Hebrews (03): Rest and Redemption

Date: 10/21/2018
More audio from All Saints Church
Type: Sunday Sermon
Organization: All Saints
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Topical Outline of Hebrews
A. Introduction 1:1-3
B. Angels and Incarnation 1-2
C. Moses and the Land 3-4
D. Priesthood and Melchizedek 5-7
E. Sacrifices and Covenant 8-10
F. Exhortations to Faith and Perseverance 11-13

Rhetorical Outline of Hebrews
Argument of Supremacy (Angels & Incarnation) 1-2
Argument of Entering Sabbath 3-4
Argument of Priesthood 5-7
Argument of Final Sacrifice 8-9
Argument of New Covenant 8-10
Argument of Speaking from Fidelity 11-13

Redemption: the New Exodus - The “thesis” statement of Hebrews is repeated five times: “When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high” (1:3; 1:13, 8:1, 10:12, 12:2). This thesis is the foundation of the exhortation to fidelity (Heb. 10:25, 12:25, et al). Though the original citation (Ps. 110:1, “sit at My right hand”) emphasized the rule and reign of Messiah over and in the midst of enemies, Hebrews emphasizes the “rest” after completing this conquest of redemption.  In other citations, He took His seat at the right hand after His priestly work (8:1), after a “sacrifice for sins for all time” 10:12), and after “enduring the cross” (12:2). He sat to rule and reign after winning the critical battle. This redemptive-conquest work of Christ in Hebrews is variously described: “purification of sins” (1:3), tasting death for everyone (2:9), Jesus being perfected through suffering (2:15, 5:8-9), rendering the devil powerless (2:14), “propitiation” (2:17),  cleansing heavenly places (9:23-24), “sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (10:10), and more (10:12, 14, 19-20, 13:12). This is a new “deliverance” or “salvation” which is a new and final exodus.

Rest: an Incomplete Exodus - The image of sitting down after His redemptive work (1:3, 13), sets up the next major section of Hebrews (chs. 3-4). Jesus, an “apostle,” like Moses, was “sent out” (apostello) by God. Moses, however, was a servant rather than the builder (3:3-4) and Son over the house of God (3:6). Now recall a critical step in the original construction of this house (Israel/people of God). After great deliverance (the exodus), unbelief in the wilderness kept that generation from entering into the Land-Rest (3:7ff). The concluding argument is those who enter rest, like God in creation, rest from “works.” Therefore, “let us be diligent to enter that rest [from works], so that no one will fall” (4:12).  Christ, having completed His work, “sat down” to rest. The “Hebrews” in the original audience must believe in the supremacy and completion of the work of Jesus and thus, by faith, rest from “works,” entering the Land of the heavenly Jerusalem. In this case it involves leaving the earthly Jerusalem or at least leaving the identity of Judaism by going “to Him outside the camp” (13:1-14). How are we to rest from works and so believe in the completed conquest of Christ’s one-for-all redemption?

Gregg Strawbridge Gregg Strawbridge, Ph.D., is the pastor of All Saints Church in Lancaster, PA. He became a committed follower of Jesus Christ at age 20, discipled in the context of a University Navigator Ministry. As a result of personal discipleship he went on to study at Columbia Biblical Seminary (M.A., Columbia, SC, 1990), as well as receive a Ph.D. in education and philosophy... read more