Summary: This sermon is about Christ being the perfect sacrifice for our sins.
I have a confession to make. It’s not easy for me to say this. This is difficult for me to admit. But, I used to watch professional wrestling. I know, I know, that’s hard to believe. That was back in the days when Hulk Hogan was in his prime. It was cool to watch professional wrestling. There was this one particular wrestler who called himself “Mr. Perfect.” That was his name because, well, I guess he thought he was perfect. He was handsome, I guess. He was muscular. He was the right height and weight. He was “perfect,” or so he thought. He was also arrogant and pompous. He was one of the bad guys. Everyone booed him when he came into the ring. Nobody liked him because he thought so much of himself.
The truth is that we all strive for perfection. We don’t want to make mistakes. Whether it’s on the job or raising the kids or whatever, we strive to be Mr. or Miss Perfect. We try so hard to do the absolute best we can. We work hard. We worry about it. We do all we can to be the best we can. We put in extra hours. The problem is that we just can’t seem to reach our ideal perfection. We just can’t measure up.
Why can’t we measure up? Why can’t we be what we want to be? We have limitations. We are limited by time and space. We can’t be everywhere at once. We can’t be at the kids’ soccer game and at work at the same time. We also have physical limitations. We get tired. We get sick. Eventually we’ll die. We won’t be there for the kids forever. We are limited creatures. As much as we like to think that we can do it all, we simply cannot. We just can’t ever live up to our own ideal of who we think we should be.
Turn with to Hebrews 7.
Read Hebrews 7:23-28
This is a passage of contrasts. It contrasts the “former priests” of the Jewish system with the new High Priest, Jesus Christ. The imperfections of the “former priests” are contrasted with the perfection of Jesus.
Mankind needs a priest in order to come to God. Under the old system, men were appointed as priests. The priests ministered to the people of Israel. They offered the sacrifices to atone for the sins of the people. It was their job to represent the people of God before God.
There was a problem though. As mere men, they could never measure up to God’s standards. There was a constant turnover in the priestly office. As men, the priests died and were prevented from continuing in the office. Generation after generation, there was a new priest. As a member of a corrupt human race, the priests first had to atone for their own sins before they deal with the sins of the people. Sacrifice upon sacrifice had to be offered over and over.
Standing in sharp contrast to this temporary, ineffective human priesthood is Jesus. Verse 24 says, “But he [meaning Jesus] holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever.” Jesus’ priesthood lasts forever because he is alive and well today. The consequence of Jesus’ priesthood is that he can save those who come near to God. When it says that he can “save to the uttermost” it entails both time and quality. He salvation is forever. He is able to save forever because he lives forever. His salvation is also complete. Salvation through Jesus is all we need to make it to heaven. Jesus has none of the limitations that affect us.
Verses 26 through 28 outline three reasons Jesus is all we need to get to God. They all relate to his perfection. The first is…
I. He is perfect in his CHARACTER.
There are five attributes of Jesus listed in verse 26. The first four deal with his character.
Character is an issue of much public debate these days. Does character matter? That question gets bandied about each time someone discovers a skeleton in the closet of a politician or other public figure. What character attributes do we want to see in our leaders?
When we look at the character of Jesus, we find something unusual. We find nothing wrong with his character. Jesus would stand the test of character. We all have things that we’ve done that we aren’t proud of. Like I mentioned earlier, I used to watch professional wrestling. I’m not real proud of that. Jesus character was spotless. Jesus never did anything that he was later ashamed of. The first attribute listed is…
What does it mean to be holy? The Church of the Nazarene is a church in what is often referred to as the holiness tradition. What does it mean to be holy?