[00:00:05] Amen. Amen.
[00:00:12] Let's pray. Lord God, as we now come to your word, first read, then preached, this is your holy spirit inspired, inerrant word. It has revealed truth, good news.
[00:00:32] So we pray that your holy spirit would open our eyes to behold wondrous things from your word.
[00:00:41] Help us find hope.
[00:00:44] Help us to believe all the more through the preaching of your word. In Jesus name. Amen. If you would please turn with me now to Hebrews chapter ten.
[00:00:56] I'll be reading verse one through 18.
[00:01:00] Hebrews, chapter ten, verses one through 18.
[00:01:05] Don't you love the Book of Hebrews?
[00:01:08] Sometimes people say, if I was on a desert island, I think sproul would take the book of Romans. If he had only one book, I might take Hebrews. It's just an awesome book.
[00:01:20] Hebrews, chapter ten, beginning in verse one.
[00:01:27] For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near.
[00:01:44] Otherwise they would not have ceased to be offered, since the worshippers, having been once cleansed, would no longer have any consciousness of sin.
[00:01:55] But in these sacrifices there is a reminder of sin every year. For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
[00:02:05] Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said, sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body you have prepared for me in burnt offerings and sinned offerings you have taken no pleasure. Then I said, behold, I have come to do your will, o God, as it is written of me in the book, scroll of the book, when he said above, you have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings, and burnt offerings and sin offerings. These are offered according to the law. Then he added, behold, I have come to do your will. He abolishes the first in order to establish the second. And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
[00:02:57] And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices which can never take away sins.
[00:03:05] But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet.
[00:03:19] For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.
[00:03:26] And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us. For after saying, this is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, declares the Lord, I will put my laws on their hearts and write them on their minds. Then he adds, I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.
[00:03:46] Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin. This is the word of God. Amen. Please be seated.
[00:04:16] Some might argue that the gospel no longer really speaks to our age, really speaks to the struggles that we have today.
[00:04:29] Or does it?
[00:04:31] One of the current practices of our society.
[00:04:34] And it appears that even some christians are as worldly as the world in this practice is that of searching out people's sins.
[00:04:45] And this, no matter how far back in the past you have to go.
[00:04:50] And then, having discovered a person's transgressions, they are then announced to the world on the Internet, thereby publicly shaming them.
[00:05:03] And perhaps the worst part of all of this is that in this current cultural practice, there is no room for forgiveness nor redemption.
[00:05:18] With no room for forgiveness, no room for redemption, the transgressor is entombed in the scandal of their guilt and their shame forever.
[00:05:32] But this is where the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ enters the picture. Verse twelve. Here, when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, then God declared what we all need in our guilt. Verse 17. I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.
[00:05:55] Christ single sacrifice for sin has not only washed away all of our shame and our guilt, but it has secured a forever, a full and a complete once and for all forgiveness.
[00:06:13] And thereby Christ has secured the eternal love, the eternal warmth, the eternal acceptance of God our father, even for those like us and like Paul described in romans seven, who has struggled with sin and who still struggles with sin. So let's begin here, Hebrews ten, beginning with verse one.
[00:06:37] For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities.
[00:06:47] Now, there's a really important word here found in verse one regarding the Old Testament sacrificial system. And it's that word shadow.
[00:06:58] So think about shadows for a moment.
[00:07:01] A shadow is but a fuzzy thing, isn't it? A fuzzy image of the real thing.
[00:07:10] And that's what the Old Testament laws, the Old Testament sacrifices, rituals, were, rough, fuzzy sketches of the real thing, the coming of Christ and his single once for all offering for sins.
[00:07:28] John Calvin, in his commentary on this verse, compares shadows of the Old Testament law to what some artists do when they begin a painting. Before they actually start painting in the colors, they just sketch a rough outline of what they want to paint.
[00:07:45] And he compares that to the shadows. And then later they paint in all the glorious details in that painting.
[00:07:56] And so it's very, very crucial to understand that the key to interpreting and understanding the Old Testament is that it's all about Christ.
[00:08:05] It's all about his coming sacrifice. But it's in shadow form.
[00:08:12] It's still fuzzy, you could say shadows preparing, though, and pointing forward to the people of the Old Testament, to the New Testament and the coming of Jesus Christ. So if you really think about this, Christ has now come, and Christ has offered a single sacrifice for sins. It's clear on the pages of the New Testament. It's written in sharp detail, just as it is here in Hebrews, chapter ten. And because Christ has now come, we now possess the joy of the full forgiveness of all of our sins. No more guilt, no more shame.
[00:08:57] The gospel really is good news of the greatest joy.
[00:09:03] So what are the shadows that verse one is urging them not to return to? What are those shadows? Well, the Shadows that is the Old Testament sacrifices are that which can never make perfect.
[00:09:19] And verse two captures the deficiency of the sacrificial shadows. Otherwise, wouldn't they have ceased to be offered, is what the author says. If they were perfect, then a priest would have offered a single sacrifice. It'd be done right. That's what he's getting at. Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, since the worshippers, having been cleansed, would no longer have any consciousness of sins? You see, in the Old Testament sacrificial system, the sacrifices. Now really think about this. Those sacrifices had to be offered again and again and again and again, year in, year out, simply because the offering of animals never truly could atone for the guilt of sinful human beings. And thus we have verses three and four. But in these sacrifices there is a reminder of sins. Every year. You're always reminded those sacrifices haven't truly forgiven me. And so here they are being offered again.
[00:10:25] For it's impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. The author writes, the point is the Old Testament sacrificial system. While it prepared the way for Christ with its shadows, it could not cure the guilt of sin. It was a shadow pointing them forward to the good news of the coming lamb of God and his single sacrifice for sins.
[00:10:53] And again, in our modern, contemporary, what's going on in the world? People search even way into the past to publish people's transgressions and bad things they've done. There is no sacrifice for sins. There's no redemption, there's no forgiveness.
[00:11:09] How terrible that is.
[00:11:12] But in the gospel of Jesus Christ and his sacrifice, his single sacrifice for sins. There's hope, there's redemption, there's forgiveness.
[00:11:24] Christ's once and for all sacrifice washes away our shame.
[00:11:32] That's a big word in scripture, by the way. One of my goals is to write a sermon on shame. I was taking some biblical counseling classes and one of the classes had a whole section on shame. And there's a whole book on shame. And I've always suspected it's a big topic in scripture. It is. It's something we really struggle with. Christ's once for all sacrifice washes away our shame and guilt and secures the eternal, the unwavering love of God our father. And that's gospel good news.
[00:12:11] This then brings us here to verses five to seven, which are quotations taken from psalm number 40. So let's begin looking here at verses five and six, where we have. Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said, sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body you prepared for me.
[00:12:34] In burnt offerings and sin offerings you have taken no pleasure. What does that mean?
[00:12:40] What's this referring to?
[00:12:43] Well, since Christ's mission was to offer himself as a single sacrifice for sin, this statement that God does not desire sacrifices can be a little puzzling, can't it?
[00:12:59] But actually, there's a story behind verses five and six which say of God, verse six, in burnt offerings and sin offerings, you have taken no pleasure. The story behind that is found in one Samuel, chapter 15.
[00:13:16] There in one Samuel, chapter 15, God had commanded King Saul to enter into battle with the amalekites. And in that particular battle, God commanded King Saul, you cannot take any of the animals as spoil. You have to destroy all of the animals that you capture in the victory that I'm going to give you. But King Saul, in a direct act of willful disobedience, King Saul kept alive the very best of the animals they captured. And then King Saul offered those animals up as sacrifices to God, as if those sacrifices made up for his directly violating a command of God.
[00:14:08] And in response, God sent the prophet Samuel to King Saul, saying, has the Lord as great a delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the Lord?
[00:14:23] Does he delight as much in sacrifices, the offering of animals, as he does in following his commands, obeying his law, obeying his word?
[00:14:35] Samuel continues, behold, to obey is better than sacrifice and to listen than the fat of rams. You see, that's what's behind Hebrews chapter ten, verse five. Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired.
[00:14:52] It's about what King Saul did in direct disobedience to God.
[00:14:57] God does not want us to simply go through religious motions in an attempt to make up for our sin, our disobedience.
[00:15:07] What God seeks above all else is a heart that wants to obey. In our reading of the law, romans seven, Paul is describing that there's part of him that loves God's law, wants to obey what God desires. Above all else is a heart that desires to do his will. And then one who follows through by actually obeying and doing God's will.
[00:15:37] And in other words, these quotations from psalm 40 here are ultimately about Christ, who actually did come to do that which is most precious to God.
[00:15:50] A body you have prepared for me. Behold, I have come to do your will, o God.
[00:15:58] So pause for a moment and consider what took place in the heart of Christ.
[00:16:02] For example, in the garden of Gethsemane.
[00:16:06] Christ went to the garden of Gethsemane to prepare himself for the cross. In prayer, he sought to prepare himself for the coming agonies of accomplishing God's will when he was going to offer himself up on the cross. And in Matthew 26 we read, and going a little bit further, he fell on his face and prayed, saying, my father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me.
[00:16:36] But he didn't end there.
[00:16:38] He continued, nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.
[00:16:48] This was a perfect carrying out of the father's will and in a single sacrifice for sins, Christ not only obeyed what the father wanted, but he fulfilled all of those Old Testament shadows. Christ secured a forever, a full and a complete once and for all forgiveness, something that those Old Testament sacrifices, something that the blood of animals could never accomplish. And thus Jesus Christ secured by sheer, undeserved, magnificent grace, the eternal love and acceptance of the Father for all who believe upon him.
[00:17:30] This in our shame, in our guilt, in our feelings of inadequacy, our awareness of our sins. Like again, Paul, Romans, chapter seven. This really is gospel good news, and we need to allow it to penetrate and penetrate deep.
[00:17:53] So returning here to chapter ten, verse five. Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said, sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body you have prepared for me.
[00:18:06] Why was there the incarnation?
[00:18:09] Why did the son of God become man? Why did he come to earth and take on our full humanity, even to the point of taking on a physical human body?
[00:18:22] Remember, all the way back in Genesis, chapter two, God had warned, the day you eat of it, the day you sinned against me, the day you disobey me, you shall what? Die right.
[00:18:38] Or as the apostle Paul states, the matter for the wages of sin is death.
[00:18:45] But again, it's not animals who have sinned against God.
[00:18:51] It's we us humans who have sinned against God. It's we humans who have disobeyed him, just like King Saul disobeyed a command of God. And so it's we humans who owe to God's offended justice the penalty of death. Thus Christ says, a body you have prepared for me. Christ's sacrifice was a true human sacrifice, so that he, unlike the animal sacrifices, which were just shadows, so that he might fully and completely pay for all of our sins.
[00:19:28] It's we humans who have sinned against God. It's we humans who should die. And the only truly acceptable substitutionary sacrifice for us, then, is a human giving his life, a perfect, sinless human. And that's Jesus Christ, a body you have prepared for me.
[00:19:48] And we find the wonderful fruit of Christ's sacrifice here in verse ten.
[00:19:54] And by that will, remember, Jesus said, not my will, but your will be done. And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all.
[00:20:09] Once for all. Why in the world would anyone part of what the author of Hebrews is getting at? These Hebrew Christians, as we believe, what was going on, they were tempted to return to the Old Testament sacrificial system.
[00:20:25] And so the book of Hebrews is written saying, you don't want to do that.
[00:20:32] Look to Christ.
[00:20:33] You don't want to return to those shadows which are offered over and over and over and over again. Because the blood of animals can't take away your sin. They can't substitute for you. Why do you want to go back to a system where your guilt is never fully taken care of, where your sin is never fully attained? The Old Testament sacrificial system can never make perfect those who draw near.
[00:21:00] So with this in mind, the author of Hebrews is saying, behold the glory of Christ.
[00:21:07] Christ's sacrifice, which the Old Testament sacrifices could only shadow, his single sacrifice secured forever and ever the full forgiveness of all of our sins. Again, once for all, all of our sins. All of you who are trusting in Jesus Christ, all of your sins are fully, completely atoned for. All your guilt is paid for, you are forgiven and you are accepted. You are in the love of God the Father forever and ever and ever, because of Christ's once and for all sacrifice. And that's why Christ on the cross, having paid the penalty of our sins, was able to cry out, it is finished.
[00:21:55] It is finished.
[00:21:58] He was announcing to all the universe, mission accomplished. Our guilt and our shame has been washed away forever again. What grace, what joy, even in a world in which we still struggle.
[00:22:20] Now this then brings us to the gospel. The gospel good news of verses eleven and twelve here, where we read, and every priest stands daily at a service offering repeatedly the same sacrifices. You see how he keeps hitting this theme? Because remember, these christians, we believe, were seeking to go back to the Old Testament Judaism to escape persecution.
[00:22:45] And so he keeps hitting on this. Every priest daily stands at a service offering repeatedly the same sacrifices which can never take away sins. He's saying, why do you want to go back to that?
[00:22:58] Think about it. Are you crazy?
[00:23:01] Verse twelve. But when Christ, in contrast to the Old Testament priest, when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God.
[00:23:13] Month after month, year after year, century after century, the Old Testament priests kept offering those ritual sacrifices which can never truly take away sin.
[00:23:26] It's a tragic thing. And guess who does a similar thing today?
[00:23:32] Roman catholic priests, when they performed the Mass.
[00:23:37] In fact, the Mass is often referred to as the sacrifice of the Mass.
[00:23:45] Each and every mass said by a priest is believed to be a non bloody offering sacrifice of Jesus Christ. That's part of the whole theology of what's going on in the Mass. I remember as a young boy, as an altar boy, and when the priest would hold up the host, as it was called, or the chalice with the wine, we would ring a bell three times. Ring. It was multiple bells. Ring, ring, ring. Signifying the moment when that bread and that blood was, they believe, literally transformed into Christ's body and Christ's blood. What's the importance of that? So he could offer it as a non bloody sacrifice, the sacrifice of the Mass.
[00:24:34] They believed then that the Mass is a non bloody resacing of Christ which atones for sin both the sins of those present at the mass as well as the sins of those for whom the Mass is said.
[00:24:50] I once read an article about an italian roman catholic priest who became a reformed pastor. Let me read a little excerpt from this article.
[00:25:03] Franco Magoto was one of the most memorable men I've ever met.
[00:25:09] At one point in his life, he'd been a roman catholic priest in Italy. The papal hierarchy saw potential in Franco, and he became involved with the Vatican.
[00:25:20] One day, Father Franco was saying mass at a basilia. In the process, he happened to read to the congregation from Hebrews, chapter ten, verses eleven to twelve.
[00:25:31] And every priest stands daily at a service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices which can never take away sins.
[00:25:40] But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God.
[00:25:48] Article continues. When Franco read this, the Holy Spirit suddenly opened his eyes to the reality of the gospel. He told the congregation, I'm fired. You should go home now. It's all done. I'm fired. Jesus has done it all.
[00:26:07] The good news is that there is no more repeating of sacrifices.
[00:26:15] Have you ever seen Pastor Chelka hold up a host and altar boys or altar girls ringing bells and all that? No, we're reformed. Reformation is saying that's biblically wrong.
[00:26:28] Violates scripture.
[00:26:32] Single sacrifice for sins Christ sat down at the right hand of God. You know what part of what that implies when it says, after he'd offered his sacrifice, Christ sat down at the right hand of God? Think of it this way.
[00:26:48] You prepare a wonderful dinner, you finish the meal, you wash the dishes, and you finally get to sit down because it's done right.
[00:26:57] You get to relax because you've washed the dishes. They're all finished.
[00:27:02] You can relax. This is the good news of the gospel, verse twelve. When Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God.
[00:27:12] It's done, it's complete. We're completely forgiven.
[00:27:18] Moving on to verse 14, it's also filled, overflowing with gospel good news. For by a single offering, he is perfected for all time. Those who are being sanctified. You see how the author just keeps hitting these things? Christ, once for all sacrifice. It's done, it's complete, you're forgiven, you're sanctified.
[00:27:38] It's an awesome thing. The good news of the gospel. For by a single offering, he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified. No. Purgatory. See, purgatory is a place where you go to be punished to make up for the sins that weren't dealt with in this present life. Because you didn't go to enough masses, you didn't do enough things.
[00:28:04] No. By a single offering, he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified. We constantly feel like we're not good enough because of our sin, because of our guilt. We struggle with feeling like we're not worthy. We're not worthy of our heavenly Father's love and acceptance. But you see, our being, as the author says here, perfected for all time, simply boils down to this. We have been so thoroughly cleansed by Christ's blood and his righteousness has been credited to us through our union with Christ, that we're now able to draw near to God our father and his mighty love forever and ever, period. The gospel truly is good news.
[00:28:57] And then in this journey here through the good news of Christ, once for all sacrifice, we arrive at verses 15 and 16.
[00:29:05] And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us. For after saying, this is the covenant which I will make with them after those days, declares the Lord, I'll put my laws in their hearts and write them on their minds. Then he adds, I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.
[00:29:24] Quote from Jeremiah 31, verse 33. And what is declaring? Is the gospel good news? That in the new covenant which we're living in, our very hearts are going to be transformed, and a new living spiritual principle will begin to sprout in our hearts.
[00:29:46] Kent Hughes tells of the time that Donald Barnhouse was walking on a spring day, and he observed leaves falling from the trees, and he realized, hold it. This is spring, and leaves are falling from the trees. What's going on here? And then it struck him.
[00:30:08] Dead leaves that were left over from the previous year were being pushed out by the new life of spring. And so Kent Hughes writes, this is what happens when God writes his will on our hearts.
[00:30:24] The new life within purges the deadness from our lives. Our renewed hearts pump fresh blood through us. The life of Christ in us, the same life that said, here I am. I have come to do your will, o God. It now animates us. And that really is also gospel good news.
[00:30:47] Well, we began this morning by reflecting on that trend taking place within our society, that of searching out bad things people have done, their sins, their wrongdoings, for the purpose of holding all of that up before the public, exposing them to shame for their transgressions.
[00:31:08] And again, in this cruel practice, there's no redemption, there's no forgiveness, there's no relief.
[00:31:16] And this is why the gospel of Jesus Christ is so relevant even for today.
[00:31:23] It's desperately needed in our angry, punishing society.
[00:31:31] So let me close with the good news of verses 17 and 18 here, where the author continues. Then he adds, I'll remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.
[00:31:44] Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin.
[00:31:50] Here is the everlasting fruit of the saving, forgiving work of the cross of Christ. For every single person who places their faith in Jesus Christ, in the place of rejection, in the place of shame, in the place of estrangement, in the place of guilt and shame, there is rest for our guilty consciences.
[00:32:18] There is rest from our falling short.
[00:32:23] There is rest for our feeling alone, alienated, unloved. In its place, there is a forever forgiveness, a forever love, a forever acceptance on the part of our heavenly Father.
[00:32:40] And all of this thanks to Christ's coming to do the Father's will and offer himself as a once for all. It is finished. Sacrifice. Let's pray.
[00:33:01] Our Lord Jesus Christ, how can we thank you enough for the sacrifice, the punishment you underwent so that we might be forgiven, so that we might be saved from our sins, from all that's wrong with us, from our willfully disobeying your commands, your law, your will?
[00:33:35] Thank you for taking the fullness of the cup of God's wrath on yourself as our substitute so that the whole sacrificial system is over.
[00:33:49] Thank you. That by a single offering you have perfected for all times, all of us who trust in you. May this gospel good news sink deep down into our hearts and encourage us, even with whatever struggles we may face as we leave here this morning and face another week.
[00:34:14] Encourage us. We're forgiven. We're cleansed by the blood of Christ. I pray all of this in Jesus wonderful name. Amen. Amen.