Misc. Sermon #1922[i]
Title: A Pattern of God’s Work
Text: Hebrews 10:9
Subject: Christ Gives the Best Last
(Hebrews 10:1-9) “For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. (2) For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins. (3) But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. (4) For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. (5) Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: (6) In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. (7) Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God. (8) Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; (9) Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.”
My subject this is – A Pattern of God’s Work. You will notice that I did not say, “the pattern of God’s work”, but “a pattern”. I fully realize that God almighty is infinitely sovereign and free. He does what He will, in whatever way is pleasing to Him. But in our text, the Apostle Paul inserts a parenthetical statement, which seems to be a pattern of God’s work. This is the general, customary principle of God’s work among the sons of men — “He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.” As a general rule, God gives that which is good, then that which is better, and then that which is best.
The whole book of Hebrews is an example of this principle. Indeed, the key word for instruction in this book is the word “better” (1:4). Throughout these thirteen chapters Paul is showing us that the Gospel is better than the law, the New Covenant is better than the old, and Christ is better than those things, which typified and foreshadowed Him.
Š Chapters 1 and 2 — Angels are good; but Christ is better than the angels —— (The Man at Bethesda’s Pool — John 5:1-9).
Š Chapter 3 — Moses was a good prophet, but Christ is better (vv. 5-6).
Š Chapter 4 — Joshua was a good deliverer, but Christ is better.
Š Chapters 5-7 — Aaron was a good high priest, but Christ is better.
Š Chapters 8–10 — The Old Covenant of the law was good, but Christ is better and He is the Surety of a better Covenant.
Į The law of Moses – the law of Christ
Į The tabernacle of Moses – Christ
Į The blood of animals – The blood of Christ.
Š Chapters 11– 12 — The great examples of faith were good, but Christ the Author and Finisher of our faith is better.
Š Chapter 13 — The service of the law was good; but the worship of Christ is better.
Do you see how this principle is illustrated throughout the book of Hebrews? — “He taketh away the first, that He may establish the second.” It often happens that God gives a lesser blessing to prepare us for greater blessings. The law of Moses was given to prepare men to receive the Gospel of Christ. The types and shadows of the law were given in the dawn of time so that men might be prepared to receive the true light of Christ when the Sun of Righteousness was revealed. But that which is first, once its purpose has been fulfilled, has to be taken away, so that that which is second may be brought in and established.
Proposition: This is a pattern of God’s work among the sons of men. — He takes away the first, that He may establish the second.
Joseph in Egypt
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 true: — 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 heavenly 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.
Š If the blessings we enjoy here are amazing, what must that blessedness be which awaits us in heaven?
Š If our Lord’s footstool is glorious, what must His throne be?
Š If He provides for us so bountifully in our pilgrimage through this wilderness, what will the provisions of Canaan’s happy land be?
You will remember that when our Lord turned the water into wine at the marriage feast in Cana of Galilee 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.”
Š That is Satan’s way.
Š That is the world’s way.
Then, he said, “But thou hast kept the good wine until now.” That is the way of our great and gracious God. He never goes from good to worse, but always from good to better. Both in this world and in the world to come, the Lord Jesus Christ, our God and Savior, gives the best things last. That 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.” I want to simply lead our hearts in meditating upon this blessed fact. As we roll these words over in our minds, I trust that 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 that you may be compelled by His sweet, irresistible 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.
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. 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.
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.
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.”
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.
Š Once we have seen Christ, we do not miss Aaron.
Š Once we have seen the simplicity of the Gospel, we never pine for the complexity and bondage of the law.
Š If ever a sinner enters into the holy place, he will not wish to re-hang the veil!
Š No one who has experienced the liberty and freedom of grace will ever return to the bondage and terror of the law (Galatians 5:1-4).
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.
Š We dare not seek to re-establish any ordinance of the law, lest we build again that which God has cast down.
Š We dare not seek to establish any ordinance of worship which God has not established in His Word, lest we be guilty of idolatry.
Š 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!
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.
1. 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.”
2. The first man, Adam, failed miserably as our representative; but Christ, the last 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.”
3. 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).
(Galatians 4:22-31) “For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. (23) But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. (24) Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. (25) For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. (26) But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all. (27) For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband. (28) Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. (29) But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. (30) Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman. (31) So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.”
(2 Samuel 23:5) “Although my house be not so with God; yet he hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure: for this is all my salvation, and all my desire, although he make it not to grow.”
(Jeremiah 31:31-34) “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: (32) Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: (33) But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. (34) And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”
(Jeremiah 32:38-40) “And they shall be my people, and I will be their God: (39) And I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear me for ever, for the good of them, and of their children after them: (40) And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me.”
4. 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.”
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.
Our first righteousness has been taken away by the conviction of the Spirit; but the righteousness of Christ is established both by the same 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.”
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, Lover 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!”
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.
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!
Š His Blood!
Š His Righteousness!
Š His Providence!
Š His Promises!
Christ took away our endless, meaningless wandering, but He brought us into the way of life, gives 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.”
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.”
Somewhere I once read that 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!
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.
“They say that we are growing old;
We’ve heard them tell it times untold,
In language plain and bold—
But we’re not growing old.
This frail shell in which I dwell
Is growing old, I know full well—
But I am not the shell.
What if our hair is turning gray?
Gray hairs are honorable, they say.
What if our eyesight’s growing dim?
I still can see to follow Him
Who sacrificed His life for me
Upon the cross of Calvary.
What should I care if time’s old plow
Has left its furrows on my brow?
Another house, not made with hand,
Awaits me in the Glory Land.
What though I falter in my walk?
What though my tongue refuse to talk?
I still can tread the narrow way,
I still can watch and praise and pray.
My hearing may not be as keen
As in the past it may have been,
Still, I can hear my Saviour say,
In whispers soft, ‘This is the way.’
The outward man, do what I can
To lengthen out this life’s short span,
Shall perish and return to dust,
As everything in nature must.
The inward man, the Scriptures say,
Is growing stronger every day.
Then how can I be growing old
When safe within my Savior’s fold?
Ere long my soul shall fly away
And leave this tenement of clay;
This robe of flesh I’ll drop, and rise
To seize the “everlasting prize.”
I’ll meet you on the streets of gold,
And prove that we’re not growing old.”
This world is passing away. God is taking it away. But soon He will create a new heavens and a new earth. —— 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. —— Our lives are ebbing out, little by little, but eternal life and endless glory is rushing to meet us. —— 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!
(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.”
(Psalms 16:7-11) “I will bless the LORD, who hath given me counsel: my reins also instruct me in the night seasons. (8) I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. (9) Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope. (10) For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. (11) Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”
(Psalms 17:15) “As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.”
“We read of a place that’s called heaven.
It’s made for the pure and the free.
These truths in God’s Word He hath given. —
How beautiful heaven must be!
In heaven no drooping nor pining,
No wishing for elsewhere to be.
God’s light is forever there shining —
How beautiful heaven must be!
Pure waters of life there are flowing;
And all who will drink may be free.
Rare jewels of splendor are glowing —
How beautiful heaven must be!
The angels so sweetly are singing
Up there by the beautiful sea.
Sweet chords from their gold harps are ringing. —
How beautiful must be!
How beautiful heaven must be!
Sweet home of the happy and free,
Fair heaven of rest for the weary,
How beautiful heaven must be!”
(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.”
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[i] Danville — Sunday Evening — August 14, 2011
Covenant of Grace Baptist Church, N Wilkesboro, NC — (08/11/11)
Tape # AA-27