By Means Of Death

Posted by on Oct 28, 2007

By Pastor Mike Withem

First Baptist Church of Ranson, WV

October 28, 2007

Sunday Morning

“By Means Of Death”


Scripture Text: Hebrews 9:15-28



A.   (Illus.- A few months ago, as I was sharing the gospel with a young man who was approximately 19-20 years old, I was asked the following question. He asked me, “Was it absolutely necessary for Jesus to die, in order for us to be saved?” I had just shared with him Rom. 5:8 that says, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us,” but he wanted to know, “Was that absolutely necessary? Could Jesus have provided salvation for us without actually having to die?”)


B.   Do you remember the prayer that Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, just before He went to the cross?

1. Listen as I read Mark 14:39, “And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me:”

2. In other words, “Father, if there is any other way to do this, let’s do it some other way!”

3. Of course, there was no other way.

4. This is why Jesus went on to say in that same verse, “…nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.”

5. But, again, this raises the question (and it is a legitimate question), “Why did Christ have to die!”


C.   As we continue our study of Hebrews, this morning, we are going to notice that our text actually answers that question.

1. In fact, the writer of Hebrews gives us at least three reasons why it was necessary for Christ to die.

2. Notice, first of all, that is was necessary in order to…


I.       Seal The Promise.


A.   Notice again Vrs. 15-17 of our text, “And for this cause he (Jesus) is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance….For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator….For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.”

1. Do you understand what the writer of Hebrews is saying here?

2. He is comparing the promise of eternal life that Christ made to Israel and that we refer to as the New Covenant (Testament), he is comparing that promise to a “last will and testament.”

3. He is saying that as long as Jesus was alive, His promise of eternal life was in question, but the moment that Jesus died, His promise was sealed!


B.   (Illus.- Let me illustrate. Suppose you were to receive a letter from Bill Gates’ lawyer informing you that, for some unknown reason, he had named you as one of his beneficiaries in his will. Now I realize that is probably not going to happen, but suppose it did. Would you immediately run out and buy you a Porsche? Would you immediately run out and buy your wife a diamond necklace worth millions? Would you immediately run out and sign a contract on a multi-million dollar home? Would you do any of these things? The answer, of course, is, “No!” And the reason you wouldn’t, is because as long as Bill Gates is alive, you get nothing. Right?)

1. Notice again Vrs. 17 of our text, “For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.”

2. You can brag till you are blue in the face, “Hey, I’m in Bill Gates’ will.”

3. However, as long as Bill Gates is alive, you are still as poor as the rest of us!


C.   I’ll tell you something else.

1. As long as the testator is alive, he can change his mind and his will.

2. (Illus.- Let me illustrate. I am not Bill Gates, but my wife and I do have wills. Right now, both of our children are named as beneficiaries in those wills. Suppose, for some unnamed reason our children were to “fall out of our grace,” as long as we are still living, we could change the terms of our will. In other words, we could remove them altogether as beneficiaries.)

3. The point is this: as long as the testator (the one who draws up a will) is living, the will itself means very little (has very little power) because it is not in force.

4. However, once the testator dies, the will is then in force and cannot be changed or altered.’

5. That’s why it was necessary for Christ to die, so that His promise of eternal life might be sealed.


D.   By the way, because Jesus rose from the dead, not only is He the testator of the New Covenant, He is also the executor of the New Covenant.

1. In other words, because He is now alive, He can make sure that the exact terms of the New Covenant are carried out completely.

2. And so, it was necessary for Jesus to die in order to seal the promise.

3. Notice, also, that Jesus’ death was necessary in order to…


II.      Secure The Pardon.


A.   Notice again Vrs. 18-22 of our text, “Whereupon neither the first testament was dedicated without blood….For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people,…Saying, This is the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you….Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry….And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.”


B.   The first thing we need to understand is that the use of blood (from slain animals) was a vital part of the worship that was associated with the Old Testament tabernacle.

1. In fact, according to the verses that we just read, after the construction of the tabernacle and it’s furnishings was completed, Moses used blood to dedicate everything.

2. Notice again Vrs. 21 of our text, “Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry.”

3. Then after the tabernacle was dedicated and the glory of the Lord filled it, the daily sacrifices began.

4. The Israelites would bring their sacrificial animal to the tabernacle, they would then cut the animal’s throat, allowing the priests to collect the blood.

5. Once the blood had been collected, the priest would then go into the tabernacle itself, sprinkle some of the blood before the veil, then return to the courtyard, sprinkle more blood on the horns of the brazen altar, and then pour out the remainder of the blood on the ground at the base of the altar. (Lev. 4:1-7)

6. And so, the use of blood (from slain animals) was a vital part of the worship that was associated with the Old Testament tabernacle.


C.   Now this raises a question.

1. Why was the use of blood so vital?

2. Someone says, “I just don’t get it! Why was it necessary to kill all of those animals and shed all of that blood in order to worship God? Couldn’t they have worshiped God without shedding all of that blood?”

3. The answer is, “Yes, but God would not have accepted their worship!”

4. Do you remember Cain and Abel?

5. Both of these brothers brought an offering to the Lord.

6. However, God accepted Abel’s offering, while He rejected Cain’s offering.

7. Why did God reject Cain’s offering?

8. Simply because it was a “bloodless” offering.

9. But someone says, “I still don’t get it! Why was the shedding of blood so important?”

10.   It was important because the blood of those animals that were slain in Old Testament days was a picture of the blood of Christ that would one day be shed for our sins.

11.   Listen as I read from 1 Pet. 18-19, “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold,…But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:”


D.   There is another reason why the shedding of blood was so vital then, and is still vital today, and that is because without the shedding of blood, there is no pardon for sin.

1. Notice again Vrs. 22 of our text, “And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.”

2. (Illus.- As I said last Sunday, in many “purpose driven” churches today, you won’t hear any songs or hymns about the blood. Not only won’t you hear any hymns about the blood, but you won’t hear any sermons about the blood either. Why not? Because some people find it offensive.)

3. Now it may be true that some people find singing and preaching about the blood offensive, however, without faith in the blood of Christ, one cannot be saved and go to heaven.

4. Listen to Lev. 17:11, “For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.”

5. Listen also to Rom. 3:24-25, “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:…Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins.”

6. Finally, listen to Eph. 1:6-7, “To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved (Jesus)….In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins.”


E.   And so, Christ’s death was necessary to secure the pardon.

1. First of all, it was necessary to seal the promise.

2. Secondly, it was necessary to secure the pardon.

3. Notice, finally, that Christ’s death was necessary to…


III.    Satisfy The Penalty.


A.   Notice again Vrs. 23-28 of our text, “It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these….For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:…Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others;…For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself….And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:…So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.”

1. Notice especially the first part of Vrs. 28, it says, “So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many.”

2. Now what did the writer of Hebrews mean when he said that Christ was once offered “to bear the sins” of many?

3. He simply meant that Christ was offered to “pay the penalty for our sins.”

4. You see, because we have sinned against God, we have incurred a penalty (debt) that we owe to God.

5. What is his penalty?

6. It is death, not physical death, but rather spiritual death, eternal separation from God.

7. Listen to Rom. 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death.”

8. Listen also to Rom. 5:12, “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:”

9. Finally, listen to Jam. 1:15, “Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.”

10.   Do you remember what God told Adam and Eve when He gave them instructions on how they were to behave in the garden?

11.   Listen as I read Gen. 2:16-17, “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:…But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”

12.   Well, Adam and Eve did eat, and the moment they did, they incurred the penalty of death for their disobedience.

13.   And so, because we have sinned, we have incurred a penalty (debt), and that penalty is death.


B.   Well, when Jesus died on the cross, He paid that penalty (debt) in full.

1. This is what the writer of Hebrews was talking about in Heb. 2:9, “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.”

2. Peter put it like this in 1 Pet. 2:24, “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.”


C.   And so, Jesus’ death was necessary in order to satisfy the penalty.

1. If Jesus hadn’t paid the penalty on our behalf, then we would have no option but to one day pay it ourselves.

2. However, because Jesus paid it for us, we have the option of avoiding that penalty, and receiving instead the gift of eternal life.

3. I quoted Rom. 6:23a a moment ago, it says, “For the wages of sin is death.”

4. However the rest of that verse says, “…but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

5. Because Jesus satisfied the penalty for our sin, we have the option of receiving eternal life.



A.   Now let’s go back to our original question.

1. Why was it necessary that Jesus die?

2. First of all, it was necessary in order to seal the promise, that wonderful promise of eternal life. (As long as the testator is alive, the will has very little force, but once the testator has died, the will is sealed.)

3. Secondly, it was necessary in order to secure the pardon (remember, without the shedding of blood there is no remission – pardon).

4. Finally, it was necessary to satisfy the penalty, which is death (Jesus suffered death on our behalf, so that we might have the option of receiving eternal life).


B.   Now before I close, I want us look one more time at Vrs. 27 of our text, it says, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:”

1. While we face a lot of uncertainties in our lives today, there are two things about which we can be sure.

2. First of all, we can be sure that, one day, we will die.

3. We don’t know when, but we know it’s going to happen.

4. Secondly, we can be sure that after we die, there is going to be a judgment (in other words, we are going to have to stand before the God Who created us).

5. The question I want to ask you, this morning, is, “Are you ready to die? Are you ready for the judgment?”

6. You can answer “yes” to that question only if you have trusted Jesus Christ as your Savior.

7. Have you done that?


C.   (Prayer & Invitation)