Hebrew - Part 8 - Christ's Superior Ministry & Covenant

Study of Hebrews  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  30:58
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Jesus' coming brought the New Covenant to mankind. His superior ministry and New Covenant brought better promise, strength of Holy Spirit, perfect mediator and true forgiveness. The coming of the New Covenant made the old obsolete

THE SUPERIOR MINISTRY OF JESUS (HEB 8) Given by Craig Minke May 31, 2020 The New Testament tells us that Jesus is our INTERCESSOR, our MEDIATOR, our SAVIOR and KING. But only the book of Hebrews tells us that he is our PRIEST. • This unique concept is the central message of the book of Hebrews’ • Priesthood is the purpose for which Jesus was made human (Heb 2:17) • His PRIESTHOOD is the reason we should hold fast to our faith (Heb 4:14) HEB 7:12 12 For when the priesthood is changed, the law must be changed also.  ◦ His PRIESTHOOD is also the proof that the Old Covenant has been set aside (Heb 7:12) • Jesus guarantees a better covenant, a better relationship with God • And because he lives forever at God’s right hand, “He is able to save completely those who come to God through him” (Heb 7:25) • The old covenant priests could not save anyone, but Jesus is fully effective at what they could only picture. • Jesus does it not by adding himself to the old covenant, but by fulfilling the old so THOROUGHLY that the old becomes unnecessary. • He supercedes the old covenant, replacing it with a better covenant HEB 7:22 22 Because of this oath, Jesus has become the guarantor of a better covenant. • When we have Jesus we do not need the old covenant • The practices commanded in the Old Covenant (circumcision, various rituals, sabbaths, festivals) have no spiritual merit for the Christian. • All we need is Jesus. HEB 8:1-2 1Now the main point of what we are saying is this: We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, 2 and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by a mere human being. • The main point of what we are saying is this… “After seven chapters, here is what we should have firmly in mind: • “We do have such a high priest!!” • What humans need, what God promised, has fully come. • We have the priest who is able to save us completely. • We need to focus our thoughts on him, hold fast to him and have confidence in him. • He is our priest not only because he lives forever, but because he has been exalted to a position of royal and spiritual power: “He sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven and… serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by a mere human being. (as verse 2 says) • What earthly tabernacles and priests could only picture, Jesus Christ is. • He is the reality forever, not a temporary imitation. • The author has capped off seven chapters with a simple summary: Jesus is our high priest. • What then? • The letter now begins to move forward by discussing the work of the priest. HEB 8:3 3 Every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices, and so it was necessary for this one also to have something to offer.  • What did Jesus offer? • The author has already told us in Heb 7:27, and he will develop it more fully in chapter 9 which Debbie will speak about next week, here however he mentions it only briefly. • Jesus Christ is now the High Priest, the One who is to offer the gifts and sacrifices of men to God. • Christ offered Himself as the perfect gift and sacrifice to God for the whole world. ◦ He Himself actually became our gift and sacrifice to God. ◦ He actually offered Himself as our gift and sacrifice to God. I JN 3:16 16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.  HEB 8:4 4 If he were on earth, he would not be a priest, for there are already priests who offer the gifts prescribed by the law.  • If Jesus were on earth, the authors observes, “he would not be a priest, for there were already priest in that day who offered up gifts prescribed by the law. • The earthly rituals were being done according to the laws of Moses. • The temple work was being done by Levitical priests, as the law required. • Jesus did not work in the earthly temple, but the earthly sanctuary does teach us something about the priestly work of Jesus. HEB 8:5 5 They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: “See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.” • The tabernacle of Moses, and later the temple was “a copy and shadow of what is in heaven.” • The author is quoting Exod 25:40 to show that the earthly tabernacle was a copy of the real thing. • The Levitical priests served as a copy, the rituals they performed were copies, not the spiritual realities. HEB 8:6 6 But in fact the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, since the new covenant is established on better promises. • The Greek verb used is past tense: the new covenant “has been enacted through better promises” (NSRV) • It is already established. • Just as the heavenly sanctuary is better than the earthly one, so also is Jesus’ priestly ministry better than the Levitical ministry, and so also is the new covenant better than the old. • The tabernacle was merely a copy, a cheap imitation, in comparison to the heavenly reality. ◦ In the same way the Levitical priesthood, although divinely ordained, was merely an imitation of a heavenly reality fulfilled by Jesus Christ. ◦ The Levitical rituals came in a great variety, water rituals, grain rituals, special clothing, hand motions, killing of animals and releasing of animals. ◦ All these rituals were fulfilled by and superceded by the work of Jesus Christ. • We do not see exact correspondence for every detail, nor do we need to. ◦ We cannot insist that the spiritual is just like the physical. ◦ We do not expect that the heavenly sanctuary has wool and linen curtains, bronze basins, acacia framing and red ram skins. ◦ Indeed, it does not need curtains, frames and skins at all. ◦ Those are merely physical things that corresponded to a spiritual reality. • Jesus’ priestly work is much better than the old priesthood — in quality, not quantity. ◦ The work he did once was better than millions of rituals done by Levites. ◦ Christ’s work was so much superior that it did not have to be repeated. ◦ It was a different kind of priesthood. ◦ We should expect major differences between spiritual realities and earthly copies. A covenant is an agreement between two parties. • But note a significant fact: ◦ the new covenant of God is the covenant of God, not of man. ◦ Man has absolutely nothing to do with the terms of this covenant. ◦ It is a covenant between God and man, but ◦ the terms are set exclusively by God. ◦ In life there are two kinds of covenants. ▪ 1) There is a covenant where both parties set the terms and agree to them. ▪ 2) There is a covenant where one party sets the terms, but both parties agree to them. This kind of covenant is usually called a will or testament. The covenant of God is the latter covenant, a covenant of God’s will and testament. • God sets the terms and conditions, and • man accepts the covenant or else rejects it. • It is comparable to the last will and testament of any man. ◦ The recipients cannot change the terms of the will; ◦ they can only receive or reject the inheritance. ◦ Both points are significant for man. God has made a covenant with man, but He and He alone dictates the terms. • God has made a covenant, a last will and testament giving man a glorious inheritance, but man has no say in the terms of the contract or covenant. • He (man) cannot argue with, refute, or try to negotiate the terms. • The covenant stands as God has given it. Man either accepts or rejects the terms of the covenant, the will and testament of God. • The only way he can ever receive the inheritance of God is to accept the terms of the covenant exactly as they are laid out by God. Now, to the point of the present passage. (Let’s go back to verse 6-13) • I would like to spend the remainder of my message discussing what made the New Covenant superior to the old. • Jesus Christ is the Minister of the new covenant, and it is far, far superior to the old covenant. • Vs 6 tells us: 1. WHY NEW COVENANT WAS A SUPERIOR COVENANT: THE NEW COVENANT IS FOUNDED BY A PERFECT MEDIATOR (vs6) • The word “mediator” (mesites) means someone who stands between two parties and brings them together. ◦ the mediator is a negotiator ◦ a middle person, ◦ an arbitrator ◦ a go-between. ◦ I love how this picture illustrates the gulf that exists between God and mand and it is only through Jesus Christ that the way has been open for us to communicate with God and have salvation. • There is one distinct and unique difference between Jesus Christ and human mediators. ◦ Jesus Christ is the PERFECT MEDIATOR. ◦ He is the Mediator chosen by God Himself to stand between God and man. ◦ Jesus Christ was chosen to be the Mediator because he was perfect. ◦ He presents the terms of the covenant perfectly ▪ He does not lie, deceive, twist or change things. ▪ He does not add to, take away from or misrepresent the terms of God’s covenant. ▪ He spells out and proclaims the truth of the terms clearly and perfectly. ▪ ILLUSTRATION: Have you ever had a mediator or someone over you that did not have all the facts when they corrected or judged or discipline you. I have. No matter what you say you are in the wrong because of their bias or their interpretation of the facts. That is hard to take. I can hurt a lot when we falsely judged. ▪ But with Jesus that is not the case every he has all the facts and he knows what is in your heart ▪ He is the perfect Mediator 2. WHY NEW COVENANT WAS A SUPERIOR COVENANT: THE NEW COVENANT IS FOUNDED ON BETTER PROMISES (vs6) • The new covenant is founded on better promises. • What was the old covenant? ◦ It is the covenant of the law. ◦ God promised that He would accept, bless, and fellowship with man if man would keep the law. ◦ Man accepted the conditions and vowed to obey the terms of God’s covenant or the law given at Mount Sinai. ◦ How well did they keep the law? JER 7:23-26 23 but I gave them this command: Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in obedience to all I command you, that it may go well with you. 24 But they did not listen or pay attention; instead, they followed the stubborn inclinations of their evil hearts. They went backward and not forward. 25 From the time your ancestors left Egypt until now, day after day, again and again I sent you my servants the prophets. 26 But they did not listen to me or pay attention. They were stiff-necked and did more evil than their ancestors.’ ◦ But man discovered a terrible fact: the law was not full and complete enough. ◦ It did not go far enough in meeting his need. • Man discovered four terrible weaknesses with the law. ◦ The law laid it down that God was holy and that He expected His people to live holy lives. But the law did not give the inner power and strength to obey God. ◦ The law laid it down that man could become acceptable to God. But the law did not provide the power and energy to become acceptable nor to inherit eternal life. ◦ The law laid it down that God was the Sovereign and Majestic ruler of the universe, the great Law-Giver. But the law said nothing about a personal knowledge and fellowship with God. ◦ The law laid it down that God was strict and stern, just and holy. But the law said nothing about God’s love and mercy nor about His forgiveness. This is where the new covenant is better than the old covenant. The new covenant is founded on much better promises. Every one of these shortcomings of the old covenant are met in the promises of the new covenant. In the new covenant, a person finds the glorious promise … • of power and strength in the inner man (v. 10). • of God’s personal acceptance which means life eternal (v. 10). • of a personal knowledge and fellowship with God (v. 11). • of God’s love and mercy and of His forgiveness (v. 12). HEB 8:7-9 7 For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another. 8 But God found fault with the people and said: “The days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah. 9 It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they did not remain faithful to my covenant, and I turned away from them, declares the Lord. 3. WHY NEW COVENANT WAS A SUPERIOR COVENANT: THE NEW COVENANT ELIMINATES THE WEAKNESS OF THE FIRST COVENANT (vs7-9) The New Covenant eliminates the weaknesses of the first covenant. • Note that from this point on, God is speaking. ◦ God is here is the spokesman pointing out the weaknesses of the first covenant JER 31:31-33 31 “The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah. 32 It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord. 33 “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the Lord. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. Thomas Hewitt summarizes it well: ILLUSTRATION: “It [the old covenant] could reveal sin but not remove it, and being defective it could not save or justify guilty sinners. It failed to meet the deepest needs of sinful man … sin had made it ineffective. The real cause of the covenant’s weakness was man’s sinfulness; therefore God finds fault with them” The point is this: • IF the first covenant had been faultless, • there would have been no need for a new covenant. • But man, symbolized in Israel, did not keep the old covenant. • Two things happened: ◦ Man failed to keep the covenant or law. ◦ The law was not able to infuse the power to keep the commandments. ◦ The weakness of the old covenant was sin and the sinfulness of men. Therefore, God had to do something or else man would be lost eternally. This is the glorious gospel—the wonderful news of the new covenant. • God did something. • Note the words: “I will make a new covenant” (v. 8). • And note: the new covenant differs entirely from the old covenant made with Israel when God led them out of Egyptian slavery under Moses. HEB 8:10-12 10 This is the covenant I will establish with the people of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. 11 No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. 12 For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” 4. WHY NEW COVENANT WAS A SUPERIOR COVENANT: THE NEW COVENANT IS PROVIDE AN INWARD POWER – A SPIRITUAL POWER (vs 10-12) The New Covenant is an inward power, a spiritual power within the inner man. The new covenant gives man four wonderful powers. a. THE POWER of a new mind and heart (v. 10). The new covenant through its mediator, the Lord Jesus Christ … • renews a person’s mind. • renews a person’s heart. This is, of course, a reference to the new birth. • When a person approaches God through the new covenant (the Lord Jesus Christ)—when he accepts the terms of the new covenant (belief)—God does a most wonderful thing. ◦ God renews the person’s mind and puts His laws into the person’s mind. ◦ God renews the person’s heart and writes His laws upon the person’s heart. This means two wonderful things. a. A new heart and mind means that we will be accepted by God and given eternal life. ◦ The old covenant or law condemned the heart and stirred the mind to think of failure and of condemnation and judgment. ◦ The new covenant frees the heart and stirs assurance and confidence in the mind of the true believer—absolute security. b. A new mind and heart means that we have the desire and power to follow and obey God. ◦ We have an earnest desire to obey God and keep His commands. ◦ A new heart and mind stirs us to love God because He has renewed us, and our love stirs us to seek him continually. ◦ Even when we fail and come short—which we all do ever too often—our hearts are stirred to seek forgiveness and to repent and to begin anew to follow and obey Him. ◦ This is the difference between the old and new covenant. ◦ The old covenant or law condemned us and had no power to stir and energize us. ◦ But the new covenant, Christ within us, does have the power to forgive and stir us to arise and follow God anew and afresh. II COR 4:16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day b. THE POWER of fellowship and communion with God (v. 10). • Remember this is God speaking, and He definitely says, “I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people.” This means that we are accepted by God. This means … • that we can commune and fellowship with God. • that we can pray and share with God. • that we can call upon God when we need mercy and grace to help in time of need. • that we can have God’s care and provision and protection. • that we can have God’s delivering power over temptation and trials. • All of this and more, so much more—all because of the new covenant brought to us by Jesus Christ. • The new covenant is the power of fellowship and communion with God through the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Mediator of the great covenant of God (v. 8). c. THE POWER to know God personally and to have open access into His presence (v. 11). • There is no longer any need for human priests or mediators—no need for others to stand between God and man to say, “Know the Lord.” ▪ Why? ▪ Because every man can now stand before God himself. ▪ Every person can now know God as though face to face. Every person can now approach God. ▪ How? ▪ By the new covenant—through the Mediator of the new covenant, through the Lord Jesus Christ (v. 6). • This also means that the privilege to know God is now open to all races and nations of people. ▪ The new covenant is universal: “All shall know me, from the least to the greatest” (v. 11). • The rich and poor, • Black or white, whatever color of our skin • leader and follower, believer and unbeliever, • religious and non-religious, male and female, • slave and free, • child and adult—no matter who they are or where they are—all can now know God and know Him face to face. ▪ There is no longer any priest among men who stands between God and man. ▪ There is only Jesus Christ, the Mediator of the new and better covenant. ▪ When a person comes to God through Christ, he is accepted by God and given the glorious privileges of knowing God face to face. d. THE POWER of forgiveness of sins (v. 12). Note a few wonderful facts about the forgiveness of sins. • The word for (forgiveness of sins) suggests that forgiveness of sins is the basis for all the other promises • The forgiveness of sins is based upon the mercy of God. ◦ We are not forgiven because of works or law. ◦ God does not accept us and forgive our sins because we do the best we can and try to be good. ◦ He forgives us because Jesus Christ died for our sins—because Jesus Christ has already paid the penalty for our sins—and we ask God to forgive us through the sacrifice of Christ. ◦ And when we ask, God forgives us. • The forgiveness of sins means that God remembers our sins no more. ◦ We may remember, but God forgets. ◦ He casts them completely out of His mind and memory, and never even thinks of them again. ◦ They never come back into His memory—are not even allowed to seep back into His thoughts. ◦ What a glorious salvation from sins—complete and total forgiveness of sins—all through the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ. HEB 8:13 13 By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear. 5. WHY NEW COVENANT WAS A SUPERIOR COVENANT: THE NEW COVENANT MAKES THE FIRST COVENANT OBSOLETE (v. 13). The New Covenant makes the first covenant old. • God has given a new covenant; therefore, this means that the first covenant is old; that is, it is obsolete and no longer of use. • “And what is obsolete or out of use and annulled because of age—is ripe for disappearance and to be dispensed with altogether” (Amplified New Testament). Very simply, the old covenant of the law has been set aside; now we are to follow after the new covenant. • But we must always remember this: the new covenant is bound up in Jesus Christ. • And Jesus Christ never destroyed the law; He fulfilled the law. • That is, Jesus Christ embodies the law. He embodies the love and grace of God, yes, but He embodies the law of God as well. • We no longer look to the law nor follow the law. • We look to Jesus Christ and follow Him. ◦ But in following Him, we follow the righteousness and holiness of God as well as the love and grace of God. ◦ We follow the law of God’s nature as well as the love of God’s nature. WHY WAS THE NEW COVENANT A BETTER COVENANT? 1. The new covenant is founded by a perfect Mediator 2. The new covenant is founded on better promises 3. The new covenant eliminates the weaknesses of the first covenant 4. The new covenant is an inward power—a spiritual power 5. The new covenant makes the first covenant obsolete CLOSING PRAYER
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