The Survey Is Wrong (Continuing Through Hebrews)

the-last-word-belongs-to-god

September 2016 Lifeway Research (an arm of the Southern Baptist Convention) and Ligonier Ministries ran a survey to see what Americans believe about God, salvation, ethics, and the Bible. Though two thirds of the nation believe that “the Bible contains “everything a person needs to know in order to live a meaningful life” (per the Barna Group & American Bible Society), it is obvious from the survey answers that they do not read nor believe their Bibles. Eric Metaxas notes in a Breakpoint article:

  • Seventy percent of Americans agree there’s only one true God—one in essence, three in person: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Yet almost the same number believe God accepts the worship of all other religions, even those that deny the Trinity or worship other deities.
  • Sixty-one percent correctly say Jesus is both human and divine, but half think that He’s also “the first and greatest being created by God,” rather than existing eternally, as Scripture and the ancient creeds of the faith teach.
  • More bizarre contradictions emerged: Over sixty percent of Americans say that God, Who cannot err, is the Author of the Bible. Yet fewer than half are willing to affirm that the Bible God wrote is “one hundred percent accurate in all it teaches.”
  • Two-thirds admit everyone sins, yet also insist that most people are good by nature!
  • Perhaps most oddly, half of Americans believe that only those who accept Jesus will be saved, yet sixty percent also say everyone will eventually make it to Heaven.
  • Fifty-six percent say the Third Person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, “is a divine force but not a personal being.”

John 8:31-32 (ESV) … Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

You cannot know the “Truth” apart from Christ and His Word, this Bible. Truth is not based on how you or I feel, but on what this Word clearly teaches. Today in Hebrews 7 we’re going to discuss some of these “Survey Results” and we’re not going to poll the audience for the correct answer (like they do on that goofy game show Family Feud) but we’re going to consider the clear teaching of the Word of God. Let’s read our focal text:

Hebrews 7:19-28  For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.  [20]  And inasmuch as not without an oath he was made priest:   [21]  (For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by him that said unto him, The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec:)  [22]  By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament.  [23]  And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death:  [24]  But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood.  [25]  Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.  [26]  For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;  [27]  Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself.  [28]  For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore.

1 A Majority Of Americans (Churched and UnChurched) Believe That God Accepts The Worship Of All Other Religions, Even Those That Deny The Trinity Or Worship Other Deities. Is This True? Not According To The Bible!

In our text today Jesus Christ is declared a “High Priest” to His people, and contrasted to the Old Testament “High Priest”. In either Testament – Old Testament or New Testament – the only way you could get access to God was through His designated Priest. How was the office of the High Priest filled in the Old Testament? Did God just say “have a vote, conduct a survey, choose a priest that suits you?” No He did not!

When God led Israel out of Egypt He had Moses park that nation at the foot of Mount Sinai. While at Mount Sinai God told Moses to go up into the Mountain to “receive the Law”. The account of Moses receiving the Law starts in Exodus 19 and continues through Exodus 32. In that 32nd chapter God tells Moses:

Exodus 32:7-10 “Go down, for your people, whom you brought up out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves. 8 They have turned aside quickly out of the way that I commanded them. They have made for themselves a golden calf and have worshiped it and sacrificed to it and said, ‘These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!’” 9 And the Lord said to Moses, “I have seen this people, and behold, it is a stiff-necked people. 10 Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them, in order that I may make a great nation of you.”

God saw Israel worshiping false gods and He was NOT pleased. God is NOT pleased with the worship of false gods, no more than you who are parents would be pleased if your children that you suffered for and fed were to call a stranger “Mommy” or “Daddy”. God is not pleased with idolatry. He is not pleased when His people turn quickly out of the Way that He commands them”, and He is not pleased when the stranger chases after false gods. When Moses came down the Mountain he cried out “Who is on the Lord’s side? Let them come to me!” (Exodus 32:26). The Children of the Tribe of Levi stood with Moses, drew their swords, and three thousand idolaters were killed that day. The Levites from that day forward became the Tribe where the Priests and High Priests of God came from. God does not tolerate idolatry!

When God sent Israel into the Land of Canaan He told them:

Deuteronomy 12:2-4 You shall surely destroy all the places where the nations whom you shall dispossess served their gods, on the high mountains and on the hills and under every green tree. 3 You shall tear down their altars and dash in pieces their pillars and burn their Asherim with fire. You shall chop down the carved images of their gods and destroy their name out of that place. 4 You shall not worship the Lord your God in that way.

Some well meaning Christians have said “Well, perhaps those who have never heard of the True God, perhaps God will give them a pass to Heaven”. But the Lord says:

Isaiah 55:6 ESV Seek the LORD while he may be found; call upon him while he is near ..

We cannot justify idolatry by the the feelings of our hearts. God is able. When Israel went into the Promised Land a prostitute by the name of Rahab called upon the Name of the Lord and was saved. Not only saved, but Rahab became one of the physical descendants of the Incarnate Christ. Abram was an ancient Babylonian that God called to salvation. Abraham believed in the Lord, and God counted this faith for righteousness (Genesis 15:6). Ruth led her mother in law Naomi to salvation in the Lord. A Jew named Saul stomped down the Damascus Road, off to kill Christians. Jesus Christ knocked Saul down, and Saul became Paul, one of the greatest of the Apostles.

Isaiah 59:1-3 (ESV) Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, or his ear dull, that it cannot hear; 2 but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear. 3 For your hands are defiled with blood and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies; your tongue mutters wickedness.

Many who profess Christ make allowance for idolatrous salvation because they are too lazy or too fearful of sharing Christ with their lost friends. Do not be deceived. In the Old Testament you had to approach God through the Priest of Levi. In the New Testament God has declared that Jesus Christ …

Hebrews 7:24-25 ….. because he (Jesus) continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood.  [25]  Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. 

As the Scripture says, (1 Corinthians 10:14 ESV) Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. There is but one Way unto salvation, and that is through the High Priest of God, Jesus Christ our Lord. Jesus has declared:

John 14:6 (ESV) …. I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

This is the Message of the Gospel, the Only Gospel God has given His Church and the world:

Acts 4:12  Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

2 A Majority Of Americans Believe That People Are Good By Nature. Is This True? Not According To The Bible. The Bible says that every person outside of Jesus Christ – every person, whether man woman or child – is a sinner in need of salvation. The Bible says that we are bad by nature. People need to be saved because we are sinners. We read today:

Hebrews 7:25-27 Wherefore he (Jesus) is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.  [26]  For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;  [27]  Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself.

In the Old Testament at Mount Sinai God established the Levitical Priesthood at the same time He established the Law. Man was given God’s Law to live by. Man was given the Levitical Priest to give access to God. But we read today:

Hebrews 7:19 For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.

The Law made nothing perfect. Why? Because we are all sinners. The Apostle Paul confronted this in the Book of Romans. You need to read the Book of Romans if you think you are perfect. Paul under the inspiration of God the Holy Spirit wrote:

Romans 7:7-9 (ESV) What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.”  [8]  But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. For apart from the law, sin lies dead.  [9]  I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin came alive and I died.

The Law is not sinful. The Law is a reflection of God’s Holy character. Our God is thrice HOLY. The Angels of Heaven fly about His Throne shouting “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” (Isaiah 6:3). When you walk in the Throne Room of God those guarding it warn you “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!”. God is Holy. He is without sin. He is always right and righteous. The Law reflects His rightness.

And no matter how hard man tried, he could not maintain a state of perfect holiness. The Apostle Paul was a Pharisee prior to his salvation by Jesus. Paul wrote of his life saying:

Romans 7:18-19 (ESV) For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.  [19]  For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.

Every person who lives has this internal struggle. We would like to all think that we are at heart just good people. Yet the Bible declares:

Jeremiah 17:9  The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

I hear people say all the time just follow your heart or I’m going to follow my heart. That’s a mistake. Following your heart is following something that is deceitful and wicked – desperately wicked. That doesn’t mean your heart is always wicked. There are times when your heart stumbles on good. But as Jon Bloom wrote in his book Don’t Follow Your Heart:

The Bible is full of examples that warn us not to follow our hearts. When Moses followed his heart, he killed an Egyptian (Exodus 2:12) and faithlessly struck the rock (Numbers 20:10–12). When {the Prophet}Balaam followed his heart, he was rebuked by a donkey (Numbers 22:30). When {King of Babylon} Nebuchadnezzar followed his heart, he ended up eating grass like an ox (Daniel 4:32). When Haman followed his heart, he ended up hanging from the gallows he had built (Ester 7:10). When the disciples followed their hearts, they argued over who was the greatest (Luke 9:46) and in terror abandoned Jesus in Gethsemane (Matthew 26:56). When Ananias and Sapphira followed their hearts, they lied to the Holy Spirit and dropped dead (Acts 5:1–11). The Bible is clear: we must follow God’s heart, not ours. Today, following God’s heart means to follow Jesus, which means dying to our fallen hearts’ desires and losing our lives in order to find them (Matt. 16:24–25).”

Back in the 60’s (Eugene Wesley) “Gene” Roddenberry wrote and produced a show called Star Trek. The basic premise of the show was that people – no matter who they are – are all at heart good and right. Gene envisioned a future where we explored space, a future where humankind worked together and money was no longer needed. People just worked to better themselves.

Have we seen that? Have we ever seen that?

With the turn of the Millennium some believed that we would get better. We have not. As God has been eradicated from schools we now see our children confronted with metal detectors and drugs. Every few months someone shoots up a school, and the gun control lobby starts talking about regulating guns once more. We don’t need gun regulation. We desperately as a people need heart regulation. We need Jesus Christ in our hearts. Only God can change a heart.

The Law of God convicts us as sinners. It show us that we fall short of God’s perfection. Under the Law the believer had to bring animal sacrifices to a Levitical priest to “cover or atone” for sin. Before the priest could make sacrifice for the person the priest had to first make sacrifice for himself. Why? Because the Levitical priest was as much a sinner as was the penitent. The priest:

Hebrews 7:27 …. offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s

The Apostle Paul tried living as a Pharisee. He tried being perfect in himself, tried keeping the Law perfectly. But at the end of the day Paul cried out just as we cry out:

Romans 7:23-24 (ESV) .. but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members.  [24]  Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?

Who will save me? If, as the Scripture says,

Romans 3:10-12 (ESV) as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; 11 no one understands; no one seeks for God. 12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.”

Romans 3:23 (ESV) for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God ..

If God looking at creation sees us all as sinners, what hope do we have?

Our hope is Christ.

3 A Majority Of Americans Believe That Everyone Will Eventually Make It To Heaven. Is This True? Not According To The Bible.

Everyone CAN go to Heaven if they go through Christ. Jesus Christ is the only Person Who can save us to the UTTERMOST. Look at your text again:

Hebrews 7:19-22  For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.  [20]  And inasmuch as not without an oath he was made priest:   [21]  (For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by him that said unto him, The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek:)  [22]  By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament. 

The Law and the Levitical Priesthood could not make anyone perfect. The Law, though perfect, was given to an imperfect people. Even the Priest who ministered among the Jews was imperfect, broken. Each and every one of us have this in common.

We are imperfect.

People are running around shooting one another. “Blue lives matter” “Black lives matter”. Listen, “Every life matters”. But every life is broken. Whether red, yellow, black, or white, we are are broken. But God brought in a better Hope. And ONLY through this better Hope can we draw near to God. What is this Better Hope?

He is not a Levitical Priest, but a Priest after the Order of Melchizedek. I wish I had time to preach on this priesthood, but I will summarize it. Long before there was an Israel as a nation or even an Israel as a person there was a man from Babylon called Abraham. God came to Abraham and said:

Genesis 12:1-3 … Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.  [2]  And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.  [3]  I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.

Abraham heard God and obeyed God. He followed God, and God blessed Abraham. One day when God blessed Abraham he met a Priest of the Most High God called Melchizedek. Abraham was nourished by Melchizedek, and he in turn gave tithes and honor to this priest. This priest was a priest over 400 years before God established the Levitical Priesthood and the Law at Mount Sinai. This priest is pre-Law. This priest came to Abraham because Abraham loved God. Melchizedek lovingly ministered to Abraham because Abraham loved God.

Jesus Christ is a High Priest after the order of Melchizedek.

Hebrews 7:21 … The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek…

Jesus comes to us just as He came to Abraham. If we hear God’s call and believe on God’s Son Jesus comes to us. The Levitical priests were mortal just as we are. But Jesus is immortal:

Hebrews 7:23 And they truly were many priests, because they were not {allowed} to continue by reason of death:  [24]  But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood.  

The Bible says that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). The Levitical priests had to be rotated because of death. They had to have a Temple and an Altar to function. But Christ’s Temple is Heaven, and His Altar the Throne of God.

Hebrews 7:26 For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;

Jesus as our High Priest is Holy as God is Holy, for Jesus is God the Son. He is not a mere mortal, but He is eternal God and perfect Man. Look at the words describing Jesus.

Holy. No sin was ever found in Christ.

Even Pilate who executed Him said “This is an innocent man”. (Luke 23:4)

The one who drove the nails said “Surely this was the Son of God” (Matthew 27:54)

Harmless (Greek ἄκακος akakos, not fake or evil).

He is genuine. Real.

Undefiled (Greek ἀμίαντος amiantos, unsoiled, pure).

Tried three times at night, they had to invent charges against Christ.

Separate from sinners.

He is not a sinner, but He loves us though we are sinners.

1 Timothy 1:15 (ESV) Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.

Made higher than the Heavens.

Jesus rose from death.

Romans 8:34 (ESV) Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.

Anyone can go to Heaven. But we cannot go to Heaven on our merit, on our goodness, on our works. The only way we can go to Heaven is through the Way that God has provided. We must receive His Son.

Hebrews 7:25   Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. 

Receiving Christ as Lord and Savior He saves to the uttermost. That word “uttermost” is the Greek παντελής pantelēs which means perfectly. You are perfectly saved in Christ. Knowing Him, loving Him, following Him you are not perfect. But Christ is perfect. And Christ makes intercession for you. He never stops. He represents you before God perfectly.

You can attempt to come unto God many ways, but the only way that works is to come unto God by Christ. Won’t you come unto Him today?

About bibleteacherorg

A searching pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. I am looking for the Church. Most of what I see today is not the Church, but clubs, where members sit in padded pews and drink deeply of self. I am looking for a people willing to be righteous not self righteous, serving not served, In short, I am looking and praying for a people who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. I hope I find this people before it's too late.
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