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A Better Covenant

Growing in Grace / Doug Agnew
The Truth Network Radio
January 14, 2024 6:00 pm

A Better Covenant

Growing in Grace / Doug Agnew

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January 14, 2024 6:00 pm

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I have your Bibles with you this morning. Turn with me if you would to 8th chapter of Hebrews and we're going to be looking at verses 7 through 13. that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt. For they did not continue in my covenant and so I showed no concern for them declares the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days declares the Lord. I will put my laws into their mind and write them on their hearts. I will be their God. They shall be my people. They shall not teach each one his neighbor each one his brother saying know the Lord for they shall all know me from the least of them to the greatest for I will be merciful toward their iniquities and I will remember their sins no more.

And speaking of a new covenant he makes the first one obsolete and what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away. Let's go to our Lord in prayer. Heavenly Father I pray for our sick and infirm today. Pray for Wayne Allen who has cancer surgery coming up in February. I pray for Bill Fulton who's with us here this morning but uh into this month they're going to remove a huge kidney stone from him.

It's been causing him much trouble and we pray that would go extremely well. Can you pray for Jeremy Carriker and Jim Belk, Verinda Torrance and Kim Oudy. Lord I pray for our church in the time of transition. Lead us with such power and vision that we'll be comforted in your presence. Heavenly Father today we focus on the new covenant being a better covenant. This doesn't mean the old covenant was bad. It just means the old covenant was so rigid that none of us could measure up. Hebrews 8 was written to teach us that we need Jesus. Jesus did for us what we could not do for ourselves. Open the Word to us Lord and make us understand our dependence on Christ for it is in the precious name of Jesus that we pray. Amen.

You may be seated. If you remember when we first started studying the book of Hebrews I shared with you that Hebrews is the better book. The writer of Hebrews has gone to great lengths to show us that Jesus is better than anything that Judaism has to offer. And here in chapter 8 we find out that the new covenant is better than the old covenant. Now when you're studying the Bible if you think you can study it without understanding covenant you are sadly mistaken. And one of the covenants that I think we as human beings on this earth understand better than any other covenant is the marriage covenant. The marriage covenant is a picture of the covenant that God has with us. Jesus is our groom and we are his bride. Now I want to share with you a passage from the commentary from Richard Phillips.

He said this so powerfully I just I couldn't put it down. And it's a little bit long so stick with me but this to me was really said it well. One of the unfortunate innovations of recent times is the no-fault divorce. A couple meets, starts dating, get married, moves in together, not necessarily in that order. And as man has found since time immemorial it is then that real life sets in.

A real relationship has to be worked out. It is then that faults are recognized and magnified and getting along becomes less than easy. In so many cases today failure leads to frustration and misery. Hence the no-fault divorce. The point is not that no one is to blame but that everyone is to blame.

Instead of trying to untie the convoluted knot and thus prolonging the agony the knot is simply cut. There is no blame, no fault, no hassle. That is just the way it goes. An apparent inevitability in a world where breaking promises is so much easier than breaking habits. There are few tragedies I think so sadly testify to the despair that grips our time as the no-fault divorce. Divorce is something that happens in the Bible too. The Bible recognizes grounds for divorce namely infidelity and abandonment. But divorce is never no fault nor is it ever no big deal.

It's always a big deal. The result is always lamentable. I hate divorce God says in Malachi 2. Just as he always hates the breaking of faith. It is especially a tragedy when someone is forced into an unwanted divorce.

Usually this happens because a spouse has been unfaithful and rejects his or her partner. It may surprise you to learn that this very thing has happened to God. The old covenant was shattered because of Israel's infidelity. Her worship of other gods and rejection of the Lord. The old covenant was a marriage agreement between God and his people.

Like that between a man and a woman today. Jeremiah 3.8 explains what happened. For all the adulteries of that faithless one Israel I had sent her away with a decree of divorce. God knows what it's like to be a rejected lover to be forced into an unwanted divorce. Marriage begins with the exchange of vows.

I take thee to be my wedded wife for richer poor enjoying sorrow and sickness and health as long as we both shall live. Yet when someone is faced with the infidelity of a partner he or she is not able to keep his own wedding vows. That is one of many tragedies in divorce.

When faced with rejection we are sometimes unable to change our spouse's heart or to erase the devastation of what has been done. If our spouse is unwilling to honor the marriage vow all we can do is walk away from our own promise with a broken vow and a broken heart. But there's a difference between God and us. He is able to remake what has been broken. He is able to keep the promise he has made no matter what. He vowed to his bride Israel I will take you to be my people and I will be your God. And though they broke that marriage covenant God had prepared a new covenant in which his promise would be fulfilled.

That is what this what this teaching in Hebrews chapter 8 verses 6 through 13 is about. The new covenant that secures God's wedding veil to his people and better promises that actually secure a people of God for God forever. All right what is a covenant? A covenant is a contract between two parties and God is always related to his people through covenant by giving us his promises. It's also important to see that in the Bible there are two different types of covenants. There's a parity covenant and there's a sovereignty covenant. The parity covenant is a covenant between two equal parties. Marriage covenant here on earth is like that.

There's the husband and the wife and if that marriage is going to work then both of them have to be faithful to their covenantal vows that they made. The second type of covenant is called the sovereignty covenant. The sovereignty covenant is a very important covenant because it teaches us about God's covenant with us. The word suzerain means sovereign or king and like I said the covenant that we see in the scripture between God and us is a suzerainty covenant. Now it's important to see that in that covenant the validity of the covenant is built on the integrity of the superior and not the inferior. Our covenant with God is the suzerainty covenant.

It's not built upon our goodness. It's built upon God's grace and God is good enough and strong enough and powerful enough and holy enough so much so that he is completely gloriously and perfectly faithful to his vows. Praise God for that. So the concept of covenant in the Bible is extremely important. Verse 7 the writer of Hebrews decides to use the old testament scripture to prove his point. Look at verse 7 with me. For if that first covenant had been faultless there would have been no occasion to look for a second. He was saying look you rascals you've been telling me that the word of God is important to you. You've been telling me that you believe the word of God from Genesis to Malachi.

All right great that's good. If that's true and you really believe that then go over to Jeremiah chapter 31. In Jeremiah chapter 31 you will find that the word of God says that there is not enough strength in the old covenant and the old covenant comes short so we need something greater. We need the new covenant. We need a covenant where God moves and does such great work that it's not dependent upon us it's dependent upon him. And you can almost see these people just kind of backing up and they're saying yeah yeah yeah but. Folks we've got too many yeah but people in the churches today.

We got too many of them. Yeah yeah I believe the word of God but I believe that what God says about faithful giving for the believer but I'm trying to build up a nest egg. I know what God says about lust but I kind of like that thrilling feeling that I get when I look at beautiful women on the internet. I know what God says about proud about being proud but but I like being made much of.

I don't usually get a chance to listen to our radio program but I was in the car a few days ago 1 30 and turned on the truth network. There was our program. I was preaching out of the book of Acts that I made a quote from Ephesians 2 8 and 9. For by grace are you saved through faith that not of yourself it's a gift of God not of works lest any man should boast. I went on to explain that that teaches us that we can't save ourselves. That teaches us that our salvation is not built upon our good works or our merits.

They always come absolutely short. So what we needed was the grace of God to do a work within our hearts to regenerate us so that we would repent of our sins and put our total trust in Jesus Christ and what he did on the cross and through his resurrection. Why do we need that? What does God do that for? And in verse 10 we see the purpose. For we are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works.

The word workmanship in the Greek is a word that means display window. When I heard that I remembered back to my senior year in high school and I worked for Helms Carpet Company. One particular weekend at late at night we were going to put all the display windows in at the Belts Department Store. So we were out there working and we got about the same or the third display window and I thought to myself this is the most ugly color I've ever seen. This dull gray drab neutral color that's just ugly. So I finally went to our boss Mr. Helms. I said Mr. Helms why in the world would Belts use this drab dull neutral color?

I said man they could have used purple and orange it would have been beautiful. And he looked at me and said he said Doug what are we carpeting here? I said we're carpeting display windows. He said okay he said what do you think the people at Belts want the people looking at? Do they want the people looking at the carpet or they want the people looking at the clothes on the mannequins? I thought oh now I get it.

The purpose of the display window is to show forth the clothes and not the carpet. Ephesians 2 10 reminds me of why God saved me. God saved me to make me a display window. He didn't save me just to get me into heaven. He didn't save me to build my ego. God saved me to make me a display window. On the radio I heard myself say God saved me not to show off Doug but to show forth Jesus Christ. I was driving my car and it hit me like a ton of bricks. Tears started rolling down my cheeks and I said to myself boy you preach that point good.

And then I thought to myself why don't you live it? Why don't you squash your pride? Don't be concerned about honoring Doug but get real concerned about honoring Jesus. I realize how deep and ugly my pride can be and saying yeah but is just not going to cut it. The writer of Hebrews is saying that very thing to the Jews.

Quit saying yeah but. If you believe the word then you ought to be true to what the word says. That's what the writer of Hebrews is doing. The writer of Hebrews is saying I'm not telling you anything you. This is right there just right before you in the 31st chapter of the book of Jeremiah.

It's as plain as it can be. God is going to bring about a new covenant because in the old covenant none of you none of you could keep it. So Jesus has to keep it for us. I don't know about you but that that does something in my heart about what Jesus does for me about how much Jesus loves me and about how important it is that we understand the truth of the new covenant. I want to share with you five reasons today why the new covenant is superior to the old. Number one it was written by God verse 8.

For he finds fault with them when he says behold the days are coming declares the Lord when I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. A will is a type of covenant and a will beautifully illustrates God's covenant with us. A will is written by one person and that's the person whose will it is. The beneficiaries have nothing to do with the benefits of the will. My dad died in 2006 he had a will and in his will it stated that all of his possessions everything that he had was to go to my mom and then if my mom passed away then everything that she had was to be passed on down to the three children. Scott, Carol and me had absolutely no say in it and if my dad had said I want to give all my money to the Clemson athletic department we wouldn't have anything to say about it. We couldn't couldn't do it. God draws up the covenant and it's kind of hard to argue with God isn't it? It's like we're saying God we understand that you are absolutely sovereign that you are all powerful that you are the one that created us you created the universe you created everything else your understanding is absolutely perfect you are omniscient you're omnipotent you are the almighty God we understand that but I think you may have gotten this wrong about moving on to a different covenant we kind of like that first covenant we don't like all this stuff about Jesus having to go to the cross and all that but that's exactly what the Jews are saying here they are saying we think we're smarter than you are on this subject God we don't need this new stuff writer of Hebrews says oh now I'm going to do something I am going to force you to think about this you can't just take it or leave it because God wrote it God wrote this and God is the one who sealed the covenant secondly it is a different covenant look at verse 9 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt when God gave the 10 commandments to Moses they were written on what they were written on stone tablets and and these people the way they worked this was they tried and they made attempts to keep those 10 commandments and it's it was tough these commandments were hard and so they were trying to keep the commandments and they were finally being tempted with very intense temptations and so they found it very easily push to push the commandments away and get involved in their sin and then go right back try to ask forgiveness that was the old covenant it worked from the outside to convict and to influence and to set up standards the new covenant would not be written on stone tablets the new covenant would be written on the heart so the conviction and the pressure to obey God would not come from the outside it would come from within by the power of the Holy Spirit third reason that the new covenant is better than the old is that God made this covenant with a broader group look at verse 8 he said I will affect a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah the mosaic covenant was established with a people group with the Hebrews the children of Israel if I were to ask you this question what are the chosen people of God in the new covenant you would tell me without hesitation it's Israel it's the Jewish people that's who God was in covenant with let me share with you what Deuteronomy chapter 7 where God what God said about this people of Israel for you are a people holy to the Lord your God the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession and of all the peoples are on the face of the earth it was not because you were more in number than any other people that the Lord set his love on you and chose you for you are the fewest of all peoples it is because the Lord loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers that the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery from the house of Pharaoh king of Egypt so the old covenant was established with Israel what about the new covenant who is it established with well I think we have to let scripture open up scripture to us when we get into the new covenant we find that the term Israel has broadened there is a physical Israel but there is also a spiritual Israel and spiritual Israel are not those that are walking in the holy land that have ethnic Jewish blood coursing through their veins the spiritual Israel are those who know love and are serving the Lord Jesus Christ and it doesn't matter what what race they're in what gender they're in what it doesn't matter about any of that what matters is do they know and they love the Lord Jesus and these are going to be people from every tribe kindred tongue and nation who is that that's us folks that's us we who are saved we are descendants spiritual descendants of Abraham I want you to listen to these words of Jesus from Matthew chapter 21 verse 42 through 43 Jesus told the uh told the Pharisees that what he's going to say here is coming and it's coming and they better get ready the kingdom of God was going to be taken from them and Jesus said it was going to be given to uh another nation listen to this Jesus said to them have you never read in the scripture the stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone this was the Lord's doing and it is marvelous in our eyes therefore I say to you the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a nation bearing the fruits of of it later on Peter wrote an explanation of of all of this uh several decades later in his book called first Peter chapter 2 verse 6 through 9 and I want you to notice that Peter calls the church here the same thing that Jesus said about the church in Matthew chapter 21 Jesus called us a nation and Peter is saying we are a holy nation let me just read that to you for it stands in scripture behold I'm laying in Zion a stone a cornerstone chosen and precious and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame so the honor is for you who believe but for those who do not believe the stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense they stumble because they disobey the word as they were destined to do but you are a chosen race a royal priesthood a holy nation a people for his own possession that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light Galatians chapter 3 verse 29 Paul said and if you are Christ you are Abraham's offspring and heirs according to the promise in Romans chapter 2 verse 28 through 29 Paul said for he is not a Jew who is one outwardly who's been circumcised in the flesh but you are a Jew who is one inwardly who has been circumcised in the heart right now we gentile believers are sharing more in the new covenant than the ethnic Jewish people are but one day this is going to change in Romans chapter 11 Paul tells us that in the last day ethnic Jews in great numbers are going to come into a saving relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ folks when I witness to a Jewish person first thing I do is take them to Isaiah chapter 53 Isaiah chapter 53 prophesies exactly who Jesus is it tells us about his suffering it tells us about his death it tells us about who he's going to be buried with it tells us about his resurrection I don't know how any Jew can read Isaiah 53 and deny that Jesus Christ is the Messiah but I don't stop there I go on to Romans chapter 11 and this is an eye-opener next time someone asks you what you are you can tell them I'm a Jew I'm not a physical Jew but I'm a spiritual Jew I am a descendant of Abraham not by flesh but by faith it's very interesting in the book of Galatians Paul actually calls the church the Israel of God all right point four the new covenant is better because it's not legalistic look at verse 9 not like the covenant I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt for they did not continue in my covenant and so I showed no concern for them declares the Lord Simon Kistemacher did a great job with this listen to what he said the old covenant made with the people of Israel was God's promise that he would be their king as king God demanded obedience from his people for this reason he gave them the law at Sinai and told them that they would be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation the Israelites were asked to obey God's law with heart soul strength and thus to demonstrate their constant love for God they listened to God's commandments but they neglected to obey him the law remained something external for it was not written on their hearts consequently they refused to remain faithful to God's covenant God's response to the rebellious Israelites was to turn away from them the relation between God and his people at first had been intimate God said I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt God wanted his people to walk with him hand in hand in full assurance and confidence but when the Israelites decided to walk alone to disobey God's law to ignore his voice calling them to himself he turned away from them that is God neglected them by leaving them to their own willful ways instead of demonstrating tender loving care for his covenant people God assumed an attitude of unconcerned for obstinate covenant breakers by turning away from them God made it known at the time for a new covenant would come he remains a covenant God all the blessings of the old covenant were conditioned on Israel's obedience obedience to the law if Israel stepped out of line God removed his hand of blessing it was hard strict law this is the reason the pharisees were so strict and rigid sometimes mean they thought we just kind of keep the law and and make it look good we'll be okay well we won't miss God God's blessing that way and so they decided to to come up with a way to force people to keep the ten commandments and they called it the fence around the law had all these little laws around the ten commandments and they thought well if they keep these little laws and that will assure that they keep the big laws too and so things like this the lord said in in his word that they were not to carry a burden on the sabbath day and so they came up with a little law on the sabbath day you got to spit so often so that you won't be carrying a burden in your mouth the orthodox jews today still believe that it's wrong to open your refrigerator door on the sabbath day because that little light pops on that might be considered a fire and the scripture tells us that we are not to start a fire on the sabbath day folks in the new covenant all that was done away with and it was fully understood salvation is by grace God brings you to life so that you could walk in obedience to him oh no on this earth not perfect obedience by any way shape or form but in glory it will be perfect obedience the fifth reason the new covenant is better covenant because it's internal and not external verses 10 through 13 for this is the covenant that will make with the house of israel after those days declares the lord i'll put my laws into their minds and write them on their hearts i will be their god they shall be my people and they shall not teach each one his neighbor and each one his brother saying know the lord for they shall all know me from the least of them to the greatest for i will be merciful toward their iniquities and i will remember their sins no more and speaking of a new covenant he makes the first one obsolete and what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away the old covenant law was written on two stone tablets tablets and then the jewish religious leaders would take little pieces of parchment they would write out the scripture on them fold them up put them in a little pouch called a phylactery they would tie them around their head or tie them around their wrist then they would take other parchments and write the scripture down on them and put it on the doorpost to remind them to be sure and keep the law holy spirit was working in a somewhat different way in the old covenant the holy spirit would come upon the prophets of god and the people of god to empower them to do what god had commanded them to do the spirit of god was on them upon them and not in them in the new covenant praise god the holy spirit comes to indwell us he literally lives within us so that we have internal direction how important that is i remember before i got saved there was a christian good godly man went on to become a pastor his name was bob he was on our hall i was not a christian he witnessed to me many times and i was walking down the hall one day saw me going down the hall said doug where you going where you going and i was headed down to a beer joint downtown and he said where are you going i said i'm going down to the red carpet lounge he shook his head he said don't do that he said that place is nothing but trouble and i said you don't know what fun is and i just kept right on going bob was an external stimulus bob tried everything he could to keep me from doing that but that external stimulus wasn't enough i got saved about a year later i remember walking down main street at clemson and i was on one side of the street i looked over on the other side of the street and there was the red carpet lounge something down inside of me said uh-uh no more that's not for you you belong to me and i remember thinking i don't need this anymore i don't i don't want this anymore the lord did a work in my heart not externally from outside but internally from the holy spirit of god i'll close with that what should we learn from hebrews 8 that the old covenant is insufficient what do we need we need grace we need internal cleansing from the holy spirit of god folks here's the bottom line more than anything else on the face of this earth we need jesus we need jesus let's pray father today we are taught that the new covenant is a better covenant why was written by you it's different it is made for a broader group jew and gentile it's not legalistic but it's filled with grace and it works internally not externally may we be humbled before your throne realizing that our only hope is in your grace for it's in jesus precious name i pray amen
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-14 14:20:26 / 2024-01-14 14:31:42 / 11

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