Summary: How to take advantage of the new heart God promised to those who trust Him.
Last week we looked at some attitudes we need to have when we’re facing difficulty. We reconsidered the fact that the problem isn’t always the problem. The problem is our attitude, or our focus, about our problems. We need to focus on our Great High Priest, Jesus, who is able to help us successfully confront any problem.
Last week we gave attention to our minds. Today we want to give attention to our hearts. Ever sensed that you needed what we often call a change of heart? You know some things in your mind but brain function isn’t enough.
I want to approach Hebrews chapter 8 in our current series “Does God Care” by talking about "What to Do When I Need a Change of Heart."
It’s one thing to change your mind – what you’re going to think about – its another to have a change of heart. And both these things can be needed when we’re discouraged. It’s not that God doesn’t care – it’s that our minds and hearts need changing. That’s why today’s key verse is Hebrews 8:10:
"But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel on that day, says the LORD: I will put my laws in their minds, and I will write them on their hearts."
What we need is a supernatural act of God. This is a God-thing. There are so many times when I try to do something naturally that only comes supernaturally. I need to ascend to a higher plane.
Personally, I’ve often faced this in ministry. I try to do stuff for God by my own strength. Ain’t gonna happen. Even standing here teaching the Scriptures to you takes God giving me the heart to do it. I can’t do it on my own.
Do you have anything like that in your life? A relationship? A job? Finances? Forgiving someone?
1 Here is the main point: We have a High Priest who sat down in the place of honor beside the throne of the majestic God in heaven. [Circle “sat down.” Jesus “sat down” because He was finished. He “sat down in the place of honor beside the throne of the majestic God in heaven” because he was king as well as priest. The Old Testament priest never sat down in the tabernacle or Temple because he was never finished.]
2 There he ministers in the heavenly Tabernacle the true place of worship that was built by the Lord and not by human hands.
3 And since every high priest is required to offer gifts and sacrifices, our High Priest must make an offering, too. 4 If he were here on earth, he would not even be a priest, since there already are priests who offer the gifts required by the law. 5 They serve in a system of worship that is only a copy, a shadow of the real one in heaven. For when Moses was getting ready to build the Tabernacle, God gave him this warning: “Be sure that you make everything according to the pattern I have shown you here on the mountain.”
6 But now Jesus, our High Priest, has been given a ministry that is far superior to the old priesthood, for he is the one who mediates for us a far better covenant with God, based on better promises.
7 If the first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no need for a second covenant to replace it. 8 But when God found fault with the people, he said: “The day is coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and Judah. 9 This covenant will not be like the one I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand and led them out of the land of Egypt. They did not remain faithful to my covenant, so I turned my back on them, says the LORD. 10 But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel on that day, says the LORD: I will put my laws in their minds, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.
11 And they will not need to teach their neighbors, nor will they need to teach their relatives, saying, ‘You should know the LORD.’ For everyone, from the least to the greatest, will know me already. 12 And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins.”
13 When God speaks of a “new” covenant, it means he has made the first one obsolete. It is now out of date and will soon disappear.
The main feature I want to draw out of this biblical portrait is the emphasis on a new heart. Often, when we’re facing difficulties we talk about “losing heart,” or becoming “disheartened.” What can we do to keep from thinking God doesn’t care about us, like these first century Hebrew Christ followers were?