Jesus Paid It All :: Resurrection Sunday
March 27, 2016 :: Hebrews 13:20-21
I invite you to turn in your Bibles with me to the Benediction of the Book of Hebrews.
It’s almost the very last few verses of this letter, and it is a blessing. A prayer from the writer, to God, reported to the readers.
The author of this letter writes this blessing as a prayerful exclamation mark for his epistle, and I want us to dwell on it a little bit together this morning.
Now, I know that on a Sunday that we have baptisms, I’m just the opening band for the main act. We’re all excited to hear Aspen and Hunter tell us their stories and see them get dunked in this tank back here for the glory of Jesus Christ!
So I promise to hurry up with this and not go long. I know also that we have no children’s church today, so attention spans will be shorter than usual.
And that’s another reason why I’ve picked just these two short verses at the end of the book of Hebrews.
But there’s gold in these hills, and I want us to dig a little bit today to discover some awesome treasure.
Question: Why would you tell somebody what you are praying for them?
It’s good to pray for somebody and to pray for somebody in private and secret.
People don’t always have to know that you are praying for them for those prayers to be good and loving.
But it’s also a very good thing to tell somebody that you are praying for them and even to tell them what you are praying for them.
And even to pray in front of them so that they can hear you pray those things for them. Do you see what I mean?
Every night at bedtime, Heather prays with and for Robin, and I pray with and for our three sons.
I also pray for my kids at other times. Times they don’t know about. But at beditime, that’s one moment every day that they hear me pray for them. And they know what I pray. They are listening and agreeing with me in prayer.
And that’s important isn’t it? When I pray for you here at Lanse Free Church before I preach, I could do that silently. But I pray out loud for you right here before we get into the meat of the message, and you hear what I pray, and you pray it along with me.
Well, that’s, at heart, what a blessing is. What a benediction is.
It’s a prayer to God, reported to the people being prayed for. Why? So that they are encouraged and strengthened and reminded Who God Is, What God Has Done, and What God Wants for Them.
Who God Is
What God Has Done
What God Wants for Us.
That’s what we will find in this benediction. And I hope that we will be encouraged to pray it, too.
Here’s what it says: “May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”
#1. WHO GOD IS: THE GOD OF PEACE.
First, who is God?
He is the God of Peace.
And that’s a good thing because we live in a world at war.
Ever since our first parents Adam and Eve disobeyed God, the human race has lived in a world at conflict.
Conflict between God and humanity.
Which leads to conflict between humans, one with another.
And also conflict within humans. War in our own hearts.
Humanity is in desperate need of peace because we live in a world at war.
Do you feel that?
I think we all feel that the world is broken right now.
There is so little peace.
It’s in every headline in every newspaper. Brussells?!
And we’re all ready to point the finger at someone else for breaking the peace.
But the fact is, we are all responsible. It’s the curse on our world due to sin.
And we need the God of peace to restore it, to restore shalom to our world.
And the good news is that He has done it! And is doing it. And will finish the job.
#2. WHAT GOD HAS DONE: BROUGHT JESUS BACK FROM THE DEAD!
What has the God of peace done?
He has brought back Jesus from the dead.
Here’s where I want to spend most of our little time this morning.
The God of peace has done the miracle of miracles.
He has taken a dead man, the man named Jesus of Nazareth who was crucified on a wooden cross in the first century during the rule of Pontius Pilate in Jerusalem and who was buried in a garden tomb [The God of peace has taken this dead man], and brought him back from the dead!
That is the miracle of miracles.
And it’s why we are here today.
It’s what we are celebrating this Sunday and, really, every Sunday.
The God of peace has brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus Christ.
That means that Jesus went into death.
We believe in a crucified Savior. If Jesus didn’t die, then all is lost.
But we also believe that He has risen. He didn’t stay dead.
God brought Him back.
And if that’s not true, if that’s not history, if that didn’t actually factually happen, then we are wasting our time here this morning. Hunter and Aspen are wasting their time in this tank.
How utterly silly to get baptized if Jesus has not risen from the dead!
But we believe. We believe that the God of peace has brought Jesus back from the dead.
He was dead, and now He is alive again.
And the God of peace has done it.
Now, I want you to notice something strange in verse 20. Have you ever noticed this before?
HOW did the God of peace bring back the Lord Jesus from the dead?
What does it say?
He did it, “through the blood of the eternal covenant...”
Isn’t that a little strange?
It says that God brought Jesus back from the dead through or by means of the blood of the eternal covenant. What does that mean?
How did the blood bring Jesus back? The blood refers to His death. That’s the wrong direction, right? Doesn’t the blood take Jesus into His death?
What this guy saying?
He’s saying that JESUS PAID IT ALL.
Jesus’ sacrificial death was sufficient and acceptable for our sin debt.
And because that debt was fully 100% paid, God would raise Jesus from the dead.
Jesus would be vindicated because the innocent had perfectly died for the guilty.
Do you see what I’m saying?
When Jesus died on the Cross, He took on our debt with Him.
He took my debt. He took Aspen’s debt. He took Hunter’s debt. He took your debt.
You could not pay it.
And the blood of bulls and goats and rams and lambs could not pay it. Not fully.
But Jesus paid it all. Once and for all.
Hebrews 10:14 says, “by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.”
And catch this. Because of that, Jesus could not stay dead.
His death was too good to last.
When that blood was shed so perfectly, so beautifully, so sufficiently, it would have been an injustice for Jesus to remain in the grave!
I think that’s why it was through the blood of the eternal covenant that Jesus was brought back from the dead.
Jesus paid it all. Therefore He could not stay dead.
And now He lives forever.
It’s the blood of the eternal covenant. The everlasting one. What that blood did then will stay true for all eternity (Ezekiel 37:26)!
And you’ve got to see this, too. He has been brought back from the dead to be our Great Shepherd. Look against at verse 20.
“May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus...that great Shepherd of the sheep,”
We’re the sheep, and Jesus is the shepherd.
And that’s not very flattering for us because sheep are dumb.
But it’s good news for us because sheep need caring for.
And here we have the Greatest Shepherd ever who is going to live forever.
Isn’t that good news?
I sat at the bedside of Jane Fox this Wednesday. Edie Sipe’s mom. Jane was in her 90's and at the very end of her life. She died two days later, on Friday.
And it was my privilege to share the gospel with her at her bedside.
And you know what I told her? What I read to her in the Bible?
John chapter 10. Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep....The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full...I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me–just as the Father knows me and I know the Father– and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life–only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again.”
I said to Mrs. Fox, “Jesus is the good Shepherd. He laid down His life for us, the sheep. And He took it back up again to give us abundant life. You can trust Him.”
And Mrs. Fox indicated very clearly that she was trusting in Jesus as her good shepherd. Praise God!
How about you? Have you trusted in Jesus as your own Shepherd?
We all need one. All the time. And He’s the greatest that ever was.
And in fact, He’s come back from the dead to Shepherd His people!
Turn to Him. Trust in Him. Put yourself in His hands.
Return to Him. Repent and trust in Jesus.
The Apostle Peter echoed Isaiah 53 when he said, “For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls” (1 Peter 2:25).
Have you done that? Everyone has gone astray. Have you returned to the Great Shepherd of your soul?
He has returned from the dead. I urge you to put yourself in His caring hands.
So that you can say, “Jesus is my Shepherd. I shall not want.”
“Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”
That’s what the God of peace did. He brought Jesus back from the dead through the blood of the eternal covenant to be our Great Shepherd forever.
You know the best thing about that tomb over there? It’s empty!
Jesus has been brought back from the dead by the God of peace.
That how we have peace with God.
And it’s only IN Him that we will find our peace with others and our peace within.
#3. WHAT GOD WANTS FOR US: TO EMPOWER US TO PLEASE HIM.
One more thing to say and that’s to see what God wants for us.
We’ve been reminded of Who God is and what God has done.
But the writer has one more thing to pray for his readers and that is that we would be empowered to please God. V.21
“[May this God of peace that we’ve been talking about] ... equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”
That’s actually the prayer request of this benediction.
The request is that God would empower us with everything we need to know and do what He wants and to make Him happy.
Do you want to do what God wants?
Do you want to make Him happy?
Do you want to please God?
Because that’s what God wants for us, too.
God wants to empower us “to equip” us with “everything good for doing his will” and to “work in us what is pleasing to him.”
What pleases God most of all? FAITH. (Hebrews 11:6).
He wants to work faith into us. He wants us to believe. To trust Him. And to obey Him.
And He wants to empower us to do just that.
And here’s the best news.
He’s got the power to do it.
That’s how the logic of this benediction works.
Does God have the power to equip you with everything good for doing his will and work in you what is pleasing to Him through Jesus Christ? That’s verse 21.
Verse 20 has already supplied the answer.
The God of peace has brought Jesus Christ back from the dead, so I’m thinking, “Yes” he can do it.
Yes, he can pull this off!
Do you see why the author of this letter might include this prayer request, this blessing at the end of his epistle?
He wants to encourage his readers that he isn’t praying something far off or nearly impossible for them.
He’s praying something that God wants to do in them and can most certainly do in them.
God wants to empower us to please Him.
And He’s brought Jesus back from the dead to accomplish it.
Are you encouraged?
Sometimes we get to thinking that we can’t please God.
That God is constantly unhappy with us and disappointed.
"Oh, there they go again."
But this benediction tells us another story.
It tells us of a God of peace who brought back our great Shepherd from the dead through a perfect sacrifice of His own blood. Jesus paid it all.
So that now as that blood is applied to us, we can please Him.
We can do His will. We can do what He wants and make Him happy.
And live for his glory. V.21
to Jesus “be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”
Messages in This Series
Jesus Paid It All
What If Jesus Had Not Paid It All?
Freed from Debt