Dwellings Worship Series, week 2 — VICTORY
November 11, 2018
Small Groups: From Worship To Discipleship
Fellowship—Snacks or a Meal. (10 minutes with snacks; longer, obviously, if there is a meal)
Gathering Time (5-10 minutes) — In pairs or groups of three, have each participant finish the sentence: “When I hear the name Jesus, I think about…”
Discuss the results of the Accountable Action from last week. (Write down or remember one place in your church’s neighborhood where there is a need for redemption and one place where God is already working for redemption.)
Group Dialogue (Approximately 30 minutes)
Read: Hebrews 9:11-14, 24-28
Where do we see God dwelling in this passage?
Read: Hebrews 9:11-14, 24-28
Where are we called to dwell according to this passage?
- Name some of the points of comparison and contrast presented in this passage. [more perfect tabernacle versus man-made tabernacle or temple (9:11, 24); Jesus entered by his own blood versus the blood of goats and calves as Old Testament priests did (9:12); Jesus offered himself as a sacrifice versus priests who sacrificed something else (9:25); Jesus’ sacrifice was once for all versus Old Testament sacrifices that had to be offered repeatedly (9:25).]
- What comes to mind when you see blood?
- Part of life
- While it is common for us to view blood as something to be cleaned up quickly before infection sets in or the transmission of a disease, the blood of perfect animals was actually viewed as a means to atone (cover) sin and cleanse the instruments of ritual worship in the Old Testament. What is the significance of Jesus’ sacrifice (blood) for how we deal with our guilt, shame, and sin and how we worship? [v. 14 – “purifying our conscience from dead works” (through covering our sin and offering forgiveness to be victorious over our shame and guilt that separate us from God) and thus able to more rightly “worship the living God!”]
- Which words best describe how you relate to what Jesus’ sacrifice means to you? And why?
- How does Jesus’ “more perfect sanctuary” (v. 24) impact how we live (dwell) from day to day? (See note below on Heavenly Holy of Holies)
- (R) Using the words above, and others, allow time for participants to share how their relationship with Jesus makes a difference in their life.
- How can we more continually dwell in victory? What practices do we need to put in place to more fully dwell in the victory that God has for us?
- (R) How are the ministries of your church related to the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus? [One way to think about this is to contrast how the aims and goals of a church are distinct from the goals of a civic organization.]
Accountable Action — This upcoming week, tell at least one person, not in this group, a victory story; that is, a story of how having a relationship with Jesus has made a difference for your life.
Biblical — Heavenly Holy of Holies
The author of Hebrews repeatedly compares and contrasts the new covenant enacted by Jesus’ death and resurrection with Old Testament parallels. In these passages, we see that Jesus is a greater high priest and offers a better sacrifice (himself!) than the sacrifices of the Old Testament. Additionally, Jesus’ sacrifices took place in a more perfect sanctuary. All these comparisons and contrasts work to build the author’s point that we are to persevere and endure in faith (Hebrews 12:1-2). By envisioning Jesus’ “more perfect” sacrifice taking place in a “more perfect” tabernacle, the author is highlighting the eternal significance of Jesus’ atonement, and thus emboldening us to be people who faithfully dwell in Christ’s victory.
Theological — AtonementThere are many images of atonement in Scripture. Here, the author is alluding to the sacrificial system that was in place in the Old Testament as a whole (that took place repeatedly (9:26), “again and again”) and specifically the Day of Atonement or Yom Kippur (9:25, year after year; see Leviticus 16). On the Day of Atonement, which happened once per year, the high priest would pass through the curtain that separated the rest of the holy temple or tabernacle from the holy of holies to wash or sprinkle the blood of a perfect animal on the Ark of the Covenant. This was to ritually cleanse or purify the temple and the people from the inside (holy of holies) outward (extending to the people). The priest would then take another goat, tie a red cord symbolizing the sin of the people around the goat, and then drive the goat into the wilderness. This symbolized the carrying away the sin of the people (hence, the term scapegoat), thereby restoring the people back into relationship with God.
Prayer (10 minutes). Share prayer requests and respond appropriately.
Sending Forth (2 minutes). End by praying the following or similar prayer:
Compassionate God, out of your abundant love, you saw fit to atone for our sins. You alone have worked to achieve forgiveness of our sins and restore the brokenness in our hearts and in our world. May the victory you have won for us and by the power of the Holy Spirit be the source of our ability to love God and others.
Hebrews 9:11-14, 24-28
11 “But when Christ came as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation), 12 he entered once for all into the Holy Place, not with the blood of goats and calves, but with his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption. 13 For if the blood of goats and bulls, with the sprinkling of the ashes of a heifer, sanctifies those who have been defiled so that their flesh is purified, 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to worship the living God!...
24 For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made by human hands, a mere copy of the true one, but he entered into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. 25 Nor was it to offer himself again and again, as the high priest enters the Holy Place year after year with blood that is not his own; 26 for then he would have had to suffer again and again since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the age to remove sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27 And just as it is appointed for mortals to die once, and after that the 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.”
Introduction to Hebrews
The letter to the Hebrews teaches the importance of Jesus Christ. The letter explains how Jesus is the Savior of the world. Christ fulfilled God’s law by willingly offering himself as the perfect sacrifice on the cross so that sins would be forgiven. Now our risen Lord lives in heaven. Hebrews encourages Christians to live by faith. Chapter 11 describes people through whom God did amazing things by the gift of faith. Hebrews includes the verse: “Therefore, let us go on toward perfection” (Hebrews 6:1). This letter was written by a church leader who was led by the Spirit.
Our verse for today is Hebrews chapter 9, verse 24: “For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made by human hands, a mere copy of the true one, but he entered into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf.”
Let’s think about what this means.
After Jesus was resurrected, he spent forty days with people in Israel.
Then Jesus went up, or ascended, into heaven, way beyond the sky and the stars.
God’s throne is in the great sanctuary in heaven. God rules as king of the universe.
God’s heavenly sanctuary is the original, best, and ultimate place where God is worshiped.
Now Jesus Christ “appears in the presence of God on our behalf.” He is in a place of honor.
Christ talks with God for us and about us. He is praying for God’s will to be done in the world.
When we pray to God, we join our prayers with Jesus, who is praying at the same time.
Can you think of some ways that this message could help you or your family when you pray?
(Affirm the responses. Add other suggestions as you feel led.)
Dear God, you are the living God! We are so happy that you are the king above all. Thank you for Jesus. He helps us to remember your great love. Please help us to worship you faithfully and to pray along with Jesus. We ask this in his precious name. Amen.