Summary: Therefore, Jesus Christ is the High Priest of true worshippers. Worshippers who worship in spirit and in truth.
The High Priest of our Worship
Rev. Sean Lester
July 13, 2003
Text: Hebrews, chapter 7
A. Ignorance of God’s word leads to spiritual bondage (as well as every other type of bondage.)
1. That is why the writer of Hebrews stops in the middle of explaining who Jesus is so that he could challenge us not to be babies, dependent on others to feed us the truths of God’s word and hoping that they aren’t feeding us poison.
2. That is why it is important to learn to apply the truths of God’s word to our lives. If we know only the basic truths, but do not learn to think for ourselves and make good decisions, our faith in God will be destroyed because of faith in people who will teach you things that are opposed to righteousness.
3. That is why you must be responsible for your own spiritual maturity and for helping others become spiritually mature.
a. People who are responsible for their own maturity can be served.
b. People who are not responsible must be ruled.
B. The good news is that Jesus Christ has become our High Priest and has made it possible for all people to worship God freely, from their spirits and in truth.
1. Jesus Christ has gone into heaven to intercede on our behalf
2. Jesus Christ has redeemed us and bought our salvation.
Proposition: Therefore, Jesus Christ is the High Priest of true worshippers. Worshippers who worship in spirit and in truth.
Interrogative: What is true worship like?
Transition: Worship is the act of assigning value. Worship in truth is the act of assigning value to God’s righteousness. Abraham demonstrated this point when he met Melchizedek.
I. Jesus Christ is the High Priest of Righteous Worship.
A. Melchizedek received the tribute from Abraham, even though Abraham was wealthy, powerful, and the recipient of God’s blessing.
1. Abraham defeated the kings in battle with only a relatively few men. However, he gave a tenth of the plunder to Melchizedek.
2. Any time God blesses one of the heirs of His promise, he plunders the world in order to do it.
B. Melchizedek was the king of a peaceful, non-threatening city-state, yet is called great because of the power of a righteous life.
1. Mel= my king. Probably received this as a nickname from the people. Who names their kid “my king?”
2. Chizedek= of righteous justice. Picture righteousness in terms of rendering just decisions. A name given out of respect for his wise leadership.
3. Salem. The king of the city of peace.
4. The parallel to Christ is obvious. Christ will rule from Jerusalem. He will rule with justice.
5. Melchizedek is powerful not because of divine right. He is not identified by his genealogy. He is identified according to his reputation.
C. The Law of God is servant to righteousness.
1. The law established the Levitical priesthood, that is, the men who were assigned the task of serving the people so that they could be right with God.
2. The law, and thus the priesthood, owes its allegiance to the principles of righteousness.
3. This is illustrated in the fact that Abraham paid homage on behalf of his offspring.
Transition: However, there are times when people are bound up in a worship that is false, where worship does not honor God’s righteousness, but honors images of people, or things. But Jesus Christ has the power to set people free from the bondage of false worship.
II. Jesus Christ is the High Priest of a Liberating Worship.
A. The law set up men to serve as priests who would serve the people and reconcile them with God.
1. However, the priests often became corrupt and manipulative.
2. They taught the people to honor them, and not the Lord who gave them their authority.
B. When Jesus came to earth, he began to overthrow the priestly system.
1. He kicked the merchants out of the temple so people could use the house of God for prayer.
2. He challenged the teaching of the priests. Instead of serving the people, they invented rules that nullified the Law, making people the servants of the religion, not vice versa (i.e. healing on the Sabbath, picking grain on the way to church).
C. Jesus staged a successful coup d’etat against the rulers of the Old Covenant.
1. Jesus was superimposed above the law, as a general would be introduced to the people after thwarting a weak and useless government.
2. Jesus was backed by the power of God, who swore his loyalty to back him in Psalm 110. All rulers need the military to back them up.
3. The Law of righteousness contained the Old Covenant did not pass away. There is a new ruler carrying out the laws of righteousness. In an occupation, a new government is imposed, but the civil service remains the same.