This is a verse by verse study of the book of Hebrews in outline form. I have entitled this series, “So Much Better”; a phrase that comes from chapter 1 verse 4. “Better” is a key word that occurs thirteen times in this book, emphasizing the central thesis of Hebrews that the way of Jesus Christ is so much better!
In the first century, there were Christians who were tempted to leave the religion of Christ and return to Judaism. Today, there are still those who are tempted to turn from the way of Christ for what they think is some better way. So, it is our hope in this study to help all to see that Christ’s way is so much better.
We begin by looking at the first two chapters of Hebrews. Here the writer argues that Christ is better than the angels.
Christ Is Better Than Angels (Heb. 1:1-2:18)
I. He has a more excellent name than the angels (1:1-5). A. He is God’s Son. 1. The Hebrew writer establishes that Jesus is the Son of God by quoting the Old Testament (Psa. 2:7; 2 Sam. 7:14). 2. The more excellent name of “Son” denotes the deity of Christ. B. He is God’s final revelation. 1. The Old Testament delivered by the prophets was for those of the past. 2. The New Testament given by Christ and His apostles is for us in this final age of history. C. He is heir of all things. 1. Of course, God’s Son would inherit all things because all things are God’s. 2. In fact, all things were made for Him (Col. 1:16). D. He is the One through whom God made the worlds. 1. The creation was the cooperative work of the Father and the Son (Col. 1:16; John 1:2-3). E. He is just like God. 1. He radiates God’s glory fully (John 1:14). 2. He mirrors God’s person exactly (John 14:9). F. He upholds all things. 1. He is so powerful that everything depends on what He says (Col. 1:17). 2. His word is the power that sustains our universe. G. He Himself purged our sins. 1. The only sacrifice sufficient to provide the forgiveness of our sins was the one that Jesus made. 2. It was the sacrifice of Himself on the cross. H. He sits at God’s right hand. 1. Jesus fully assumed the position of ultimate power and authority. 2. No one can occupy a higher office than He has taken.
II. He is worshiped and served by the angels (1:6-7). A. The Hebrew writer establishes this by quoting from the Old Testament (Deu. 32:43 footnote; Psa. 104:4). B. Their worship and service of Christ indicates that they recognized Him as deity (Mat. 4:10).
III. He is God enthroned by God (1:8-9). A. The Hebrew writer establishes this by quoting from the Old Testament (Psa. 45:6-7). B. In this passage the Father addresses the Son as “God” indicating His deity (John 1:1; Phi. 2:6; Tit. 2:13; Rev. 1:8). C. His rule is everlasting and righteous. He was chosen for this position because He is righteous.
IV. He is Lord of the heavens and the earth (1:10-12). A. The Hebrew writer establishes this by quoting from the Old Testament (Psa. 102:25-27). B. In this passage the Son is called “LORD”. The Hebrew text in Psalm 102 from which this quotation is taken reads YHWH, which is translated Yahweh or Jehovah. This is the name of God (Deu. 6:4) and indicates the Son’s deity. C. He is the eternal unchanging Creator, not part of the ever changing and transitory creation (Heb. 13:8).
V. He sits at God’s right hand while the angels are sent to minister to the saved (1:13-14). A. The Hebrew writer establishes this by quoting from the Old Testament (Psa. 110:1; 103:20-21). B. God installed Jesus in the most powerful position of all and grants Him victory over those who refuse to submit to His rule (1 Pet. 3:22; 1Tim. 6:15; Rev. 17:14; 19:16). C. The angels are servants of the citizens of Christ’s kingdom.
VI. He spoke of a great salvation (2:1-4). A. In view of the fact that Jesus is so much better than the angels, we really must listen to Him! If we are not careful we will slip away from Him. B. The Hebrew writer reminds us that angels were involved in the giving of the Law of Moses to Israel (Acts 7:38; Gal. 3:19) and that when Israel did not listen to the Law they were punished according to the Law. C. If that be so and it was, then we can be assured that we will not escape condemnation if we fail to listen to the gospel of salvation which was given by Jesus Christ Himself and confirmed by His apostles, prophets and the miraculous power of the Holy Spirit. D. The Hebrew writer uses a lesser to greater argument. Jesus is better than the angels, therefore His gospel is greater than the Law given by angels. If those under the Law who did not listen were condemned, how much more will we be condemned if we do not listen to Christ!
VII. He became our Savior (2:5-18). A. The Jews longed for “the world to come” in which the Christ would rule. The Hebrew writer tells us that that world is not subject to the Law of Moses which was given by angels, but to Christ who became our Savior. 1. The Hebrew writer establishes this by quoting from the Old Testament (Psalm 8:4-6). 2. Jesus now rules the world (Mat. 28:18; Rom. 9:5; Rev. 1:5), though not all listen to Him. B. In order to become our Savior Jesus had to become a man and experience death. 1. This He did for every man because every man is in need of salvation (Rom. 3:23). God did for us what we did not deserve (6:23). 2. This meant He had to become “one” of us; of the brotherhood of mankind (John 1:14). The Hebrew writer establishes this by quoting from the Old Testament (Psa. 22:22 – He calls them His brethren; Isa. 8:17 – He puts His trust in God just as they do; Isa. 8:18 – He calls them His children, cf. Isa. 9:6; 1 John 2:29). 3. From the beginning the devil has tempted man to sin so that he will die and be separated from God eternally. But Jesus defeated Satan at the cross! The sacrifice of Christ paid the price for our sins so that we could be forgiven by God, set free from sin and have eternal life (Col. 2:15; Rom. 7:24- 8:1; 1 John 5:11). 4. Verse 16 literally reads, “took not hold of angels, but of the seed of Abraham he took hold.” Jesus did not become an angel in order to save man. An angel could not save us. But, He became a man born of the seed of Abraham in fulfillment of the promise of God that one of the seed of Abraham would be a blessing to all nations (Gen. 12:3). 5. Having become just like us in every way He was not only able to atone for our sins but is able to sympathize with our temptations and help us with them.
Christ Is Better Than Moses (Heb. 3:1-4:13)
In chapters 1 and 2, the Hebrew writer proved from the Old Testament Scriptures that Christ was better than the angels who gave the Law of Moses to Israel and, therefore, we should not return to it but listen to what Christ says to us today as revealed in the New Testament. In this lesson from chapters 3 and 4, we will notice how the Hebrew writer proves that Christ is better than Moses.
I. He is both Apostle and High Priest (3:1). A. The term “apostle” means “one sent”. Moses was sent by God from the wilderness to Israel and gave them the Law but Jesus Christ was sent by God from heaven to all the people of the earth and gave us the Gospel (1:1-2). B. Moses’ brother, Aaron, and his descendants served as high priest under the Law, but Jesus is our High Priest (2:17-18). Jesus is greater than Moses because He is both Apostle and High Priest.
II. He was faithful to God as a Son over His own house (3:1-6). A. The Hebrew writer speaks of God’s people as “His house”. B. Christ is faithful to God as Apostle and High Priest to the people of God, just as Moses also was faithful as one sent to Israel (Num. 12:7). C. Yet, Christ is worthy of more glory than Moses because: 1. He is the one who brought Israel into existence and made Israel a nation of God’s people. Israel existed many generations before Moses was ever born. Moses was just one of the many who made up that great nation. 2. He is God that made all things (Heb. 1). 3. He is the One whom Moses’ faithfulness pointed toward and who came to build the greater house of God, the church (1 Tim. 3:15; Mat. 16:18). 4. He is the Son over His own house, while Moses was only a servant among God’s people (Eph. 1:22-23). The people of God are Christ’s own people not only by right of creation but by right of redemption (Acts 20:28). D. This is all the more reason for us to keep our faith and hope in Christ. If we do not we will be cast out of His house (Mat. 13:18-23, 41-43, 47-50).
III. He leads us into the rest of God (3:7-4:10). A. The Hebrew writer quotes from the Old Testament to show that Moses did not bring Israel into the rest of God (Psa. 95:7-11). 1. It was because of their hardheartedness. 2. It was because of their rebellion. 3. It was because of their trial. 4. It was because of their testing and trying God. 5. It was because of their going astray. 6. It was because of their not knowing God’s ways. B. This is a warning to God’s people today not to follow the example of unfaithful Israel in the wilderness. 1. We must beware. 2. We must not lose faith. 3. We must not depart from God. 4. We must exhort one another daily. 5. We must not become hardhearted. 6. We must never lose confidence in Christ. 7. We must not let happen to us what happened to Israel. a. It happened to those who had the Law of Moses. b. It happened to those who were freed from Egypt. c. It happened to those who were led by Moses. d. It happened to those who sinned and fell in the wilderness. e. It happened to those who did not obey. f. It happened to those who did not believe. C. We can enter the rest of God through Christ. 1. A promise remains of entering His rest. 2. We should fear lest we do not enter it for the same reasons that Israel did not enter it. 3. We must have faith. 4. God spoke of it at the beginning of the world. 5. God spoke of it when Israel did not enter it because of their disobedience. 6. God spoke through David long after Joshua led them into Canaan promising a rest for the people of God “today” who will listen to “His voice”. Remember, God speaks to us today through His Son (1:1-2).
In view of the fact that Christ is better than Moses and is able to lead us into the rest of God, we should make every effort to enter that rest (4:11). If the Jewish Christians were to forsake Christ and go back to the law of Moses they would fail to enter the rest of God just like those disobedient souls who fell in the wilderness. If we forsake Christ today for something we think is better, we, too, will fail to enter the rest of God.
The final verses of this section (vv. 12-13) emphasize the effectiveness of God’s word and the urgent importance of obedience. That word was spoken initially through the prophets, angels, and Moses but finally by the Son. It penetrates to the depths of the human personality, standing in judgment on our deepest thoughts and intents. God’s word exposes us completely before Him. Therefore, He requires an answering word of account from us.
Christ Is A Better High Priest (Heb. 4:14-7:28)
In the first four chapters we learned that Christ is better than the angels and better than Moses, both of whom had part in giving the old Law to Israel. In this lesson we will learn how that Christ is a better High Priest than those under the Law of Moses.
I. He is a high priest in heaven (4:14). A. The high priest under the Law of Moses would enter into the most holy place in the tabernacle on earth. B. Christ has entered into the very presence of God Himself in heaven.
II. He is a high priest that is able to sympathize with our weaknesses (4:15-5:3). A. The high priest under the Law was familiar with temptation and so was Jesus, having come to the earth as a man. He understands and has compassion on us because He knows what it is like to live in the flesh. B. Unlike the high priest under the Law, He is able to help us overcome sin because He overcame every form of temptation. C. We can come to God’s throne with confidence that He because of His mercy will not give us what we deserve but because of His grace will give us what we do not deserve. He will help meet our every need.
III. He is a high priest that was called by God (5:4-10). A. The high priest under the Law was called by God and so was Christ. This the Hebrew writer proves by quoting two Old Testament passages (Psa. 2:7; 110:4). The first we have already looked at in chapter one verse five where it was used to show that Christ was better than the angels. It tells us that Jesus is the Son of God and, in the context of Psalm 2, chosen by God as king over all having been raised from the dead and ascended to God’s right hand. In Psalm 110, we learn that this king is also priest. B. Christ suffered the agony of Gethsemane and the death of the cross. He lived a life of perfect obedience. In doing this He qualified Himself to be our Savior and answered God’s call to be our high priest.
IV. He is a high priest we cannot afford to be without (5:11-6:20). A. Before explaining the order of Melchizedek and how it is better than the order of the priesthood under the Law of Moses, the Hebrew writer launches into an exhortation and a warning for those who are leaving Christ and returning to the Law. This he does to prepare them to receive the teaching on the high priesthood of Christ. B. He first chides them on their spiritual immaturity. 1. They had quit listening to the truth of the Gospel. 2. They were going back to the fundamental teachings (literally the A, B, C’s) of the Bible found in the Law. By now they should have been teaching others how that the way of Christ is so much better but they needed to be taught again how to properly understand the Law. 3. They had not grown in their knowledge and use of the Gospel and were unable to see their error of going back to the Law. Many Christians today fail to put the word of God into practice in their lives and cannot even tell the difference between right and wrong. If we do not use it, we will lose it! “The sad story shows that some saints who should be wielding the sword of the Spirit are weakly walking about able to bear no more than the nursery bottle!” (Dayton Keesee). 4. They needed to move beyond the basics of the Gospel that were revealed in the promises, prophecies, types, shadows and symbols of the Law, so that they could grow up in Christ who fulfilled that Law through the Gospel. Instead of repeatedly having to lay the foundation that the Law provided, they needed to begin to build on it by continuing in the fulfillment of the Gospel. a. They needed to turn from the dead works of the Law that could not save so that they could begin to serve the living God by faith according to the Gospel of Christ (9:14). b. They needed to forget about the ceremonial washings of the Law that were only symbolic of the cleansing made possible by the sacrifice of Christ (9:10). c. They needed to realize that the laying on of hands under the Law that was used to set apart the priests and the sacrifices was only pointing to the true holiness that comes from obedience to the gospel of Christ (9:9). d. They needed to understand that the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment taught in the Law has been confirmed by Christ, who was raised from the dead giving us assurance of His coming again in judgment (Acts 17:31). 5. They needed to do this before it was too late. C. He then warns them about falling away. 1. They had been taught and understood God’s plan of salvation through Christ, experienced that salvation and enjoyed every spiritual blessing of the Gospel. They experienced the power of the Gospel, as well as the miraculous powers by which it was revealed and confirmed. 2. If they stubbornly refuse to listen to the Gospel, insist on leaving Christ and return to the Law, there is nothing that can change their hearts. It is as if they put Him on the Cross and publicly disgraced Him all over again. 3. Such are like a plant that has had the opportunity to grow and bear fruit, but only bears thorns and briers. It will soon be destroyed. D. He recalls their spiritual achievements. 1. The Hebrew writer has reason to believe that this will not happen to them. They had shown concrete acts of love toward other Christians which demonstrated that they still had the spirit of Christ. 2. He wishes that they would remain committed and never give up on Christ. E. He reminds them of God’s blessing. 1. It is the blessed hope of being with God in heaven that was promised to Abraham long ago. 2. It is doubly guaranteed by two things that cannot change: God’s promise and God’s oath. This is indeed “an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast” (Heb. 6:19). 3. It is possible because Jesus has already entered there as our high priest to make a way for us. F. Now, they should be ready to receive the explanation concerning the order of Melchizedek.
V. He is a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek (7:1-19). A. The order of Melchizedek is better than the order of Levite priests under the Law of Moses. 1. Melchizedek blessed Abraham. The lesser is blessed by the greater. 2. Melchizedek was a king of righteousness and peace. The priests under the law did not serve as kings. 3. Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedek. The priests under the Law of Moses came from Abraham. Therefore, they paid tithes to Melchizedek through Abraham. 4. Melchizedek remains a priest continually. Under the Law a man had to prove his relation to Aaron in order to qualify as high priest and would be replaced when he died. This was not true for the order of Melchizedek. There is no record of Melchizedek’s ancestry, birth or death. As such, he is a fitting type of the eternal priesthood of God’s Son. B. This implied that the Levitical priesthood under the Law was insufficient to make men perfect before God. What the Law could not do, Christ is able to do. C. This required a change of the Law. Christ was of the tribe of Judah, but according to the Law the priests had to be of the tribe of Levi. The priesthood of Christ was not based on Levitical ancestry according to the Law of Moses but was based on His eternal nature.
VI. He is a high priest with an oath by God (7:20-22). A. God did not swear to make Aaron and His descendants priests in Israel, but He did swear that the Christ would be a priest. B. Christ, then, is a guarantee of a better covenant than the old Law of Moses; a warranty backed by the oath of God Himself! VII. He is a high priest forever (7:23-25). A. The priest under the Law all died and had to be replaced by another, but Christ lives forever. B. Therefore, He is able to provide eternal salvation for us.
The last verses of this section summarize how that Christ is a better high priest (Heb. 7:26-28). We are sinful, but He is holy. We are separated from God, but He has entered God’s presence as our high priest with the sacrifice of Himself once for all. He has made a way for us to come where He is. The way of Christ is so much better!
Christ Is Mediator Of A Better Covenant (Heb. 8:1-9:28)
Already, we have learned how that Christ is better than the angels and Moses who gave Israel the Law and that He is a better high priest than those of the Law (Heb. 1-7). His “more excellent ministry” is emphasized again in the first six verses of chapter eight. In this lesson, we will learn how that He is the mediator of a better covenant than the covenant God made with Israel, the Law.
I. It is established on better promises (8:6). A. The Law could only point to the coming of Christ through whom the promises would find their complete fulfillment (Gal. 3:16-18). The Gospel is based on the fact that He has come and fulfilled those promises (Rom. 15:8; 2 Cor. 1:20; 2 Pet. 1:4). B. Under the Law, Israel had the privilege of being God’s nation on earth and enjoyed the blessings of the Promised Land of Canaan. In the new Covenant, the church has the privilege of being God’s eternal kingdom (2 Pet. 1:11) and enjoys every spiritual blessing in Christ with the hope of eternal life (Eph. 1:3-14).
II. It is perfect (8:7-9). A. The fault was not with the Law, but with Israel. The Law came from God and is holy and good (Rom. 7:7-14). It served the purpose for which it was given (Gal. 3:10, 19, 22-24). The problem was that Israel did not keep the Law and that there was no provision in the Law that could save them from their sins. B. The Gospel was able to do what the Law could not do – provide for man’s salvation through Christ (Rom. 7:24-8:4).
III. It is new (8:10-13). A. The first covenant, the Law, is now old, obsolete, no longer needed because we have a new covenant, the Gospel (Col. 2:14). B. The Lord mentions four ways in which the new covenant is distinct from the old covenant. 1. It is written in a new place. The old Law was written on stones when it was given to Moses on Sinai and many in Israel never had it impressed upon their minds or hearts. The new Covenant came with the power of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles and when they proclaimed the Gospel the people were pricked in their hearts and gladly received the word (Acts 2). Paul told the Christians at Corinth: “You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men; clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart” (2 Cor. 3:2-3). 2. It provides a new relationship with God. The old Law was a covenant made with the nation of Israel which set them apart from all other nations but many in Israel never accepted the Lord as their God and refused to be His people. The new Covenant is made with those of all nations who in obedience to the Gospel are set apart from the world for God (Mat. 28:19; Mark 16:15-16). As Peter wrote: “You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy” (1 Pet. 2:9-10). 3. It calls for a new membership. The old Law was a covenant with all who were born of Israel and each one had to be taught to know the Lord. The new Covenant is with those who have been born of God and have been taught to know the Lord. John wrote: “As many as received [Christ], to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:12-13). Jesus said, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him… It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me” (John 6:44-45). 4. It grants a new forgiveness. The old Law called for a remembrance of sin every year on the Day of Atonement because the blood of animals could not take away sins. The new Covenant provides for the redemption of sins by the blood of Christ once and for all. “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… But [Christ] offered one sacrifice for sins forever” (Heb. 10:3-4,12).
IV. It is true (9:1-15). A. The things of the Law were merely symbolic of the true things of the Gospel (Heb. 8:5; 9:9, 23; 10:1). 1. Under the Law the high priest would go through the veil into the most holy place of the earthly tabernacle to offer a sacrifice of animal blood for himself and the people once a year which could only cleanse the flesh. 2. According to the Gospel, Jesus Christ, our high priest, having paid the price for our sins on the cross has entered the true holy place in heaven to offer the sacrifice of His own blood once for all which is able to cleanse the conscience. B. It was Christ’s death that provided redemption for the sins of those who lived under the old Law and it was His death that enabled Him to become the Mediator of the Gospel by which we are saved today.
V. It is dedicated by the blood of Christ (9:16-28). A. The covenant of Christ is compared to a will which only becomes legally valid after the death of the one who made the will. Christ died so that we could receive our eternal inheritance through the Gospel. B. The Law was dedicated with animal blood, but the Gospel with the better sacrifice of Christ Himself.
Yes, the way of Christ is so much better. He is the mediator of a better covenant dedicated by His own blood which promises eternal life because it is able to make us right with God so that we can enjoy an intimate personal relationship with the Lord now and in eternity!
Christ Provides A Better Sacrifice (Heb. 10:1-39)
Already we have learned that Christ is so much better than the angels and Moses who gave Israel the Law (Heb. 1:1-4:13). His ministry as our high priest is so much better than that of the priests who served under the Law (4:14-7:28) and He has given us a better covenant than the covenant of the Law made with Israel (8-9). In this lesson, we learn that Christ provides a better sacrifice than those provided by the Law (10).
I. The sacrifice of Christ is the only sacrifice that can take away sins (10:1-4). A. The sacrifices of the Law could not take away sins. 1. They were a shadow. All the animals slain under the Law could only foreshadow the sacrifice to come that could truly provide for man’s forgiveness. 2. They were offered continually. If the blood of any animal could have paid the price for our sins, then once that blood was offered they would not have kept on offering the blood of others. The worshiper would have no more need to come back again and make a sacrifice for sins. 3. They were a reminder of sins. Each time they came to offer a sacrifice they were reminded again that they were sinners in need of a Savior who could take their sins away. B. The sacrifice of Christ was able to do what those under the Law could not do – put away our sins once and for all (9:26)!
II. The sacrifice of Christ is the only sacrifice that pleases God (10:5-10). A. The Hebrew writer proves this by quoting from Psalm 40:6-8 and attributing these words to Christ. 1. The sacrifices of the Law were not what God desired. 2. God could only be pleased with one who did His will. 3. Since no man is without sin, it was God’s plan to send His Son, Jesus Christ, in the flesh, born of a virgin and begotten of the Holy Spirit, to come and live a perfect life of obedience, even to the point of death on the cross. With Him God was well pleased. B. Having fulfilled the Law by keeping it perfectly and becoming the sacrifice for our sins, He brought an end to the Law and established the New Covenant, the Gospel, by which we are set apart from sin to live for God (Col. 2:11-14).
III. The sacrifice of Christ is the only sacrifice for sin man will ever need (10:11-18). A. The priests of the Law had to stand at the altar everyday doing the same thing over and over again. Their work was never done until Christ came because what they were doing could not pay for man’s sin; it could only point to the one sacrifice that could. B. Christ, our High Priest, now sits at God’s right hand. The work of Christ is finished! He took care of our sins once and for all by His sacrifice at the cross. There, He gained victory over Satan, sin and death having stripped them of their power before all (Col. 2:15). In time every enemy of Christ will fall in defeat, until that last enemy, death, is destroyed by the resurrection of the dead at His coming (1 Cor. 15). C. The Hebrew writer once again quotes from the inspired Scriptures of the Jews to prove his point (Jer. 31:33). No longer do we have to be reminded, like the Jews who lived under the Law, that our sins are not yet paid for. How blessed we are to live in this day of the Gospel of Christ, knowing that Christ has paid the price for our sins and that there is no need for any other sacrifice to be made for sin ever.
What should this mean to us? 1) We should not be afraid to draw near to God (Heb. 10:19-22). Under the Law the people could not pass through the veil into the Most Holy Place. Only the high priest could enter once a year. Christ has made it possible for all to approach God in heaven at any time by His blood shed on the Cross. You might remember that when Jesus died the veil in the temple was ripped apart from the top to the bottom, symbolizing that Christ had made a way for all men to enjoy fellowship with God. Any sinner can be forgiven by the blood of Christ and have access to God in heaven! When one sincerely obeys the Gospel, he is set free from sin (Rom. 6:17). As the sprinkling of animal blood and the washing of water cleansed the flesh, the blood of Christ cleanses our souls when we are baptized into Christ (Rev. 1:5; 1 Pet. 3:21; Acts 22:16) and whenever we confess our sins (1 John 1:7-9). 2) We should be faithful to God (Heb. 10:23). Endurance is necessary (Mat. 10:22). We can be sure that if we are faithful we will receive eternal life (Rev. 2:10). We can count on God to fulfill His promise (1 Cor. 1:9). 3) We should encourage one another (Heb. 10:24-25). Some Hebrew Christians had quit meeting with God’s people. Many Christians today have abandoned the church. We are not in this alone. It is not every man for himself. We need each other. We cannot make it on our own. We are to come together to help one another remain faithful to the Christ, especially realizing that every day judgment draws nearer (Rom. 13:11-14). 4) We should never turn away from Christ (Heb. 10:26-39). There is no other sacrifice for sins. The Law could not save and nothing else but Christ can (John 14:6; 6:66-69). There is no other way but the way of Christ! Judgment is certain. Those who rejected the Law were put to death, but those who reject Christ will be judged by God who will eternally condemn their souls in hell! Remember what you suffered when you became a Christian and as you stood by other Christians who suffered. After all you have been through for Christ, don’t give up now or you will lose your eternal reward!
There are only two options: Eternal destruction or eternal salvation. Those who choose the way of Christ will be saved, but those who follow any other path will be destroyed (Mat. 7:13-14).
Christ Is The Author Of A Better Salvation (Heb. 11:1-13:25)
In this final lesson, we learn how that Christ is the author of a better salvation (cf. Heb. 5:8-9).
I. Salvation in Christ is better than that enjoyed by the faithful in the past (Heb. 11:1-12:17). A. It was by faith that the patriarchs of old enjoyed a right relationship with God (11:1-3). Notice, they took God at His word. This is what stood under their hopes and gave proof to them that there really is a God who made this world. This same God they trusted to save their souls in heaven through that One who was to come, even though they never saw God, Christ or heaven. B. In the verses that follow we see that their faith was an obedient, trusting faith. A faith without which no one can please God nor receive His reward (11:4-12). C. The Hebrew writer goes on to tell us how that they were faithful in spite of the fact that they were not privileged to see the Christ come in their lifetime and enjoy the salvation that He made possible for us (11:13-16). D. These faithful ones passed on their faith from generation to generation (11:17-31). E. Those of the past suffered the most horrible atrocities for their faith (11:32-38). F. They all believed and obeyed God through every trial without ever seeing the days of Christ (11:39-40). G. Their example encourages us to continue to be faithful (12:1). H. In order to be faithful, we must keep our eyes on Christ who has already won the victory over sin and death through His sacrifice at the cross and resurrection to the highest position of power over all (12:2). I. We must not become discouraged when our faith is tried (12:3-4). J. These things that happen to us are used by God to disciplines us (12:5-11). K. Realizing that God is able to use our trials to make us better people we ought to be encouraged (12:12-13). L. We must be careful that we do not let these things cause us to do anything to forfeit our inheritance of eternal salvation as the children of God (12:14-17).
II. Salvation in Christ is better than that offered at the mountain in the wilderness (Heb. 12:18-13:9). A. Read verses 18-24. When Israel came to Sinai they were afraid to hear God’s voice or to touch the place where He was. Even Moses was afraid in His presence. The Law given there to Moses for Israel did not make it possible for God to be approached by sinful man. B. We have come to where God lives and His angels serve us. We have come into the church of God where we enjoy the fellowship of God, Christ and all the faithful. The new covenant given by Christ made it possible for God to be approached by sinful man because His blood has paid the price for our sins. C. The Hebrew writer then tells us that we must not turn from Christ if we want to escape God’s judgment (12:25-29). The voice that shook Sinai has spoken again through His Son to remove the Law and establish the unshakable church of Christ by the Gospel. Let us continue in God’s grace by faithfully serving Christ (13:1-9).
III. Salvation in Christ is better than that provided by the altar in the tabernacle (Heb. 13:10-25). A. Read verses 10-12. On the Day of Atonement, the blood of the animals was taken into the most holy place for the sins of the people. The body of these animals could not be eaten but were burned outside the city. This blood could not take away sins, but could only point to the Christ, the Lamb of God, who came to take away the sins of the world (John 1:29). He did this by His death on the cross just outside the city of Jerusalem. B. The Hebrew writer concludes with these words (13:13-25). The Jews had to leave the Law and suffer reproach from their family and friends. We must go out of the world and suffer the reproach of the world. All who want to be saved must go to Christ whatever the cost (Luke 9:23)!
Will you come to Christ for a better salvation than that enjoyed by those of the past, than that offered at Mount Sinai and provided by the altar of the tabernacle? Will you come to the One who has paid the price for your sins; who has made a way for you to enter into the church of Christ, the eternal kingdom of God; who suffered for you and rose again to make you complete before God?