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February 15, 2004 PM


HEB 8:1-6

INTRO: I think we probably all have favorite books of the Bible in which we enjoy studying. And those favorites may change with the passing of years or the changing of circumstances. For me that has been very much the case. In the New Testament I find myself enjoying more and more the book of Hebrews. It is, without question, a grand book. Although this book does not include the name of its human author, I have always believed (and still do) that it is the work of the apostle Paul. From the perspective of his own heritage and knowledge he would certainly be well qualified to have written Hebrews. We must remember, though, that the contents of this letter, apparently to Jewish Christians at the outset, originate with God. In the text we read you perhaps noticed the words a better covenant. For our overview of this book I have chosen the idea of better.

1. Jesus is better than angels - Heb 1:5,6

a. Jesus is Gods son - 1:5

b. Jesus is worshiped by angels - 1:6

c. Jesus is Himself Deity - 1:8

d. Jesus is the Creator - 1:10

e. Jesus sits at the honored right hand of the Father - 1:13

f. Rev 22:8,9 - do we need this reminder about Jesus?

2. Jesus is a better High Priest - Heb 2:17,18

a. also 4:14-16

b. the high priest was the person who interceded with God in behalf of the people of Israel - offering sacrifices for sin

c. but those high priests had to first offer for their own sins - 7:26.27

d. and His priesthood is unchanging - 7:24,25

e. several times in this book we are assured we can approach our high priest

f. something else to remember? Heb 7:12 ... Mosaic system is over, done

3. We have a better rest - Heb 3:9-11

a. rest for the children of Israel involved entering the promised land

b. that rest was so temporal ... and not without its own problems, dilemmas

c. note Rev 14:13 - rest for Christians involves heaven!

d. he also hath ceased from his own works - this is our goal through life

e. ah, but the writer has a warning - do not let unbelief overtake us

f. It was unbelief which kept so many from entering rest - 3:19

4. So, we have a better hope - Heb 6:19,20

a. the great hope of Israel was the promised land ... the great nation

b. our hope is salvation ... eternal salvation - 6:9

c. our inheritance is not a piece of land over which others will squabble

d. but, again, the author exhorts us to diligence - 6:11,12

e. we must be ever on our guard against falling away - 6:6

f. Rom 8:24,25 - we are reminded of hopes role in our ultimate salvation

5. We have a better covenant - Heb 8:6,7

1. the inspired writer clearly tells us that the Mosaic covenant had limitations

2. yes, there are those things it was designed to do

3. but Jesus tells us that He came to fulfill the law, the first covenant - Mt 5:17

4. the better covenant is not a national covenant with the Jews

5. the better covenant is established on better promises

6. and one of them is at 8:12 ... true remission of sins

6. We have a better sacrifice - Heb 10:1-5

a. I can only imagine the weight of the Levitical sacrificial system

b. year by year; day by day; special season by special season ... more blood

c. Heb 10:19 makes it very clear that it is Jesus blood which offers true remission of sin

d. and this is one sacrifice for sins for ever (v. 12) - not year by year

e. v. 22 even intimates the manner in which this offering is appropriated to each individuals life ... washed with pure water - the word washed is a word referring to the whole body ... so, baptism

f. this sacrifice is very much part of the better covenant (vv. 16-18)

CLOSE: And we have a better kingdom - Heb 12:28. The first kingdom (Israel) has been removed (v. 27). We are now citizens of the kingdom of Jesus Christ ... an immovable, unshakable kingdom ... a kingdom within which we serve God with reverence and godly fear.

Cecil A. Hutson

15 February 2004

God's Plan of Salvation

You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)

You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)

You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)

Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)