Sermon #43                                                       Hebrews Notes


     Title:            Best Things Last

     Text:            Hebrews 10:9

     Readings:     Lindsay Campbell and Rex Bartley

     Subject:       Christ Takes Away the First and Establishes the Second

     Date:            Tuesday Evening -- February 6, 2000

     Tape #         W-25a



     We have no way of knowing whether or not their reports are historically accurate; but the ancient Jewish writers often give little tidbits of Jewish tradition that are both interesting and instructive. One such report from the Jewish rabbis is that when Joseph, in the times of plenty, had gathered great stores of corn in Egypt, he threw the chaff into the Nile, River. He did so, they tell us, so that the neighboring cities and nations, seeing the corn shucks and stalks, might know that there was a bountiful supply of food in Egypt.


     As I said, whether that is true or not, I cannot say; but this is -- Our great God, in his abundant goodness, in order to show us what glory there is in heaven, has thrown some husks to us here in this world. As we taste the sweetness of those things we have here, our hearts ought to be set on things above. If the foretastes and pledges of heavenly glory are so great as this, what must heaven' glory itself be! Here, our great Joseph, the Lord Jesus Christ, gives us great comfort and consolation, and draws our hearts away to glory in blessed hope and anticipation.


·        If the blessings we enjoy here are amazing, what must that blessedness be which awaits us in heaven?

·        If our Lord's footstool is glorious, what must his throne be?

·        If he provides for us so bountifully in our pilgrimage through this wilderness, what will the provisions of Canaan's happy land be?


     Turn with me, if you will to Hebrews 10:9. The title of my message tonight is -- Best Things Last. You will remember that when our Lord turned the water into wine at the marriage feast in Cana, the ruler of the feast said to the bridegroom, "Every man at the beginning doth set forth the good wine; and when men have well drunk, that which is worse."


·        That is Satan's way.

·        That is the world's way.

·        That is the way of the world's religion.


Then, he said, "But thou hast kept the good wine until now." That is the way of our God. He never goes from good to worse, but always from good to better.


Proposition:    Both in this world and in the world to come, the Lord Jesus Christ, our God and Savior, gives the best things last.


     This is exactly what we are taught in Hebrews 10:9.


[Hebrews 10:9]  "Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second."


     I trust that God the Holy Spirit will graciously rivet these words into our hearts. -- "He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second." Tonight, I want simply to lead our hearts in meditating upon this blessed fact. As we roll these words over in our minds, I trust God the Holy Spirit will enable us to worship our dear Savior and strengthen our faith in him. And I pray, oh, I pray, that you who yet know him not will be made to see the grace and glory of God in Christ Jesus and compelled by his grace to trust him.


Divisions: Let me show you these four things tonight:

1.     The Meaning of this Statement in our Text: -- "He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.".

2.     Some Examples of this Truth in Holy Scripture.

3.     Our Experience of this Blessed Fact in Grace.

4.     The Hope We have of Better Things to Come.


I.                   First, let me show you the meaning of this statement in our text. -- "He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second."


     In this 10th chapter of Hebrews the Holy Spirit is showing us the purpose of God in the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is declaring to us that the Lord Jesus Christ, our great High Priest is the only sin-atoning High Priest there is. The whole chapter is a declaration of the fact that the Son of God has finished his work of redemption and has perfectly fulfilled all that portrayed him and his work in the Old Testament. That is the doctrine of Hebrews 10.


     First God gave Israel the law, the priesthood, the tabernacle, the sacrifices, and the services of that carnal age, by which they might know and worship him in type and imagery, until Christ came. Then Christ came to do the will of God, to do what those things could only portray and typify, to accomplish the redemption and salvation of God's elect. Thus, he took away the first that he might establish the second.


[Hebrews 10:9-22]  "Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. [10] By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. [11] And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: [12] But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; [13] From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. [14] For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. [15] Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, [16] This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; [17] And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. [18] Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin. [19] Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, [20] By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; [21] And having an high priest over the house of God; [22] Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water."


     "He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second." That is the doctrine of this chapter.


A.   Our blessed Redeemer took away the old ceremonies, sacrifices, priesthood and ordinances of carnal worship, when he came to do the will of God.


While they lasted, those things were good. "The law is holy, and just, and good." During that age of legal, ceremonial worship, those things were both useful and good. But when Christ came, he took them away.


1.     He took them away because they were no longer needed.


     The types served their purpose; but now Christ has come. Who needs a picture? The God-man himself is here! The Savior is present with us.


2.     Christ took those things away because the observance of those things now are forbidden.


     God destroyed the temple, the altar, the priesthood, the ark, the mercy-seat, every particle of law and the carnal worship of that age to keep us from returning to legality and to keep us from ritualism and idolatry. The destruction of every particle of the Old Testament legal system is a declaration that redemption's work is done! Christ has finished the work. If we still had those carnal implements of worship, they would only take our minds off of our Lord Jesus Christ.


Illustration: The Rent Veil


[Colossians 2:10-23]  "And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: [11] In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: [12] Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. [13] And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; [14] Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; [15] And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it. [16] Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: [17] Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ. [18] Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, [19] And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God. [20] Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, [21] (Touch not; taste not; handle not; [22] Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men? [23] Which things have indeed a show of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh."


B.    When our Lord Jesus took away the types he brought in and established something far better. -- He brought in real, perfect, complete, everlasting atonement (vv. 10-22).


[Daniel 9:24]  "Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy."


     He took away the first that he might establish the second; and this is far, far better. The first was good, but God saved the best until last.


1.     Once we have seen Christ, we do not miss Aaron.

2.     Once we have seen the simplicity of the gospel, we never pine for the complexity and bondage of the law.

3.     If ever a sinner enters into the holy place, he will not wish to re-hang the veil!

4.     No one who has experienced the liberty and freedom of grace will ever return to the bondage and terror of the law.


     Read the words of our text again. Here the Holy Spirit gives us both a word of assurance and a word of warning. -- "He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second." The assurance is this. -- Justice is satisfied! -- Redemption is accomplished! -- Sin is pardoned! -- But, be sure you hear the warning.


·        We dare not seek to re-establish any ordinance of the law, lest we build again that which God has cast down.

·        We dare not seek to establish any ordinance of worship which God has not established in his Word, lest we be guilty of idolatry.

·        We dare not tolerate any notion that the second can fail. -- "He shall not fail!" -- His blood shall not fail to atone! -- His righteousness shall not fail to satisfy! -- His intercession shall not fail to prevail! -- His grace shall not fail to save!


II.                Second, I want to show you some examples of this great truth in Holy Scripture. "He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second."


     There are many, many examples of this mentioned in the Book of God. Let me just call your attention to four of them.


A.   The earthly paradise has been taken away by sin; but the Lord God has given us salvation in Christ, and heaven.


[Psalms 69:4]  "They that hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of mine head: they that would destroy me, being mine enemies wrongfully, are mighty: then I restored that which I took not away."


B.   The first man, Adam, failed miserably as our representative; but Christ, the second Adam, has represented us perfectly, and still does.


[Romans 5:12]  "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:"


[Romans 5:18-19]  "Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. [19] For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous."


[1 Corinthians 15:22]  "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive."


[1 Corinthians 15:47]  "The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven."


[1 Corinthians 15:49]  "And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly."


C.   The first covenant, that legal covenant of works, has been broken and is forever cast aside; but the second covenant, the everlasting covenant of grace has been brought in and gloriously replaces the first.


·        Galatians 4:22-31

·        2 Samuel 23:5

·        Jeremiah 31:31-34

·        Jeremiah 32:38-40


D.   The first temple, with all its symbolic glory and splendor, has been thoroughly destroyed; but there is a spiritual house being built by God our Savior  which can never be destroyed.


[Zechariah 4:6-10]  "Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts. [7] Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain: and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it. [8] Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, [9] The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also finish it; and thou shalt know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me unto you. [10] For who hath despised the day of small things? for they shall rejoice, and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel with those seven; they are the eyes of the LORD, which run to and fro through the whole earth."


III. Third, let me speak to you briefly about our experience of this blessed fact. -- "He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second."


     It is a painful ordeal to experience, but it is necessary. If God did not take away the first, he would never establish the second.


A.   Our first righteousness has been taken away by the conviction of the Spirit,; but the righteousness of Christ is established both by the imputation of grace and that same Holy Spirit conviction.


[Romans 7:7-9]  "What shall we say then? is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet. [8] But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead. [9] For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died."


B.   Our first peace has been dashed in pieces like a broken vessel, but we have found real peace in the Rock of Ages.


Illustration: Charles Wesley and the bird.


Jesus, love of my soul,

Let me to thy bosom fly.

While the nearer waters roll,

While the tempest still is high:

Hide me, O my Savior, hide,

Till the storm of life is past!

Safe into thy haven guide,

Oh, receive my soul at last!


C.   Our natural strength, he has broken down and laid in ruins, but now the Lord is our Strength and our Song, and he has become our salvation.


D.   Our natural, carnal joy, he turned into bitterness, but now our dear Savior has given us the joy of faith.


     This is joy indeed! To trust Christ!

·        His Blood!

·        His Righteousness!

·        His Providence!

·        His Promises!


E.   Christ took away our endless, meaningless wandering, but he brought us into the way of life, gave us the direction of his Spirit, and holds us in the path of faith.


     Blessed be the name of God, our Savior! “He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.”


IV.            Once more, I want to show you how that this text describes the hope we have of better things to come – “He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.”


     Just before Alexander the Great went on one of his expeditions, he gave away all of his gold. When someone asked him why he did such a thing, Alexander answered, “For the hope of greater and better things.” Lord God, give me grace to let go of everything here, in hope of greater and better things to come!


A. This body of flesh is decaying and dying now. God is taking it away. But it shall be renewed in the image and likeness of Christ.


B. This world is passing away. God is taking it away. But soon he will create a new heavens and a new earth.


C. Our earthly families are being broken up and taken away. But soon there will be the gathering of a family which shall never be broken.


D. Our lives are ebbing out, little by little, but eternal life and endless glory is rushing to meet us.


E. Everything here is being taken away, and so it must be; but soon, we shall fully and perfectly possess Christ, who is our All!


·        We must not grieve when God take away the first.

·        When he takes away the first, he will establish the second. God always gives best things last!


Application: 2 Corinthians 4:18 – 5:9


[2 Corinthians 4:18]  "While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal."


[2 Corinthians 5:1-9]  "For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. [2] For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: [3] If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. [4] For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. [5] Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. [6] Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: [7] (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) [8] We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. [9] Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him."