God Loves You Even When He Says “No”.

Oct. 1, 2017

First Christian Church

First Baptist Church

Glenwood IA, USA

Ordinary Time

Hebrews 5:1-10

Through What He Suffered

 

Welcome In The Name Of The Father, And The Son, And The Holy Spirit.

 

 

Hebrews 5:1-10

 

1 For every high priest chosen from among men is appointed to act on behalf of men in relation to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. 

2He can deal gently with the ignorant and wayward, since he himself is beset with weakness. 

3 Because of this he is obligated to offer sacrifice for his own sins just as he does for those of the people. 

4And no one takes this honor for himself, but only when called by God, just as Aaron was. 

5 So also Christ did not exalt himself to be made a high priest, but was appointed by him who said to him,  “You are my Son, today I have begotten you”; 

6 as he says also in another place,  “You are a priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek.” 

7 In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. 

8 Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. 

9 And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, 

10 being designated by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek.

 

____________________________________Prayer_______________________________________

 

Dear Heavenly Father, We are here on your day to proclaim your excellences. You have loved the unlovable with an everlasting love. You are our hope and comfort during the thin days and dark times. Your Son has passed through the Heavens to save us. We are covered in His blood. We confess our many sins to you as your people gathered. We are wrong. You are right. Forgive us in Christ’s name. Please convict and move us to action through your good and lovely Word this morning.

~ Amen

 

 

Outlines and Outliers

 

Preeminent Idea: Christ was appointed to suffer on our behalf. His obedience is our salvation.

 

Preeminent Application: Suffering, obedience, and reverence are beautiful tools in the hands of a good and merciful God because He uses them to draw you closer to Himself.

 

 

  1. 1-4 Our sin should humble us even as we serve the God who calls us.
  2. 5-6 Jesus humbly served us in His sinless state just as God called Him.
  3. 7-10 How to keep the faith:
  4. 7 Reverence In anguish
  5. 8 Learned obedience through suffering
  6. 9 Trust & Obey are synonyms

 

Part I

 

1-4 Our sin should humble us even as we serve the God who calls us.

 

Hebrews 5:1-4

1 For every high priest chosen from among men is appointed to act on behalf of men in relation to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. 

2He can deal gently with the ignorant and wayward, since he himself is beset with weakness. 

3 Because of this he is obligated to offer sacrifice for his own sins just as he does for those of the people. 

4And no one takes this honor for himself, but only when called by God, just as Aaron was. 

 

 

 

Were we to follow the classic and popular “Jesus is better than” break down of the structure of Hebrews we could say here that Jesus is better than Aaron, and the Aaronic Levitical priesthood. He is. The author here makes the case that the old covenant priests of Israel were, despite all the pomp and circumstance, reverence, and ceremonial beauty: just sinners like all the rest of us. Sinners called to serve, just as we are.

 

And, if a high priest was willing to be vulnerable and transparent with the people about his own frail humanity rather than hiding behind the cloth and blood of the office, he had the opportunity to be grass roots. He could be gentle with sinners because he himself understood what it means to be a sinner. A merely human high priest carried the knowledge of his own darkness, his own pain, his own root of bitterness. A merely human high priest knew all the skeletons partying in his own closet, as well as all the accusations that the enemy of our souls fired his way during the late watches of the gloomy night. A merely human high priest knew he had a duty to do, and a calling to answer not because he was better than the people he taught and represented before God, but because of the One who was doing the calling. Because he was no different in substance being a mere dustling like all the rest, he had the opportunity to fulfill his duty of acting on behalf of men in relation to God, offering gifts and sacrifices for sins, while dealing gently with sinners because he was well acquainted and well aware of his own sinfulness. All of this is still true of your Pastor.

 

Being gentle and compassionate toward those trapped in the snare of sin comes from knowing your own sinful past and potential. Being gentle and compassionate to sinners is a direct result of getting what Jesus did for you, and why He had to do it. All too often when we are gentle and compassionate toward people who are willingly driving over and over again in tired and worn ruts in the bog of their particular favorite flavor of sin, we are accused by others of taking sin lightly.

 

Sometimes that is the case. There are those who wear compassion and gentleness on their sleeves not because they care about the gospel but because they don’t really in their heart of hearts think that sin is all that big of a deal, at least not the ones the Churches or Christians they don’t happen to like very much think matter. When we make a false god in our image, we make him hate the sins we happen to hate more than the sins we love.

 

When we understand the heights and goodness of the holiness of God we understand that what makes a particular sin horrible is not whether or not we think it is a big deal, but that is horrible because God thinks it is a big deal.

 

The upside of our sin, if there is any silver lining at all, is that we should be moved to compassion for our fellow sinners. We should learn compassion for the struggling from our struggle. If you are not sensitive to your own depravity you are likely to judge other people for their sins.

 

The upside down of being aware of your sinfulness is not gentleness toward the ignorant and wayward, but to be indifferent. The upside down is to shrug and say, “I’m wrong, so nothing is wrong”.

 

You are called to be both deeply convicted of your need of a savior and deeply convicted that it is finished. If you are deeply convicted of your need of a savior and not deeply convicted that it is finished you will beat yourself up into a hopeless, condemned puddle. If you are If you are not deeply convicted of your own need of a savior, and yet deeply convicted that Jesus is on your side, then you are likely to be a nosey gossiping gooster always busy-bodying and condemning the sick who need the great physician. You are called to be both deeply convicted of your need of a savior and deeply convicted that it is finished.

 

Your past does not define your present and future, the Gospel of Jesus Christ and His calling define your present and future.

 

 

Part II

5-6 Jesus humbly served us in His sinless state just as God called Him.

 

5 So also Christ did not exalt himself to be made a high priest, but was appointed by him who said to him,  “You are my Son, today I have begotten you”; 

6 as he says also in another place, “You are a priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek.” 

 

 

The author compares the calling of the merely human high priest to the calling of the God-Man high priest. They are similar in that it is the same great Father calling both. Do you realize that if you’re single serving here and there, or a mom covered in bodily fluids, or a husband working himself to the bone, or a deacon cleaning up messes, or a preacher man… that you have been called and appointed by the same Father in heaven who appointed His Son? And here you thought you were microwaving small potatoes, but do no despise the day of small things woven and ordained by a good and sovereign God. In the midst of mess you may be tempted to quit because all you see is futility. Your labor for the kingdom of God is not futile in the hands of a good and sovereign God. Don’t give up, don’t quit, don’t give in, and don’t check out. Fight the nothing. Keep the faith, beloved. Jesus is glorious, and good and worthy of your time and mental energy. Jesus is worthy of your first and foremost allegiance.

 

Jesus is the ultimate high priest, in the order of Melchizedek. Melchizedek is the mysterious priest-king of Salem, king of righteousness and peace {Hebrews 7} who makes an appearance in Genesis 14 after Abraham {called Abram until Genesis 17} won a battle against the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah and their allies. Abraham gives this endless Priest-King a tenth of the spoils, and Melchizedek brings out bread and wine, for he was a priest of God most high. Christ is the beginning and the end of everything we are. He is Alpha and Omega, sacrifice and high priest, Mediator of a better everlasting covenant.

 

Part III

3 v. 7-10 How to keep the faith:

v.7 Reverence In anguish

v.8 Learned obedience through suffering

v.9 Trust & Obey are synonyms

 

 

7 In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. 

8 Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. 

9 And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, 

10 being designated by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek.

Hebrews 5:7-10 are some of the most astonishing verses in the Bible concerning for three reasons. Firstly, verse 8 says the Lord Jesus “learned obedience” secondly verse 9 says “being made perfect” and thirdly, verse 9 says he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey Him.” All of these add up to make a lot of protestant folks a bit antsy.

 

But these three statements are not what make these verses so astonishing. What makes the scripture astonishing is this: Jesus Christ, the perfectly righteous Son of God prayed a perfectly righteous prayer to God who not only heard Him but was able to save Him from death, and yet He died. He died. And this is everything to the fellowship of the suffering.

 

Let’s dig into the first 3 problematic statements and then we’ll end with why Jesus not getting His prayer answered is good news for the fellowship of the suffering.

v.8 speaks of the Lord Jesus “learning obedience”. This shakes people up because they wonder if He had to unlearn disobedience! No worries, this verse is not saying Jesus was sinful and had to learn how to stop being a holy terror. The Bible is keen to show you that Jesus is true man and true God. That’s why last week the author of Hebrews talked about how Jesus was tempted in every way we are yet without sin. To show His radical solidarity with fallen humanity He endured temptation just as we must. I say radical because He always was getting in hot water for being around people who sin. It’s pretty difficult to be tempted when you only surround yourself with perfect people. Since there is was only ever one perfect person, Jesus Himself, it would follow that He was the safest person to be around sinners and the temptation that goes along with sinners. Since we’re all sinners, there will always be some degree of temptation to do wrong regardless of whom you’re with. You can become a hermit, and throughout Church history people have, and temptation still follows because you’re spending a lot of time with a sinner, you.

All that to say, Jesus did a lot of things to fulfill righteousness, He did a lot of things to take away our excuses, and He did a lot of things for incarnational solidarity with us.

 

Jesus was baptized by John The Baptist, who was known for a baptism of repentance, even though Jesus had nothing to repent of (Matt. 3:15). Jesus did so to fulfill all righteousness, and to snatch excuses out of your mouth.

 

Jesus grew in stature, and in favor with God and man (Luke 2:52).

 

And so it was that Jesus demonstrated to a watching public that He was indeed the righteous sin bearer. His life was his resume.

 

People get hot around the collar when they read verse 9 because it says “being made perfect”, and it talks about how He is the source of salvation to a specific group of people: people who obey Him.

 

This idea is one that the author of Hebrews has already mentioned in Hebrews 2.10

 

“It was fitting that He, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering.”

 

You know what we love? We love the eating without the harvest, and we love the harvest without the planting, and we love the planting without the tilling. That’s what we love.

 

Jesus’s status as the lamb of the world who takes away the sin of the world is not merely theoretically true due to His divine nature. His life was His credential.

 

Even more controversial in some circles: not only is Jesus made perfect, but He’s made perfect by suffering, and not only is He made perfect through the pain of suffering, but He is made so at the hand of God the Father. Isaiah 53 says it was the will of the Father to crush the suffering servant. You won’t easily escape this truth in the Scriptures.

 

Isaiah 53:10

10 Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.

 

 

But redemption grows out of the kernel dropping to the earth and dying.

 

 

 

John 12:24

Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.

 

And you were redeemed by the suffering of the king.

 

Folks also get nervous about verse 9 saying He became the source of salvation to all who obey Him, because it sounds like works righteousness. It sounds like the author of Hebrews is saying we’re saved by our obedience not His, which should be our greatest fear.

 

This is why we preach through books of the Bible at this Church. If this verse were taken out of context a nary do well could do a lot of damage to the peace of God’s lambs.

 

We are saved by believing Jesus when He speaks into your heart to repent of your sins and trust in Him by faith. If you don’t repent and trust Him, you’re disobeying Him and you will not be saved.

 

The Astonishing Good News Of An Unanswered Prayer

 

Hebrews 5:7-8

7 In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. 

8 Although he was a {THE} son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. 

 

People fly by these verses without applying them to those who are suffering. The scriptures say Jesus prayed, and prayed hard, with tears, that His life would be spared, and God was present, God hadn’t walked out, God hadn’t become the distant god of deism, or the hand tied, pacing, hand wringing god of open theism, no, God heard Him and His answer to Jesus was not “Let this cup pass”, but rather, “Thy will be done.”

 

Jesus died.

 

And He was righteous.

 

James 5 has been used in destructive ways. It went from being verses about confession and praying that God might heal to verses about the sick not having enough faith to be healed by God. These verses of hope have been turned into sledgehammers in the hands of wolves. They’ve been used to crush the Lord’s beloved.

 

When the Lord Jesus prayed that the cup of suffering would pass He did not lack righteousness or faith, but God’s answer was still no.

 

Jesus died.

 

We don’t like to look at pain. We do not like to wrestle with the potential redemptive value of suffering.

 

We’d rather tell the widow not to grieve because their beloved is in heaven than sit with the widow in ashes and sackcloth.

 

Hey, they’re in Heaven. That’s what people say to dismiss pain. People use the future to dismiss the pain of the past.

 

But Jesus died.

 

Jesus died after praying He wouldn’t, and there was nothing wrong with His faith and righteousness.

 

In Heaven we won’t walk up to Jesus and see the holes in His hand and say, “hey, I read about your agony in Gethsemane, your whipping, your crown of thorns, your crucifixion, and your death. No sweat though. God brought you back to life. Hakuna Matata bro.”

 

We will worship Him, not only for what the world considers victory, but also for what the world consideres defeat.

 

The good news for you who have suffered is God loves you, even when He says, “No”.

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