Summary: The New Covenant sermon is a great introduction into a Lord’s Supper.
The New Covenant
Several covenants are mentioned in the Old Testament. One that we will examine today was made at Sinai when God gave Moses not only the Ten Commandments, but the extended legislation that we call the “book of the covenant.” The other covenant we will look at was promised by Jeremiah and became a reality in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.
I. The Old Covenant
a. When God brought the Israelites out from Egypt, he led them across the Red Sea and then to Mount Sinai.
i. There they stayed for about 18 months as God, through Moses, outlined his commandments for their way of life.
ii. More than 400 years previously he had promised Abraham that all the world would be blessed through his seed.
1. The covenant of law, however, was interposed until the promise became a reality through the coming of the Savior.
b. Part of the covenant was the sacrificial system
i. The major sacrifice was the once-a-year occasion when the high priest went into the Holy of Holies and offered a sacrifice for the people.
II. The New Covenant
a. God revealed to the prophet Jeremiah a truth that he passed on to the people
b. God would, in the future, make a new covenant with the nation.
c. It would be based on God’s inward presence, not on external observance.
d. The fundamental basis of it would be that God would forgive their sins.
III. Jesus fulfilled this Prophecy
a. When Jesus sat down with the disciples for his last Passover, he instituted a new ordinance – the Lord’s Supper.
i. Jesus knew that he would go to the cross the next day to die for our sins.
ii. His heart was heavy as he told his disciples that the fruit of the vine he poured for them represented his blood.
iii. They did not understand.
iv. But as we look back at Calvary and the resurrection, we see what they were not yet able to comprehend.
b. The writer of Hebrews presents Jesus as the one who is the “better” High Priest. (Heb. 10:12)
i. Whereas the high priest under the old covenant offered sacrifices every year, Jesus “offered one sacrifice for sins for ever”
ii. The Lord’s Supper speaks of that redeeming work.
iii. Of course, people in the Old Testament days were not saved by the sacrifice of animals.
1. They were saved by believing in God’s provision for them.
2. Thus, people then were saved by faith as we are now.
3. Though they did not understand all the implications of the sacrificial system, they were justified when they accepted God’s plan in that day.
4. The poet Isaac Watts said it beautifully:
Not all the blood of bulls and beasts
On Jewish altars slain
Could give the guilty sinner peace
Or take away the stain.
But Christ, the Heavenly Lamb
Takes all our guilt away,
A sacrifice of nobler name
And richer blood than they.
iv. Under the old covenant, the sheep died for the shepherd, but under the new covenant, the Shepherd died for the sheep.
Those who observe the Lord’s Supper should do so with grateful hearts and fresh resolves. We can be saved only once, but we can reaffirm our faith and should do so periodically. Remember, the blood represents the life. Since Christ gave his blood for us, this means he gave his life for us. We, too, should gratefully give our life in service for him.