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C  OVENANT FROM GOD THE FATHER

AC@ We have learned that it takes the courage to be different.

AH@ Holiness is being able to recognize your own salvation and rejoice in it.

AO@ One Purpose - For Christ.

AI@   Integrity to AYour@ Salvation

AC@  Covenant from God the Father

Hebrews 9:15 For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance -- now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant. (NIV)

1242 diatheke {dee©ath©ay'©kay} from 1303; TDNT - 2:106,157; n f AV - covenant 20, testament 13; 33 1) a disposition, arrangement, of any sort, which one wishes to be valid, the last disposition which one makes of his earthly possessions after his death, a testament or will  2) a compact, a covenant, a testament  2a) God's covenant with Noah, etc.

What a remarkable, essential book is Hebrews. More than any other in Scripture, it repeatedly affirms and underscores the superiority of Christ.  It continually brings us back to the solid meat of Christianity, refusing to let us stay in the shadows looking for fulfillment in externals.

Not even the Law represents God=s major message to humanity, as helpful and important as it may have once been.  The Law brings to us the awareness of our need, but it does nothing to solve our deepest and most dreaded disease: sin. 

That takes blood...a certain kind of blood.  And, as we will see in this message, along with the blood comes an entirely new arrangement (called covenant in Hebrews) between God and humanity.

This new arrangement is far superior to the rituals, regulations, and commandments of the Law.  It is a Agrace connection@: signed, sealed, and delivered in blood.

I.  Some Reminders about Hebrews.

As we proceed, let=s keep in mind three things about the book of Hebrews. These will help us maintain a proper perspective.

A.  Its theme is the superiority of Jesus Christ.

B.  Its concern is that we rely on Christ=s finished work.

C.  Its emphasis is that we operate under a new arrangement.

II.  The Essential Issue: Blood (Heb. 9:15-28).

Offensive as it may sound to some, this is a blood-related subject.  Look at what the writer mentions back in verses 13 and 14.


Hebrews 9:13©14 13 The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. 14 How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God! (NIV)

Under the Mosaic system, people had to return time and again to be washed of their sins.  The blood of animals, spilled on the altar, had only a brief cleansing effect.  The writer says, however, that the internal cleansing effect of the blood of Christ has the capacity to wash even the conscience from dead works so that the recipient of the cleansing can serve the living God.

Thus, in the days of the old arrangement (the old covenant), animal blood was the essential ingredient; but in these days of the new arrangement, Christ=s blood shed once for all is the exclusive cleansing agent. 

The blood relates to three things:

 the covenant,

forgiveness,

and salvation.

We will consider each.

A.  As It Relates to the Covenant. (Vv. 15-21).  We read

Hebrews 9:15©21

15 For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance -- now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant. 16 In the case of a will, it is necessary to prove the death of the one who made it, 17 because a will is in force only when somebody has died; it never takes effect while the one who made it is living. 18 This is why even the first covenant was not put into effect without blood. 19 When Moses had proclaimed every commandment of the law to all the people, he took the blood of calves, together with water, scarlet wool and branches of hyssop, and sprinkled the scroll and all the people. 20 He said, "This is the blood of the covenant, which God has commanded you to keep." 21 In the same way, he sprinkled with the blood both the tabernacle and everything used in its ceremonies. (NIV)

The term covenant is used in some instances it conveys the idea of Aarrangement@; in other instances it connotes Awill,@as in Alast will and testament.@  Under the terms of God=s plan, this will or new arrangement was signed, sealed, and delivered in blood.   Leviticus 17:11 relating to old covenant times, says; 

Leviticus 17:11 11 For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one's life. (NIV)

The old arrangement was preempted by something similar, but permanent: Christ=s blood and covenant.


B.  As It Relates to Forgiveness (v.22).

Hebrews 9:22 22 In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. (NIV)

That is the key statement. If you meditate on this verse for a few moments, you will come to at least two conclusions.  First, you will conclude that sin is a terrible offense. It is so offensive that it has blocked man from God; no one can mane any other aspect of life that leads to such seperation.  Your  second conclusion will be that forgiveness is a costly commodity.  The proof of the awfulness of sin is God=s requirement that blood be shed for its cleansing .  No blood, no forgiveness!  There is no way to get around it.

C.  As It Relates to Salvation. (Vv. 23-28).

The first three words in this passage is the beautiful connection  AIt was necessary@ (therefore).  Up until now, the writer has had us in a history lesson on blood, as well as giving us interesting contrasts between old and new covenants.  To this point we have only been observing, but now we become personally involved.  The writer=s thinking concludesA

Hebrews 9:28 so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him. (NIV)

This refers to the Christian=s hope for Christ=s return.  But what the author states before verse 28 must not be overlooked. 

He presents two strong contrasts between the old days and the new days. 

First, Christ didn=t enter a holy place made with hands (i.e., the tabernacle), but rather entered heaven itself (v.24). 

Second, Christ did not offer Himself often (as the priests frequently offered animal lives), but rather, offered Himself once (v.25).

In verse 27 and 28, in light of all he has presented, the writer offers a word of warning and a word of encouragement.  The Greeks of the ancient world said, AEat, drink, and be merry: for tomorrow you die.@  Marcus Aurelius, a Roman, taught, A When one dies, his spark goes back and all that is left is dust, ashes, bones, and stench.@  The writer of Hebrews says,

A...Hebrews 9:27©28 27 Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment...@,

MUSIC TEAM

His word or warning is severe. God doesn=t care how religious or energetic we may be, how kind or good we are in attitude or action: He=s concerned that our hearts are washed in the blood of His Son. 


The reality of judgment awaits the person without Christ.  In contrast, a word of encouragement is offered to the one who has become personally related to Christ.  His judgment is behind him and his Asalvation@ (v28) awaits him. He can therefore live and walk without fear.

28 so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him. (NIV)

III. Two Truths That Abide.

  A.  Today=s sin is forgiveable.

  B.  Tomorrow=s judgment is escapable.

Let=s spend some time talking with God.  Our agenda before the Father will be unique.  You may spend time in praise and thanks for the hope of forgiveness.  Or, you may pray in confession and repentance.  Whatever, use this as an occasion to come boldly before God=s gracious throne.

 

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