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Overview of Hebrews, Jesus Superiority

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Overview of Hebrews, Jesus Superiority
Bennett Spring Camp July 6, 2014

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  • 1. Hebrews, Jesus Superiority Bennett Spring Camp 2014 1 Have you ever had one of those days when everything goes wrong? It doesn’t make any difference how hard you try, it just seems that everything backfires on you? The harder you try, the worse it gets. I’m convinced that all of us have had days like that. I heard a story that illustrates this point very well. It is about a lady at the airport who bought a Kit Kat candy bar to eat while she was waiting for her plane. In the crowded waiting area she spied an empty seat at the end of a row. Rushing to get it, she quickly propped her hang up bag against the end of the row, sat down, & placed her purse & several small items on the table between her & a rather large man seated there, & then turned back to straighten her hang up bag. With everything finally in order, she was ready to eat her Kit Kat candy bar. But to her surprise, as she started to reach for it, she saw the man in the next seat unwrapping her Kit Kat candy bar, & she watched in utter amazement as he broke off a section & ate it. She thought, "Well, my goodness, I’ve never seen such nerve." She glared at him, & he looked at her, but no words were exchanged. She was so furious at what he had done that she decided that if he was going to be that brazen about it, she could be brazen, too. So she reached over to him, broke off a piece & ate it herself. Then he broke off another piece & ate it. It became almost a duel between the two of them to see who would get the most. Quickly the candy bar was consumed, & she sat there just boiling that someone would be so rude & so presumptuous as to eat half of her candy bar. Well, after a few minutes of silence, the man got up & left & then came back with another Kit Kat candy bar. He unwrapped it, broke off a piece & started eating. She thought, "Well, since he ate half of mine, I’m going to eat half of his." So she reached over & broke off another piece & ate it. Once again the same scenario was repeated until the whole candy bar was gone. She sat there thinking, "This is the most ridiculous thing that has happened to me in my whole life." She continued to glare at him, & he looked at her, with neither one saying a word. Just then, over the intercom came the announcement that her plane was ready for boarding. So she opened her purse to get her boarding pass &, to her utter embarrassment, there was her Kit Kat candy bar. She had eaten half of 2 of his candy bars, & her candy bar was still in her purse! There are times, I suppose, when things really start to go wrong. Your whole world seems to be crumbling around you & you wonder what is going on. That is probably about the way the apostles are feeling as we come to the 14th chapter of John. Their week had begun gloriously with Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, & people waving palm branches & shouting, "Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the King of Israel!" (John 12:13) Even the Pharisees & the chief priests who had been plotting against Jesus had cried out in despair, "See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after Him!" (John 12:19) But Jesus had not come to establish an earthly kingdom, & He refused the crown. Disappointed & thwarted in their dreams of a Jewish kingdom with Jesus as their miracle working king, the fickle crowd began to change. And soon the priests were once again seeking someone to betray Jesus into their hands.
  • 2. Hebrews, Jesus Superiority Bennett Spring Camp 2014 2 So as the 14th chapter of John opens, we see Jesus & His apostles in the upper room where they have eaten the Passover meal together. Jesus knew exactly what the next few hours would bring. John 14:1 NIV “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me 2 In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going.” 5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” 6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me 7 If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” Alexandra Flynn of Fremont, Nebraska, was looking forward to the 2002 homecoming dance. She left home in high spirits, but she did not have her high school ID with her. When the man at the door refused her admission without her ID, she went home to get it. Unable to find it, her mother went with her back to the dance to identify her and to explain. Again, the daughter was refused admission without the ID. Alex had the tickets in her hand, but still was not admitted. Even though Alexandra Flynn of Freemont High is the student body president, plays cello in the All-State orchestra, is on the Honor Roll, is the school’s number one cheerleader, and spent hours decorating the gym for the Homecoming Dance, she was still not admitted. Did I mention she was Homecoming Queen? Even so, she never got in. In a similar way, getting into heaven isn’t a matter of our good deeds and accomplishments. Without Jesus Christ, we have no ID to get into heaven. John 6:66 NIV From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. 67 “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve. 68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.” In his book “3:16 – The Numbers of Hope,” Max Lucado writes: How can all religions lead to God when they are so different? We don’t tolerate such illogic in other matters. We don’t pretend that all roads lead to London or all ships sail to Australia. All flights don’t land in Rome. Imagine your response to a travel agent who claims they do. You tell him you need a flight to Rome, Italy, so he looks on the screen. “Well, there is a flight to Sydney, Australia, departing at 6:00 a.m.” “Does it go to Rome?” “No, but it offers wonderful in-flight dining and movies.” “But I need to go to Rome.” “Then let me suggest Southwest Airlines.” “Southwest Airlines flies to Rome?” “No, but they have consistently won awards for on-time arrivals.” You’re growing frustrated. “I need one airline to carry me to one place: Rome.” The agent appears offended. “Sir, all flights go to Rome.” You know better. Different flights have different destinations. That’s not a thickheaded conclusion but an honest one. Every flight does not go to Rome. Every path does not lead to God. Acts 4:11 NIV He is “‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the capstone.’ 12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” The truth is the only way to God & Heaven is Jesus? Jesus makes it clear He is the only way. Here’s the problem. The Old Testament trained the Israelites, God’s chosen people, the Hebrews, to keep the law of Moses
  • 3. Hebrews, Jesus Superiority Bennett Spring Camp 2014 3 & the words of the Prophets. All the Old Testament pointed to a coming Messiah. A person God would send to save His people. In Paul’s letter to the church in Galatia he writes about the purpose of the Law of Moses. Galatians 3:15 NIV Brothers, let me take an example from everyday life. Just as no one can set aside or add to a human covenant that has been duly established, so it is in this case. 16 The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. The Scripture does not say “and to seeds,” meaning many people, but “and to your seed,” meaning one person, who is Christ. 17 What I mean is this: The law, introduced 430 years later, does not set aside the covenant previously established by God and thus do away with the promise. 18 For if the inheritance depends on the law, then it no longer depends on a promise; but God in his grace gave it to Abraham through a promise. 19 What, then, was the purpose of the law? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come. The law was put into effect through angels by a mediator. 20 A mediator, however, does not represent just one party; but God is one. 21 Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law. 22 But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe. 23 Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed. 24 So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. 25 Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law. 24 So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. At the time Jesus came into the world the Hebrew people were being dominated by the Romans. In their view the saving Messiah would come riding a white horse with a spear & sword ready to go to war & be victorious over the Romans freeing the Hebrews from domination. This Jesus who came riding a donkey, teaching peace & love was not who they were looking for. They would not accept someone they didn’t expect or desire. Christ Church was established on the day of Pentecost after Jesus’ death, burial & resurrection. The Apostles obeyed Jesus command: Matthew 28:18 NIV Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Many Hebrew people believed, repented of their sins & accepted Christ as their Savior being united with Him in baptism. Before long they were tempted to fall back into following the Law of Moses. In order to persuade & encourage these Hebrew Christians to continue following Jesus a letter was written to them demonstrating how Jesus was greater than, superior to, everything from the Old Testament. This week you will be studying the letter to the Hebrew Christians. In my time this evening I want to touch on some of the letter’s highlights. Most I’m sure you will study in depth. Here are some things you will learn. Jesus is greater than the prophets. Hebrews 1:1NIV In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. 3a The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. Jesus is greater than the Angels
  • 4. Hebrews, Jesus Superiority Bennett Spring Camp 2014 4 3b After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. 4 So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs. 5 For to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are my Son; today I have become your Father’”? Jesus is greater than the Moses Hebrews 3:1 NIV Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess. 2 He was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses was faithful in all God’s house. 3 Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself. 4 For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything. 5 Moses was faithful as a servant in all God’s house, testifying to what would be said in the future. 6 But Christ is faithful as a son over God’s house. And we are his house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast. Jesus is greater than Joshua’s salvation-rest. Hebrews 4:6 NIV It still remains that some will enter that rest, and those who formerly had the gospel preached to them did not go in, because of their disobedience. 7 Therefore God again set a certain day, calling it Today, when a long time later he spoke through David, as was said before: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.” 8 For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. 9 There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; 10 for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. 11 Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience. Jesus is greater than the Priests in the linage of Aaron. (4:14-7:28) Jesus is the great high priest (4:14-16) Hebrews 4:14 NIV Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, 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 sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. 16 Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 5:4 NIV No one takes this honor upon himself; he must be called by God, just as Aaron was. 5 So Christ also did not take upon himself the glory of becoming a high priest. But God said to him, “You are my Son; today I have become your Father.’” 6 And he says in another place, “You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.” Jesus is greater than the tabernacle ministry. Hebrews 8:1 NIV The point of what we are saying is this: We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, 2 and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by man. 3 Every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices, and so it was necessary for this one also to have something to offer. 4 If he were on earth, he would not be a priest, for there are already men who offer the gifts prescribed by the law. 5 They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: “See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.” But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises.
  • 5. Hebrews, Jesus Superiority Bennett Spring Camp 2014 5 Jesus’ new covenant is greater than the old covenant. Hebrews 8:6 NIV But the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, and it is founded on better promises. 7 For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another. 8 But God found fault with the people and said: “The time is coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. 9 It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they did not remain faithful to my covenant, and I turned away from them, declares the Lord. 10 This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. 11 No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. 12 For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” 13 By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear. Jesus’ Sacrifice is greater than OT Sacrifice. Hebrews 10:9 NIV Then he said, “Here I am, I have come to do your will.” He sets aside the first to establish the second. 10 And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. 11 Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. 13 Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool, 14 because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy. Experiencing Jesus is greater than the experience on Mount Sinai. Hebrews 12:18 NIVYou have not come to a mountain that can be touched and that is burning with fire; to darkness, gloom and storm; 19 to a trumpet blast or to such a voice speaking words that those who heard it begged that no further word be spoken to them, 20 because they could not bear what was commanded: “If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned.” 21 The sight was so terrifying that Moses said, “I am trembling with fear.” 22 But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, 23 to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, 24 to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. 25 See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven? The superiority of Jesus is the driving theme in the letter to the Hebrews. We read earlier Jesus Himself said the only way to God the Father is through Him. We must keep Jesus in the center of our lives. Focus on Him! Matthew7:13 NIV “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. But small is the gate. It is not that it is small, or narrow, in itself, but that we want to crowd through it with the world upon our shoulders. We want to take the swellings of our pride, our self-will, of our darling sins. It is too narrow for these, but will easily allow us to pass in it we renounce all and cleave to Christ, and that way is self- denial and non-conformity to the world.
  • 6. Hebrews, Jesus Superiority Bennett Spring Camp 2014 6 Only a few find it. It has to be sought. The reason that men do not find it is not because it is hard to find, but because they prefer to walk in the broad way. They can walk in it without repentance, surrender to the will of Christ, self-denial, humility and purity of life. (BWJ) Jesus is the narrow gate we must enter through to have life. Are there a lot of people traveling on the same road of life you’re on? Is your daily walk easy? If so you, better start looking for the narrow road because Jesus tells us the way to Him is hard and few will find Him. "If you've never meet the devil, it's because you and he have been going the same direction. You just change direction by turning to Jesus and starting to obey him in life and you will meet the forces of hell head on!" Peter writes: 2 Peter 1:3 NIVHis divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. Everything we need for life and godliness is available to us through the knowledge of him, Jesus, who called us to his own glory and excellence. Where can we find knowledge of Him? We find everything we need in God’s Word, the Bible, Holy Scriptures. 2 Timothy 3:16NIVAll Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. As you study & learn from the letter to the Hebrews found in God’s Word notice how Jesus Christ is greater that anyone or anything else. He is the center of everything! Nothing would be here without Him & everything here is for Him. Will you focus on Jesus & make Him the center of your life? It is only through Jesus we have any hope of being with God the Father. Please be one of the few who find & enter the narrow gate. Can we stay focused on Christ Jesus like Paul was? Philippians 3:12NIV Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.