Summary: We can’t mix the old and the new, we must forsake the old and embrace the new.
“The Ministry of Our Great High Priest”
Warden Assembly of God
Pastor John L. Harper
October 12, 2008
Introduction: When Alexander Graham Bell first introduced his invention for sending speech over electric wires - it was dismissed. In fact, Bell had to lie to his financial backer by telling him that he was inventing a dual telegraph - a telegraph capable of sending and receiving Morse code at the same time.
But in 1876 Bell patented his invention - the telephone. But people at the time didn’t really understand it. They though the telephone was simply a curiosity with no practical purpose - why would anyone want to talk to another person over a wire?
Today, of course, things are much different. The telephone is ubiquitous in the United States and much of the world. And just in the last decade wireless communications over cell phones has exploded. Most of us wouldn’t know how to get along without Bell’s invention. (Compare to today, people text other people that are sitting near them!)
To us the need for the telephone is obvious - but not for people living in 1870’s America. They were comfortable with face to face communication - letters, or if totally necessary, a telegraph which was nothing more than a fast letter. Change was difficult - especially to wrap their arms around the potential - at how much better life would be by embracing this new technology.
That brings us to Hebrews. The Hebrews were having a really hard time with change as well. They were raised in the system of Judaism - a system of laws, priests, sacrifices and a leader named Moses. Then people started telling them about a new way - a supposedly better way - where Jesus Christ actually supplanted all their cherished traditions.
They began to move towards this new way - but when persecution rose up they seriously considered abandoning it and going back to Judaism. So the author of Hebrews launches a long and sometimes complicated argument telling them that Jesus is the better - and ONLY way to reach God.
He’s been talking about Jesus as our new high priest - who became high priest due to God’s promise, not by being born into Aaron’s line - and supported by God’s oath, which made Jesus a more sure high priest - a guide leading us into God’s eternal rest.
As we move into Chapter 8 and into some of Chapter 9 - he continues this discussion - and his point is that if God had not meant something better, He would not have sent Jesus. This is true in regards to the rest in the Promised Land - and is also true of the covenants, or agreements God made with man. The Old Covenant was designed to show man how weak he is, so that when the New Covenant came along through Jesus - we would see obviously that it was a better way. But it was like trying to convince 19th century Americans that the telephone is better than the telegraph. (Tom Fuller Calvary Chapel)
We can’t mix the old and the new, we must forsake the old and embrace the new.
Danger of Mixing Medicines
A Reader’s Digest column "News From The World of Medicine", contained a hypertension drug alert for patients taking a new medication to treat high blood pressure. Although the new medication is excellent and most effective, patients may compromise the effectiveness of this treatment if they are also taking anti- inflamatory drugs or ibuprofens such as Advil or Motrin.
1. You will negate the positive effects
The alert warned about the mixing together of these medications. Such mixing would compromise the new high blood pressure medication and patients would not gain the needed effectiveness from the new medicine. Thus they would have a false sense of security.
As I read the article, I thought of the spiritual parrellels. It was hard for new covenant Jews to resist the temptation to mix in the old covenant which would compromise the ministry of Jesus as the great and eternal High Priest. It is hard for many people, jews and gentiles alike, to not try to mix in some religion, some good works, some self righteousness, etc. into the work of salvation thus compromising the ministry of Jesus in saving us and creating a false sense of security in one’s self.
This is probably why some new age books have found their way into some church groups. Books like: "Finding Your Own Spiritual Path", "Jesus: A New Vision", and "Ancient Christian Magic".
Mixing seems to be in vogue. Such mixing is often dangerous in the realm of medicine. In the realm of the spiritual, such mixing has eternal consequences and danger. People are deceived into believing that they can take a little bit of Jesus and mix Him in with the trends, fads, and value systems of our day.