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Abraham Honors Melchizedek So We Can Worship Christ (Hebrews Sermon 26 of 74)

Abraham Honors Melchizedek So We Can Worship Christ (Hebrews Sermon 26 of 74)

April 17, 2011 | Andy Davis
Hebrews 7:4-10
Salvation by Promise, Federal headship

I. Meditating on Melchizedek, Worshiping Christ

"O magnify the Lord with me. And let us exalt his name together." Isn't that a great statement in the Psalms, I love that. It's kind of mysterious in a way because I don't know how you make an infinite God, greater. He's already great, infinitely great. The only way I can make sense of it is that he's too small in my estimation and yours. We're all thinking too small thoughts of Jesus. That's what we're doing, and seems like our task is to stop doing that, at least for a short period of time, for 40 plus minutes, that we would start thinking great thoughts of Jesus and specifically that we would think great thoughts of Jesus as our high priest, that we would have a sense of the greatness of his office at the right hand of God that you can have somewhat of an internal vision of all of heaven on its face before Jesus, as he moves through and takes his place at the right hand of the throne of the majesty. By faith you can see all of heaven bowing down, covering their faces because of the greatness of Jesus, and he takes his place at the right hand of God and he begins praying for you. Interceding for you, that you will finish this race of salvation that he has begun in you, that you would have great thoughts of Jesus. That's our task.

And in order to do that, God has given us Hebrew 7, Psalm 1:10, and this person of Melchizedek. And the author to Hebrews is just unfolding the mysteries of this man Melchizedek and so we're going to meditate on Melchizedek, so that we can think great thoughts of Jesus. And as believers we're going to think great thoughts of Jesus, so that our hope will be strong, our faith energized and we'll do great things for him in this world and not fail or flag because of unbelief, but we'll be fed well from the word, that's the goal. So we're going to meditate on Melchizedek so that we can worship Christ.

The Context in Hebrews

Now this book of Hebrews, a magnificent work of grace, the scripture that portrays so beautifully, I hope you've seen it, but so beautifully the greatness of Jesus in every way. The reason for its writing, I think, as I just read between the lines, as I glean the situation from the text, that these were Jewish people who had made a profession of faith in Christ. But the authors write in them that they would hold on to their profession to the end, that they would continue to believe in Jesus to the end.

I perceive that there're probably some Jewish style pressures on them and that they're being tempted to turn away from Jesus specifically away from Jesus to go to Old Covenant Judaism, to go to old covenant religion. And so the author gives them Jesus, that's the remedy.

Jesus: Greater than Angels, Moses, Joshua, and the Priests

Great thoughts of Jesus, the greatness of Jesus, the one who created heaven and earth, with the Father, the one who speaks a greater and a clearer word to us than any of the prophets ever did. The one who is greater than all of the angels, even all of the archangels, even all of the 100 million angels put together and multiplied by 100 million, the greatness of Jesus, greater than any angel. Greater than Moses, who is merely a servant in God's house. A great man. Yes. But greater than Moses. He was just a servant in God's house. But Jesus, his son, reigning over God's house. Greater than Joshua, who brought them into the promised land, and gave them rest but just for a time. Because the sin problem hadn't been cured and they got evicted. The covenant evicted them from the land, and so it was no permanent rest. But Jesus gives us our permanent rest.

And we're yearning for that today, aren't we? We're yearning to come into the rest where we will lay down our labors forever. We've not reached it yet. Hebrews 4:9. We're not there yet, we're running a race with endurance. In one sense, by coming to faith in Christ, we've come to rest from our works, knowing that they won't save us anyway, but that's just a fore taste through the Spirit, we are going to someday lay it all down and we're going to come into our final rest. And so the author is writing to give us a sense of the greatness of Jesus and so he brings up in chapter five, this figure of Melchizedek. Jesus is a greater priest than the Levitical priest than the Aaronic priest, Aaron, a descendant of Levi. So it's one and the same, Levitical priest or Aaronic priest are the same thing, and Jesus is praised as better, it's greater.

So the mentality here is, why in the world would you want to go back to what's inferior? What's inferior, what's temporary, what's a shadow, a pattern is finished, it's obsolete. It's gone. And so the author is giving them the sense, and very difficult, I think we can hardly imagine how difficult it would be for a first century faith-filled Jewish man or woman who has believed that Jesus is the Messiah, and has come to believe the prophecies to know that their religious system that they grew up with, that their ancestors did, that they received from Almighty God, is now obsolete. You don't need it anymore. Never again, the blood of an animal being accepted by God, never again, it's obsolete to be told that. So the author gives us Melchizedek. And so he's focusing on Melchizedek, this figure mentioned historically in Genesis 14, after Abraham had defeated the kings and was returning in victory and Melchizedek shows up and he has an encounter. We talked about it last time, the history of it, and then the Psalm the single reference in Psalm 110, and Verse 4, "The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind. You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek."

So I think in my opinion Hebrews 7 is just a careful word-by-word exit Jesus of that statement. You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek's. We've already worked on the word Melchizedek in verse 1-3.

Today in verse 4-10 we're going to talk about him as a priest and compare him to the priest, the Levitical priest specifically, and the order, the order of priesthood in verses 11-12 is going to be in front of us, God willing, next time that we preach on Hebrews, not next week, but the next time, and then verse 13-14. I think the author addresses just the word "you." He gives two verses to the word "You..." "You are a priest forever." And then verses 15-25, he just unfolds the word forever, what it means that he's a priest forever so we get 11 verses on forever.

Last Week: the Mystery of Melchizedek’s Person in 7:1-3

So last time we saw the mystery of Melchizedek, the history of Melchizedek verses 1-3, look at it with me if you would. "This Melchizedek was king of Salem, and priest of God Most High. He met Abraham returning from the defeat of the kings and blessed him and Abraham gave him a tenth of everything. First His name means 'king of righteousness;' then also 'King of Salem' means 'King of Peace.' Without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, like the son of God, he remains a priest forever." So we looked at that last time. If I'm not careful I'll just slip right back into preaching that sermon again, so we just need to keep moving. But we've seen the greatness and the majesty of Melchizedek in these verses.

Now: The Author Wants Us to Consider His Greatness

Now the author in verse 4 wants us to consider Melchizedek's greatness. Look at verse 4. I'm going to go New American Standard here. "Now observe how great this man was…" Just think how great he was. But I think more technically, observe, the Greek word means See or Look. Let's look at Melchizedek. And since we can't literally physically do that, we can only do it by faith. So in the preaching of the word now, my desire is that the Holy Spirit would give you an internal vision of the greatness of Melchizedek.

Again and again, the author of the Hebrews calls on that internal vision, that faith vision, that we would see things in the spiritual realm. For example, in Hebrews 2:1, it says, "We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away." So there's a more careful looking at the Gospel. Let's look at it. And then in 3:1, the author says, "Fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession." So there we're supposed to look at Jesus as our apostle and our high priest, 3:1. So we're seeing Jesus. And then later in this book, in 12:2 it says, "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him, endured the cross. Despising it's shame and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." So we're supposed to look at these things, these invisible things, we're supposed to do it by faith. And so, the call here is to focus all of our attention on this man Melchizedek, and specifically on his greatness. That we should consider the greatness of Melchizedek. Why should we do that? Is Melchizedek our personal Lord and Savior? No, not at all, but Jesus is. And Melchizedek teaches us some things about Jesus. So, in considering the greatness of Melchizedek, we're going to consider even more the greatness of Jesus.

And so that's the author's approach here. The author wants his readers' hope in Jesus to be very strong. I want your hope in Jesus to be very, very strong today. And so I'm preaching. I believe in preaching, I believe in preaching the word, my desire is to stay really close to the text, because the word feeds your faith, and your faith strengthens your whole life. I think all sin is a failure of faith. Conversely, all good service to God is a triumph of faith. And so if I can strengthen your faith, you'll live well to the glory of God, having already been justified by faith. So we're going to meditate on Melchizedek and we're not going to be lazy listeners, like he warned them not to be in Hebrews 5:11, said they were actually. But we're not going to be that. We're going to work hard here, we're going to try to dig in and try to understand this hierarchy that the author is giving us here.

II. A Hierarchy of Greatness: Christ, Melchizedek, Abraham, Levi

So he gives us a hierarchy of greatness, Christ, Melchizedek, Abraham, Levi. And just simply put, if I can just go to the heart of the matter: The reason he's doing this, is he's going to tell you that Christ is a greater priest than the Levitical priest. That's what he's telling you. That's it in a nutshell. And so the application of that is why in the world would you go backward to the Levitical priesthood? Christ is a great priest and he's all you need as a priest, he's infinitely more than you could possibly ask or imagine, and so that's what he's going to do. And so, the greatness of Christ is displayed by hierarchy. And so at the center of the argument is going to be the basic position that Melchizedek's greater than Abraham. And he's going to unfold that and the point of all of this is give us a sense of the greatness of Jesus as our high priest.

Melchizedek Represents Christ

Melchizedek represents Christ. It's a type of Christ, the pattern of Christ, and then Melchizedek, verse 7, is greater than Abraham. Look at verse 7, without a doubt, the lesser person is blessed by the greater, that's the author's point. Melchizedek is greater than Abraham.

And if you keep going, then you're going to say that Abraham is greater than Levi and that's how it works. How great was Abraham? Well, Abraham, father and faith, the father of the Jewish nation. I guess someone have to say some Jews would say the greatest in all of their history. He is called here a patriarch, that means a father ruler, he is the father of their nation, he was a great man to whom the promises of God had come, a great man because he believed those promises enacted courageously on them, he became therefore, a father of a multitude greater than anyone could count. Abraham had walked with God and he was called God's friend, he interceded with God over Sodom and Gomorrah, he was a great man.

And the Jews openly boasted in and (in some, I think, wrong way) trusted in their relationship with Abraham. They felt that because Abraham was their father that they were fine spiritually, that God could never condemn them because Abraham was their father. John the Baptist came having to just destroy that mentality. He said like fire, as he was preaching, he said, "And do not begin to say to yourselves. We have Abraham as our Father. I tell you that out of these stones. God is able to raise up children for Abraham. The axe is already at the root of the tree, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire." Don't trust in being a biological descendant of Abraham.

But they did, they boasted in this. Jesus had a very similar encounter in John Chapter 8. To the Jews who had believed him. Jesus said, "If you continue in my word, then you are truly my disciples and then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." Well, some of them got offended at this statement. "Set us free?" "We are Abraham's descendants" they said, "and have never been slaves of anyone." Stop there. Just a simple Sunday school lesson would have taught them that they had actually indeed been slaves of someone. But this is just the mentality, the arrogance, "We are Abraham's descendants and we've never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?" Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin, but if the Son sets you free, then you'll be free indeed." How sweet is that? But later in a few verses, they said, "Abraham is our father." Went back to it again, and Jesus said, "If you were Abraham's children, then you would do the things Abraham did."

Abraham is Great, but Melchizedek is Greater

So in fact Abraham was a great man. But Melchizedek was greater. And you might think, "well, if he was greater why don't we have more on him?" Well, I think that Genesis 14, Psalm 1:10 and Hebrews 5:6-7 is enough. Amen? And those verses tell us that Melchizedek was greater than Abraham. And why? Because he was priest of God most high, King of Salem, and mostly especially because Abraham, this great man, thought that Melchizedek was greater. And gave him a tenth of everything and Melchizedek blessed him. That's why. And you might think, well, that's not satisfying to me. Well, it's clearly satisfying to the author of Hebrews. And he was writing on the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. We will go with him. Amen?

Amen. So Melchizedek was greater than this great man, Abraham, and Abraham was greater than Levi, his great-grandson. The author to Hebrews continues to make his point, about the greatness of Melchizedek, he goes on to talk about the connection between Abraham and Levi. Levi was Abraham's descendant, his great-grandson. Abraham was clearly greater than Levi. Levi was in the body of his ancestor. It says here, we'll talk more about that in a moment. And Abraham acted on his behalf as a father represents his children. In the mind of the author to Hebrews there is no doubt whatsoever that Abraham was greater than Levi. Levi was just one of the 12 patriarchs. It was his descendant Aaron, who was the first high priest, under the Mosaic covenant. So it just keeps on going, the hierarchy of greatness just goes on down from there. And therefore, the argument here in this section of scripture is that Christ is greater than all of the Levitical priests. He's greater than all of the sons of Aaron. Christ is a greater priest than all of them. And therefore, why in the world would you want to turn back from Jesus to anything? And by the way, that's the connection to us gentiles, I'll make it at the end of this sermon, but we're not tempted to go back and offer an animal sacrifice.

What does this text say to us? I'm telling you, we are all under intense pressure to turn away from Jesus every moment of our lives, and to meditate on the greatness of Jesus is also negatively to meditate on the greatness of the crime of forsaking him. That's what the author is getting at. So how does he make his point? Well, the key issues here are the tithe and the blessing, this is what he's doing, is the key link in this whole argument.

III. The Tithe and the Blessing

So look at the tithe first, verses 4-6. "Just think how great he was: Even the patriarch Abraham gave him a tenth of the plunder. Now the law requires the descendants of Levi who become priests to collect a tenth from the people (that is, their brothers), even though their brothers are descended from Abraham. This man however, did not trace his descent from Levi, yet he collected a tenth from Abraham." So the evidence that the author gives us here of the greatness of Melchizedek is that he collected a tenth of the plunder that this great man Abraham had gotten from the defeat of the Kings. Literally, Abraham had given Melchizedek, a tenth of the top of the heap. The highest, the best, the cream floats to the top and from the top of the heap, he gave a tenth. The best he had to offer. That's what Abraham gave to Melchizedek.

Now many who believe that the tithe is a permanent regulation for the people of God, point to this passage. A key passage, they would say, because it pre-dates the Law of Moses and shows it somewhat of a universal standard. I'm going to talk more about tithing at the end of this sermon. But whatever you think about tithing, however, it's clear that the author to Hebrews is using this as an indication of the superiority of Melchizedek to Abraham, that's his point.

So, ponder the significance of this moment. Abraham, this great man is at the pinnacle of his earthly power, he's just won a mighty victory militarily, he's a hugely influential figure now in Palestine, what will become for the people of God, their inheritance. And at this key moment in history when Abraham's at the pinnacle of his success, this mysterious figure steps out of nowhere, Melchizedek. And Abraham gives him a tenth of all that he had plundered. Abraham clearly thinks that by giving this offering to this priest, he's giving to God Most High. And so, as honored and powerful and chosen and blessed as Abraham was, he considered Melchizedek to be greater and a conduit of giving right to God.

Now the Levitical priests were required by law to collect the tithe from their brother Israelites, it says in verse 5. This is clearly recorded for us, this law is recorded in multiple places. But Numbers 18, "To the Levites I have given every tithe in Israel for an inheritance." Tithe means a tenth. So a tithe of all of the produce of the land, all the good things that God was going to give them because they were rich now in the Promised Land, that went to the Levites for their service at the tent of meeting. So that was their inheritance. They didn't get any land, but they got the service at the tent of meeting and they got the tithes. But this man Melchizedek was under no such law. The law of Moses requiring the tithe would not be written for another half a millennium, another 500 years and more. And clearly he is not descended from Levi. And yet, for all of that, he collects the tithe. He's not doing under the law and he's not doing it by genealogy, he just collects the tithe. So, this exchange then represents the giving of gifts and offerings to God through a different kind of priest, a priest in the order of Melchizedek.

This order of Melchizedek was a greater order of priesthood than the Levitical priesthood, which has now become obsolete. And so, the tithe is evidence of the greatness of Melchizedek over Abraham. So also is the blessing. Not only did Abraham give Melchizedek a tithe, but Melchizedek gave Abraham a blessing. Now, this isn't just any blessing. Have you ever stopped to wonder why we say "Bless you" when people sneeze, but we don't say it when they cough? Why is that? I think there's some superstition from way back when in the dark woods of Northern Germany or something like that, where you're going to say "gesundheit" or something like that every time someone sneezes, and you need to speak a blessing. That's weak, friends. It's a weak blessing. I wish you well, I hope you don't die from whatever is ailing you. Or some elderly ladies will say, "Well, bless your heart." I don't say that, but I've been... My heart has been blessed a number of times by some people that definitely mean well, they want to bless my heart, and I'm grateful for that. But those are the weak pale kind of blessings that we're used to every day.

What are these Blessings?

The blessings that are discussed here are of a different order. There are patriarchal blessings, and there are priestly blessings. And these patriarchal and priestly blessings are really together prophetic blessings. They have a power to them, a significance to them. The call of Abraham is saturated in blessing language, isn't it? "Leave your country, your people and your father’s household…" Genesis 12. God said to Abram, "Leave your country and your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation…I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse;, and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you." That's not just any blessing, friends, that's how you get to Heaven. We are engrafted into this cultivated olive tree. The blessings given to Abraham, they come to us through Jesus, that's the blessing.

But then think about Isaac blessing Jacob, not knowing it was Jacob, but he did bless him. And he said, "May God give you of heavens dew and of earth's richness and abundance of grain and new wine. May nations serve you and people's bow down to you. Be Lord over your brothers, and may the sons of your mother bow down to you. May those who curse you be cursed, and those who bless you be blessed." That's a prophetic blessing. And though he thought he was giving it to Esau, he was giving it to Jacob. And when Esau sought the blessing, he couldn't change it. God had meant it for Jacob and he would be blessed. It was prophetic. And so also Jacob with his 12 sons. He gives them prophetic blessings, each one of them a different blessing appropriate to the tribe.

And when Joseph brought his two sons Manasseh and Ephraim to his bedside, he crossed his hands and put the left hand on the head of the firstborn, and the right hand on the head of the second born, and he put Ephraim ahead of Manasseh, and so it would be. It was a patriarchal blessing, those are powerful words. So also the blessing that God through the law of Moses instructed the priests to give to the people. In Numbers 6, "Tell Aaron and his sons, this is how you are to bless the Israelites. Say to them, 'The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you. The Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.' So they will put my name on the Israelites and I will bless them." These are significant and weighty things, these blessings.

So the author to Hebrews makes much of the blessing that Melchizedek gave to Abram. He blessed Abram saying, "Blessed be Abram, by God Most High, creator of heaven and earth. And blessed be God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand." And the author who says this clearly proves that Melchizedek was greater than Abraham. Verse 7, "Without doubt the lesser person is blessed by the greater." This is, in fact, the whole point of the section of Hebrews 7, and an even greater point was made very plainly by Jesus in John Chapter 8. Not only is Melchizedek greater than Abraham, but Jesus is greater than Abraham. Jesus said to the Jews, "Your father Abraham, rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day. He saw it and was glad." They responded to him, "You are not yet 50 years old." But Jesus said to them, "Before Abraham was born, I am." That's the real point. Not so much Melchizedek, but the infinite greatness of Jesus. But the author's point here has been to show the superiority of Jesus' priestly ministry through Melchizedek, greater than that of the Levites. The Levites were required to collect the tithe, they did so, it says, as men condemned to die.

Richard Baxter said he used to preach as a dying man to dying men. I've never forgotten that. Never forgotten that. Death comes on us quickly, doesn't it? You don't expect it. Eulene was at Sarah Newton's funeral. The next day she took ill and God took her home quickly. Are you ready to die? Are you ready to die? Are you ready to face your maker? Are you ready to face your judge? Only one way to get ready, faith in Jesus, trust in him. He died on the cross, he shed his blood, that's what we were celebrating in the singing. That's what we're going to celebrate next week, Easter Sunday. I'm not waiting for next week, I'm going to celebrate it today. Alright? I'm going to celebrate the resurrection, I'm going to celebrate the crucifixion. That is the only provision for a sinner like me to stand blameless before God. It was Eulene's hope, and in the name of that hope she has her reward now. Are you ready to die?

The tenth is collected by dying men from other dying men. But in the other case, by him who is declared to be living, Jesus is our living great High Priest. All of those priests died, Jesus ever lives to intercede for us. Amen. Death no longer has mastery over him, he cannot die again. Death is finished with him, and Jesus will someday destroy death, and that's the future.

IV. The “Presence “ of Levi, and the Principle of Representation

Final point the author makes here is mystical, deep, difficult to accept, but true. The presence of Levi and the principle of representation. Look at verses 9-10, "One might even say that Levi who collects the tenth, paid the tenth through Abraham, because when Melchizedek met Abraham, Levi was still in the body of his ancestor." Perhaps the most mystical and most significant statement here. Here the author's claiming that in some way Levi was there. Think about that hymn, "Were you there?" I'm not going to sing. Were you there when they crucified my Lord? Were you there when they crucified my Lord? Sometimes it causes me to tremble. Levi was there when Abraham paid the tithe. The key connection here is the issue of what we call federal headship, or representation. That the father of the tribe represents the whole tribe there. The key understanding. It's very foreign to us who live in this meritocracy known as America.

We actually kind of rebelled against that whole thing, the aristocracy of Great Britain, the idea that your whole social status was defined by your genealogy, by who your father was. No, no, no, we'll make our own way in the world, thank you very much. If we have skills and abilities, we will rise. That's America. So we have a hard time with the idea of federal headship, really we struggle with that. We struggle with the fact that Levi was there in the body of his ancestor and did something, he paid the tithe because Abraham paid. But I tell you, it is foundational to two of the most key moments, key moments in redemptive history, what happened with Adam at the Garden of Eden, and what happened with Jesus at the cross. Federal headship, representation in both cases.

Adam was there at the tree representing you and I, and we were in some mysterious way there with him. And when he ate from that fruit, we sinned. Friends, that's the teaching of Romans 5:12. "Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men," listen, "because all sinned." That is so hard to accept. I didn't do anything. Yes, you did, you sinned in Adam. And if you can't accept that, how can you accept forgiveness at the cross of Christ? Because the Bible reveals that you were there spiritually if you are united with Christ by faith. You were there, friends, spiritually. If Christ is your substitute, if he is your savior, you are one with him, united with him.

So it says in Romans 5:19, "Just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous." I was made a sinner in Adam, I am made righteous in Jesus. And again, you could say the same thing the other way. I didn't do anything. I didn't obey the law like I should have. No, God sees you as righteous, and you are righteous, just like God saw you a sinner, and you were sinner in Adam. It's federal headship.

Or again, 1 Corinthians 15:21-22, "For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive." Paul sums this up very powerful in Galatians 2:20. He says there, " I have been crucified with Christ. I died with Jesus, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. And the life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me." There is a spiritual union there. We were dead, friends. We were dead in our transgressions and sins in which we used to live, when we followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in the sons of disobedience. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh, following its lusts, its evil desires. Like the rest, we were, all of us, by nature, children of wrath. But God, because of his great glorious mercy in which he loved us, made us alive with Christ, even when we were dead in our transgressions. It is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ, and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.

So were you there when they crucified my Lord? Yes, I was there. I was on that cross dying with Jesus. Was I there resurrection day? Yeah, spiritually I was there because I'm one with him by faith. And so, in some mysterious way, Levi was there paying the tenth through Abraham.

V. Applications

So, what applications can we take from this? Well, trust in Christ alone. Trust in him. It's all about faith in Jesus. That's what the whole Book of Hebrews is for. So that's what the whole Bible is for. Put your hope solely on Jesus and trust in him. You can't stand before such a holy God alone without a substitute, without a high priest pleading the merit of his blood on your behalf, you cannot survive. While there's time, put your trust in him. You don't need to go anywhere or do anything, you just need to stand there and see the salvation of your God, and let Jesus' righteousness be yours, let his death be yours by simple faith.

And for you, as believers in Christ, make the connection too today. I have already said none of you is feeling a strong pull back to Old Covenant Judaism. If you are, let me know, please come and tell me. I would think we would have dealt with that by seven chapters of Hebrews by now, but come and talk to me. We're not going backward that way, but I don't think that's a strong pull for 21st Century Americans. But there is something pulling on you to pull you away from Jesus, something's pulling on you to get you to stop reading your Bible, to stop praying, to stop fellowshipping with believers, to stop coming to church, to stop walking the Christian walk, something's pulling on you, you know what I'm talking about. And you must have a great High Priest at the right hand of God, praying for you. And it seems you must know about it, you must know that he's there, you must know it vigorously, you must really kind of get into knowing that you have a great High Priest at the right hand of God. Feed your souls on that, picture him there standing and pleading on your behalf.

Thirdly, Worship. Worship Christ. Worship him. By the Spirit of God, we worship Jesus. This point, the point about Melchizedek. Melchizedek will now fade into the background, Jesus will stand alone, bright, shining in your minds. We were here today to worship Jesus. Amen. We're here for him. And you should live your whole life pouring out worship on Jesus. This meditation Melchizedek has helped you see the greatness of Jesus. Worship him today. Set aside your cares, Jesus has it covered, he knows everything you're facing, he's brought it to you actually. Worship him.

Finally, briefly, about the tithe. Some people say that the tithe is an abiding standard and that Christians should give the tithe, and they would point right here to the New Testament. Listen, let me tell you something, I think Randy Alcorn summed this up for me when he said that tithe is the training wheels of Christian giving. That's humbling. Training wheels. Remember when you were little kids, or when you were a little kid, you're riding wobbly, wobbly, wobbly, and you got these little wheels left and right, and they keep you upright. You're a beginner bike rider, okay? He said that's the tithe for Christian giving. Whoa, how does he say that? Well, his argument is that everything in the old covenant is better and enhanced in the new. It always goes better, bigger, brighter, more beautiful, more awesome.

And for a Christian to say, "Okay, the old covenant people, they had to give a tenth. Thank God we're not under the law, we can give less than the tenth." "Wrong direction," Randy Alcorn is saying, "Wrong direction." The law is a law of love. Give what you want, but want a lot. Give and it will be given to you, pressed down, full measure. It'll pour over into your lap. Jesus is saying, "That's the way I gave to you. Learn of Me, and give like that." And so if the tithe helps you get going, then let it help you, training wheels have their purpose. But then take them off when you can. And like Randy Alcorn said, "If You gave a tenth of your income, would you die?"  I love that question. I think that's just huge. "I don't know if I... " Well, just try it and see if you expire, and if you do, you'll be with Jesus. You might, maybe you'll die, but probably you won't. And then go on from there. That's, I think, the best teaching on tithing. But the final word can't be tithing. The final word has to be the greatness of Jesus. Some day you will see your great High Priest, you'll see him with your eyes, and you will worship him. Feed your souls on that this week. Close with me in prayer.

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