Sunday, July 9, 2017

Paul's Epistles – Hebrews – Part 7: Jesus the Great High Priest

Paul's Epistles – Hebrews – Part 7:
Jesus the Great High Priest
Pastor Bruce A. Shields

The “official” writer of this epistle is unknown. However, I obviously believe it is Paul since I have included it in the “Paul’s Epistles” Sermon Series.

I believe there is enough evidence from early scholars to agree this was more than likely Paul’s work.

Last week we examined Paul’s writings on Jesus, the Son being Greater than Angels.

This week, Paul will give a warning for listeners to pay attention, and the fact that Jesus was made fully human.

We have already seen in Hebrews so far;

·        Jesus is greater than angels

·        And that we are to pay the most careful attention to Jesus and His way so we do not stray

·        And how Jesus (New Covenant) is greater than Moses (Old Covenant)

·        Paul’s warning about unbelief

·        A Sabbath Rest for the People of God

“Jesus the Great High Priest”

Hebrews 4:14
Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

The overall message of this epistle to the church is;
The Cure for Lacking Boldness or Courage in your Christian Faith and Backsliding is a Right beginning for the Glory and Work of Christ”

a. Jesus, Son of God, our Great High Priest
                                                                 i. What is a High Priest?

                                                              ii. Everything in the Old Testament pointed to Christ

                                                           iii. The High Priest in the Old Testament represented a foreshadowing of Christ and His position

1. The High Priest was the supreme religious leader of the Israelites, and was hereditary, chosen by God from the Tribe of Levite (Exodus 28:1; Numbers 18:7) and can be traced back to Aaron, the brother of Moses.

2. Jesus, likewise, is the Supreme leader of the Church, namely the Head of the Body of Christ.

                                                            iv. One of the High Priests duties was overseeing the responsibilities of the subordinate priests (Equivalent to Jesus overseeing the Spiritual Leaders in the Church, the Elders)

                                                               v.  The High Priest had to offer a sin offering for the sins of the entire congregation, in the same way, Jesus as the High Priest of the Church offered Himself as the sin offering for all those who accept Him to become part of His congregation.
                                                            vi. When the high priest died, all those who were confined to the cities refuge for accidentally causing the death of another person were granted freedom, just as when Christ died, we were freed from sin as well.

                                                         vii. But the most important duty of the High Priest was to conduct service on the Day of Atonement.

                                                      viii. He was the ONLY one allowed to enter the Holy of Holies behind the veil and stand before God, make a sacrifice, sprinkling the blood on the mercy seat, God’s Throne.

                                                            ix. In the very same way, our High Priest, Jesus, Atoned for us with His sacrifice and blood, and now sits at God’s right hand.

b. Ascended into (LIT. has gone through) the Heavens
                                                                 i. As mentioned, Jesus, as High Priest, now sits at the right hand of God

                                                              ii. To do this, He returned to “heaven”, or the “third” heaven.

1. Lit translation states in verse 14 “… {Jesus} passed through the heavens…”

2. As explained in my book “Heaven & Hell, an In-depth view of Old Testament Man” there are three “heavens” scripture speaks of.
a. God first created His abode, where He actually dwells, first in Genesis 1:1, this, being the furthest “heaven” from earth is referred to as the “Third Heaven”
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        i.      Hashamayim in Hebrew
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     ii.      Ouranos in Greek

b. God created the sky around us next in Genesis 1:68, this is where the clouds and birds exist (as well as the powers and principalities we war against in Ephesians 6) called Hayamiym in Hebrew; this is the “First heaven” because it is closest to Earth.

c. Finally the “heaven” that separates our sky from the abode of God, outer space where the stars and planets are. God created this thirdly in Genesis 1:14-17, but it is referred to as the “Second Heaven” in between our sky and God’s abode.

                                                           iii. Paul states Jesus ascended, or “has gone through” the heavens.

                                                            iv. This was after His atoning death to sit at the Right Hand of God on the Throne.

c. Hold firmly to the faith we profess
                                                                 i. THEREFORE {since we have a Great High Priest who has ascended the heavens, Jesus the Son of God}

                                                              ii. “Let us hold FIRMLY to the faith we PROFESS”

                                                           iii. Paul has instructed many to “walk the talk”
1. Many do not

2. This is why so many mock “so-called Christians”

                                                            iv. What my experience has been;
1. “Christians” involved in the world

2. Forming their own religion, not based on True Doctrine

3. Jesus-Cults

4. TV Evangelists scammers

5. Regular people claiming something they do not live

                                                               v. Jesus’ letter to the one of the seven churches makes it clear how the Lord feels about this in Revelation 3:15-16

                                                            vi. To the church at Laodicea, I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spew (vomit) you out of my mouth.”

                                                         vii. LIT 2 Peter 2:20for it were better to them not to have acknowledged the way of the righteousness, than having acknowledged [it], to turn back from the holy command delivered to them,”

                                                      viii. If you profess Christ, call yourself a “Christian”, be on fire for the Lord, otherwise, if you are “lukewarm”, the Lord will vomit you out.

                                                            ix. It is better in God’s eyes to never know Him than to know Him and be lukewarm.

                                                               x. SO…Hold FIRMLY to the faith you profess!

a. Jesus can empathize with our weaknesses
                                                                 i. Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness
1. If you are God, prove it, feed your hunger
2. If you are God, prove it, try to commit suicide
3. I will give you the world if you bow down and worship me

b. He was tempted in every way just as we are
                                                                 i. I believe there were many temptations not recorded, and some that were explained and described, but sometimes overlooked by us.
1. I believe Jesus was being tempted in the garden before the crucifixion, perhaps tempted to run, hide, find another “way” to save humankind.

2. Matthew 26:39 Jesus prayed, “…if there be any other way…”

c. Yet He did not sin
                                                                 i. Why?
                                                              ii. It is actually simple…He trusted in God

                                                           iii. With the power of the Holy Spirit, you have the strength to turn from any temptation!

                                                            iv.   I Corinthians 10:13 “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”
                                                               v. This can be us…

a. Approach God’s throne of Grace with confidence
                                                                 i. Confidence - the feeling or belief that one can rely on someone or something; firm trust.

                                                              ii. Approach God’s Throne in Trust, Belief, Faith, Conviction

b. So we may “receive mercy” and “find grace”
                                                                 i. RECEIVE God’s Mercy – charity, clemency, leniency, kindness, and compassion, the forbearing of punishment even when justice demands it.

                                                              ii. FIND God’s Grace – His unmerited mercy, favor, the God gives because of you belonging to Christ

c. To help us in our time of need
                                                                 i. When we need it most!

CONCLUSION – THEREFORE {since we have a Great High Priest who has ascended the heavens, Jesus the Son of God}

Hold FIRMLY to the faith you profess!

I Corinthians 10:13No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”

And approach the Throne of God confident of receiving His mercy and finding His grace!

Want to learn more about Salvation and Getting Saved?   

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