The Central Message of Hebrews (pt.5)

Sermon notes - The Central Message of Hebrews (pt.5)

The problem then:

  • is this new way worth suffering for?
  • is it worth dying for?
  • how sure can I be that it is better than the old?
  • Does it give me better access to God?

The problem now:

  • There are huge forces active in this world
    • natural disasters, the whole economic system could collapse
    • We hear about more war and killing than ever
  • Plus personal disasters, loved ones dying or leaving us
  • Does God care, or will he abandon me
  • If he does, how do I get access to him?

The book of Hebrews is about:

  • persevering in trusting God, even in difficulty
  • but how can I be sure it is going to work? That this is the truth?
  • If I am sure then I will persevere and not fall away
  • Faith always needs to based on a sure rock
  • The core message of Hebrews is that

  • Christ became human and in his weakness overcame sin,
    so now we can relate to him and look to him as the ultimate sacrifice.
  • He has become the reality of the Old Testament picture of the promise.
    • In him there is the new tabernacle which is God’s direct presence.
    • Jesus’ blood is the sacrifice.
    • This is the new promise and covenant.
  • And so we can live in the promise today
    • and rest in the promise
    • and hold on to Christ in the hard times
    • with faith that we will receive our inheritance in the things (promises) that are unseen,
    • and in this promise we can live a life of Christ and love one another.
  • Several years ago I was teaching the book of Hebrews...
    • How can the student be better than the teacher?
    • There’s another teacher

What a priest is and why do we need one?

  • Vos: The Teaching of the Epistle to the Hebrews p.94–95

Outline of Hebrews 7–10

Outline of Hebrews 7–10

Three Points:

  1. New priest who is far better
  2. New Sanctuary (access behind the curtain) and New Covenant
  3. New sacrifice, as firm as an anchor

6:19–20 Taster (at end of previous section/sermon)

  1. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, sure and steadfast,
  2. which reaches inside behind the curtain,
  3. where Jesus our forerunner entered on our behalf, since he became a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.

1. 7:1–28 The New Priesthood

  • Answers objections about how Jesus can be a priest and explains why his priesthood is better


  • There are two orders (or systems) of priesthood: the Levitical and the little-known order of Melchizedek.
  • If you believe that the Old Covenant priesthood was the ultimate priesthood then you have a problem with Melchizedek
  • He was a priest, and had more honour than the Levitical priesthood.


  • Why was a new priest prophesied (Ps.110) if the old was satisfactory?
  • Jesus was not under the Levitical order for two reasons:
    1. The prophecy in Ps.110
    2. He was from the tribe of Judah, not Levi
  • But this is right outside the scope of the law of Moses, so an entirely different legal structure must be in effect


  • Another reason for setting aside the old law is that “it is weak and useless” —it has no power to produce change
  • Now there is a better hope for drawing near to God
  • Jesus is the guarantee and is better that the Levites because:
    1. He does not die, and so he always lives to intercede for us
    2. He does not need to sacrifice for himself before he sacrifices for us



  • Priests appointed by the law – weakness
  • Priest appointed in Ps.110 (after the law) – a son, perfect, forever
  • Not a big issue for us today, that Jesus was not of the tribe of Levi

2. 8:1–9:24 The New Tabernacle & New Covenant

  • This is arranged symmetrically
    • What is in the middle, of the middle, of the middle?
    • What does “sactuary” mean? —literally a holy place. Not a church building—we are the sanctuary!



  • We have Jesus, a priest in the true sanctuary in heaven
  • Priests have to offer gifts and sacrifices



  • Jesus wouldn’t be allowed to serve in the Old Sanctuary because the Old Covenant stipulates Levites
    • (by implication he needs a new sanctuary and a new covenant)
    • The Old is a sketch of the heavenly reality
      • Jesus operates in the Perfect Sanctuary in heaven



  • This New Covenant is far better because it has much better promises
  • God prophesied in Jeremiah 31:31–34 that there would be a new covenant coming that would not be like the old
  • This means the old is flawed (or it wouldn’t need replacing) and is now obsolete and about to disappear



  • A walk towards God in the Old Tabernacle
    • outer tent (holy place):
      • lampstand, table, bread
    • past the curtain into the inner (holy of holies):
      • golden altar, ark covered in gold containing the stone tablets
      • above the ark, the cherebim and glory of God’s presence
  • The priests normally only entered the outer tent
    • Once a year only, the high priest entered through the curtain to the holy of holies
  • All this made it clear that this was an unsatisfactory and temporary arrangement until the new order came



  • In contrast Jesus walks straight through the holy place, into the holy of holies
  • How much better is the sacrifice that he can offer, once and for all, in the Perfect Sanctuary
  • Whom would you rather have as a priest (someone that takes you to God)?
  • ark is a representation—not the real thing!
  • This is the centre of the centre of the centre
    • Jesus takes us right into God’s presence
    • “electric wire current”



  • He brings us a New Covenant
  • That brings us an eternal inheritance
  • and that frees us from the old law



  • Inferiority of Old Sanctuary compared with the Heavenly Sanctuary which is God’s very presence
    • The Old is a sketch of the heavenly reality
    • Christ enters the heavenly reality itself!
  • He is now in God’s very presence for us

3. 9:25–10:18 The New Sacrifice

  • he takes up the last climactic theme of the New Covenant: “Their sins I will remember no longer”
    • He shows that this is based on Jesus making his own body a living sacrifice
    • So we can really believe and hold on to this promise because the price has truly been paid
      1. then he says, “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no longer.”
      2. Now where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin.
  • Once you’ve been forgiven a sin, you can’t be forgiven it again—it’s gone!

10:19–25 Summary:

  • Therefore, brothers and sisters,since we have
    1. confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus,
    2. by the fresh and living way that he inaugurated for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh,
    3. and since we have a great priest over the house of God,
  • let us
    1. draw near with a sincere heart in the assurance that faith brings, because we have had our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed in pure water.
      • What does it mean to draw near?
      • praise, prayer, need to have conscience clear because we know sin is gone
    2. And let us hold unwaveringly to the hope that we confess, for the one who made the promise is trustworthy.
      • Need to have a really firm basis to do this
    3. And let us take thought of how to spur one another on to love and good works, not abandoning our own meetings, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging each other, and even more so because you see the day drawing near.
      • Good summary of the Christian life
  • So does this apply to everyone?
  • No, only those who are trusting Jesus as their priest and their sacrifice


  • You have direct access to centre of the universe
  • A perfect priest brings you to God
  • He has made a new way for you: Straight in!
  • And he had cleansed you so thoroughly that you can walk in with total confidence

Hebrews 6:19

“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, sure and steadfast”

  • Let’s pray right now.
    • Think of something bad you have done this week
    • Now think of a prayer you would like God to answer
    • Now walk into his presence, knowing you are cleansed, and ask!

Updated on 2017-02-15 by Andrew Fountain