"A Need for Something Better"

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Opening: Over the years there has been a lot of confusion about perfection. We can describe people as being perfect. Watching sports people say that this was the perfect routine and so we hand out gold medals, or that pitcher threw a perfect game. We talk about cars being flawless or impeccable. We have grading systems today from 1-10 that tell us if the item being sold is poor, mediocre, or perfect. We use the word perfect just like we would say better or best, however there is a big problem with all of this.
Before the Fall of Adam and Eve God designed the world perfectly. There was no sickness, no murder, no depression, worry, anxiety, no sin. After the Fall, that is after Adam and Eve sinned, it ruined everything. In fact, there was no more perfection. We as humans still think there are things we can do to earn this kind of perfection or good life, and that is what we see from our text today. We try to offer up sacrifices for our bad deeds or we think that by our good deeds or works we can attain perfection.
The author of Hebrews here wants us to really understand what is perfect and what this really looks like. He helps us to understand that Jesus is not like the other priests or holy men that lived. Jesus is and was “The Perfect High Priest.” So, when the author talks about Jesus being the perfect high priest he is not referring to the matter that Jesus was just this really good and cool guy that did some pretty awesome things when he was around here on earth. Jesus Christ, who is the perfect high priest, is truly perfect in a way that only one who is both fully divine and fully human can embody. Christ’s priesthood is perfect because he is fully God and fully man, and he is actually and objectively perfect.
Clearly there was a need for a new or better priesthood.
But why was this so??? Why did God need to establish a different or better priesthood?

1. The old system of priests and laws could not perfect worshipers of God.

Hebrews 7:11–14 ESV
11 Now if perfection had been attainable through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need would there have been for another priest to arise after the order of Melchizedek, rather than one named after the order of Aaron? 12 For when there is a change in the priesthood, there is necessarily a change in the law as well. 13 For the one of whom these things are spoken belonged to another tribe, from which no one has ever served at the altar. 14 For it is evident that our Lord was descended from Judah, and in connection with that tribe Moses said nothing about priests.
What we just read here may not shock you, but for this early church and these early Jewish believers this must have been super tough to take in. We need to keep in mind here that the author of Hebrews is preaching this truth to the church that Jesus brings to a close the Levitical priesthood, which was the main part of the Jewish society and a major part of God’s covenant with Israel. In other words this priesthood defined the Jewish people. The Levite priests brought the people of Israel before Yahweh. They also were put in place by God and represented Him back to the people.
The word “perfection” here refers to complete reconciliation with God. This would be salvation. The Levitical system and priesthood could not save anyone from their sins, because if it did there would not have been a need for another high priest. The author here wants us to know that a greater priesthood exists. He also wants us to see that there is a need for a greater high priest, one who is perfect in every way. Jesus is truly superior.
Christ’s priesthood is beyond the law. There was a new covenant and a new and better sacrifice that came with Christ. This new priesthood brought perfection.
Let me ask you today, do you see your need for a better way of life? Has there come a time in your life where you felt like you fell short? It’s because every human has fallen short. We all at some point in our lives are in need of a perfect savior to save us from our sin, to save us from death in hell. So, God graciously and sovereignly( apart from anything we have done) initiated the sending of the great high priest Jesus to atone for the sins of the people. Would you call out to him today? Would you pray this to God?
Psalm 119:18 ESV
18 Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.

2. Christ is our perfect priest who lives forever.

Hebrews 7:15–19 ESV
15 This becomes even more evident when another priest arises in the likeness of Melchizedek, 16 who has become a priest, not on the basis of a legal requirement concerning bodily descent, but by the power of an indestructible life. 17 For it is witnessed of him, “You are a priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek.” 18 For on the one hand, a former commandment is set aside because of its weakness and uselessness 19 (for the law made nothing perfect); but on the other hand, a better hope is introduced, through which we draw near to God.
As we read in verse 14 we have seen that Christ did not come from the tribe of Levi like all the other priests did. The Lord’s bloodline was not built upon a blood lineage because his priesthood is truly better or perfect in that it is founded on the power of an indestructible life. We see this here in verse 16. What this means is that the Levitical priests of course died off one after another and not one of them could fulfill the responsibilities in the mediating work as a priest forever. That is why we see the author here quote from Psalm 110:4. Jesus comes from the line of Melchizedek which endures forever. His priesthood never ends because it is built on the power of an indestructible life. The word here “indestructible” refers to the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The author of Hebrews explains to us that it has been witnessed of him that Christ is a high priest forever. It is hard for us as humans to really understand this word forever. We can talk about it but to really grasp it is hard. So, forever sets Christ apart from and above every other Levitical priest.
The author now goes on to explain the shortcomings of the former commandments and the former law, which the Jewish people held in high regard. This was a very important thing for all of the Jewish believers because they had all come out of this system. Listen to what Paul says about this in Romans and Galatians.
Romans 8:3 ESV
3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh,
Galatians 4:9 ESV
9 But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more?
So the author of Hebrews wants us to see here from vs. 19 “The Law made nothing perfect” The law never produced a truly holy or perfect people. What the law in fact does is it reveals to us our sin and then shows us that we need something better.
So, we have something better than the law. “The better hope” Christ is our better hope and trusting in what he has done for us. This is our hope!!!
And because of Christ who is our hope “we draw near to God” Drawing near to God is the essence of Christianity when compared to the old Levitical way. Because of what Jesus has done for us we can now draw near to God. Before that happened people had to stay outside the presence of God.

3. God’s oath gives us a perfect priest who is our mediator.

Hebrews 7:20–25 ESV
20 And it was not without an oath. For those who formerly became priests were made such without an oath, 21 but this one was made a priest with an oath by the one who said to him: “The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind, ‘You are a priest forever.’ ” 22 This makes Jesus the guarantor of a better covenant. 23 The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office, 24 but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. 25 Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.
In verses 20 and 21 we see this word “oath” These are the promises of God and they are unchangeable and sealed. They show us that there was never an oath made to these Levitical priests, but there was one to Christ who is our perfect high priest. The reason why Christ is superior is because through Him he has the power to save and truly change lives.
In vs. 22 we see this word “guarantor” This is the only use of this Greek word in the New Testament. Jesus himself guarantees the success of His New Covenant of salvation, which is a better covenant.
It’s better in several ways that we see here. First of all Christ’s priesthood is forever which was completely different from the Levites. Notice in verse 23.
vs. 23 “many” Scholars believe that there have been 84 high priests who served from Aaron until the destruction of the second temple in A.D. 70. The lesser priests numbers were of course much larger in number. So, there were many priests and with Christ we only need Him.
2. The second reason why Christ is better is because he is able to save.
vs. 25 “He is able to save to the uttermost” Christ is able to change lives for those who come to God or draw near to God.
3. And finally Christ is better because He is our intercessor.
Verse 25 “intercession” This word means to intercede on behalf of another. It was used to refer to bringing a petition to a king on behalf of someone.
Romans 8:34 ESV
34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.
The author here of Hebrews makes it clear that only Christ is the intercessor.
1 Timothy 2:5 ESV
5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,

4. Christ is the perfect fit!

Hebrews 7:26–28 ESV
26 For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. 27 He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself. 28 For the law appoints men in their weakness as high priests, but the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son who has been made perfect forever.
We see here the Lord’s divine and holy character. All of this shows us that he is a greater or more superior high priest. Jesus in every way has fulfilled the just requirements of the law. His priesthood is perfect because he is perfect. But how?
Well first of all we see in verse 26 that he is a holy sacrifice. And only a holy sacrifice could take care of our atonement.
The second reason Christ is perfect is because he is innocent. Christ was innocent for he was tempted in every way as we are and yet remained without sin.
He was unstained or undefiled and separated from sinners. He did not sin. Christ is sinless, perfect, holy, undefiled and innocent. He does not need to offer up sacrifices repeatedly because the cross and resurrection are once and for all time. When Jesus was dying on the cross right before he died he said, “It is finished.” Nothing can be added to it or taken from it. Jesus was the perfect sacrifice, and his sacrifice was completed all at once.
Hebrews 9:22 ESV
22 Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.
Jesus came and lived a sinless life and then gave himself up on the cross to pay the penalty for our sin with his own blood.
What are we to do with what has just been preached to us???
What we have seen here from our passage today is the greatness of God. Do you understand today how Great and mighty God truly is? God in that of Christ Jesus gave himself for us and for our sin. Whether we realize it or not we all need someone to save us from our wicked and filthy sin. We need someone to cleanse us from the inside and the out. And because of what Christ has done we can be met with forgiveness and salvation. This is incredible church. There are some of you who are here today and you are having a hard time forgiving yourself for a mistake that has happened. Maybe you are holding on to a grudge and can’t forgive someone else for what they have done to you. Maybe you are living with guilt and shame as so many do. But the good news today is that if you trust Christ and turn from your sin and turn toward Christ there is a wonderful peace in that God forgives you.
Hebrews 8:12 ESV
12 For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.”
Will you draw near to God today? Will you submit to him and let him rule and reign your steps? He is far superior to anything or any person.
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