Summary: 4th in series (Section 3) in Hebrews. This message focuses on the new covenant we have gained through Jesus.
God Made a Perfect Covenant
Marriage is a gift from God
When it is right – it is incredibly exhilarating and impossible to describe. But when it is wrong – it is excruciatingly painful and hopelessly beyond endurance. When it is right – marriage is a kind of heaven on earth and when it is wrong – it can feel very much like a personal hell. So why would you get involved with something that can deliver so much pain directly to your heart? The answer is simple – we are born, hard wired, - every one of us – with the need for companionship and love.
Marriage is God’s answer to that need while we are caught in this temporal world of flesh and earth. But – and this is the important piece – marriage is really just an illustration. Marriage is a metaphor for the kind of relationship God wants with you – where two become one – for all of time and eternity. God wants to show his commitment toward us so much that He established a covenant with a nation of people through a leader named Moses some 4000 years ago.
But the covenant did not go well. His chosen people broke the covenant – not just once, but repeatedly – and after centuries of putting up with rebellious and unloving people God divorced Israel and Judah (Jeremiah 8).
Today God has established a new and better covenant with his children. It is new and better because it is a perfect covenant made through a new and perfect savior – Jesus. He is the perfect sacrifice, the perfect mediator, and the perfect king of glory. And He has come to claim us as his own! Wow!
The image of marriage is all through the New Testament with God as the Groom and you and I – the church – as the bride. It is through this image of marriage that we learn what it means to be in love – really!
And we learn what God really wants from us. Today we look at Hebrews 10 and learn three valuable and important things about what God wants from us – and one thing he gives to us.
God wants a real relationship – not pretense
The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming—not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. 2 If it could, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins. 3 But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins, 4 because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
Do you remember playing “house” when you were a child? It was an innocent game with a mommy, a daddy and children. Daddy would go to work and mommy would stay home to wash the dishes and send the kids off to school – at least that’s the way I remember the game – but I’m getting older every year. Your version may be different than mine – mommy and daddy go to work and the kids go to school on the bus.
The Old Covenant was a relationship of law and obligation. It was a poor grainy, yellowed tin type image of the reality that God really wants with us.
We usually think of the law being the 10 commandments. The first four focused on our relationship with God – no other Gods, no graven images, no using his name in vain, keeping the Sabbath holy. The latter six having to do with our relationship with one another, honoring our parents, not lying, stealing, killing, being adulterous, or coveting or neighbors possessions. But the foundation of the old covenant is the same as the foundation of the new covenant.
When Jesus was asked “which was the greatest commandment” he gave an answer that stands to this day. We are to Love God with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind. And the second is like the first, we are to love our neighbors like we love our selves.
Marriage is about so much more than the words… It’s about the reality. No marriage will prosper when the only relationship that exists is merely one of appearance.
No woman wants to be a “Trophy wife”. According to wikipaedia a trophy wife is “A trophy wife is commonly used to describe any wife of an (usually) older man; and who is considered a status symbol. The term trophy wife was coined by Julie Connelly, a senior editor of Fortune magazine, in a cover story in the issue of Aug. 28, 1989 and immediately entered the language.