Preacher: Pastor Ray
Text: Heb 9:23 – 10:25
Summary: Jesus denied His self-will throughout His life and we must also deny ourselves–our flesh, our mind, our emotions and our will.
Good morning, everybody. Thank you for the praise, Matthew. If we could just pray in unison. Let’s pray for the baby Lilianna for sure, for God’s blessing upon her. And if you could pray for our own hearts to be prepared and if you could pray for me specifically. I’ve been sensing more spiritual attack in recent months. And I just need prayer. Let’s pray it’s pretty in unison.
Father, thank you so much for the Lord’s Day when we can gather in Your presence and encourage one another. We pray for Lilianna. Bless her, Lord. We want more for our kids than ourselves. It’s not enough that our kids are saved. We want their faith and their love to far surpass ours. We want them to have a double portion of the Spirit compared to us. We pray that they would worship you and follow you all of their days. That’s all we ask for Liliyana, for all of our children.
Father, thank you for your discipline. It’s painful, but it’s for our good. You’re pushing us toward perfection so that we can be like Jesus in every way. Not just believe in Him, but to be like Him. And that is a painful process — a lump of clay being shaped into the image of our Savior. I pray that you continue to minister to us. Teach us. Thank you. In Jesus Name, Amen
23 Thus it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these rites, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24 For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. 25 Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, 26 for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27 And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, 28 so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.
It says in v26 that at the end of the ages, Jesus came to put away sin by sacrificing Himself. And that means put away everything. And did you know that as a believer, God is not content with just covering your sin. He wants to cleanse you of every sin and put away all sins. And it talks about holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things. And this, of course, is a reference to the tabernacle in the Old Testament.
There was an outer court and then you go inside a little further, and then there’s the Holy Place. And then, you go through the veil, the curtain, and you reach the Holy of Holies, the Most Holy Place. And we were created according to that design as well. We’re body, soul and spirit. It’s an exact representation of the tabernacle.
And I think one of the main issues that we all will face at some point of our lives is our soulisness. Because there are three kinds of people in this world, and maybe even three kinds of Christians. In this world, there is a carnal Christian. This is a Christian controlled by his or her body.
The old covenant talks about the outer court, which pertains to our bodies. Christians stay in the outer courts and think, I’m saved. That’s all there is. I’m covered by Jesus because in the outer court, there is an altar which symbolizes Calvary. And there’s a basin for washing, which symbolizes baptism. And many Christians stop there at the outer court. I’m saved. What more do I need?
But if you press in a little bit more, there is the Holy Place which corresponds to our soul. And you go a little further and you get to the Most Holy Place that is our spirit. 1 Thess 5 makes it clear that we are made in the image of God. And God is three Persons in one. And we are three parts in one person. We are spirit, soul and body.
And if you are a carnal Christian, that means that you are controlled by your body. You’re controlled by your passions and your lusts. And whatever you see with your eyes, you want it. Whenever your appetite is stirred, you have to eat it. You are a carnal Christian. If you’re controlled by your flesh and the desires of the flesh, Scripture is clear what we’re supposed to do. We’re supposed to crucify the flesh. Gal 5. You have to crucify the flesh. But that is not enough.
If you want to be like Jesus, you have to also crucify your soul–your mind, your will, your emotions. A soulish Christian on the outside might look very clean. A soulish Christian can be very committed. A soulish Christian studies the Scriptures. A soulish Christian is probably the first to show up on Sunday to serve and the last one to leave. They know the Scripture very well. And they’re committed.
John 5 explains to us the problem with soulishness. The Pharisees are a perfect example. They search the Scriptures and they thought that by doing so that they’ve spiritual, or that they figured out eternal life. And Jesus says, no, they have not come to me. There’s a pride in our soul which elevates our mind and our thoughts, which needs to be put away, which needs to be crucified, which needs to be repented of.
Did you know that in the Garden of Eden, there were two choices. There was a Tree of the Knowledge of good and evil and the Tree of Life. And many Christians still make the mistake of thinking, I have to keep going to the Tree of the Knowledge of good and evil, that Christian life is about obtaining knowledge. It’s about studying the Scripture. And if you eat of this tree, yes, you will know good and evil. But you’ll be lost because you’ve put so much of a high premium on the knowledge that you’ve obtained, and this knowledge puffs you up.
And spiritually, you’re being a soulish Christian if you think it’s about studying Scritpure. And these days, there is an epidemic of people who cannot control their minds. Their minds are controlling them. Or they’re controlled by their emotions. And the world tells you the solution is, well, you just have to talk it all out. Everything that went wrong in your life, just talk it all out. You will bring yourself to mental or emotional health. I will tell you this. You will not reach a solution. You’re being self-indulgent with your soul. You’re propping up your soul. That soul needs to die, brothers and sisters.
And instead of going to the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil, there is a Tree of Life. And we know that is the cross of Calvary. That is Jesus who shed His blood and died for us. And there is a flaming sword which tells us — if you want to go to the Tree of Life, you must be slain. Jesus, He’s more than our Savior. Jesus is our perfect example. And when you look at Jesus, you’re supposed to see, this is a person who is living the way that God wants me to live in every single way, in His body, in His soul, in His Spirit. His Spirit is controlling His body.
The Holy Spirit in Him is controlling His body. The Holy Spirit in Him is controlling His soul — His mind, His will, His emotions. And Jesus is voluntarily laying down His will. And that’s why we look at Jesus and say He is a spiritual man.
Here’s one autobiographical verse to summarize the life of Jesus.
38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me.
That is Jesus’ one line description of His life. I have not come to do my own will, but the will of the One who sent me.
Our soulishness is when our mind is so alive. Our soul is so alive and you see it through the mind being so active. Or, you’re still going to the Tree of the Knowledge of good and evil. You think the solution is — I just need to learn something and then I will be at ease and I will be free and I will be sanctified. It is not true. Simply not true. Spiritually, it is not true. You can study Scripture and get 5 PhDs on the Bible. Still, you will not have eternal life. If your approach is through knowledge, through your soul, through your mind, you cannot achieve any spiritual wisdom.
Or, regarding emotions, you can try to make yourself a joyful person, but it will not work. That is a religious-minded person who sees the standard and says, I need to live up to that standard. Go ahead, try. If you’re not a joyful person, try to be joyful. It will not work. You have to die to your emotions and Jesus’ joy will come in. It is not your joy. If you see a genuinely joyful Christian, it is not personality. It is not their soul that’s being put on display, or their personality on display. No, if it’s genuine, it is Jesus’ joy in that person (John 15).
We need to die to thinking that I can search Scripture and keep going to the Tree of the Knowledge of good and evil and I can sanctify myself through thinking. It does not work. You must crucify your mind.
All the hurts that you’ve gone through and the things that stir up your emotions, talking it out will not provide a solution. Just believe me on this. You cannot find a solution by talking about all the brokenness of your past and your damaged emotions. When you think about your past, you need to lay down those emotions. You need to crucify your soul that’s being expressed through those emotions the same way that we crucify our flesh with all of its passions and desires (Galatians 5).
If you want to progress past the outer court (flesh), if you want to move past the old covenant, then you must crucify your soul. Then, you will become a truly spiritual person. Why can I be so confident that this is how spiritual life works? It is because you see how spirituality works in the person of Jesus, who did not come here to do His will, but He came to do His Father’s will. He surrendered His will.
“Behold, I have come to do your will.” He does away with the first in order to establish the second. 10 And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
One simple way to understand the Bible is that everything in the Old Testament is the old covenant. And many of us are still stuck with an old covenant mindset of here is the law. It’s external to you and you’re trying so hard to live up. But there is condemnation because you cannot live up to it. That’s the way it is. There’s the Ten Commandments. There are hundreds of laws, and it is so burdensome because you cannot live up to them.
But you learn some things through being under this old covenant. You understand the importance of holiness. You understand that blood has to be shed. You understand that I, even though I cannot do so fully, I must try to keep God’s commandments. And there are some spectacular failures in the most godliest men of the Old Testament. And we just have to understand that’s how it is. Godly, but spectacular failures in some serious areas.
Think about Moses. As godly as he was, He got so angry. His soul, and in particular, his emotions, was not sanctified. So in a moment of unguardedness, he strikes a rock twice, which was a representation of Jesus Christ. And he forfeits entry into the Promised Land. This is Moses, one of the heroes of the old covenant and the Old Testament. He did not get to enter.
Do you see Apostle John, or do you see Apostle Peter after Pentecost becoming angry? No. There is a sanctification that was available to all of us in the new covenant that Moses did not have access to. Moses strikes the Rock and water comes out and many people are ministered to. That is like the Holy Spirit being poured out and it flows to every person. But for Moses as a person, the access to the holy places, which represents his soul and his spirit was closed, meaning the Spirit was poured out on Moses. The Spirit was poured over him, but the Spirit was not in him.
But Jesus says, after Pentecost, now rivers of life will flow from within. Nobody under the old covenant had the Spirit within them. The Holy Spirit was present. Holy Spirit was upon them on occasion. The Spirit was poured out. People were ministered to. But in terms of internally having the Spirit, this came after with the new covenant.
And so this new covenant is built on top of the old covenant, which is why some people who don’t understand this fact, they say, I’m not under the law, I’m under grace. And that’s true, but they take that to me — God’s holiness is an option. They trample on Christ’s blood because they keep on sinning because they have no concept of the old covenant. You see, it’s intentional. God started with the old covenant and He replaced it with the new covenant. And now in Hebrews 10:16 —
16 “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws on their hearts, and write them on their minds…”
And so under the old covenant, the law was external. The Holy Spirit was not made available to all believers internally. And now under the new covenant, the laws of God are written on our hearts and minds and the Spirit is available to all believers beyond the outer court (flesh), to the Holy Place (soul) and the Most Holy Place (spirit).
Hebrews 9:24 mentions Jesus going to the true tabernacle — heaven itself. The earthly tabernacle was a pointer to heaven. Jesus went into heaven and He stands before the throne room of God in heaven. Under the old covenant, there was a veil. The cleansing was only available for our bodies. And the Holy Spirit could only come upon believers. But now under the new covenant, the veil has been torn through Jesus’ death on the cross. The veil has been torn. The Spirit has been given to all believers ever since Pentecost.
That means, there’s a sanctification that is available to us that was not available to Moses or to anyone of the Old Testament. Think of how godly David was, but we’re surprised. By his failures. How can somebody so godly commit adultery and murder? These failures are clues revealing that when you’re under the old covenant, you’re cleansed just in your body. But in your soul, in your mind, in your will, in your emotions, you’re not cleansed to the level that a New Testament believer can be cleansed.
1 For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near. 2 Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, since the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have any consciousness of sins? 3 But in these sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. 4 For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. 5 Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said, “Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body have you prepared for me; 6 in burnt offerings and sin offerings you have taken no pleasure. 7 Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come to do your will, O God, as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.’” 8 When he said above, “You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings” (these are offered according to the law), 9 then he added, “Behold, I have come to do your will.” He does away with the first in order to establish the second. 10 And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. 11 And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 13 waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. 14 For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified. 15 And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying, 16 “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws on their hearts, and write them on their minds,” 17 then he adds, “I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.” 18 Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin. 19 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, 20 by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.
It says in v19 —
19 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus…
I never fully realized the significance of Jesus going to holy places after He ascended. He was in God’s presence in the heavily courts. And the fact that He did that enables you and I to live in the presence of God with full confidence. Yet why are we not confident? I I think it’s because of our carnality. It’s because of our soulishness. So we must overcome these things. Jesus came to overcome these things for us. You must crucify your flesh with its passions and desires. And I also want to add — you must crucify your soul with its emotions, your mind with its thoughts, you must crucify your will. You must deny yourself.
23 And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”
And we think following Jesus means going where He tells us to go. And yes, that is true. But when it’s says, follow me, it means to follow how He lived. To follow His example. He was not a carnal person. Obviously, he was also not a soulish person. And specifically, we see that Jesus had a will that He had to deny. Right? You see that at Gethsemane. Jesus had a will when He became a human. Part of the human frame was to take on a will that He had to deny. And when your mind is active and your emotions are unruly, your soul is so alive, chances are, you cannot put down your will.
We focus on doing things, don’t we? But does Jesus care about our sacrifices and our offerings? No, He cares about our bodies, which means He cares about the totality of a person. Even in Jesus’ life, He lived for 30 years as a carpenter and only engaged in public ministry for 3.5 years. I’m not a mathematician, but a little more than 10% of his life was ministry. And so what matters to God? Does He care about your ministry primarily and what you do, or does He care about you? He cares about the totality of a person — a body that has been prepared.
And we must deny ourselves. Jesus did not deny Himself only during the last week leading up to Calvary. Jesus, from day one, denied Himself. He says, I did not come to do my will. That is somebody who is dead to Himself in every way. And He invites us to deny ourselves. You deny what your emotions tell you to. You deny what your mind has figured out. Your plans. What you want to do. You deny what your body craves and desires. You put away self will, and if you’ve crucified your body and if you put away your soul, then you can say, I’m spiritual. The Holy Spirit controls me, and I can now practically do the Father’s will.
The greatest thing about when Jesus died on a cross was the fact that the veil was torn. The Holy Spirit was given. And now the laws which used to be external, the laws under which we were condemned, now it’s internal. Laws put in our hearts and written on our hearts.
And now, Jesus went to the most holy places, heaven itself. And now the Holy Spirit has access to your holy place. Your soul that was closed off in the old covenant. Now the Spirit has access to your mind and your emotions. And you have a choice in your will to surrender to the Spirit and be sanctified, or to resist Him.
And the reason why it’s been such a struggle for me is I feel the battle of my soul unwilling to yield to the Spirit. It’s a battle of my soul trying to kick and scream for life, shouting, No! These emotions are mine. I’m not gonna change who I am. This is who I am. I’m going to be this way forever. These emotions are unruly, but this is what I got. I’m not going to be a joyful person. This is just how I’m wired. This is my personality.
It’s like Jesus tears the veil and we’ve put up our own set of curtains. No, you cannot come into my soul. That is what I feel in my soul. I am wrestling with the Spirit. The Spirit says, I want to sanctify your body, soul, spirit, my mind, will and emotions. I want to sanctify everything so that in every way you can be like Jesus. That’s why John says…
1 John 2
…whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.
The goal is perfection. The goal is to actually be like Jesus and walk the way He walked in total surrender. His emotions at peace. No anger, no anxiety, no depression, a total peace and joy and confidence. This is Jesus’ emotional state. And that is what we are being perfected toward.
His mind in total submission. Total peace in His mind and His emotions. His will denied and surrendered to the Father. And John says, we’re being perfected. We must walk in the same manner that Jesus walked. Don’t just stay on the outer court where there is an altar and there’s a basin for washing. You’ve gone to Calvary. You believed in Jesus’ sacrifice. You’ve washed, you’ve gotten baptized. And then you stay there and say, I’m just gonna live my life. I’m saved. Many people can be content with that.
I’m gonna do what I want. I’m not gonna change my emotions. I’m who I am. This mind — I’m gonna continue to pursue the Tree of the Knowledge of good and evil. I think I’m gonna be a someone who studies Scripture and think that’s what it means to be spiritually. And I’m gonna dissect every verse. That’s what it means to be spiritual. I expounded verse by verse to show you how much knowledge I have. No, that is a soulish person. Somebody who is controlled by their mind and the pursuit of knowledge. Somebody whose mind is unruly and their emotions are unruly and their wills are stubborn. This is a soulish person.
And so we cannot stop at the outer court. We can’t st salvation and repenting of our bodily sins, the lusts and the passions of the flesh. The willful sins have to be put away. That is baby Christianity. We put away the lusts of the flesh. But if you want to progress towards perfection, the next chapter of your life is in this area of your soulishness and Jesus is our example. He had to deny Himself from day one.
The last passage is John 4, the Samaritan Woman. To me, this is a picture of somebody who can approach the throne of God with confidence and live in the presence of God.
23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.
This is still old covenant at this point when Jesus is speaking to this woman. He says the hour is coming and is now here when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth, for this Father is seeking such people to worship him. We can all worship with our flesh. We can worship bodily by clapping our hands By raising our voices. We can do all that. We can also worship in our soul by singing with emotion and by meditating on the lyrics. We can worship with our body and our soul. But do you know that God is not content with that? He wants people who are in His presence and worship him in spirit.
That’s that’s exactly what Hebrews is talking about in Hebrews 10:19-20.
19 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, 20 by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh…
As believers in Jesus who are being sanctified body, soul, spirit, mind, will, emotions, we can live in the presence of God and enter His presence and worship in spirit and in truth. That is what God is after. But we will never get there if we’re struggling with our carnality and our soulishness. You will stop short of the Most Holy Place, which is your spirit. And that is where God wants to connect. He wants to connect Spirit to spirit.
Father, your Word is so true. When your people obey your word and one small example is in the area of finances, when we submit and believe that 100% of our money is yours, and we actually live it out, you see us stewarding your money and you fulfill your promise to give us true riches. And now, Lord, you’re pouring out your riches, your spiritual riches. We did not know these things that you’re revealing to us. The Word is so true.
Father, we want to be true worshippers. We want to worship in spirit and in truth. We want to walk in the way that Jesus walked. Free from sin. And as ones who are being sanctified, we’re in the process of putting away every sin.
And in the beginning, there’s our carnality, our bodily sins, our willful sins. But as we crucify our flesh with its desires and its passions and its lusts, you will sanctify our body the same way that you sanctify the bodies of those under the old covenant.
But Jesus, your coming was so significant. The veil was torn. And now the Holy Spirit has access to our soul. There was no access before. That’s why people under the old covenant sinned spectacularly in ways that people under the new covenant do not.
Father, we ask for the Spirit to have access to our soul. We pray that we would not pursue you through our minds primarily. We would be deceived if we searched the Scripture thinking this is the path toward spirituality. If we have all the degrees and week after week preach verse by verse, that is not what it means to be spiritual. It is not. That is a soulish Christian who wants to brag about how knowledgeable they are. Father, we don’t want to be that way anymore.
Father, our emotions that flare up with irritation and anger. Or weigh us down with depression. These things are not of you. These are evidences that our soul is still so alive. Lord, as you begin to sanctify us in our souls, it will be a battle of whether or not we will deny ourselves and die to ourselves and ask for you to give us your mind and your emotions.
We can have the mind of Christ. This is a spiritual gift that you can bestow upon us as we lay down our minds. And the goal is to be somebody who worships you in spirit and in truth. May we approach you with confidence and full assurance that we will be accepted in your presence. Sanctify us so that we can stay in your presence.
Father, I ask that the next time that our mind is unruly, we would ask for the Holy Spirit’s help to put down our mind and die in that moment. I pray that the next moment our emotions are starting to be stirred up in an unhealthy way, we pray that we would ask for the Spirit’s help to kill that emotion. Teach us, Lord, how to be sanctified body, soul, spirit, mind, will and emotions. To move from the outer court, to the Holy Place, to the Most Holy Place.
Send your Spirit. We need help, Lord. We cannot sanctify ourselves. And so we need the Spirit’s help. We are thankful that Jesus, you’ve torn the veil. Lord, we avail our soul to you. Sanctify us, cleanse us by the blood of Jesus. Holy Spirit, you are the Counselor. Reveal to us the strongholds in our minds and the strongholds in our emotions. Counsel us. Show us the areas in which we need to die. Please demolish those strongholds one by one. We pray that you continue to sanctify your Bride. Help us, Lord. In Jesus Name, Amen