Bible Baptist Church

" Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." ...... John 3:3


Final Remarks in the Book of Hebrews


Hebrews 13:9-25


Introduction:

·         Watch out for strange doctrines: To these we could add the many errors of Romanism, Seventh-Day Adventism, Mormonism, and the Jehovah's Witnesses, etc.

·         We need to be very careful in avoiding false doctrine and false teachers, and we should be warning others about them.

·          There have always been strange doctrines. The ones specifically in mind here seem to deal with a return to Mosaic ceremonies and laws that were fulfilled in Jesus.

·         There has always been a war of Religious ritual vs. grace

·         This is essentially a warning against legalism. The Judaizers insisted that holiness was connected with externals, such as ceremonial worship and clean foods. The reality is that holiness is produced by grace, not by Law!

·         There were certain Jewish Christians who put themselves back under the yoke of Jewish rules and regulations about food, thinking that by so doing they were going to add strength to their spiritual life.

·         Certain Greeks had very definite ideas about food. Long ago Pythagoras had been like that. He believed in reincarnation, that a man's soul passed from body to body until finally it merited release. That release could be hastened by prayer and meditation and discipline and asceticism; and so the Pythagoreans were vegetarians. There were people called Gnostics who were much the same. They believed that matter was altogether bad and that a man must concentrate on spirit which is altogether good. They therefore believed that the body was altogether bad and that a man ought to discipline it and treat it with the greatest austerity. They cut down food to the bare minimum and they, too, abstained from meat. There were any number of Greeks who thought that by what they ate or refused to eat they were strengthening their spiritual life and releasing their soul.

·         Illustr- Hindus

·         Following the Law could only produce outward, ritual cleansing, but only grace can produce inward holiness!

·         “We are established by an understanding and appropriation of God’s undeserved approval of us, and not by an assumed approval gained through keeping a list of rules.”

 

I.                    We have an altar- v. 9-10

a.      The Hebrew Christians were being pressured to return to Judaism.  There are several warnings in this epistle about the danger of going back into Judaism (cf. 3:12; 6:4-6; 10:29; 12:25).

b.      The unsaved Jews opposed Christianity, and said that Christians had no temple, no sacrifice, no priesthood, and no altar.  So Hebrews 13:10 says, "We have an altar..."

c.       In contrast with the altar in the temple in Jerusalem, which would be destroyed a few years after this epistle was written, our altar is up yonder in heaven (cf. Rev. 6:9; 8:3, 5; 9:13; 14:18; 16:7).

d.      Other Jews probably branded these Jewish Christians “illegitimate” because they did not continue the Levitical system. But the writer to the Hebrews insisted that we have an altar

e.      Our altar is Christ, and His sacrifice on the cross! Those still under the Levitical system have no right to partake in the better things of Christianity until they repent and believe!

f.        I Cor. 1:18-24

g.      His sacrifice was once, for all- eternally sufficient! As opposed to the priestly system which was continual- only proving its insufficiency!

h.      We need no other altar!

II.                  Outside the camp- v. 11-14

a.      Leviticus 16:27- Under the OT system, animals were slain and their blood was brought into the Most Holy Place by the High Priest as a sacrifice for sin.

b.      The bodies of these animals were carried to a place away from the Tabernacle and burned.

c.       The animals that were burned outside of the camp were a picture of Christ. He was crucified outside of the city walls of Jerusalem, and His blood was offered as an atonement for our sin in the Heavenly Tabernacle!

d.      The immediate application to “Without/Outside the camp:” The camp refers to institutional Judaism, which rejected Jesus and Christianity. Though these Christians from Jewish backgrounds were raised to consider everything outside the camp as unclean and evil, they must follow Jesus there. So, they must make a clean break with Judaism.

e.      The application for us: the camp is the entire religious system that teaches salvation by works. It is corrupt Christendom- a church without Christ and we must go outside! Leave anything religious which denies Him alone as our sin-offering!

f.        This can also apply to believers who are in unscriptural churches.  They need to take their stand and leave.

g.      Christ was crucified outside the gate. He was exiled from men and numbered with the transgressors. Therein the writer to the Hebrews sees a picture. We, too, have to sever ourselves from the life of the world and be willing to bear the same reproach as Christ bore.

h.      On earth we bear his reproach, but in Heaven we share His honor in the New Jerusalem that Heavenly City.

i.        “If you can dwell with the wicked, if you can live as they live, and be ‘hail-fellow well met’ with the ungodly, if their practices are your practices, if their pleasures are your pleasures, then their god is your god, and you are one of them. There is no being a Christian without being shut out of the world’s camp.” (Spurgeon)

j.        V. 13- Separation has two aspects: from the world, and to God

III.                Our sacrifice- v. 15-16

a.      If the Christian cannot again offer the sacrifice of Christ, what can he offer? The writer says he can offer certain things.

b.      Because we do have an altar (the cross) and we do have a High Priest (Jesus), we should always offer sacrifices. Yet they are not the bloody sacrifices of the old covenant but the sacrifice of praise, the fruit of our lips.

c.       He can offer his continual praise and thanks to God.

d.      He can offer his public and glad confession of his faith in the name of Christ. That is the offering of loyalty. The Christian can always offer to God a life that is never ashamed to show whose it is and whom it serves.

e.      Communication- sharing with those in need. The Christian can offer deeds of kindness to his fellow men. After all, Jesus himself said: "As you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me" (Matthew 25:40). The best of all sacrifices to bring to God is the gift of help to one of his children in need.

f.        The key to all sacrifices/worship- God is pleased!

 

Conclusion:

·         Closing remarks contain some more exhortation, blessings, and prayers

·         The concluding remarks sound Pauline, including a request for prayer (13:18), a reference to Timothy (13:23), and an "apostolic benediction" (13:25).

·         The message of the Book of Hebrews: Christ is better!

o   He is better than the shadows of the OT because He is the fulfillment of them all

o   Although Judaism is not the dominant religion of the world today, the legalistic spirit is still alive and well in many “Christian” groups. This book calls on us to separate from all religious systems in which Christ is not honored as the only Lord and Savior. He is our High Priest, He is our Sacrifice, He is our Altar.

o   It teaches us that all believers are priests with instant access to God through Christ. Some unfortunately try to sew together again the veil that was torn by God opening up this new and living way!

o   We are warned about the apostasy

o   True Christians are encouraged to walk by faith and not neglect the many privileges we now enjoy in Christ! More is expected of us than those who lived under the Law!

o   Praise God, we have a better covenant, a better Mediator, better promises, a better priesthood, and a better homeland!