Hebrews 8 - Better Promises

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Hebrews 8 shows that we enjoy a better covenant, or promises, through Jesus Christ. This message helps us understand what this means


Broken Promises

I have been trying to sell an old boat on Marketplace for the last week. On the 1st day of listing the boat I had a dozen of people interested in purchasing. The first guy that showed serious interest couldn’t come see it until 24 hours later, so I told all the others that I was waiting on the guy who promised to come. He didn’t.
I have made my share of broken promises. I remember promising my classes in Claude, Texas, that I would be back the next year. During the summer I got an offer from Magnolia High School that I couldn’t turn down. I never saw most of those kids again. I still feel bad that I couldn’t at least see those kids again to say “Good-bye”.
Someone said, “Vote for the man who promises least; he'll be the least disappointing.” I suppose that is a pretty sad commentary on the world around us. Fortunately, we are not talking about the world this morning, we are in the Book of Hebrews, learning about how God has provided for us a Better Life through Jesus Christ. Today we are opening Chapter 8 to discuss how Jesus has provided Better Promises for us!

Our Promise Keeper

In the same way the sun never grows weary of shining, nor a stream of flowing, it is God's nature to keep His promises. Therefore, go immediately to His throne and say, 'Do as You promised.' - Charles Spurgeon
If you have been the recipient of broken promises, this will change as you follow Jesus Christ. Jesus never breaks his promises. In fact, the reason that we use the word “covenant” is because it is much better than a contract. In a contract one or the other party can make the contract meaningless. In the covenant that Jesus made for us, it is guaranteed by the work of the Cross.
A simple example would be an appointment that I make with the doctor to see him at 9:00. It is a very simple contract. I said that I would be there at 9, and he said that he would see me. If I don’t show up, he will likely charge me a fee for breaking the contract.
An example of a covenant is the relationship between a parent and a child. The parent covenanted to take care of the child. Say dinner is at 6 pm. If the child doesn’t show up to the table, the parent doesn’t assess a fee and go on. No, they want the child to get the nutrition from the meal because the parent loves that child and wants the child to be healthy.
Hebrews 8 highlights some of the promises that come from the New Covenant. At the end of the message I’ve asked the ushers to prepare to serve communion since we will have a better idea of Paul’s words, “this cup is the new covenant in my blood”. So Let’s dive in.

The Better Promises of Christ

The 1st 5 verses of the chapter remind us that Jesus is a Great High Priest at the right hand of the Father. Let’s read it but we’ll focus more on the latter half of the chapter.
Hebrews 8:1–5 NIV
Now 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, and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by a mere human being. 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. If he were on earth, he would not be a priest, for there are already priests who offer the gifts prescribed by the law. 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.”
Now, in verse 6 he begins to focus in on the new covenant.
Hebrews 8:6–13 NIV
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. For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another. 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. 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. 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. 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. For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear.
So, something new has happened through Christ. What exactly is it? And, how does it affect you and me?

The New Covenant

The OT had been hinting at the coming of a new covenant. The covenants are a series of treaties or agreements that God has made with his people at different stages in their history. Typically, they contain promises that will be fulfilled if the people remain faithful to him; but even if they do not, they will never be completely abrogated.[1] There are basically 4 covenants in the OT although they are all renewals of the original.
- Creation Covenant – God/Adam and Eve – based on faithfulness, broken by Adam
- Abrahamic Covenant – God/Abraham – based on justification of faith and evidenced by circumcision
- Mosaic Covenant – God/Moses – based on the above but clarified by the Law
- Davidic Covenant – God/David – All the above plus a kingdom of heirs, accomplished ultimately by Jesus.
So, throughout the OT we will see the new covenant explained and more fully revealed. The first thing we need to realize is that the New Covenant would be Spirit drive.

Spirit Driven

Moses wishes for Israel to be influenced by the Holy Spirit (Num 11:29).
Numbers 11:29 NIV
But Moses replied, “Are you jealous for my sake? I wish that all the Lord’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put his Spirit on them!”
It is interesting to see the amount of times the Holy Spirit is mentioned throughout the Bible. He is ever constant, even from the creation of the world. However, after the ascension of Jesus He becomes the primary agent in the book of Acts. Dr Stanley Horton describes the substance of the book,
“[Acts] draws attention also to the way the Holy Spirit promoted the unity of the Body. [He frequently mentions] being ‘in one accord.’ More than once the Church were in danger of being split but the Spirit brought them together. The world tends to disrupt, divide, and build barriers. The Holy Spirit broke down barriers as the Church prayed together, worked together, evangelized together, and suffered together. Nature tends to disperse, scatter, and break down. It takes a higher energy to unite, and more wisdom and power to build up, than to tear down.”
The prophetic books of Isaiah and Joel further elaborate on these ideas. Joel envisions that, in the latter days, God will pour out the Holy Spirit upon Israel (Joel 2:28–29).
Joel 2:28–29 NIV
“And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days.
I guess it was almost a year ago that we held a Holy Spirit Conference here with Ty Buckingham. I still think his book title is hilarious, “Better Than Jesus”. Of course he explains that the only thing better than Jesus is the Spirit of Jesus living in us!
The OT prophets Joel and Isaiah saw it coming. They knew a Messiah was coming and would be a great Servant and the promises of God would be fulfilled.

Inscribed on Our Hearts and Minds

The Old Covenant consisted primarily of external laws and obedience to these laws was motivated primarily by fear of punishment and/or fear of loss of divine blessing. The New Covenant is a covenant of grace, where in this context grace signifies God's provision of supernatural power, or what I would call "enabling" grace or "transforming" grace. In the New Covenant the Spirit has poured out the love of God in our hearts (Ro 5:5), and now our love for God (birthed in us and enabled in us by the Spirit) is our motivation for obedience. Under the New Covenant the Spirit births a desire in us to walk worthy of the calling of the Lord. [2]
Notice that this is what the Old Testament prophet Ezekiel described:
Ezekiel 36:26–27 NIV
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.
A W Pink explains that…The heart is now inclined to God’s law: a disposition has been communicated to it which answers to its demands; there is a sincere desire to perform it. And thus the quickened soul is able to say, "When you said, Seek you my face; my heart said unto you, your face, Lord, will I seek" (Ps. 27:8).
As a Christian you have noticed that once you accepted Jesus into your life, your life began to change. You no longer wanted to do what you used to do. The Apostle Paul explains it for us:
Romans 7:21–25 NIV
So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.
If you’ve fought this (we all have), you can identify with Paul but “Thanks be to God who delivers me”. It is not about doing the right things, it is that right things happen because we have the right heart.


Does God forget our sins? Actually, the Bible says that God remembers our sins no more. Afterall, He is omniscient, and this makes it more beautiful. Verse 12 says:
Hebrews 8:12 NIV
For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”
Joanie Yoder writes:
“God longs to forgive sinners! But in the minds of many people, this thought seems too good to be true. Countless sermons have been preached to convince guilt-ridden individuals that it is true. Many of these sermons emphasize that God not only forgives the sinner but also forgets the sin. I’ve often said it myself, never doubting its soundness.
Then one Sunday I heard a sermon that revolutionized my thinking. The speaker caught my attention when he said, “The idea that God forgets my sins isn’t very reassuring to me. After all, what if He suddenly remembered? In any case, only imperfection can forget, and God is perfect.”
… the pastor read Hebrews 8:12, “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” Then he said, “God doesn’t say He’ll forget our sins—He says He’ll remember them no more! His promise not to remember them ever again is stronger than saying He’ll forget them. Now that reassures me!”
Do you worry that there are certain sins you’ll be punished for someday? Because Christ died for all our sins (1 Cor. 15:3), God promises to forgive us and never bring up our sin again (Ps. 103:12). —Joanie Yoder
I like the fact that God knows, but He is not going to bring it up again. We have an understanding high priest, a friend, who accepts us unconditionally when we surrender to His Lordship in our lives. (Be Kingdom Minded).

The New Covenant is Filled with Promises

We’ve seen that the promises of the New Covenant are Spirit-Driven, written onto our hearts and minds, and promise forgiveness. I’m going to ask the ushers to come at this time as we prepare to celebrate the New Covenant by receiving communion together.
Understanding the weight of what Jesus has provided – 1 Corinthians 11:27-32
Thankful to Jesus for providing the New Covenant – 1 Cor. 11: 23-26
[1]Bray, G. (2018). Covenants. In M. Ward, J. Parks, B. Ellis, & T. Hains (Eds.), Lexham Survey of Theology. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press. [2] Hebrew 8:10-11. Preceptaustin.org. Accessed July 31, 2021.
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