Almost 2,000 years ago, God inspired an amazing letter to be written, known today as the “Letter to the Hebrews.” We just concluded a sermon series through the book of Hebrews this Spring, and before we move on I want to share the top five lessons I’ve taken away from this amazing letter, this time around:
Lesson 1 – You can rest, because it is finished.
Reading this book makes you want to breathe out a sigh of relief. In terms of your salvation, you can rest by faith in the finished work of Christ on your behalf. Dr. Lewis Sperry Chafer used to say to his students, “Men, God is satisfied…Men, God is satisfied.” The work is done. The fact that Jesus sat down (Heb 10:12) means that His redemptive work for your sake was completed on the cross. In the Old Testament sacrificial system, there were no chairs in the temple because the high priest’s work was never finished. Today the High Priest of God, Jesus Christ, has completed the work at salvation by declaring that “it is finished” (John 19:30) Are you resting in His finished work? “Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest.” (Heb 4:11)
Lesson 2 – You should work hard, because the warnings are serious.
Reading this book also motivates you to get moving! This may sound like a contradiction with the first lesson, but it’s not. Let me explain. There are five major warning sections in the book of Hebrews (2:1-4, 3:7-4:13, 5:11-6:20, 10:26-39, 12:14-29) and they are all meant to spur you on toward greater maturity, love and good deeds. There are consequences for those who shrink back and look elsewhere for their security and significance in this life. It’s not that we earn favor with God through our good works, it’s that our works display our true allegiance. They are the fruit of our salvation, not the root of our salvation. The warnings are serious in nature, meaning, if you are a true follower of Jesus, your life should bear good fruit and display the authenticity of your commitment. If you do not display these qualities, there is reason to be greatly concerned both here and in the life to come. Are you striving toward maturity? “Let us go on!” (Heb 6:1)
Lesson 3 – You can trust, because God calls you to live by faith.
Reading this book makes you want to step out into the unknown. Following God is easy when everything makes sense and life seems easy. But you and I both know it’s not always like that. Have you ever read Hebrews 11? What do you do when life doesn’t make sense? Will you follow Jesus then? Will you be faithful then? That’s the test. Biblical faith not only believes that God exists (Heb 11:6), biblical faith also says “I have something real that I do not have right now.” (Heb 11:1) Biblical faith sometimes sees God do wonderful things (Heb 11:7-8), but it also allows God’s people to endure terrible things. (11:35b-40) The key here is that Biblical faith is not in our agenda for God, but in God’s agenda for us. (Heb 11:35-40) Do you live by faith? Remember, “Without faith, it is impossible to please Him.” (Heb 11:6)
Lesson 4 – You can endure, because this world is not your home.
Reading this book makes you able to patiently wait. The book of Hebrews was originally written as a strong source of encouragement to first century believers to press on through difficulties because of the reward which was to come (Heb 10:34-35, 11:6, 40, 12:1-3). It encourages the readers to patiently endure suffering and prepares them for persecution (Heb 2:1, 4:14, 6:1-3, 10:23, 10:36 12:1-2), by exhorting them to live by faith in God’s promises of a better city, as the saints of God always had to do. We are all looking for the reward (Heb 11:26). This reward is pictured as a “city which is to come.” (Heb 13:14). This life is short. Eternity is long. Persevere and live for what’s in store in the next life. As C.T. Studd said, “Only one life, twill soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last.” Are you going through a hard time? Live for that reward. “You have need of endurance.” (Heb 10:34-35)
Lesson 5 – You can be satisfied in Christ, because Jesus is Greater than all.
Reading this book makes you stand in awe and wonder of the second person of the Trinity. The book of Hebrews teaches about the absolute Supremacy of Jesus Christ. The adjective “better” is used 13 times, along with a cluster of words “more,” and “greater” appearing a combined total of 25 times. He is better than Angels (Ch. 1), Moses (Ch. 3), and Aaron (Ch. 4-7) His covenant is better (Ch. 8), His sacrifice is better (Ch. 9), and His temple is better (Ch. 10). The book of Hebrews encourages the worship of Christ for His person and work as the Heir, Creator, Sustainer, and our Prophet, Priest, and King. He is the climax of God’s revelation (Heb 1:1-3) He is worth your every effort! Whatever you are facing today, “Fix your eyes on Jesus.” (Heb 12:1-2) I concluded my final sermon with a collection of all we have learned about Jesus in this amazing letter, compiled by John Piper here.
- God’s final revelation (1:2).
- The heir of all things (1:2).
- The creator of the world (1:2).
- The radiance of God’s glory (1:3).
- The exact imprint of God’s nature (1:3).
- He upholds the universe by the word of his power (1:3).
- He made purification for sins (1:3).
- He sits at the right hand of the Majesty on High (1:4).
- He is God, enthroned forever, with a scepter of uprightness (1:8).
- He is worshipped by angels (1:6).
- His rule will have no end (1:8).
- His joy is above all other beings in the universe (1:9).
- He took on human flesh (2:14).
- He was crowned with glory and honor because of his suffering (2:9).
- He was the founder of our salvation (2:10).
- He was made perfect in all his obedience by his suffering (2:10).
- He destroyed the one who has the power of death, the devil (2:15).
- He delivered us from the bondage of fear (2:15).
- He is a merciful and faithful high priest (2:17)
- He made propitiation for sins (2:17).
- He is sympathetic because of his own trials (4:15).
- He never sinned (4:15).
- He offered up loud cries and tears with reverent fear, and God heard him (5:7).
- He became the source of eternal salvation (5:8)
- He holds his priesthood by virtue of an indestructible life (7:16).
- He appears in the presence of God on our behalf (9:24).
- He will come a second time to save us who are eagerly waiting for him (9:28).
- He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (13:8)
All of this supremacy of Christ is poured into the word “him” in Hebrews 13:13: “Therefore let us go to him!”
To learn more about the book of Hebrews, or watch one of the messages, visit our sermon series page here.