Sunday October 23, 2016 “Hebrews Highlights The High Priesthood of Christ”

An Overview of The Book of Hebrews

  • The Theme: Christ is The Great High Priest of God’s “New Covenant” with Mankind.
  • The Historical Overview
  • Written approx’ AD 66 – four years before Jerusalem is destroyed in AD 70,
  • Jerusalem was destroyed approx’ 40 years (a Noahaic generation) after Christ’s death
  • Christians are Challenged To Keep Christ In Focus & Not Let The Culture Curve Their Discipleship to…
  1. Convince Them The Old Way Is Better
  2. Keep them from their Future in Christ

The Cultural Pressures Produces These Spiritual Symptoms:

  • Stifles Spiritual Growth
  • Impedes Education Leaving Us At An Elementary Knowledge of Christ
  • Cripples Our Efforts to Carry Christ Into A Changing Culture
  • Summary: What Does This Information Mean for Us Today and What Does It inform Us About Our Contemporary Walks In Christ
  • Communicate Our Personal Commitment to Christ by Participating in Communion

Hebrews was written to christians, who are addressed in ….

  • Heb 3:1  1Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession;
  • Heb 3:12-14 as 12Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God….14For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end;
  • Heb 6:9-12 9But, beloved, we are convinced of better … things that accompany salvation, … 10For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints. 11And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end, 12so that you will … be …imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
  • Heb 12:1-2 1Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us…and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

 More Specifically – Hebrews was written to Hebrew/Israeli/Jewish Christians because.

  • the recipients are assumed to have an authoritative view of the Old Testament.
  • the epistle stresses the work of Christ on The Cross has replaced the need for the Levitical priesthood and offerings of the Old Covenant, which are mentioned in Heb 7:8, 8:3-5, 9:6-7, 9 & 13, 10:2-3, 13:10. Those Levitical sacrifices ceased with the destruction of the Hebrew Temple in AD 70, which God allowed to take place to communicate the Old Covenant no longer is necessary to be right with Him.   
  • the New Covenant of Salvation through Christ’s Sacrifice has replaced the Old Covenant of the rituals and offerings of the Levitical priesthood.
  • Heb 5-10 explains Jesus’ priesthood has replaced Aaron’s, a point that is meaningless to Gentiles.
  • The Gospel of Jesus Christ is superior to law God delivered through Moses, the Hebrew lawgiver, Mark 9; 2-8 confirms this at the Transfiguration 2And … he was transfigured before them, 3and his clothes became radiant, intensely white, as no onea on earth could bleach them. 4And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus. 7And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is my beloved Son;c listen to him.” 8And suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone with them but Jesus only.
  • believers are referred to in Heb 2:16 as the “seed/descendant/offspring of Abraham.

Hebrews Historical Overview 

  • Written approx’ AD 66 – four years before Jerusalem is destroyed in AD 70,
  • Jerusalem was destroyed approx’ 40 years (a Biblical generation) after Christ’s death.
  • The epistle implies a crisis is about to occur – which could be understood as the siege of Jerusalem, which Christ predicted in Mt 24:2, Mk 13:2 & Lk 2:6, where referring to the temple in Mk 13:2 Christ said: “Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone shall be left here upon a stone, which shall not be thrown down.”
  • Heb 1:2 “in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.”
  • Heb 3:12-14 “12Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. 13But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. 14For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end.”
  • Heb 10:25 “not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
  • Heb 12:27 “This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain.”

Christians always are challenged to keep Christ first and not let the culture curve the direction of our discipleship to…

  1. Convince us the old way is better!
  2. Keep us from understanding the past in the context of our future in Christ.
  3. In other words, the culture wants us looking backwards in the wrong way. The culture wants us to have the wrong interpretation of our past.
  • The historical framework of the pending collapse of Jerusalem by the Roman siege and how that pressure and potential loss of culture caused some to look back toward the cultural temple rituals of Judaism, obscuring the vision of the New Covenant and the mission of discipleship that propels us to fulfill “The Great Commission” mirrors what the church faces today.  
  • We are living in a time when it appears the collapse of our beloved USA is imminent.  Too many pulpits ignore the world’s deception of promoting causes that sound good, like tolerance and Black Lives Matter, Women’s Rights, Sexual Rights — yet all of which are promoted with policies that abandon what God calls righteousness in His Bible.
  • Too many pulpits are preaching the Word of God through the paradigm of the cultural narrative that leads to deception that curves our discipleship away from the straight and narrow into crooked paths of unforgiveness in the name of righting some past wrong.
  • We need to keep our daily walk in Christ in focus while we also see the Context of God’s apocalyptic big picture. We must not needlessly enslave ourselves into the either or, but must teach God’s individual holiness and call sinners to repentance, which also prepares Christians to be salt and light in what increasingly is appearing to be apocalyptic times. 

The first readers of Hebrews were probably in Jerusalem where Christian persecution first began in Acts 7:54 – 8:3, which records the stoning of Stephen, which Saul approved, as held the cloaks of those who did the stoning, and then used the emotional momentum of that day to start 8:1a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. 8:2Devout men buried Stephen and made great lamentation over him. 8:3But Saul was ravaging the church, and entering house after house, he dragged off men and women and committed them to prison.

Note that Saul who we know as the Great Apostle Paul was converted by the steadfast, immovable testimonies he heard from the people who accepted imprisonment, rather than lie to him about their faith, and Who God and Christ truly are! So in Acts 9, when Paul is knocked off his horse, he willingly accepts Jesus is the Lord, Christ – because he had heard it again and again from the people he persecuted.  

Hebrews Historical Overview:  The Culture Attacks Christianity Heb 10: 32-39

Heb 10: 32 tells us the enlightened endure.

Heb 10: 35-36 tells us confidence in Christ has a great reward to receive what is promised. 

Heb 10: 38 tells us righteous one (“just” – KJV) shall live by faith, which echoes Habakkuk 2:4, and means: Those who have been justified by faith in Christ, and who have Christ’s righteousness imputed to them – must continue living in that faith, because there is a warning for those who shrink back. 

Heb 10:32  32But recall the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings, 33sometimes being publicly exposed to reproach and affliction, and sometimes being partners with those so treated. 34For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one. 35Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. 36For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. 37For, “Yet a little while, and the coming one will come and will not delay; 38but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.” 39But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.

Heb 12:4 ESV In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.

KJV – Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.  

Following Culture Rather Than the Bible Stifles Spiritual Growth Heb 12:12 -17 

Heb 12: 12 – 17 12Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, 13and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. 14Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. 15See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; 16that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal. 17For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears.

Heb 1: 12-17 informs us that we all are the walking wounded who can be made alive in Christ. 

We all …

  1. are lame but can be healed (vs.13 )
  2. must strive for (take care to diligently pursue) peace and holiness without which no one will see the Lord. (vs.14) Peace = eirenikos  akin to A, “eirene” 1) “the harmonized relationships between God and man, accomplished through the gospel. 2) It denotes the “peaceful.” fruit of righteousness, because it is produced in communion with God the Father, through His chastening that connects us to “the wisdom that is from above,” Jas. 3:17.
  3. Culture says, “Get even – never forgive and move on.” All gov’t initiatives of women’s rights, black rights, sexual rights – all are subtly designed to keep us pitted against each other in ever spiraling circles of unforgiveness, blame and guilt.
  4. can fail to obtain the grace of God; and let a “root of bitterness” spring up that causes trouble, and by it many become defiled. (15)
  5. must guard against being sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal. 17For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears. (16) we (Some things just can’t be undone – so God warns us, “Don’t do them!”)

All the above keep us from effectively carrying Christ into the culture.    

Culture Impedes Education Leaving Us At An Elementary Knowledge of Christ Heb 6:1-2 &19 -20

Christians are Challenged to move beyond the basic, elementary truths expressed in Heb. 6: 1-2 to move forward into discipleship that is focused on daily obeying the Holy Spirit’s guidance – so we become and do our part in the Body of Christ

Heb 6: 1-2 1Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, 2Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.

Yes God wants us to repent and leave the dead works of our past. Yes God wants us to understand correct doctrines of baptism, resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. but… God expects us to move forward into discipleship that is focused on daily obeying the Holy Spirit’s guidance – so we become and do our part in the Body of Christ.

19We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, 20where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.  (Gen 14:18  Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. And Melchizedek, the king of Salem and a priest of God Most High, brought Abram some bread and wine.

Heb. 13: 8 – 15 indicate the marks of maturing discipleship are…

  1. a heart strengthened by grace (vs. 9)
  2. the ability to live outside the camp [culture] and bear the reproach Christ endured. (vs. 13)
  3. the capacity to continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. (vs. 15)

Heb 13: 8 – 15 8Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. 9Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings, for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, which have not benefited those devoted to them. 10We have an altar from which those who serve the tenta have no right to eat. 11For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the holy places by the high priest as a sacrifice for sin are burned outside the camp. 12So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood. 13Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured. 14For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come. 15Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.

The Culture Seeks to Cripples Our Efforts to Carry Christ Into A Changing Culture

Matt 22:36-38 

Liberty Christian Fellowship is striving to show the world’s cultures the Supremacy of Christ by

  • Loving Christ most – so we fulfill The Greatest Commandment of Matt 22: 36-38 to 37… love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38This is the great and first commandment. 39And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
  • Appreciating the country Christ gave us, so we love our neighbor as ourselves to help them see
  1. what Christ did for them on the Cross
  2. what Christ did through America’s Founding Fathers to inspire and nation built on the application of Biblical Christianity to civic life – which produced Western Civilization – that though it is not perfect, is the closest thing to Heaven on earth the world has ever known, and reflects how God wants US (pun intended) to live, as we each individually 1st self-govern under the 10 Commandments and 2ndly apply God’s Bible blueprint to harmonize your civil society under His law of love and grace.

Summary: overcoming culture to live for Christ is a marathon, not a sprint Heb 12:1-2

Heb 12: 1-2 1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Our victory in our marathon requires endurance and looking to Jesus

COMMUNION: 

What we must look at is Jesus our high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek   Heb 6:19 – 20

Heb 6: 19-20 19This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, 20where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.

THE FIRST COMMUNION RECORDED IN SCRIPTURE

Gen 14: 17 – 22 Abram Blessed by Melchizedek  17After his return from the defeat of Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him, the king of Sodom went out to meet him at the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley). 18And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. (He was priest of God Most High.) 19And he blessed him and said,“Blessed be Abram by God Most High Possessorb of heaven and earth; 20and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand!” And Abram gave him a tenth of everything.

Heb 7:1 1For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, 2and to him Abraham apportioned a tenth part 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. 3He 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.

To view the recorded message on YouTube, go to:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BaU03Fzx9VY

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