December 31, 2017

By Faith Moses Did Not Compromise, Part 1

Text: Mark 10:17-31, Romans 12:1-3 Exodus 8-10

Pastor Matthew Burt

Wellspring Church Springfield, Ma.

 

SCRIPTURES:  Mark 10:17-31, Romans 12:1-3 Exodus 8-10

 

I appeal to you therefore, brothers,[a] by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.[b] Do not be conformed to this world,[c]but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Romans 12:1-2

 

BIG IDEA: By Faith Moses Did Not Compromise

 

INTRODUCTION/REVIEW:

For many weeks we have been looking at Hebrews 11. The phrase we have looked at is “by faith” As we come to a new year, people make resolutions. A lot of time they are more well intended than actually accomplished.  Today, out of the life of Moses, we are  called to live with resolve rather than resolutions.  I will resolve not to compromise when asked to by the enemy of my soul. We start with Exodus 8. You know the background of this setting.  God had met with Moses in the wilderness and given him a commandment – Let my people go. The commandment is given 10 times in the account. Nine times Pharaoh hardens his heart and God responds with 9 separate plagues. Four times in this interchange we see that Pharaoh seems to relent. He seems to soften and he offers to Moses an alternative.  Pharaoh is negotiating with God. This is not a good idea.  Your arms are too short to box with God. He hears the commandment – let me people go – 10 x – into the wilderness that they may sacrifice to me. Pharaoh says no.  The offer to compromise is given in contrast to Romans 12:1. Do not be conformed to this world but rather be transformed. Conformity to this world is always where we will compromise.  We are to be conformed to the very person of Jesus Christ. Today, we have this commandment regarding conformity.

OUTLINE FOR TODAY:

  1. Commandment to conform
  2. Four compromises given to Moses
  3. Applications

 

Point 1: Call to conformity.

In brief, when the scripture tells us not to be conformed to the world it is telling us not to pattern our life after the world – don’t let the world squeeze us into its mold. Do not have the same goals, patterns, pursuit after pleasure that the world has. It is talking about the system of the world around us. That’s exactly what Moses faces. Pharaoh askes Moses to compromise.  By Exodus 8:25 – there have been 4 plagues.

Point 2: Four compromises Pharaoh gives to Moses

  1. Compromise #1: Stay in the landAfter six repetitions of the command and the first four plagues: Water to blood, Frogs, Dust, and flies Pharaoh relents and says,“You may go and sacrifice within the land.”I’m sure that Pharaoh thought he was making a reasonable offer. He offered to tolerate them and their practices. He was saying the same thing to these people that Satan says to people everyday. Yes, you are disobedient. Just add a little religion to your life. Stay in the land – don’t go away. Did you hear what the young man asked Jesus – what must I do to inherit eternal life?  Don’t repent; don’t humble yourself but rather stay in the land – just do a little more – be better. This is the compromise that comes to folks when they first hear the gospel: don’t leave your pleasures just add some sacrifices to your life. People begin to make a move toward God and Satan says don’t leave. This is the exact warning that Jesus gives in the parable of the land – choked by the cares and worries of this world.  There will be no fruitfulness. Moses response is NO – it is not right for us to do this. God said we are to go out from the land. He calls upon the word of God rather than come up with reasons.

 

  1. Compromise #2: Don’t go very far away OK, Pharaoh says, you may go and worship your God and you may go out of the country—but just a little bit, a short distance. Go but stay near the border.This is where many of us are tempted. We have left the world but the call to compromise is to stay close enough to the world. There will be times when I want to have the pleasures/comforts/applause/acceptance of this world. I want to stay close enough to the world to get what I really want. In high school PB wanted to be popular; to be cool, to be accepted. He was a believer and yet he wanted to stay close enough (Egypt) to enjoy the acceptance.  That whole history came tumbling down when at age 23 he was in prison. If he had not cared so much about the acceptance of people, he would not have made those decisions. Thank God it was not the end of the road. Not everybody has that mercy and grace given to them. I am a Christian on Sundays but I am still going to have the money goals during the week. Moses responds and says NO. He leaves Pharaoh and there are 5 more plagues after that. Finally, it comes to the place where even Pharaoh’s advisors ask how long he will be so stubborn.  SO Moses is called back into Pharaoh’s presence.

 

  1. Compromise #3: Keep your religion private/personal . Yes you can go Moses – you and your men.  But leave your children in Egypt.  Let your children grow up and make up their own minds about religion. Let someone else teach them. You take care of your own life and don’t force it on anyone else.  It’s a very attractive offer. It is threatening for us to share the gospel with someone else. It is easy for us not to want to force the gospel on others.  This is such a horrible business when a parent falls for it. The world system we live in seeks to tell us that we can live life just fine – no need to have a god – in fact we are not sure there is a god. The world around us tells us to use our brain to figure things out. The world around us teaches us there are not absolutes, morals are situational, and ethics are flexible. The world around us says you are defined by what you own – secular materialistic world. Just be kind and good – moralistic world. If we follow these things, it will become nihilistic and empty. God says – you teach your children. Moses rebuffs Pharaoh again.
  2. Compromise #4: Leave your flocks. Your stuff is still your stuff; your time is still your time – you don’t have to consecrate that to God. We do not know what God might ask of us that we might serve Him properly. It is easy for us to say you can have my money but my time is my own. We need to respond to that temptation – “not a hoof will be left behind”.  Take all of me and use it for your glory. It may be the hardest one we face. We may be like the young man in the parable – Jesus says go and sell all you have and he walked away sad because he had many possessions. If my heart is in this world it won’t take long before my whole body is in this world.  God’s kingdom has a different set of priorities

 

Point 3: Applications

We resolve to say no to compromise. One of the questions we ask wrongly: Is it OK for a Christin to do (fill in the blank)? Instead, we should ask what can I change? Instead of listening to the compromises, we need to set our affection on things above. Seek to imitate Jesus Christ in all He is. Look at His holiness, His mercy, His steadfastness, how He is sent by the Father and does the will of the Father.

 

CONCLUSION: By faith Moses refused to compromise.

 

December 24, 2017  Luke 2:7; John 1:1-13

No Room: A Christmas Tragedy

Sermon Prepared for Wellspring Church

 

  1. Introduction
    1. Engage
    2. Review
    3. Preview
    4. Big Idea
  2. The tragedy of the First Christmas
    1. We all know there was no room in the Inn, so she laid him in a manger. We now a this part of the Christmas story. Every depiction of the Nativiity that I’ve ever seen is set in a stable or a cave. Every scene has a manger, animals, shepherd and sometimes wise men. When we look at the narrative of Luke’s gospel we notice that there is no mention of animals. The shepherds do come, but there are no wide men,perhaps for upo to two years. Where did these visitors come? To a stable? Luke doesn’t say that. The only thing we are told is that these parents, Joseph and Mary laid their new born son in a manger because there was no room for them in the Inn.  This short little sentence has been gilded with layers of sentimentality that draws us emotionally to the harshness and hardheartedness of the cruel uncaring world. It is presented to us in such a way as to tug on our hearts because it all seem so sad my, so unnecessary, so tragic. Actually Luke’s statement is given to us without a hint of emotional evaluation. He gives us a fact, a mere passing obsevbation. Actually, their isn’t any judgment at all. Instead the whole Chrisitmas narrative is meant to show us how the Holy God of Creraiton has made a way for hostiry’;s greatest tragedy to be rememdfied and right.
    2. However, the real tragedy of Christmas began a long time before the events recorded for us in Luke 2 (Thousands of years earlier in the Garden of Eden). To be acquainted with the biblical story is to know that the perfection for the Garden is destroyed by the willful disobedience of the first couple. That disobedience, the bible calls sin. The results of that sin include the inheritance of a broken, rebellious nature in all human beings that sets our minds, our hearts, and our wills against the rule of God.
    3. The great tragedy of the Christmas narrative is the dreadful fact that all human beings are included in this class sinners.
      1. What do we mean by sin?
      2. I know this isn’t a popular idea at Christmas and so our traditions and culture have invented a hundred different ways to lessen it presence in our celebration.
        1. We have Santa clause, little toy-making elves, magic flying reindeer, and so forth
        2. We have an emphasis on family and their traditions
        3. We have song that nostalgically tells us about snowmen who come to life, chestnuts roasting on an open fire, and the importance of having snow on the ground for Christmas morning.
        4. We have parties, food, drink, ugly sweaters, and what ever noise we can muster to help us forget that Christ came to save poor ornery sinners like yo and like me.
      3. We focus on what looks to us as a sadness and a tragedy of this one aspect of the birth of Jesus when instead we ought to see the whole of the Christmas narrative as God’s remedy for the original tragedy. Consider these familiar parts of the story.
        1. Mary refers to God as her savior Luke 1:47. Here is a young women who knows that she needs a savior. As soon as we are introduced to her, we are introduced to her realization of her need.
        2. When the Angel comes to Joseph in their dream of Matthew 1 he tells Joseph not only to keep Mary as his wife in spite of Her strange pregnancy, but he gives a further instruction—you shall give him the name, Jesus. He does not stop with the mere identification of the name, but he immediately adds the reason for this name. The name is so familiar to us that for many it has not particular importance. But, most of us will remember that Jesus is the Greek form of the common Hebrew name, Joshua.  The angel says, His name shall be called Jesus, why? Because he will save his people from their sins.  The name, Jesus, and the reason for it are meant to proclaim to us that God is beginning to work the remedy for this great tragedy of Sin’s destruction of the friendship between human beings and their creator.
  • A Third way that the gospels tell us that God in inaugurating His incredible remedy for sin is the emphasis in the narrative on the fact that the other of this Child, Mary, is a Virgin.
  1. When we read the opening verses of John’s Gospel he tells us how great ths phrase, “no room in the Inn” really is. The phrase is not meant to stir at our emotions and sentimentality, it is meant to focus our attention on the largest picture.
    1. In chapter 1 verses 1-13 we have at least ten descriptors of Jesus—We know the passage so well that we can easily list them. Lest we think these fourteen verses are not about Jesus, John makes sure it is abundantly clear to us in verse 17 naming the Word as Jesus Christ. So what do we have?
      1. Jesus is an eternal person. He is from the beginning. Whenever the beginning was, Jesus was already.
      2. Jesus has always been in the presence of the God.
  • In fact Jesus is God.
  1. He has created all things, He is the creator.
  2. He is Life, the source of all life. This is important to us because the fact that there is an end to life,death, is the result of sin.
  3. He is the Light. This is important in the Gospel; because it is sin that has darkened our minds, it is sin that makes the experience in this life so dark,
  • Verse 14, and theWord became flesh. Not only is the Word, Jesus, all of the the above, when we meet him in the Gospels we are meeting the Ever-existing, creating God of light and life veiled and dressed in a human body. This is what we call the Incarnation. (Chili con carne, Chili with meat, or flesh) God con carne.
  1. I’ve only listed seven so far. There. Are three more descriptive terms that John gives to Jesus in these opening verses. Two of them intensify the larger tragedy of the phrase, “there was no room”
    1. The first of these two intensifiers is in verse 10. “He was in the world and the world did not know him. (Some translations say the world did not recognize him)
    2. Why did the world not know him? Indeed,why does the world not know him today?
      1. On a very basis physical level the world did not know him because, as Wesley’s hymn tells us he was veiled, hidden in a normal very in god-like human body

 

  • The second sentence that shows the depth of the tragedy of “there was no room” is in verse 11. “He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him (or his own rejected him)
    1. Who are “his own”? Of course this is the Jewish People. That nation whom God had promised top Abraham, birthed in the lives and descendants of Isaac, Jacob and his twelve son. It is the nations that he carpet though the 400 years of Egyptian bondage and than created at the exodus. It is the people that he defined by the law given at Sinai and then guaranteed his love and protection in the covenants. This people did not receive I him. Paul laments this rejection in Romans 9:1 when he describes this highly favored people as those whose were
      1. The adoption
      2. The glory
      3. The Covenants
      4. The giving of the law
      5. The worship
      6. The promises, and
      7. The Patriarchs—
    2. It is from these People that Jesus is born. A Jew born to Jewish parents..
    3. It is to the people that Jesus is sent
    4. It is to these people that he came to restore them to their Heavenly Father.
  1. Why didn’t his own people receive him? Why did they reject him? Well the common answer is that he didn’t meet their expectations. We have been told over and over again that the Jews of Jesus days were expecting a political leader, a military deliverer. A king like David. That is only a part of the answer. A more accurate answer is given to us, again, by the apostle Paul in Romans 10:1 there he says that although his own people, he Jews were zealous for God’s law, they sought to establish a righteousness of their own. There problem was that they were not willing to be told that what they needed was a savior from their sins. The wanted a deliverer from Rome. They were quite sure that they were in good standing with God, they were good obedient people. When Jesus came he showed them and told them that the righteousness, the goodness, the Obedience they were living was insufficient. This was something there pride would not accepts. Jesus showed them that what they need was humility and repentance. They thought they needed a better political situation. They rejected Jesus who lived a life of perfect holiness, Alia Ethan showed them there imperfect lives. He showed them a life of perfect and accurate law-keeping. He showed them true God-fearing humility. All this was contrasted to their loop-hole living, their law-bending, their self delusion and their self righteousness. Not only was there no room in the Inn, there was no room in their self-defined world view for the light that Christ shone into their darkness. There was no desire for the life that he offered them in place of the living death.
  1. It is not only that there’s was no room in the Inn at his birth it is that there was no room in the lives, expectations, plans, or felt need of the people. Their lives, their expectations, their plans, their needs filled every space where Jesus might set up his rule in their lives. Nothing has changed in the 20 centuries that have come and gone since that first night when there was no room. People do not know Jesus, they will not recognize Jesu. They do not want to know Jesus as he truly is. All of us have a wonderful mechanism for refusing to accept what we do not want to believe is true. We will ok for a dozen different defenses to reject what is contrary to our own opinion. There is no room for Jesus the savior from sin in the lives of those who do not think they are in rebellion against God—if indeed they allow themselves to believe in God. There is not room for Jesus to come and rule a life that is satisfied to allow other powers,person, or pleasures to rule them. There is no room for Jesus to come and replace fruitlessness with happiness. Nothing has changed. John tells us the stark reason that there is not room for the light. In John 3:19 he says that men love darkness rather than light.
  1. We do not end there though. I’ve given you only nine descriptions of Jesus. There is a tenth. The tenth tells us that the unrecognized, unreceived, rejected Jesus is not the end of the story. John plants a powerful epoch-changing adversative for his tenth description. He does so with the simple little three letter word in verse 12. Contrary and in opposition to grievous tragedy of verses 10 and 11 is the hopeful, bright light of verse 12. BUT—verses 10 and 11 are not the end of the story.It does need to end with tragedy. It can end with Glorious beauty. But to all who did receive him, He gave the right to become the children of God.We do not begin pour lives as children of God. Not one of us can claim to call God our father without this But. Christ Jesus must be received, He must be accepted as who the Scriptures tell us he is. And what does it means to receive or to accept.
    1. Believe on his name
      1. Heb. 11:6
      2. Rom. 1;17
  • Eph,. 2:8,9
  1. Rom. 10: 9-10
  1. Mentally and Really accept him as he is
    1. True God in Flesh
    2. Perfect without sin
  • Who died and un-earned death as a substitute for the death that sin had earned others
  1. Accept that he is the one and only way to be brought into relationship with God.
  1. There is more—and this is very important. We are to receive him not only as the deliverers from sin—which is of massive importance and benefit. We are to Receive and accept him as he defines himself in John13—You call me teacher and master and that is right for that is what I am I am you Lord and teacher. To accept and receive Jesus to open up the room that is our mind and accept his teaching as the only way to leave. It is to open up the room that is our will and to accept him as the Lord and Master of our desires, decision,and destiny.Let me come at this another way. WE are not only called to receive him with the rights, privileges and benefits of sons hip. We are called as well to accept and receive with those privileges the responsibility of obedience and followership.
  2. When I receive him this way I remove all the sentimentality of the phrase no roomand at the same time remove all of the tragedy of a life that is lived with no room.
  1. Are you a child of God? Do you have a sorrowful sense of your own going sinfulness before a holy God? Is your faith in Jesus as the only remedy for this sin? Are you growing in your love for others? Do you seek to live in such a way that you reflect and are conformed to the very lie that Jesus lived? Are you progressively saying no to the allurements and invitations of this world to be you source of happiness and delight? Are you looking forward to the the day when there will be nothing to separate you for the presence and vision of this great God in flesh, the lamb of God upon his throne? The greatest tragedy of Christmas is to that the inn had no room. It is that hearts and lives today have no room. The greatest tragedy is that those lives that have no room for a better ruler, no room for a needed savior, no room for a better way of living will spend eternity rueing their decision to close the doors of their mind,s hearts and wills to the one necessary

July 24th , 2016

A Superior Priest Mediating a Better Covenant

Sermon Prepared for WellSpring Church

Matthew L. Burt

Hebrews 8:6-13

Big Idea: The superiority of our great high priest Jesus Christ is seen in his more excellent ministry as the mediator. Because Christ stands as mediator nothing stand between God and us-his people.

1. Introduction

a. Engage: One of the first discount airline ticket consolidators on the Internet was Priceline. Com. Priceline allowed customers to bid on ticket prices in order to get incredible deals. One of the faces of Priceline over the years has been the former captain of the Starship Enterprise, William Shatner who promised to go to bat for customers. He went by the name, “the negotiator”. He promised to be a go between for customers and the airlines, hotels, and car rental companies. We are very familiar with a role of a go-between in our culture. We have business negotiators, sport salary arbitrators, lawyers who work to help couples come to an amiable agreement in their divorce, we have counselors who try to work compromises between seemingly irreconcilable parties and ambassadors who pursue peace between warring nations. All of these are people who stand between two disagreeing parties and seek to bring some level of agreement and satisfaction. These are important people. Mediator is a title given to our Lord Christ, and it is, I believe one of His most important titles. As Paul writes to Timothy in I Tim. 2:5 “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,” Our goal today is to gain a better understanding of this aspect of Christ’s work as our superior high priest.

b. Review: The whole of our study of the Epistle to the Hebrews so far has been a study of the excellence and superiority of Christ over all things. Last week we saw that his priesthood is superior based on the place, or location of his work. It is in the heavenly temple, not an earthly tent made with human hands. He stands in the authentic temple, not one that is a shadow and copy as the Tabernacle and Solomon’s temple were.

c. Preview. Today as we press on in Chapter 8 we will see our author continuing to show the superiority of Christ over the Old Testament Jewish system—and as we do we need also to see that at the same time that Christ is superior to every possible religious or philosophical system. The goal of Hebrews is that its readers will see a rationale for persevering in their faith in the way God has revealed and not abandon it to any other possibility. We will proceed today in three steps:

i. The More excellent ministry of Christ

ii. A brief introduction the Covenants of God (We will return to this in greater detail nest time). We have to do this since we are told, thirdly

iii. Our most excellent Mediator is the mediator of a better covenant.

d. Big Idea: The superiority of our great high priest Jesus Christ is seen in his more excellent ministry as the mediator. Because Christ stands as mediator nothing stand between God and us-his people.

2. “But now he has obtained a more excellent Ministry” (His superiority is shown by the ministry he now has which is superior because it is carried out in a superior setting, i.e. heavenly vs. earthly tent).

a. The “now” is contrasted to the “then” of the old manner of sacrifices under the Levitical system.

b. When we think of ministry we generally think in terms of something we do for people in the name of Christ. For example, “I work in the children’s ministry, I teach Sunday School, or I care for children in the nursery.” This is a vague term made even more ambiguous when we call our pastor a minster. Not that this is a necessarily wrong title but the role and work of a pastor can be so broad and ill defined that all sorts of duties are listed under it. A minister, then, is someone who is hired by the church to do religious things, be some sort of leader, teach and preach, and administrate the business of the church. The term minister becomes even more vague when we attach things to it like music ministry, hospitality ministry, or decoration ministry. When we do this it doesn’t help us in understanding how Jesus has a better or more excellent ministry.

c. When our author uses the word ministry in Hebrews 8:6 he uses a very specific word that refers to the duties of the priests in the tabernacle relating to the sacrifices that the people brought before God. By this they engaged in an intercessory work. But in addition to that it refers to the priests’ responsibility to instruct the people in the law of God and to live as examples before them.

i. Read this description of the work of the priest in Mal. 2:5-7

ii. Contrast this to Ezekiel 34:1-10

iii. This was the judgment against Eli in I Sam. 2:13-17, 22.

iv. See Ezra 7:1, 10

In other words if we are going to use the word minister or ministry on a true Biblical sense we need to use it specifically in relation to the priestly work of Christ and how we make it known to people through our verbal instruction and the testimony of our lives.

When Christ ascended to heaven and took up his priestly role at the right hand of the majesty on high his work became one of a continuous presentation of his own sacrifice on the altar of the heavenly holy of holies. He seeks the good of his people be making

requests for supplies of grace in their life, divine help in every time of need. His life serves as an example to his people of the kind of life we are to live based how he lived out the commands of God and his own practical applications of them in his own teaching ministry. Further as our great high priest he instructs his people. He does this through the written word, the Scriptures. Matthew 11:27 “No one knows the Father…this has always been the case.

d. Notice that the ministry of Christ is two-directional.

i. His service at the altar is on behalf of the saints,

1. He has made the sacrifice of his own life on behalf of his people in order to bring cover their sin and its guilt

2. He has transferred his sinless perfection to his people in order that they might be justified by God.

3. In addition he has taken the sin and guilt of his people onto himself.

4. All of this work he presents to the Eternal judge of all people.

ii. But it is also a work that shows his willing subordination to the Father. If it is possible for us to think this way, the work of priestly Christ now, in heaven, gives us greater reason to worship and adore him that we ever could have by being exposed to the Godhead, even as Trinity.

1. Here is the message Phil. 2—Though Equal, condescended and reduced himself.

a. He made this choice of condescension gladly and willingly. (This we see in Heb. 10:5-7; Isa. 42:1 and John 5:20-22)

2. We must never for a moment think that there was anything other than absolute willing agreement on the part of each member of the Godhead in striking what we call the Eternal Covenant of Redemption before the creation of anything. The father was not unwilling to be appeased, the Son was not compelled by force against his desires to become the sacrifice, The Holy Spirit was anxious to bring glory to the Son in salvation.

iii. Pause for a moment here and realize that the Covenant of Redemption which included the future decision of Adam and Eve to rebel against God in overt willful disobedience is meant to bring us into far greater appreciation of God than Adam and Eve could ever have had even knowing the sweetness of regular intimacy with God before there was ever sin.

e. The ministry of the priests in the old system was a necessary and vital work in the lives of the people but it was temporary, passing, weak, and insufficient. They ministered in a tent or a building that was susceptible to degeneration or destruction—Indeed in just a few short

years after the writing of this letter the temple in Jerusalem was destroyed, and it will never need to built again. Why? Because the work performed in the earthly temple was nothing but a shadow of the true work being done in the true temple by the true and perfect priest. He has obtained a better ministry.

f. This is happening Now. But now he has a more excellent ministry

3. His present role and the superior excellence of his work is also seen in his work as a mediator of a better covenant. With this phrase our author is making a transition from his subject of the superiority of the new priesthood over the old to the subject of a better covenant. As he makes this transition we are introduced to a new role or function that Christ fills. The mediator of a covenant.

a. Covenant defined

b. The Covenants before this new and better Covenant included

i. The eternal Covenant, or the Covenant of Redemption. This we have referred to—

ii. A Covenant of Works between God and Adam. Basically obey and live, disobey and die.

iii. The Covenant of Grace promised in Gen. 3:15

iv. And then what is referred to here as the Old Covenant, which includes the Covenants, made with Noah, Abraham, the people at Sinai, and David. However most specifically the New testament writers refer to the Laws and Sacrificial system of the Sinaitic or Mosaic Covenant. Through all of these God was revealing more of his character and bringing the people to a greater readiness of the establishment of the New Covenant prophesied and promised in Jer. 31: and related here in Hebrews 8.

1. Although all of this revelation was grace—think for example

a. Noah—never destroy all mankind again

b. the Unconditional choice of Abraham

c. The ram in the thicket

d. The free release of the people from the bondage of Egypt

e. The Constant keeping of a remnant of the chosen people through uninterrupted generations of disobedience.

2. The fullness of the Covenant of Grace was yet to be revealed in Christ. This we shall see later.

4. That is the role of a mediator. Another way of seeing this is that the work of ministry that Christ is presently filling is the work of a mediator.

a. Mediator defined

i. Go-between or literally a middle man

ii. OT use = 0

1. Umpire or Daysman Job. 9:33 One who stand between and puts hands on both.

iii. Further defined

1. “the mediator is the go between whose task is to keep two parties of a covenant in fellowship with one another.”

b. Implications

i. A very great mediator shows the greatness of our need

ii. The greatness of our need shows the greatness a and value of Christ’s blood and suffering

iii. The greatness of the blood and suffering of Christ shows the Greatness of the heart of Love shared by the Godhead.

iv. The one who refuses this mediator is one who has failed to see

1. The greatness of need

2. The greatness of Love

3. The greatness of the danger

c. Using Isaiah 40: 1-5 to show the work of our mediator (removing obstacles, filling in the lacks)

>”But one day as I was passing into the field, with some dashes on my conscience, fearing yet that all was not right, suddenly this sentence fell upon my soul, “Your righteousness is in heaven.” I thought I saw with the eyes of my soul Jesus Christ at God’s right hand. There was my righteousness. Wherever I was, or whatever I was doing, God could not say of me that I lacked His righteousness, for that was ever before Him. Moreover, I saw that it was not my good frame of heart that made my righteousness better, nor yet my bad frame that made my righteousness worse, for my righteousness was Jesus Christ Himself, “the same yesterday, today, and for ever“.

“Now did my chains fall off my legs indeed. I was loosed from my afflictions and irons, my temptations also fled away. From that time those dreadful Scriptures of God quit troubling me; now I went home rejoicing for the grace and love of God.” ~John Bunyan

d. The OC priest/mediator could only affect a cease-fire, our NC mediator makes a last and secure peace.

July 17th, 2016

The Shadow and Copy of the True Tent.

(Continuing “Our Great High Priest”)

Hebrews 8:1-5.

1. Introduction

a. Engage: A week ago most of us had never heard of the digital game

Pokemon Go. Briefly for those who are still in the dark it is a search

and find challenge generated by an application that is downloaded to

cell phones. GPS Coordinates are given to show where little creatures

are hidden. Gamer players then try to “find” as many of these

imaginary creatures as they can to score points. There are at least

two pokemon creatures right here around old first church and every

day this past week there have been dozens of people walking around

the church with there faces buried in their phones hoping for

Pokemon success. The game has become such an addictive rage that

the news reported last night that a young man in New Zealand has

quit his job to become to search fulltime for the 151 Pokemons hidden

on his island. Not content to have found 90 of them he seeks fame as

the one to find them all first. Whatever the attraction of the game it is

completely dependent on signs, pointers and directions. The game

would not exist without them. We could not easily exist without signs,

directional signals and pointers. We have become very used to having

an electronic device of some sort to guide us. Signs and directions can

be either words or symbols. The Bible uses both. This morning we will

explore two of the most prominent symbolic directional signs that are

given to us in the Scriptures.

b. Review: As you remember the past several weeks we have been

following the leading of the author of the epistle to the Hebrews as he

walks through the various ways that Christ Jesus is superior to

anything and everything in the religion of the Jews as given by God in

what we refer to as the Old Testament. Last week we saw five ways

that Christ is perfectly fit to our needs as our great high priest. We did

this be working through the list of his attributes given to us in 7:26.

He is holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and seated in

the heavenlies.

c. Preview: This morning we will move into the first 5 verses of Chapter

eight and continue to show the superiority of Christ as our high priest

by comparing the tabernacle (or temple) of the Levitical priesthood

with the “true tent that has been erected by God” We will do this with

i. A brief description of the Tabernacle in the wilderness that

ii. An explanation of what this Tabernacle was meant to

Moses bus instructed to build according to the pattern that God

showed him on Mount Sinai.

represent to the Jews and also to us.

1

iii. Showing how the present heavenly tent and its high

priest are beneficial to us.

any priest on earth or any earthly priest.

d. Big Idea; Having a great high priest in heaven is infinitely better than

2. The greatness of our high priest is shown by the perfection of his place of

service (the perfect tent). He ministers in a better tent. Now to properly

understand the excellency of this “true tent” we need to review the tent that

is called “a shadow and a copy” that was made after the “heavenly pattern.”

We need to review it because this is not a normal part of our study and

understanding, but it would have been to the Jews who received this letter.

a. What is this “earthly tent”? We are talking about what is referred to

the Tabernacle in the Wilderness.

i. This is first introduced in Ex. 25:1-9 and among other things

we see that it was a incredibly beautiful, but temporary and

mobile, meeting place between God and man, the symbol of

God’s dwelling with the Jews in time and space.

ii. Moses was given specific instructions about the

structure of the tent as well as its furnishings.

1. The Ark of the Covenant (25:10-22)

2. The Table for Bread (Ex. 25:23-30)

3. The Golden lamp stand (Ex. 25:31-39)

4. The Bronze Altar (Ex. 27:1-8)

5. The Altar of Incense

6. The bronze basin for washing (Ex. 30:17-21)

7. And specific articles of clothing for the priests.

b. It is the physical structure, which is what we will look at this morning.

iii. We will go into particular detail about the furnishings

later where they are listed for us in chapter 9.

We will describe the physical Structure and then suggest the

symbolism of the Structure.

i. The Structure The Tabernacle was made up of three distinct

spaces within its enclosure..

1. The Largest of the spaces was san open air court yard

surrounded by a fabric and wood frame wall 100 cu

(150’) x 50 cu (75’). The fabric was “fine white twisted

linen. Individual curtains were attached to bronze

pillars and bases hung from silver clasps and secured

with bronze tent pegs.

2. The second space was a room 10 x 20 cubits, or a5 by

30 feet. This room, called the holy place contained three

articles of furniture: a table for bread, a lamp stand with

seven candle holders, and an altar for burning incense.

It was separated from the open court by a curtained

opening made of fine linen woven with scarlet, blue and

purple thread. The common people could not enter this

space, it was reserved for the Levitical priests. If one

2

were to go into the second structure he would see

embroideries of angelic figures, and stars and planets.

3. The third space in this worship are is referred to as the

Holy of Holies. It too is separated from the second area,

the Holy Place by a curtain of blue fabric embroidered

by figures of cherubim—heavenly guards. This very

thick curtain was meant to restrict everyone except the

high priest from entering. This is referred to as the veil.

This third structure is the smallest of the three only 10 x

10 cubits, or 15’ x 15’. It had a single piece of furniture,

the Ark of the Covenant. A smallest 1.5 by 2.5 box that

contained the two stone tablets of the Ten

Commandments, and the branch of an almond tree with

its buds. The Lid was named the mercy seat—the seat of

sins covered.

4. The second third space appeared from the outside to be

one structure; it was only from within that the two

rooms could be discerned. This two roomed structure

was surrounded be a wall 15’ high made up of

interlocking planks about 2.5 feet wide. These

interlocking planks were covered from top to bottom on

both sides with gold. In addition there were four layers

of curtains or tenting covering its entirely The first of

linen woven again with scarlet, blue and purple threads,

the second of goats skin, the third of ram’s skin dyed

red, and lastly a water proof covering that was made of

skins that we are not quite sure of—some translators

think it was badger skins, others sea cows or porpoises.

5. The whole was a stunningly beautiful structure set in

the exact center of the Israelite camp with the twelve

tribes set around it in order. God and his worship at the

center of their life.

ii. The Symbolism of all of this. What are we to understand

about this? Commentators both Jewish and Gentile have

diligently sought to know what to make of all of this. It is not

and will not be our goal to connect significance to every color,

curtain ring, and board in the tabernacle. It is however

appropriate to see a very evident symbolism of these three

areas. We can do this when we keep in mind that the tented

area was meant to be a representation of God’s dwelling with

the people and a place of his meeting with them. This dwelling

of God with his creatures and having a place to meet with them

is seen so clearly in the first pages of Genesis as well as the last

pages of Revelation. In Genesis we have the beautiful Garden of

Eden, a small part of the vast cosmos where God dwelt and met

with the first man and his wife. In Rev. 21:1-3 we see and hear

3

a newly created dwelling place of meeting between God and

man. What was destroyed by sin in Genesis three is renewed

and redeemed in Rev. 21-22. The last words of Scripture tell us

that all of the workings of God have been, are, and will be to

bring a restored order to the cosmos so that the original may

be realized again. We miss the meaning of the biblical narrative

and the study of last things if we fail to see this. As New

Testament scholar Greg Beale says it, “All Eschatology is

Protology.” By this he means all of the study of the future is a

study of beginnings. What is yet to be is what was always

meant to be. So then, here is what we can see in the tabernacle

in the wilderness.

1. Outer Court can represent for us the portion of the

creation where humanity dwells. Here is a dirt court

with a large basin representing the oceans. The whole is

surrounded by white linen to show the purity and

holiness of the original creation.

2. Holy Place then moves us from earth to the visible

heavens. This is why the curtains are blue for the skies

and this is the meaning of the Seven candles in the lamp

stand—one candle for each of the seven heavenly lights

in the skies visible to the unaided eye. It is interesting to

note the word light is used to describe the sun and

moon in Genesis 1. Sun and moon aren’t used. The word

lights is used ten more times in the Five books of Moses,

but only for these lights on the candlestick.

3. Holy of Holies. Lastly we have the invisible realm of

God’s dwelling with his heavenly creatures, a place

where no sin enters. This is the throne room of creation.

We are told that the dimensions of the Ark of the

Covenant are the same as the dimensions of the

footstool of a king who is sitting on throne. Christ our

royal priest sits with the creation as the footstool of his

reign.

c. The true tent being better than the earthly tent gives superiority to

the priest serving there. The heavenly is better—why? how?

i. For one thing, it is Permanent and immovable. When the priest

ii. For a second thing its Workmanship is the work of God.

sat down in the Holy of Holies in the heavenlies he sat down in

a place that is to exist eternally. It is always to be in the same

place. We will never need wonder where our priest is—he is in

the permanent, immovable, indestructible temple of heaven.

This tent was not erected or pitched by man. It is made

personally and perfectly by God to be his personal and perfect

dwelling place, his place of meeting with his people.

4

iii. Materials are of another sort completely. How are we to

understand or comprehend gold that is transparent or pearls

that are 144 feet high serving as gates? Psalm 104—God

creates.

3. Now then, what is all of this meant to represent to the Old Testament Jews

and to Us.

a. It was the representation of the presence of God with his people

b. It was meant to reveal the holiness of God (White, separated,

c. It was the place where people received their help from God

d. It is a promise of a yet to come eternal home of God and his people.

4. What about now, what do we now have that is better?

a. Christ himself dwelt, tabernacled among us.

b. We are the dwelling place of God, the temple of the Holy Spirit,

c. he abides with us.

d. We have access to help, help that is sufficient

5. This greater ministry is shown in the greater symbolism before us, the Lord’s

Supper

exclusive)