Sermons by Dr. Gregory C. Magruder

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RADIATE JESUS: The Discipline of Perseverance

Gregory C. Magruder  Parkview Baptist Church, Gainesville, FL 08/21/16
The Discipline of Perseverance
Hebrews 12:1-13
INTRODUCTION: We have been captivated by the Olympics in Rio this summer. We have seen amazing victories and achievements and we have seen some heartbreaking defeats. But in every event the athletes aim to excel, cross the finish line and finish the race. What we don’t often see are the hours and hours of training and practice and pain that go into competing in the Olympics. The writer of Hebrews switches metaphors from being on a journey to running a race in chapter 12. Christians are running a race that requires the discipline of perseverance. We must persevere and overcome the obstacles that would keep us from finishing the race God has called us to run. How do we do that?
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles (Hebrews 12:1).
  • Others are watching and cheering us on (Heb. 11). We do not want to disappoint them.
  • We are in a relay race. The baton has been passed on to us. We must run our leg of the race well. Prepare to finish the race.
*Jesus is our example and motivator. He has run well and pushes us to run well. We need to keep our eyes on Jesus at all times. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith (Heb. 12:1-2).
*Jesus is our goal and his “well done” is our reward. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart (Heb. 12:2-3).

*God’s discipline proves you are God’s child.
  • The biblical evidence from Proverbs 3:11-12. In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says, “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,  and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son” (12:4-5).
  • The human analogy. Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all (12:5-6).
*Discipline has its benefits and rewards.
Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it (12:7-11).
* We must be strong but we must also help others finish the race. We must cheer others and clear the obstacles in their way.
Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. “Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed (12:12-13).


Gregory C. Magruder  Parkview Baptist Church, Gainesville, FL 08/14/16
The Journey
Hebrews 11:8-19
INTRODUCTION: We all have a story. As we journey through life, we compose our story. God has a story too. God’s story has a beginning, middle and end except God’s story continues forever. The secret of our journey is to connect our story with God’s eternal story. Abraham went on a journey of faith that fulfilled God’s bigger purposes. We too can begin a journey of faith that connects with God’s eternal purposes. God’s people are on a journey of faith. The Bible says that this journey “is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‘The righteous will live by faith’” (Romans 1:17). So how do we live out our journey of faith?
*God called Abraham out of his own country to go to a place that he would inherit. Abraham believed God and went on a journey of faith.
“By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going” (11:8).
*Abraham lived by faith as a stranger and pilgrim in the land and never personally received the promised land. “By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise…All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth: (11:9, 13).
*Abraham looked beyond an earthly home to the city of God, his heavenly home. “For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God…People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called
 their God, for he has prepared a city for them” (11:10, 14-16).
*We by faith look forward to the coming city of God, the New Jerusalem. John the Apostle wrote: Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth”… I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband (Revelation 21:1-2).
*Abraham and Sarah were promised a child in their old age. By faith they trusted God to complete his promise that all the nations of the earth would be blessed by Abraham’s offspring. And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise. And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore (11:11-12).
*Abraham’s descendant became the Savior of the world. We are blessed and become part of God’s family when we put our faith and trust in the promised Messiah Jesus. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).
*The journey of faith has many trials and sacrifices. The person of faith relies on God no matter what the test at hand. By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son,  even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned” (11:17-18).
*Abraham trusted God so much that he believed God would raise his son from the dead in order to fulfill his promise (Gen.22:5). Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death (11:19).
*God raised Jesus from the dead so we have hope for the future. Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die…Do you believe this?”(Jn.11:25).

RADIATE JESUS: Righteous Faith

Gregory C. Magruder  Parkview Baptist Church, Gainesville, FL 08/07/16
Righteous Faith
Hebrews 11:4-7
INTRODUCTION: Faith is the simple trust that something or someone is true. Righteous faith is trust in God and the belief that what he says is true. Habakkuk the prophet wrote that “the just will live by his faith” (Hab. 2:4 KJV). A righteous person trusts God. Paul wrote “For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‘The righteous will live by faith’” (Romans 1:17). In fact, Hebrews tells us “without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him” (Heb. 11:6). Righteous faith pleases God. The writer of Hebrews gives three examples of men who had a righteous faith and pleased God in Hebrews 11:4-7.
*Jesus called Abel a righteous man (Matthew 23:35). Abel gave an offering in faith and his offering was accepted by God (Genesis 4:4-5). By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead (Heb. 11:4).
*Abel’s heart was right with God. Cain’s heart was not right with God and he fell into sin. Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door (Gen. 4:6-7).
*Righteous faith has a heart that seeks to please God.
*A person of faith desires to have fellowship with God. Enoch developed a close relationship with God on a daily basis and God let him walk right into Heaven. Enoch walked faithfully with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Enoch lived a total of 365 years. Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away (Gen. 5:22-24).
*The mysterious Enoch pleased God by his simple faith and dependence upon God. By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death: “He could not be found, because God had taken him away.”For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God (Heb. 11:5).
*Righteous faith spends time with God daily.
*Faith believes God and trusts his word. We live by faith when we do what God says to do. The Word of God is the basis of our faith. Noah took God’s warning about a flood to heart and built an ark to save his family. By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family (Heb. 11:7).
*Noah was a righteous man who was faithful to God during a time of wickedness and rebellion. Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God (Gen. 6:9).
*Noah’s obedience to build the ark proved his faith and rejected the pressures to conform to the world. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith (Heb. 11:7).
*Righteous faith trusts God’s word and does what it says.
Noah’s ark is a symbol of salvation. The world was about to be destroyed. Only those who entered the ark were rescued and saved.
The Bible tells us that “faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ” (Romans 10:17). We are saved by putting our faith and trust in Jesus Christ.
A man asked Paul and Silas, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:30-31). Have you done this? Do you have a righteous faith?


Gregory C. Magruder  Parkview Baptist Church, Gainesville, FL 07/10/16
Hebrews 11:1-3
INTRODUCTION: We do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved” (Hebrews 10:39). The writer of Hebrews says we can endure and persevere because we are people of faith. He defines faith in Hebrews 11 and lists examples of the heroes of faith. Their example encourages us to persevere until we fulfill God’s purposes for us. People of faith endure to the end. So what is faith? Hebrews 11:1-3 tells us.
*Faith is not fantasy or a leap in the dark. It is based on content. Faith is the foundation of hope. In business terms, it is the “title-deed” or guarantee of what is hoped for. “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for…” (11:1).
*The believers of old endured tremendous trials because they were confident in the promises of God. Their trust proved that God was faithful to his promises.  “This is what the ancients were commended for” (11:2).
*Faith is the “assurance about what we do not see” (11:1). The word “assurance” means proof or conviction. Our faith proves the reality of the invisible. We cannot see it with our senses, but we believe it as fact, and we experience it as a present reality. This gives us courage.
*Faith rests on the word of God. God reveals to us his truths through his word and we live our lives based on his truth. For example, “By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible” (11:3).
*Faith must believe and act on the promises of God. Christians place their trust in Jesus Christ and God’s promises and experience peace. “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1).


Gregory Magruder       Parkview Baptist     Gainesville, FL     7/03/16
“Religious Liberty”
John 8:31-36
INTRODUCTION: Americans have basic rights guaranteed by our Constitution: freedom of worship, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly and freedom of speech.  As Americans we assume the first freedoms found in the First Amendment: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press: or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievancesAs Christians, we believe that true freedom comes through Jesus Christ who provides the basis for the freedoms we have as citizens of this world.  Jesus said, “You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (John 8:32 NRSV).  Religious Liberty Sunday celebrates that we are Free in Christ, Free to Worship and Free to Know.
            -Jesus used the image of slavery to describe you and me.  “Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, "If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples;   and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.   “They answered him, "We are descendants of Abraham and have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean by saying, "You will be made free'?"  Jesus answered them, "Very truly, I tell you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin(v. 31-34).
            -Jesus has the authority to set us free from sin“The slave does not have a permanent place in the household; the son has a place there forever.  So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed(35-36).
            -You will find true liberty when you come to know Jesus as your Savior and Lord: “you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”  Truth is found in a Person, Jesus Christ.  “Jesus said to him, `I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me’ (John 14:6).
Have you discovered the freedom found in Jesus Christ?

            -Freedom in Christ assumes personal responsibility and dignity before God. “For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery(Gal. 5:1).
            -The First Amendment recognizes our right to full religious
Liberty: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof....”
You have the right under God to worship without coercion.
            -Freedom in Christ assumes the right to know the truth.  Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life” (John 14:6) and “you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free(John 8:32).   
            -Freedom of the press, speech, assembly and pursuit of justice are guaranteed in the First Amendment. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press: or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. 
You are obligated in Christ to tell the truth and speak your mind.
   in Christ
               to worship
                           to know!


Gregory C. Magruder  Parkview Baptist Church, Gainesville, FL 06/26/16
Hebrews 10:19-39
INTRODUCTION: The writer of Hebrews has shown that the old religious system of sacrifice and ritual was inadequate and ineffective. It only pointed to a new and better way. Jesus Christ became the perfect offering for our sins. We are saved once for all through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. Jesus is in the presence of God as our perfect representative and High Priest. He defends us, prays for us, and empowers us by his Spirit. Therefore, we have the confidence to persevere and fulfill the mission God has prepared for us.
*We have free access to God and complete forgiveness of sins through Jesus. “Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water” (22).
*Be confident because God is faithful. “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful” (23).
*Look out for one another and worship and serve together because Jesus is coming soon. “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (24-25).
*Refuse to go back to the old way of living. Do not throw away your
witness and destiny. The reputation of Jesus is at stake. Sin has consequences“If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God…It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (26-31).
*Remember God’s faithfulness in the past. “Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you endured in a great conflict full of suffering…So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded” (26-31).
*Receive God’s promises in the present.  “You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised” (36).
*Rejoice in Christ’s return in the future.
“In just a little while,
    he who is coming will come
    and will not delay.”
“But my righteous one will live by faith.
    And I take no pleasure
    in the one who shrinks back.”
But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved” (37-39).
Have you come to God through Jesus?
Do you have faith in Jesus Christ and full confidence in your salvation through him?
If not, the way is open and free to God through Jesus. He invites you to draw near to him and be forgiven and accepted.


Gregory C. Magruder  Parkview Baptist Church, Gainesville, FL 06/12/16
Once for All
Hebrews 10:1-18
INTRODUCTION: Something better is coming. In fact, it has already begun through the finished work of Jesus Christ. “The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming—not the realities themselves,” Hebrews 10:1 tells us. The endless repetition of animal sacrifices “can never…make perfect those who draw near to worship” (10:1). Animal sacrifices cannot ease a guilty conscience. They only remind a person of his or her sins (10:2-3). “It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins” (10:4). The old system was inadequate, external, temporal, repetitive, and ineffective. It only pointed to a new and better way. Jesus Christ became the perfect offering for our sins. We are saved once for all through the Triune God’s plan of salvation. We have a new covenant with God through the shed blood of Jesus Christ.
*God’s will was that he would send his Son into the world to become the sacrifice for sin. Animal sacrifices anticipated what God would do for us. God became a human being like us and took our sins upon himself so that we could be truly free from guilt and sin. “Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said: “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased. Then I said, ‘Here I am—it is written about me in the scroll—I have come to do your will, my God’”(10:5-7).
*God provided a way to establish an eternal relationship with him. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
*Obedience is the cure for sin. God doesn’t want outward sacrifices only obedient hearts. Jesus perfectly kept the law and obeyed God.
He willingly went to the Cross as our substitute. He took the
punishment for our sins and made us holy in the presence of God. First he said, “Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them”—though they were offered in accordance with the law. Then he said, “Here I am, I have come to do your will.” He sets aside the first to establish the second. And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all (10:8-10).
*There is no more need for sacrifice. Jesus our High Priest has satisfied all of God’s demands. His work is finished. He now represents us at the right hand of God. But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, and since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool (10:12-13).
*We are made perfect in the sight of God by the sacrifice of Christ. We have been saved, we are being saved, and we will be saved forever through the completed work of Christ. For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy (10:14).
*We are not alone in the process of sanctification (being made holy). The Holy Spirit lives inside all who place their faith and trust in Jesus. Jesus sent us the Holy Spirit as the “one called alongside to help” (John 14:16-17). The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says: “This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds” (10:15-16).
*The Holy Spirit reminds us that we are completely forgiven and gives us the power to obey God’s commands freely and willingly. Then he adds: “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.” And where these have been forgiven, sacrifice for sin is no longer necessary (10:17-18).
The Father, Son and Holy Spirit provide all that is needed to be made right with God. Have you accepted the free gift of salvation?


Gregory C. Magruder  Parkview Baptist Church, Gainesville, FL 06/05/16
Why Blood?
Hebrews 9
INTRODUCTION: The gift of blood is the gift of life. There is no substitute for human blood. It is estimated 4.8 million Americans would die each year without life saving blood transfusions. Blood has always been associated with life. Ancient peoples from many cultures sacrificed animals and even humans as an offering to appease their gods. Where did this tradition come from? The Bible tells us that after Adam and Eve sinned God killed an innocent animal and shed its blood so the couple could have clothes to cover their nakedness (Gen. 3). Later God accepted the offering of a slain firstborn lamb from Abel’s flocks (Gen. 4). From these small beginnings a whole system of sacrifice developed to make peace with God and find forgiveness for sin. God said: “For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life” (Leviticus 17:11). Now the blood of Jesus Christ covers our sins and makes us right with God.
*The tabernacle represented God’s presence (1-5). The articles were symbols of God’s interaction with his people. The veil separated sinful people from a Holy God. The tabernacle was temporary and earthly.
*Sin separates from God. Sin must be punished and covered. “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). The sacrifice of one living creature for another provides redemption and forgiveness (9:7). One life is given for another so the other can go free. The blood of animals was only temporary however and could not “clear the conscience of the worshiper” (Hebrews 9:6-10).
*The blood of animals only outwardly sanctified the unclean (9:13). A will only takes effect when someone has died. Likewise, the first covenant with God took effect when Moses killed calves and sprinkled the blood on the scroll, the people, and the tabernacle and its utensils (9:18-22). “In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” (9:22).
*The Old Covenant had an earthly tabernacle, sinful priests, outward ceremonies, the blood of animals, and temporary effectiveness. External regulations cannot provide internal transformation.
*Jesus entered Heaven’s perfect eternal tabernacle. We have a better sanctuary (9:11).
*Jesus offered himself as the perfect sacrifice for sins. We have a better sin offering. Jesus “entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption” (9:12)
*Jesus’ blood covers our sins and gives us a clear conscience so we can serve the living God. Jesus provides an effective inner and spiritual transformation.  “How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!” (9:14).
*The New Covenant is ratified by Jesus’ death so we are free from sin and gain the eternal inheritance (9:15-17). “For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance” (9:15).
*Jesus is our High Priest in Heaven and represents us before God. He once for all shed his blood so that we can have forgiveness of sins and eternal life. We have freedom from judgment and hope for the future (9:23-28). “But he has appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many” (9:26-28).
*The perfect sacrifice and ministry of Jesus transforms us inwardly and spiritually forever. Now the blood of Jesus Christ covers our sins and makes us right with God.


Gregory C. Magruder  Parkview Baptist Church, Gainesville, FL 05/29/16
A New Deal
Hebrews 8
INTRODUCTION: Jesus provides a better way to God. In fact the word “better” occurs more times in the Book of Hebrews than in any other New Testament book. The author has shown that Christianity is a better way in legacy, priesthood and High Priest. God has made a new deal with humanity through his Son Jesus Christ.
*Jesus has a heavenly kingdom and a heavenly priesthood. “Now the main point of what we are saying is this: We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by a mere human being” (8:1-2).
*Therefore, Jesus has a superior ministry and negotiates a superior contract with God. “But in fact the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, since the new covenant is established on better promises” (8:6).
*Israel failed to keep the old covenant. God required a new covenant as promised in Jeremiah 31:31-34. “For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another. But God found fault with the people and said: ‘The days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah’” (8:7-8).
*God gives four promises to us in the New Covenant:
  • The Law of God will be internal and spiritual. “This is the covenant I will establish with the people of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts” (8:10).
  • God will have a new personal and effective relationship with his people. “I will be their God, and they will be my people” (8:10).
  • All God’s people will become priests. “No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they
       will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest” (8:11).
  • God will give complete pardon and forgiveness for sins. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more” (8:12).
*Israel failed to complete her mission and God turned her task over to a new people, followers of Jesus. The Covenant mission we have is the same mission God gave to Israel. By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear (8:13).
 * We must not fail to fulfill our legacy. “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy” (1 Peter 2:9-10).
*What is our mission? Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20).


Mystery Man
Hebrews 7
INTRODUCTION: Christians claimed that the old system of laws and sacrifices did not provide complete access to God or full forgiveness. The question arose as to why Christians had a better way if they did not follow the Mosaic law and ceremony. Hebrews points to a mysterious man in the Old Testament as the basis of a better way for Christians. The mystery man Melchizedek was the archetype of our High Priest Jesus. Jesus provides a better way to God. In fact the word “better” occurs more times in the Book of Hebrews than in any other New Testament book. Christianity is a better way in legacy, priesthood and High Priest.
*God’s original priesthood came through Melchizedek. According to Psalm 110:1-4, the Messiah would be a King and a Priest in the line of Melchizedek not the line of Aaron. The Lord says to my lord: “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet”…The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind: “You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.”
*The history is based on the story in Genesis 14: This Melchizedek was king of Salem and priest of God Most High. He met Abraham returning from the defeat of the kings and blessed him, and Abraham gave him a tenth of everything (1-2).
*Who was this mystery man? First, the name Melchizedek means “king of righteousness”; then also, “king of Salem” means “king of peace.” Without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, resembling the Son of God, he remains a priest forever (2-3).
*Jesus carries on the heritage of Melchizedek’s priesthood. Melchizedek has a better legacy than the line of Levi. Therefore Jesus has a better priesthood.
  • Melchizedek was a king of righteousness and peace like Jesus is.
  • Melchizedek has a permanent priesthood that lasts forever like Jesus.
  • Melchizedek is greater than Abraham because Abraham and Levi gave Melchizedek tithes (4-10).
  • Melchizedek even blessed Abraham. [He] collected a tenth from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises. And without doubt the lesser is blessed by the greater (6-7).
*The old priesthood and the Law of Moses did not achieve God’s purposes. A new order needed to come on the scene that provided a complete relationship with God. If perfection could have been attained through the Levitical priesthood—and indeed the law given to the people established that priesthood—why was there still need for another priest to come, one in the order of Melchizedek, not in the order of Aaron? For when the priesthood is changed, the law must be changed also (11-12).
*God established a new order that is better than the old Levitical order:
  • God created the new order from the tribe of Judah not Levi. He of whom these things are said belonged to a different tribe, and no one from that tribe has ever served at the altar. For it is clear that our Lord descended from Judah, and in regard to that tribe Moses said nothing about priests (13-14).
  • We have a heavenly priesthood that lasts forever not an earthly priesthood that is limited. And what we have said is even more clear if another priest like Melchizedek appears, one who has become a priest not on the basis of a regulation as to his ancestry but on the basis of the power of an indestructible life. For it is declared: “You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek” (15-17).
  • The new priesthood enables us to draw near to God with confidence.
The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless (for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God (18-19).
*Jesus was sworn in as priest by an oath and other priests were not. Therefore, Jesus guarantees a better covenant than the old covenant. And it was not without an oath! Others became priests without any oath, but he became a priest with an oath when God said to him: “The Lord has sworn    and will not change his mind: ‘You are a priest forever’” Because of this oath, Jesus has become the guarantor of a better covenant (20-22).
*Jesus lives forever, saves us and intercedes for us constantly before God. [But] because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them (24-25).
*Jesus is sinless and eternal and sacrificed his life for us once for all. Such a high priest truly meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens...He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself (26-27).
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