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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Robert Jeffress » Robert Jeffress - Where There's a Will, There's a Body

Robert Jeffress - Where There's a Will, There's a Body

Robert Jeffress - Where There's a Will, There's a Body

Hi, I'm Robert Jeffress, and welcome again to "Pathway to Victory". Have you ever wondered why so many of our great Christian hymns focus on the blood of Jesus rather than the teachings of Jesus? If Christianity offers us new life, why is there so much talk about the spilling of blood? Well, the writer of Hebrews answers those questions in the passage we're going to look at today. My message is titled, "Where There's a Will, There's a Body"! On today's edition of "Pathway to Victory".

Now our study has brought us to Hebrews 9, the very heart of the book of Hebrews. Why is it that people, especially the Jewish audience to which this writer wrote, neglected the gospel offer of Jesus Christ? Why is it today that people reject the gospel message? Do you know what the stumbling block was for the Jewish people to accept Christ as that one time sacrifice? I picked up a book recently by a prominent Jewish writer and he explained why Jewish people do not convert to Christianity. He said the major problem people have with Jesus, Jewish people, is not his teachings. Nobody is offended by his teachings. I mean, who gets offended by turn the other cheek? That's real nice, isn't that?

It's not his teachings that offend people, nor is it his miracles. Everybody likes miracles. No, what is the stumbling block to the Jews is the death of Jesus. It's not only the Jewish people who have difficulties with the death of Jesus. There are many gentiles today who just really don't understand why the death of Jesus Christ is so important. And today, beginning with verse 15, we're going to look at two things. First of all, the writer talks about the need for Christ's death. He explains the need for Christ's death. And then secondly, he illustrates the need for Christ's death. Look at verse 15 where he first of all explains the need for Christ's death. Remember in verses 11 to 14 we saw last time the writer says that Jesus Christ's death resulted in a superior access, superior acceptance before God and a superior accomplishment.

And then here's the climax, verse 15, "And for this reason, Jesus is the mediator of a new covenant, in order that since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance". I want you to notice two things about this verse. First of all, the writer talks about the need for Christ's death. Why did he have to die? Very simply, a death has taken place for the redemption of transgressions. The redemption, the buying out of spiritual slavery. Listen to me this morning, the old covenant could only reveal sin. It could never remove sin. That was the difference between the old covenant and the new covenant. The old covenant could simply reveal sin, it could never remove sin. Only the blood of Christ can remove our sin.

You know, I think about our members Jim and Kathy Sibley who are now in Israel, members of our church, and I remember years ago Jim was working with our north American mission board of the southern Baptist convention and he was heading up an effort to share the gospel with the Jewish people. And when the media heard about what the southern Baptist convention was doing and sharing the gospel with Jewish people, I mean, the media went crazy. And so did every liberal in America. And one religion professor at a so-called Christian university right here in Dallas said this, quote. "To target Jews for proselytizing makes no sense, unless you assume their religion is bankrupt". To which Jim Sibley wisely replied, quote, "I wish I could say it really doesn't matter what you believe as long as you're sincere. The problem is that people like Adolf Hitler were sincere, but sincerely misguided. Today's society values tolerance more than truth. If Jesus said, 'I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man comes to the father except through me,' do I have the right to say, 'Jesus, you made a mistake'? To change what God has said is the height of arrogance".

Jim was right and I'll have to say that religion professor was right in this sense. When he says that to witness to somebody of another faith, you're assuming their religion is bankrupt, that's true. Because the fact is every other religion is bankrupt. It has no ability to offer payment for your sins or my sins. The only payment that can be made is through the death of Jesus Christ. Now notice here he has explained the need for the death of Christ, which most people can't understand. Now he's going to illustrate the need for Christ's death. The writer of Hebrews knew he was in deep water like I am right now. He knew the only way to help people understand was through illustrations. And so notice the three ways he illustrates the need for Christ's death.

First of all, by example. He used an analogy, just like I just used. But notice the one he uses in verses 16 and 17 to explain why Christ had to die. "For where a covenant is, there must of necessity be the death of the one who made it. For a covenant is valid only when men are dead, for it is never enforced while the one who made it lives". Only when he dies do we inherit eternal life and the forgiveness of our sins. That's why the death of Christ is important. He uses an example. Secondly, he shows by history why the death of Christ was important. Look at verse 18. "Therefore, even the first agreement, the first covenant, the first testament, was not inaugurated without blood". He's saying you shouldn't find it strange that this new agreement is based on death. The old agreement was based on death. It was the death of animals, but it was still all about blood.

And that's why verse 22 says, "And according to the law, one may almost say all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness". Don't be surprised that this new covenant is based in blood. The old covenant was as well. And notice how he says, "One could almost say without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness". Why does he say almost? Well, remember under the Old Testament, the old agreement, Leviticus 5 said if you couldn't afford to buy an animal to be sacrificed, you could offer flour or grain as an offering instead. So there was a little leeway for non-blood offerings. But that's not important, because it wasn't through the blood of an animal or flour or wheat or anything else that our sins are removed. It is through the blood of Jesus Christ. It's a history there that helps us understand why death was important.

Now he's illustrated the need for Christ's death by an example, a will, by history. Look at the first covenant. Notice finally he illustrates it by contrast. Look at verse 23. "Therefore it was necessary for the copies of the things in the heavens to be cleansed with these". What is he talking about? What are the copies of the things in the heavens? It's the earthly tabernacle, the brazen altar, the mercy seat. Do you realize those things are just copies of what is really in heaven? The things that were copied here on earth, okay, you can put animal blood on those. But the new covenant offers a better sacrifice, the blood of Jesus Christ, and it is only the blood of Christ that is acceptable to be offered in heaven.

Jesus offers a better sacrifice. Secondly, he does it in a better place. Look at verse 24, "For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, which is just a mere copy of the true one". The holy of holies is just a copy of the holy of holies in heaven. "But he instead went into heaven now to appear in the presence of God before us". He offered a better sacrifice. He offered it in a better place. And most importantly, he only had to offer it once. Look at verse 25. "Nor was it that he should offer himself often as the high priest enters the holy place year by year with blood not his own". That's almost a humorous comment there. What he's saying is, yeah, the Old Testament priest, the high priest, he went into the holy of holies year after year after year.

And you know the only reason he was able to go year after year after year is because he went in without his own blood. If he were offering his own blood, he'd only get to make that sacrifice one time. Why? Because you only get to die one time. In fact, that's what verse 27 is all about, because and as much as it is appointed and the man wants to die, and after that comes the judgment. The context of that verse is the death of Christ. He offered his sacrifice one time. He died one time for the sins of the many. And that's why so many religions get it wrong when they talk about at the Lord's supper that that little cracker somehow becomes the body of Christ and the juice becomes the blood of Christ, and that means that Christ is offering himself again as a sacrifice. And the sacrifice, the perpetual sacrifice of Christ keeps on going and going and going. No, he died once for the sins of the many.

Verse 26 says it is by his death that our sins have been removed. Jesus Christ is the superior priest who offered the superior sacrifice to obtain a superior salvation. What does this mean for all of us today? Let me just mention quickly three timeless principles that you find in this passage. Principle number one is this. Our forgiveness is costly. You know, one of the greatest heresies even among Christians today? It's the idea that God accepts you however you are. Doesn't matter what you've done, God accepts you just as you are. He is willing to overlook your sin if you will just simply come to him. That is a heresy straight from the pit of hell. God cannot overlook your sin. He cannot overlook my sin.

Habakkuk 1:13 says, "God's eyes are too pure to look on iniquity". 1 John 1:5 says, "God light can have no fellowship with darkness". Then what hope do we have if that's true? Here's the hope. Yes, we can come to God with our sin, but we have to stand in front of the cross of Jesus Christ and allow ourselves to be cleansed by the blood of Christ. And it is only through the blood of Christ, receiving that blood, receiving that gift of salvation, that though our sins be a scarlet, God will make them as white as snow. Have you ever heard people talk about, "Oh, I can't believe in cheap grace"?

There's nothing cheap about grace. It cost God everything. It cost him the death of his son. Never forget that our forgiveness is costly. Secondly, this passage reminds us that God's redemption is complete. God's redemption is complete. For the last 2,000-plus years, people, religionists have tried to hang a sign around the cross of Jesus Christ that reads, "Necessary, but not enough". "Necessary, but not enough". "Oh yes, the death of Christ was important. We're going to sing about that and pray by that. Yes, it's important, but it wasn't quite enough to secure our salvation. We need to add to it. It's Jesus Christ and baptism. Jesus Christ and joining the church. Jesus Christ and accepting the sacraments. Jesus Christ and confessing to the priest or the pastor". No, it's Jesus Christ plus nothing by which we are saved.

Verse 26, "By his death, he has forever taken away our sin". It is Jesus Christ alone who offers complete forgiveness. The third principle from this passage is although our redemption is complete, our salvation is incomplete. Our salvation is incomplete. You say, "Wait a minute, pastor. That sounds like double talk. You just said our redemption is complete". Yes, the moment we trust in Christ as Savior, we are redeemed, our sins are forgiven, forgotten forever. You are never more forgiven by God than the moment you trust in Christ as your salvation. But salvation has more to do than simply the forgiveness of our sins.

That's wonderful, but that's not the whole story. There is a future aspect of our salvation that we still eagerly await, and he talks about it in verse 28. "So Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, shall appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await him". The picture here could not have been more clear. When the high priest once a year went into the holy of holies to offer that sacrifice for the sins of the people, the Israelites stood out in the courtyard of the temple breathlessly awaiting that moment when the high priest would emerge from the holy of holies and reappear. Because when they saw that happen, they knew that the high priest had finished his work, that the sacrifice had been accepted.

If the high priest made a mistake and offered the wrong offering or did it in the wrong way, he was struck dead in the holy of holies. That's why they waited anxiously, to see that high priest come out of the holy of holies. He said the second salvation is not a salvation about sin. That already happened when we trusted Christ and his death on the cross for us. But you see, Jesus Christ is coming back again one day to save us not from our sin but from the effects of living in a sin-infected world. He's coming to save us from the suffering, the sadness, the sickness that are a part of living in this world. And that is the salvation every true child of God eagerly anticipates.

The apostle Peter described it in 1 Peter 1:5-6 when he said, "For we eagerly await this salvation that is to be revealed in the last days. For in this you greatly rejoice, even if you have been distressed for a little while by various trials". I think about that phrase, "We rejoice, we eagerly await that future salvation of Christ's return, even though we have been distressed for a little while by various trials".

You know, as a pastor, I have a front seat place to observe those trials that afflict God's people. I talk to families that are alienated from one another because of some misunderstanding. I had to write a letter recently to a Christian man who was paralyzed in a freak accident and told that he would never walk again. This week I presided over the funeral service of one of our members, a godly woman who died and left two daughters behind, a family grieving over the fact that they will never see their mother again, not in this life.

We all are distressed by various trials. But hear the good news of this message. Even though those trials are real, they're also temporary. Because one day, the high priest Jesus is going to reappear and he's going to finish that job of salvation and deliver us from this sin-infected world. Hallelujah, praise God. And that's why Jesus said before he left us, he said, "Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. You believe in God, believe also in me. For in my father's house are many mansions. If it were not so, I would've told you. For I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again to take you unto myself".
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