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Christ's Better Sacrifice - Hebrews 9:13-28

Before we turn to Hebrews 9:13-28 let’s begin in Amos 8. The LORD gives Amos a vision where he is shown a bowl of summer fruit and he is asked, “What do you see?” Amos responds, “A basket of summer fruit.”

What does this vision mean? Does this bowl of summer fruit mean that this will be a season of plenty for the people of God? Or that this will be a season of blessing, prosperity and abundance for God’s people?

The Lord interprets this vision for Amos and it does not speak of prosperity, plenty, or blessing for God’s people. Instead God says in verse 2, “The end has come upon my people Israel; I will never again pass by them. The songs of the temple shall become wailing's in that day.

It is very clear that this is a vision concerning judgment. When Amos sees this he cries out, “So many bodies! They are thrown everywhere! Silence!” (3) Amos laments that the destruction and loss of life will be so great and he cries out to the people, ‘Silent!’

What were the people doing that was bringing this severe judgment? What were they saying that made the prophet cry out, ‘Silent’? There appears to be two reasons. First, the people needed to give their attention to Amos and listen to what he says. Secondly, the people need to stop speaking sinfully against the LORD.

We see this inverses 4-6, “Hear this, you who trample on the needy and bring the poor of the land to an end, saying, ‘When will the new moon be over, that we may sell grain? And the Sabbath that we may offer wheat for sale, that we may make the ephah small and the shekel great and deal deceitfully with false balances, that we may buy the poor for silver and the needy for a pair of sandals and sell the chaff of the wheat?’”

In these verses we see four sins that were bringing God’s judgment upon the people.

  • The needy and the poor have been neglected.

  • Greed and selfishness abounds and the humble were not being cared for.

  • God’s commands, the Sabbath Day, and the true worship was being perverted.

  • The people of God are sold for goods and profit.

After the LORD speaks about these sins we read these sobering words in Amos 8:7, “The LORD has sworn by the pride of Jacob: ‘Surely I will never forget any of their deeds.

Here we are told that the LORD has sworn (promised, made an oath) that He will not forget any of their sinful deeds! What a terrifying oath that the LORD makes here. God will judge them for their sins and their bodies will be strewn in the streets. And even after this is done the LORD will not forget their sins.

We have seen something similar to this in the book of Hebrews with another generation of God's people. We have seen the Lord take an oath and we have seen God’s people judged and their dead bodies left in the wilderness. Hebrews 3:16-18 says, “Who were those who heard and yet rebelled? Was it not all those who left Egypt led by Moses? And with whom was He provoked for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who were disobedient? So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.

In Amos 8:7 God promises that even after this judgment, where they will physically die, He would still not forget their sins. Even though our bodies die we will still face judgment. Hebrews 9:27 speaks of this when it says, “It is appointed for men to die once, and after that comes judgment.” On that day when God judges men He will not forget any sins, or iniquity, or any transgression that a person has committed. Every sin which was done in thought or word or deed will be remembered and judged by the LORD.

Our kids have been learning about these things in their Sunday School classes. Kids, do you remember last weeks Catechism Question? “Can anyone keep the law of God perfectly?” Do you remember the answer to that question? “Since the fall, no mere human has been able to keep the law of God perfectly, but consistently breaks it in thought, word and deed.” We are continually breaking God’s law in thought, word and deed.

Not only will God not forget these sins but we see something else in Amos 8:7. We read, “The LORD has sworn by the pride of Jacob…”. What does it mean that the LORD has sworn by the pride of Jacob? There are two possible meanings.

First, this statement may be a reference to the sinful pride of His people. The LORD swears that He will judge the pride and arrogance that Israel has displayed by their defiance towards Him and His Word.

We see this earlier in Amos 6:8 when He says, “I abhor the pride of Jacob and hate his strongholds, and I will deliver up the city and all that is in it.” If this is the case, the LORD would be promising (swearing, making a solemn oath) that He would judge His people for every sin that they had committed against Him and His Word.

Second, the words the ‘pride of Jacob’ could refer to an oath that God made with Himself to deal with His peoples sin. We also see this happening in Amos 6:8 when we read, “The Lord God has sworn by Himself, declared the LORD, the God of Hosts, ‘I abhor the pride of Jacob and hate his strongholds, and I will deliver up the city and all that is in it.’” We saw something similar to this in Hebrews 6:13 where we read, “For when God made a promise to Abraham, since He had no one greater by whom to swear, He swore by Himself…”. God makes His intentions very clear when He promises to do something. He makes it doubly clear when He swears by Himself because it is impossible for Him to lie.

If this is the meaning in Amos 8:7 the LORD would be making a promise to Himself that He would not forget any of their sins but He would provide salvation for them. He would provide atonement for their sins because sinful people have no hope without His salvation.

In Psalm 47 God’s people are described as the ‘pride of Jacob whom God loves’; but they have sinned and broken covenant with Him. Therefore, God would send His Son, the One who would be the ‘pride of Jacob’ and the Son that the Father would love and be well pleased (Luke 3:22 – ‘You are my beloved Son; with You I am well pleased.’).

In both of these ways we see that God will deal with our sin in one of two ways. He will either judge the sinner on the Day of Judgment where every sin that he has committed will be remembered or He will deal with every sin that that person has committed through the redemption that is found only in Jesus Christ.

I have spent a lot of time in Amos this morning because I wanted us to appreciate the Good News that we will read about in Hebrews 9:13-28. In Amos we saw that God’s wrath and judgment of sinners is real (Hebrews 9:27). We cannot save ourselves. We cannot hope that God would forget about our sins. The basket of summer fruit reminds us that our sins make us ripe for judgment. If the LORD does not provide salvation we can never have any real hope.

In Hebrews 9:13-28 we will see how God has provided a way for His people to be forgiven from all of the sins. We will see three things emphasized in our text. First, Christ’s sacrifice is more efficacious than animal sacrifices. Secondly, Christ’s sacrifice was necessary. Third, Christ’s sacrifice is the final sacrifice which has dealt with sin once and for all.

The Efficacy Of Christ’s Sacrifice

In Hebrews 9:13-14 we will see the efficacy of Christ’s sacrifice. For example, His sacrifice purifies our conscience from dead works so we can serve God. We read, “For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.

Amos spoke to a people who despised the Sabbath Day and the ordinances that they were commanded to obey. They despised these things even though the blood of the Old Testament sacrifices could accomplish outward sanctification for them. These sinful people spurned the grace and mercy of God. They said, “‘When will the new moon be over, that we may sell grain? And the Sabbath that we may offer wheat for sale, that we may make the ephah small and the shekel great and deal deceitfully with false balances, that we may buy the poor for silver and the needy for a pair of sandals and sell the chaff of the wheat?’”

These people were wise in business; but they were fools in matters pertaining to sanctification and holiness. They longed for the Sabbath day to end so they could go buy and sell with false balances. They laid in their beds and devised evil in their hearts (Micah 2:1). They desired to make a profit from the buying and selling of God’s people; but they were unaware that they were slaves to sin and liable to God. The commands of God were to them a burdensome task; rather than a blessing which should have been done with thanksgiving. Therefore, God said, “Surely I will never forget any of their deeds.

But all those who honored God’s ordinances received God’s blessing. Those who honored God were purified and sanctified in their flesh. As these things were offered by faith the people looked forward to the day when God would send the Messiah so that they could enter into the Sabbath rest that was promised (Hebrews 4:1-11). They longed for the coming of the Promised Christ whose sacrifice would ‘purify their conscience from dead works to serve the living God.’ (14).

Those under the Old Covenant knew that there would come a day when God would provide a more efficacious sacrifice that would sanctify them inwardly and give them access into the Holy of Holies. We see this in our text this morning in the words, “If the blood of goats and bulls sanctify the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.

In Amos 2:6-7 the LORD says to His people, “...I will not revoke the punishment, because they sell the righteous for silver, and the needy for a pair of sandals, those who trample the head of the poor into the dust of the earth and turn aside the way of the afflicted…”. The LORD would punish His people because of their mistreatment of their brothers and sisters. Isn't it ironic that the Father would provide the forgiveness of sins through His Son who was rejected, abused, sold out, betrayed, and condemned to die by sinners. The Son endured these things so that His sacrifice might be efficacious in saving sinners. The very sins that condemned men would be done to His Son so that sinners could be saved. Because Jesus suffered and died He would then be able to purify sinners so that they could serve the living God. Christ’s sacrifice is efficacious to all who will repent of their sins and trust in Him alone for their salvation! (Galatians 1:3-5)

The Necessity Of Christ’s Sacrifice.

In Hebrews 9:15-23 we see the absolute necessity of the sacrifice that Christ offered to forgive His people of their great sins. We read, “Therefore He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance (not judgment and wrath), since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant (from the sins that are never forgotten). For where a will is involved, the death of the one who made it must be established. For a will takes effect only at death, since it is not in force as long as the one who made it is alive. Therefore not even the first covenant was inaugurated without blood. For when every commandment of the law had been declared by Moses to all the people, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, saying, “This is the blood of the covenant that God commanded for you.” And in the same way he sprinkled with the blood both the tent and all the vessels used in worship. Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. Thus it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these rites, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.

In Amos 8:7 the LORD promised to never forget any of their sinful deeds. We saw that even if God judged us and we died that we would still face a greater judgment day. However, here we see that the LORD has established a New Covenant through which He would save sinners, forgive their sins and give them an eternal inheritance.

This is made possible because a death has occurred that established a New Covenant. The death of Jesus Christ upon the cross redeems a person from every sin that was ever committed under the first covenant (Galatians 3). He became a curse as He hung upon the tree so that sinners could receive great blessings.

In Exodus 24 we read about the day when the First Covenant was established. On that day Moses took the blood of the animal sacrifices and sprinkled it upon the people and other things. But even after this was done the people were told that they could not draw near (24:2). Now, however, Christ has offered up a better sacrifice in the heavenly places. He is now the mediator of a New Covenant and sinners can now be forgiven all of our sins once and for all. Christ’s sacrifice was necessary to achieve all of these things.

The Finality Of Christ’s Sacrifice

In Hebrews 9:24-28 we see that the sacrifice of Christ never needs to be repeated again. His death settled our accounts, granted forgiveness of our sins and gives us Christ’s righteousness. We read, “For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.”

In Amos 8:7 God promised to never forget the sins of the people. We saw that even after they were judged and their bodies laid lifeless in the streets that there would remain a judgment day. On that day they would be convicted and found guilty of every sin they had ever committed. God would be just when He declared them guilty and condemned them to eternal death away from God’s comforting presence.

No amount of animal sacrifices could save a person from their sins. Animal sacrifices could never deliver them from God’s wrath. All of those sacrifices were simply a reminder of their sins and the need for a better sacrifice. Those sacrifices reminded the people that every sin deserved death and that one day God had promised to send the perfect Lamb who could take away the sins of the world.

Christ, having offered up Himself up to death for the sins of His people, has now entered into the Holy Places in heaven. He entered with His own blood and not with the blood of an animal. He entered into heaven once and for all to put away sin.

We were reminded in Amos 8:7 that “The LORD has sworn by the pride of Jacob: ‘Surely I will never forget any of their deeds.” The LORD has sworn, made an oath, and made a promise that He will deal with sin. He will remember every sin that has ever been committed. Those who repent of their sins, believe upon Christ and trust in Him for their salvation; they will be saved.

Psalm 69:30-32 describes how the redeemed should respond, “I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving. This will please the LORD more than an ox or a bull with horns and hoofs. When the humble see it they will be glad; you who seek God, ‘Let your hearts revive.’

But to all of those who will not repent, who will not return to the LORD, and who will not entrust themselves to Him; their sins will be remembered and never forgotten at the Day of Judgment (Amos 4:6,8,9,10,11).

Why would you ignore the grace and mercy of God? Why would you trample upon the precious sacrifice of Jesus in view of this peril that is set before you? Why will so many ignore the danger that is at hand and sit here even now and wish this Sabbath day was over so that they could continue on with their plans, their priorities, and their purposes?

We were told that “Christ has entered into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf.” Is He mediating for you? Does He represent you before the Father? Why would you delay and not respond to the Good News that has been given to you?

The Puritan Richard Baxter once pleaded with his congregation saying, “How can you make so light of heaven and hell? Your bodies will soon lie in the dust, and angels or devils will presently seize upon your souls, and every man and woman of you all will shortly be among other company, and in another case than now you are; you will dwell in those houses but a little longer, you will work in your shops but a little longer; you will sit in those seats, and dwell on this earth, but a little longer; you will see with those eyes, and hear with those ears, and speak with those tongues, but a little longer; till the resurrection day; and can you forget this?


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