Hebrews #20: an exposition of Hebrews 9:1-15. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, August 31, 2014.
We love spectacle. We want to be thrilled. We desire to “feel” something. It’s not enough to know the truth or to be assured of reality, we need some sensation to confirm our conviction. “God was really present, I felt the hair stand up on the back of my neck.” “It must be true something just came over me and I can’t explain it.” Add to that our love of ceremony and the fact we want to “do” something to gain the favor of God it’s understandable why it can be difficult to simply believe. Can saving faith be as simple as acknowledging I’m a sinner and then trust in what Christ has done on the cross? Understand that I am helpless and throw myself on the mercy of God in Christ? No ceremony? No ritual? No service to perform to prove I mean it? How can that be? It sounds too simple. It sounds too simple because you’ve not yet come to understand just how desperate you really are.
You’ve not yet come to understand that our problem is that we are radically sinful. Sinful to the core, the radius of our being. Everything about us is marred or tainted by sin. Our mind, our will, our emotions, everything. Thus anything we do is touched by sin. We cannot save ourselves. Salvation is wholly the work of God. We are saved by the mercy and grace of God. We are dead in trespass and sins. Dead people don’t do anything for themselves! Dead people are wholly dependent upon others. We are saved because of what Christ has done. His perfect life lived in full obedience to the Father. His death on the cross as our substitute. He is our propitiation. We’ve been reconciled to God by His blood. Our part? To trust in Christ and Him alone. When the winds of doubt begin to blow – look to Christ. When feelings of inadequacy and unworthiness begin to swirl about you – look to Christ. When fears threaten to overwhelm – look to Christ. Your security, your certainty of salvation is not dependent upon your ability to believe but the power of Christ to save. Our text this morning is found in the 9th chapter of Hebrews.
Text: Hebrews 9:1-15
They were struggling to believe.
Life had become increasingly difficult.
Hardship and sufferings abound.
Their minds said, “Just give up. Walk away. It’s just not worth it.”
The biblical writer responds, “It is the only thing worthy of your trust.”
“If you walk away – there is nothing that can save you.”
He has been pointing to Christ as our Great High Priest. He is better than the angels, He is greater than Abraham, He is God’s ultimate revelation. He is better than anything Judaism or Rome has to offer. The old order, the Old Covenant is inadequate. It is weak and worthless. We have a New Covenant based upon superior promises. The New does what the Old could never do. In our text this morning the comparison between the Old and New continues.
This text makes it clear that…
Thesis: The glory of the New Covenant rests securely in the substance of Christ’s death and what His death actually accomplished.
Remember we have been told that all those things connected to the Old Covenant (the sacrifices, the rituals, the ceremonies) were copies or shadows of heavenly realities (8:5). That our hope and confidence rests in the fact that Christ entered the “true tent” not set up by man – He entered heaven itself, the presence of God, and offered not the blood of bulls and goats but himself for our sin. Then the writer gave an extensive quote from Jeremiah 31 about the glory of the New Covenant. That’s where our text picks up. I want to point out two things.
- The Old Covenant, though awe-inspiring and a grand spectacle, proves to be wholly inadequate in meeting our greatest need. (9:1-10)
- The New Covenant, though horrifying in appearance and uninspiring on the surface, gloriously fulfills our greatest need. (9:11-14)
How do you have your sins forgiven and experience the cleansing of your conscience and enter into the joy of the New Covenant? You look to Jesus and you say along with Horatius Bonar,
I lay my sins on Jesus
The spotless lamb of God;
He bears them all, and frees us
From the accursed load:
I bring my guilt to Jesus.
To wash my crimson stains
White in His blood most precious,
Till not a stain remains!