Lecture 6 Exposition of Hebrews 4.14-5.10

Hebrews 4:11-13

You should be diligent to place your faith in the gospel so that you enter into God’s rest, because God’s word (present), v. 12, in which contains the remaining promise of rest, is still active. That means that God knows your heart, whether you believe the gospel and enter into His rest or not. You will give an account to God and God’s word (future) will reveal your heart.

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Where we’ve been…

I. Keep Faith in the Son, Jesus Christ, because He is a Superior Messenger (1:1-3:6)

A. He is Superior to All Human Messengers (1:1-1:3)

B. He is Superior to All Angelic Messengers (1:4-2:18)

1. Because of His Superior Person and Work (divine) to Angels (1:4-14)

Warning #1: Pay attention to and do not neglect the clearly-attested salvation offered by the Lord! (2:1-4)

2. Because of His Superior Person and Work (human) to Angels (2:5-18)

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C. He is Superior to Moses (3:1-6)

-Because Moses was a Servant and Christ is a Son (3:1-6)

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Warning #2 “Do not harden your heart with unbelief and so fail to enter His rest.” (3:7-4:13)

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Where we’re going…

II. Keep Faith in the Son, Jesus Christ, because He is a Superior Priest (4:14-10:18)

A. He is Sympathetic, So Come Boldly (4:14-16)

B. Every Aaronic High Priest is Divinely-Called but Man-Appointed (Aaronic; 5:1-4)

1. He, a human priest, has compassion on others because he is weak and sinful (5:2).

2. He offers for himself and others because he is weak (5:3).

3. He is called by God through human lineage (Aaron; 5:4).

C. Likewise, Christ is Divinely-Called High Priest, but God-Appointed    (Melchizedekian; 5:5-11)

1. He is called by God through divine appointment (Yahweh and Melchizedek; 5:5-6)

2. He offered up prayers (5:7)

3. He, a divine Son, learned obedience through suffering (5:8).

4. He became author of eternal salvation upon installation as divinely- called High Priest (5:9-10).

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TRANSITION: If Hebrews 1-4:13 present Christ as “Son”, then 7-10 discuss Christ as High Priest. (warning passage from 5:12-6:20)

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Then what’s in between?

Hebrews 4:14-5:11 shows the relationship between the two. Even though Christ is the exalted Son of God, he can be a sympathetic High Priest because of the incarnation and exaltation.

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So, if you were to ask… “how can the exalted Son be a sympathetic high priest, like those under the Old Covenant? Ans: Incarnation (2:17) and exaltation (4:14; 5:9). Note ‘jump from’ comment below.

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II. Keep Faith in the Son, Jesus Christ, because He is a Superior Priest (4:14-10:18)

A. He is Sympathetic, So Come Boldly (4:14-16)

1. Exhortation restated (4:14)

  • Restates his main exhortation, v. 15. “Let us hold fast” restatement of “Keep faith in”; “Jesus, Son of God” vs. “Son, Jesus Christ”, etc.
  • Resumes high priest discussion from 2:17-3:1. Read 2:17-18. He wanted to discuss how great a high priest Jesus is at that point, but interjects argumentation from Moses, then Aaron first. Seemed more logical to deal first with the foundation, Moses.

Btw, Seems like the message could jump from 2:18 to 4:14 (skipping 2:18-4:13) and then skip from 5:10 to 7:1.

  • Reassures: Whereas God’s word is harshly revealing (4:12-13), Christ our high priest is sympathetic with the weaknesses of our flesh (4:14-16).

Major point 1: “passed through the heavens” (Exalted…) Having transcended spatial limitation. This topic began at Heb. 1:3. His sacrifice is final and he’s alive in heaven, not dead, like other priests.

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2. Reason for Exhortation: Jesus is sympathetic with our human frailty                   (4:15).

Major point 2: we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses.” (…yet Sympathetic). Stated doubly-negative, thus, “we do have…who can

  • He is sympathetic because of his experience, “was in all points tempted as we are...”
    • All points include every human frailty, but the major frailty under discussion is temptation to unbelief!
      • Jesus in the wilderness (Mt. 4; Lk. 4)
        • Faith in the midst of spiritual testing by the devil.
      • Jesus in the garden (Mt. 26:36-44)
        • Better b/c faith in the midst of physical persecution, like the Hebrews were being persecuted.
        • [Mark sermon] Jesus knew he was appointed to die (Matthew 20:17–19; Mark 10:32–34, esp. 10:45; Luke 18:31–34; John 2:19) … [requested it wouldn’t happen] And in the garden, he clearly yielded to God’s will, though tempted not to (he could have called 12 legions of angels).
        • His sympathy is effective: “…yet without sin”
  • Unlike merely human priests, Jesus was without sin after every temptation. Merely human priests, though perhaps equally sympathetic, sinned! But Jesus’ sympathy, based on temptation, not sin, is effective to help deliver you from sin!

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3. Application: Because Jesus’ sympathy is effective, boldly approach the throne of grace for help! (4:16).

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  • Approach throne of grace=pray.
    • Grace is the ruling response of God’s throne. It permeates every answer.
    • Confirms garden interpretation: Jesus prayed; we’re exhorted to pray.
  • Come boldly b/c Jesus, unlike merely human priests, knows how to conquer the sin of unbelief during persecution. Jesus would have been tempted not to believe.
  • Get “mercy” when you fail and “grace to help” when tempted!

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B. The Exalted Son/High Priest is Superior to Old Covenant Priests (5:1-10)

  1. Old Covenant Qualifications for Priest (5:1-4).
    1. Old Covenant constant priestly duties necessitated a priest’s humanity (5:1)
      • Point: OC priests must be human; they offered multiple sacrifices (‘that he may [keep on] offer[ing]’)
    2. Old Covenant priestly compassion arose from common experience (5:2-3).
      • Point: OC priest’s compassion was due to common weakness and sin
    3. Old Covenant priests are not self-installed, but called by God as Aaron’s son (5:4)
      • Point: OC priests were sons of Aaron, as called by God.

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  1. Christ exceeds Old Covenant Qualifications for Priests (5:5-10).
    1. Christ was not self-installed, but called by God as God’s Son (5:5-6).
      • Point: Christ was Son of God, as called by God.

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  1. Christ’s compassion arose from common experience (5:7-9)
    • Point: Christ’s compassion was due to, despite his Sonship, his learning obedience by
      • Suffering
      • Prayers
      • Answered prayer

In other words, during the incarnation (flesh), Christ learned obedience by his own sacrifice (“suffering things”) and praying and being heard. He learned even though he was a Son.

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  1. Christ’s once-for-all priestly duty necessitated his installation as High Priest and becoming author of eternal salvation
    • Point: Christ’s one time suffering resulted in his installation as High Priest (‘made perfect’) and his becoming author of eternal salvation (‘priest forever,’ v. 6).

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Synergisticly…

The preacher shows that the exalted Son is superior to the OC priests.

  • It is certainly true that the priesthood demanded that the priest be a human (5:1). This is also true of Christ (“flesh” 5:7).
    • whereas the old covenant priest had to continually offer sacrifices (5:1; ‘that he may keep on offering’), Christ became the author of eternal salvation (5:9; cf. 5:6).
  • It is certainly true that old covenant priestly compassion arose from common experience (5:2-3). This is also true of Christ (5:7-9)
    • whereas the old covenant priests’ compassion arose from weakness and sin (5:2-3), Christ’s priestly compassion arose from
      • his common humanity (5:7)
      • learning obedience through suffering (5:8)
      • praying and being heard when suffering (5:7)
  • It is certainly true that Old Covenant priests were not self installed (5:4). This is also true of Christ (5:5).
    • Whereas the old covenant priests were called by God as the sons of Aaron (5:4), Christ was called by God as the Son of God (5:5,8).

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