Summary: A Better Covenant (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Reading: Hebrews chapter 8 verses 1-13.
Quote: Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary describes ‘covenant’ as:
"A binding agreement between two or more parties
expressly for the performance of some action."
• Notice that God makes a covenant and not a contract
• Contacts are broken when one of the parties fails to keep their part.
• Let’s say you make an appointment to see the doctor;
• But you forgot all about it and did not go.
• Your doctor has no obligation to call at your house and inquire,
• “Where were you? Why didn’t you show up for your appointment?”
• Instead the doctor simply goes on to his next patient ;
• And has the receptionist take note of the patient who failed to keep the appointment.
• The next time you wants to see the doctor.
• You may find it much harder, because they broke an informal contract.
The Bible indicates that a covenant is more like:
• The ties of a parent to her child;
• Than it is a doctor’s appointment.
• If a child fails to show up for the evening meal,
• Unlike the doctor’s, the parent’s obligation isn’t cancelled.
• The parent is obliged to find out where the child is and makes sure they are cared for.
• One member’s failure does not destroy the relationship.
• A covenant puts no conditions on faithfulness.
• It is the unconditional commitment to love and serve.
Quote Walter Riggans:
“A covenant was not a contract between two equal parties with both sides receiving equal benefits. This type of covenant was a relationship between a person (in this case God) with superior power and authority and another party.
The senior party offered protection and a sense of belonging to the weaker party, and in return the lesser party offered loyalty and service to the stronger”.
This chapter actually provides a hinge to the entire book of Hebrews:
• In the first seven chapters, the writer presents Jesus as the great high priest.
• In the last six chapters, he presents the New Covenant.
• And in this passage we see the two themes brought together;
• Jesus is shown to be the priest who mediates the New Covenant.
• The most gifted lawyer can do very little if the will he is probating is inadequate.
• In a similar way;
• Our Great High Priest could do very little;
• If he was ministering on the basis of an inferior "last will and testament."
• So in our chapter this morning (Hebrews chapter 8):
• The writer will present three evidences to prove;
• That not only is our high priest superior to any other;
• But so is the new covenant of Jesus over the old covenant (of the Old Testament).
(A). It is ministered by a superior High Priest
“The point of what we are saying is this”:
• In other words everything that has been said in this letter up to this point;
• Has been to bring us to this one main point, one key truth of understanding.
“We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven”,
In these first two verses (1-2):
• The writer summaries the main points of his previous arguments;
• He gives us three key truths regarding Jesus our great high priest and why he is superior.
(1). HIS MORAL ADEQUACY (verse 1a).
• "We have SUCH an High Priest".
• This statement refers us back to Hebrews chapter 7 verses 22-28.
Quote: Chapter 7 verse 26:
“Such a high priest meets our need--one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens”.
The fact that Jesus Christ is morally perfect;
• And yet identified with us in our needs and temptations,
• Makes Him superior to any other priest, past or present.
• Those of his readers who wanted to go back into the Old 'Testament priesthood;
• Would have to swap the perfect for the imperfect.
(2). HIS FINISHED WORK (verse 1b).
“We do have such a high priest, who SAT DOWN at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven”,
Today our Lord is seated in heaven because His work is completed.
• There were no chairs in the Old Testament tabernacle or temple;
• Because the work of the priests was never finished.
• Each repeated sacrifice was a constant reminder;
• That none of the sacrifices ever provided a finished salvation.
• The blood of animals did not wash away sin or cleanse the guilty conscience;
• It only provided a covering for.
• It took the perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ;
• To take away the sin of the world.