’re in their 70s and they’ve never been able to have children. That’s who this promise is going to originally. So remember, trust and patience in God. It’s not your culture, it’s not your best instincts. And we’re condensing this story a whole bunch here.

But in Genesis 16, you need to know if you don’t know that. Abraham and Sarah struggle with doubt. They shortcut it. I think we can relate to this. They shortcut it. They find a popular cultural solution to start their family. They force God’s hand on this, and it goes horribly wrong for Hagar and Ishmael and the entire family. Then moving on to Genesis 21, the son of promise is finally born. His name is Isaac. How long did Abraham and Sarah wait for this promise to be fulfilled? 25 years. Let’s get some perspective here. 25 years ago for us was 1997. And some people are like, oh, that was only yesterday. And then others like, I wasn’t even born then. The 1900s. 1997. That should give us some perspective. I mean, how many of us in this room have even been Christians 25 years? Some have, but not many. How many have been alive since 1997? Anyone here been waiting on a specific promise from God since 1997? See, 25 years is a long time. Facts. We can complain. We can complain when God doesn’t fulfill a promise to us in six months, let alone 25 years. But Hebrews 6:15 States that Abraham patiently waited.

Abraham and Sarah waited 25 years through the terrible storms that nearly broke apart their marriage and their family, that’s trust and that’s patience in God. In Genesis 22, all of this important backstory to understanding what the Hebrew writer is teaching us. Genesis 22. This is when God tests Abraham. He asked him to sacrifice his son Isaac. And these tests, these storms, they reveal how deep and strong our commitment really is. God will test us and sometimes in the most unorthodox, unfamiliar, shocking ways, like he did with Abraham. And we just have to sit with that. God does not cause every hardship. That’s not what I’m saying, but absolutely, there are numerous times when God will test each one of us. And God, sitting from above, knows. And he knows he can work for the good of those who love him in every single situation. So in this situation, Abraham decides to trust God. He obeys God and he decides he will indeed sacrifice his son Isaac for God. And we learned later in Hebrews chapter eleven, Abraham trusts God because he knows God can reverse death to make good on this promise. So God then spares Isaac and he doubles down on his promise to Abraham with an oath.

And that’s the portion of Genesis 22 that the writer quotes here in Hebrews chapter six. Let’s look at Hebrews six again. All of it is so rich. Verse 13, for when God made a promise to Abraham, since he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself. And then it goes on to talk about what this oath was and what it meant. And it’s easy to get lost in this. And I would say it’s definitely odd that God would swear by anything, right? Strange scripture here. But what the Hebrew writer is doing, the writer is using a human argument here to help us. In court, when you’re about to give your testimony, you put your hand on the Bible and you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help being God. What’s happening there? It’s a super promise, so to speak, right? What you say now is trustworthy because you’re swearing by a higher power, something bigger than you. And so if we swear by God or the Bible or whatever, if we swear by God, when we make an oath, what can God himself swear by?

And that’s what the author is saying here, because the answer is rhetorical. It’s just nothing. No one is a higher power than God. The point is God didn’t have to do this. He didn’t have to swear an oath like this because God’s word is God’s word. Why did God do this? Why did God swear on his own name, his own character, to guarantee his promise? Well, here it is. God swore an oath to Abraham to help him and to help us. God knows how weak we are. God knows the many doubts that people like Abraham and us wrestle with all of the time. Think Tim Mackey says it well here, God’s oath is an act of Grace, not because his word is ever in doubt, but because we are the ones in doubt. I love this. And I’ll say it again, to let it sink in. God’s oath is an act of Grace, and it’s not because his word is ever in doubt. It’s because we are so often in doubt. And God swears by two unchangeable things, his word and his own good name. And I really believe this should give us strong encouragement, the strong encouragement we need to hold fast to the hope set before us. In his Grace, God even lavishes an extra layer of assurance that he will indeed fulfill his promises.

And if you’re like me, you may think, well, okay, I’ve always heard the Abraham story. That’s great. I’m going to imitate his trust and patience. All right. But what is a promise made thousands of years ago on the other side of the planet have to do with me? Really? Why should I care about Genesis Twelve and Genesis 22 and what happened there? Why do I care about this promise? And in verses 16 and 17, this is when it starts to come back around to you and me. At first, we might think, well, the author is only talking about Abraham, but then the writer brilliantly turns the corner and addresses us. The oath God made was not just for the promise to Abraham. God also wants to reassure the heirs of the promise. Brothers and sisters in Christ, that’s you and me, we are heirs of the same promise made to Abraham. And it’s so important that God doubles down to reassure all of his children. The word promise appears 15 times in Hebrews. And that’s more than any other book in the Bible. Yes, there are many important warnings in Hebrews, but there’s this balance at the same time that the writer wants to make it Crystal clear that God desires his children live confidently in the promise of our Salvation.

And I love it. If God makes good on his promises to Abraham, God will make good on his promises to you. And here’s why. The promise to Abraham points forward to the promise of the Messiah. And by the way, Jesus is greater than Abraham. You see, Jesus is the fulfillment of Genesis Twelve, Genesis 22. Jesus came to restore the brokenness of humanity, our selfishness, our anger, our violence, the brokenness of our hearts. Jesus came to Earth to become the kind of human that no other human could ever be. Jesus comes, he absorbs the consequences of our sin, all this damage that we have done individually and corporately. In his death, Jesus takes all of that down to the grave. Then, in his great love and power and passion for us, God raises Jesus from the dead. And this is good news because for those of us that place our faith in Jesus, God now offers forgiveness, Grace and a restored humanity. This is the gospel. Amen? This is good news. And this is the good news that was set in motion in Genesis Twelve and Genesis 22 with that original conversation and the promise to Abraham. We are heirs of the promise.

This is the good news. And he who has ears, let them hear. And as you hear the good news this morning, as you hear this call to patiently wait on God’s promises, how will you respond? We do have some living water challenges to take with you this week to have some great conversations right after we finish today to take this to your small groups, to be talking about this, to let the word be watered and getting good soil and to grow. That’s our goal. That was the goal for the writer of Hebrews in the very beginning. Living Water Challenges First of all, I would say if you’re not a disciple of Jesus, if you have any doubts whatsoever whether you’re right with God today, if you’ve drifted away, come back home today. Come back home today. Ask for help right after the final song. Come clean, confess your sins. Jesus offers forgiveness. Jesus will restore the humanity that you’ve lost. He’s done it for me and he can do it for you. And Secondly, I’d say dig into your Bibles. This is not a new teaching. Dig into your Bibles and discover or rediscover God’s promises.

Specifically, God’s promises to you. We did this, I mentioned the small group that we were with this past week with the Avilas out in Oviedo, we all got together, we started our lesson. But then we broke up into different groups and we had everyone get in their Bibles, dig in and come back and share with the group at least one promise that God has made to you and me. Read those promises. Claim those promises. Share those promises with your neighbor or even a stranger. The world needs these promises. It’s living water. Dream about these promises coming true. And then you trust that God will make good on those promises in his timing. Again, it’s a guarantee from God with an oath. I’d say last but not least, make sure you know what God has not promised you. Satan loves to play games with this one. He is the father of lies. He twists God’s words. I’d venture to say this is one of the greatest reasons we drift away is we have the wrong concept, the wrong idea of what God has actually promised us. Satan loves this. Since the beginning, Satan wants to create a fracture of communication in our relationship between God and us.

So we get the wrong idea of what God promised us and what God didn’t promise us. We think God promised us this. It’s not happening. And then I know I can just shake my fist at God in prayer and have the audacity to say, God, why aren’t you fulfilling your promises in my life? Meanwhile, God had never promised those things to me. Get in your word. Know what God has promised and what God has not promised. Don’t let Satan’s gossip, and that’s what it is. Satan, it’s the gossip of the evil one that will turn you against the Almighty God. Know the promises. So to conclude, let’s circle back to our original question. When the storms come and remember, it’s not if it’s when when the storms come. What will sustain your commitment to God and his promises? Yes, it is trust and patience. Yes, it’s imitating the trust and the patience of Abraham and Sarah. But the writer of Hebrews has even better news when answering this important question. Let’s read again the conclusion of this section. In Hebrews 6:19, it says, we have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that now enters into the inner place behind the curtain where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.

Now we’re going to zero in on verse 19, verse 20. Just take verse 20 and store it away in your back pocket. We’re going to study that in two weeks, but we’re going to look at verse 19 here. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor for the soul. In the ancient world, the anchor was a metaphor for hope. And we all know about the symbol of the fish. We see it in people’s cars. And some of you may have this that was used in the early Church, but the early Church often used the anchor to represent Christ in the Church. So the anchor was also the first Church logo, if you will. And they had it on their website. Bumper sticker on their horse carriage. I don’t know, but that’s what it was. So this is where it comes from. All right. This very passage of scripture, the anchor because the image of an anchor is very powerful. Think about it. What’s the point of an anchor? An anchor is used to prevent something that is moveable from moving. So you need the anchor because of the storms. That’s the whole point of it, because the anchor is stronger than you. An anchor is transcendent. It keeps you fixed in position when the storms come your way. Hebrews six tells us we need an anchor and we must place our trust in something way beyond our own willpower and our own commitment.

So here’s the good news. Jesus is the anchor for our souls. That’s the good news. Jesus is the anchor for our souls. And the point of an anchor is not that everything goes well for you. Remember, it’s not a matter of if, but when the storms come. It’s a fact, your commitment to God and his promises will be tested. And to give you a head start on your homework, the promises of God are not for health or success or happiness, a soulmate or that everything just works out for you. For most people truly following Jesus, we often go through the exact opposite. Jesus never promised for everything to go well, but Jesus did promise to be our anchor. We need Jesus as our anchor to keep us from drifting away and from missing out on God’s promises. Jesus is the anchor for your soul. Jesus is stronger than you. Jesus is transcendent. Jesus will not and cannot be moved. Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. Jesus is the one we must hold onto during the storms.

Jesus is the one that conquered death, hell and the grave. With Jesus as our anchor, I am confident that our best days as Christians are right in front of us.

Humanity’s Hero

As we start here, I do want to jump back into the time machine for just a moment. Let’s travel in time once again this week. Long ago I matriculated at the University of Florida. And if you don’t know what the word matriculated means, I really don’t either, but it sounds really smart.

Besides attending lots of football games at the University of Florida, I did take a few classes. I took a philosophy course. I took a psychology course. And in my classes I read many classic novels. Or at least I should say I read the Cliff Notes of those classic novels.

And as I matriculated, my professors wanted me to dig deeper and discover the meaning of life. And I didn’t care so much at the time. I cared more about football, pizza, and finding a girlfriend.

This is in direct contrast to my twelve year old daughter, my ten year old daughter. They are already discussing the meaning of life, so they’re way ahead of me.

Anyway, I believe all of us at some point in time, especially if we believe in God. We have contemplated these important questions. Why am I here? And what does it mean to be human? And our libraries are filled with books that explore these questions.

This is the next slide. Universities reward thousands of diplomas to students who research this topic. So since the beginning of time, mankind has always pondered the meaning of existence. Now here’s the good news. The word of God is far from silent on this matter.

In fact, the book of Hebrews answers these profound questions. So please turn with me in your Bibles in Hebrews chapter two.

Last week we began our study of Hebrews.

The author is unknown. We did begin last week and this is a brief review. The author is unknown. We do know he or she absolutely loves Jesus. And as you see there from the picture, the author is an Old Testament gunslinger.

The audience is also unknown. But we do know from the context that they have been Christians for quite a while. And unfortunately they are slipping. And the theme of Hebrews is simply this. Jesus is better.

Six times in his sermon, the author of Hebrews warns us about the dangers of drifting, the futility of looking for something or someone better than Jesus. And the first warning last week, Jesus is speaking to you. Pay attention. So a reminder, we do have a shared resource folder on Hebrews. Please make sure you get that link.

It will greatly enhance the Hebrews experience for you and for your small group. So now back to our original question. Why am I here? What does it mean to be human? Let’s look now at Hebrews chapter two, verse five.

We’ll hopefully find some answers right there. Hebrews two, verse five.

For it was not the Angels that God subjected the world to come of which we are speaking. It has been testified somewhere. What is man that you are mindful of him or the Son of man, that you care for him? You made him for a little while lower than the Angels. You have crowned him with glory and honor, putting everything in subjection under his feet.

Now putting everything in subjection to him. He left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him.

So we’ll stop right there. Verse five, this reflects back to Jesus is superior to Angels, which I hope you studied last week. We provided some resources on that for you. The author tells us it’s not the Angels that God wants to rule the world, even though they’re very powerful. He has someone else in mind. Then verse six, here comes the Old Testament gunslinger.

It’s a quote from Psalm eight. It’s a Psalm of David that Jews would have grown up reciting, singing and praying. It’s a Psalm that reminds God’s people of their unique, God given purpose in this world. And it’s where we find the answer today to our question, Why am I here and what does it mean to be human? I think it’s worth our time to take a look at Psalm chapter eight.

You can turn there. We’ll put it up on the screen for you as well. Let’s go back to Psalm chapter eight and see the point the author is trying to make here. Let’s begin in verse three of Psalm eight. David writes, When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him and the Son of man, that you care for him?

So first, David expresses amazement at God’s creation. He’s literally starstruck. Then he’s blown away with such a massive universe that God actually notices humans, that God cares for him, that God cares for you. And the next, there it is. It’s highlighted in yellow in verse five.

Not only does God notice humans, but he crowns us with glory and honor. In verse five, yet you have made him a little lower than heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. So why are you here? What does it mean to be human? Number one, we’re here to reflect God’s glory.

That’s us, that’s humanity that’s you and me. This echoes Genesis chapter one, verse 26. When we’re told that humans are made in God’s image, we reflect something about God that no other created thing does. Each one of us here today is a little reflection of God.

That’s why he wants us to be fruitful and multiply and fill the Earth. The more human beings there are, the more God’s image and God’s glory will spread. That’s God’s plan. God deeply desires that we take our gifts, our talents that he’s given to us as humans and reflect his beautiful image. But that’s not all.

Check out verses six through eight. David writes, Here You have given him Dominion over the works of your hands. You have put all things under his feet. All sheep and oxen, all the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas. O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name and all the Earth.

So why are we here? Why are we humans? What’s our purpose? Well, if we’re humans, number two, we’re designed by God to rule the Earth.

It describes God as putting everything under our feet. God made human beings to be his vice Regents, the protectors and the rulers of this world. We are the true Guardians of the Galaxy.

So to answer this age old question, what does it mean for you and me to be human? To be human means we reflect God’s glory and we rule the Earth.

So if that’s what it means to be human, how are we doing thus far?

How’s that going?

Reality check.

Since the beginning of time, this has gone horribly wrong for us as human beings. Our track record is not good on this one. We’ve consistently abused our Godgiven power. That’s why rule, Dominion and authority have such negative connotations today. They trigger us because we’ve messed it all up.

The truth is, we’re not reflecting God’s glory and we’re not ruling God’s world as he intended us to.

That’s why in Hebrews two eight, and you’ll see this on the next slide, there at the bottom. It says, at present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him. And the him here, and it’s easy to get confused with the author, we’re talking about human beings. The him here is us. In other words, if humans are supposed to be reflecting God’s glory and ruling the Earth as God intended, we just don’t see it right now. Psalm eight is missing from humanity.

In fact, we’ve broken God’s creation.

We’ve broken ourselves.

I haven’t been to the movies in a while. I believe my son’s seen this one. Who here has seen the new Spider Man movie? All right. Good.

Is it worth my time? Is it good? It is. It’s worth my time. All right.

Well, it’s already number six all time and best selling movies. Number six. Now, maybe that’s because there’s more people and I don’t know, but the new Spiderman movie, it’s already up there to number six. Now we have The Avengers. And Spiderman is part of The Avengers.

And you’ll see them up here on the screen, right? So I did some research. Five. And this is not including Spiderman, right? Five of the top 13 best selling movies of all time are Avengers movies.

Five of the 13.

So it means that the world enjoys these movies for the most part. You may not, but the greater world does. We’re spending money on this. Five of the top 13 all the time. Now, I enjoy The Avengers movies, but we must admit, and I’m not being a hater here, okay?

But we do have to admit they are very creative, but they all have the same basic plot, all right? It’s the same plot of every action hero movie you’ll ever see. And here’s what I mean. Here’s the way of life for the Avenger. If you threaten us, if you threaten to take over the world, we will fight you, and we will beat you up.

I know I’m getting this very base level here, but we will destroy you if you mess with us. That’s the hero that we’ve come to expect in all of our movies, right? This is the best hero we can come up with to inspire us on the big screen, right? And the Avengers. Okay, think about them.

They represent the best, the brightest, and the strongest of society. They are super human heroes.

And yet this is the best storyline we can come up with. If you hurt me and you hurt my people, I will hurt you, and we pay for it. We love it. It’s entertaining. It inspires us.

Why? Because it’s exactly how we think.

It’s how we rule the Earth. It’s our ingrained mindset with our Godgiven Dominion as humans. If your will crosses my will I will put you under my shoe. We’re fine until you cross me.

Don’t cross me or you will regret it? This new song? A-B-C-D-E-F-U.

If you hurt me and my people, I’ll beat you up and kill you. Payback is how we roll. That’s how we think. If your tribe messes with my tribe, if your family messes with my family or you hurt my family, I will avenge.

Let’s be real. As humans, this is the best we can do to solve our problems.

It’s so natural, and it’s our instinct from a very young age, and you can try this experiment with someone else’s child or your own, later today, just snatch away a toy from a three year old, and you see what happens.

They will throw a tantrum. Snatch a toy from a 48 year old. They will throw a tantrum. All right. This is how we solve our problems.

It’s in all of us. We’re broken human beings. As rulers of the Earth, we’ve created a world of conflict, power grabs, and violence, and we pay money to see it on the big screen. Why? Because it’s so normal for us.

But the biblical narrative says this way of humanity is completely abnormal. According to God’s plan for us, this is actually subhuman behavior. We’ve strayed so far away from reflecting God’s glory and ruling God’s creation. So this begs the question, who will rescue us? Who will restore our humanity?

Let’s now read in verse nine of Hebrews two.

Verse nine, Hebrews two. But we see him for a little while was made lower than the Angels, namely, Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the Grace of God, he might taste death for everyone. For it was fitting that he for whom and by whom all things exist in bringing many sons to glory should make the founder of their Salvation perfect or completely like us through suffering. For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source. And that is why he’s not ashamed to call them brothers, saying, I will tell of your name to my brothers in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise. And again I will put my trust in him. And again, behold, I and the children of God has given me. So who will rescue us? Who will restore our humanity?

Enter the new human. Enter the new hero. And his name is Jesus. And the author here has brilliantly built up to this crescendo because here, in verse nine, this is the first time the name of Jesus is introduced in Hebrews. First time. Jesus becomes what the human we have failed to become.

Right? Jesus becomes that human that we never became.

Jesus demonstrates perfectly how to rule the Earth and reflect God’s glory. Jesus is the hero of humanity. Jesus fulfills Psalm eight. Jesus saves the world from evil. And how did he do it?

By the suffering of death.

That’s the upside down gospel.

It’s the most beautiful counter intuitive story you’ll ever hear.

This hero conquers, saves, and wins by giving up his life.

We create this world of death with our selfishness, conflict, and power grabs. Jesus then comes into our world, absorbs the consequences of our evil, and dies on the cross.

Unlike the Avengers, unlike us, it is by dying for his enemies that Jesus defeats the enemy.

Jesus redefines for us what it means to be human.

He didn’t come to this Earth to avenge. He came to this Earth to forgive his enemies, to lay down his life for them, and to seek our wellbeing above his own.

Now let’s look at verse ten. Let’s isolate just verse ten here where it says, for it was fitting that he for whom and by whom all things exist. And bringing many sons to glory should make the founder of their Salvation, that’s Jesus, perfect or completely human like us through suffering.

I love this because God is in the business of bringing many sons and daughters to glory. That’s what God does. He’s all about it. And that’s a line from the song we’ll sing in a few moments. How deep the Father’s love for us that he would bring many sons to glory.

And this glory actually is not talking about heaven here, although that’s very glorious. All right? It’s not that this glory, it’s talking about restoring our humanity. Right now, what Jesus does is he brings you and me the glory we were promised long ago in Genesis One and Psalm eight. We get to fulfill that with Jesus.

You see, in Christ, God transforms all of us into the kind of humanity he originally designed. In Christ, we can become glorious, honorable human beings as God intended. God is now making new humans out of us by way of Jesus. In his love, in his great mercy, God is bringing many sons and daughters to glory.

And we see at the end of verse ten, we’re told, Jesus is the founder, the pioneer, or the author of Salvation.

In other words, Jesus is the hero, the ultimate hero. Jesus is the hero who preserves our dignity and saves our glorious humanity.

Jesus is humanity’s hero.

And what Jesus does is Jesus carves a path forward so that we can now follow in his footsteps. And here’s the stunning point that the author is making in this passage. If you trust in Jesus, if you follow Jesus, what’s true of him is now true of you.

Mind blown.

Did you hear that? If you follow Jesus, if you trust in Jesus, what’s true of him is now true of you? So Jesus was crowned with honor and glory. You’re now crowned with honor and glory. How does that feel?

Sinners deserve to die, but Jesus died in our place, so you and I can experience his death in baptism.

Jesus is Holy, and he now sanctifies us and makes us Hol. In becoming human like us, suffering like us, Jesus now has the same origin as us, the same source as all of us. We see this in verses twelve and 13. The author quotes from Psalm 22 and Isaiah eight to reinforce that we now share the same family as Jesus, same source, same origin. Jesus is now humanity’s brother.

And that’s why the Son of the Almighty God, it says, is not ashamed to associate with broken people like us.

Why? Because we’re his own flesh and blood. Literally. If you trust in Jesus, if you follow Jesus, what is true of him is now true of you. Jesus is humanity’s hero.

I want you to hear this. No matter where you’ve been, no matter what you’ve done, no matter how broken you are, Jesus has restored your dignity. Jesus has crowned you with glory and honor. And not only that, Jesus is now redefined for all of us what it truly means to be human.

So let’s get to these questions to ponder now in light of this extraordinary good news. Here’s the challenge I give to all of us, myself included. What kind of human are you becoming?

That’s a tough one for me. There’s so many crazy examples of my sin that I could share. It comes out in different circumstances. I was just thinking this morning of last October, get the whole family going over to the soccer field for my daughter’s soccer match. Set up the camp chairs right there next to the field where it’s all going to start.

And then I get to watch her play and I just hear someone behind me cursing at me, right? And my daughters are there, too. And my wife.

And apparently I had set up right in someone’s view of a flag football match that they were watching two fields away. Yeah. I was like, what? This person was laying down. That was their area.

They were there first, but it was on the sideline of the soccer pitch. It was not anywhere near. But this person apparently was there to watch flag football on a faraway field. Yeah. And even as I tell it, I’m just like,argh, so the cursing continued and that’s when you start seeing my broken humanity. Now, I think I’ve matured to the point where I didn’t want to take it in the parking lot with him, but my heart is still bad. I’m thinking, hey, hey, I’m doing my best to follow the spirit, but the spirit is like, where are you now? Here comes the flesh. And it’s just like, hey, watch the language.

And it brought more language. I was like, well, hey, can’t you watch the game over there? Like, this is the soccer game. My daughter- more cursing. He stands up in one of those positions, and I’m just like, Whoa.

And everything in me, and I’m sure it came out was to at that point, I wasn’t going to fight him, but I definitely wanted to make him look like an idiot in front of everyone else and condescend to this person who has clearly lost their mind.

But as I think about that, I was like, man, I am broken, too. Because the first thing I wanted to do was to make him look bad and to feel awful for being like that.

And if I had to rewind it, I would just say, oh, I’m sorry, and moved somewhere else. But something in me was stirred that broken humanity that Avenger inside of me.

I’m fine. I’m a great Christian until you try to mess with my family. Well, then I got to take action somehow. It wouldn’t be right for me to fight him as a Minister or as a Christian, but I certainly can’t put him in his place.

So I share that it’s a process for all of us. But you really do have to consider, what kind of human are you becoming? And it may sound creepy, but imagine if a camera was watching you 24 hours a day. What would we learn about humanity from your everyday choices? What kind of human are you behind closed doors?

What kind of human are you on social media, when you text, when you send emails? How you spend your time, your money, your resources? What does this reveal about your humanity?

What kind of human are you when you’re in the car and you interact with other drivers? When people offend you, threaten you, oppose you? What story does your humanity tell if you claim to be a follower of Jesus, if you’ve been forgiven by the Grace of Jesus, what kind of human are you going to be?

And we have to remember and be inspired and understand how Jesus sees his power and conquers his enemies is by laying down his life.

Jesus constantly teaches and trains his disciples on this. Are we paying attention? You want to be at the top of the heap? Jesus says you got to go to the bottom of the heap. You want to be first in line? You better get your tail to the back of the line. You want to be the most influential person here? Then you must become the servant to everyone here. Run as fast as you can to finish last. That’s the humanity that Jesus wants to restore.

So here are some practical challenges for this week. I’d say, number one, recommit yourself to learning from Jesus. We love that scripture in Matthew 1128 to 30. My yoke is easy. My burden is light.

He does say in there. Learn from me.

Learn the daily rhythms of the life of Jesus. Learn how he treats people. Learn how he treats his enemies. Learn how to be human from me, says Jesus. Number two, read the Sermon on the Mount.

You want to know what it means to be human as God intended. You want to know what it means to live in harmony with other people. Make those three chapters your new Constitution. Read those Hebrews resources we provide. And last but not least, for some of you, for the first time, I appeal to you that you make Jesus the Lord of your life.

Deep down, you know something is broken inside.

Come to Jesus. Come to Jesus today. There are tons of broken people here. Can I get an Amen? Tons of broken people who could humbly help you to do that?

And here’s why. Jesus is the hero of humanity. Jesus wants to restore our humanity, bring many sons and daughters to glory.

So let’s now close out this section and then we’ll share a Communion together. We’ll look at Hebrews chapter two, verses four through 18. And I really don’t have the time this morning to do justice to this last paragraph. But please drink in these words of truth now as we read them, dig deeper into them this week. What the author is doing here is he or she is going back again to Jesus as the ultimate high priest and the eternal impact that now has on us.

It says, since therefore the children, and that’s us, since therefore the children shear in flesh and blood, Jesus himself likewise partook of the same things. I love this, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death, were subject to lifelong slavery.

For surely it’s not Angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham that’s you and me. Therefore, Jesus had to be made like his brothers in every respect so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God. To make propitiation, that means to make atonement or in other words, Jesus satisfied God’s wrath for the sins of the people.

Verse 18. For because Jesus himself has suffered when tempted. Jesus is completely able to help us. Who are being tempted?

Jesus shares in our humanity. Jesus is the hero of humanity. Jesus defeated death, hell and the grave. And if you trust in Jesus and if you follow Jesus, what’s true of him is also true of you.