The Macro Feeds the Micro
Hebrews 10:11-18 • Jeff Crotts • The big picture of the gospel feeds the tiny details of the day to day.
In my experience, the macro always influences the micro.
- This seems universal in nature.
- The Big Story influences a person’s day to day.
- This plays out in government.
- Legalizing and marking certain drugs has created individual addictions.
- Laws governing drugs sold illegally affect whether you can buy cold medicine over the counter.
- Healthcare laws impact personal insurance plans.
- “Will my preferred doctor stay in network?”
- When our economy (or gas and oil production) fluctuates.
- So do gas prices!
- Funding and support for Military or first-responders influences how safe we feel.
- Recent fires throughout the valley, Kenai, and the city affected air quality and affected and our breathing and summer camping.
The Big Picture Macro affects our Personal Micro.
Spoke at Jr. High chapel on Wednesday on “Knowing the will of God.”
- Finishing my ten minutes early, I had time left over.
- Mike Weber opened the floor to an impromptu Q and A.
- I thought “OK” but then 20 hands shot up!
First question, “If God is sovereign over all things, why didn’t he stop sin from entering our world in the first place?”
- The problem of evil. Theodicy! Really?
Second question, a young girl in the front asked, “When Satan entered the garden, didn’t sin enter our world at that point (prior to Eve’s sin)?”
- I felt like I was working through the final round of my Ordination Counsel!
- I answered these biblical mysteries in terms of God’s sovereignty and God’s inability to sin.
- God allowed sin to enter and run its course, to display all of his attributes according to his perfect predetermined plan for his glory.
- This seemed to satisfy the Jr. High students.
A GCS leader approached me to inform me that beneath the surface, in their hearts, was what drove these difficult questions.
- Students carry deep pain and deep loss.
- One who recently lost her parent to sickness.
- No doubt asking, “Why?”
Trying to make sense of the macro to solve their micro! This is all us!
What Hebrew’s Shepherd/Author is addressing.
- Verses 11-18 serve as panels of a tapestry.
- Taking together as a Big Picture.
- An Unrivaled, Unrepeatable, and Unstoppable Redemption Story.
- What applies to your heart today!
Four redemption scenes and one application
Standing Priests (v. 11)
Our text builds its points through comparisons and contrasts.
- There are priests, “every priest” who were “standing daily” (v. 11).
ESV Deuteronomy 10:8 At that time athe LORD set apart the tribe of Levi bto carry the ark of the covenant of the LORD cto stand before the LORD to minister to him and dto bless in his name, to this day.
ESV Deuteronomy 18:5 For the LORD your God has chosen him out of all your tribes ato stand and minister in the name of the LORD, him and his sons for all time.
- This was a priestly treadmill!
- The Levitical system made up of 20 Tour Orders, with hundreds of priest taking turns at the altar.
ESV Exodus 29:38 "Now this is what you shall offer on the altar: atwo lambs a year old bday by day regularly.
ESV Numbers 28:1-8 The LORD spoke to Moses, saying,2 "Command the people of Israel and say to them, 'My offering, amy food for my food offerings, my bpleasing aroma, you shall be careful to offer to me at its appointed time.'3 aAnd you shall say to them, This is the food offering that you shall offer to the LORD: two male lambs a year old without blemish, day by day, as a regular offering.4 The one lamb you shall offer in the morning, and the other lamb you shall offer at twilight;5 also aa tenth of an ephah1 of fine flour for ba grain offering, mixed cwith a quarter of a hin2 of beaten oil.6 It is a aregular burnt offering, which was ordained at Mount Sinai for a pleasing aroma, a food offering to the LORD.7 Its drink offering shall be a quarter of a hin for each lamb. In the Holy Place you shall pour out a drink offering of strong drink to the LORD.8 The other lamb you shall offer at twilight. Like the grain offering of the morning, and like its drink offering, you shall offer it as a food offering, with a pleasing aroma to the LORD.
- There was no lack for priests, but a lack in effectiveness.
- All priests together could not make an effective sacrifice for sin.
- Christ - One Priest, One work perfectly and permanently effective.
- Thousands of priests compared to one!
No seats were in tabernacle or temple.
- Priest were never there to sit but to serve and keep serving.
- Sacrifices offered “repeatedly” - work never done that could never be done.
- Ultimate stopgap measure!
What had been sanctioned was obsolete.
- This was now the busyness of false religion.
- “Doing that does not save.”
Seated High Priest (v. 12)
Our second panel (v. 12) compares and contrasts the priestly treadmill with Christ.
“But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God” (v. 12).
Christ’s sacrifice contrasts the sacrifices offered by the priests under the old covenant.
- “Repeated” vs. “a single sacrifice.”
- You must understand the benefits of this “single sacrifice” never end.
Christ “sat down.” (v. 12)
- Symbolizing the completion of Christ’s death, burial, resurrection, and ascension.
- Christ is now at the right hand of His Father, “seated on His throne.”
- “Christ accomplished all that sin required” [Carson]
- This exudes Christ’s absolute sovereign strength.
In Ephesians 1, Paul applies God’s power for Christians by referencing Christ seated God’s right hand.
ESV Ephesians 1:19-23 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, aaccording to the working of bhis great might 20 that he worked in Christ awhen he raised him from the dead and bseated him at his right hand cin the heavenly places,21 afar above ball rule and authority and power and dominion, and above cevery name that is named, not only in dthis age but also in the one to come.22 And ahe put all things under his feet and gave him as bhead over all things to the church,
23 awhich is his body, bthe fullness of him cwho fills dall in all.
- Hebrews makes the same point:
ESV Hebrews 1:3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and athe exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. bAfter making purification for sins, che sat down dat the right hand of the Majesty on high,
ESV Hebrews 8:1 Now the point in what we are saying is this: we have such a high priest, aone who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven,
This vision, originally cast by David from Psalm 110:1 is an author’s favorite!
Christ is a vindicated Monarch!
- Vindication over sin and death!
- Not simply someone who lived the model life, died a martyr’s heroic death, risen, now in heaven with friends.
- Christ life is incomplete without death, without resurrection, without return to glory!
Vindicated Monarch (v. 13)
Christ seated and “waiting” (v. 13).
- Again, from Psalm 110:1 this is vindication but also anticipation!
- Christ did what only he could do - sat down in God’s presence!
- Suffering servant to Sovereign King.
- Slaughtered Lamb to Strong Lion!
- Poised to Return!
- Christ “seated” portrays a Kingdom suspended between the Now and Not Yet!
- God is present but will be more present!
- Final vindication in the end.
- Promise: Christ’s enemies will be slain!
- “What remains is for God to consummate his redemption plan by triumphing over every enemy!”
- Everything Christ died to accomplish will be accomplished.
- No enemy can hinder his work.
- The Cross dealt a death-blow to all His enemies.
- The Cross conquered the power of death, the devil (Heb. 2:14).
- Christ triumphed over all fallen angels (Col. 2:14-15).
- Christ disarmed and triumphed over rulers and authorities of all ages (Col. 2:15).
- All enemies will be his footstool and acknowledge His lordship bowing at His feet (Phil. 2:10).
- No enemy can hinder his work.
- “The atonement was utterly complete; the Father was utterly satisfied; and all the enemies will fall utterly before the reigning Christ in heaven!”
Biblical scholars describe the All-ready/Not-yet Kingdom tension in terms of winning WWII: Jesus’ death and resurrection are D Day, in that they represent the decisive victory of the Christ of God.
Still, the final mopping up operation has not occurred. V Day is not here yet, but it is most certainly coming!
This is called the “Session of Christ.”
- Like when Congress is in session.
- The Latin word session means “the act of sitting.”
- Our representatives assemble in seats, waiting to transact the business of the United States.
- In redemptive history, this compares to: Christ’s birth, death, resurrection, Pentecost, His return.
- Christ himself predicted He would fulfill this!
ESV Mark 12:36 David himself, ain the Holy Spirit, declared, b"'The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies cunder your feet.'
- Jesus, predicting his own future declared, “God said to David’s Lord, ‘Sit at My right hand till I make Your enemies Your footstool.’”
What does this mean for us?
- Americans pride themselves on our democracy, but Christians possess a superior King and kingdom.
- His reign is ongoing, and rule is now.
The late R.C. Sproul gives an analogy for how Christ’s Ruling Session plays in our lives:
The legend of Robin Hood tells of King Richard the Lionheart who leaves England to fight in the Crusades, leaving his brother, Prince John, in charge of the realm. John mismanages the kingdom for his own benefit, forcing Robin and others to become outlaws.
Robin and his compatriots, known as his merry men, live in Sherwood Forest, evading John and his henchman, the sheriff of Nottingham. The merry men are known for their joy, but they are known especially for their loyalty. They want to protect the realm until their king comes home.
Richard returns to England but this time in the guise of a monk. At an inn, he hears of talk about Robin Hood and his opposition to Prince John, so he purposely travels through Sherwood Forest. Suddenly, Robin and his men waylay Richard and his fellow travelers, and try to relieve the king of his purse.
The king asks Robin, “Why are you doing this?” Robin replies, “Because of my allegiance to my king.”
Then Richard pulls off the monk’s garments and displays the lion and the cross on his chest. Robin recognizes him and falls on his knees, saying, “My liege.” In the end, Richard knights Robin because of his faithfulness during the absence of the king. [R.C. Sproul]
Our King is seated at the right hand of God.
- Though we are in this world, our higher allegiance and loyalty is to Him.
- The world bows to “the god of this age” – “the Prince of the Power of the air” but our King rules our hearts now.
- We know and we wait Christ’s promised return to dominate all enemies
(cf. 1 Cor. 15:24-28)!
Sanctified People (v. 14)
Our final panel in this broadening tapestry is still part of redemptive history now building into application.
This picture is still the macro leading to our micro.
“For by a single offering he has perfected for all time…” makes this broad.
- We know about the “single offering” (v. 14).
- “single sacrifice for sins” (v. 12).
- It has “perfected for all time those who are being sanctified” (v. 14).
- Perfected meaning “complete” or “saved” (v. 14).
Christ’s redemption mission was accomplished and applied! Done! Forever!
“Does this mean Christians never sin or get sick?” “Never make mathematical errors in school or are perfect in their behavior or attitudes?” No!
- The application of the Cross is on our behalf!
- However, we are still sinning, living in a sinful world.
“So how do we know we are perfected?” (v. 14).
The “single offering” is applied to “those who are being sanctified” (v. 14).
Why tense is important.
“Those who are being sanctified” means you have a shocking combination where people who “have been perfected” are the ones who “are being sanctified.” [Piper]
- This is simply understanding your assurance of salvation.
- Christ fully accomplished and guaranteed holiness for those now being made holy.
This fulfills the otherwise unreachable standard “To be holy as God is holy” (Leviticus 11:44-45; 19:2; 20:7; Matt. 5:48; 1 Pet. 1:15).
ESV Matthew 5:20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds athat of the scribes and Pharisees, you bwill never enter the kingdom of heaven.
He has made us perfect and now we have an inbuilt new craving to be holy!
“What does this look like?”
The final point is the application, where everything macro feeds the micro!
Hearts changed (vv. 15-18)
The Holy Spirit enters the believer’s heart.
- Theses macro scenes of redemptive history mean life to individual believers!
Jeremiah 31:33 is another of the author’s favorites (cf. Heb. 8:10).
- Taken from the LXX – this predicts the New Covenant!
- God pledged a New Covenant from Jeremiah 31.
- Important theme throughout Hebrews (8:10; 9:13-14; 13:20-25).
- Why the Old Testament is both true and relevant to New Testament Christians.
- The author makes the direct link between Old Testament prophecies and the Holy Spirit!
- No mention of the Holy Spirit from Jeremiah’s prophecy but the Holy Spirit was moving prophets.
- Old Testament references speak to the Spirit of God rushing upon prophets (cf. Is. 61:1).
ESV 2 Peter 1:21 For ano prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God bas they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. (2Pe 1:21 ESV)
- Verse 15, speaks of how the Holy Spirit “bears witness [Martupei] to us” (v. 15).
- By what Jeremiah spoke!
- Jeremiah predicted the exact dynamic that this church was experiencing!
- What we experience as believers!
We too have been changed by the Holy Spirit. “What’s changed?”
- Our hearts are re-wired – now sensitized to discern what obedience looks like!
Remember how the Pharisee’s were always challenging Jesus saying he was not “obeying the law!” The letter of the law!
“You can’t go here”
“You can’t talk to or be touched by that woman” “She’s a sinner!”
“You can’t heal that person!” “It’s the Sabbath!”
“You can’t eat that food” “It’s not clean!”
“Your disciples didn’t ceremonially wash before touching that food!”
- And, on and on it goes!
Jesus, obeyed his Father’s will by the will and work of the Spirit!”
He knew the Spirit’s will and the intent of the Law!
He taught “hate” as “murder” and “lust” as “adultery!”
We too know the difference!
We are not locked up in cult religion.
We have Christ as our guide.
Verse 17 “then…adds” “I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more” (v. 17)
- Quoting Jer. 31:34 and contrasting Hebrews 10:3.
- God does not “remember against you” our sins!
- God is omniscient or all-knowing.
- This means God’s knows all our sins!
- However, under the sacrificial blood of Christ, our sins will never be held against us! (cf. Rom. 8:1).
Verse 18 is the summary.
“Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin” (v. 18).
- In terms of comparisons and contrasts the argument is sealed.
- Priests (and legalists!) should now step off their treadmill.
- Likewise, you should too!
“What does the macro of redemptive history mean in terms of your micro experience?”
- The Big Story means you can love a friend and foe. You know if someone does not repent, they will be met with justice.
- The Big Story means you understand sacrificial love. What we have is temporary. What we’ve been given supersedes what’s temporary. So, we give.
- In terms of your past, your conscience is clear, and your heart should be at peace. Our peace supersedes natural logic. Christ sacrifice has meets the judgement we know we deserve!
- In terms of your purpose, you have an identity, cause, and direction. You are a saint, made perfect because Christ is working in your perfecting you! You want to be who God is making you to be! Holy! You are in Christ.
- In terms of your priorities, you have higher goals and deeper investments to make. Your time. Your talent. Your treasure is Christ’s! Investing in people’s lives matters more than collecting more stuff.
- In terms of partnerships, you can make friends with others based on Christ. There is no greater connection. You have something in common that no other affiliation can match. You have Christ and you have his mission in common!