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Sermon #2459 — Miscellaneous Sermons

 

Title:                           The Better Sacrifice

 

Text:                            Hebrews 9:1-23

Date:                          Bible Class — December 16, 2018

Subject:                     Christ’s Fulfilment of the Old Testament

                        Sacrifices

Reading:

Introduction:

 

How can guilty sinners, men and women who know they are sinners, — who know they have broken God’s holy law willfully and constantly, from their youth up, — who know that in thought, word, and deed, in action and in attitude, they are vile, abominable, and unclean, approach the holy Lord God with confidence, peace, and assurance of acceptance? That is a huge question. But the answer to that question is given plainly and clearly in our text. – Hebrews 9:1-23. — The Better Sacrifice. That’s my subject. That’s the subject of this chapter. — The Better Sacrifice.

 

(Hebrews 9:1-23) Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary. (2) For there was a tabernacle made; the first, wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the shewbread; which is called the sanctuary. (3) And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all; (4) Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron's rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant; (5) And over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercyseat; of which we cannot now speak particularly.

 

(6) Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God. (7) But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people: (8) The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing: (9) Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience; (10) Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.

 

(11) But Christ being come an High Priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; (12) Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.

 

(13) For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: (14) How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

 

(15) And for this cause he is the Mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.

 

(16) For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. (17) For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth. (18) Whereupon neither the first testament was dedicated without blood. (19) For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people, (20) Saying, This is the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you. (21) Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry. (22) And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.

 

(23) It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.

 

The purpose of God the Holy Spirit in this chapter is threefold:

 

1.    To show the pre-eminence of Christ over the tabernacle, its furniture, its priesthood and its sacrifices. They were all fulfilled by him.

 

2.    To show how all which had gone before in the Levitical covenant were types and pictures of Christ, our only sin-atoning High Priest and Sacrifice, having no power in themselves to save (Hebrews 10:1-4).

 

Hebrews 10:1-4 “For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. (2) For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins. (3) But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. (4) For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.”

 

3.    To show us that all the Levitical ceremonies, sacrifices and services of the first covenant have come to their appointed end (Hebrews 10:9; Romans 10:4).

 

Hebrews 10:9 “Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.”

 

Carnal Ordinances

 

1st — In verses 1-7 we are given a brief description of the carnal ordinances of divine worship in the Old Testament.

 

Hebrews 9:1-5 “Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary. (2) For there was a tabernacle made; the first, wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the showbread; which is called the sanctuary. (3) And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all; (4) Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant; (5) And over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercyseat; of which we cannot now speak particularly.”

 

That typical, ceremonial covenant had a tabernacle made according to divine instruction. It was made of earthly material, with rules and regulations for sacrifice and worship. The tabernacle was forty-five feet long, fifteen feet wide and fifteen feet high. It had two rooms separated by a heavy veil.

 

In the first compartment, called the Holy Place, were three pieces of furniture.

1.     The table of shewbread. This table was made of wood overlaid with gold, picturing the humanity and deity of Christ. The bread (twelve loaves) represented Christ, the bread of life.

2.     The golden lampstand. There were no windows. This lampstand was the only light, which represents Christ as the light of the world. The lampstand was pure gold (representing his deity), and there were seven candles (the number of perfection, completion, grace, and deity).

3.     The altar of incense (Exodus 30:1, 6-9). The continual, sweet burning incense before the veil is the intercession of Christ before the Father.

 

In the second compartment (“the Holiest of all,” or holy of holies — measuring fifteen feet by fifteen feet by fifteen feet) there was one piece of furniture with two parts.

 

That one piece of furniture was the ark of the covenant. This was the most important thing in the Jewish worship in the Old Testament. It was three and three-quarter feet long, two and a quarter-feet wide, two and a quarter-feet high, made of wood covered with pure gold, and contained the tables of the law, Aaron’s rod that budded, and the golden pot of manna.

 

The mercy-seat was a solid slab of pure gold (no wood), which covered for the ark, which contained the tables of the law. The mercy-seat, the propitiatory (deriving its name from the blood of propitiation), was overshadowed by the cherubims of glory (Romans 3:24-26).

 

Romans 3:24-26 “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: (25) Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; (26) To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.”

 

In verses 6 and 7 the sacrifices, required by God’s law in the Old Testament are described.

 

(Hebrews 9:6-7) “Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God. (7) But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people.”

 

The common priests went every day into the holy place, the first tabernacle, every morning and every evening, accomplishing the service of God by offering sacrifices, burning incense, and trimming the lamps.

 

But none were allowed to go beyond the veil into the Holy of Holies, except the high priest. He went in once every year, only with the blood of the paschal lamb, and sprinkled the blood of the lamb on the mercy-seat covering the broken law. This day was called the Day of Atonement (Exodus 30:20; Leviticus 16:15-17).

 

All of this may seem strange to us. Many look at these things and say, “Well, that has no meaning for us today.” What a tragic mistake! What is the meaning, or what was the meaning, of these Old Testament ordinances and ceremonies?

A Better Sacrifice

 

2nd — In verses 8-10 the Holy Spirit tells us that these divinely ordained ordinance signified the necessity of Christ’s accomplishments at Calvary.

 

Hebrews 9:8-10 “The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing: (9) Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience; (10) Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.”

 

Here are four things specifically taught in these three verses. This is what these Old Testament laws signified.

 

1.    The way into the presence of God (which is Christ, Hebrews 10:18-20) was not clearly revealed or actually manifested while that first tabernacle stood. Until Christ came the sacrifices continued.

 

2.    The first tabernacle (v. 9) was only a symbol, a picture for the time present to typify the work of Christ.

 

3.    These sacrifices could never take away sin nor purify the conscience, so they must continually be offered (Hebrews 10:1-4).

 

4.    These ceremonies were imposed upon the children of Israel until the coming of Christ, who fulfilled them all and established the reality of a better covenant of grace.

 

Now, look at verses 11-14

 

Redemption Obtained

 

3rd — Here the Holy Spirit tells us that Christ, our great High Priest, our sin-atoning Substitute, by the sacrifice of himself, has actually accomplished and obtained eternal redemption for God’s elect by the infinite merit and efficacy of his shed blood.

 

Hebrews 9:11-14 “But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; (12) Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. (13) For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: (14) How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”

 

First, in verses 11-12, we see the efficacy of Christ’s shed blood. — The Lord Jesus Christ has, by the sacrifice of himself, fully satisfied the law and justice of God, and has thereby obtained eternal redemption for us.

 

When the appointed time came (Galatians 4:4,5). Christ the great High Priest of good things to come (peace, righteousness, reconciliation, grace, and mercy), came in a body prepared for him by the Holy Ghost.

Š      He tabernacled among men. In him God comes to sinful men and sinful men come to God.

Š      He is our Representative, our Righteousness, and our Redemption (2 Corinthians 5:19).

Š      He was numbered with the transgressors and died under the penalty of our sins.

Š      As our great High Priest, he entered once into the presence of God (the true Holy Place) and made a once-for-all atonement.

Š      Through this one offering he perfected all his elect and obtained eternal redemption for us (Hebrews 10:11-14).

Š      Now we are all priests (Christ, our great High Priest), and through Christ we can come boldly before the very throne of grace (Hebrews 4:14-16; 10:19-22; Luke 23:45).

 

Not only is his blood efficacious with God, Christ’s blood is efficacious to purge the consciences of believing sinners, as it is applied to our hearts by God the Holy Spirit.

 

Hebrews 9:13-14 “For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: (14) How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”

 

Š      When God looks on the blood, he says — “ENOUGH.”

Š      When I look on the blood, my conscience says, — “ENOUGH!”

Š      Thus, redemption was obtained.

Š      Thus redemption is applied!

 

Covenant Blood

 

4th — In verses 15-23 the Spirit of God tells us that the precious blood of Christ is the blood by which covenant grace comes to chosen sinners.

 

The saints of God throughout the Old Testament understood and believed (believing understood) these things. They trusted Christ.

 

(Hebrews 9:15-23) And for this cause he is the Mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.

 

God cannot come to sinners with grace and sinners cannot come to God for grace without the sin-atoning blood of Christ.

 

(16) For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. (17) For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth. (18) Whereupon neither the first testament was dedicated without blood. (19) For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people, (20) Saying, This is the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you. (21) Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry. (22) And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.

 

Thank God for the better sacrifice!

 

(23) It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.

 

Why does the Spirt of God here speak of Christ’s one sacrifice for sin in the plural — “sacrifices”?

Š      Plural was commonly used by the ancient Jews to speak of that which is most excellent.

Š      Our blessed Savior offered himself up to God as a sacrifice for us: — His Obedience! — His Body! — His Soul! — His Spirit! — His Humanity! — His Deity!

 

Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift!” — The better Sacrifice of the better covenant!

 

Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don Fortner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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