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Good morning and once again let me welcome you to Hope Bible Fellowship. If you have a bible with you or a device to look up scripture, turn to Hebrews chapter 9. I use the English Standard Version in case you want to match that up. As you’re finding that chapter I want to tell you about one of my prior life experiences. When I was young in youth ministry I became a show promoter. That means I held concerts. I booked them and advertised them and ran them. It was a lot of fun, a little stressful, but a lot of fun. I had some really cool interactions with some pretty great musicians. No one really taught me how to do it, I just sort of had to learn. You may not know this but if you want to book a band for a show, if they are a known band or a national touring band you can’t just call the band up, at least not back then. You have to go through their booking agent. And even then, the booking agent worked through the band’s management to get them to check with the band and make final approval for the show. You didn’t get full access to the band. But then, when the contract was signed and the band showed up to load in on the day of the show, generally they were pretty cool and would hang out with you and with any fans who showed up. My point is, there was a mediator and I couldn’t just go straight to the band. That’s a light illustration of what we are looking at today in Hebrews 9. We want to find out about what this says about the access the old covenant people had to God and the access that we have today under the new covenant.
The author of Hebrews wants to help his audience understand these theological concepts so that they will not give into the temptation to revert back to their old covenant Jewish ways. He does something really helpful in chapters 9 and 10 in which he uses them as a summary of what he had said in the previous chapters. Think of school. When you learn something during the year and then come back after summer break, the teachers will sometimes summarize concepts that you already learned to remind you and prepare you for new material. That is sort of what is going on here. Let’s look at the text and see what God would say to us this morning in His Word.
READ Hebrews 9:1-28
Hebrews 9:1–28 ESV
1 Now even the first covenant had regulations for worship and an earthly place of holiness. 2 For a tent was prepared, the first section, in which were the lampstand and the table and the bread of the Presence. It is called the Holy Place. 3 Behind the second curtain was a second section called the Most Holy Place, 4 having the golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, in which was a golden urn holding the manna, and Aaron’s staff that budded, and the tablets of the covenant. 5 Above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. Of these things we cannot now speak in detail. 6 These preparations having thus been made, the priests go regularly into the first section, performing their ritual duties, 7 but into the second only the high priest goes, and he but once a year, and not without taking blood, which he offers for himself and for the unintentional sins of the people. 8 By this the Holy Spirit indicates that the way into the holy places is not yet opened as long as the first section is still standing 9 (which is symbolic for the present age). According to this arrangement, gifts and sacrifices are offered that cannot perfect the conscience of the worshiper, 10 but deal only with food and drink and various washings, regulations for the body imposed until the time of reformation. 11 But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) 12 he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. 13 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, 14 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. 15 Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant. 16 For where a will is involved, the death of the one who made it must be established. 17 For a will takes effect only at death, since it is not in force as long as the one who made it is alive. 18 Therefore not even the first covenant was inaugurated without blood. 19 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, 20 saying, “This is the blood of the covenant that God commanded for you.” 21 And in the same way he sprinkled with the blood both the tent and all the vessels used in worship. 22 Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. 23 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. 24 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. 25 Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, 26 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. 27 And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, 28 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.
- This is the Word of the Lord. Let's pray and ask God to help us understand and apply it to our lives.

I. Our Starting Point - Access Restricted (v. 1-10)

The place - The Earthly vs the heavenly tabernacle. v. 1-10

There were regulations for worship in the old covenant. The rules for worship were specific and the earthly place of holiness was elaborate. There was a place where they were supposed to worship.
The tent or tabernacle was Israel's mobile tent of meeting with God and was divided into a couple of different sections.
(show diagram of the tabernacle)
Inside the Tabernacle -
We have a recollection of what the holy place and the most holy place in the tabernacle contained.
You have probably seen pictures of the lamps stand. It was a menorah. There were seven branches with cup-shaped oil lamps at the top.
Exodus 25:31-40
A priest was to make sure that this light never went out in the night.
Exodus 27:21 ESV
In the tent of meeting, outside the veil that is before the testimony, Aaron and his sons shall tend it from evening to morning before the Lord. It shall be a statute forever to be observed throughout their generations by the people of Israel.
The bread of the Presence was not one loaf but twelve loaves. It was baked fresh every week. When the new loaves were placed the old ones would be eaten by the priests. The bread was always there but it had to be replaced all the time to keep it fresh.
Both of these physical objects point to Jesus Christ. In John 9:5, Jesus calls himself the light of the world and in John 6:35, the bread of life. He's the new temple in John 2:21 and the new bread of the presence. And this bread never needs replacing. In fact, it can't be replaced. When we put our trust in His broken body (symbolized by eating this bread), followers of Christ get to enjoy access to holy places.
So only the priests could go in and see these pointers to Christ. Everyone else who worshipped had to stay outside in the courtyard area. There was a separation. Not everyone had access.
The inner section was more special though. This was blocked by a curtain. The writer points this out to us. Here in the Most Holy Place we find the ark of the covenant. The ark was like a sort of history box containing reminders of what God had done for His people. Think of it almost like a time capsule that they carried around with them to remind them of what God had done. It was more than just this because of what the scripture calls the mercy seat. On the lid of the ark was the mercy seat and it was a picture of God's throne. It was where His presence dwelt.
Leviticus 16:2 ESV
and the Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron your brother not to come at any time into the Holy Place inside the veil, before the mercy seat that is on the ark, so that he may not die. For I will appear in the cloud over the mercy seat.
Entering this place was reserved for the high priest once a year. It would have been terrifying.
Leviticus 16:2–3 ESV
and the Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron your brother not to come at any time into the Holy Place inside the veil, before the mercy seat that is on the ark, so that he may not die. For I will appear in the cloud over the mercy seat. But in this way Aaron shall come into the Holy Place: with a bull from the herd for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering.
This was only a symbol of what God's real throne room in heaven is like.
Isaiah 6:1–5 ESV
In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”
Regarding the high priest, Michael Kruger writes,
"Imagine that you are the high priest and you are about to pull back that curtain. You would be thinking, “How did my week go? How obedient have I been? How holy am I? Is this sacrifice going to be enough to clear my sin?” Even the high priest was an earthly person. He was still limited. So, he entered with trepidation.
All this tells us is that you cannot just stroll into God’s presence in your current sinful state. You need someone to fix that problem."
The Jewish priests of the tribe of Levi did their duties regularly... they repeated them over and over the same ritual...
But the problem of sin was not solved by any of this.
Romans 3:23 ESV
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
Verse 9 tells us why they didn't solve the problem of sin... They were provisional regulations for the body until the one who could solve the problem of sin would come into the world. This arrangement could not perfect the conscience of the worshipper. Verse 10 tells us they only deal with food and drink and various washings. They deal with the outward body and action but it can not cleanse the inside to the heart of the person.

II. Once and For All Time - Atonement Accomplished (v. 11-22)

Back in verse 7 we read that the high priest only entered the Most Holy Place and went with blood to offer for the unintentional sins of the people. We can divide sin into three categories. Sins of commission, sins of omission, and unintentional sins. Sins of commission are sins we commit. It’s when we do what scripture prohibits. Secondly, we have sins of omission. These are sins where we neglect to do that which scripture commands. For example: when we neglect the gathering of the saints for worship. But here we have mentioned the unintentional sins of the people.
Albert Mohler explains it this way: “Unintentional sins are those we commit without realizing we are committing them. Due to the pervasive and insidious effects of sin on our entire beings, we can’t even recognize the times we’re unaware we’re sinning. It’s these unintentional sins of the people that precipitated the high priest’s ministry and made it necessary for him to offer a blood sacrifice.”
The high priest didn’t just have to offer a sacrifice for the people but there had to be blood offered for his sins as well because he was a human with a sin nature. It’s one of the reasons why we needed a better high priest who did not have any sin.
- Jesus appeared as a high priest of the good things to come.
- He entered through the greater and more perfect tent
- Entered once and for all into the holy places
- By His OWN blood
- Thus securing eternal redemption v. 12
- How much more superior is the blood of Christ
- more capable
- more effective
- purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God
- v. 15 Therefore - Jesus is the mediator of a NEW covenant
- Gentiles can get in on this one
- SO THAT - Those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance
- v. 15 Since a death has occurred
- that redeems from transgressions committed under the first covenant

III. Our Outcome - Access Granted (v. 23-28)

Jesus brought us near to God. Gives us full access to God and relationship with Him.
How it changes our lives. - build on the gospel
Even the highest sacrifice the people of Israel could think of on the Day of Atonement could not bring newness of life. There had to be a greater sacrifice.
The oc summed up phrase: not yet...
present age of restriction would be over and the new age of access would come...
Look back to Hebrews 4:16
Hebrews 4:16 ESV
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
"Throne of grace" in Greek is equivalent to "mercy seat."
Now, we can enter with confidence and have access to God because of Jesus. We can draw near because of Jesus making a way for us to pass the curtain, in fact the curtain was torn.
The veil in the temple...
argument from the lesser to the greater
Jesus' unique sacrifice was able to accomplish this inner cleansing... Two reasons:
1. Offered himself through the eternal Spirit.
2. Offered himself without blemish

IV. Our Obedience - Application to Change the Way We Live

As this atonement been applied to you? Have you trusted in Jesus?
How does this change how you live? What is your next step of faith?
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