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Melchizedek, Jesus Christ and the New Covenant - Genesis Part 26

So What? / Lon Solomon
The Truth Network Radio
March 14, 2022 7:00 am

Melchizedek, Jesus Christ and the New Covenant - Genesis Part 26

So What? / Lon Solomon

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Well, you know, when I first came to Christ in 1971, I hitchhiked around the country with my dog for a while, Noah, and then we came to the Washington area. And when we got here, I ran into some seminary students and I began telling them that I really believe God had called me to spend my life full time serving Christ. And so they said, oh, they said, well then you should go to seminary. And I said, what's seminary? And they said, oh, it's a place where we learn Greek, we learn Hebrew, we learn theology, we learn church history, we learn how to preach. And I was like, wow, that's awesome.

Where is one of these places? And so I did go to seminary for four years and they said, and if you go, what will happen is your faith will deepen. You'll get a fuller grasp on what it is that you believe so that you can come out and teach it better to other people.

And everything they said about seminary was true and more. Well, today I want to take us to seminary. And what I want us to do is do some T-bone steak teaching and studying of the Word of God, aimed at helping us getting a deeper grasp and getting a fuller comprehension of God's plan of salvation that He's given us through Jesus Christ. And there are three critical questions we want to answer today. Number one, question number one is why is there a new covenant, a New Testament between God and mankind versus the old one? Question number two is what is Jesus' role in this new covenant, this New Testament?

And number three, how does all of this benefit you and me, although we're going to ask that question in only a couple of words when we get there. But you know what I mean, so we'll get there. And we're going to go back and start in Genesis 14 because remember, we're in a verse-by-verse study, the book of Genesis. We're going to start back there with one of the most intriguing people in all the Bible, a fellow named Melchizedek. And then we're going to do some seminary-level study about what the book of Hebrews says regarding this man Melchizedek and the new covenant and the Lord Jesus Christ. So are you ready? All right, here we go now.

I'm going to put a lot of hay on the horses today, but you guys can handle it. So here we go. First, a tiny bit of review, Genesis 14. Remember Lot, Abraham's nephew, was living in Sodom and there was an invasion by a foreign army that conquered Sodom and Gomorrah, took all the people captive, took Lot captive, his family, all their possessions of these two cities. And when Abraham heard about it, he went and fought this army with his troops, beat them. He recaptured the people of Sodom and Lot and Lot's family and all the booty and the spoil that this invading army had accumulated. And he was heading back to Sodom and Gomorrah to return the people back to their homes when we pick up the story.

All right, ready? Here we go. Genesis 14, verse 18, then Melchizedek, there's our friend, king of Salem, brought out bread and wine, that is to refresh the people that were with Abraham. Now he, Melchizedek, was a priest of the Most High God.

And the word that's used here in Hebrew for the Most High God is the word El Elyon, not Jehovah. But in verse 22 of this very same chapter, Abraham uses that very same name for God, El Elyon, which tells us that Melchizedek knew and worshiped the very same God that Abraham did. Verse 19, and Melchizedek blessed Abraham saying, Blessed be Abraham by God Most High, creator of heaven and earth, and blessed be God Most High, who delivered your enemies, Abraham, into your hand. Melchizedek comes out and says, Hey, Abraham, I just need you to remember that God deserves the credit. God deserves the thanks for this great victory that you've just had, not you. And then, verse 20, then Abraham gave him Melchizedek as a representative of God, as a priest of God, gave him a tenth of everything, all the booty, all the spoil that he had captured.

He did this as a thanksgiving offering, as a way of thanking God and worshiping God for the great victory that God had just given to Abraham. Now, what this tells us is that there were other people around in Abraham's time who knew the Lord, people who were outside the family of Abraham. You say, Well, Lon, how many were there and where did they live and what were they like and how exactly did they worship and who was their leader?

We don't know anything about that, my friends. We only get a tiny sliver of a glimpse into this by meeting Melchizedek because there's a reason for this. The Bible was not written to tell us everything about everything. The Bible was written to tell us about God's plan of salvation through Jesus Christ for the human race. The Bible was written to tell you and me how to get into heaven and you and me how to get eternal life and you and me how to get our sins forgiven and that plan of salvation through Jesus Christ is inextricably connected to the history of one man and his family through whom the Messiah was given to the earth, the man Abraham.

And because of this, even though Genesis 14 makes it clear that there were other believers around in Abraham's day and maybe many other places and many other times, the Bible never focuses on them or tells us much about them because Abraham and his family are the central theme producing the Messiah who produced the plan of salvation. Do we all understand that? Yes? Okay.

So let's go on now. Melchizedek's name appears one other time in the Old Testament in Psalm 110 which we call a Messianic Psalm. And what I mean by that is it's a Psalm all about the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ who was going to come.

It was written in 950 B.C. and here's what verse 4 of that Psalm says. God the Father is speaking to God the Son, the preincarnate Messiah and God the Father has sworn, the Bible says, and will not change his mind, you, God the Son, are a priest forever according to the order of, what's the next word? Melchizedek, there's our friend.

Now, let's talk about this for a second. We know Melchizedek was a priest of God. That's exactly what Genesis 14 told us.

We know that, right? But what does it mean for the Bible to say that Jesus is a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek? Well, this brings us back to our first two questions of the morning. Let me remind you what they are. Number one is why is there a New Covenant, a New Testament between God and mankind versus an old one and what is Jesus' role in this New Covenant? And now what I want you to do is put on your thinking caps.

Okay, we got them on. And let's go into the New Testament to the book of Hebrews and let's answer all these questions because the book of Hebrews answers them all for us. So here we go. We're starting with Hebrews chapter 6 verse 20. It says, Jesus has become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek. Now, Psalm 110 predicted that Jesus was going to become a high priest. And what Hebrews 6 20 is telling us is that this did take place.

Not that it would, but that it has taken place. It is accomplished fact and it happened immediately following the resurrection and ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ. But this fact that the risen Christ, the risen Lord Jesus is now a priest, a Jewish high priest no less, raises a huge theological problem. You see, under the Old Covenant, the Old Testament, only members of the tribe of Levi could serve as priests. Now, this was no problem for Melchizedek.

Melchizedek lived 600 years before the Old Testament covenant or law was ever given. For him to be a priest was not a problem. There were no restrictions on who could be a priest in Melchizedek's day.

That was not a problem. But folks, when the Bible declares that Jesus is a priest of God, there is a theological problem here. Jesus cannot be a priest of God because He lived after, 1500 years after the Old Testament law had been given by God. And Jesus was not from the tribe of Levi where all priests had to come from. What tribe was He from? Judah. Look, Hebrews 7 verse 14, For it is clear that our Lord descended from the tribe of what? Judah. A tribe with reference to which Moses spoke nothing about priests. And yet, as we just saw, Hebrews 6 verse 20, the Bible declares that in spite of this, Jesus has become a high priest forever just the way Psalm 110 said. A high priest according to the order of Melchizedek. What does that mean? It means a priest, don't miss this, outside of the Old Testament covenant, outside the Old Testament law, outside of the rules and the regulations and the restrictions that you must be from the tribe of Levi.

Jesus became a priest outside of that. Alright, everybody together? We still together? So, you see the problem? How can this be? God's a holy God. He's not going to violate His own law. So He gives a law that says only people from the tribe of Levi can be priests.

And then He makes someone a priest, a high priest no less, who's not from that tribe. How can this be? You see the problem? Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, okay. Alright, so what's the answer?

Well, there's only one explanation possible. Follow my logic here. And it's the Bible's logic, so it's correct, okay?

Here we go. Follow this logic. If Jesus is now a priest, which the Bible says He is, and if Jesus cannot be a priest, as long as the Old Testament law and covenant is enforced, which restricted all priests to the tribe of Levi, then the only conclusion possible is that the Old Testament law, the Old Testament covenant is no longer in force.

Does that make sense? Alright, now watch the book of Hebrews tell us this. Hebrews 7 verse 12. For when there is a change in the priesthood of necessity, Hebrews says, there must also be a change in the law, in the covenant. In other words, you can't change the priesthood without changing the covenant. And since God has changed the priesthood by appointing the risen Lord Jesus Christ from the tribe of Judah as a priest, ready for this? If so facto, by definition, God must have changed the covenant by which He's dealing with mankind. And you know the Old Testament said He was going to do this.

He told people He was going to do this. Jeremiah 31 verse 31 says, and 600 years before Christ, here's what God said. He said, Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a what?

What's the next word? A new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. And a new covenant means a new priesthood.

Watch Hebrews 7 23. Now the former priests from the tribe of Levi, the Levitical priests, existed in great numbers because they were prevented by death from surviving in office. But He, the risen Christ, because He lives forever, holds His priesthood permanently. And therefore, wow, do I love this. Therefore, this priest, the Lord Jesus, is able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him. Why?

Because He forever lives to intercede for them. Hey, this is an astounding truth. Am I the only person here excited about this? No.

Well, show me you're excited about it. What is this astounding truth? God has irreversibly changed the priesthood from a line of mortal priests from the tribe of Levi to a single permanent immortal priest, the Lord Jesus Christ, who is able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him. So this is the answer to question number two. Question number two is what is Jesus' role in the new covenant? The answer is He is the high priest of the new covenant who, Hebrews 9-12, entered the true holy of holies in heaven. Not the one in Jerusalem, the one in heaven, not with the blood of goats and calves like the Levitical priests had to do, but with His own blood, thereby obtaining eternal redemption for us.

Wow. But we still have question number one to answer, which is why did God have to do this in the first place? Why did there need to be a new covenant in the first place? What was wrong with the old covenant that God couldn't work with that?

Okay, let's answer that. You know, a few years ago I was in New York City and I was out with Jews for Jesus handing out tracts. And when we go out, we always wear T-shirts with Jews for Jesus emblazoned on the back and on the front.

In New York City, that's like going out, as you've heard me say before, with a big old bullseye painted right in the middle of your chest. Well, I was down in the subway, one of the subway stations handing out tracts, and this ultra-orthodox young Jewish man, you know, with the black coat and the black curls and the black hat, comes up and stands, I don't know, eight, ten feet from me and he starts handing out anti-Jesus literature. So I'm handing out Jesus literature and he's handing out anti-Jesus literature.

We call these people anti-missionaries is what we call them. So I thought after a while, this is stupid, I should go over and talk to the guy. I mean, I can almost touch him. So I went over and stood next to him and he turns to me and he goes, are you Jewish? And I said, I don't know, are you Jewish? He said, look at me, do I not look Jewish? And I said, okay, look at me, do I not look Jewish? See, this is what happens when you put two Jews together in a conversation. So anyway, I said, yes, I'm Jewish.

He said, okay, he said, I tell you what, he said, you give me ten minutes and I can talk you out of believing in Jesus. I said, really? I said, okay, I'd like to see this. I said, all right, but here it is. I'll give you ten minutes and then I won't interrupt you. But when you're done, I get ten minutes with you.

Fair enough? He goes, okay. I said, okay, deal.

Looked at my watch. I said, go. And he talked for ten minutes. When he was done, he hadn't talked me one eye older closer and not believing in Jesus. So when his ten minutes were up, I said, okay, stop. That's it. Ten minutes are up.

I get my ten now. And I said, you know, sir, you're a sincere guy and I really appreciate that about you. And you're working really hard to sell me your product, which is Old Testament Judaism. I said, but, sir, the problem is that the product you're trying to sell me is defunct. It is obsolete.

It has been decommissioned. And then I took him to Jeremiah 31 in the Old Testament and I showed him the new covenant. And I talked to him about the new covenant that was all centered in the work of the Messiah. You say, have that conversation all in. Not good.

Pretty bad, actually. He got angry and just frustrated and just walked away. At least I got rid of him handing out anti-Jesus literature.

But he just walked away. But, folks, what he could not get over, he just couldn't understand why there had to be a new covenant. What was so broken about the old covenant that God had to put a new covenant in place.

So, let's answer that question. Book of Hebrews chapter 8 verse 7. It says, For if there had been nothing wrong with the first covenant, the old covenant, there would have been no need for another one, the new covenant. Logical?

Okay. What was wrong with the old covenant? Hebrews 7 verse 18, For the old covenant was set aside because it was weak and useless.

You say weak and useless to do what? Friends, it was weak and useless to reconcile us to God. It was weak and useless to redeem us from our sins. It was weak and useless to give us eternal life. It was weak and useless to get us into heaven. It was weak and useless to get our sins forgiven. And the reason it was weak and useless is because it was based upon human performance, human works, human effort. A system none of us could ever possibly live up to.

Romans chapter 3 verse 20. God says by human performance, human works, human effort, no one will ever be declared righteous in God's sight. This is what was wrong with it. It depended on you and me. And you and me cannot make it work. You and me are sinners to the core. And we can't make a human performance system work.

That's what was wrong with the old system. The new covenant isn't based on you and me. Praise God for that. It's not based on what you do, what you say, what you don't do and what you don't say. It's based on the work of Jesus Christ on the cross for you and me that never changes.

That's what needed to change. Now, can we summarize? Okay, let's summarize. This is the whole point that the writer of the book of Hebrews is trying to get across. He's trying to help Jewish people understand, just like I was trying to help this young man in the subway understand, that God has abrogated. God has nullified. God has decommissioned the Old Testament, the old covenant, and He has instituted a new covenant with mankind, just as He promised He would do in Jeremiah 31. And the writer of the book of Hebrews wants Jewish people to understand that they need to stop hanging on to a covenant that is null and void and obsolete.

Instead, they and all mankind need to embrace God's new covenant which has been inaugurated by and which is based on and which is anchored in the death, the burial, and the resurrection of the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ. You got it? You got it? Okay. Now, we still have a third question. And our third question is, okay, so like how does all this benefit you and me today as followers of Christ? Ah, but here at McLean Bible Church, we have a much simpler way to ask that question, don't we? You know how we ask that question. And so, all of you at Prince William and all of you guys at Loudoun and all of you at Bethesda and in the Edge and around the world on the Internet and all of us here at Tysons, are we ready? Question number three, are you ready? Here we go.

One, two, three. So what? Yeah, you say, Lon, so what? Say, I followed all that.

No kids are there. You know, I got all that. I understand it. You know, what does any of this make to me? Well, friends, listen, Hebrews chapter 8 verse 6 says the covenant of which Jesus is the mediator, the high priest, is better than the old one. And I'm going to give you five reasons why it's better.

You ready? And then we're done. Number one, reason number one it's better is because, first of all, it has a better high priest in charge. Hebrews 7 verse 26, for we have a high priest in the new covenant who is holy and sinless and undefiled and exalted above the heavens. Verse 28, for the old covenant appointed men as priests who were weak and mortal, but the new covenant appointed the son of God himself who has been perfected forever. Hey, we got a better deal with God because we got a better high priest leading our covenant. Number two, the second reason we've got a better deal with God, a better covenant, is because our covenant, the new covenant, is based on a better offering for sin. Hebrews 10 verse 4, the old covenant offered lambs and bulls and goats and, you know, animal blood. But listen, it says in verse 4, for it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins, verse 10, but in the new covenant by the offering of his own body, once for all, he, Jesus, has perfected for all time those of us who believe in him. Chapter 9 verse 12, for not by the blood of bulls and goats, but by his own blood, Jesus obtained eternal redemption for us. Say the next four words with me, once and for all. Hey, you don't have to take an offering to Jerusalem once a week or once a month or once a year or five times in your lifetime. You never have to do it. Jesus has a better offering for sin, his own body broken on the cross, his own blood shed on the cross, and that offering for sin brings eternal redemption once and for all.

Got it? All right, number three. Reason number three we've got a better covenant is because it gives us better forgiveness, the new covenant. Hebrews 10 verse 1, the old covenant the Bible said relied on the same animal sacrifices, offered repeatedly and endlessly year after year, which could never fully take away sins in God's sight. Ah, but this is the new covenant I will make with them, God said. I will forgive their transgressions and their sins. I will remember what?

No more. You know what this means? This means that God doesn't forget about our sin for a day or for a week or for a month or for a quarter or for a year or for a decade when we come into this new covenant with Christ. He forgets about our sin. They're covered by the blood of Christ forever, once and for all.

It's done. And I love what verse 18 says now. Where there is forgiveness like this, no further offerings for sin are ever needed. Our forgiveness is full and free and complete. Praise the Lord for that, huh?

All right, number four. Why is the new covenant better? Because number four, it gives us better assurance of eternal life. Hebrews 7, verse 24 says because Jesus lives forever, He has a permanent priesthood. Therefore, He is able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him because He always lives to intercede for them.

Listen to me, my friends. When you are saved to the uttermost, you are as saved as saved can be. It doesn't get anymore. The uttermost is uttermost. I mean, you can't get any more saved than that, right? And that is how the eternal life we've got comes to us. That eternal life is to the uttermost. Praise God for that.

Finally, number five. Why have we got a better deal with God in the new covenant? Because fifth, the new covenant has a better way to appropriate, to make our own, its blessings. So what do you mean by that? Well, I mean the only way you could make the blessings of the old covenant yours is by human performance. Nobody could keep that standard.

But hey, under the new covenant, it's not about human performance. It's about simple, childlike trust and faith in Jesus. A two-year-old can do it. A three-year-old can do it. Accessing all the blessings of the new covenant, a five-year-old can do it. The teenagers down at Myrtle Beach can do it.

Anybody can do it. It's easier to get in. And praise God for that. It's like the old hymn says, rock of ages, nothing in my hands I bring.

I don't need to. Simply to thy cross I cling. That's how you get in. It's a better way.

So let's summarize. How does God's new covenant benefit us more? How is it better than the old covenant?

Five ways. Number one, we have a better high priest in charge, the perfect, eternal, immortal, risen Son of God Himself. Number two, we have a better offering for sin, the blood of Jesus Christ Himself that gives us eternal redemption. Number three, we have better forgiveness from God because our sins and our lawless deeds He remembers no more.

Number four, we have better assurance of eternal life because Jesus lives forever to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him. And finally, number five, we have a better way to gain access into the blessings of this covenant, not by human effort, not by human works, not by human performance, but by childlike faith and reliance on the blood of Jesus Christ. Now, did you follow all that today? Did you follow all that today? Yeah. All right. If you did, then right out in the lobby, as soon as we're done, we have seminary degrees, diplomas for all of you.

You go out there and get one. Bring it in here. We'll fill your name in and I'll sign it and you can put it on your wall. No, not really.

I'm afraid it takes a little more than that. But, hey, I know we covered a lot of ground today, but this is exciting, my friends. If we understand this, we understand the very fabric, the very foundation, the very warp and woof of our faith, why God replaced covenants, how Jesus fits in, why it's better for us. Man, you get this? The whole thing makes sense, yes?

Makes perfect sense. And praise God for the new covenant because the old one was a bad deal, but the new one is a great deal. And that leads me to say in closing, if you're here today and you've never accessed the new covenant for yourself, if you're still like the man down in the subway that I talked to still trying to get into heaven using means that are defunct and decommissioned and obsolete, then, friend, we need to try to fix that today for you.

You know, listen, what did the Bible say? Jesus is able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Buddha. Is that what it says? No. Those who come to God through Confucius. No. Those who come to God through Muhammad. No. Those who come to God through Judaism. No. Those who come to God through their own good works. No. Those who come to God through recycling. No. It doesn't say any of that. What does it say?

Those who come to God through Him. That's right. Any other way you're trying to get there, my friends, I'm here to tell you is your friend is decommissioned, nullified, and null and void. It's not going to work.

It can't work. God only accepts people one way, and that's through the plan of salvation. Jesus inaugurated for us on the cross. So if you're trusting anything else, I want to give you Hebrews chapter 2 verse 3. It says, How shall we escape judgment in eternity? The answer is we won't if we ignore such a great salvation.

If you've ignored it up to this point, we're going to give you a chance to change that right now. Let's bow our heads together. With our heads bowed and our eyes closed, if you're ready today, if you understand today and are prepared to give up every other remedy you've ever trusted to try to get you to God, because you understand they're decommissioned, and instead you're willing today to come to God through Christ, He will save you to the uttermost and give you all the other blessings of the new covenant. So if you're ready to do that, I'm going to lead us in a very short prayer, and we're going to get this done. I'm going to pray out loud. You pray silently. We'll do it one phrase at a time.

Here we go. Lord Jesus, I come to you today because I want to get into the new covenant. I want eternal redemption. I want you to remember my sins no more. I want you to save me to the uttermost. And Lord Jesus, I want you to make my life here on earth worth living. And so today I reject every other way that I've ever tried to come to God. And today I come to God through you, trusting your blood shed on the cross to be all the payment for sin that I ever need.

Come into my heart today and become my personal Lord and Savior. In Jesus' name I pray. And Father, I want to pray for the folks that prayed that prayer, that you indeed, if they're sincere in their heart, would do exactly what you said you would do for them in the Bible. Not only save them to the uttermost, but give them eternal redemption. Remember their sins no more.

Everything you said and more, Lord. And for those of us here who have already come to God through you, remind us today of the incredible thing you did with the new covenant, of the trouble and the pain it cost you to create this for us, so that people like us, Lord, who could never make the old covenant work, have a way to get eternal life and get to heaven. And Lord, help us walk out of here excited about our faith and excited about sharing it. And we pray this in Jesus' name. Amen. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-22 17:56:38 / 2023-05-22 18:09:08 / 13

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