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New and Improved

The Book of Hebrews  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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A sermon on the superiority of the covenant under Jesus Christ our Great High Priest. Noting that we have a New Minister and an Improved Covenant.

Notes
Transcript
Emachines (a computer company) used to put a sticker on their computers that said ‘Never Obsolete.’ I actually owned one. It had a processor of 566 Mhz, 32 Mb Ram and a 7.5 Gb hard drive.
Now we even live in a world of planned obsolescence. That’s where consumer goods are planned to be obsolete or replaced later. Examples include how many versions of phones come out so quickly (both Iphones and Samsungs). Products expire quicker and force you to be new and better items. I like things that are New and Improved, but I’m finding that will never end, except in one area.
In Hebrews 7 we saw that Jesus is a superior High Priest (1-10) that provides a Better Hope (11-19) and that the salvation he provides is a Perfect Guarantee (20-28)
Hebrews 7 reveals who this High Priest has always been - the eternal Son of God. Now we hit a major section in Hebrews 8:1-10:18 showing us that Jesus has now become (through his offering of himself) a High Priest ‘perfected forever’ and the only eternal source of salvation - Cockerill, NICNT
We have three major themes coming up in the next three chapters - sanctuary, sacrifice, and covenant. In Chapter 8 we’ll see all of these themes with a focus on this new covenant.
The author wants us to overwhelmed with the magnitude and wonder of this High Priest. He didn’t want his readers to return to Judaism, so he is teaching how Jesus is superior to the Levitical priesthood and sacrificial system. Although we may not be tempted to give up Christianity for Judaism, we are easily tempted to turn away from Christ when trials or disappointments hit. Everything depends on recognizing who Jesus Christ is - he is the answer to all that we need.
Main Point: Today, we will see that we have a covenant that is improved from the old one, that has a new minister, who provides a better and lasting relationship with God.

1. We Have a New Minister

** Verses 1-6 - Here we will see that the Son ministers as a High Priest in the heavenly sanctuary. We’ll also find, regarding this new minister, that his sacrifice is worthy or fitting for this heavenly sanctuary and is different from and better than the Aaronic Priesthood.

A. The Work of This Minister

** Verses 1-2 - this is the sum (or this is the main point) - we have ‘such’ an high priest - emphasis on the quality of the service of this high priest - look at how his service is exceptional. The word such is so descriptive while being slightly ambiguous. He’s so much better, he makes ‘such’ a difference.
It is a Finished Work
** Verse 1 - he is set down. You’re probably aware that in the OT tabernacle and sacrificial system there were no chairs - their work was never done. Day after day, the priests offered sacrifices for themselves and for the people. The work of salvation was never complete under the old covenant.
Hebrews 10:12 AV
12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;
Psalm 110:1 AV
1 The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.
** But this verse tells us that our new minister Jesus, is set down. Something a Levitical priest never would have done in this role. He was able to sit down because His work was completed.
Hebrews 7:27 AV
27 Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself.
It is a Majestic Work
** Verse 1 - throne, majesty, in the heavens. Not only is Jesus seated, but note where He is seated - in heaven, at the right hand of the Father. The right hand is not only the place of honor and majesty but is also the place of affection. The right hand of a king was considered the highest place of honor in the kingdom.
1 Kings 2:19 AV
19 Bathsheba therefore went unto king Solomon, to speak unto him for Adonijah. And the king rose up to meet her, and bowed himself unto her, and sat down on his throne, and caused a seat to be set for the king’s mother; and she sat on his right hand.
Hebrews 1:3 AV
3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;
** So not only would a high priest in Israel not sit down, he certainly wouldn’t sit on a throne! Throne here magnifies the authority, reign, and sovereignty of this Son and Priest, Jesus Christ.
** Not only would they not sit on a throne, but certainly not one in the heavens! Jesus is exalted high above all kings and priests.
Ephesians 1:20–23 AV
20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, 21 Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: 22 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, 23 Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.
It is a True Work
** Verse 2 - expands on the work of this New Minister by showing the genuineness of it. He is the minister of the sanctuary, of the true tabernacle.
** Minister - clearly related to priestly work - a public servant, ministering to the well-being of the community. (Cockerill, NICNT, 352). He’s clearly superior as he is a minister of heavenly sanctuary on our behalf.
Hebrews 9:11 AV
11 But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;
** The sanctuary show us that He went to the very presence of God. And it wasn’t the OT copy of the tabernacle, it’s the true heavenly tabernacle.
The queen of Sheba came to visit Solomon, and one day she put him to the test. She brought artificial flowers so perfectly formed that no human eye could detect them from real flowers. She put them in a vase on Solomon’s table, in his throne room next to his flowers. As he came in, the queen of Sheba is reported to have said, “Solomon, you are the wisest man in the world. Tell me without touching these flowers, which are real and which are artificial.”
It is said that Solomon studied the flowers for a long time and spoke nothing, until finally he said, “Open the windows and let the bees come in.”
(Brooks Ramsey, “When Religion Becomes Real”)
** This heavenly sanctuary is ‘true’ because this is where salvation was fully accomplished. The OT tabernacle wasn’t false, it was just temporary, it couldn’t provide fully what was needed just as the artificial flowers couldn’t proved what was needed for the bees.
** This New Minister truly has a Work that is above all others. He truly is superior and thus the covenant that he administers must be superior as well.

B. The Effectiveness of His Ministry

** Verses 3-6 - in verses 1-2 we saw the work of the minister (finished, majestic, and true) and the exceptional nature of His service - that as the Son he has been installed as the High Priest in the heavenly Sanctuary at God’s right hand. Now we’ll see how effective it is.
He Has Something to Offer
** Verse 3 - clearly the role of a priest is to offer gifts and sacrifices and Jesus as our Great High Priest is no exception.
What would you think of a soldier that didn’t have a weapon, or a fireman that didn’t have water. Priests must offer gifts and sacrifices.
Hebrews 5:1 AV
1 For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins:
** We note the plural of gifts and sacrifices which of course is representative of the Aaronic order that repeatedly had to offer these. So if Jesus is a priest, then he must have somewhat (something) to offer - note this is singular. We’ve been given an insight into this offering in:
Hebrews 7:27 AV
27 Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself.
Hebrews 9:14 AV
14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
** Jesus has a gift / sacrifice to offer - himself and he did this once.
His Offering is Superior
** Verses 4-5 - we saw in Chapter 7 that Jesus couldn’t be an earthly priest - he’s of the tribe of Judah for one, and the Levitical law couldn’t perfect anyone.
Hebrews 7:11–12 AV
11 If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron? 12 For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.
** But Jesus is a priest of a heavenly order, sanctuary, tabernacle. See the OT priests served in that which was a shadow or pattern of the heavenly. Pattern gives the idea of a blueprint and shadow gives us the idea that the real thing is coming.
Exodus 25:40 AV
40 And look that thou make them after their pattern, which was shewed thee in the mount.
** Moses was instructed by God to construct this tabernacle. Moses saw this pattern that God gave him and duplicated it on earth. From the beginning the tabernacle was a pattern or blueprint that anticipated something greater. The true original was always in heaven. The old tabernacle, priesthood, and covenant (as a pattern and shadow) were never designed to be eternal, were always insufficient.
Colossians 2:17 AV
17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.
** Thus going back to the Old is denying the sufficiency of this New Minister Jesus Christ. See Jesus Christ is actually offering a superior sacrifice because he is ministering in the original tabernacle - not the shadow of it. Therefore we see that,
His Ministry is Better
** Verse 6 - back in the OT we find that Moses was the mediator of the Old Covenant. But the mediator of the New Covenant is Jesus. He has obtained - meaning he hit the mark!
1 Timothy 2:5 AV
5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
Wuest explains that a mediator "refers to one who intervenes between two, either to make or restore peace and friendship, to form a compact, or to ratify a covenant.
** Mediator has the idea of umpire - neutral person. In baseball the coaches, the players, and the fans are not neutral. They all have a bias. So they need a neutral mediator at the game - an umpire.
Spiritually we are biased, we think we’re not that bad and God should make concessions for us. But God is so righteous and He cannot entertain sin at all. So we have Jesus - the mediator to represent us to God and to bring God’s righteousness to us.
Hebrews & James B. Mediator (v. 6)

To say Jesus is our mediator means more than that he was our middleman. His service as our mediator guaranteed our salvation. Since his priesthood endures forever (7:22–25), the covenant he established will last eternally. Christ both stands with and between God and lost human beings, guaranteeing that lost sinners can find God.

** What Jesus has done is more excellent - much better - a better covenant with better promises. It’s so much better that Jesus brings with it guarantees.
Hebrews 7:22 AV
22 By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament.

2. We Have An Improved Covenant

** So looking at the New Minister, we see that His work is better; that his work is more effective seeing he has a superior ministry in a better place (the heavens) with a better offering.
** Verses 7-13 - This section parallels Jeremiah 31:31-34 and shows that our New Minister mediates an improved covenant. We’ll see that this new covenant shows us that the Old was ineffective.
Jeremiah 31:31–34 AV
31 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: 32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: 33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.

A. The Failure of the Old Covenant

** Verse 7 - as we go into this section we see that the Hebrew writer is using the ‘better promises’ of the Jeremiah passage to reinforce his point. Here in v. 7 he shows that the old covenant wasn’t perfect and needed an improved one from the beginning.
Hebrews 7:11 AV
11 If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron?
Hebrews 7:18 AV
18 For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof.
** The old covenant wasn’t sufficient - couldn’t finish or perfect anyone’s salvation. It never could provide ultimate forgiveness.

B. The Promises of the New Covenant

** Verses 8-12 - In verse 7 we’ve been told about the failure of the old covenant - it wouldn’t last. Let’s look here at the promises regarding this new covenant.
It Would Be an Adequate Covenant
** Verses 8-9 - The old covenant failed because the people failed (them).
Jeremiah 31:32 AV
32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD:
** The old covenant was insufficient because of the failures of the fathers. They refused to obey and that show that the first covenant wasn’t adequate to transform the heart. He described their rebelliousness earlier in the warning of 3:7-4:11. Here in verse 9 God say He took them by the hand, but they wouldn’t continue in His ways.
** They didn’t continue in the covenant and so God didn’t regard them - He neglected them. Neglecting God and His will is dangerous.
For most of the 1980s, Chicagoans, who worked in the booming downtown business district, could easily ignore the city's budget crisis; Washington's cutback of aid to cities didn't seem to hurt business. Then, they learned the price of neglecting the underpinnings of all that economic growth. A quarter billion gallons of murky Chicago River water gushed into a 60-mile network of turn-of-the-century freight tunnels under the downtown Loop and brought nearly all businesses to a soggy halt. It turned out that a top city official had known about the leak, but, acting for a cash-strapped government, had delayed repairs costing only about $50,000. The final cost of the damage caused by this neglect was estimated to be more than $1 billion. (From U.S. News & World Report, April 27, 1992.)
** See the writer wants these believers to continue in Christ, to not go astray, to not rebel, ot not ignore what they have in Christ. Especially considering how much better this minister and this covenant is.
It Would Be an Inward Covenant
** Verse 10 - God was going to make a new covenant! See the failure of the first covenant was that it couldn’t provide the power to keep it, to be obedient. It was written on tablets of stone, but it needed to be written on the tablet of the heart. So, they needed a new heart altogether.
Ezekiel 36:26–27 AV
26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.
** When we are saved we receive the divine nature of Christ.
2 Peter 1:3–4 AV
3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: 4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
** Some people have an issue with ‘asking Jesus into your heart’ but can I tell you that theologically this is a valid thing to say. Read again verse 10 and 2 Peter 1:4.
** In the Old Covenant the law was external but now the New Covenant is internal.
2 Corinthians 3:3 AV
3 Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.
** One of the great promises of this improved covenant is not just that it is adequate, but that it is inward, internal. We have an internal transformation by God’s grace that will enable us to remain faithful to Jesus Christ.
** Why would you want the New Covenant for salvation and the Old Covenant for sanctification (Weirsbe, 93). When Paul says you’ve fallen from grace or fallen away, this is what he means. You have been saved by the gospel of Jesus Christ, you have an internal transformation, but you’re going to go back to the law, an external way of following/serving Christ?
It Would Be a Personal Covenant
** Verse 11 - this verse is quoted from
Jeremiah 31:34 AV
34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.
** Fellowship with God (because of an inward covenant) is now personal - it’s direct and immediate. There are no more human priests or privileged classes with exceptional knowledge of God.
1 Peter 2:9 AV
9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
** The new covenant is no respecter of persons. Anyone can have the knowledge of God, can have a close walk with Him
John 14:26 AV
26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
1 John 2:27 AV
27 But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.
** I don’t have to go through a human priest. I don’t have to go confess to him. I don’t need revelation from a man, I have a personal relationship with God through this New Minister and this Improved Covenant!
It Would Be a Cleansing Covenant
** Verse 12 - what a cool verse! Boy we all need mercy. This New Covenant has sealed the deal on God’s mercy. While He has always been merciful, we see it in even a greater way through the blood atonement of Jesus Christ.
** He goes so far as to say he doesn’t remember our sins anymore. It’s so important He says it again.
Hebrews 10:16–17 AV
16 This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; 17 And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.
** While it’s debatable whether God actually ‘forgets’ our sins, we can know one thing for sure. He doesn’t hold them against us. He doesn’t treat us according to our sins. He never brings up forgiven sins anymore.
** Some people say, “I can forgive, but I can’t forget.” Ok, well maybe you can’t forget. But you can sure treat people like you did.

C. The Permanence of the New Covenant

** Verse 13 - So this new covenant has some pretty wonderful promises - different, inward, personal, cleansing. Now we see a last characteristic of the Improved Covenant that is worthy of it’s own point.
** It’s not like the old covenant that decays, grows old, and vanishes away. It is permanent. It is eternal.
** The old covenant had served its purpose - to show us that we’re sinners. But now it was obsolete (like computers, phones, and appliances), its out of date - it had done its job. It pointed to the new covenant - one that promised inward power, a personal relationship with God, and forgiveness of sins.
** Through Jesus the New Minister/Priest, we have a new covenant which provides everything we need.

CONCLUSION

New and Improved. We have something better than anyone else had in the Old Testament. We have a better High Priest who offers a better hope with a guarantee. We have salvation through his one-time offering of Himself. He administers a New Covenant that includes amazing benefits of inward power to please God, to have a personal relationship with Him, and to receive forgiveness of sins.
We have a better minister and priest - he offered a better sacrifice (himself) - he serves the heavenly sanctuary
We have better benefits in the new covenant - the inward prompting of the Holy Spirit, personal relationship with God, forgiveness from Him.
We should be encouraged to not slip or drift away from our relationship with Christ.
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