Summary: An introductory sermon to a series on Hebrews (Outline did not come from me. I got it through e-mail, author unknown)
The Bible says that the men are supposed to make coffee. He Brews
Today we are beginning a series on Hebrews.
Basic information on Hebrews:
Who wrote this book? We don’t know. The one who penned this did not give his name, probably on purpose. Go from least supported to most supported: Priscilla, Clement (Philippians 4:3), Apollos, Barnabas, the apostle Paul. If written by Paul, the original was written in Hebrew and probably Luke translated it into Greek.
Who were the first readers of the book? Jews who had become Christians. Lived in Palestine near Jerusalem. They were not strong in their beliefs. They were in danger of going back to their old religion. The writer argues from the Old Testament to keep them trusting in Jesus.
When was this book written? Before the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem in 70 AD.
Why was this book written? These Christian Jews had to make a choice. They could not continue in Judaism and be Christians. They must decide between the two. The Jews had now turned completely against Christians. They could not go to the temple now as the Jews would not let them. To follow Jesus is much better than the ceremonies of their former religion, which Jesus had replaced.
What makes this book unique? It fills in the gaps on many difficult points in the transition between the Old and the New Testaments. Without this book, some teachings from the Old Testament would not line up with some teachings in the New Testament. It attempts to answer many objections to Jesus from the 1st century Jews.
What sort of book is this? Many call it a letter but without chapter13 we would never know it as a letter. The way it is written is almost like a sermon or a lecture.
Why study this book? We have a choice to make as well. Go back to the worlds system, some other religion besides Christianity, or remain Christians. In our culture, as persecution gets worse, we will have to choose. No more riding the fence.
C. This is my wife’s favorite book. I have avoided preaching it because it is difficult to preach.
The word “better” is used in Hebrews twelve times. The book speaks of “better things” (6:9), “better hope” (7:19), “better covenant” (7:22), “better promises” (8:6), “better sacrifices” (9:23), “better possessions” (10:34), “better country” (11:16), and a “better resurrection” (11:35).
However we might describe the Christian life, it is certainly better than the devil or this present world system. The word “better” speaks of the excellence of something.
Thesis: Let’s think about some things that are “better” about the Christian life.
It is a better way of life.
Why? Because we have a “better” temple.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20: Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.
In the Old Testament those who wanted to worship had to go to a building, the tabernacle or the temple. Under the New Testament, the tabernacle or temple is our bodies. We take God wherever we go. We do not leave God in the “temple.”
Christianity is a way of life. As a matter of fact, that is one of the reasons that these Hebrews wanted to go back to Judaism. Judaism had elaborate ceremonies in the temple, the Christian faith really didn’t have any, just communion and baptism. These Hebrews understood the ceremonies and they could do them and be done with it. Leave it in the temple or synagogue.
Mike Liebstein and his interest in the ceremonies.
Why? We know what the Lord wants from us.
Romans 12:1-2 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
He does not want dead sacrifices but living ones.
We can know what God’s will is. In the OT it sometimes was unclear, had to rely upon traditions, visions and dreams and the Urim and Thummin. Today we have the Word, Bible.
Hebrews 8:10-11: This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest.