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Summary: A sermon of "pastoral clarification" showing the superiority of the covenant of grace.

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THE NEW COVENANT AND THE OLD LAW: A PASTORAL CLARIFICATION

Hebrews 8:7-13

Supporting Scripture

• Reading from the Old Testament: Jeremiah 31:31-34

• Reading from the Psalms: Psalm 40:4-8

• Epistle: Hebrews 8:7-13

• Reading from the Gospels: Matthew 9:14-16

Heb 8:7 For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another.

Heb 8:8 But God found fault with the people and said: “The time is coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah.

Heb 8:9 It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers 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.

Heb 8:10 This is the covenant I will make with the house 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.

Heb 8:11 No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me from the least of them to the greatest.

Heb 8:12 For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”

Heb 8:13 By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear.

INTRO:

It seems inevitable to me that anyone who speaks week after week will, at times, miscommunicate and be misunderstood. It is the nature of such a vocation.

As a pastor, I know this happens. I will, for example, say something I assume will be understood properly by everyone yet someone “hears” me to say something I did not intend.

It is my sincerest desire as a communicator of the Gospel and God’s Word to rightly discern and proclaim the Scriptures. When there is confusion, I am more than willing to stop and explain.

The last few sermons from Hebrews have produced some new ways of understanding our covenant relationship with God … and some confusion. I want very much to make the Scriptures clear to you because I am convinced their truth will set you free. That is never more true than in relation to God’s covenant relationship with us through Christ. I cannot, in any series of sermons, answer all your questions (however I would be glad to on a one-on-one basis throughout the week) but when I receive an unusual amount of queries regarding the same issue I am eager to call a “time out” and address the issue again. This seems to be the case with recent sermons on covenant and law … particularly when I have said things like “You do not have to keep the Ten Commandments to go to heaven.”

May I simply take today’s sermon time to explain what the New Testament teaches about the law, grace, and covenant? I think I can clear up some confusion and, in the process, give you reason to revel in the grace of God through Christ.


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