Sermons

Jesus is Better, Pt. 2

Jun 21, 2020

Jesus is Better, Pt. 2

Passage: Hebrews 1:1-13:25

Preacher: Jeff Crotts

Series: The Race Set Before Us

Category: Sunday Morning

Detail

Hebrews – Jesus is Better

If you are like me, the hardest thing to do when you stop exercising is to start up again. 

  • You need “motivation!”

The Big Idea of Hebrews for application is “To run toward Jesus, and keep running.” 

  • The “So what?” of Hebrews is to “Run!”
  • To start and keep going. 

You, like me, need this point to hit home, not missing the forest for the trees.

  • Recap Hebrews with a sweep (13 chapters).
  • My outline is simple.

13 chapters giving 13 reasons to run and keep running the race set before us. 

  • Every point: Jesus is better!
  • He is better, so run!

 

Verses 22-25 is a postscript and it is pastoral. 

  • The author makes an intimate appeal or exhortation [parakalew – 2x] to come alongside these believers.
  • He says, “bear with my word” (v. 22).
  • Take this to heart.

21st Century ears hear sarcasm with, “I have written to you briefly” (v. 22). 

  • Compared to shorter letters, 13 chapters do not seem brief.
  • This is shorter than Romans and 1 Corinthians being under 10,000 words.
    • It can be read in less than an hour.
    • Probably was a sermon.
    • Themes are deep.
    • Could be unpacked with greater detail.

The author has a personal connection to Timothy.

  • Not to go full circle but this the closest nod toward Paul’s authorship.
    • News of Timothy’s release from prison?
    • The goal is personal connection.
    • Far more difficult in those days.
    • What is apparent is the eager anticipation.

Greetings made to “all leaders” and “all saints” (v. 24), both part of the body. 

  • This designation, “leaders” highlights Scripture’s standard from verses 7 and 17.
  • Along with the significance of being “set-apart” [hagious] as believers.
  • Every believer is free from sin’s curse!
  • Made holy by God through Christ forever!

The author’s mention of “Those who come from Italy send you greetings” (v. 24) is ambiguous. 

  • He is making a connection between where he is with this small church and those in Jerusalem.
    • Reflects the expansive reach of the Gospel.
    • God’s Gospel traveled through missions to Rome and beyond.

Early Jewish Christians were not bound to Jerusalem and early Christians were not only ethnic Jews. 

  • Christ was transforming hearts in Rome, Italy.
  • They “send you greetings” (v. 24).
  • Their love for Christ and for the church.

 

 “What ties everything together?” 

  • In a word, “Grace!” (v. 25).
    • Grace is why we are saved and grace is why we grow.
    • We needed grace and we need grace!

 

  • Grace is the greatest common denominator between everyone.
    • No matter who you are!
  • Where you come from!
  • Ethnicity.  Gender. 
  • We need grace! The grace of Christ.

Growing by “grace” is running the race. The application is found in Hebrews 12:1-2.

ESV  Hebrews 12:1-2 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and asin which clings so closely, and blet us run cwith endurance the race that is dset before us,2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, awho for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising bthe shame, and cis seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

 

  • Run and keep running!
  • Not drift, stray, or fall away!
  • We need to grace of Jesus.

To run and keep running, to you: Jesus is better than everything. 

 

Why Jesus is better?   
 1. Jesus is better than the angels (ch. 1)

This is the test of Motivations!

  • Your motivation to follow Christ directly relates to your picture of Christ.
  • The larger you believe Christ is, the more motivated you are to follow!

This is one of the single most Christ-magnifying verses in the Bible.   

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

  • The question is, “How big is Jesus?”
  • Bigger than the unseen world.

It takes faith to believe in angels.

  • Unless they appear in the form of man (per the Bible’s precedent), we do not see them.

"How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?" (alternatively "How many angels can stand on the point of a pin?") is a reductio ad absurdum challenge to medieval scholasticism in general, and its angelology in particular, as represented by figures such as Duns Scotus and Thomas Aquinas.

  • Angels are there but we do not see them except by faith.
  • Angels are impressive and otherworldly but created beings.

John tried to worship angels twice.

ESV  Revelation 19:10 Then aI fell down at his feet to worship him, bbut he said to me, "You must not do that! I am a fellow servant1 with you and your brothers who hold to cthe testimony of Jesus. Worship God." For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

ESV  Revelation 22:8 I, aJohn, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw them, bI fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me

 

There is only One to whom we bow in worship. 

  • Jesus is likewise invisible to you.
  • To see Jesus, you have to believe in him by faith.
  • We see both angels and Jesus by believing Scripture.

Believing in the Son is far superior because believing in the Son is believing in eternal God.

I will not run for an angel but I will run for Jesus.     

 2. Jesus is better than family (ch. 2)

One of the most provocative titles Jesus gives you as a Christian is “brother.”

  • Not talking about simply being brothers and sisters to each other but to Christ himself.

ESV  Hebrews 2:11 For ahe who sanctifies and bthose who are sanctified call have one source.1 That is why he is not ashamed to call them dbrothers

 

ESV  Hebrews 2:17-18 Therefore he had ato be made like his brothers in every respect, bso that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest cin the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18 For because he himself has suffered awhen tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

 

  • Jesus makes certain that everyone who believes in him knows he is family.
    • We have in common the link that supersedes all other bonds.
    • We “all have one source” (v. 11).

 

ESV  Proverbs 18:24 A man of many companions may come to ruin, but athere is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

 

  • Exactly what our culture is in desperation to find!
    • The Gospel not only breaks down all barriers.
    • It takes an inestimably large step forward, bonding everyone with a bond that supersedes everything that the world says divides.

 

  • Christians all have Gospel blood coursing through all of our veins!
  • Our “brother” - Christ felt everything and feels everything we feel because he is your “brother.”

Running toward Jesus, our brother! 

 3. Jesus is better than Moses (ch. 3)

ESV  Hebrews 3:1-6 Therefore, holy brothers,1 you who share in aa heavenly calling, consider Jesus, bthe apostle and high priest of our confession,2 who was faithful to him who appointed him, ajust as Moses also was faithful in all God's1 house.3 For Jesus has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses--as much more glory as the builder of a house has more honor than the house itself.4 (For every house is built by someone, but athe builder of all things is God.)5 aNow Moses was faithful in all God's house bas a servant, cto testify to the things that were to be spoken later,6 but Christ is faithful over God's house as aa son. And bwe are his house if indeed we chold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope.1

 

Moses is the Old Testament savior who redeemed Israel. 

  • The Old Testament intercessor who spoke for and prayed for God’s chosen.
  • God performed miracles through him.
  • Spoke face to face with God and his face shined God’s glory.
  • However, Moses was still just a man.

 

I am not going to run for Moses, I am only going to run for Jesus.

 

 “What does it take to keep running toward heaven?” 

 

ESV  Hebrews 3:12-13 Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from athe living God. 13 But aexhort one another every day, as long as it is called "today," that none of you may be hardened by bthe deceitfulness of sin.

 

 4. Jesus is better than physical rest (ch. 4)

 

ESV  Hebrews 4:1-3 Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem ato have failed to reach it.2 For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because athey were not united by faith with those who listened.13 For we who have believed enter that rest, as he has said, a"As I swore in my wrath, 'They shall not enter my rest,'" although his works were finished from the foundation of the world.

 

  • God’s children pursued physical rest.
  • Promised Land.
  • We pursue Jesus.

 

 “When does Jesus mean more than physical rest?”

 

ESV  Hebrews 4:11-16 Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so athat no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. 12 For athe word of God is living and bactive, csharper than any dtwo-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and ediscerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.13 And ano creature is hidden from his sight, but all are bnaked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.14 Since then we have aa great high priest bwho has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, clet us hold fast our confession.15 For we do not have a high priest awho is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been xtempted as we are, eyet without sin.16 aLet us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

 

 5. Jesus is better than priests (ch. 5)

 

ESV  Hebrews 5:1 For every high priest chosen from among men ais appointed to act on behalf of men bin relation to God, cto offer gifts and sacrifices for sins.

  • Priests were appointed by men, Christ was appointed by God (vv. 5-7).
  • Christ was perfect!

ESV  Hebrews 5:7-9 In the days of his flesh, aJesus1 offered up prayers and supplications, bwith loud cries and tears, to him cwho was able to save him from death, and dhe was heard because of his reverence.

8 Although ahe was a son, bhe learned obedience through what he suffered.9 And abeing made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him

 

 6. Jesus is better than Abraham (ch. 6)

 

ESV  Hebrews 6:13-18 For when God made a promise to Abraham, since he had no one greater by whom to swear, ahe swore by himself, 14 saying, a"Surely I will bless you and multiply you."15 And thus Abraham,1 ahaving patiently waited, obtained the promise.16 For people swear by something greater than themselves, and in all their disputes aan oath is final for confirmation.17 So when God desired to show more convincingly to athe heirs of the promise bthe unchangeable character of his purpose, che guaranteed it with an oath,18 so that by two unchangeable things, in which ait is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope bset before us.

 

The author is moving backward in Bible history, from Moses to Abraham, and then to Melchizedek. 

 

  • Do not put your trust in the Old Testament, Redeemer, Lawgiver, Intercessor.
    • Now do not trust the Old Testament, Father of Faith.
    • God made his promise to Abraham but the basis for this promise being kept was not Abraham.
    • Not Abraham’s faith!

 

  • God put his faith in God!

 

This is why we run toward Jesus!

 

ESV  Hebrews 6:19-20 We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into athe inner place behind the curtain, 20 where Jesus has gone aas a forerunner on our behalf, bhaving become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.

 

 7. Jesus is better than Melchizedek (ch. 7)

 

ESV  Hebrews 7:1-3 For this aMelchizedek, king of bSalem, priest of cthe Most High God, met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him,2 and to him Abraham apportioned a tenth part of everything. He is first, by translation of his name, king of righteousness, and then he is also king of Salem, that is, king of peace.3 He is without father or mother aor genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but resembling the Son of God he continues a priest forever.

 

Melchizedek is perhaps the person most like Jesus who was not Jesus.

 

  • Verse 3 “without father or mother or genealogy” means without record (v. 3).
  • What makes Melchizedek wholly different from Abraham’s line.

 

 “Why run after Jesus, not Melchizedek?” 

 

ESV  Hebrews 7:15-17 This becomes even more evident when another priest arises in the likeness of Melchizedek, 16 who has become a priest, not on the basis of a legal requirement concerning bodily descent, but by the power of an indestructible life.17 For it is witnessed of him, a"You are a priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek."

 

Jesus is eternal. 

 

  • Jesus is risen.
  • His priesthood is superior based on “the power of an indestructible life” (v. 16).

 

 8. Jesus is better than the Old Covenant (ch. 8)

ESV  Hebrews 8:6-10 But as it is, Christ1 has obtained a ministry that is aas much more excellent than the old as bthe covenant che mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises. 7 aFor if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second.8 For he finds fault with them when he says:1 a"Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah,9 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt. For they did not continue in my covenant, and so I showed no concern for them, declares the Lord.10 aFor this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and bwrite them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

 

The New Covenant is better than the Old Covenant simply because Jesus is better than religion. 

  • Any worship form, liturgy, ambiance, rites, histories, covenants etc.

The New Covenant is better is Jesus is its “mediator” (v. 10). 

  • “…the covenant he mediates is better since it is enacted on better promises” (v. 6).

Jesus is the only One qualified to “mediate” or provide “better promises” because He is the only One who can keep these “promises” (v. 6). 

  • Promises from Jeremiah 31:31-34 that only Jesus can fulfill.
    • The Great Physician of the heart.
    • Everything else is external.

 

  • Returning the Old Covenant would now be retreating to false religion.

 

  • The difference between Christ and every other religion is binary.
    • True or false.
    • There truly is righteousness and lawlessness.
    • The Spirit and the world.
    • Light and darkness.

   

 9. Jesus is better than the tent (ch. 9)

ESV  Hebrews 9:1-3 Now even the first covenant had regulations for worship and aan earthly place of holiness.2 For aa tent1 was prepared, the first section, in which were bthe lampstand and cthe table and dthe bread of the Presence.2 It is called the Holy Place.3 Behind athe second curtain was a second section1 called the Most Holy Place

 

The “tent” clearly symbolizing “the first covenant” (v. 1) - “the true tent” (cf. 8:2) represented God’s presence. 

 

  • There was “the first section” and “a second section” and the “second section” represented the “once a year” sacrifice (vv. 4-7).

 

  • Verse 8 makes “the first section” represent temporary and superficial forgiveness making the “second section” or “holy places” (v. 8) represent eternal and deep forgiveness.

 

ESV  Hebrews 9:8 By this the Holy Spirit indicates that athe way into the holy places is not yet opened as long as the first section is still standing

 

  • Christ brought “the greater and more perfect tent” (v. 11).
  • This is the Cross!

 

ESV  Hebrews 9:11-12 But when Christ appeared as a high priest aof the good things that have come,1 then through bthe greater and more perfect tent (cnot made with hands, that is, not of this creation) 12 he aentered bonce for all into the holy places, not by means of cthe blood of goats and calves but dby means of his own blood, ethus securing an eternal redemption.

 

“Why is this ‘tent’ better?” 

 

  • Christ’s sacrifice is final!
  • Christ's sacrifice is also deep!

 

Christ brings “deep cleansing” to the level of the conscience!  

 

ESV  Hebrews 9:13-14 For if athe blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with bthe ashes of a heifer, sanctify1 for the purification of the flesh, 14 how much more will athe blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit boffered himself without blemish to God, cpurify our1 conscience dfrom dead works eto serve the living God.

 

Nothing else can or will cleanse you on this level!

 

 10. Jesus is better than the sacrifices (ch. 10)

ESV  Hebrews 10:5-9 Consequently, awhen Christ1 came into the world, he said, b"Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body have you prepared for me; 6 in burnt offerings and sin offerings you have taken no pleasure.7 Then I said, 'Behold, I have come to do your will, O God, as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.'"8 When he said above, "You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in asacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings" (these are offered according to the law),9 then he added, a"Behold, I have come to do your will." He does away with the first in order to establish the second.

 

“Why is Jesus better than “Sacrifices and offerings?” (v. 5).” 

 

  • Jesus gives you what endless “Sacrifices and offerings” cannot.

 

  • Confidence to relate to your God!

 

ESV  Hebrews 10:19 aTherefore, brothers,1 since we have confidence to enter bthe holy places by the blood of Jesus, 20 by athe new and living way that he opened for us through bthe curtain, that is, through his flesh,21 and since we have aa great priest over the house of God,22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts asprinkled clean bfrom an evil conscience and our bodies cwashed with pure water.23 aLet us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for bhe who promised is faithful.

 

 11. Jesus is better than heroes (ch. 11)

ESV  Hebrews 11:39-40 And all these, athough commended through their faith, adid not receive what was promised, 40 since God had provided something better for us, athat apart from us they should not be made perfect.

 

They all looked forward - We look backward and forward. 

  • Heroes of the faith were moving toward the Messiah and toward the future kingdom!
    • Moved in “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (v. 1).
    • They created our history that built to Christ’s arrival.

 

  • Christ’s redemption retrospectively applied to these heroes, what they never were able to see, during their lifetime!

Our race we run looks backward to what Christ accomplished and forward toward what He has promised! 

We (Heroes included) all cross the finish line together – because our finish is based on Christ’s Cross!

Verse 40 “…that apart from us they should not be made perfect.”

   12. Jesus is better than this world (ch. 12)

ESV  Hebrews 12:27 This phrase, "Yet once more," indicates athe removal of things that are shaken--that is, things that have been made--in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain.

 

Our world, as we know it, is shaken up – will be shaken up! 

 

  • It is upside down. Sin-cursed.    Transient.  Temporary. 
    • Christians daily, “lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely” (v. 1).
    • Remember Jesus endured this world’s worse “from sinners” (v. 3).

 

  • Believers, loved by God, are held to “holiness” in this world, by a Father’s “discipline” (vv. 5-11).

 

Believers choose to see Jesus as better than the world.  Heaven, better than what will be utterly “shaken!”

 

ESV  Hebrews 12:28-29 Therefore let us be grateful for receiving aa kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus blet us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, 29 for our aGod is a consuming fire.

 

 13. Jesus is better than everything (ch. 13)

ESV  Hebrews 13:13 Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear athe reproach he endured. 14 For ahere we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come.

Jesus is worth “bear[ing] the reproach he endured” (v. 13) because Jesus represents what lasts. 

  • Jesus is better than everything because everything but souls and heaven is temporary.

 

  • When you believe this, then you are free!

 

  • Until you believe this, you are in bondage to everything here.

 

  • You will never “endure reproach” for Christ until you realize everything else pales in comparison to Jesus.
    • “Brotherly love” (v. 1).
    • “Hospitality” (v. 2).
    • “Undefiled marriage beds” (v. 4).
    • Money-lust is forsaken! (v. 5).
    • Church (vv. 7, 17-19).
    • The Gospel! (vv. 20-21).

Jesus is better because Jesus lasts forever!

“What will your deathbed look like?” 

  • Morbid? I think about this, as I have been bedside with quite a few at their end. 

 

One time I went on a visit, not knowing any of the family in the waiting room nor the one in the hospital room.  We met and had prayer in the waiting room and then we were all rushed in for this lady’s final moments.  Her heart rate on the monitor slowed to a line, she breathed her last.  We spontaneously all took hands and prayed as one big family.  I did not know her but her family did.

CT Studd – graduated from Cambridge, Cricketer, formed with his college buddies, The Cambridge Seven joining Hudson Taylor on a possible a one-way mission to The China Inland Mission.  Studd survived and later set up The Heart of African Mission Crusades

Two little lines I heard one day,
Traveling along life’s busy way;
Bringing conviction to my heart,
And from my mind would not depart;
Only one life, twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.
Only one life, yes only one,
Soon will its fleeting hours be done;
Then, in ‘that day’ my Lord to meet,
And stand before His Judgement seat;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, the still small voice,
Gently pleads for a better choice
Bidding me selfish aims to leave,
And to God’s holy will to cleave;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, a few brief years,
Each with its burdens, hopes, and fears;
Each with its clays I must fulfill,
living for self or in His will;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

When this bright world would tempt me sore,
When Satan would a victory score;
When self would seek to have its way,
Then help me Lord with joy to say;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Give me Father, a purpose deep,
In joy or sorrow Thy word to keep;
Faithful and true what e’er the strife,
Pleasing Thee in my daily life;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Oh let my love with fervor burn,
And from the world now let me turn;
Living for Thee, and Thee alone,
Bringing Thee pleasure on Thy throne;
Only one life, “twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, yes only one,
Now let me say, ”Thy will be done”;
And when at last I’ll hear the call,
I know I’ll say “twas worth it all”;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last. ”

— extra stanza —

Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.
And when I am dying, how happy I’ll be,
If the lamp of my life has been burned out for Thee

 

 

 

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