In Hebrews 6 we learned about the lasting nature of God's promises and the oath that God has taken giving further assurance that He keeps His promises.
By the time of Jesus, oath making had been developed into a fine art. The sinful desire to cheat or get something on a false basis was as rampant then as it is now.
ILLUSTRATION - You know that we had a break-in two weeks ago. Most losses and damages will be paid for by the insurance company. But there is that deductible. However, the way to beat the insurance company (or is "cheat" or maybe "steal" more accurate?) is to claim losses we did not sustain.
Let's see: Was it really two rolls of stamps the thieves stole or was it six rolls? Six rolls sounds better. Did this new microphone cost $144 or was it $244.
We have not been dishonest, nor will we be in order to minimize our loss.
But, you and I know people who live that way. We know people who find ways to beat or cheat the system. We know people who make promises that they have no intention of keeping! Personal integrity is not the issue for them but rather how to get something over on someone.
We know fickle people who promise but their feelings change, OR they didn't realize how hard it might be to keep the promise, OR they can keep the promise short term but they lack perseverance.
So, if this is how people are...maybe God is like this also. Maybe He is trying to get something over on us. Maybe He lacks integrity and cannot be trusted. Maybe He is fickle; feeling one way today, another way tomorrow. Maybe He meant to keep His promises but some unforseen circumstances got in the way. Maybe God has short term memory and He has just forgotten what He promises....
OR MAYBE GOD HAS MADE PROMISES THAT HE IS NOT ABLE TO KEEP! You know like signing for a loan, knowing you'll never make the payments because you don't have the financial ability...you don't make enough. Maybe God is not strong enough to do what He has promised!
HE IS NOT ABLE!?
Those ideas sounds like heresy. If I preached about a God who was less than God Almighty, you would call that false doctrine. However, it is far easier to live our private lives as if God was less than God Almighty! God understands how fallen humanity thinks. He does not excuse our thinking. Rather He speaks truth to us in different ways desiring that we get the message and that we begin to think Biblically.
In the comparisions that follow, God is helping us to understand His greatness and the greatness of what He has done for us in Jesus.
I. HE IS THE GREAT UNCHANGEABLE ONE
Verse 21: He will not change His mind. He is not fickle. He is not swayed by emotion. He is not tempted to change His mind and go with what is convenient, popular, or feels good. (Hebrews 13:8)
II. HE IS THE PERMANENT ONE
Note the words: forever, permanent, and always. God is not interested in a temporary relationship with us. Our modern lifestyles are filled with these temporary relationships. We introduce others to our meaningful person of the moment. These relationships are here today, gone tomorrow. God is not interested in such a relationship with us. He is not interested in a temporary relationship with you.
Alos, He is not interested in just getting us through the tough times of life. God is interested in forever. He knows that you and I will spend forever somewhere. He offers us a forever with Him.
He also offers Himself to us on a forever basis. Do you know anything that lasts forever? Can humans make anything that lasts forever? God is interested in you forever!
God is not looking for ways to dump us so He can get somebody new in His family. He wants a lasting, on-going, never-ending relationship with you. That's the only way your life can produce the good that God has planned for you.
I need Jesus...now and forever. He offers Himself to me...now and forever!
I need His grace. I need His forgiveness. I need His purity. I need His goodness...(Will your goodness last forever? His does!) I need Him now and forever.
Then in verse 25 we have the word "always".
Has the word "always" ever gotten you into trouble?
EXAMPLES - "You always leave your clothes in the middle of the floor! You're always late! You're always telling me how your mother cooks."
Some of us need to be more careful with the use of absolute words like "always" and "never".
But, God is not afraid to use the word "always". And when He uses the word "always", He is not exaggerating. He means "always"!
I saw this somewhere. It said: "A message from Jesus. 'I love you. I always have. I always will.'"
The words "always and forever" speak of permanence in a changing world. To early Hebrew Christians these words compared the temporary nature of the Old Covenant with the permanent nature of the New Covenant.
The Old Covenant is replaced by a new. It's not that the old was bad. It served a good purpose, for it helped restrain sin and promote godliness.
But it was weak, temporary, and imperfect. And God never promised Aaron or anyone that the old covenant and the old priesthood would be anything but temporary in nature.
No priest could serve forever. Every priest was eventually disqualified to serve by one word: death! Death has a way of removing people from office. Death has a way of removing people from the role they play in our lives.
ILLUSTRATION - A sick person has a family doctor, familiar with his case and his entire medical history, having provided his medical care since birth.
Then the doctor dies and now the patient must start all over with a new doctor.
A business man has a lawyer who knows his affairs and has represented him since the day he began his business.
Then the lawyer dies and now the business man must start all over with a new lawyer.
A sinner has deep and continuing needs. Under the old covenant, he had a priest. He came to the altar and found there a priest to help him in his hour of need. A priest who knew him and his family, who understood, who cared, and who sympathized with him.
Then this priest to whom he likes to come, dies. So the sinner must start all over again and find a new priest; one who is a stranger to him.
How wonderful it would be to have a great physician, a Heavenly advocate, a king, a priest who would never die!
How wonderful to have someone to come to that we don't have to tell our live history to every time we have a need. How wonderful to not have to bring our needs to a stranger, but rather come to a friend who knows us.
That's exactly What and Who we have in Jesus!
Always and forever permanence is offered us.
I cannot be the pastor of the church I serve always and forever! Death will someday disqualify me. Of course, those who are members of that church fellowship cannot be a member forever. Death will someday disqualify each one. Thus you need someone more permanent for your spiritual needs. And you need a membership more permanent then membership in a local church.
God knows what we need. So, God offers a better covenant. He offers permanence.
I am married to my wife till death do us part. That's about as permanent a promise you can get from another human being. We have no "forevers" in earthly human relationships.
But, when it comes to God, I want to belong to Him forever! I want to know that He is my God always! I want to know that death does not end this relationship...it just moves it to a new location!
I want to know that He is always looking out for what is best for me. "He always lives to make intercession for us...vs. 25" He always is there for every burden and every care. I will not be desserted!
That's what I want. That's what I need. That's what Jesus offers!
III. HE IS THE ONE WHO SAVES COMPLETELY
Verse 25 - No halfway measures with God. He finishes what He begins. Heaven is not filled with God's unfinished projects! Aren't you glad?
He will complete the good work of salvation He has begun in our lives. (Philippians 1:6) Heaven will be populated by God's finished projects! Saved completely and saved forever!
The power of salvation is Christ's ability -- HE IS ABLE! We sing the chorus: "Only Jesus has the power of salvation in His blood..."
He is able to keep His promise. He has not made a promise which He lacks the ability to keep.
He is able to save completely. He is able to meet God's requirements for sin. He is able to pay all the debts that our sins have incurred against us or will ever incur against us.
We do not have the power to save ourselves, and we do not have the power to keep ourselves saved. But He is able!
The tense of the Greek verb indicates that this is an on-going ability and an on-going work. He has saved me. He is saving me. He will save me. He is able!
Some Christians see there salvation in a past tense way. Their testimony deals with the past. And God knows that we all have a past.
But Jesus is working now; wanting to work His salvation in our lives now. He is preparing His salvation for our future. Let Christ continue His on-going ministry of salvation to you until that day it is completed forever in His presence.
I am saved! I am being saved! I will be forever saved! Because Jesus is able to save completely all those that come to God through Him.
IV. HE IS THE PERFECT AND PURE ONE
Verses 26 and 28- Words which describe Jesus are: holy, blameless, pure, set apart, exalted, and perfect.
He is holy. Not in the sense that we are made holy by the cleansing of our sins. He is eternally holy. He is a righteous High Priest unblemished by sin for he battled with all the sins of the world and He won! He is holy!
He is blameless. Other translations say: He is innocent or He is harmless. Holiness points toward God. Harmlessness points toward mankind. Jesus injured no one. He lived for others. He went about doing good to others, including those who hated Him and those who He knew would harm Him. He healed, but He never harmed. His every act was to uplift and benefit others.
Some people were angry with Jesus during the years He walked on earth because He would not do things their way or bless their agendas. Some people today are angry with Jesus. Some of you may be angry with Jesus!
Were Jesus to walk down these aisles today and look into each of our eyes and ask: "Have I injured you in any way?" We would have to honestly say: "In no way, Lord. You have blessed me. You have been a true Friend." He is pure, undefiled, undistorted. He is free from any moral or spiritual blemish or defect.
We are the ones who need recalled by our Maker to take care of defects. He is without defect. In fact, there never lived a priest who was without defect -- until Jesus.
Folks, you can cover your blemishes, use the wrinkle cream, have a plastic surgeon work his magic...but there is no perfect human body except in those air-brushed pictures where some artist removes all blems and wrinkles.
But no artist, cosmetologist, or surgeon can remove wrinkles and blemishes from the soul except the One who is without defect, pure, undefiled, free of blemish.
Set apart from sinners or separate from sinners:
This means that Jesus was of a different class. It is not denying His humanness but declaring that He is in a category all His own. Jesus stands alone.
Every religion or religious system which tries to compete with Christianity and tries to offer itself as a substitute for or an alternative for Christianity.....every one was started by a sinner!
NO SINNER CAN PROVIDE A WAY TO GOD FOR ANOTHER SINNER!!!
Jesus stands alone! No one else can stand alongside Him and compete for equal standing. He is in a separate category. He is not a sinner trying to help sinners. He is the Savior reaching down to lift sinners.
He is exalted above the heavens. Thus we declare: "There is none like unto Thee, O Lord!"
All of this is true. God declares it so. And all of this is also guaranteed!
I like guarantees! When you buy certain products, especially electronic products or when you buy a car....the guarantee is important. In buying gifts we like to know about guarantees. "Satisfaction guaranteed or your money back!"
ILLUSTRATION - The new microphone we purchased, which replaces the stolen one, comes with a new feature. It has a lifetime warranty. But note: It is a limited lifetime warranty.
I've never figured out what either of those adjectives really mean. Limited in what way? And what does "lifetime" mean? Does that refer to the lifetime of me...the user? Or the lifetime of the product? What is the lifetime of the product? If it stops working in two years is the warranty void because two years is this microphones lifetime? Do you see how weak human guarantees are? So what makes God's guarantee different from the human versions?
God offers His Son Jesus as our guarantee. God backs up His promises with His Son. Every time you see the re-enactment of that first Christmas, you are being reminded of God's guarantee. When you see someone playing the part of Mary holding the Christchild in her arms...she is holding God's guarantee. You are seeing God's guarantee.
ILLUSTRATION - If I made a promise to you and you asked for some guarantee, some surety, that I would keep my promise...I would not hand over my son Eran to you and say: "Here's my Son. He's yours until I keep my promises."
But in a sense, God has given us Jesus as a guarantee; as a surety that He will do what He said. "Here's my Son, He's yours forever!"
Is there a guarantee? Yes, Jesus is our guarantee! Jesus is your guarantee!
ILLUSTRATION - Some of you own a brand of knife called a "Buck Knife". I don't know if this is still true, but Buck Knives came with a written guarantee which stated that the company's desire to produce a quality knife was motivated by their relationship with Jesus Christ. They considered it part of their witness to produce a good product and to back their product with a replacement guarantee. This was signed by the president of the company.
Imagine a guarantee signed by Jesus? In chapter nine we learn that that is what we actually have; a guarantee signed by Jesus with His own blood.
God proved once and for all that He meant what He said. Signed it, sealed it, and sent His guarantee....the Living Word who dwelt among us. He is unchangeable! He is permanent...forever! He saves completely! He is perfect. He is pure!
Guaranteed forever! No limitations! No fine print! No tricky words!
Jesus is our guarantee, FOREVER!
Other sermons by Pastor John.