************ Sermon on Hebrews 10:9b ************
By: Rev. Adrian Dieleman
This sermon was preached on August 14, 2016
"He Sets Aside the First"
Hebrews is all about Jesus. Let me review with you what Hebrews has all said about Him:
-He is God's last Word for these last days.
-He is the heir of all things.
-Through Him God made the universe.
-He is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by His powerful word.
-He provided purification for sins.
-He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.
-He is superior to the angels.
-He tasted death for everyone.
-He is our brother, like us in every way.
-He is greater than Moses.
-He is the One Who gives a better rest than did Joshua.
-He is the great high priest Who sympathizes with our weaknesses.
-He is greater than Aaron.
-He is the new Melchizedek Who mediates a new covenant.
-He is our Intercessor.
-He serves in the true tabernacle at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven.
-He is the fulfilment of the sanctuary that is but a shadow and copy of what is in heaven.
And, do you remember why Hebrews keeps talking about Jesus? Because there are Hebrew Christians in the original audience who are thinking of leaving the Gospel of Jesus to return to Judaism. The argument of Hebrews: Jesus is so great, so awesome, so superior; why would you leave Him, why would you go back to what is inferior and ineffective and a shadow of what is coming?
Our Bible reading tonight continues this argument. Hebrews sums up what has already been said by raising two points: first, that the old covenant has been set aside; second, that Jesus establishes the new covenant.
I He Sets Aside the First
A "He sets aside the first ..." (Heb 10:9b). The old covenant has been set aside. Here is the first reason:
(Heb 10:1) The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming--not the realities themselves.Nothing new here. In chapter 8 Hebrews tells us the earthly sanctuary is but a copy and shadow of what is in heaven (Heb 8:5). In chapter 9 we are told the tabernacle with its furnishings and sacrifices are but copies of the heavenly things (Heb 9:23-24).
The Hebrew Christians thinking of leaving Jesus for Moses look back fondly on what is but a copy and a shadow. Everything that is dear to them about Judaism is included in this: tabernacle, temple, altar, furnishings, offerings, law, covenant, feast days, Sabbath. All of them: shadows. All of them: copies.
In the Greek, the word for "shadow" can also mean "outline."
Have you ever wondered how those big murals in downtown Visalia and Exeter are made? How does the artist keep everything in the right proportion? How does the end product look so balanced?The outline shows the shape of things to come. But it is not the reality itself. The real deal is to be found in Christ.
The artist draws an outline on a piece of plastic. They then use an overhead projector to project the image on the wall. Using this outline they proceed to trace out the main features of the mural.
O Hebrew Christian, what would you rather have? A copy, a shadow, an outline, or the real thing?
B "He sets aside the first ..." (Heb 10:9b). Here is the second reason:
(Heb 10:1) For this reason it can never ... make perfect those who draw near to worship.Or, let's put it another way: it can never save. As verse 4 puts it, "it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins" (Heb 10:4). The old covenant, remember, dealt with sins done in ignorance, accidental sins. It didn't deal with my deliberate, willful sins. It didn't deal with my sinful heart. It didn't change my sinful condition. It did not clear the conscience. The worshipers were not cleansed and they still felt guilty and the veil of the tabernacle was still hanging there telling them that their access to God was limited.
You might say to me, "Why did they have this then? Why the tabernacle and all the sacrifices? Why all the ritual and ceremonial washings and external regulations?" Look at verse 3: "those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins" (Heb 10:3). They are a reminder of the people's sin and their need for cleansing. A reminder that they are sinners before a holy God. A reminder that the wages of sin is death. A reminder that they need a Savior Who satisfies the justice of God. A reminder that their efforts accomplish nothing when it comes to forgiveness.
C "He sets aside the first ..." (Heb 10:9b). Here is the third reason according to verse 1: "the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year" (Heb 10:1). If the old covenant was effective, why the same sacrifices year after year? Why all the blood? Why the death of all those bulls and goats? The endless repetition shows that the old covenant was not effective. So, for 1500 years the same sacrifices were offered. Again and again. Over and over. A never ending stream.
II To Establish the Second
A The first part of our text: "He sets aside the first." The second part of our text: "to establish the second." "He sets aside the first to establish the second" (Heb 10:9). The old covenant replaced. The 1500 years of sacrifices replaced. The tabernacle replaced. The altar replaced. The high priest replaced. The holy of holies replaced. The old has been replaced because it is ineffective. The new has taken its place because it is supremely effective with no shortcomings, no faults, no limitations.
What has taken its place? Or who? You know: Christ, His sacrifice, His cross, His suffering, His blood, His priestly office, His new covenant. Take a look, Hebrew Christians, at the supreme effectiveness of Christ. Do you see, Hebrew Christians, the limitless wonders of Christ.
To make this point, Hebrews quotes from King David in Psalm 40:
(Heb 10:5-7) "Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; (6) with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased. (7) Then I said, 'Here I am--it is written about me in the scroll-- I have come to do your will, O God.'"According to David, God doesn't want sacrifice and offering -- as was given by the Old Testament saints. To make sure we get this, Hebrews announces this twice (Heb 10:6,8).
So what does God want? What God wants is faithfulness. What God wants is a faithful people. What God wants is an obedient people. What God wants is a people who surrender themselves in service to Him. This is what God wanted in the Garden of Eden. This is what God wanted of the people who left Egypt. This is what God wanted of David and Solomon and the kings of Israel. This is what God wants of you and me.
But now notice what is said in the opening sentence of verse 5: "Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said ..." HE SAID. According to Hebrews, Christ has taken over the words of David as His own. Standing at the edge of heaven and about to enter earth, these are the words said by Christ.
B In these words, Christ first points to Christmas: "but a body you prepared for me ..." (Heb 10:5). There is so much packed into these words. They assume the pre-existence of Christ. We know He was already in heaven as part of the triune godhead. Don't forget, through Him God made the universe, and He is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of His being (Heb 1:2-3). But a body was prepared for Him so He could come into the earth as a man, one of us, like us His brothers in every way.
Can this be said of you or me or anyone or anything else in history? Of course not! He is different than all others. He is the eternal Son of God taking to Himself a truly human nature. And you know why. No mere creature can bear the weight of God's eternal anger against sin and release others from it. Our sins, our guilt, our shame needs a sacrifice of infinite worth and value.
"But a body you prepared for me ..." (Heb 10:5). In these words, Christ also points to the plan and purpose of God. Who prepared a body for Christ? God the Father did. The incarnation originated in the Father. It was His plan, His purpose, His will. He revealed this plan already in paradise when He promised a Seed of the Woman, a man, Who would crush the serpent's head (Gen 3:15). He made the promise again through Isaiah who tells us of a virgin that will be with child and will give birth to a son and will call Him Immanuel (Is 7:14). In the Gospel of John we hear the same words over and over again from Jesus: that He was sent by the Father. Jesus took on our flesh according to the plan of God and by the conception of the Spirit.
C In quoting from David in Psalm 40, Jesus also points to His active and voluntary obedience:
(Heb 10:7) Then I said, 'Here I am--it is written about me in the scroll-- I have come to do your will, O God.'"This obedience is so important that Hebrews mentions it twice (Heb 10:7,9).
Jesus is different from the burnt offerings and sacrifices that came before Him. There was no involvement of the mind, will, heart, and desire on the part of the animals that were sacrificed in the Old Testament. They were nothing but unthinking, unwilling beasts. In contrast to them, Jesus came to give sacrifice: "Here I am--it is written about me in the scroll-- I have come to do your will, O God" (Heb 10:7). What we see is full, free, glad acceptance of what the Father sent Him to do. Not only did He come in obedience to the Father's plan, but there was a willingness to come. His obedience was not like that of the elder son in the Parable of the Prodigal; Jesus' obedience was enthusiastic, exuberant, and total: "Here I am--it is written about me in the scroll-- I have come to do your will, O God" (Heb 10:7).
This is the kind of obedience God wanted in the Garden of Eden. This is the kind of obedience God looked for in the days of Noah. This is the kind of obedience God wanted from the children of Israel. This is the kind of obedience God wants from you and me -- an obedience that is enthusiastic, exuberant, and total: "Here I am ... I have come to do your will, O God" (Heb 10:7).
We see this obedience when we look at the life and ministry of Christ. Remember what a twelve year old Jesus said in the Temple: "Didn't you know I had to be in my Father's house?" (Lk 2:49). Or, as another translation puts it, "Did you not know that I must be about My Father's business?" (Lk 2:49). Later, after He began His ministry, Jesus said, "My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work" (Jn 4:34). Why did Jesus send Judas away from the Upper Room? And, why was Jesus in such a hurry to leave the Upper Room? So He wouldn't miss His appointment in the Garden of Gethsemane with Judas and the soldiers. Why did He command Peter to put away his sword when the soldiers came? Why did He remain silent as accusation after accusation was piled on top of Him before the Sanhedrin? Why did He hang upon the cross and cry "It is finished"? The answer all comes down to this: "Here I am ... I have come to do your will, O God" (Heb 10:7).
What would have happened if Jesus did not have this attitude of willing obedience? His sacrifice would have accomplished nothing. It is by a willing will that we are saved. It is by a voluntary will. It is by a cheerful consent.
The quote from Psalm 40 mentions the scroll: "it is written about me in the scroll" (Heb 10:7). What scroll? What is the psalmist talking about? The scroll of God's divine decrees and counsels. The scroll of God's plan. The scroll of God's purpose. You need to realize the incarnation and sacrifice of Christ was not an accident, it was not something God stumbled into, it was not an afterthought. It was always part of His plan, His will, His decree, His counsel. From eternity. From the foundations of the earth and even before. A plan He first announced in the Garden already right after man's fall into sin. Jesus came, voluntarily, willingly, gladly, to fulfil God's plan.
I need to say something about the pleasure Jesus took in doing this. But before I do that, let me remind you of a rule to keep in mind when the New Testament quotes an Old Testament passage. When the New Testament quotes an Old Testament passage, the whole passage is in view and not the just the few words or verses that are quoted. With this in mind, let's hear the next words of Psalm 40: "I desire to do your will, O my God" (Ps 40:8). Having freely come, He willingly offered himself to do God's will. That was His delight, His meat and drink. The will of God was dear to Him. In mind is the will of God for Him to suffer and die. It was His delight to obey this will, to follow the plan, to do the work the Father sent Him to do.
So back to the words of our text: "He set aside the first to establish the second" (Heb 10:9). That phrase "set aside" means abolish, destroy, kill. At the cross, in one great act of obedience, Jesus abolished the first and established the second. So, Hebrew Christians, why would you go back? Why would you forsake Jesus for Moses? Why would you go back to what doesn't work? Why would you go back to what has been abolished?
Let me end with the final words of our Bible reading this evening:
(Heb 10:10) And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.That is, by that will, by that willing act of obedience, we are saved.
Jesus lies at the heart of Hebrews. Jesus lies at the heart of the Gospel. Jesus lies at the heart of church and worship. We don't come to join a social club. We don't come for programs and ministries. We don't come so we can bring about social and societal change. We come because we are sinners who need to be right with God. We come because we want to meet Jesus Who has set aside the first to establish the second.
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