Persevering Through Pressure Ė Part 11
Religion vs Relationship (8/9/05)
Pastor Marlin Harris

We have begun a series of sessions in this study through the Book of Hebrews called Religion vs. Relationship and we began that particular segment of studies in chapter 7.  If you will remember we tried to give some type of breakdown of the individual chapters and chapter 7 dealt with the Priesthood; the fact that Christís priesthood was greater than the priesthood of the Levitical system.  So we look at the priesthood in chapter 7.

Then in chapter 8 we gave some attention to studying the new covenant that God established through Jesus Christ, and of course we studied what a covenant was and the aspect of covenant, that it is a life relationship between two parties.  It is based on the life of both parties and it speaks about the agreement between the two and this covenant between God and man has an old aspect and a new aspect and the old aspect, as weíve already covered, dealt with the old Mosaic law system, the old religious system, and the new aspect of Godís covenant, His agreement, His relationship with man, was based upon the new aspect or Jesus Christ, and Christ being the Mediator of that new covenant.

Then chapter 9 we looked at it in totality but we werenít able to look at every passage in that particular chapter but we dealt with the sanctuary last week, the tabernacle, what the elements of the sanctuary represent and how Christ served as a priest or a minister in the tabernacle but not the old covenantís tabernacle; that one Moses pitched but rather the tabernacle, the sanctuary, that is not made with hands, that is in the heavens.  And we saw that what is on the earth, Moses old tabernacle in the Book of Exodus, was in fact a type and a shadow or a pattern for the tabernacle that is in heaven, that on the earth are a physical representations of the spiritual realities in heaven.

So God sought to demonstrate the way heaven operates, the economy of heaven, the commerce of heaven, and to demonstrate to man the way heaven operates which man needed to know in order for him to accept Christ as savior.  To demonstrate that He paints pictures on the earth through natural and normal vessels so that through the normal things of the earth we might be able to see the greater realities of glory and thatís what the tabernacle in Mosesí day was supposed to paint for us, a picture of how heaven operates, the system that man uses in his contact with God.

We demonstrated that man cannot come to God unless He comes to God legally.  He just canít waltz into the presence of God, he has to come into the presence of God legally and we also sought to demonstrate that man was created for the purpose of fellowshipping with God.  So communion with God was the whole idea of why God made man, but manís communion with God has to be on legal premises and this legality is based upon the system that agrees with the nature and the holiness of God.  And the holiness of God is one that has no sin at all, which is the way He created the world and the way He created man.  Sin entered the world, of course, as we all know and because sin entered the world it made manís communion with God illegal on a holiness perspective because man was sinful. 

So man now has a journey toward God and it is being revealed through these types and shadows of the OT which were used as school teachers to point man to faith in the redemption process.  So the redemption process points to Jesus Christ and these old types and shadows and figures of the law and the sanctuary and the sacrifices and all the rest, all of those things simply were meant to point man to the reality of the redemption process which is found in Jesus Christ.  And so that was last week, chapter 9.

I want to be very clear that before we close out chapter 9 that weíve given you the full structure of how chapter 9 is outlined, and so if you are taking notes or making mental notes let me be certain that Iíve given these to you and you understand what the writer of Hebrews was attempting to communicate in chapter 9 before we move on to chapter 10.

He makes his argument about the religious system not being as good as the relationship system through Jesus Christ, by utilizing four particular contrasts. 

Contrast No. 1 was the earthly sanctuary vs. the heavenly sanctuary. We covered that pretty well last week.

Contrast No. 2 was the temporary redemption of man contrasted with the eternal redemption of man and this is seen in chapter 9:11-12 Ė it says Christ is the high priest of good things to come by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands (that is to say not of this building).  Verse 12 is the key verse for this redemption being temporary vs. eternal Ė it says ďneither by the blood of goats and calves but by His own blood He entered in once into the holy place having obtained eternal redemption for us.  The redemption that Christ obtained by His blood for us was eternal in its aspect.

Contrast No. 3 is mentioned here in the 9th chapter is the unfulfilled covenant vs. the fulfilled covenant.  We see this from 9:16-22 and it speaks in particular about the fact that the covenant is not ratified or is not legalized as a testament until there has been the death of the testator or the one who establishes the testament.  So since God establishes this covenant with man and God cannot die, then the covenant is unfulfilled.  Until of course God becomes man through Jesus Christ and the death of Christ becomes the ratification of the covenant that was established by the Father with mankind[1].  He says this in the 16th verse ďfor where a testament, which is the same thing as a covenant is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator or the initiator or the author of that covenant, for a testament (a covenant) is a force only after men are dead, otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator lives.  Whereupon neither the first testament was dedicated without blood, he goes on to demonstrate that when God cut the covenant with man, he showed in the death of animals that death was required for the ratification of the covenant, and what the author is doing is weaving together so many different arguments to prove to each of these Jewish converts and would-be converts that Christ is so much greater than the old system by several different arguments that he makes. 

Contrast No. 4 being the last argument that he makes in chapter 9 before we move on to chapter 10 is he argues that there is an incomplete sacrifice vs. a complete sacrifice.  One is incomplete, the other is complete.  Look at verse 24 of chapter 9.  It says ďfor Christ has not entered into the holy places made with hands which are the figures of the true, but Christ has entered into heaven itself and He appears in the presence of God for us.  Nor yet that He should offer himself often as the high priest entered into the holy place every year with the blood of others for then he must have often suffered since the foundation of the world, but now once in the end of the world has he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.Ē 

And the idea of put away sin is the same idea of remission, to remit sins means to put it away, that Christ put away sin by offering himself and this once for all, final offering, not offered many times, but offered once shows that it is a complete and a fulfilled sacrifice.  It is a complete and fulfilled sacrifice.  The sacrifices that Mosesí law commanded for the Jews to make was incomplete and unfulfilled, thereby they had to continually do it year after year after year because it was not sufficient enough to remove sin from mankind.  Amen.  I wanted to make sure I did due diligence in chapter 9 and make sure we understand it before we move on to chapter 10

Now just like chapter 7 dealt with the priesthood, and chapter 8 dealt with the covenant and chapter 9 dealt with the sanctuary, chapter 10 deals specifically with the arguments concerning the sacrifice, the sacrifice itself.  Now I need to be very clear that the author of Hebrews utilizes so much repetition in his themes throughout all of these four chapters, that itís really hard to categorize and systematize these chapters individually, but the theme of chapter 10 has the theme of sacrifice which is woven in all of the chapters that heís arguing that relationship with Christ is so much better than a religious system. 

Now the point that I want you to catch here in chapter 10 as we begin to expose it, I want you to catch the issue and if you are keeping mental notes please keep a note of this if you would Ė that heís trying to demonstrate that anything that you and I ever use to get us in communion, in connection and in fellowship and relationship with God other than Jesus Christ will never work.  Religion is based upon the idea that man approaches God through a system of legalities.  That is not wrong, man does approach God through a system of legalities but the system itself must be based upon the finished sacrifice of Jesus Christ or the system is inadequate, and you can create religions out of anything guys.  There are more religions in this room, I would dare venture to say than you would want to believe.  This is nothing but how we think, what we think we ought to do in order to have fellowship with God.  What we think makes us right with God.  What we think causes God to be pleased with us. 

Man is always searching and heís always looking to have Godís pleasure on him.  The idea that comes to my mind as I was sitting in Willow Creek Community Church some years ago and was watching a skit over the screen that they showed in one of their services for unbelievers, and in this skit there was a little stick figure of a man who was trying to find out what it was that God wanted and so he went and he got all his money and brought it to God and he says ďif I give God my money Heíll be happyĒ, and God said ďNo, Heís not happy with the manís moneyĒ.  So he leaves and he goes back and he gets all of his possessions and all of his artifacts, etc. and he brings that to God and he says ďMaybe if I give God this He will be happy with meĒ, and God said ďNo, Heís notĒ.  So he goes and he gets all of his resources and accomplishments and the list goes on a on and God was not satisfied with nothing that this stick figure of a little man brought to God.  And the man was frustrated because he wanted God to be pleased with him, happy with him.

Let me tell you something.  There are many people who are professed atheist, not because they donít believe in God but because they donít know what God wants.  So its easier for them to deny His existence, to kill the frustration within them, than to figure out what it is that God wants and desires because if I can figure out what He wants and desires, then Iíll give it to Him because all of us have an ontological desire to know and relate to God.  God has imprinted His image in every manís heart ontologically.  Ontological is just a fancy little word that only means God has done it innately by nature.  It is a byproduct of the creative act of God; that we have the mark of God within us and man can never find peace until he returns to the God who created him.  And so the whole search for peace is a search for where we come from, our origin, our origination, our root which is in God.  Man searches for God and we do it through philosophy, through science, through reason, through logic, through lifeís experiences, successes and failures and the list goes on and on and we can create individual religious doctrines based upon each of those things I just mentioned whereby we try to have God pleased with us. 

And what the writer in chapter 10 is trying to communicate is ďHe is not pleased with anything or anyone other than Jesus Christ.  So only those connected to Christ have the pleasure of God because God is only pleased with the Lord Jesus Christ.  Amen.  So come now to chapter 10 and look at the first portion here of this particular chapter which is just the first three verses. 

1For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.

I need you to underline a couple of phrases in that first verse to understand the futility of the sacrificial law.  Underline this if you would.  It says ďthe very image of the thingsĒ Ė underline the word ďimageĒ.  Not the reality but the image.  The image is like a likeness but itís not the real thing.  Religion is an image of a relationship.  Let me say that again.  Religion is an image, a type, a figure, a shadow of a relationshipMany people are comfortable and satisfied with living in the image, rather than the real thing because the image is easy for me to keep, itís easy for me to obey, the image is something I can outwardly express without having any particular inward change or inward transformation and many people get so hooked on the image that they forget about the necessity for the relationship.  The law is a shadow of good things to come and not the very image of the things. 

Now the good things to come has to be understood in verse 1 in light of the context of the book, and the context of the book is that the good and the better and the best of the things that man receives from God deals with how man approaches God.  So all of the book of Hebrews could be capsularized in one idea and that is manís journey towards God, and how that journey is played out in the particular Jewish perspective and the particular Jewish world view.  He says in this world view which is true in any world view that no matter how you come to God you only can come to God based on an image if you do it outside of Jesus Christ

There are so many people who are trying to connect with God through New Ageism, spiritualism, trying to connect with God through herbs and meditation, through their own particular thought life and they use the mantra ďI have my own personal relationship with God, to say I have a particular way that I approach God in my journey to God that doesnít involve anything else but what I deem necessary to get to HimĒ.  And no matter what you call it, no matter how personal you try to make it, it is all an image, it is all a shadow, itís smoke guys, it ainít the real thing. 

So he goes on here and I want you to underline the next area, it says can never with those sacrifices (those images, those shadows, whatever you are thinking, whatever you are using to connect in your communion with God) which they offered year by year continually will never make the comers thereunto perfect -- ďthose sacrifices, even though they are offered year by year continually will never make the comers to God, the comers thereunto perfectĒ.  The word perfect is not sinlessness.  Perfect represents completion and wholeness, completion and wholeness.  This is the aim of man, that we would be whole and complete, and we have a false wholeness without Christ.  This is what drives people into so many different activities thatís emotional or spiritual or whatever the case might be but it doesnít make them complete. 

Iím thinking of something, Iím trying not to say because I donít want to lead your thoughts into controversy but I want you to be cautious how you watch sensationalism in a worship experience, be very cautious about that.  Whenever people utilize worship experiences for sensational relief, a psychological panacea that they have to make them feel better about their problems or their issues and there are people who know how to sensationalize the gospel in such a way that it tickles the ears of people who are hungry with pain, or hungry because of pressure or trials or mistakes, or whatever the case is, and there are people who can sensationalize the gospel and make it so that Christ is not the answer.  The answer is an emotional, euphuistic experience.  This euphoria becomes the answer.  You can tell folks that God is turning your life around, or you can tell folks to snap your finger and thatís how quick God is going to bring you out Ė all of that stuff is sensationalism which brings us away from Christ to get us closer to God and it never works. 

Can I share something with you that may break your heart?  God is not going to snap His fingers and all of the things wrong with you are going to be right.  God is not going to turn it around by a miracle and every bad thing in your life is going to automatically get together.  No, the only way stuff wrong in your life and mine is ever going to get corrected is by the Blood of Jesus Christ and our continual trust in that sacrifice.  It is only through Jesus and when you start preaching anything else other than Jesus Christ as the way that man contacts and has communion with God, you are teaching and preaching heresy because it is only a shadow and an image.  I know folks who can say the hallelujahs and the thank you Jesus and they can run up and down the aisles and they can shout and dance, but all they have is an image.  They never are brought to wholeness, never brought to completion Ė they still struggle with the same inner personal sinful issues that theyíve always struggled with because theyíve never surrendered to the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.  And so verse 2 here says

2For then would they not have ceased to be offered?

If these sacrifices, if these images, if these shadows, could make me whole and complete, it says they would never have stopped being offered.  If what Moses told the children of Israel to bring to the tabernacle for sacrifice, if that could make me right with God we would still be doing it today. 

because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins.

It says if this thing was done and done right, once Iím purged I shouldnít have an awareness of my sin anymore.  Now the next verse says

3But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year.

As a matter of fact the old Jewish system through which the law was initiated and the law was founded, it was based upon Godís desire to make man never forget.  It was Godís desire to keep man in remembrance so He instituted feasts, festivals, particular days and seasons and particular aspects of the law for the purpose of causing man to remember, always remember.

The Feast of Passover was meant so that man would always remember what happened on that night when the death angel passed by the homes that had the blood on the doorposts. 

The Feast of Tabernacles, or the Feast of Booths, was meant by God to cause man to always remember how He had protected and covered him through the wilderness for those 40 years  that he traveled in the wilderness. 

The Feast of Pentecost was always meant for man to remember how God had eliminated his debts and cleared and canceled all of his debts the 50th year or the 7th year and so on and so forth.  These make man never forget, as if He is saying ďIf I donít make man remember by making him practice certain aspects of the law he will naturally forget who I am, what Iíve done for himĒ, and before the cross forgetting was detrimental because if man forgot before the cross, he would never be able to have faith in the cross because faith in the cross depended upon his experience with God prior to the cross.  So he instituted all of these aspects of the law so that man would always remember.

The sacrifices were for the same purpose.  The sacrifices were meant to make man always remember how sinful he is.  So you had a sacrifice for almost every sin imaginable and they had different sacrifices, offered in a different way for all these different sins; it was meant to make man continually remember heís a sinner, continually remember heís a sinner, heís a sinner.  He says now Christ offered himself once, once, and the sacrifice of Christ was for the purpose of cleaning manís conscience about his sin nature, never needing to be offered again so much so that man would no longer need to remember his sinfulness because he could remember his sanctification from this point forward.  Are you understanding what Iím saying?  So thatís why sins are removed, put away, purged, cleansed forever.

Now he goes on here in verse 4.  He says listen, this is why this sacrifice is so futile. 

4For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.

5Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me:

6In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure.

7Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.

It says it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.  For this reason when Christ came into the world, it says he saithĒ, then he quotes from Psalms 40[2] and his quote is ďSacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared for me.  In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure.Ē  Lo, I come (in the volume, or in the scroll of the book, the whole scroll is written about me, my purpose in coming is to do thy will, O God. The writer quotes from what is called a ďMessianic PsalmĒ.  How many of you guys know what Messianic means?  Messianic simply means concerning or pertaining to the Messiah and the Messiah is Jesus Christ.  Some of the psalms were written as prophecies that pointed towards Jesus Christ the Messiah.  The 40th psalm is one of those Messianic psalms that points to the Messiah.  Can you hold your place in Hebrews and come back and look at Psalms 40 for just a minute.

This is David writing.  David is writing prophetically through the voice of Christ so what David writes is quoted as the sentiments of Jesus Christ. 

6Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required.

7Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me,

8I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.

Now here is an interesting connection that the author of Hebrews makes to this 40th psalm.  He makes a connection by trying to prove that the Old Testament sacrifices werenít good enough, just shadows and types, couldnít bring you to God, by arguing the fact that God did not have as His ultimate desire for man to make sacrifices anyway.  Now here is where I have a significant issue.  God is the one who instituted the sacrificial system.  It was God who said we ought to make sacrifices, but then the Scripture says that sacrifice and offering He didnít desire. 

The sacrifices of the old covenant is what God initiated, commanded man to bring, then it says God did not desire the sacrifices and the offerings so man was doing what God told man to do and even in the doing of it, it was inadequate to please God.  I need you to see this.  Even when man obeyed God, when sin was to be removed without Christ, even when man obeyed God, it was still insufficient.  It was almost as if God had no other alternative to get man temporarily saved or temporarily healed of his sins, forgiven of his sins, so HE had to initiate animal sacrifices, blood of bulls and goats but He admits that even though you are doing what I said to do, it can never do what I need it to do.  God had to suffer the times, listen, had to suffer and endure the times of man bringing sacrifices to Him to atone for sin all the while knowing that those sacrifices and those atonements would never be complete and fulfilled and sufficient without Jesus Christ. 

And thatís why the Bible says ďwhen the fullness of time had come, God sent His son made of a woman[3].  When the fullness of time had come Ė the fullness of time means when manís faith had reached the point to receive Christ because the school teacher, the law, the sacrifices, the burnt offerings, the blood of bulls and goats and calves, would have had sufficient time to condition his mind toward Christ in faith, looking for the Messiah.  Now let me share this with you. 

If man did what God said do, to come and have communion with Him, but if in the doing of what God said do, could not make man right with God without Christ, how much less do you think the doing of what we want to do is going to make any of us right with God. I want to go back and speak a little bit more about this ďI have my own personal relationship with GodĒ -- I want to say a word about that because if these individuals had a relationship with God whereby it was commanded by God to bring sacrifices and a Christ-less sacrifice never made God pleased, how much less do you think our personal relationship, personal communion, personal approach to God is going to please Him without Christ. 

There are many people who make that argument because they donít want you to impose your faith on me, and itís not about Ė I mean I canít impose faith on anybody, I canít make anybody have faith or not have faith but what I can do is demonstrate to anybody that if youíve got any faith and Jesus ainít in it, you ainít going to have Godís pleasure.  Jesus has to be in whatever our faith might be.  I mean He has to be in it, and He has to be in the right spot.  Heís got to be in the right spot, serving the right purpose, having the right idea of who Christ is in that relationship.  This was the right idea, offering, sacrifice, blood has to bring man to God, right idea but it was the blood of a bull, not the blood of Jesus, and though it was the right idea because it wasnít the blood of Jesus, it could not please God. 

We are all working hard.  I know folks who are working real hard to please God, working hard to make God happy and they are trying to do it without Jesus Christ, trying to do it in their own effort, in their own ability, through their own sense of morality and God is never going to be pleased, He is never ever going to be pleased without Jesus Christ being the center, NEVER IS HE GOING TO BE PLEASED, EVER.  All of our good deeds, all of our righteous acts are in the eyes of God as filthy, dirty rags[4] even though they are righteous acts.  Even though they are good deeds.  They are in the eyes of God as a filthy rag without Jesus Christ being the full payment for the sin we have committed.  Without that nothing we do pleases God. 

He says ďsacrifice and offering thou wouldest notĒ Ė thou did not desire.  Now this next phrase in verse 6

mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required.

Now here I need to give you a little history.  In the Hebrew this is a direct translation from the Hebrew which means the ears thou hast opened, but itís interesting enough that whenever you hear of ears being opened, you think it means the opening of your ears to hear and that is how it is translated by others.  But this is an idiom, and a idiom is a statement in a particular language that utilizes certain words to say something else; it communicates another idea.  One idiom is ďItís raining cats and dogsĒ, well you know its not really raining cats and dogs; that is simply a colloquial statement that we make to demonstrate its really raining hard. 

When it says ďmine ears hast thou openedĒ, it could mean you opened my ears for the ability to hear or it could mean youíve opened my ear lobe by piercing my ear.  Itís been translated both ways in many different translations.  There is a translation that is based upon the original text of the Hebrew Ė from Hebrew to Greek Ė and this translation has it ďopening the earĒ Ė meaning the piercing of the ear.  The NIV uses the word ďpiercedĒ so the one that I believe is safest to use is the piercing of the ear, not the opening of the ear drum.

The second reason why I donít believe a Messianic psalm could speak that Christ had to have His ear opened so He could hear the Word is because He is the Word and being that He is the Word, if something had to open His ears so that He could hear the Word that puts Him in subjection, in subordination to the Word and Heís not insubordinate to it, He is it.  Now the piercing of the ear, ďmine ears hast thou piercedĒ, he moves from there to talk about doing the will of God.  What does piercing the ear have to do with doing the will of God.  The volume of the book is written about me, I want to do your will oh God. 

Well it is a part of a colloquial expression where the ears have been pierced which demonstrates that the one who has his ears pierced is a voluntary slave to a particular master who has pierced his ear.  This is seen in Exodus 21[5]It gives even the particular law concerning this, that if a slave is in a masterís house and that slave has served his time in that masterís house and while there he serves seven years, heís done his time, he is no longer indentured to that master, heís now allowed to go free.  If that slave so chooses to come back to that master and decides to be that masterís servant for the rest of his life, he does that of his own choice (critical word) Ė he does it voluntarily, of his own choice.  Therefore the master will brand the slave as his own by piercing the slaveís ear and inserting a signet or ring therein and the ring in the slaveís ear demonstrates I am bonded to my master forever.  Are you hearing me? 

There are two concepts of the slavery of the believer and the slavery of the Christ.  The slavery of the Christ is found in his voluntary submission to the will of the Father.  The slavery of the son is seen in his voluntary submission to the will of the Father.  Many people have wondered, why did Christ, if He was God, pray to God while on the earth.  I mean, if heís God why should He have to pray to God.  Well He didnít have to pray to God, He prayed to God because it was a demonstration of His voluntary submission to the will of the Father.  So voluntary was His submission that He submitted to the Fatherís will to the extent of not trying to grab a hold of the equality He had with God while on the earth. 

He voluntarily divested Himself of that equal expression of glory and wrapped Himself in human flesh voluntarily, and He bound His human flesh to the will of the Father so much so that He was bound even to the extent of death, and so much was He bound to the will of the Father that He left glory voluntarily, bound to the Fatherís will, became a man bound to the Fatherís will, a man obedient to death bound to the Fatherís will, and not just any kind of death.  He didnít die of old age, He didnít die of some sickness or disease, He didnít die of natural causes --  He died a criminalís death, accursed on a tree Ė dying on a cross.  He was so bound to the Fatherís will He allowed Himself to be taken from glory, made a man, born of a woman, stripped of the glory expression He had in heaven, allowed Himself to be divested of that expression, made in the form of a servant and a slave bound to the Fatherís will, died on a cruel cross for something He had never done.  And it was voluntary.

Now heís making the argument here that the reason why God did not want sacrifice and offerings, even though it was the best we had to offer, it was the best we could do, there wasnít any other alternative but it didnít make God happy, it never gave God pleasure because no bull or no goat or no calf could ever voluntarily do that.  There were no bulls raising their hands saying ďHey let me go, sacrifice me, Iíll be more than happy to die for your sinsĒ.  A bull did not have the cognitive ability to make such a volitional decision. 

I need you to hear me very clearly.  The only other entity with blood that couldíve made a volitional decision to die for sin was man.  You have got only two choices because there ainít but two things that got blood, man or beast.  And if man was to say Iíll die for my own sins, then that would mean that man would have to live a life that God would accept in order to die for his own sins, which would  totally go against why God created man because He didnít create man to die for his sins, He created man to live apart from his sins.  And if man were to die for sins that he had created, the death would have to equal the crime and the crime was sin against an eternal God and since God is eternal, then the crime against Him is eternal.  If man were to die for his sins it would be an eternal death. 

Thatís what hell is all about.  The problem is eternity lasts forever.  So he would never finish the job.  He would still be dying, and still dying and would be dying for the rest of eternity.  Man would be hopelessly lost because a sacrifice needed to get man found is too busy dying in hell.  So it never satisfied God.  It never made God happy; it either rejected his original plan to have man apart from sin (if man had to die for his own) or it was an animal dying for something the animal could not voluntarily do. 

So here now God accepts this offering of an animal but it doesnít please Him.  Itís only temporary as a type and a shadow to build man toward faith.  Here Christ comes and His ear is pierced which means He is bonded unto the Father.  Now what is the will of the Father.  The will of the Father is that sin be paid for with death; thatís the Fatherís will.  I mean He is very clear in that; the soul that sins it shall surely die, the day you eat of it you shall surely die.  When you sin the price for sin is death, thatís His will.  How do I meet that will is what Christ has to do.  Christ has to meet the will by being the sacrifice.  So the piercing of His ear necessitates the making of a human body for him.  When the writer of Hebrews translates what David writes in Psalms, he doesnít mention the ear being pierced, he gives us what the expression wouldíve necessitated for Christ and that is the making of a body because the making of the body is the keeping of the will of God, and the piercing of the ear is the bonding to the will of God Ė the two are one and the same. 

So he says sacrifice and offering you would not desire from a bull and a goat and a calf, but a body hast thou prepared for me, is what he says in Hebrews.  Here it says my ear or my earlobe you have opened by being pierced.  Lets read on here.  It says

burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required. (not of me; youíve required it of man for the purpose of man being temporarily forgiven but of me it wonít work),

7Then said I, Lo (look), I come (Iím coming): in the volume of the book (the whole thing) it is written of me,

The Bible is one big JESUS.  The Bible is one big letter written about Jesus Christ.  He is everything in this book, every page of the page points man to Jesus Christ.  So he goes on here and he says:

8I delight (it is my delight; which means it is my free will) to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.

This is what the writer of Hebrews quotes as he tries to demonstrate that Christ comes as the perfect and complete sacrifice.  Come now back to Hebrews 10.

9Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.

10By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

Christís body is offered one time and itís offered once in time.  Once for all. 

11And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins:

12But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;

13From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.

We see the offering is perfect, the offering is sinless, the offering is one time and one time is sufficient to get the job done.  Now it says that this offering has an enemy, the offering who is Jesus Christ has enemies.  An enemy is anything that opposes the purpose of another person.  It doesnít just oppose the person, it opposes the purpose of that person Ė thatís an enemy.  What would the enemies of Christ be.  Well we know thereís one clear enemy of Christ and that is sin.  Another enemy of Christ would be Satan.  Another enemy of Christ would be the grave.  A fourth enemy of Christ would be death.  Okay.  The last enemy to be destroyed is the enemy of death.  These are enemies of Christ because they [flipped tape over and lost something] and some others, speaking of Jesus Christ in verse 25 it says

1 Corinthians 15:25For he must reign (Christ must RULE), until he hath put all enemies under his feet.

The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.  Lets read a little more about death in verse 54.

54So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

Now death opposes the purpose of Christ because death is the price that you pay for sin, and Christ came to do away with sin.  If death is the price that you have to pay for sin, it is an enemy of the purpose of Christ.  Before Christ, death had a unique relationship with man that he doesnít have after Christ.  Before Christ, death would grab man, capture man Ė he would die and death would hold man, and the holding that death had on man was because man had no sacrifice for his sin so death had every right to hold him.  As a matter of fact the Bible says that ďdeath didnít even come into being, death didnít exist until man sinned.  Man invited death into his environment when he sinned and his sin says that every man must meet death and death does not have to release any man because every man has sinned.

When Jesus comes, Jesusí primary job is to take away sin and if He takes away sin He by virtue of that fact takes away the penalty for sin, and the penalty for sin is death.  So He removes death from man by removing sin from man.  Now the question is ďPastor, if Jesus removes sin from man how come people still die?  Well thatís a good question.  People donít die in the sense that their soulís die, itís in the sense that their bodies stop working.  Donít confuse the stopping of a body from working, with the death of the individual; its not the same thing. 

My body stops working because my body is not redeemed.  When I got saved I didnít look any different, I didnít grow back the hair that I had lost through thinning, wrinkles didnít become smooth again.  When you and I get saved gray hair doesnít turn black because our body doesnít get saved.  Itís not the body that He came to save, He came to save the soul.  So now when I die, whenever my body stops working death can grab my body because it never got saved, but death cannot grab my soul.  My soul is raptured[6] (caught up with God).  To be absent from my dead body is to be present with my Living Lord.  Death lost its relationship with every Believer who accepts Christís sacrifice for sin; now that I am leaning on Jesusí atonement for sin, He removes sin from me, I now die (my body stops working); death grabs my body but the Lord grabs my soul. 

Now hereís what it means.  When it says the last enemy to be destroyed (death has been disabled), but not destroyed.  He still works; I mean people still die right.  Now the last enemy to be destroyed is death here is what it means.  It means that there will be a time when Christ will return to His earth.  This time Heís not coming to save the soul; He did that the first time.  This time Heís coming to reclaim the bodies of the souls Heís already saved.  So the Bible mentions ďwhen He comes that the dead in Christ shall riseĒ.  Not the dead souls; they are with the Lord but the dead bodies in Christ shall rise because Christ says ďwhen I redeem a man I redeem all of the man.  I donít just redeem half of the man, I redeem all of him.  I am redeeming his soul now, but I will redeem his body when I return.

Now a question is asked ďPastor, what about people who have been cremated and if they are cremated and He comes back to redeem the body and the body is nothing but ashes?  I think itís an elementary issue first of all because all of us are going to be cremated.  Either you are cremated by fire immediately or you are cremated by the process of time; worms, moths, dust are going to eat up our body.  When you open a casket you do know that it donít look like Aunt Sally and Cousin May.  What God is going to do, I donít know how Heís going to do it, but this is what Heís going to do.  When Christ returns the body that has been eaten up by moth and worms and dust is going to remolecularize itself and come back together again.  If a worm has got to give up the body that he ate, if the fly got to give up the worm, if the moth got to give up the fly, if the bird got to give up the moth, if the animal has to give up the bird so my body can be released, donít you know He can take a body that has been cremated and bring it back together again.  He is the redeemer of all of me, not just some of me but all of me.

And the last enemy to be destroyed is going to be death.  Now he goes through a process, look at the process.  The process says about death in verse 54.

54So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

It lost the soul at the cross, it will lose the body at the resurrection.  He asked the question

55O death, where is thy sting?

Stick your pin at sting for just a second.

O grave, where is thy victory?

56The sting of death is sin; [STOP THERE]

The reason why death canít hold any part of the Believer is because he (death) gets his strength, his sting from sin.  The Believer has been completely saved from sin so since Iím completely saved from sin, if death keeps any part of me itís because sin strengthens him.  I have no sin so he canít keep any part of me.  Now I know when I said that some of you said ďWhat do you mean I have no sin?Ē  Is he trying to say he has no sin.  Let me say this and say it very, very, very loud.  I have no sin.  Even though I have done sin, yesterday, I did sin today and I will do sin tomorrow Ė but I have no sin because my sin has been far removed from me as far as the east is from the west.  When I stand before God He will judge me not on what I did, but on who has saved me from what I have done.  I am saved of sins past, sins present and sins future.

My position before God is sinless.  Now my experience before God is sinful, my position is sinless.  If it werenít sinless I have no relationship with God, I have no communion with God, I have no contact with God and Jesus Christ didnít die on the cross.  But since He died on the cross and I said ďYes to His deathĒ, He died how many times?  Once, and He died once and for all.  So I am positionally sinless before God. Now I am experientially sinful before God.  Life lasts for me Ė Iím going to die at 172 years old (you didnít know that did you).  So from 32 years old, no from 8 years old to 172 years old thatís all the time God has given me to make my experience match up with my position.  So Iím living my life every day praying, fasting, studying, reading so that my experience can match my position and every time I get closer by experience to where I am in position, I experience the favor of God in a whole new way Iíve never experienced His favor before.

Death canít hold us because we have been saved from sin.  The question is always asked ďWhat if a person were saved and just before they died they told a lie and then croaked?  Are they going to heaven?Ē  Yes.  How can you go to heaven if you tell a lie before you die?  God is not going to ask you what did you do just before you died because what you do can never make you saved.  To that question I give this answer.  What if a person is not saved and they never told a lie or any other sin for that matter and they stand before God and they say ďIíve never done anything wrong.  God is going to say ďsacrifice and offering I didnít require.  I made a body for my son.  My son is the only thing Iím pleased in; is His blood over your life?Ē 

Well Lord I donít know if it is or not.  Godís going to say ďLet me check the Lambís Book of Life.  Lambís book is His blood, Lambís book is His blood and if your name is not in the Lambís Book of Life you do not get in glory.  How do you get your name in the Lambís Book of Life; not by not telling lies.  You get your name in the Lambís Book of Life by accepting the Lamb as your Savior.  So you never have to worry about a Believer when they die. You never do.[7]  We are of the firm conviction that every time a Believer dies (when their body stops working), his soul goes to live with the Lord immediately and his body lies in state until the redeemer comes back to get it, and when the redeemer comes back to get it the last enemy which is death shall be destroyed.  Lets read on a bit.

57But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

O grave, where is thy victory?

We know sin is an enemy and of course we know Satan is an enemy.  We just found out that death was an enemy, what is this deal with the grave?  What is the purpose of a grave?  It is to keep your body while dead so you wonít go anywhere (laughter).  Honestly, it is a permanent hotel for those who have died.  The grave becomes the PR and marketing tool of death, and death promotes the grave as evidence that such and such a one is in my control, and if you want to know if such and such a person is in the control of death go check his grave.  There is a grave that does not have a body in it.  It used to have a body in it but this body was the first body that checked out of the grave without having to be exhumed, and that is the body of Jesus Christ. 

Interestingly enough is that Jesus Christ in His resurrection is called the first fruit from the dead.  Oh man.  First fruit means there are going to be a whole lot more coming.  This is the first fruit to show there are some more on the way.  You always know that the crop is going to be good if your first fruit is good and if your first fruit is good, you know you are going to have a good crop season that year.  Jesus Christ is the first fruit from the dead, guess what the rest of the crop is?  Itís us.  We are the rest of the crop.  Some of us will never have to meet the grave because the resurrection is going to catch us.  Otherís are going to have to meet the grave; theyíve already met the grave but the grave has got to release them because just as our Savior got up, the first fruit, so the rest of the crop has to get up as well.  So verse 57 says.

57But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Lets stop there and come back and pick up chapter 10 and finish this out next week.  Give Him Praise and give Him Glory. 

[1] This is a powerful point to use when explaining that Jesus was God and that since the covenant was established between God and man, that it had to be God who came in the flesh to die to fulfill the obligations of the covenant. 

[2] 6 Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required. 7Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, 8I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.

 [3] Galatians 4:4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,

[4] Isaiah 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

 [5] 2 If thou buy an Hebrew servant, six years he shall serve: and in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing. 3If he came in by himself, he shall go out by himself: if he were married, then his wife shall go out with him. 4If his master have given him a wife, and she have born him sons or daughters; the wife and her children shall be her master's, and he shall go out by himself. 5And if the servant shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free: 6Then his master shall bring him unto the judges; he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the door post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an aul; and he shall serve him for ever.

 [6] In Christianity a mystical experience in which somebody believes he or she is transported into the spiritual realm, sometimes applied to the second coming of Jesus Christ, when true believers are expected to rise up to join him in heaven.

[7] One would have to know his definition of a Believer to receive this.  He believes strongly in repentance and that without it there is no atonement.  If you look at the text highlighted in gray, you will notice that these Believers are those who are really studying, fasting, praying and trying to walk according to the Word of God and keep the 10 Commandments.  He strongly believes that it is God who saves us, we donít save ourselves and that it is God who keeps us saved.  We all sin every day, especially in our thought life and Pastor is secure in his belief that he is saved and so are we.  Living in that security increases my love for God and takes away fear.  I AM SECURE IN CHRIST; IT IS HIS JOB TO SAVE ME.  THOSE WHO WALK AWAY FROM CHRIST WERE NEVER SAVED IN THE FIRST PLACE.  JESUS SAID ďOF ALL THOSE YOU HAVE GIVEN ME I HAVE LOST NONEĒ (John 17:11-13) except Judas.  Although we didnít exist during that time, we have the same assurance because He called us.