Sermon #96†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††† Hebrews Notes

 

†††† Title:††††††††††† Christ Our Altar

†††† Text:††††††††††† Hebrews 13:10

†††† Readings:†††† Ron Wood & Larry Brown

†††† Subject:†††††† Christ As The Antitype Of Old Testament Altars

†††† Date:††††††††††† Tuesday Evening Ė October 29, 2002

†††† Tape #†††††††† X-28a

†††† Introduction:

 

Since the fall of our father Adam, God has never allowed man to approach him without an altar and a sacrifice of blood. In the old days of the patriarchs, from Adam to Moses, the people of God built altars of hewn stone, upon which they offered sacrifices to God. Whenever men drew near to God, whether to offer praise or to seek mercy, they built an altar and offered a sacrifice of blood. Even in those days, men of faith knew that Godís justice could only be satisfied for sin by blood, even the blood of Godís own Son, the Redeemer who must come into the world to put away sin.

 

Then, when God called Moses up into the mount and spoke to him face to face he appointed one altar of sacrifice to be built, and appointed a place for that one altar in Israel alone. One spot was selected, and only one. All the rest of the world was left without an altar and without a sacrifice.

 

At first the altar was placed in the tabernacle; and later it was placed in the temple at Jerusalem. This was the only altar of sacrifice, by which men might approach unto God. From time to time, the prophets of God, by Godís special command, raised up other altars. But for all others the rule was unbending Ė One altar! All other altars which men erected were erected in defiance of Godís command; and their pretended sacrifices to God were an abomination to him.

 

As in the typical, legal dispensation, so it is now. There is but one altar upon which the holy Lord God meets sinners in mercy, only one altar upon which God can and will be worshipped; and that Altar is Christ.

 

 

(Hebrews 13:10)"We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle."

 

My subject tonight is Christ Our Altar.

 

Proposition: The altar of sacrifice, in the tabernacle and in the temple, was typical of our Lord Jesus Christ, (his Person, his work, and his merit), as our Substitute before God. This is what Paul is teaching us in our text Ė The only access which sinners have to God, and the only acceptance we have with God is Christ our Altar.

 

Our Altar is in heaven. We recognize no altar upon the earth. He who has an Altar in heaven needs no altar upon the earth. He who has an altar upon the earth has no altar in heaven. The Holy Spirit tells us this plainly.ó"We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle."

 

We cannot approach God without a Mediator, without an Altar, and without a Sacrifice. We are all guilty men and women, our best and holiest acts are but the sinful deeds of sinful men, and our purest worship is but the worship of depraved hearts. Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? Not one. Before we can ever be accepted with God, before we can ever bring an acceptable offering or service to God, there must be a shedding of blood for the removal of our sin and guilt. We must come to God by way of the Altar and Sacrifice he has appointed, the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

There is no door of acceptance for us except through the merit of our great Surety, who laid down his life for us. There is but one way by which we who are washed in the blood of Christ can offer unto God our prayers, our gifts, our praises, or our service, and that is by the Lord Jesus Christ, who alone is our Altar. We must give ourselves to him, as living sacrifices to God, because only in him will God accept our reasonable service.

 

Divisions:

 

1. There is but one Altar by which sinful men may approach the Holy God.

2. Christ is our Altar.

3. I want to persuade you to come to Christ our Altar.

 

I. There is but one Altar by which sinful men may approach the Holy God.

 

In the Old Testament there was but one altar of sacrifice by which men could ceremonially approach God; and that one altar finds its fulfillment in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ. The only altar, which can sanctify us and make us acceptable to God, is Christ.

 

Today all physical, carnal, ceremonial altars are instruments of idolatry. Use anything as an altar for acceptance with God other than Christ and you have no right to the merits of Christ. If you have another altar, your altar will drag your soul down to hell.

 

A. There are many who think of the cross upon which our Lord died as an altar.

 

I have heard it said that the cross was the altar upon which our Lord offered himself as a sacrifice for sin. But it is not so. That cross upon which our Lord was crucified was nothing more than the instrument of his torture. It is no more to be reverenced as an altar than the whips of Pilateís soldiers or the spit of those Jews, which defiled his holy face.

 

I would no more wear a cross around my neck than I would take the dagger a murderer used to kill my wife and wear it on my belt.

 

B. Sometimes men talk of the heart as an altar to God.

 

I know what they mean. They mean that sincerity makes our service to God acceptable. It is true that there must be sincerity in our service to God, or it will never be acceptable. But sincerity itself will never make our most solemn devotion acceptable to God. Nothing but blood will ever make a man acceptable to God. Only the blood of Christ, shed for the atonement of our sin can make us accepted with God.

 

C. It is common for men to talk of having a family altar.

 

It is good to worship God in your home, with your family. But your family devotions will never make you acceptable to God.

 

The church of God is a family, and we have a family altar. His name is Jesus Christ our Substitute.

 

D. In many churches, the table used for serving the Lordís Supper is looked upon as an altar.

 

But the scriptures never speak in such a way. The table spread before you is a table of communion; but it is not a table of sacrifice. It is a place of remembrance, but not a place of atonement. It is a solemn feast, but not a sanctifying feast.

 

E. Perhaps the most deceptive of all idolatrous notions is the idea that there is an altar of salvation at the front of the church.

 

You can no more obtain salvation by walking down the aisle of a Baptist church to an altar than the papists can by making a pilgrimage to Rome and climbing the stairs to the popeís seat of infamy.

 

There is but one Altar. There is but one place of salvation. That Altar is Christ. He is Godís salvation. God only meets with men in his Son.

 

(Exodus 20:23-26)"Ye shall not make with me gods of silver, neither shall ye make unto you gods of gold. (24) An altar of earth thou shalt make unto me, and shalt sacrifice thereon thy burnt offerings, and thy peace offerings, thy sheep, and thine oxen: in all places where I record my name I will come unto thee, and I will bless thee. (25) And if thou wilt make me an altar of stone, thou shalt not build it of hewn stone: for if thou lift up thy tool upon it, thou hast polluted it. (26) Neither shalt thou go up by steps unto mine altar, that thy nakedness be not discovered thereon."

 

        Christ is our Altar of earth.

        Christ is our Altar of stone.

        Christ is the Altar of Godís making.óďIf thou lift up thy tool upon it, thou hast polluted it

        Christ is the Altar with no stairs for men to climb.

 

All forms of carnal worship, all forms of physical things that men call ďholy,Ē all attempts to place any merit of any kind or any reverence of any kind in material things is base idolatry (Ex. 20:23; John 4:23-24; Phil. 3:3).

 

Let us once and for all put away every form of idolatry from our midst (2 Kings 18:4).

 

(2 Kings 18:4)"He removed the high places, and brake the images, and cut down the groves, and brake in pieces the brazen serpent that Moses had made: for unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it: and he called it Nehushtan."

 

II. Christ is our Altar.

 

Moses describes the altar of sacrifice for us in Exodus 27:1-8. All that the altar of the tabernacle and the temple signified typically is fulfilled for us really and truly in the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

(Exodus 27:1-8)"And thou shalt make an altar of shittim wood, five cubits long, and five cubits broad; the altar shall be foursquare: and the height thereof shall be three cubits. (2) And thou shalt make the horns of it upon the four corners thereof: his horns shall be of the same: and thou shalt overlay it with brass. (3) And thou shalt make his pans to receive his ashes, and his shovels, and his basins, and his fleshhooks, and his firepans: all the vessels thereof thou shalt make of brass. (4) And thou shalt make for it a grate of network of brass; and upon the net shalt thou make four brazen rings in the four corners thereof. (5) And thou shalt put it under the compass of the altar beneath, that the net may be even to the midst of the altar. (6) And thou shalt make staves for the altar, staves of shittim wood, and overlay them with brass. (7) And the staves shall be put into the rings, and the staves shall be upon the two sides of the altar, to bear it. (8) Hollow with boards shalt thou make it: as it was showed thee in the mount, so shall they make it."

 

A. The altar of sacrifice typifies Christ in the use for which it was made.

 

1. The altar sanctified the gift, the sacrifice, which was placed upon it, and made it acceptable to God (Matt. 23:19).óChrist sanctifies us. He makes the believing soul and our sacrifices acceptable to God (1 Peter 2:5).

 

(Matthew 23:19)"Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifieth the gift?"

 

(1 Peter 2:5)"Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ."

 

2. There was one altar for all the people, one altar for all their sins, one altar for all their sacrifices.óThere is one Altar for sinners; and that Altar is Christ.

 

3. The altar bore the violent heat of divine wrath, so that the sinner might go free. While the fire consumed the sacrifice on the altar, the altar itself was not destroyed.

 

Even so, Christ our Altar bore the violent heat of Godís wrath. He poured out his soul unto death for our sin as a sacrifice to God of a sweet-smelling savor. Yet, he is not destroyed. This sacrifice, rather than being consumed by the wrath of God, has consumed the wrath of God (Rom. 8:1).

 

4. The altar was a place of refuge for guilty men.

 

        Adonijah (1 Kings 1:50).

        Joab (1 Kings 2:28-30).

 

a. What else can a guilty man do but take hold of the horns of the altar? Christ alone is the Refuge for guilty sinners.

b. There were four horns on the altar.

 

These four horns represented the universality of Christís redemption, reaching to the four corners of the earth. ďWhosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.Ē

 

You will be wise to lay hold of the horns of the Altar, and plead for Godís mercy.

 

        The Grace Of God.

        The Merits Of Christ.

        The Promise Of God.

        The Invitations And Commands Of The Gospel (Isa. 43:25-26).

 

(Isaiah 43:25-26)"I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins. (26) Put me in remembrance: let us plead together: declare thou, that thou mayest be justified."

 

B. The altar of Sacrifice was typical of Christ in its position.

 

The moment the sinner entered the door of the tabernacle, the first, the most important, most prominent thing he saw was that huge brazen altar. As he went into approach God the first thing he saw was the altar. As he left the tabernacle, and went out to live in the world, the last thing he saw was the altar.

 

1.     Christ is pre-eminent. All fullness dwells in him.

2.     In order to approach God, we must come by the Altar, Christ Jesus (Heb. 7:25).

3.     As we attempt to live in the world, we must live with the Altar of Sacrifice, the Lord Jesus Christ, ever before our heartís eyes.

4.     Every relationship in life is affected by this Altar.

 

C. The altar of sacrifice was typical of Christ in its form.

 

1. The altar was four square.

 

        The Fullness Of Godís Love (Eph. 3:19).

        The Fullness Of Godís Covenant (2 Sam. 23:5).

        The Fullness Of Godís Grace (Eph. 3:8).

        The Stability Of All Things In Christ (Heb. 13:8).

 

2. There were no steps going up to the altar.

 

        There is no possibility of approaching God by the steps of your own works.

        There are no steps of preparation before you come to the Altar.

        When the priest approached the altar, no nakedness could be seen Ė His robe completely covered him.

 

3. The altar was completely covered with blood.

 

        Sin can only be put away by blood (Heb. 9:22).

        Justice must be satisfied.

 

D. The altar of sacrifice was typical of Christ in its materials.

 

1.     The shittim wood represents the incorruptible humanity of Christ.

2.     The brass represents the eternal Godhead of Christ.

3.     The shittim wood overlaid with brass represents the eternal duration of the sufficiency of Christís sacrifice.

 

E. And the fire, which continually burned upon the altar of sacrifice, is also typical of ChristThat perpetual flame represents:

 

        The eternal love of Christ for his people.

        The zeal of Christ for the glory of God.

        The purifying of Godís elect by the blood of Christ.

        The unfailing intercession of Christ for us.

 

III. I want to persuade you to come to Christ our Altar.

 

        Christ is the only Altar.

        Christ is the appointed Altar.

        Christ is a living Altar.

        Christ is a lasting Altar.

        Christ is an accessible Altar.

        Christ is a saving, sin-atoning Altar.

 

A. Sinner, come to Christ.

 

You have no hope but to lay hold of the horns of this Altar.

 

1.     Horns denote strength. Christ is able to save.

2.     Horns denote sufficiency. Christ is the Horn of salvation. He is a Horn of plenty.

 

B. Children of God, come to Christ your altar.

 

1.     Come continually (1 John 2:1-2). Eat of the Altar.

2.     Come and offer yourself to God upon this Altar (Rom. 12:1-2).

 

Application:

 

1.     See to it that you keep but one Altar Ė Christ.

2.     If you trust any other altar, you cannot have the benefit of this Altar.

 

(Hebrews 13:10)"We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle."