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Spiritual Gratitude

Hebrews 10:1-4, 8-18

 

Introduction       Roses among Thorns

Benjamin Franklin once said, "The sentence which has most influenced my life is, 'Some persons grumble because God placed thorns among roses. Why not thank God because He placed roses among thorns?' I first read it when but a mere lad. Since that day it has occupied a front room in my life and has given it an optimistic trend." To be meek is to have a disposition to see the roses among the thorns, rather than to complain about the thorns among the roses. Which do you see? Your answer will help you to judge whether you possess that meekness of which our Savior spoke. (AMG International, Inc.)



 

1.   Spiritual Gratitude for the . . Shadow of The Law. 10:1-4

 

Introduction:   As a boy we used to walk three long blocks from the bus stop to our house, and I would try to keep up with my dad, and couldn’t but I tried to at least to walk fast enough to stay in his shadow. The Law is a shadow, but Christ is the very Image of God. The law is a teacher, and points toward Christ.

 

       A.   The Shadow of The Law and the . . Clarification of Sacrifices. 10:1

1 For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect.

               1.  The kinship of shadow and Image. v 1

                     2.    The Ability of the Image to make perfect.

 

       B.   The Shadow of The Law and the . . Consciousness of Sins. 10:2

2 For then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshipers, once purified, would have had no more consciousness of sins.

 

       C.   The Shadow of The Law and the . . Calendaring of Sacrifices. 10:3-4

3 But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. 4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins.

               1.  The yearly reminder of . . Insufficiency. v 3

               2.  The yearly reminder of . . Impossibility. v 4

 

Illustration         The Little Flower

A story is told about Fiorello LaGuardia, who, when he was mayor of New York City during the worst days of the Great Depression and all of WWII, was called by adoring New Yorkers ‘the Little Flower’ because he was only five foot four and always wore a carnation in his lapel. He was a colorful character who used to ride the New York City fire trucks, raid speakeasies with the police department, take entire orphanages to baseball games, and whenever the New York newspapers were on strike, he would go on the radio and read the Sunday funnies to the kids.


One bitterly cold night in January of 1935, the mayor turned up at a night court that served the poorest ward of the city. LaGuardia dismissed the judge for the evening and took over the bench himself. Within a few minutes, a tattered old woman was brought before him, charged with stealing a loaf of bread. She told LaGuardia that her daughter’s husband had deserted her, her daughter was sick, and her two grandchildren were starving. But the shopkeeper, from whom the bread was stolen, refused to drop the charges. “It’s a real bad neighborhood, your Honor,” the man told the mayor. “She’s got to be punished to teach other people around here a lesson.”


LaGuardia sighed. He turned to the woman and said “I’ve got to punish you. The law makes no exceptions—ten dollars or ten days in jail.” But even as he pronounced sentence, the mayor was already reaching into his pocket. He extracted a bill and tossed it into his famous sombrero saying: “Here is the ten dollar fine which I now remit; and furthermore I am going to fine everyone in this courtroom fifty cents for living in a town where a person has to steal bread so that her grandchildren can eat. ‘Mr. Baliff, collect the fines and give them to the defendant.’”



So the following day the New York City newspapers reported that $47.50 was turned over to a bewildered old lady who had stolen a loaf of bread to feed her starving grandchildren, fifty cents of that amount being contributed by the red-faced grocery store owner, while some seventy petty criminals, people with traffic violations, and New York City policemen, each of whom had just paid fifty cents for the privilege of doing so, gave the mayor a standing ovation.            Brennan Manning, The Ragmuffin Gospel, Multnomah, 1990, pp. 91-2


Application


Spiritual Gratitude for the . . Shadow of The Law.



 

2.   Spiritual Gratitude for the . . Sanctification of Christ. 10:8-10

 

       A.   Sanctification Through The . . Establishing of the Will Of God. 10:8-9

8 Previously saying, "Sacrifice and offering, burnt offerings, and offerings for sin You did not desire, nor had pleasure in them" (which are offered according to the law), 9 then He said, "Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God He takes away the first that He may establish the second.

 

       B.   Sanctification Through The . . Exercising of the Will Of God. 10:10

10 By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.


Illustration

Past aspect of sanctification 


Positional

All believers were so sanctified as saints, the youngest as well as the oldest, the most carnal as well as the most spiritual.

(1 Cor. 1:2, 30).


Present aspect of sanctification


Experiential.

Depends upon our knowledge of and faith in our position in Christ converting our position into experience. Progressive, changeable, depends upon yieldedness, & God’s will (Rom. 6:1-13)


Future aspect of sanctification


Final.

When we see the Lord and are made like Him sinless, sickless, deathless Static, unalterable, Will result in our state in eternity (Phil. 3:21), (1 Cor. 4; 15:54; 1 Jn. 3:2).



Application


Spiritual Gratitude for the . . Sanctification of Christ.


I am not what I might be, I am not what I ought to be, I am not what I wish to be, I am not what I hope to be. But I thank God I am not what I once was, and I can say with the great apostle, “By the grace of God I am what I am.” John Newton


Spiritual Gratitude for the . . Shadow of Christ.


Spiritual Gratitude for the . . Sanctification of Christ.



 

3.   Spiritual Gratitude for the . . Superiority of Christ. 10:11-14

 

       A.   The Superior . . Offering of Christ. 10:11-12

11 And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God,

 

                     1.    Position of . . Satisfaction.

                            “. . . sat down. . . “

                     2.    Position of . . Significance.

                            “. . . at the right hand of God.”

 

       B.   The Superior . . Outcome of Christ. 10:13-14

13 from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. 14 For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.

 

Illustration         Devotion

It is said that Cyrus, the founder of the Persian Empire, once had captured a prince and his family. When they came before him, the monarch asked the prisoner,


“What will you give me if I release you?“The half of my wealth,” was his reply. “And if I release your children?“Everything I possess.“And if I release your wife?“Your Majesty, I will give myself.


Cyrus was so moved by his devotion that he freed them all. As they returned home, the prince said to his wife, “Wasn’t Cyrus a handsome man!” With a look of deep love for her husband, she said to him, “I didn’t notice. I could only keep my eyes on you—the one who was willing to give himself for me.Source unknown


Application


Spiritual Gratitude for the . . Superiority of Christ.


Spiritual Gratitude for the . . Shadow of Christ.


Spiritual Gratitude for the . . Sanctification of Christ.



 

4.   Spiritual Gratitude for the . . Support of Christ. 10:15-18

 

       A.   Support through The . . Testimony of the Holy Spirit. 10:15

15 But the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us; for after He had said before,

 

Illustration                  No Motor

Sometime back the Associated Press carried this dispatch: “Glasgow, Ky.—Leslie Puckett, after struggling to start his car, lifted the hood and discovered that someone had stolen the motor.

Source unknown

 

Illustration  The Holy Spirit’s Role in Revealing Jesus

The Spirit’s role in revealing the truth about Jesus is like the lights on billboards along our interstate highway system. The function of the lights is to make the message on the billboard clear to those who pass without obscuring the message. The Holy Spirit’s ministry is unobtrusive and meant to bring glory to Jesus (John 16:4).

 

       B.   Support through The . . Transmitting of the Laws of God. 10:16

16 "This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,"

 

       C.   Support through The . . Transposing of Sins. 10:17-18 

17 then He adds, "Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more."

     18 Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin.


 

Illustration  Frayed Friendship

Old Joe was dying. For years he had been at odds with Bill, formerly one of his best friends. Wanting to straighten things out, he sent word for Bill to come and see him.


When Bill arrived, Joe told him that he was afraid to go into eternity with such a bad feeling between them. Then, very reluctantly and with great effort, Joe apologized for things he had said and done. He also assured Bill that he forgave him for his offenses. Everything seemed fine until Bill turned to go. As he walked out of the room, Joe called out after him, “But, remember, if I get better, this doesn’t count!

Our Daily Bread, June 18, 1994.


Spiritual Gratitude


for the . . Shadow of Christ.


for the . . Sanctification of Christ.


for the . . Superiority of Christ.


for the . . Support of Christ.


 

Conclusion  Nobody to Forgive Me

Not long before she died in 1988, in a moment of surprising candor in television, Marghanita Laski, one of our best-known secular humanists and novelists, said, “What I envy most about you Christians is your forgiveness; I have nobody to forgive me.

John Stott in The Contemporary Christian