Text: Hebrews 13:7-17
1. Throughout his epistle, the author has exhorted his readers to faithfulness
a. With a warning not to drift away – Hebrews 2:1
b. With a promise of becoming partakers of Christ – Hebrews 3:14
c. With exhortations to be diligent – Hebrews 4:11; 6:11-12
d. With a reminder of God’s faithfulness – Hebrews 10:23
e. With a promise of great reward – Hebrews 10:35-36
2. As the epistle’s end, we find some final exhortations that encourage such faithfulness
a. They are throughout – Hebrews 13:7-17
b. They are given in view of the danger of “various and strange doctrines” – Hebrews 13:9
3. The need for such exhortations is no less today as it was then
a. There are many various and strange doctrines today
b. It is easy for us to forget the simplicity that is in Christ
I. THINGS TO REMEMBER (Hebrews 13:7-14)
A. THOSE WHO FAITH IS WORTHY OF EMULATION (Hebrews 13:7)
1. In the original context of the epistle
a. The author here references those leaders who originally spoke the word of God to them
b. That included the apostles themselves – Hebrews 2:3
c. “…considering the outcome of their conduct” implies that they were dead, and that their faith served them well
2. Not only remember them, but “whose faith follow”
a. We should seek to emulate all those whose faith has set a good example – Philippians 3:17
b. Especially those whose faith sustained them to the end!
B. “JESUS CHRIST, THE SAME YESTERDAY, TODAY, AND FOREVER” (Hebrews 13:8)
1. In what way is “Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and forever”?
a. Certainly not in every respect, for He was once “in the flesh”, but not today
b. The context must determine, and the context pertains to:
1) The word of God which has been spoken – Hebrews 13:7
2) Various and strange doctrines – Hebrews 13:9
c. It is therefore the doctrine of Jesus, which is unchangeable
2. One may therefore rightly ask whenever they hear of some strange or new doctrine: “Did Jesus or His apostles teach this?” – Galatians 1:8-9
C. WHAT WE HAVE IN CHRIST (Hebrews 13:9-14)
1. It is apparent the author has in mind the temptation to return to the Law
a. To the dietary restrictions found in the Law
b. To the altar and tabernacle of the Old Covenant
2. But what we have in Christ includes:
a. Hearts that are strengthened by grace, not food – Hebrews 13:9
1) An allusion to the dietary restrictions of Judaism
2) While they served their purpose, they did not provide what one really needs – Colossians 3:20-23
b. An altar from which those who serve in the physical tabernacle have no right to eat – Hebrews 13:10-13
1) The “altar” is a metonymy for the sacrifice offered on it
2) Our “altar” is the sacrifice of Christ, which is of no benefit to those who hold to the Old Law – Galatians 5:4
3) As our sacrifice, had to suffer “outside the gate” to provide our sanctification, so we should be willing to serve Him “outside the camp”
c. A “city” which is yet to come – Hebrews 13:14
1) Like our father Abraham, we wait for the city “whose builder and maker is God” – Hebrews 11:9-10
2) We are but strangers and pilgrims on the earth, desiring that city which God has prepared – Hebrews 11:13-16
3) Therefore, it is not physical Jerusalem we long for, but “the holy city, New Jerusalem” – Hebrews 12:22; Revelation 3:12; Revelation 21:1-2, Revelation 2:10-11
II. THINGS TO DO (Hebrews 13:15-17)
A. OFFER TRUE SPIRITUAL SACRIFICES TO GOD (Hebrews 13:15-16)
1. We may not “serve the tabernacle” of the Old Covenant (Hebrews 13:10), but we do have “sacrifices” to offer – 1 Peter 2:5
2. One is the sacrifice of praise – Hebrews 13:15
a. That includes singing and prayer, which are the fruit of our lips
b. In which we praise God as we give thanks to His name – This we are to do “continually” (i.e., with stability in our service to God)
2. Another is the sacrifice of doing good and sharing – Hebrews 13:16
a. With such sacrifices God is pleased
b. They are like the “sweet-smelling aroma” of incense – Philippians 4:18
B. OBEY THOSE WHO RULE OVER US (Hebrews 13:17)
1. Earlier he wrote of their previous leadership (Hebrews 13:7); now he writes of their present leadership
2. These are most likely their “elders” (also known as “bishops”, “pastors”)
a. They were given the oversight of the local congregation – Acts 20:17,28; 1 Peter 5:1-2
b. The souls of the congregation were “entrusted” to them – 1 Peter 5:3
3. They watch over us, as those who must one day give an account – Hebrews 13:17
4. Therefore we should “obey” and “submit”
a. That their work will be one of joy, not grief
b. If we grieve them in their work, it will not be profitable for us!
1. Do you wish to remain steadfast in your faith, with stability in your service to God?
2. Then remember such things as:
a. Those worthy of following, and consider the outcome of their conduct
b. Jesus Christ, whose doctrine is the same yesterday, today, and forever – Hebrews 13:8
c. The blessings we have in Christ:
1) Hearts established by grace
2) An altar (the sacrifice of Jesus) to which some have no right
3) A heavenly city whose builder and maker is God
3. And be careful to do such things as:
a. Offer the spiritual sacrifices of praise and doing good to others
b. Obey those who have been entrusted to watch for our souls
4. With such “Stability In Our Service To God”, then by God’s grace we too will be “the same yesterday, today, and forever”
Text: Hebrews 10:26-39
1. Immediately following a gracious exhortation to draw near to God and hold fast the confession of our hope, we find an ominous warning
a. It is a warning against willful sin – Hebrews 10:26-39
b. It speaks of reaching a terrible state in which:
1) There longer remains a sacrifice for sins
2) There is a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation
2. Is this a warning for Christians? Some would say no
a. They believe in the doctrine once saved, always saved
b. They hold that true Christians:
1) Cannot so sin to point of being eternally lost
2) If they begin to sin to the point where they might be lost, God will intervene and take their life to prevent it from happening
3. Does the Bible teach once saved, always saved?
a. It does teach the security of the believer (i.e., those who remain faithful are secure)
b. But it also teaches that a believer can become an unbeliever, at which point a person has every reason to fear for his or her salvation! – Hebrews 3:12-14
4. The possibility of apostasy (falling away) is taught in the Bible, especially in the epistle to Hebrews
a. We have already seen several warnings implying this possibility:
1) A warning against drifting – Hebrews 2:1-4
2) A warning against departing – Hebrews 3:12-14
3) A warning against disobedience – Hebrews 4:11
4) A warning against dullness, leading to apostasy – Hebrews 5:11-6:6
b. But perhaps now, with a warning against willful sin, we learn the real danger of losing our salvation if we despise what we have received! – Hebrews 10:26-39
I. WHAT IT MEANS TO SIN WILLFULLY (Hebrews 10:26)
A. COMPARE OTHER TRANSLATIONS
1. If we deliberately keep on sinning… (NIV)
2. For if we go on sinning deliberately… (ESV)
3. For if we go on sinning willfully… (NASB)
B. THE SENSE OF THE GREEK IS ONE OF REPEATED ACTION
1. Implying not an act of sin, but a state of sin
a. All Christians have moments of weakness, or ignorantly sin – 1 John 1:8-10
b. It is not inadvertent sin, but deliberate sin that is under consideration
2. A state in which one:
a. Knows the truth – Hebrews 10:26b
b. Yet chooses to deliberately and continuously persist in sin!
C. CAN A TRUE CHRISTIAN EVER REACH THIS POINT? YES!!!
1. Note the pronoun we (the author includes himself in the warning) – Hebrews 10:26a
2. He later describes one who was sanctified by the blood of the covenant – Hebrews 10:29
3. This warning is directed to those who have been sanctified by the blood of Jesus!
4. When one persists in sin willfully, they are in grave danger. This is especially true when one is a Christian!
II. THE CONSEQUENCES OF WILLFUL SIN (Hebrews 10:26-27)
A. THERE NO LONGER REMAINS A SACRIFICE FOR SIN
1. What sacrifice is under consideration here? Christ’s sacrifice!
2. What sacrifice no longer remains? Christ’s sacrifice!
3. The blood of Christ is no longer available for one who persists in willful sin!
B. WHAT DOES REMAIN?
1. a certain fearful expectation of judgment – Hebrews 10:27a
a. One can expect a judgment that is certain! – Hebrews 9:27; Acts 17:30-31
b. One can expect a judgment that is fearful!
1) For we must answer to Christ Himself – 2 Corinthians 5:10-11
2) And we will be in the hands of the living God! – Hebrews 10:30-31
2. A fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries – Hebrews 10:27b
a. A judgment involving fire – Revelation 21:8
b. A judgment involving indignation (the wrath of God) – Romans 2:5-11
c. Such a judgment will devour – Matthew 10:28
III. THE JUSTIFICATION FOR PUNISHING WILLFUL SIN (Hebrews 10:28-31)
A. WHAT WAS REQUIRED UNDER THE OLD COVENANT?
1. Death without mercy! – Hebrews 10:28
2. Such was the punishment for a particular kind of sin:
a. Sin that was deliberate
1) In which one rejected Moses’ law (NKJV)
2) In which one despised Moses’ law (KJV)
b. Sin that was open
1) It had to be seen by two or more
2) For death was not rendered unless there were two or three witnesses
c. Again, it is WILLFULL sin that is under discussion
3. While there was mercy for sins of weakness or ignorance, there was none for open and deliberate sin under the Old Covenant!
B. WHAT IS REQUIRED UNDER THE NEW COVENANT?
1. One is worthy of much worse punishment! – Hebrews 10:29
a. What could be worse than physical death?
b. Only fiery indignation! (hell)
2. Why? Because a Christian who sins willfully has:
a. trampled the Son of God underfoot
1) It denotes contempt of the most flagrant kind
2) Such a person treats Jesus who died for him like dirt!
b. counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing
1) The blood of the covenant clearly refers to Jesus’ blood – Hebrews 9:14-22; Hebrews 13:20
2) It is by this blood one is sanctified
3) Such a person considered Jesus’ blood a common thing!
c. insulted the Spirit of grace
1) A reference to the Holy Spirit
a) Through Whom the message of salvation was given – John 16:13-14
b) Through Whom our sanctification takes place – 1 Corinthians 6:11; Titus 3:5-7
2) A person who openly and deliberately sins insults God’s grace!
3. This passage clearly teaches two things:
a. That a Christian can so sin as to reach this point of open rebellion against Jesus!
b. That the punishment reserved for such is worse than death!
C. IS THIS CONSISTENT WITH GOD’S NATURE?
1. Isn’t God a God of love? Of course! – 1 John 4:8
2. But He is also a God of justice, One who judges His people – Hebrews 10:30
a. To who much is given, much is required – Luke 12:47-48
b. Those who despise His love, set themselves up to be recipients of His wrath – Romans 2:4-6
3. Therefore it truly is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God – Hebrews 10:31
IV. THE SOLUTION TO AVOIDING WILLFUL SIN (Hebrews 10:32-39)
A. REMEMBER YOUR EARLY CONFIDENCE
1. The writer reminds his readers of their former days
a. Those days after they were illuminated (enlightened) – Hebrews 10:32
1) Shortly after their conversion
2) In the days of Justin (ca. 167 A.D.), this term was a synonym for baptism
b. Those days in which they were made a spectacle – Hebrews 10:32-34
1) By their own sufferings
2) And by sharing in the sufferings of others, including those of the author
a) In whom they had compassion in his chains
b) In which they joyfully accepted the plundering of your goods
3) Knowing that they had a better and enduring possession in heaven!
2. It is such confidence they must be careful not to cast away – Hebrews 10:35
a. To cast away is the opposite of hold fast
b. Only in holding fast our confidence is there great reward – Hebrews 3:6, Hebrews 3:14
3. Likewise, we need to rekindle the fire of that newfound faith we had when we first responded to the gospel! – Revelation 2:4-5
B. ENDURE TO THE END
1. Endurance is needed to receive the promise – Hebrews 10:36
a. For the Lord is coming – Hebrews 10:37
b. And the just lives by faith – Hebrews 10:38
c. If we draw back (become unfaithful), the Lord will not be pleased! (My soul has no pleasure in him.)
2. The author speaks of his own confidence – Hebrews 10:39
a. He is not of those who draw back to perdition (who cast away their faith)
b. But of those who believe to saving of the soul (who remain faithful to the end)
3. We too need to believe to the saving of the soul, or to put it in the words of Jesus, be faithful unto death – Revelation 2:10
1. We can look forward with great anticipation to the saving of our souls, if we:
a. Remember (and rekindle) that confidence early in our conversion
b. Endure to the end with the faith that saves
2. But with a warning against willful sin, we must never forget that one can
a. Fall from grace!
b. Fall into the hands of the living God!
c. Which is a terrifying thing!
3. How much better, though, to be upheld by the hand of God, as the Psalmist wrote: The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD, And He delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; For the LORD upholds him with His hand. – Psalm 37:23-24
4. Such is the case of those who remain strong in their faith and trust in the Lord. Are you believing to the saving of your soul…?
Text: Hebrews 9:11-28
1. In the current section of the epistle to the Hebrews, the focus is on the superiority of the New Covenant which provides:
a. Better promises – Hebrews 8:7-13
b. A better sanctuary – Hebrews 9:1-28
c. A better sacrifice – Hebrews 10:1-18
2. Three weeks ago we considered the earthly sanctuary of the Old Covenant, that tabernacle which:
a. Served as copy and shadow of the heavenly things – Hebrews 9:9; Hebrews 8:5
b. Involved fleshly ordinances imposed only until the time of reformation – Hebrews 9:10
c. And was therefore limited in its ability to provide what man truly needed! – Hebrews 9:9b
3. In the second half of the ninth chapter, we are now introduced to the Heavenly Sanctuary of the New Covenant:
a. The true tabernacle in which Christ is a minister – Hebrews 8:2
b. The true tabernacle which the Lord erected, and not man – Hebrews 8:2
I. IT IS HEAVENLY (Hebrews 9:11, Hebrews 9:24)
A. A GREATER AND MORE PERFECT TABERNACLE
1. A tabernacle not made with hands
2. A tabernacle not of this creation
3. Where then is this tabernacle? Look ahead to Hebrews 9:24
B. IN HEAVEN ITSELF
1. Christ has not entered the earthly tabernacle made with hands
2. It is into heaven itself that Christ has entered!
3. He now appears in the presence of God
4. Therefore the superior sanctuary is none other than heaven, where God dwells!
5. In this heavenly sanctuary Christ serves as High Priest of the good things to come. The good things includes the promises of Jeremiah 31:31-34, especially the one pertaining to forgiveness of sin
II. ITS MINISTRY EFFECTIVELY DEALS WITH SIN (Hebrews 9:12-15)
A. ETERNAL REDEMPTION IS PROVIDED (Hebrews 9:12)
1. Christ entered the Most Holy Place (heaven)
a. Just as the high priest entered the Most Holy Place in the earthly sanctuary
b. With these two major differences:
1) Jesus took not the blood of goats and calves, but His own blood
2) Jesus entered once for all, not once a year
2. With His blood, He obtained eternal redemption
a. This is why He does not need to offer His blood every year – Hebrews 10:10-12
b. But His redemption is eternal in another sense, as seen later in Hebrews 9:15
B. THE CONSCIENCE IS PURGED OF SIN (Hebrews 9:13-14)
1. The blood of animals was able to purify the flesh of an unclean person
2. But the blood of Christ is able to purge the conscience from dead works (i.e., sin) to serve the living God
a. The animal sacrifices could not do this – Hebrews 9:9-10; Hebrews 9:10:1-2
b. For the daily and annual sacrifices constantly reminded them of sin – Hebrews 10:3
c. Therefore Christ not only removes the legal guilt of sin, but also the inward (or emotional) guilt of sin!
C. THERE IS REDEMPTION FOR SINS UNDER THE FIRST COVENANT (Hebrews 9:15)
1. His role as Mediator of the New Covenant is not limited to those who lived after it became of force
2. His death covers not only sinners since His death, but also those who lived under the first covenant, who were called to receive the promise of eternal inheritance!
3. In providing atonement for those before and after His death, Jesus has truly obtained eternal redemption
III. ITS MINISTRY NECESSITATED A COSTLY SACRIFICE (Hebrews 9:16-22)
A. TO INITIATE A NEW TESTAMENT (Hebrews 9:16-17)
1. A testament, or will, requires the death of the one who makes it
2. It does not become of force until the testator dies
3. The New Covenant with its heavenly sanctuary is like a testament, requiring Jesus’ death for it to become of force
B. TO DEDICATE A NEW COVENANT (Hebrews 9:18-23)
1. Consider what was done with the first covenant
a. It was dedicated with the blood of calves and goats
b. Its tabernacle and furniture were purified with the sprinkling of such blood
2. Should the new covenant require any less?
a. The first covenant contained only copies of the things in the heavens
b. The heavenly things required purification by better sacrifices, Jesus’ own blood
IV. ITS MINISTRY IS FINAL AND COMPLETE (Hebrews 9:24-28)
A. CHRIST IS NOW IN THE PRESENCE OF GOD FOR US…
1. No longer is a high priest serving in a tabernacle made with hands
2. No longer is one serving in what was only a copy
3. Jesus is ministering as High Priest in that which is the true holy place!
B. HE ONLY NEEDED TO OFFER HIMSELF ONCE
1. The all-sufficiency of His sacrifice is seen that He only needed to offer Himself once
a. Otherwise, He would have needed to suffer often from the foundation of the world
b. Like the high priests of old, who entered the Most Holy Place each year
2. Therefore, at the end of the ages, He came to put away sin once for all!
a. The phrase end of the ages is equivalent to the last days – Hebrews 1:2
b. That final period of the world’s history – 1 Corinthians 10:11; 1 Peter 1:20
3. Just as man dies only once, so Jesus needed to be offered for sin only once
C. WHEN HE COMES AGAIN, IT WILL BE FOR SALVATION, NOT SIN
1. With His first coming, He was primarily the sin-bearer
a. He came to bear the sins of many
b. Which He did by dying on the cross for our sins – 1 Peter 2:24
2. His second coming will be apart from sin
a. To bring salvation (from the wrath of God to come – Romans 5:9)
b. To those who eagerly await for Him – 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10
1. How is the sanctuary of the New Covenant superior?
a. By virtue of its nature: heavenly, not physical
b. By virtue of its ministry:
1) Dealing effectively with sin
2) Providing complete and final deliverance
2. Why should we be interested in the ministry of The Superior Sanctuary?
a. Because death is our appointed lot (unless Christ comes first) – Hebrews 9:27
b. And then comes the judgment – 2 Corinthians 5:10
c. The ministry of Christ prepares us for that coming judgment!
3. Are you prepared to stand before the judgment seat of Christ?
a. Preparation involves obedience, for Jesus is the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him – Hebrews 5:9
b. Preparation involves allowing the blood of Christ to purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God – Hebrews 9:14
4. Through obedience to the precious gospel of Christ, we can eagerly wait for Him, knowing that for us He is coming to bring salvation and not condemnation! – 1 Thessalonians 1:10
Text: Hebrews 8:7-13
1. Up to this point, the focus of the letter to the Hebrews has been on Christ
a. His superiority to prophets, angels, Moses
b. The superiority of His priesthood to the Levitical priesthood
2. With the transition in Hebrews 8:1-6, the focus shifts to the new covenant
a. A new covenant in which Jesus has already been described as:
1) The surety (guarantor) – Hebrews 7:22
2) The Mediator (one who intervenes) – Hebrews 8:6
b. In both passages, this covenant was described as a better covenant
3. Better than what? Better in what way? In Hebrews 8, we learn the answer
a. Better than the first covenant – Hebrews 8:7
b. Better because of the promises contained in it – Hebrews 8:6
I. GOD’S PROMISE OF A NEW COVENANT (Hebrews 8:7-9, Hebrews 8:13)
A. THE FIRST COVENANT HAD FAULTS… (Hebrews 8:7)
1. Otherwise, there would have been no need for a second covenant
2. We have already seen concerning the first covenant that:
a. The Levitical priesthood could not bring perfection – Hebrews 7:11
b. The Law made nothing perfect, and was therefore annulled due to its weakness and unprofitableness – Hebrews 7:18-19
3. This inadequacy has special reference to the sacrifices of the first covenant
a. They could not make those who approach perfect – Hebrews 10:1-3
b. The blood of animals offered by the priests could not take away sins – Hebrews 10:4,11
B. THE PEOPLE DID NOT KEEP THE FIRST COVENANT… (Hebrews 8:8-9)
1. God found fault because they did not continue in His covenant – Jeremiah 11:7-10
2. For this reason He disregarded them, allowing them to be taken away by their enemies – Jeremiah 11:11-14
3. Even so, He did not leave them without some hope, for through the prophet Jeremiah He made a promise
C. GOD’S PLAN WAS A NEW COVENANT… (Hebrews 8:8-9)
1. Promised in Jeremiah 31:31-34
2. In which God would make a new covenant with Israel and Judah
3. A covenant different than the one made at Matthew Sinai (how, we shall see in a moment)
D. THE NEW COVENANT HAS MADE THE FIRST OBSOLETE… (Hebrews 8:13)
1. By even calling the promised covenant new, God made the first covenant obsolete
a. The old covenant actually continued on for about 500 years after Jeremiah
b. But with the promise of the new, attention would be taken away from the old covenant and directed toward the new one that was coming!
2. Its obsolescence was especially seen in the days of the Hebrew writer
a. It was becoming obsolete and growing old
1) The death of Jesus rendered the sacrifices of the first covenant unnecessary
2) Before long, the temple itself would be destroyed, and along with it, the last vestiges of the Levitical priesthood
b. Truly, it was ready to vanish away
II. GOD’S PROMISES INVOLVING THE NEW COVENANT (Hebrews 8:10-12)
A. IT WILL BE INWARD AND SPIRITUAL… (Hebrews 8:10)
1. I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts
2. The first covenant had its laws written on tablets of stone; the new covenant is one that requires God’s laws be written in our hearts
3. It is not enough to have God’s Word in our hands, on our coffee tables, etc.
a. We must plant God’s Word into our hearts – James 1:21
b. For only then can we truly be born again by the incorruptible seed, the word of God – 1 Peter 1:22-23
4. Are you living up to intent of the New Covenant, or are you little different than those under the first covenant, who had the Word, but not on their hearts?
B. IT WILL PROVIDE A CLOSER RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD… (Hebrews 8:10)
1. I will be their God, and they shall be My people
2. The actual terms of this promise is really nothing new – Exodus 6:7; Leviticus 26:12
3. But in each successive age, its promise is filled with fresh meaning; for example
a. In this age, we enjoy a closer relationship with God -2 Corinthians 6:16-18; 1 Peter 2:9-10
b. But even more so, in the age to come, which is in eternity – Revelation 21:1-7
4. Are you utilizing the blessings whereby you can have a closer relationship with God?
C. IT WILL BE WITH PEOPLE WHO KNOW THE LORD… (Hebrews 8:11)
1. None of them shall teach…saying, ‘Know the Lord’, for all shall know Me
2. The New Covenant will be with people who have already come to know the Lord
a. Unlike the first covenant, in which people entered it at birth; as they grew up, they needed to be taught about the Lord
b. In the new covenant, one must come to know the Lord before they can enter the covenant
3. So it is that one must believe in Jesus before they can enter into a covenant relationship with their Lord through baptism – Acts 8:36-38
4. Does not this feature of the New Covenant preclude the practice of infant baptism?
D. IT WILL PROVIDE TRUE FORGIVENESS FOR SIN… (Hebrews 8:12)
1. “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more”
2. Here is the ultimate basis of the blessing previously described; by virtue of the forgiveness of sins can we truly be God’s people, and He our God!
3. Thus the New Covenant provides what the first covenant could not: true forgiveness of sins! – Hebrews 10:1-4, Hebrews 10:11
1. Such are The Promises Of God’s New Covenant:
a. As foretold through the prophet Jeremiah
b. Now fulfilled through the coming of Jesus and His death on the cross
c. By virtue of better promises, Christ is truly the Mediator of a better covenant!
2. But there is more to be said about why the New Covenant is a better covenant
a. It also has a better sanctuary
b. It also has a better sacrifice
c. But consideration of these things will be saved for later
3. At this point it is appropriate to ask:
a. Have you truly entered into a covenant relationship with the Lord?
b. Entrance into this New Covenant is simple: They involve faith in Christ and a confession of that faith (Romans 10:9-10), along with repentance of sins and baptism into Christ – Acts 2:36-39