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Summary: Exposition of Hebrews 10:1-10 regarding the incarnation and its purpose to provide a body for the atonement to take place in

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Text: Hebrews 10:1-10, Title: A Body for God? Date/Place: NRBC, 12/9/07, AM

A. Opening illustration: talk about the Mormon concept of God having a physical body that is bound to spatial and temporal realms, and about him being a man first, and becoming god later, and his physical relationship with our heavenly mother to produce spirit children…

B. Background to passage: The book of Hebrews was written to Jewish Christians that were wavering in their faith, considering going back to Judaism. The writer has spent much time and ink arguing for the superiority of Christ to angels, the law, the Jewish priests, and the sacrificial system. Our passage this morning is the culmination of the entire letter, where he speaks again of how God dealt with these insufficiencies by giving his Son a body and allowing him to be the substitute for us all.

C. Main thought: There was a time and reason that God fashioned a body for Himself.

A. The Shadow Didn’t Work (v. 1-4)

1. The writer speaks of the law as a shadow of things that would come. But he says that it could never cleanse the conscience of sin within the individual, nor could it perfect or complete the worshippers. Its design was to lead believers in God to a consciousness of sin in their lives, so that they might by faith grasp. As Paul said in Galatians, the law was simply a side road to faith to point erring people to a dependent trust in God. The design of the law was not to give a standard of righteousness so that you can be good enough to get to heaven. It was to bring despair in the seekers life. And therefore it couldn’t cleanse the conscience that was heightened to sin by the Spirit. And it offered no help for those trying to do better. It pointed to the help, and the cleansing, and the final sacrifice that would come. It pictured a sacrificial Lamb of God who would come to take away the sins of the world.

2. Rom 5:20, Gal 3:19, 24, Luke 18:13-14

3. Illustration: like going to eat at one of those restaurants where they charge you for every refill but you don’t know that, and you just drink away with no care or thought of it, until you get the bill, have you seen one of those old cartoons where the shadow leaves its maker and begins to do its own thing, In his book, My Tortured Conscience, Martin Weber writes, “He was a deeply committed Christian evangelist. Even in retirement he won many converts throughout the conference. Everyone spoke well of the gentle man. One cold and gray morning he put his shotgun on his shoulder and told his wife he was going outside to shoot a rat. Then gave his wife a kiss on the cheek. Moments later she heard the shot. Only it wasn’t the rat he killed, it was himself. His funeral was one of the saddest you could find anywhere. The unspoken question on everyone’s mind was, “What caused such a godly man to kill himself? What caused him to pull the trigger?” Here was a man who had no problem opening the New Testament and proving the importance of keeping the law. But in his diary he wrote these words, “Here I’ve been telling everyone else to keep the law and I can’t even keep it myself. What hope do I have of heaven? Why go on?” An overwhelming sense of condemnation made him kill himself.

4. One of the common answers given in a street poll about how to get to heaven is some version of keeping the 10 Commandments, but the point of scriptures is that you can never do it. And those commandments are powerless to help you do it. They just stand there cold and immovable as the standard of righteousness. But know today, God never intended for you to be able to under the power of the human will be good enough to get to heaven. The law seems that way, but His true intention was to heap enough guilt upon a person that they would turn to him in utter desperation for forgiveness. You can’t be good enough, do enough good things, live a moral life, help enough people, give enough money, go to church enough to get into heaven. That system never worked, nor was it intended to. On our own we are hopelessly lost in sin by nature and by choice, and there is no human way to get yourself out. And if God had left us there, we would have no hope at all. But…

B. God Fashioned A Body (v. 5-8)

1. In God’s incomprehensible wisdom, before the fall of Adam, before the foundations of the earth, God designed a plan that would not leave humanity hopeless, and would bring God inestimable glory. He came into the world. And not like an angel in the brightness of His glory, but in the form of a baby in a manger, that would grow into a boy, then a man. Quoting Ps 40:6-8 twice, the writer says that God was not satisfied ultimately with the blood of bulls and goats, nor by burnt offerings for sin, but prepared a body for His Son to come and to die in. This was the plan from the get go—to enrobe His Son in flesh.

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