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May 26, 2024

The Perfect Priesthood (Hebrews 7)

Preacher:
Passage: Hebrews 7
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In the book of Hebrews, chapters 5 and 6, the writer referenced Melchizedek, leading us into a deeper exploration in Hebrews 7 of whom Melchizedek is and why his priesthood is significant. This sermon, titled "The Perfect Priesthood," delves into the figure of Melchizedek, drawing from three key verses in Genesis 14:18-20: "Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of God Most High. And he blessed him and said: 'Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; And blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand.' And he gave him a tithe of all."

Melchizedek is a mysterious figure who is both king and priest, a unique combination forbidden under Jewish law. However, Melchizedek is an exception, pointing us towards Jesus Christ. Hebrews 7:1-3 describes him as "king of righteousness" and "king of peace," without genealogy, and without beginning or end, likened to the Son of God. These descriptions emphasize his eternal priesthood, which foreshadows the perfect priesthood of Jesus.

As king of Salem, Melchizedek is identified as the king of peace, where "Salem" translates to peace, further indicating Jerusalem. Being a priest of the Most High God, Melchizedek represents people to God, a role fulfilled perfectly by Jesus. The sermon draws a compelling connection, suggesting that Melchizedek is a pre-incarnate appearance of Christ, known as a Christophany.

The writer of Hebrews elaborates on Melchizedek's priesthood, highlighting its prominence, perfection, and perpetuity. Abraham, a pivotal figure in Jewish history, acknowledged Melchizedek's superiority by giving him a tenth of his spoils, an act demonstrating Melchizedek's prominence. This priesthood's significance is underscored by the fact that even Levi, Abraham's great-grandson and the progenitor of the Levitical priesthood, effectively paid tithes through Abraham, acknowledging Melchizedek’s superiority.

The sermon addresses common misconceptions about tithing. While tithing is often seen as a requirement under the Mosaic covenant, the New Testament does not mandate it in the same way. Instead, giving is viewed as a heart-driven act of worship. 2 Corinthians 9:6-14 encourages believers to give generously and cheerfully, reflecting God's abundant provision and blessings.

Moving forward, the sermon examines the perfect nature of Melchizedek's priesthood. Hebrews 7:11-19 discusses the inadequacies of the Levitical priesthood and the law, which were unable to achieve true perfection or lasting change. In contrast, Jesus, from the tribe of Judah, offers a perfect, eternal priesthood. His single, perfect sacrifice on the cross provides an eternal solution to humanity's sin, unlike the repeated, temporary sacrifices of the Levitical priests.

The sermon underscores the perpetual aspect of Jesus’ priesthood, which is unending and unchangeable. Hebrews 7:20-28 emphasizes that Jesus' priesthood is based on an eternal oath from God, unlike the temporary, mortal Levitical priests. Jesus is able to save completely and continually intercedes for us. His priesthood is superior because He lives forever and does not need to offer sacrifices daily. Instead, His one-time sacrifice is sufficient for all time.

This sermon challenges us to consider how we might be taking Jesus' priesthood for granted. Unlike previous generations that lived under the strictures of the law and the sacrificial system, we live in an age of grace, where we can freely access God's presence and receive forgiveness. Abraham's act of giving a tenth to Melchizedek invites us to reflect on our own generosity and willingness to give in response to God's blessings.

At Calvary Chapel West Jacksonville, led by Pastor Allen Victor, we invite you to join us in exploring these profound truths.

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