THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date – 11-1-09
LESSON TITLE: “THE NEW COVENANT…SPEAKS BETTER THINGS: JESUS IS BETTER!”
Good morning, and thanks for joining us for the study of God’s Living Word! We are glad you are with us this morning to give this time to the things of God. How blessed we are to have opportunities like this to put God first and to lift high His Holy Name. So let’s all do our best this morning to give God the glory and praise He deserves. At this time may we start our praise to God by talking with our Father in prayer? Bow with me please!
Well, it’s time to join in our first song of the morning, so won’t you join in with the congregation at this time as we sing together, “Anywhere With Jesus!”
(SONG # 1)
It doesn’t matter how young or old we are, we all love to receive gifts. No doubt all of us look forward to birthdays, holidays and special times of the year as we know we will get some presents and be able to open them up in surprise. As we think about the giving and receiving of gifts, let me ask a few questions for us to consider. When is the giving and receiving of a gift complete? Is it when it is given, is it when it is received, or is it when it is opened and responded to? Now apply this to all that God has done for us.
God created us, gave His son to die on the cross that we might have forgiveness of sins, and thus He has offered us eternal life if we are willing to obey what he commands. So, God has done His part! He has offered the gift of promises and blessing as His faithful Children. But when is it all complete - not until we respond! You see, if we are to truly respond to the things of God we must acknowledge the gift, open it and respond to it as required. Then and only then has the process been completed and the final outcome been accomplished - because God has done His part and we have fulfilled ours. How have you responded to the gift of God? Keep in mind that the salvation of your soul counts on your response to this question! As Paul said in 2 Corinthians 9:15, “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” Respond to the wondrous gift of God today!
In just a few minutes it will be time to begin our main study of the day. As far as our series, today we will be continuing to talk about, “The New Covenant… Speaks Better Things!” The specific lesson of the day will deal with, “Jesus Is Better!” So, please stay with us this morning and at the appropriate time Brother Darin Chappell will be leading us in this study from God’s Word. It is great to have brother Darin with us once again. As many of you know, brother Chappell is the minister for the Mountain Grove Church of Christ and He is also one of the instructors at the Bible Institute of Missouri. We thank him for being with us today.
Now let’s join together in our second song of the day. The name of the hymn, “Blessed Assurance.”
(SONG # 2)
By Darin Chappell
Good morning! Thank you for joining us this morning concerning the study concerning the things of the new covenant and the better promises and the better aspects of that new covenant as we study from God’s Word together.
When we consider the new covenant and specifically the book of Hebrews and as it is written concerning the new covenant, we need to understand that the key word throughout is that word “better.” It is better in so many ways and it was the purpose of the writer of the book of Hebrews to describe the various ways in which the new covenant was better than the old. There was a specific reason as to why that was the case. First of all, most of the Christians of the 1st century in which this was written were of Hebrew descent. They were individuals who had grown up under the Law of Moses and in order for us to fully understand what it is that entailed; let me take just a few moments to explain the culture and the mindset of the 1st century Jew converted to Christianity.
You see, under the Law of Moses, every facet of an individual’s day by day living were as prescribed, almost laid out for that individual almost by the day. In other words, because it is this day, we know that we should be doing this as a people. From that cultural perspective, it was extremely difficult for the Jew, turned to Christian converted by the gospel of the 1st century, to divest himself or herself from the cultural identity of the feasts of the holy days of the various aspects of the law and the various commandments given by Moses to the children of Israel. Their culture being tied up into it and their family relations and their friends and their very identity as being those individuals of promise, it was extremely difficult for them to be able to remove themselves from that mindset. The book of Hebrews therefore was written to these individuals who after several years had begun to consider perhaps, maybe I have made a mistake. “All of my family and friends and those individuals of my culture and my heritage and my identity who are still laboring under the Law of Moses at this time, they are still doing as we always have.” And it is easy to understand how those individuals would want to go back to the way things were and go back to where they were comfortable and stay in that zone of acceptability in their own minds and they began to question, “Perhaps, perhaps it is possible that it was time for me to reconsider my decision to become a Christian and maybe I should go back to the Law of Moses.”
The writer of the book of Hebrews, therefore, was writing this book in large degree to convince those Christians of Hebrew descent that they had not made a mistake, that the promises of the covenant, the basis of the covenant, the sacrifices of the covenant under which they were laboring under the Law of Christ was by far better in so many different ways so that they should stay right where they were. It is because of this purpose of the book that we have laid out to us so many different things concerning Jesus Himself and the better nature of the covenant and the opportunity that He has brought to mankind.
As we look to this subject matter this morning, we need to keep that in mind however that there are better things offered to us through Christ Jesus, through whom all spiritual blessings are found (Ephesians chapter 1, verse 3) specifically as they are described within the covenant aspect as we find here in the book of Hebrews.
If you would, open your Bibles with me to Hebrews chapter 1 beginning verses 1-5 and we read right off the bat concerning the better nature of the Christ. The Hebrews writer tells us, “God who at various times and in diverse manners spake in times past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son whom He hath appointed heir of all things by whom also He made the worlds; 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 at the right hand of the Majesty on high. Being made so much better than the angels as He hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they, for unto which of the angels said He at any time, ‘Thou art My Son? This day have I begotten thee?’ And again: ‘I will be to Him a Father, and He shall be to Me a Son.’” Jesus Christ from the very beginning, the very outset of this book written to these Christians of Hebrew descent, sets forth the concept that Jesus Christ is better than the angels of heaven; they being created beings established for the purpose that God had set before them there in Hebrews chapter 1 and verse 14. They are beings established for God’s purposes. They are not eternal as Jesus Christ the Son of God, Deity Himself is, and they are not the creators of the world as Jesus was the one whom through God created the worlds for Him and by Him (John chapter 1 verses 1-3 and Colossians chapter 1 verses 13-18).
We find that Jesus Christ is better than the one upon whom this covenant is to be established than the angels of heaven themselves. And individuals were concerned about Jesus’ better nature in such a way that they need to be told that He was better than those heavenly beings.
But it wasn’t just the heavenly beings that He is better than. The Hebrews writer went on to say there in Hebrews chapter 3 specifically in verses 5 and 6 that Jesus was also better as the mediator of this covenant, better than what Moses had been as the mediator of the covenant that was given through him by God to the children of Israel. Specifically there in chapter 3 verses 5 and 6, “And Moses verily was faithful in all his house as a servant for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after. But Christ, a Son over His own house, whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.” Jesus Christ not simply being a servant in a household as Moses was, a servant of God delivering the Will of God to the children of Israel through the Law that He gave, but Jesus Christ being over His own house, the head of the household as our elder brother, as He is described to us there in Romans chapter 8 whose household we are, those Christians both of the 1st century, but also those individuals who follow according to the New Testament pattern of faith in every century in all places and at all times, we are the household of Christ and He is better as the head of that household than Moses was as a simple servant of the household.
So that Jesus Christ being better than the angels, being better than Moses is the foundational factor of this new covenant, this New Testament to which we have access through the blood of Jesus Christ.
We are also told however that this covenant that Jesus has given us is one that is a better covenant because of Him. There in Hebrews chapter 8 we are told very specifically beginning there in verse 6 speaking specifically about the Lord. “But now hath He obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also He is the mediator of a better covenant which was established upon better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second, for finding fault with them,” He says, “Behold the day has come,” sayeth the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, 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 continued not in My covenant and I regarded them not,” sayeth the Lord. “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” sayeth the Lord, “I will put My laws into their mind and write them into their hearts and I will be to them a God and they shall be to Me a people, and they shall not teach every man, his neighbor, and every man his brother saying, “Know the Lord,” for all shall know Me from the least to the greatest, for I will be merciful to their unrighteousness and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more. In that He sayeth, “A new covenant, He has made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.’”
Now let me say just for a moment concerning that issue of the new covenant versus the old covenant. It has been supposed by some that the old covenant was flawed, and faulty, and unacceptable. But right there in Hebrews chapter 8 and verse 8 He said, “For finding fault with them.” It wasn’t the Law of Moses that was faulty; it was those individuals who refused to follow it who were faulty. In fact, there in Hebrews chapter 7 and verse 19 we read, “For the law made nothing perfect, but the brining in of the better hope by the which we draw nigh unto God.” The word “did” there is in italics. It is not in the original. It is not saying that the law made nothing perfect, but the brining of the New Testament did make something perfect. Instead it is saying that the old law made nothing perfect but the brining in of a better hope. That’s exactly what the apostle Paul said in Galatians chapter 3 and verse 24 that, “The law was our schoolmaster, our tutor to lead us to the Christ.” To lead us, the Jews specifically, but the world by extension, to lead us to the truth of the gospel and to prepare us for that time when the gospel would be revealed to us and that new, that better, that permanent covenant would be revealed to mankind whereby we would have access to Jesus Christ through His blood and through Him to the Father and our eternal salvation.
But it is not only Jesus Christ as the foundation in which He is better. It is not only in the covenant that He mediates that makes Him better as well, but it is also because of the sacrifice that He offered wherein He is better for us according to the Hebrews writer.
There in Hebrews chapter 9 beginning in verses 11-14 we read, “But Christ being come a 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. Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood He entered in once into the Holy Place having obtained eternal redemption for us, for if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh, 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.” He goes on there in verse 23 to say, “It was therefore necessary that the pattern of the things in the heaven should be purified with heat, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.”
If you look at the Old Testament and you examine it from a historical perspective, and you look at the number of people that were involved in the children of Israel and how many millions of individuals actually comprised that society and you look at the way in which the Lord required certain sacrifices to be made even for the most common of ailments of the people, you’re talking about thousands of sacrifices being made first at the tabernacle and later on at the temple mouth every single day! Every single day individuals having to bring sacrificing of various types, not to mention the animal sacrifices wherein the blood was shed and it just had to have been a complete and total mess of sight and smell and sound, and the priest just dripping with blood because of the cost of sin of the people. But all of those things were merely a shadow of that which was to come. The true sacrifice for sin, that true sacrifice that was offered upon the cross, Jesus Christ our Lord and His blood that was offered there to purchase His church. (Acts chapter 20 and verse 28)
Jesus Christ once and for all offered Himself as the better sacrifice, not something that was just to be a symbol of sacrifice for sin, but to truly offer Himself as a propitiation, that is payment in full, for the sins of those who would obey Him in their response of faithfulness to the gospel account.
We find that Jesus Christ being that better mediator, being that better covenant giver, being that better sacrifice allows us the opportunity to have access to God the Father through Him and because of Him. But it is because this is given to us and because we have these opportunities presented before us that we are therefore held accountable when we fail to have access and to take advantage of the access that is given to us through Christ Jesus. That is why the Hebrews writer also wrote to those Christians of the 1st century of Hebrew descent warning them against turning away from the Lord Jesus Christ.
There in Hebrews chapter specifically beginning in verse 26 and going through verse 31, he continues and he says, “For if we sin willfully, after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful looking for a judgment and fiery indignation which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses’ Law died without mercy under two or three witnesses. Of how much punishment suppose ye, shall He be thought worthy who hath trodden underfoot the Son of God and have counted the blood of the covenant where with He was sanctified an unholy thing and hath done despite unto the Spirit of Grace.” There in verse 31, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God.”
Because Jesus Christ our Lord, the better foundation of the better covenant with better promises, made by better sacrifice because Jesus Christ being so much better than the angels and Moses and all other considerations, because He gave us this better way, we are held accountable if we refuse to accept it. We are held accountable if we refuse to submit ourselves to the gospel that He has given us. It is truly a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God.
Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior is better than everything else that has ever been created or that ever could exist because He being God Himself gave Himself for us so that we could be prepared for that judgment day that is coming upon us all wherein we shall be judged by the Word that He has given us (John chapter 12:48) and we will all appear before the judgment seat of Christ to answer for the things that we have done in this life whether they be good or bad (2 Corinthians chapter 5:10). Are you prepared for that? The covenant that we have been given is one that is understandable. It is knowable. It is followable. We can know that we have salvation (1 John chapter 5:13), but we can only do so if we do the things that are commanded of us. We must hear the Word of God (Romans 10:17), believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of the Living God (John chapter 8 verse 24), be willing to confess Him as the Son of God before others (Romans chapter 10 verses 8-9), be willing to repent of our sins so that we no longer live the ways of the world but live only and always for the Lord (Acts chapter 17 verse 30), be baptized for the remission of sins so that our sins can be washed away and we can be added to the Lord’s church (Acts chapter 2 verse 38, Acts chapter 8 verse 12, Acts chapter 2 verse 47), and we must be willing to live faithfully up to and including the point of our own physical death so that we can be the children of God that He requires and quite frankly that He deserves from us to be (Revelation chapter 2 verse 10). If we do so, we can be His people, living under His covenant, a better covenant with better promises because of a better savior, Jesus Christ our Lord!
I thank you so very much for your time and attention this morning.
(SONG # 3 - “A New Creature!”)
May I again take this opportunity to thank you for joining us today? I hope our time together has been an encouragement and thus a blessing to us all. Please remember that you are invited back to join us every first day of the week, at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this time of Worship before God!
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Isn’t it wonderful to know that Jesus is truly better than everything? Thanks be to our creator that He extended us the undeserved favor we have, so that we might be saved and have eternal life! Have you responded to the better Savior?