A Book of Better Things - A Better Mediation

Sermon Summary

This message discusses the fact that Jesus was a better mediator between man and God because He understood both sides. He literally took on human flesh and became human and as such was fully man. However, at the same time, He was God in the flesh and therefore He was fully divine. This is why He was such a good mediator between humanity and God. He understood our weaknesses and our struggles because He too had been tempted in every way like us, yet without sin. By the same token, He knew and understood very well the righteous demands of God's Holy Law and that it was a good law, but that it was weakened by our sinful nature. In other words, we just did not have the power to live up to God's standards because of our fallen nature. Jesus lived a perfect life and therefore met the requirements of the law so when He offered Himself as a sacrifice for our sins, His offer was acceptable.

Community Group Discussion Guide

1. Lawyers mediate all the time as a part of their job representing others. Have you ever had to play the role of mediator between conflicting parties? How hard was it for you to understand both sides? (Ex. Like between children who are fighting over something)

2. Have you ever really let it sink in that Jesus understands our weaknesses, our struggles, and even our temptations? What difference does it make to know that He truly understands?

Heb 2:14a  Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity...

Heb 4:15  For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet was without sin.

3. Knowing that Jesus understands our struggles is one thing, but realizing He made the sacrifice to forgive us for our mess-ups, and offers to walk with us, should bring us the confidence we need to live a victorious life. Share with the group how this confidence has made a difference in your life.

Heb 4:16  Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

1 Cor 10:13  No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

4. Sometimes we do not take advantage of the the way out that is provided and the old nature wins a battle. When that happens Satan uses our stumbles to try and drive a wedge between us and God. He wants us to feel ashamed to pray and unworthy to worship. This can lead to a withdrawal from Bible study, worship or fellowship with our brothers and sisters in Christ. While The Holy Spirit will convict us of sin in order to draw us away from the evil that will destroy us, His conviction is never meant to harm us or discourage us. Satan is the one who condemns us and seeks to pull us down. Once again Jesus steps in to be our Mediator! Read the following passage and discuss how it applies to your life. 

Rom 8:1  Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,
Rom 8:2  because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.
Rom 8:3  For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man,
Rom 8:4  in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.

Full Sermon Notes

A Book of Better Things - A Better Mediation

"It all revolves around Your throne, who can know Your glory? So high above yet slain for us, You alone are worthy!" Do you know why Jesus was slain for us? It was so we could know His glory! It was so we could stand before His throne, before the King of Kings and Lord of Lords and know that we would not be struck down, but would be accepted! Today we will discover that Jesus was a better mediator. A better hight priest than any earthly high priest had ever been. Today we will see just how amazing is the grace that has granted us all access to the Holy of Holies and to the very ear of God! Let's begin by praying to that very God who is eager to listen to us this morning! PRAY

So far our study of the Book of Hebrews has shown us that Jesus is a better revelation and a better salvation. Today we look at how Jesus brings a better mediation. What is the definition of mediation? According to Webster it is...

Mediation - the act or process of mediating; especially: intervention between conflicting parties to promote reconciliation, settlement, or compromise

Mediator - one that mediates; especially: one that mediates between parties at variance

Okay, you might be thinking why we need a mediator to do mediation between us and God. Is there a conflict between us and God? The simple and short answer to that is YES! You see, our Creator gave humankind choices but asked us to trust His heart and believe Him when He said these words back in Genesis…

Gen 2:16  And the LORD God commanded the man, "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden;
Gen 2:17  but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die."

And of course we all know what happened! Adam and Eve didn't trust God and sin and death came crashing into human existence. God, however, being the good God He is, began implementing an incredible backup plan He had already set up just in case He needed it. Or maybe I should say if we needed it. And boy did we need it!! In fact, by the time of Noah, this was the human condition...

Gen 6:5  The LORD saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.
Gen 6:6  The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain.

But even with this God was not willing to give up on us! God made covenants with Noah, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. and then with the people of Israel through Moses. Listen to this...

Exo 2:23  During that long period, the king of Egypt died. The Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out, and their cry for help because of their slavery went up to God.
Exo 2:24  God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob.
Exo 2:25  So God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them.

After Moses was called by God to lead the people of Israel, He had this conversation with Moses...

Exo 6:5  Moreover, I have heard the groaning of the Israelites, whom the Egyptians are enslaving, and I have remembered my covenant.
Exo 6:6  "Therefore, say to the Israelites: 'I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment.
Exo 6:7  I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the LORD your God, who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians.

You know the story! God kept His promise and set the Israelites free and then gave them the 10 Commandments and made a covenant with them. Check this out...

Exo 24:4  Moses then wrote down everything the LORD had said. He got up early the next morning and built an altar at the foot of the mountain and set up twelve stone pillars representing the twelve tribes of Israel.
Exo 24:5  Then he sent young Israelite men, and they offered burnt offerings and sacrificed young bulls as fellowship offerings to the LORD.
Exo 24:6  Moses took half of the blood and put it in bowls, and the other half he sprinkled on the altar.
Exo 24:7  Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it to the people. They responded, "We will do everything the LORD has said; we will obey."

Did they? They did not! In fact they rebelled against God and spent 40 years wandering in the desert. God was about to give up on them completely, but Moses mediated between them and God and prayed for them. Here's how it went...

Exo 32:30  The next day Moses said to the people, "You have committed a great sin. But now I will go up to the LORD; perhaps I can make atonement for your sin."
Exo 32:31  So Moses went back to the LORD and said, "Oh, what a great sin these people have committed! They have made themselves gods of gold.
Exo 32:32  But now, please forgive their sin--but if not, then blot me out of the book you have written."
Exo 32:33  The LORD replied to Moses, "Whoever has sinned against me I will blot out of my book.

In other words, Moses could not take their place. He could not pay for their sin. Moses was just a man, a great man of God, but a man, a sinner. God heard his prayer and gave the nation of Israel another chance, and as such, Moses was a wonderful mediator, but he couldn't save them, change their hearts, or purify their hearts. He could only petition God to have mercy on them. But Jesus was a greater mediator and could provide a greater mediation because of who He was and what He did that no one else could do! Hebrews, the book of better things, explains this so well. Once again, we will read a few of the verses we read last week because they serve as a beautiful transition from the better salvation to the better mediation. Hebrews 2:14 and following.

Heb 2:14  Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death--that is, the devil--
Heb 2:15  and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.
Heb 2:16  For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham's descendants.
Heb 2:17  For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people.
Heb 2:18  Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

Jesus was a better mediator because...

Jesus Understood The Human Side

Heb 2:14a  Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity...

Jesus understands us completely because He was one of us! He was human. He had real flesh and bones. He knew what is like to want, to dream, to be happy, to be sad, to be strong, to be weak, to be energized and to be so tired that He could sleep through a storm.
Some people tried to explain away His humanity, but God's Word tells us this...

2 John 1:7  Many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist.

And as fully human Jesus was also tempted like us...

Heb 2:18  Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

Just a quick note on this verse: Jesus suffered when He was tempted, but He did not sin when He was tempted! This is one of the many things that set Jesus apart from Moses and any other mediator or earthly priest. Tempted yet without sin! And this has amazing practical application to everyone in this room. Listen to what the writer of Hebrews said a little later in chapter 4:15-16.

Heb 4:15  For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet was without sin.
Heb 4:16  Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Have you ever felt like you couldn't come to church because you had messed up and didn't feel like you could really worship without being a hypocrite? Have you ever thought you couldn't really pray because you knew you had slipped again and sinned and felt like God wouldn't even give your prayers the time of day?

But God's Word makes it clear that Jesus is a high priest who, because He knows what it's like to be tempted, He sympathizes with our weakness. And watch this, because Jesus understands and He is our high priest, our mediator, we are to approach the throne of grace with confidence! Confidence in what? If we are truly repentant and confess our sin we will find the mercy and grace we need! Why? Because Jesus makes intercession for us with the Father and the Father grants His request for forgiveness on our behalf!

1 John 1:8  If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.
1 John 1:9  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:10  If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.
1 John 2:1  My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense--Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.
1 John 2:2  He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

Charles A. Trentham put it this way in the Broadman Commentary...

"We need not crawl cringingly into His presence. We can approach Him with holy boldness. We can walk upright, with heads erect, as sons of God."

But Jesus not only understood our side of things and our struggles because He was fully human, He was also fully God so He understood the righteous and holy standards God required. He doesn't lower those standards for us, rather, He met those standards for us and has made a way for us to begin to live new lives. He was faithful to those standards in everything He did.

Jesus was a better mediator because...

Jesus Understood The Divine Side

Heb 3:1  Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess.
Heb 3:2  He was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses was faithful in all God's house.
Heb 3:3  Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself.
Heb 3:4  For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything.
Heb 3:5  Moses was faithful as a servant in all God's house, testifying to what would be said in the future.
Heb 3:6  But Christ is faithful as a son over God's house. And we are his house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast.

Jesus was faithful to fulfill every expectation that was placed on Him by the Heavenly Father! He knew the righteous demands of the law could only be met if He lived a perfect life and then made the perfect sacrifice. The preacher of Hebrews told his listeners to fix their thoughts on Jesus who was an apostle of God, an ambassador of God. This is the only time Jesus is called an apostle. An apostle is one who is sent with a message. Jesus was sent with a powerful message of God's love to the world! He loved us even though we had sinned, but sin could not be overlooked. It had to be dealt with and Jesus would have to deal with it in a profound and costly way! Listen to the message of God Jesus brought to us found in Romans 5:6-10...

Rom 5:6  You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.
Rom 5:7  Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die.
Rom 5:8  But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Rom 5:9  Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him!
Rom 5:10  For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!

The writer of Hebrews is also the only New Testament writer who called Jesus a High Priest. "The Latin word for priest (Pontifex) means a 'bridge builder.' Jesus was and is the bridge between God and man." Broadman Commentary. And what a bridge He built!!
He did for us what we could never have done for ourselves!

Rom 8:1  Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,
Rom 8:2  because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.
Rom 8:3  For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man,
Rom 8:4  in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.

You see, Jesus brings a better mediation between God and man because because He understands both sides and has been willing to work out a wonderful deal for you and me. And just what is that deal?

Heb 3:5  Moses was faithful as a servant in all God's house, testifying to what would be said in the future.
Heb 3:6  But Christ is faithful as a son over God's house. And we are his house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast.

Remember last week I told you that the preacher of Hebrews was so concerned that some of his hearers were about to refuse the grace of God offered through faith in Jesus and go back to their old ways of trying to earn their salvation by their own righteousness and efforts to keep the letter of the law.  So he tells them to have the courage to trust Jesus who was the hope in which they boasted. What was the hope in which the New Testament Church boasted? Paul put it this way to the Church at Corinth...

2 Cor 5:21  God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

And the Hebrews preacher pleads with his hearers the following and I would echo his words to you today...

Heb 3:12  See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God.
Heb 3:13  But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness.
Heb 3:14  We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first.
Heb 3:15  As has just been said: "Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion."

Let Jesus be your mediator and you will discover the beauty of a personal relationship with your Creator God! How do you do this? Admit you have sinned against God! Believe that Jesus paid your penalty on the cross. Call upon His name! It really is that simple! Let's pray!!