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Christ, the Better Sacrifice

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman
The Truth Network Radio
December 19, 2021 6:00 pm

Christ, the Better Sacrifice

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman

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Good many of you are aware of the legacy and the ministry of Charles Haddon Spurgeon. I want to remind you that the first words that he spoke from his pulpit at the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London were these. I say of the ministry of this house, as long as this platform shall stand, and as long as this house shall be frequented by worshippers, shall be the person of Jesus Christ. I am never ashamed to avow myself a Calvinist. I do not hesitate to take the name of Baptist, but if I'm asked what is my creed, I reply, it is Jesus Christ.

I would pin and bind myself forever, God helping me. Jesus Christ is my legacy. He is the arm and the substance of the Gospel, who is in himself all theology, the incarnation of every precious truth." End of quote. You know, if you could go back in time and meet some people who have traveled this pilgrim way, he's one person I would like to meet. And you know what? We will.

I will. We're going to take eternity to meet all the saints of God and to enjoy all that God has for us. Well, I've chosen this portion from Hebrews chapter 10 this morning for an obvious reason. It focuses our attention on the person and the work of the Lord Jesus Christ. I chose it for some other reasons. I chose it also because it connects the incarnation with his saving work on Calvary. I chose it also because we have the words of the Lord Jesus Christ spoken to the Father concerning the incarnation.

It's rare that we have that. We don't have many other places in the Scriptures where we can go and find that, but we have the Lord Jesus Christ speaking to his Father about the body that was prepared for him in eternity past and the purposes of God that he might come to this earth in the incarnation. So, those are a couple of the reasons I've chosen this passage, so let's look this morning at Hebrews chapter 4, and there are four things that I would like to draw your attention to. Number one, I want us to see how the Old Testament Scriptures point us to Jesus Christ, and when I speak of the Old Testament Scriptures, I'm speaking of the Old Testament Scriptures that deal with the ceremony and the sacrificial system, the Levitical priesthood, because that's the focus of the writer of Hebrews here in the first four verses.

So, we'll look at that. Secondly, we will consider the body of Jesus Christ. We will consider some things, why it was necessary for Jesus to have a body, why it was necessary for God the Father to prepare a body for his Son, and then we'll consider some things that are unique about the body of the Lord Jesus. Number three, I want you to consider with me, the passage speaks about the obedience of Jesus Christ.

And then lastly, we'll consider the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and what that sacrifice accomplished. The best way to understand the book of Hebrews is to understand the use of the word better, and you can trace that theme through the entire book. And the writer of Hebrews is trying to communicate to us that Jesus Christ is better in every way. He's better than the angels, chapters one and two. He's better than Moses, chapters three and four. He's better than the Aaronic priesthood, chapters four through seven. Christ establishes a better covenant, a superior covenant, chapters eight and nine. Christ offers a superior sacrifice, chapter 10, where we are this morning. Christ is the author and pioneer of a superior way, the way of faith, in chapter 11. So this epistle is best understood by understanding the superiority of Jesus Christ.

And if you've never looked at the book in that way, I would encourage you to do that very thing. Let's read the first four verses as we consider the Old Testament scriptures and how they pointed to Jesus Christ. Again, the writer says, For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never, with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect.

But then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshippers, once purified, would have had no more consciousness of sins. But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins. Notice the first few words of verse one, the law.

And how is the law characterized? It's characterized as having a shadow, a shadow of the good things to come. Now it's hard for us to think about a shadow on a rainy, overcast day, but not hard in our mind's eye to think about a sunny day. And we're out and there's a shadow that's cast across our path. Well, that shadow is not reality. We don't walk up and touch that shadow. We don't interact with that shadow. But that shadow is pointing us to the reality. And what the writer of Hebrews is arguing here is that the law, the Old Testament sacrificial system, functioned in that way. It was a shadow. It spoke of reality that was yet future.

And you see that? For the law having a shadow of the good things to come, speaking of something that's yet future, and not the very image of the things. So it's good to understand this, that the Old Testament is anticipatory. The entire Bible as we think of it is history.

It's selective history. It's redemptive history. And it's revealed to us progressively as we begin in the Old Testament and we move through our Bible and we move to the New Testament. We're moving through stages of salvation history, and it has a progressive nature to it. I think it's helpful to think about the Scriptures in this way, in four ways, four stages of salvation history. If we can think about the Old Testament, that the Old Testament is salvation anticipated. That those who lived under the Old Covenant, as we read about the saints in the Old Testament, they had a forward-looking view that the sacrificial system, the law, it was a shadow, it was a picture, it was pointing forward. You can't read the Old Testament without picking up on that sense of anticipation, a longing.

And speaking of longing, I love that hymn that our choir did last Sunday, the yearning. There's a yearning, there's an anticipation. But then there is salvation inaugurated, not anticipated any longer, but inaugurated in the coming of Jesus Christ. He is the fulfillment of everything that was anticipated. So His coming inaugurates, begins salvation. And then those of us who are New Covenant saints are living in the stage of the here and now, the already and the not yet. We've already entered into salvation blessings as New Covenant people. There is an already that we've experienced and received, but there's an aspect that is not yet. There are things that God has promised to us, that Christ has secured for us at Calvary, that we've not entered into experientially. So salvation anticipated, salvation inaugurated, salvation already and not yet, and then salvation consummated. That there is yet on God's redemptive calendar for the saints of God, a consummation, a bringing to an end all that the Old Testament saints were anticipating. And there's a sense in which we are anticipating yet the consummation, the completion of all that God has determined. So, and if you don't understand that, you will miss, you will be satisfied with the shadow.

Who of us gets enamored with the shadow? If my wife is with me and I'm with some folks and I'm trying to introduce them to my wife, do I get my wallet out and say, let me show you her picture? I mean, I got it right here, but she's standing there. What good is my picture if the reality is right here?

Right? They'll say, put your picture away, introduce your wife to me. And for those who find their satisfaction and are looking to the Old Testament for their satisfaction in terms of what God has offered, they're being satisfied with a picture. They're being satisfied with a shadow and not the reality. You've missed it. It's all pointing to Christ.

He has come. There are those who profess to be Christians who are wanting to go back and reenact the ceremonies and the festivals and all that the Old Testament records. And it begs the question, why are you satisfied with that? There's something even missing for those who want to worship God in that way. There's no longer a temple. There's no longer a priesthood. There's no longer sacrifices being offered.

And if it was inferior then, how much more inferior is it now? Christ has come. He's died on the cross. He's secured salvation.

Worship Him. He's the sacrifice that everything in the Old Testament was pointing forward to. So I think it's critical that we see here the relationship between the Old Testament ceremonial law and Jesus Christ.

But number two, I want you to consider with me the body of Jesus Christ. Notice what it says in verse 5. Therefore, when He came into the world, there's the incarnation. When He came into the world, He said, Sacrifice an offering you did not desire, but a body you have prepared for Me.

Who's He talking to? He's talking to God the Father. But a body you have prepared for Me, in burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin, you had no pleasure.

Then I said, Behold, I have come in the volume of the book. It is written of Me to do your will, O God. There's one more reference to His body, and it's in verse 10. And it's tied to the submission of Christ to do the Father's will. By that will, we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. The body of Jesus Christ prepared by whom? Prepared by God the Father.

Prepared in a similar way that all bodies are prepared in the womb from conception on. Sacrifice an offering you did not desire. You say, wait a minute, I thought He regulated that. I thought He commanded that.

Well, He did. But it's tied to that other part there. In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin, you had no pleasure. He had pleasure in the sense that they were offered from the heart of a believing person. But there's no pleasure with God because it doesn't put away sin.

It only covers sin. Again, we're in that anticipatory stage of salvation. God wasn't satisfied with it back there because it was pointing to the person and work of Jesus Christ. So God prepared a body for the Lord Jesus Christ.

And let me give you four reasons why I think that's true. Number one, because the offering that Christ came to make was by death. He was going to die in the place of sinners. So God prepared a body for Him whereby that might be accomplished.

Pretty straightforward. And that's, I think, what it's getting at at that second reference to the body in verse 10. By that will, we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. The second reason that God prepared a body for the Lord Jesus. Because the covenant was to be confirmed by blood.

You remember what Jesus said? This cup is the new covenant in my blood. It's the blood of Christ that secures redemption. It's the blood of Christ that takes away sin. It's the blood of Christ that reconciles sinners to a holy, righteous, and just God. It's the blood of Christ that establishes peace.

It's the blood of Christ that establishes a new covenant wherein we enter a new and living way. So God prepared a body for His Son that the covenant might be inaugurated. God prepared a body for His Son, number three, to testify that the sacrifice was visible. God did this in a visible way so that men could see. He didn't do it in some heavenly realm hid from our perception.

This transpired on earth with a real man. Do you notice the emphasis in this entire passage on the humanity of Jesus Christ? God prepared a body for Him, that's mentioned twice.

Verse 12, in contrast to the Old Testament Levitical priest, verse 12, But this man, doesn't say, but Jesus Christ, but this man, referring to the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus was not a phantom. He was a real man. If you had been there, you could have seen Him. You could have touched Him.

You could have heard Him. And that's part of John's testimony as he begins to write. John chapter 1, verse 1, That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, we have looked upon at our hands have handled of the word of life.

It's beyond our comprehension. When God could not find a man to satisfy His holy justice, God became a man in order to do that. A fourth reason that God prepared a body for His Son was to satisfy His justice. How can a holy God forgive sin and remain holy, righteous, and just? It's God who decreed, the soul that sinneth, it shall die. The wages of sin is death.

So how is that payment made? How is sin's debt paid for without there being a sacrifice? Galatians chapter 3 and verse 13 tells us, Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law being made.

A curse for us. So there are four reasons, and I think if we gave thought we could probably find other reasons, but there are four prominent reasons why God prepared a body for His Son. And as we consider the body of Christ, we've seen some reasons, four in particular, why God prepared a body for His Son, but let's answer another question. What kind of a body was it? What kind of a body did the Father prepare for His Son?

Number one, a body that had the same nature as we have. Turn back to Hebrews chapter 2 with me for a moment. Hebrews chapter 2.

Again, this is in the section where Jesus is better than the angels. Beginning at verse 14, Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, he himself likewise shared in the same that through death he might destroy him who had the power of death, that is the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For indeed he does not give aid to angels, but he does give aid to the seed of Abraham. Therefore, in all things, he had to be made like his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself has suffered being tempted, he is able to aid those who are tempted. Why did God prepare a body for his son? So that he might be a sympathizing high priest. You see, Jesus took the body of humanity.

He didn't take on the form of angels. He took flesh and blood so that he could help us, so that he could identify with us, so that he could come to our aid, so that he could minister to us. Listen, Jesus is not a stranger to humanity. He's not a stranger to the woes of this world.

Yes, we live in a broken world, but he came into a world that was broken. He came unto his own and what? His own received him not. This is a poor illustration, but it's one that's been going around in my mind as I try and think about this time of the year where we have discovered that it's better to give than receive and we find great joy in giving gifts. And think of a gift that you have labored over and prayed over and worked at and you've prepared this gift with imperfection.

Days, months, maybe years to prepare it and you give it to the person it's intended for and they say, no thanks, I don't want it. Can you get your mind around how you would respond to that? Jesus says he came unto his own and his own received him not. Talk about rejection. Some of you this morning know what rejection feels like.

Some of you are living in the reality of it. Jesus, the perfect son of God, the sinless son of God was rejected. Don't want him. A gift best suited for the greatest need a man might have, his sins to be dealt with and rejected, wasn't received. He became a man to enable us to draw near to God. He became a man to help us. He knows what we're facing. He knows fear. He knew fear. He knew pain. He knew hurt. Not because he was omniscient, but because he had experienced pain. He suffered trial, the temptation, the rejection, the loneliness, the misunderstanding, the abuse. And yet, yes, he suffered death itself.

Why? Why did God ordain all of that? So that he would be a help to us as we live this life. He also had a body that was free from the pollution of sin.

That's critical. For we have chapter 4, verse 14, seeing then that we have a great high priest who was passed through the heavens, Jesus, the son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. What kind of a body did the father prepare for the son? One that was sinless. And it was his sinlessness that enabled him to offer up a sacrifice that would be acceptable to God the Father. Number three, it was a body with a rational soul. He was a person with all the faculties of personhood.

He had a mind, he had emotions, he had a will. And that brings us to the third consideration in our text. I want you to consider with me the obedience of Christ. The obedience of Christ, verse 7, Then I said, Behold, I have come in the volume of the book. It is written of me to do your will, O God.

Verse 9, and it's repeated, Then He said, Behold, I have come to do your will, O God. Jesus Christ, in coming to the earth, in the incarnation, willfully, voluntarily, submitted Himself, subordinated Himself to the Father's redemptive will. What if Jesus had come and been unwilling to yield Himself, had come and been unwilling to submit to the Father's will?

Well, there'd be no salvation for us. So clear away in your minds any confusion that there was any disagreement in the Godhead about the Son coming. He came willingly.

He came voluntarily. And He came, and throughout His earthly life, evidenced a life of submission to the Father's will, said on numerous occasions, recorded in the Gospels, I've come to do your will. He's doing the will of the Father over and over and over again, even in Gethsemane.

Not my will, but Thine be done. We have here the superior high priestly ministry of Jesus Christ being contrasted with the Aaronic Levitical priesthood. There in verses 7 through 9.

And this contrast is being drawn out for us. It's between the passive and voluntary animal sacrifice that was offered under the Levitical priesthood with the active, voluntary, willful obedience of Jesus Christ in the sacrifice of Himself upon the cross. Jesus gave Himself perfectly, voluntarily, willfully, in obedience to the Father's will. So we've considered what the Old Testament Scriptures spoke in terms of anticipation of Christ. We've looked, number two, at the body of Christ. We've looked, number three, at the obedience of Christ. Let's fourthly consider the sacrifice of Christ. The sacrifice of Christ. The first thing I want you to see about the sacrifice of Christ is that it replaces the old covenant system. That's why it's folly to find worship and find activity, meaningful activity, in the old covenant because the old covenant has been made obsolete. Notice what it says there in verses 8 and 9. Previously saying, sacrifice and offering, burnt offerings and offerings for sin you did not desire, nor had pleasure in them, which are offered according to the law.

Then He said, behold, I have come to do your will. He takes away the first that He may establish the second. He takes away the first.

The first what? He takes away the first covenant. He takes away the old covenant.

He makes the Old Testament obsolete. That's why for new covenant believers we're not under the ceremonial law. We're not under the Levitical law.

It's been made obsolete. We're no longer under the Mosaic law. And you say, wait a minute, wait a minute. No law for a new covenant Christian? Oh yes, there's law for the new covenant Christian, but the law for the new covenant Christian is the law of Christ. It's a superior law.

It doesn't just deal with the external. Remember the old law in terms of stealing? Thou shalt not steal. But Jesus said if you covet, you're guilty of sin.

The old law? Adultery. Thou shalt not commit adultery. What did Jesus say? If you've looked with a woman with lust in your heart, you're guilty. So the law of Christ is a higher law. It goes beyond behavior and deals with motive, deals with heart issues.

So yes, we're under the law. But to the point here, Christ's sacrifice replaces the old system. It was not meant to be permanent. It was only temporal.

It was part of the shadow that's mentioned in verse one. God's focus was always on the second covenant, on the new covenant. Again, the first was what? It was preparatory. It was preliminary.

It pointed forward. And now that the new covenant is here, the first is obsolete. It has served its purpose.

God has set it aside. What else about the sacrifice of Christ? It satisfies God's demands for us. It makes you and I holy. The Old Testament had no way of making a man holy. Sacrifices were offered continually and the best they could do was cover sin and postpone judgment.

It had no way of making a man holy. But notice what the sacrifice of Christ, by that will, that is the will of the Father, the will of the Son to give His life, by that will we have been made sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. We've been perfected. We've been made holy in God's sight.

The verb tense used there in verse 10 emphasizes that the believer is in a state of continual permanent salvation. You have been permanently made holy. We've been sanctified, set apart. What else does the sacrifice of Christ do?

It removes sin. And every priest stands ministering daily, now this is the old Levitical system, the old priest, every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices which can never take away sins. But this man after he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever sat down at the right hand of God. Notice the contrast between the old priest, every priest stands ministering daily. Why does he stand? Because he's constantly offering sacrifices. What about Christ? This man after he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever sat down. His work's done.

It doesn't continue. And that's why it's blasphemy to project Christ still on a cross, to go through a sacrament that is crucifying the Son of God all over again every time. No, he offered himself once for all, one time never to be repeated. And when he offered himself, he is what?

Seated at the right hand of God on high. What else did Christ's sacrifice do? Well, it destroyed his enemies. Notice verse 13, from that time he sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting till his enemies are made his footstool. Now Paul tells us in Colossians that Christ made an open spectacle of the devil defeating him on the cross.

So what's this about making his enemies his footstool? Well, remember about the stages of salvation that I mentioned? That we're living in the already in the not yet, anticipating the salvation consummated? Yes, at the consummation every enemy of God, of Christ, will be submitted to him.

There'll be no anarchy, there'll be no disobedience, there'll be no rebellion, it'll all be settled. It destroys his enemies. What else does it do? We're talking about the sacrifice of Christ. It accomplishes the perfection of the saints forever, verse 14. For by one offering he has perfected forever those who are being sanctified. By one offering he has perfected forever those who are being sanctified. The notion that Christ came and offered himself on the cross of Calvary to make salvation possible, just fails to accurately communicate what Christ did. His death secured salvation. Why else would the writer of Hebrews speak this way? For by one offering he has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.

If you're conscious of the Spirit of God at work in you, both the willing to do according to his good pleasure, that God is sanctifying you, making you more and more holy, there's a sense in which God has already perfectly made you holy. Now, it's working its way out in this life. It's guaranteed to happen. You will one day be glorified.

That can't fail to happen. So Christ's death was efficacious. It was satisfactory. It met the Father's requirements. So we've set Christ before you here. We've seen the writer of Hebrews to do that in this wonderful way, as he's far superior to any shadow, any picture of the Old Testament. In fact, he's the fulfillment of it all. He satisfies the anticipation of all the saints who lived before the cross.

God prepared a body for his Son, perfectly suited for the work that he sent him on this earth to do. How thankful we need to be for the obedience of Jesus Christ, his voluntary sacrifice of himself. And it gets to the heart of the essence of what a real Christian is. A Christian is not someone who simply believed, given mental assent to some truths. A Christian is one who is marked by obedience. Not perfect obedience, but there's this principle that God has placed within a desire to live an obedient life. Jesus said, if you love me, do what?

Keep my commandments. The contrast between the foolish builder and the wise builder. Both heard the Word, both heard instructions, both built a house, both lived the life, but the foolish man, he heard the Word and he did nothing with it.

The wise man, he heard the Word and he obeyed it. So don't be fooled, don't be deceived. The mark of true biblical Christianity is obedience.

How are we doing in that regard? Is that the trajectory of your life? Is that the principle that God has placed within? That you know when you disobeyed, you're grieved by that, you go to God, you confess that, you repent of that, you commit yourself to a life of obedience? This notion that you can be a Christian and live in habitual, long-lasting disobedience and still think you're a Christian is a lie. It's folly.

It's a deception. No, obedience. And the wonderful thing about it is, if we elevate obedience to the pinnacle and say, well, you've got to live an obedient life. That's why I'm emphasizing that you have this principle within. That's your disposition.

That's what you're wanting to do. Now, given the remnants of sin that remain, living in a broken world, we're not going to do that perfectly. So your acceptance before God is not based on your merit or your demerit. Your acceptance before God is on the merits of Jesus Christ. And He came and obeyed the law perfectly.

Something you could never do, I could never do, no other man could ever do, but He did it as a substitute. He did it in our place and therefore we're accepted before God. So we obey Him not to earn merit. We obey Him because we want to please Him.

That's it. So this Christmas season, as we think about the Lord Jesus and the Incarnation, may this passage help us to think beyond the Incarnation and the babe in the manger, to realize why He came. For what purpose did He come? Because this passage ties those things together. He came in order to die. The Father didn't spring that on him after he was here.

That was determined. That was agreed upon in the covenant of grace in eternity past. God the Father gave a people to a son. The son said, Father, I will go, I will die in their place to secure redemption for them. And the Spirit of God said, for everyone for whom Jesus dies, I will bring them to saving faith. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit working in concert to bring about this drama of redemption. No wonder we love to sing.

James Montgomery voices him. How marvelous. How wise. How great. How what? How infinite to contemplate Jehovah's saving plan.

We've tried to do that this morning. It's marvelous. It's wise. It's great. And yes, it's infinite to contemplate.

We could never get to the bottom of it. Let us pray. Father, how we thank You for the Lord Jesus Christ. How we thank You for Him.

That though He was rich, yet for our sakes He became poor, that we through His poverty might be made rich. May Christ be more and more precious to us than ever before this Christmas season. And may we have occasion to speak of Him to our lost family members and those we gather with. And may the aroma of Christ permeate our gatherings, that He might have not just prominence, but that He might have the preeminence. We pray in Jesus' name. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-07 15:50:52 / 2023-07-07 16:03:48 / 13

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