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A New Priestly Service and a New Covenant

Hebrews  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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A New Priestly Service and a New Covenant

and a New Covenant

Here we are back in Hebrews this week. We have been taking a close look at this fascinating letter that was written by an unknown to us author. It goes through a three step process of looking at the Son-ship of Jesus, the High Priesthood of Jesus and ends with the Kingship of Jesus. The greatest or most detailed section has to do with the Great High Priesthood of Jesus. This for us is the most important part because it is through the Priesthood that we receive our forgiveness of sin. As the Great High Priest, Jesus was able to make the final, once and for all blood sacrifice on the cross to not just temporarily cover the sins of the people but to pay the full price for that sin, which is death.
, For ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.
, The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ.
, God demonstrates His own love for us in that WHILE we were STILL sinners, Christ died for us.
, If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you WILL be saved.
, For whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Over the last few weeks that we were talking about this priesthood, we saw Jesus compared to a mysterious character named Melchizedek. If you will remember, Melchizedek was a king and high priest before the institution of priesthood in the line of Levi and Aaron. He shows up in Genesis and and here in Hebrews and we will undoubtedly see him in heaven when we get there.
Throughout chapters 4-7, we read about Melchizedek and the importance of the high priesthood as it pertains to the covering of sin. We hear about Melchizedek being a priest forever and Jesus being a High Priest according to the order of Melchizedek. Chapter 7 closes talking about the temporary nature of the Levitical priesthood because all the priests in that line died. Their priesthood died and along with that, the continuation of the sacrifices for sin was needed. In , But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood. 25 Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. NKJV Jesus' priesthood continues forever and therefore His sacrifice continues forever and there is no need for any others. We are going to continue to see this through chapter 10 because it is the salvation for each and every one of us. It is continually gone over in Hebrews because of the magnitude of what it is that Christ did for us. There was no way for man, any man to save us so God, through His Son Jesus Christ, became man to do it for us. Chapter 7 closes telling us that of the High Priest that we needed for our permanent atonement. , For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens; 27 who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people's, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. NKJV
He is Holy,
He is Harmless (innocent),
He is undefiled (unsoiled, pure),
He is separate from sinners (set apart),
He has become higher than the heavens (He is above all of creation and sits by the Father).
That's what we needed. Now, pick up in chapter 8.
, Now this is the main point of the things we are saying: We have such a High Priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, 2 a Minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord erected, and not man. NKJV We needed a High Priest that met that criteria...and we have one! And He is in heaven and He is seated next to God the Father, and He serves (He is a minister, a servant, a functionary in the Temple. The Greek word here is the word we get Liturgy from, meaning the form or the way a worship service is done. More of the ceremonial way a service is done) there in the tabernacle that God made, not the one that man made. The true tabernacle. That word tabernacle means a booth, tent or hut, and was applied to the tent which Moses erected at God's command as a place of worship and sacrifice and as the dwelling place of God among His people. This would transfer into the Temple which was built by Solomon many years later in Jerusalem. But Jesus in is the true dwelling place of God.
, For every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices. Therefore it is necessary that this One also have something to offer. 4 For if He were on earth, He would not be a priest, since there are priests who offer the gifts according to the law; 5 who serve the copy and shadow of the heavenly things, as Moses was divinely instructed when he was about to make the tabernacle. For He said, “See that you make all things according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.” 6 But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises. NKJV
The author here juxtaposes the high priesthood on earth and in heaven. To juxtapose is to describe things together so that we can see the differences in them. It is especially good when we have things that are similar. The high priests on earth offered both gifts and sacrifices and the One in heaven needs to do that also. He goes on to explain that if Jesus was here on earth He could not be a high priest because He is from the tribe of Judah and not from Levi. That is according to the law, that being, the Old Covenant and the Law of Moses. This next phrase in verse 5 is extremely important; "Who serve the copy and shadow of the heavenly things." The high priests from the tribe of Levi served only as a copy or example (copy, likeness, or imitation) and shadow of something else that is going on in heaven. For there to be a shadow, there must be something real to cast that shadow.
All that was happening with the gifts and sacrifices in the tabernacle and temple here on earth reflect things in heaven. Moses was so instructed by God while he was on Mt. Sinai to build the tabernacle a specific way because it shadow of the throne room in heaven. A man or a tree will cast a shadow, it is not a painting or an exact picture of the man or tree but it would be the outline of it. It indicates its form but has no substance to it. God instructed Moses very specifically how to make every single thing in the tabernacle; all the altars, the basins, the ark and the mercy seat the candlesticks, etc. It had to be made a specific way because of what it exampled, something specific in heaven.
The priests here on earth had a great ministry or service in the tabernacle and temple as they administered to the Law of Moses. They served to do as Moses was commanded by God to offer gifts and sacrifices to fulfill the temporary needs of the people for their sins, but Jesus has obtained a greater, more excellent ministry based on a new covenant and better promises of God. Jesus, it says, is the mediator of that covenant. That word mediator means a go-between, an internunciator, a reconciler or intercessor. This is good news (Gospel) for us!
As I researched that word mediator, internunciator came up in the Strong's Concordance. Only problem is that there is no such word in any of the dictionaries. After digging a little deeper, I find this broken down. Inter means between and nunciator is actually from annunciator which is someone or something that announces. It most specifically is used to mean an indicator that announces where a signal is coming from. I thought that was cool. Jesus is sitting next to the Father and when we pray or ask for something, when we sin and repent, it is Jesus that announces us to God the Father as one covered by His blood.
Another definition of this mediator comes from Thayer's Greek Lexicon. It says: one who intervenes between two, either in order to make or restore peace and friendship, or form a compact, or for ratifying a covenant. A medium of communication, arbitrator.
Jesus stands ready as our only defense before God and He is the only defense we need. He stands as the one in whose name we can ask for what we need because He has been give ALL authority in heaven, on earth and under the earth.
If we go back to verse 4, For every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices. Therefore it is necessary that this One also have something to offer. The high priests here had offerings and sacrifices and it says that Jesus must have something to offer also. Well, He does. Here they offered the blood of animals as a temporary offering and sacrifice that would never fulfill the cost of sin. But Jesus presents Himself in heaven, in the Holy of Holies in the heavens as the ultimate, supreme and perfect sacrifice for ALL sin. The sinless who died for the sinful. It is not given under the Law of Moses but under the New Covenant.
, For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. 8 Because finding fault with them, He says: "Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah — 9 not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the Lord. 10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 11 None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,' for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them. 12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more." NKJV
The Old Covenant, the Old Testament was a temporary agreement to cover the cost of sin. It was given to the people of Israel alone, not to the world. But the Old Covenant could not be kept by man and God knew that. What God wants is for us to know it and to realize it. That we cannot keep a set of rules. We cannot do enough good to outweigh our bad. We cannot work our way to heaven. Why does He want us to know that? because it opens us up to God's great mercy and grace. He has given us something far greater than a set of rules that man teaches another man. He instead made a New Covenant and in that covenant, He promised to send us a comforter and a teacher in the Holy Spirit. He puts His laws in our mind and in our hearts.
, But concerning brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another. NKJV
, Clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart. NKJV
, But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things. NKJV
The knowledge of Jesus Christ, who He is, what He has done and why He had to do it is not something that you gain from man. I can speak the words, but the Holy Spirit deals with your heart. I can tell you what the Bible says is sin, but I cannot convict you of that sin. Only the Holy Spirit brings conviction upon man for his unrighteousness. And according to God's Word, it doesn't take a brain surgeon or a rocket scientist to figure it all out. He deals with the greatest and the least. The simplest person can be saved. It is not a matter of our strength or wisdom but a matter of God's power.
We finish with , For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more." 13 In that He says, "A new covenant," He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away. NKJV
God is merciful because He does not give us what we deserve. The cost of our sin is death but He has chosen to make a New Covenant of grace in which He gives us what we do not deserve...forgiveness of our sin. Not just forgiven but washed away. He will remember them no more. I like what Graham Cooke says. "God has forgiven your sin and remembers it no more. Why do you keep bringing it up? God's like, "I don't know what you're talking about. I don't remember that."
Our problem is no longer sin, Jesus took care of that on the cross. I problem now is our righteousness. The Old Covenant didn't deal with sin to where it was no longer remembered. The sacrifice was a temporary covering. That covenant has been made obsolete. It has been replaced with a new one which doesn't cover sin but removes it. We are no longer supposed to work on not sinning but instead, we are to work on being more righteous. It starts with our repentance and acceptance of Christ as our Lord and Savior and continues with the work of the Holy Spirit making us more holy. The Holy Spirit is not in us to keep us from sinning but to make us more like Christ.
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