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The Superior Blood of Christ - Bible Survey Part 12

So What? / Lon Solomon
The Truth Network Radio
September 12, 2021 7:00 am

The Superior Blood of Christ - Bible Survey Part 12

So What? / Lon Solomon

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September 12, 2021 7:00 am

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Now there are only four things about the book of Hebrews that people disagree about. Number one, who the recipients were. Number two, when it was written. Number three, who wrote it.

And number four, why he wrote it. You say, Lon, that's the whole book. Well, I know.

It is. They disagree on everything. But there are good answers to these questions, and we're going to answer them together. So let's begin. Number one, who were the recipients of this book. Well, it seems obvious that both from the title, the letter to the Hebrews, and from the subject matter, that the recipients of this letter were Jewish people. In fact, when we look in the book over and over, the letter refers to the sacrifices and the rituals surrounding the Jewish temple in Jerusalem, something that only Jewish people would understand or even be interested in in the days of the Apostle Paul. But the recipients were not just any Jewish people. They were Jewish believers. The book of Hebrews in chapter 3 verse 12 calls them brethren.

In chapter 6 verse 9 calls them beloved. In chapter 3 verse 1 says they are partakers of the heavenly calling, and so the recipients of this letter were Jewish believers most likely living in and around Jerusalem. Question number two, then, is when was this letter written? Well, we know that it was certainly written before 70 A.D. because in 70 A.D. the Roman army destroyed both the temple in Jerusalem and the city of Jerusalem itself, ending all the sacrifices and the rituals and everything. And yet, when the author here of Hebrews speaks about all the rituals and all the sacrifices in the temple, he uses the present tense, indicating to us that all of these rituals were still going on when he wrote the book. Now, when we go to the other end, we find that in chapter 13 Timothy is mentioned in this book without any explanation being given of who Timothy is, so he was obviously well known to everybody, and Timothy did not become a well-known person in the church until after 55 A.D. Therefore, the writing of this letter falls somewhere between 55 A.D. and 70 A.D. Now, question number three, who wrote the book of Hebrews? Well, I just need to tell you that I am utterly convinced the apostle Paul wrote it. Not everybody agrees with that, and this is not a mark of orthodoxy whether you agree or you don't, but I'm convinced Paul wrote it, and I'm going to give you five reasons why I'm convinced he wrote it.

Number one, first, is ancient tradition. If you read the King James Version of the Bible, it'll start by saying the Epistle of Paul, the apostle, to the Hebrews, and this superscription attributing the authorship of this book to Paul goes all the way back to the earliest manuscript tradition we have of the New Testament. Now, these superscriptions, you'd understand, are not part of the inspired biblical text, but they are old and they are well established, and we at least need to pay some attention to them.

By the way, I will say, interestingly, in the eastern churches, I'm talking about the Syrian Orthodox Church, the Russian Orthodox Church, the Armenian Orthodox Church. In these churches, the authorship of the book of Hebrews by Paul has never been disputed. They have always believed that Paul wrote the book. Second, why did Paul write the book of Hebrews?

I believe because the writer was or had been recently in jail. Hebrews 10 34 says, for you had compassion on me in my chains when I was in jail and chained up. Now, we know that Paul was in jail three times between the years of 55 and 70 AD. He was in jail two years in Israel, 58 and 59 AD.

He was in jail two years in Rome, waiting his first trial before Nero, 61 and 62 AD. And finally, he was in jail one year in Rome in 66 AD, when at the end of that year, Nero actually martyred and killed the apostle Paul. As far as we know, there is no other early church leader, not Peter, not John, not Matthew, none of them, who were in jail like this between the years of 55 and 70 AD, making the reference of the writer here to his being in jail fit very well with the life of Paul, but not the other apostles. Third reason I believe the apostle Paul wrote this book is because of Paul's proximity to Timothy during the years 55 to 70 AD when the book of Hebrews was written. Hebrews chapter 13 verse 23 says, take note that our brother Timothy has been released, with whom if he comes shortly, I hope to see you also.

Friends, Paul and Timothy were almost inseparable between the years of 55 and 66 AD when Paul was killed. So the mention of Timothy as being present with the writer of the book of Hebrews certainly fits well with Paul being the author. The fourth reason I believe Paul's the author is because the letter to the Hebrews is filled with many of the common theological themes that Paul uses in his other letters. If you read Hebrews chapter 1 and then you go read Colossians chapter 1 and 2, they are almost identical in what they say. Hebrews 2 is almost identical to Philippians 2, Hebrews 8 is almost identical to 2 Corinthians 3, Hebrews 11 is almost identical to Romans chapter 4. So unless someone plagiarized Paul in a massive way, then it stands to reason that Paul wrote the book of Hebrews just like he wrote all these other letters. Philippians, Romans, Colossians, 2 Corinthians. And finally, the fifth reason that I believe Paul is the author is because of the phenomenal grasp that the writer of the book of Hebrews had on the Old Testament, on the operation of the Temple, and on Jewish religious rituals.

I mean, the book of Hebrews has over 86 direct references to over 100 different passages in the Old Testament, and the theological arguments that the writer uses in the book of Hebrews are, well, I mean, they're masterful, they're magnificent. No Gentile could have written the book of Hebrews. They didn't know enough about the Temple or how it worked or Jewish ritual. No Gentile could have written this book. You say, well, what about the other apostles, you know, like Peter and Andrew and Philip and Nathaniel?

Friends, these guys were untrained fishermen. They weren't theologically taught, and they hadn't been theologically educated. Only a brilliant mind with a superlative knowledge of Judaism in the Old Testament could have written the book of Hebrews. And that brings us to the Apostle Paul. Paul said, Acts 22, verse 3, I am a Jew brought up in Jerusalem and strictly educated under Gamaliel according to all the laws of our fathers. Gamaliel, Rabbi Gamaliel II is who Paul's referring to here, was the, he was the greatest rabbinic scholar of Paul's day. And Paul said, I was trained under him strictly in all the laws of the Jewish people. Listen, the study under Gamaliel was not to have postdoctoral training.

It was like to have post, postdoctoral training. And this is the most compelling reason why I believe that Paul wrote the book of Hebrews is because there's not a single believer mentioned anywhere in the New Testament who had the theological training, who had the grasp on Judaism and the grasp on the temple rituals and the grasp on the Old Testament that was needed to write this book except the Apostle Paul. So, do you have to agree with me?

Of course not. But it's my opinion that the most likely author of this book is the Apostle Paul. And that brings us to our fourth and final question which is why did Paul write this book? Well, he wrote it because the Jewish believers who were the recipients, he calls them in Hebrews chapter 5, verse 13, babes, spiritual babies.

They were either brand new in the faith or they hadn't grown in the faith and they were wavering in their faith and thinking of returning to Judaism. So look what Paul says to them, Hebrews 4.14. He says, seeing then that we have a great high priest, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. He also said, Hebrews 10.23, let us hold fast to our confession without wavering. And why is Paul saying this to them? Well, because he's going to go on in just a moment to show them and explain to them that what we have in Jesus is far superior than anything that we've got in Judaism or that you could get in Judaism. But before we look at that, let's summarize.

All right, you ready? Here we go. The recipients were Jewish believers. The date of the letter was 55 to 70 A.D. The author, in my opinion, was the Apostle Paul. And the subject matter was the superiority of Jesus versus Judaism or versus any other religious system for that matter.

We all together so far? Okay. Now, Paul goes on to say that Jesus is superior to Judaism in three ways or any other religious system. And I want to show you those three things that he says.

So watch. Here we go. Number one, Paul says in Jesus we have a superior covenant with God than Judaism or anybody else has. Hebrews chapter 9, verse 15 says he, Jesus, is the mediator of a new covenant between God and sinners. And then quoting the Old Testament, Hebrews 8, 8, for the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with Israel. Now, here's Paul's argument.

Watch. Hebrews 8, 7. Now, he says, if the first covenant, the Mosaic covenant, the covenant that was given at Mount Sinai, the covenant the Jews are following in the temple with all their rituals and all their sacrifices, if the first covenant had been sufficient, there would be no reason for a second covenant.

Make sense? I mean, if what you got to begin with is completely sufficient, you don't need something new. Paul's whole point is the reason God said in the Old Testament that I'm going to give a new covenant to people is because he knew that the old covenant was not sufficient. It was deficient, which is why he provided a new one with superior provisions to it.

And what are some of these superior provisions? Well, let me just give you a couple. Hebrews 8, 10, I will put my laws in their minds and I will write them on their hearts.

Okay, what's that mean? Well, the way God does that is by putting the Holy Spirit inside of us. Hey, in the old covenant, people didn't have the Holy Spirit inside of them. Also, Hebrews 8, 10, and I will be their God and they shall be my people. Hey, in the new covenant, we become the adopted children of God through Jesus Christ. In the old covenant, people weren't adopted into the family of God.

They didn't become children of God. And here's another one, verse 11. And they shall not teach everyone his fellow man, saying, know the Lord, for they shall all know me.

Everybody in the new covenant is going to know me from the least to the greatest. Hey, a personal knowledge of God, they didn't have that in the old covenant. If you remember when they were camped at Mount Sinai, Moses was the only one allowed to go in and talk to God face to face.

Everybody else was kept outside, separated from God. But in the new covenant, we can all go in and talk to God face to face if we know Christ. These are just a few of the great new provisions in this covenant, so much so that Hebrews 8, 6 says Jesus is the mediator of a superior covenant that has been established on superior promises. So that's the first way in which Jesus is superior to Judaism and everything else is that Jesus offers us a superior covenant with God. Now the second way that Paul says here in Hebrews is that in Jesus we have a superior high priest.

Watch what he says. He says in Judaism, the priests are many in number because they are prevented by death from continuing in office. But Jesus holds His priesthood, say the next word, permanently. Because.

Why? Because He lives forever and is seated at God's right hand. Consequently, gosh I love this.

Look at this. Consequently, He, Jesus, is able to save to the what? To the uttermost, look, those who come to God by Him. Now the Bible doesn't say He saves to the uttermost people who come to God by Buddha. It doesn't say that. Or come to God by Confucius.

Or come to God by Muhammad. It says He saves to the uttermost people who come to God through Christ. You see it?

Alright, watch. He can save us to the uttermost since He, Jesus, forever lives to make intercession for those people who come to God through Him. Hey, a high priest seated at the right hand of God who lives forever and saves sinners to the uttermost? I'd call that a superior high priest, wouldn't you? Amen? Alright, but there's one more. Yeah, there's one more. Paul goes on to say not only does Jesus offer us a superior covenant and a superior high priest who saves sinners to the uttermost, but third, Jesus offers us superior forgiveness for our sins. Watch this. Hebrews 10 and 11, for every Jewish priest stands daily and offers the same animal sacrifices again and again which can never take away sin but Jesus.

Man, how much do I love the word but in this letter? But Jesus, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time. Where did He do that?

On the what? On the cross, right. Having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God. Why did He sit down? He sat down because His work was finished. Isn't that what He said on the cross? It is finished. So when you're finished with your work, what do you do? Sit down.

Yeah. He sat down at the right hand of God for by one sacrifice made on the cross, He, Jesus, perfected forever those who come to God by Him. And because of Jesus' work on the cross, Hebrews 8, 12, quoting God in the Old Testament, Paul says, for I will be merciful to their iniquities and their sins, God says, I will remember no more. To remember our sins no more?

What an amazing thing. How great would it be if when we did something wrong and we went to our wife and we apologized, she said, I will remember your sin no more. How great would that be?

Would that be awesome? You don't have to clap, fellas. I don't want to get you in trouble or nothing. But that would be great to say it never comes up again. We never discuss it again. It's like I got amnesia about that sin. It's done. I remember it no more. Oh, praise God for that.

How great that would be. Okay. Now, listen. That's exactly what God does with our sins. You see it?

Watch now. Where there is forgiveness like this, total forgiveness, full forgiveness, forever forgiveness, amnesia forgiveness, where there's that kind of forgiveness, watch, no further offerings for sin are needed. Folks, why don't we bring bulls and goats here to McLean Bible Church and lead them all down the aisle and slit their throats and burn their carcasses and take their blood and go put it on a mercy seat somewhere?

Why don't we do that? We don't do it because we have the kind of forgiveness that is so full, so complete, so permanent that no more sacrifices for sin are ever needed. Praise God for that, huh?

So let's summarize. Paul says to these Jewish believers, he said, what's wrong with you guys? Why would you guys want to leave Jesus and go back to Judaism? In Jesus, we have a superior covenant with God. In Jesus, we have a superior high priest who can save sinners to the uttermost because he lives forever. And in Jesus, we have superior forgiveness of sin.

We don't need any more sacrifices. God remembers them no more. Praise the Lord. Now, the reason Jesus can give us all this superior stuff, superior covenant, superior forgiveness, a superior high priest is very simple. It's because his blood on which all of this is based is superior blood. Look at Paul's argument.

Watch this. Paul says, quoting the book of Leviticus, Hebrews 9 22, without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sin. That's what the Old Testament says. And why did God require the shedding of blood in order for remission of sin to be granted? Very simple, friends, because God wants us to understand how serious sin is. That it's so serious that it has to be paid for with a death. It might have been the death of an animal or then it was the death of the Son of God himself, but sin is serious. That's why God did this. Now, was there blood used in the remission that was in the old arrangement in the temple? Sure. Animal blood.

Watch. The law can never by the same sacrifices, which are offered up continually year by year, make perfect those who try to draw near to God that way. For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats.

This is the kind of blood they used in the temple sacrifices. It's impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sin. But, there's our word, but Christ, look at this, entered the holy place not with the blood of bulls and goats, but with His own blood and thereby secured eternal redemption for us. Say the next four words, once and for all. Hey, praise God, friends.

The reason we've got a superior covenant and a superior forgiveness and a superior high priest who saves to the uttermost is because all of that is based on the superior blood of the living risen Christ. Amen? Amen.

You can clap for that. That's a good one. Isaac Watts, the great hymn writer, wrote a hymn that came from the book of Hebrews. And he sums it up about as well as I think it can be summed up. Here's what he said. He said, not all the blood of beasts on Jewish altar slain could give my guilty conscience peace or wash away my stain.

Wait a minute, I want to stay there a minute. Look at what he said here again. All those bulls and all those goats and everything that they sacrificed. He says, not all the blood of those beasts on all those Jewish altars at the temple slain, none of that could give my guilty conscience peace or wash away my stain permanently. But Christ, the heavenly Lamb, takes all our sins away. He is a sacrifice of nobler name and richer blood than they. Man, you want the book of Hebrews summed up for you, there it is right there.

Richer blood, richer blood, and takes all our sins away. Hey, I say praise the Lord for that. Amen. All right. Now, that's as far as we're going to go in our exposition of the book of Hebrews.

I mean, there's so much more here we could do. But we're going to stop now. We're going to ask our most important question. So are you ready? Okay. All you guys on the Internet, you ready? Here we go. Nice and loud.

One, two, three. Yeah. So what? You know, Isaac Watts, when he wrote that hymn, wrote another verse that most people have never even heard of. Here's what he said in the final verse. He said, you know, not all the blood of beasts on Jewish altars slain, but Christ took all my sin away. And then he says this, believing we rejoice to see the curse removed. We bless the Lamb with cheerful voice and sing His bleeding love. What an amazing phrase. His bleeding love.

Think about that for a second. What that means is that when Jesus Christ was on the cross bleeding, the reason He was doing that, folks, is not because He had to, not because He was obligated to. Didn't He tell Pilate? He said, Pilate, you could have no authority over me at all if it hadn't been granted you. Didn't He say I could call ten legions of angels to come deliver me if I wanted?

No, no, no. He was on that cross bleeding for only one reason, folks, and that's because of His love for you and His love for me. Because He knew that the only way we could have a superior covenant with God, the only way we could have a high priest who saves to the uttermost, the only way that our sins could be remembered no more by God was His blood had to be shed. He knew that. And so He did it for you, He did it for me. Bleeding love.

Amazing. And what does Isaac Watts say we should do with Jesus' bleeding love? He said we should rejoice.

Look what he says. And we should bless the Lamb with cheerful voice. And we should sing His bleeding love. And so I think we ought to take Isaac Watts' exhortation and we ought to do it. We ought to sing about His bleeding love. So sing with me.

You ready? Here we go. What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus. Come on, you know it.

What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus. Come on. Oh, precious is the flow that makes me white as snow.

No other fount I know. Nothing but the blood of Jesus. Amen. Amen.

All right. Let's pray together. You know, Lord Jesus, a lot of people who might be here today or who might hear this sermon would say to talk about somebody's blood like that, that's prehistoric, that's sophomoric, that's gory. But it's only because they don't understand the power of Jesus' blood and that without that blood there is no remission of sin. As we sit here with our heads bowed and our eyes closed, listen to what Robert Murray McShane, the great Scottish preacher, said.

It's short, but listen carefully. He said, in yourself, you can never stand righteous before God. He said, God can see nothing in us but what He must condemn. So the real issue, McShane says, is are you willing to see yourself as vile and hell-deserving in the sight of a holy God? And are you willing to let the blood of God's dear Son be your only shield? You know, some of us here are relying on our good works and our religious activity and trying to keep the Ten Commandments to protect us from God's awesome holiness when we meet Him. But friends, all of those things are going to be vaporized in an instant in the presence of God's holiness. The only thing, only the blood of Jesus can shield and protect us in that moment. So I want to ask you as we close, are you, my friend, 100% absolutely certain that you are washed in the blood of Jesus, that you are shielded by the blood of Jesus, and that you are covered with the blood of Jesus.

If not, then this is your moment. We're going to have a short prayer where we're going to ask God to do this for you. You pray silently. I'll pray out loud, one phrase at a time.

Let's do it. Lord Jesus, I come to you today because in a new way I understand what I need to face and survive the holiness of God. And so today I renounce everything else I've ever trusted to shield and protect me at that meeting. And I embrace the blood of Christ as my one and only shield and protection. I repent of my sins today, and I invite you into my life as my Lord and my Savior. Cover me with your blood. In Jesus' name I pray, amen. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-11 14:09:41 / 2023-06-11 14:19:59 / 10

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