Memphis Belle

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Hebrews 1:1-14
Hebrews 2:1-18
Hebrews 3:1-19 Hebrews 4:1-16
Hebrews 5:1-14
Hebrews 6:1-20 Hebrews 7:1-28 Hebrews 8:1-13
Hebrews 9:1-28 Hebrews 10:1-39 Hebrews 11:1-4 Hebrews 11:5-8
Hebrews 11:9-16 Hebrews 11:17-22 Hebrews 11:23-27 Hebrews 11:28-31
Hebrews 11:32-40 Hebrews 12:4-29 Hebrews 13:1-25 What is Faith ?

 

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Hebrews 9:1-28

 

"Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary.  For there was a tabernacle made; the first, wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the shewbread; which is called the sanctuary.  And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all; 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 table of the covenant; and over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercy-seat; of which we cannot now speak particularly.  Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God.  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 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.  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; which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.  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; 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.  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:  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?  And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament [covenant], that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament [covenant], they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.  For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.  For a testament is of force after men are dead:  otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.  Whereupon neither the first testament was dedicated without blood.  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, saying, This is the blood of the testament [covenant] which God hath enjoined unto you.  Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry.  And almost all things are by law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.  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.  For Christ is not entered the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:  nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; for then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world:  but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.  And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:  so Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation."

 

The Physical Temple, Tabernacle, And The Whole Sacrificial System Pictured Christ's Redemptive Sacrifice Offered Before The Heavenly Tabernacle

 

Verse 13 of Hebrews 8, "In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old." Now what does it mean, he has madeÉhe's made the first covenant old?  Here it is, "Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away."  That's what the writer to the Hebrews says at this point in time, the old covenant was in that state, 'it decayeth, waxeth old, and is vanishing away.'   "Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary." (Hebrews 9:1)  There were tabernacles, the temple, "For there was a tabernacle made, the first, wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the shewbread; which is called the sanctuary." (verse 2)  Now King James says "candlestick," they never used a candlestick, because that's the Lampstand [Menorah].  "And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all; 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;" (verses 3-4) Now just an interesting note, here he enters into the Holiest of all, and says 'there's the golden censer and the ark of the covenant,' he doesn't mention the table of incense on the outside of the veil.  Well those are two different things, the priests, Leviticus 16:12 and 13, Aaron when he consecrated the Holy of Holies went in with a censer of incense so that the smoke would ascend before the Mercy Seat, it says.  So he's making a point that yes, these things were set up, they were established when they were, 'even within the veil there was the golden censer,' "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;" (verse 4) the two tables of the Law, "and over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercy-seat; of which we cannot now speak particularly." (verse 5)  Paul says, 'I'm not gonna get off into that whole thing.'  You know, the old scene, the priests would come in, outer court, [wash themselves in] the bronze laver and so forth, the altar [of sacrifices, burnt offerings], ah, he would come into the holy place.  As you entered into the holy place, on your left side was the Menorah, the Lampstand, and on your right side was the table of showbread, and then right in front of the veil was the table of incense.  And once a year, on the Day of Atonement, the high priest would go in behind the veil [into the Holy of Holies] and offer blood upon the Mercy-Seat, between the cherubim, the place of propitiation where God's wrath was satisfied, he'd pour out that blood on the broken law and so forth.  And I can't imagine what it was like in there, if there was smoke of incense, and shining through that smoke was the Shikinah presence of God that he allowed to manifest between those carved, those cherubim made of gold on the Mercy-Seat, what it must have been like for that high priest to go in there.  By the first century, by the time of Christ, that priest would hang out in the temple for an entire week, fasting and praying and getting himself ready.  And by the time of Christ, they would put a rope around his ankle, because if he went in there to officiate before the Lord, and died, you know are you going to flip coins to see who goes in and gets him?  Or is he going to lay in there till the next year when the next guy goes in and brings him out again?  So they would tie a rope around his ankle, bells on the hem of his garment, and if the bells stopped ringing, and they thought he died in there, they pulled him out from under the veil.  Again, interesting picture.  The Romans in the time of Christ, when somebody was on their way to crucifixion, and they carried the crossbeam that would be tied to their arms, they would put a leather rope around their ankle, and from time to time pull their legs out from under them, so they would slam down on their face, and even our High Priest, with the rope around his ankle, it seems, historically, ah, part of the Roman cruelty.  All of these things he said, the cherubim there, and he said over the mercy-seat, which we're not going to speak of at this point in time, "Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God. i.e. the holy place [the outer room of the tabernacle or temple], "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:" (verses 6-7)  Interesting, he offered for himself, and for the sins of ignorance of the people.  God would never have been satisfied with the high priest coming in once a year, and offering blood for the sins of the nation, and everybody thinking 'Oh I can do anything I want the rest of the year, because every year I'm covered.'  No, those were for sins of ignorance, it was for the sin of the nation, because you and I, you know, if we're still under the Law there could be a hundred things we could do, not realizing it, where we had broken the law, the heart of God.  Ah, when you committed sin or trespassed, you went and offered a lamb, there were sin offerings and trespass offerings.  There were offerings they offered all year when they sinned, they did something wrong.  But once a year when that priest went in, he offered for himself and for the whole nation, and for the sins of ignorance, for the sins that were committed that the nation wasn't even aware of.  It says here "the errors of the people:"  "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:" (verse 8)  In other words, this didn't satisfy anything, it had to be repeated every year, the way into the Holiest of all, for everyone, was not yet manifest.  "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;" (verse 9)  Even the high priest, you know, you made these sacrifices, but it didn't purge the conscience, there was still a consciousness of frailty and of sin.  He says, "Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation." (verse 10)  Until the time of reality, "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;" that they were clinging to, "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." (verses 11-12)  So Jesus is both the offering and the offerer, he's both the High Priest and the sacrifice, and he's going to tell us why.  "by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place," not the Holy Place in Jerusalem, the Holy Place in heaven, "having obtained eternal redemption for us."  What is the value of the blood of Christ?  'Not with the blood of bulls and goats, but with his own blood, once, he entered once, it says into the Holy Place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.'  That means when he died, he paid, in Romans 3:25 says, 'God was patient, longsuffering, in regards to the sins of past generations, because he knew Christ was coming, and his wrath would be satisfied there when Christ would come,'  And when you and I accepted Christ, we accepted someone who died once for us, he doesn't need to die for us again.  Because the power of his sacrifice paid for our sins, past, present, and future.  That should never give any of us an excuse to sin or live in sin, or to think 'oh yea, I'm saved by grace.'  [Comment:  And just so you know what the Bible definition of sin is, the apostle John defined sin in 1st John 3:4, "Sin is the transgression of the law."  That's not being legalistic, that's the Bible definition for sin, not any church denomination's definition.  And we're told throughout the New Testament not to sin, or put another way, according to John's definition, we're told not to be breaking God's law.]  No, no, no.  You know, no family here in America, who watched their son or their daughter die in Iraq, will ever take for granted the sacrifice that they made, will never take for granted the sacrifice of someone laying down their life so we can enjoy the freedoms we have.  And none of us should ever take that for granted either.  And yet somehow, we can get in this frame of mind, with God's own Son, who made the greatest sacrifice, and didn't die just once, he died eternally somehow, because payment was sufficient for the sins of every generation.  Somehow his payment, again, before he died said 'It is finished,' something happened in those three hours of darkness we can hardly understand, that paid for everything.  And yet somehow we think, 'Well, you know, I'm saved by grace, so I can continue living this way, or I can continue to sin,' and the One who died with the most honour, with the greatest sacrifice, somehow, we can allow ourselves to take that for granted and just live in compromise.  Now look, I'm not just preaching to the choir, I'm challenging myself too.  I'm not saying this to condemn anybody here.  I am saying it so that everybody here would be encouraged and understand the value of that blood that was shed once and for fall.  I'm saying that, so anybody here whose living in compromise can come to terms with it and say 'You know what?  That blood was so powerful, I can go to him now and say 'Lord, forgive me, I confess my sins, you're faithful and just to forgive me, to cleanse me from all unrighteousness, Father I want to come home as the prodigal, and I know that the payment of Christ was sufficient.'  Because he said here, the great thing about the way that he would work is 'For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.'  Now this better covenant, this better priesthood,

 

Christ Has Removed That Guilt That Hangs Over Us Because He's Paid The Price Once And For All

 

"neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once" arotis tense, 'never to be repeated,' "into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.  For if the blood of bulls and goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh:" if God accepted the temporary value of these things, "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?" (verses 12-14)  We could spend a week on this verse.  "how much more?" that's the first question, "how much more?", if in fact in the tabernacle there were sacrifices, offerings, sprinkling of the ashes of a heifer and so forth, if God accepted them in their temporary capacity for what they represented, "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?"   Notice, "through the eternal Spirit" Isn't it interesting, because it says 'God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son,' Jesus said, 'No man takes my life, but I lay it down myself, and I take it up again,' here it says he was offered "through the eternal Spirit".  Who offered up Christ, the Father, the Son or the Holy Spirit?  Yup.  Now we have here the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit in this verse.  "how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God," he offered himself without spot, or blemish.  A spot was inherent [inherited], a blemish was acquired.  When you came to the old tabernacle or temple and you were going offer a lamb for a sin offering, the priest would come and examine that animal.  He never examined you, never examined the worshipper, because it was taken for granted you were there because you were a sinner.  But he examined the lamb, he never examined the worshipper.  And that lamb couldn't have a spot, that would be something it was born with, or a blemish.  In other words, you couldn't bring a three-legged lamb, 'ah, you know, this one, let's offer it,' God wouldn't take any of that.  We try to give that now, but he wouldn't take any of that.  Because that lamb was a picture of the One who was to come who was going to offer himself without spot or blemish.  Here Christ, 'without spot, offers himself through the eternal Spirit to God,' "to purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God"  God doesn't want you to live out your Christian experience with a guilty conscience.  I don't want to live that way.  Oh, don't get me wrong, I'm aware of my frailty and my weaknesses, I'm aware of the things in my life that are not Christlike, where God's still conforming me into the image of his Son.  But I don't want to walk around like Eore, 'Ooooh, I hope that I'm saved, I hope God looooves meeee, if I was him I wouldn't looove meeee,' you know.  'Oh boy, I think I'll get saved, look how happy he [Eore] is.'  He wants to purge our conscience in regards to that, to cleanse us of that weight.  And a lot of Christians carry that around.  Look, I pray that if you're in compromise you're under the conviction of the Spirit, that's a blessing.  I hope you don't sleep, I hope you get ulcers, because I love you, until you turn back to God, because he could come any day, look at what's going on in the world.  You want to be walking with him when he comes.  But Christ has removed that guilt that hangs over us because he's paid the price once and for all, and we're growing in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, and it's part of the joy that we should have.  You know that I know that if I die tonight, I'm going to go to heaven [or be ushered into the Kingdom of heaven at the time of the 1st resurrection to immortality], not because of my performance, but because of the price that he paid, and the fact that it's accepted of God.  'He offered himself by the eternal Spirit to God,' 'to purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God"  So there's a difference between works and serving.  We should serve the living God.  But he's died to purge your conscience from dead works, because people with a guilty conscience are always trying to earn brownie points.  'I was bad last week, but this week I got four stars on my refrigerator, and if I keep this up, at least I'm not like that guy with two stars on his refrigerator, I got four stars on my refrigerator,' and we love to do that.  All our righteousness is like filthy rags, there isn't anything that deserves anything before God.  So our relationship to God should not be in context of dead works, but in serving the living God.  I serve him because he's alive, I serve him because he's my Saviour, I serve him because he loves me, I love him because he first loved me.  That's what the Bible says, he doesn't deal with me according to my sins or my iniquities, Christ has taken care of that [but also as Pastor Joe said, we're not to be living in sin, a sinning lifestyle].  And the joy of the Christian experience is we have a relationship with the Living God, it's real and it's alive.  And in our imperfection we walk with him and he continues to do the good work he's begun in each of us, conforming us into the image of his own Son.  And even in the ages to come he'll be speaking to us of his grace and of his glory. 

 

The New And Old Covenant Are Written Like A Will, Like A Last Will And Testament

 

To "purge us from dead works to serve the living God"  "And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament [covenant], that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament [covenant]," for the things that were the breaking of the law under the Law of Moses, he's the mediator of this new covenant to deal with those transgressions, that "they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance." (verse 15) a better covenant.  "For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.  For a testament is of force after men are dead:  otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth."  (verses 16-17))  Now I want you to think of this in context with a will.  I've just been working through wills with my mom and dad.  "For where a testament is, a will is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator."  Ah, the will, doesn't come into effect until the person who made the will dies.  When the person who made the will dies, then if you're the recipient, if you inherit, you're the benefactor, then you receive, because then that will is in effect.  'For a testament, a will is in force after men are dead.  Otherwise, it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.'  If you're going to get something in somebody's will, it doesn't do you any good, when they're alive that's not going to happen, it's not a reality.  Now sad to  say, often times in the church, I've seen families, 'They left her that bowling-pin lamp, I told them all the time I wanted that,' I've seen families go to war over stuff.  You know, the thing is if you get the bowling-pin lamp, you're going to leave it in your will too, you're not going to take it with you, so there's no sense going to war over it.  John Courson, I heard him once read this article about in France there was this aged widow, she was 90-years-old, and she lived in this beautiful villa, and she really didn't have any family.  And somebody in the area who knew her said, and he was in his forties, he said, 'Let me do this, he said, how about if I begin to pay you rent on this villa now, I'll pay you $500 a month for this villa.  And when you die, you leave it to me in your will.'  And they made a legal agreement and everything.  Well, years later, the guy, when he's 72 years old, dies, the widow, whose turning 120 the next week is still alive, and because of the way they wrote the papers up, the guy's kids now have to pay her the $500 a month.  [laughter] [Gotta love God's sense of humour.]  And she said, "Some people just make a bad deal."  It was her commentary.  Because the will is of no effect as long as the person who wrote the will is still alive.  Now he's going to make, we don't have time to get all the way down into the point that he's going to make here, but the point he's going to make is the amazing thing about Christ is, he's both the one whose dead, and he's the executor of the will too.  That he died, so that the covenant would be enforced, but he's also living, as the executor to make sure that we get all of the benefits of the things that were in the will that we were supposed to get through his death.  And he's going to say that also is better, and how, than any earthly will that's made or extended to us.  We'll read through it a little bit here.  You want to race to the end?  [this is part of a sermon covering Hebrews 8-9, so he's already covered all of Hebrew 8 in this one-hour Bible study, of which this is only half.]  Sure.  Anything to get through Hebrews.  [he laughs.  He spends six one-hour Bible studies on Hebrews 11, so I'm not laughing with him.]  Verse 17, "For a testament [covenant] is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth."  "Whereupon neither the first testament was dedicated without blood.  For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats [Exodus 24], with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people, saying, This is the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you.  Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry.  And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without the shedding of blood is no remission [i.e. of sin]." (verses 17-22)  He's going to make a point, there was death attached to the Law of Moses.  So, he's making a point, even in the first covenant, there was a death that made it official, because it was through the blood of bulls and goats, and all of those things were sprinkled and sanctified and purged and purified, so that they would be effective in a temporary sense. 

 

Jesus Is Both The High Priest And The Sacrifice

 

Now he's going to go on in regards to the true covenant, "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." (verse 23)  Now what he's saying was 'it was therefore necessary that the pattern, that was the earthly tabernacle, temple, of things in the heavens, they were just patterns, should be purified with these, the blood of lambs,'  "but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these." Than of the blood of bulls and goats, "For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true [reality]; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:" (verse 24)  So he's saying, 'Christ made the second covenant effective by his death and by his blood, he wrote us in his will, so that when he died, he would leave us eternal life and forgiveness, and now that he's died, his will, his covenant is effective, but he's ascended into heaven there where he purges the heavenly scene, because, you know, Satan had access there, you and I are seated in heavenly places with Christ Jesus [in some way we don't understand yet], and all of that is purged the way God wants it, and set on record once and for all, by what he has accomplished, and interesting, he's both the high priest and the sacrifice, he's both the offerer and the offering, he's both the person who died and made the will effective, and he's also the executor of the will to make sure that it gets fulfilled.'  It is an interesting picture of covenants that I believe Paul here is drawing.

 

Jesus' Sacrifice Was Once For All, Covers All Our Sins, Once For All, Sufficient For The Sins Of The World

 

"Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; for then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world:  but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself." (verses 25-26)  Christ, you know, his death was final, he died one time to put away sin, not like the high priest who had to go every year into the Holy of Holies, because it was impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to put away sin.  'But he himself, once in these last days, hath appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself,'  "As it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:" (verse 27)  Important verse.  It's particularly important if you're sitting here tonight thinking 'What in the world was this guy talking about?  I knew my cousin was involved in a cult, I come to this place with a drum, a guy with a Hawaiian shirt, nobody knows how to dress, they're in church, they don't know what they're supposed to look like, and he's talking about all this stuff, and I don't believe any of this.'  Wait a minute, we came to a verse that's for you.  "it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment."  Shake off your reincarnation, it ain't gonna happen.  You ain't coming back as a Chiwawa or a mosquito or a cow, you ain't coming back, it's appointed unto men once to die, that's the way it goes, and then the judgment.  This is not talking about near-death experiences.  Near-death experiences is one of the greatest deceptions being hoisted on our culture.  They got TV shows about it.  If you got near death and saw pretty lights and heard music, I'm glad for you, Satan can play a flute, I have no doubt about that.  But the truth is, everybody in this room, we're not getting near death, we're getting all the way into it.  I don't want to know about a near-death experience, I want to know about a dead-experience, and that's Jesus Christ, dead for three days, back, risen.  Because it's appointed unto men once to die, then the judgment, you stand before God.  You leave this physical frame.  When your body dies, you don't die.  You are a spiritual being.  You're living in this tent, this cage, this space-suit, you die, your physical frame dies, you don't die, you continue to live. Look, you're not a believer? you're here tonight? When you dream at night, in your room, there's no light in your room, but in your dream you're seeing light.  There's no monsters in your room, but you're getting chased by a monster, in your dream.  And your body's laying still, but you're running and you know you can't run any faster than this monster chasing you in a dream [laughter].  Even if you turn around and punch him, all your muscles goes like this [laughter].  And then when you wake up, your heart is pounding, baboom, baboom, baboom! you're sweating, you could have had a heart-attack in that dream, and it may never had ended.  Because you don't need light to see light, and you don't need sounds to hear, and you don't need this physical reality to experience.  Because when the physical frame dies, we slip out into eternity.  And that's when we stand before God. [Comment:  What he's presenting is "immortal soul" theology, and  differing parts of the Body of Christ have differing beliefs about this, as to whether it's true or not.  see, http://www.unityinchrist.com/plaintruth/battle.htm for some other takes on this subject of final judgment and the immortality of the soul.]  It's appointed unto man once to die, and then the judgment. 

 

Unto Those Who Are Expectantly Looking For Christ, He Shall Appear The Second Time Without Sin Unto Salvation

 

"so Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation." (verse 28)  The great thing is, he died once and paid the price for our sins.  "and unto them that look for him" now that's expectantly, the construct in the language, 'unto those who are expectantly looking for Christ, he' "shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation."  A lot of people say 'The Messiah's coming,' no, he's coming back.  When he comes back the second time, he's not coming back to deal with sin, he dealt with sin the first time.  When he comes the second time, he's coming on a white horse, his vesture dipped in blood, he's coming as Judge, he's coming as King, he's coming as Sovereign, not in regards to sin.  But he's coming for those who are expectantly looking for him, the return of Christ.  I hope that all of us walk with the Living God, I hope that we just don't, you know, we can grow up in the Church, we can be around Christianity so long we take for granted Bible studies, and we can be so right that we're dead right, we're so theologically correct, that our trinity is the Father, Son and dead orthodoxy, and we've lost track of reality.  I was thinking about that, because I have this little article I found in the paper, it says, "Construction workers in Tokyo knew a building they were preparing for demolition was old and decrepit, but what they found must have surprised them.  In a forgotten apartment workers discovered a skeleton reclining on a futon, still wearing pajamas, the man a former construction worker himself, had died 20 years ago, and was found with a newspaper on his lap dated February 20th, 1984.  Neither his family nor his employer had enquired after he went missing.  One elderly neighbor said he didn't even know that that apartment existed."  They found the guy when they were getting ready to, they found this guy when they opened this door, getting ready to tear this whole building down, and here was an apartment that nobody knew was an apartment, they found a guy sitting in a chair, a skeleton in pajamas with a newspaper from 1984.  And I think, 'Lord, I don't want you to find me like that.'  You know, so right in my theology, that all I want to do is argue about predestination, and theology.  It's good to have your own personal theology, but the greatest theology is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  The greatest theology is walking every day with the Saviour, through the Holy Spirit, God being alive in our lives, and his Word being alive to us.  And the thing that Paul is challenging these Hebrew Christians, the Law, it served it's purpose, but it is nothing compared to the fact that we now have a living High Priest, in a living tabernacle and sanctuary, that everything we have is the reality of all of those things, where simply religion is just the pattern or the type or the shadow of relationship.  God doesn't want religion with us, he wants relationship with us.  He sent his Son to die in the world so that we could be saved and know him, not so we could go to a father's club every Sunday and see a picture of him holding his robe up and crowds appearing.  I've got four kids, I don't want them to come see me every Sunday for an hour and have no relationship with them, that's not why he did what he did.  He decided not to, through the blood of Christ, not to remember our sins and our iniquities, to receive us in faith, to make us his sons and daughters, so that we don't have to serve him with a guilty conscience, after dead works, rather we can serve the true and Living God, and we can live in expectancy, and we can deal with our failings and our weaknesses, knowing that he's forming Christ in us.  And that when he comes, if he comes tonight, if he comes tomorrow, he's going to say to us, 'Well done, thou good and faithful servant, enter into the joy the Lord prepared for you from the foundation of the world.'  What a hope he's given to us.  I'm going to have the musicians come, we'll sing a last song together and lift our hearts to the Lord.  Ah, read ahead, if the Lord tarries, next Wednesday we'll be in the 10th chapter headed into the 11th chapter.  And let's do this as we stand and pray, let's stand together, and if you don't know this Jesus we're talking about, feel free, if God puts it on your heart, and you want to come forward and be saved tonight, I know if a friend brought you they're going to be saying 'come on, come on, come on, I'll go down with you,' then you come.  And you know, I encourage you at the end of the service, not to run out, if this is your church, I think praying for what God continues to do is the responsibility that falls on all of us.  Sometimes during the service you may have been looking at someone thinking 'I wonder if they're saved, I wonder,' and you know the Lord has been telling you "Pray for that person, pray for that person, I love that person, pray for them."  So, let's bow our hearts, let's pray, let's lift our voices to the Lord and sing this last song.  And tonight, look, if you feel you're outside of all of this, 'I don't know this God, I grew up in the Church, I grew up in religion, but I sure don't know God the way he's talking about God, and I know if I die tonight, I might die in my sins, I don't know where I'd spend eternity.'  Please don't leave like that, you can get fixed tonight.  You come forward and let Jesus cleanse you, and give you a new beginning, give you hope, beyond the grave, beyond the grave.  Because everything here is just a shadow of the greater reality.  And this life, the Bible says, is like a dream, like a vapor snap! goes by like that.  [transcript of a connective expository sermon on Hebrews 9:1-28, given by Pastor Joe Focht, Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia, 13500 Philmont Avenue, Philadelphia, PA  19116]

 

 

 

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