THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date – 11-15-09
LESSON TITLE: “THE NEW COVENANT…SPEAKS BETTER THINGS: A BETTER PROMISE”
The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want! Who is your shepherd on this wondrous Lord’s Day? We hope and pray that it is God and that you’ve joined us today as His child - to worship before His throne.
As followers of God, how blessed we are to have opportunities like this to praise our God and to do those things according to that which He has asked of us through His will. Are you willing to do your part this morning to make this time successful in the service of God?
Now, as we begin our offering to God, will you bow with me in prayer!
Now it’s time to join in our first hymn of the day. Won’t you join in with the congregation at this time as we sing, “Give Me the Bible?”
(SONG # 1)
In life, we have all benefited from our relationships with others. For example, maybe you knew someone and were able to get a job you wanted! Sometimes we would like to do something or meet someone and we are able to do so through a mutual friend. Possibly you can remember many times in your life when your relationships and associations with others have really paid off and helped you to achieve goals you have hoped to accomplish. Well, I hope all of this helps us to realize how much we need others in this life. I also hope it sparks our mind to understand that in this life, it is really hard to accomplish things completely on our own or alone.
With all of these things in mind consider the privilege we have to come before our God and Father in Heaven. What an honor it is to have a God above whom we can call our own and of whom we are able to be His children. But the question is, “how do we come before this God.” Or, “how can we approach the almighty?” Read with me if you will the words of Jesus in John 14:6, there He says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Did you catch that? We need to have a relationship with Jesus if we are to be able to approach the Father above.
Another verse which helps us to understand this idea is found in 1 Timothy 2:5, there we read, “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus,” Here we read there is one God and one mediator! Then Paul clarifies that the only mediator to bring us before the Father is Jesus Christ. But why is He worthy? Verse 6, of the same opening says, “Who gave Himself a ransom for all….” Jesus is the only proper mediator because He was willing to pay the ultimate price for our sakes. Oh, what a true friend Jesus is! So have you known and befriended the Son in order to know the Father? If not, learn of Jesus today and obey His precious Will.
Today we will be continuing our series entitled, “The New Covenant… Speaks Better Things!” Our lesson of the day will deal with, “A Better Promise!” So stay with us and after our next song together, our guest speaker will lead us in our main thoughts of the day.
As far as our speaker we are happy to again have brother Brent Green with us. Brother Brent is the minister for the Carthage Church of Christ in Carthage, Missouri. He is also an instructor at the Bible Institute of Missouri. We thank him for joining us today and look forward to him leading our thoughts from God’s Word.
So for now let’s join together in our second song of the morning. The name of this hymn, “He Leadeth Me.”
(SONG # 2)
By Brent Green
How great it is to have the opportunity again to open God’s Inspired Word again and to study from these great pages that He has given to us. I want us to think as we begin this morning the thoughts of the hour what those advertisers often are showing us on television, on the radio or even on those billboards. We look out there and well we see a promise of better things. That new car is supposed to get better gas mileage and is supposed to be better driving on the road and more comfortable. Those other products like detergent are supposed to make our clothes even whiter and brighter and be better than the products that came before, all the time making these promises of better things. Well sometimes they hold true for awhile. But then what usually happens with that new car is eventually you still have to put new tires on it, and you still have to change the oil. You still have to do things in that new car and eventually it becomes that old fixer upper you once had. So those better promises eventually tend to fail.
But I want us to look even beyond the promises of this world, even the promises beyond advertisement, but look truly at the real promises of the scripture this morning. I want you to see with me what is said there in Hebrews chapter 8 if you have your Bibles. We’re going to be looking at several verses here in this chapter or this book of Hebrews especially here in chapter 8 and elsewhere, so I encourage you to take your Bibles out and read with me. Hebrews chapter 8 verse 6 says, “But now He,” that is Jesus, “has obtained a more excellent ministry in as much as He is also mediator of a better covenant which was established on better promises.” Well what are these better promises? Unlike the promises of this world that eventually will fail, Jesus Christ has better promises to offer, promises that will not fail, real promises to offer us in this life if we will only do His Will, promises that won’t change in any way, shape or form from what He has given to us in this Holy Scripture.
Well promises aren’t anything new. As we look throughout the Bible, the Old Testament was full of promises often contingent upon the fact that God’s people would be faithful to Him. If you think back to the Old Testament all of the different promises that God often made to His people. He promised to lengthen their days, to give them long lives on different occasions, promised to increase their numbers that they might grow as a people from time to time, promised to bless them when they went out to plant in the spring and also as they went to reap at the time of harvest, promised to bless them nationally, also promised peace and prosperity at different times, and even an abundance of all the different things that they would need in this life. But so often those promises were contingent on the fact that His people were faithful to Him. So we see many promises that God even made to His people in the Old Testament, even specifically as we think about the promises that God made with Abraham, the covenant really that He established with that great patriarch of old.
We think there in Genesis chapter 12, chapter 17 and other chapters there in the book of Genesis of all the promises that God had made to Abraham. He promised to make Abraham many descendents. His offspring would be so great and so large it would be like the sands of the seashore. That was one promise God made to Abraham. Also promising that He would be his God and that God would also be the God to his children, a great promise as well that God made to Abraham. He also made the promise to Abraham that He would give him an everlasting possession and that all the nations of the earth would be blessed through His seed. All these promises that we see given to Abraham, all the things that God has told him, many of which Abraham never even saw in his lifetime. Of course, Abraham had a son, Isaac, and Isaac had Jacob and Jacob had twelve sons and the great nation began of Israel. But Abraham never lived to see all those children born. But yet even through those promises, Abraham was able to look forward into the future and through his faith see those great promises that God had given to him. But even in these, those aren’t even the better promises that Jesus Christ has to offer.
Take your Bibles again and turn with me to the book of Hebrews this time to chapter 11 beginning there in verse 8 we also begin to read of Abraham here in the book of Hebrews. Much of what the Hebrew writer tries to describe to the Christians he is writing to here is a difference between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant, and how much greater the covenant of Jesus Christ is today. Begin with me there in verse 8 of Hebrews chapter 11. It says, “By faith, Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance and he went out not knowing where he was going. By faith, he dwelt in the land of promise as a foreign country dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise, for he waited for the city which has foundation to builder and maker is God. By faith, Sarah also received strength to conceive and she bore a child when she was past the age because she judged him faithful who had promised. Therefore, from one man and him as good as dead were born as many as the stars of the sky in multitude innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore.” The great promises that were made to Abraham. He goes out by faith and lives in the country which God had called him to live as a stranger, a foreigner. It wasn’t his homeland, but God had given him this land to live, and by faith, yet in all that, what did Abraham look forward to? Well again there in verse 10 it says, “For he waited for a city which has foundations whose builder and maker is God.” Even though God made promises to Abraham and fulfilled those in his life, Abraham also looked forward to the promises that God had for the future, that city which was built by God Himself, not by man’s hand, looking forward to that eternal inheritance.
Well, see the promises that were made to Abraham, he had not received the great promises of Heaven yet, but he had received promises in this life. That’s what verse 13 of Hebrews 11 concludes for us. It says, “These all died...” That is Abraham and Sarah and Jacob. “These all died in faith not having received the promises but having seen them far off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on this earth.” But I though Abraham received those promises? I thought God had blessed him and made him a great nation and all these…? Well, yeah. Abraham received these promises, but not the better promises yet of whom? Of Jesus Christ, because Jesus Christ had yet to come to this earth at this time. He had yet to shed His blood on the cross for the sins of those from the first covenant and those now under the new covenant. So he was still looking for those better promises in Jesus Christ. He looked forward to those.
As we continue there in verse 14, it says, “Those that say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland.” As Abraham himself looked forward to those better promises, that promise of Heaven, those who say those things are looking for that homeland.
Verse 15, “And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return, but now they desire a better, that is a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God for He has prepared the city for them.” Here the writer says that if this land which Abraham is speaking of somewhere on this earth, then Abraham would just have gone back home there. But that’s not what Abraham looked forward to. Abraham as well was looking forward to that better promise, that promise of Heaven.
And so now we consider the promises we have even under this New Covenant of which Jesus Christ is the mediator.
The last two verses there in Hebrews chapter 11 beginning there in verse 39 says, “In all these,” again referencing those of old, “having obtained a good testimony through faith did not receive the promise, God having provided something better for us that they should not be made perfect apart from us.” They did not yet receive the promise of Heaven, but they had a good testimony. They were living lives of faith. They believed in God. They trusted in God. When Jesus Christ came to die on the cross for our sins, they with us were perfected. When we as well obey that gospel which God has now given to us, being made perfect by that blood of Jesus Christ. And so those promises under the Old Law so often reflected those things of the earth, looking to those physical blessings. But under the New Law, the principle in mind are those spiritual and eternal blessings that Jesus Christ now has to offer.
Hebrews chapter 9, going back a couple of chapters, again we read of these great promises under this New Covenant of which Jesus Christ is a mediator. It says there, “And for this reason, He is the mediator of the New Covenant by means of death for the redemption of the transgressions of the first covenant that those who are called may receive the promise of (what?) eternal inheritance.” Jesus Christ the mediator, the advocate that we have with the Father, the one who came and died for our sins. It says here, “by means of death.” He did what? Made a way for those under the Old Law to have their sins washed away, for those transgressions under the first covenant, now that all of us may what? As we obey God and His plan under the New Covenant share with those of Old that eternal inheritance, those better promises. You see those things of this old, those physical promises that we often read about in the Old Testament, when we die how much longer could we enjoy those? Well they died with us because we could no longer share in those things of this earth. But that eternal home, those spiritual blessings, those better promises that we therefore have in Christ Jesus throughout all eternity if we are found faithful in His sight. So we consider those great promises made to us in the New Testament.
I want us to think about that from Ephesians chapter 2. These great and precious promises, these better promises available to Jesus Christ. How is it that they are made available to us? Look with me there in Ephesians chapter 2 beginning there in verse 11. It says, “Therefore remember that you once Gentiles in the flesh who are called uncircumcision by what is called circumcision made in the flesh by hands, that at that time you are without Christ being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and stangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope without God in the world, but now in Christ Jesus you who were once afar off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” Paul trying to relate to these Gentiles who did not ever experience the joy and the rewards and the promises of being part of the physical commonwealth of Israel, now he tells them that they can have the promises of Jesus Christ. Why? Because you have been brought near by the blood of Jesus. You were aliens. You were stangers. You didn’t have that home and that eternal inheritance. You didn’t have that before, but now you’ve been brought nearby that very blood that Jesus Christ shed on the cross. It says that, “They are without hope.” They were without God. They were strangers from those strange covenants of promise.
But now we look today under this New Covenant. Jesus the mediator of this, and we have hope! We have an opportunity to have Jesus Christ and we can have this great and better promise that God has given to us in His Son. But it is because of that blood that was shed on the cross for our sins, that blood that reconciles us to God, that blood that no longer makes us strangers but brings us in and makes us family, and makes us one with God when our sins are washed completely away. We have that better promise now of salvation and that home in Heaven someday, and we can know for a fact that God keeps His promises.
Well how do I know that? Turn to Hebrews again. We see here in Hebrews that God is not a liar. Hebrews chapter 6. God has promised that those who are faithful to Him will have that reward in Heaven and those who are unfaithful to Him will have that eternal damnation in Hell. God is not a liar. Hebrews chapter 6 beginning there in verse 17. It says, “Thus God determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of the promise, the immutability of His counsel confirmed it by an oath, by which two immutable things in which it is impossible for God to lie that we might have strong consolation who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope that is before us.” It says that God cannot lie! He has made these promises. He has assured us of these things, and in the context He is actually talking about Abraham again. God had made promises to Abraham and He fulfilled them. Likewise in Jesus Christ, we have these better promises. The covenant now established on these better promises and God has not lied to us.
Hebrews chapter 10 verse 23 says, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without waivering for He who promised is faithful.” God is not going to lie to us. We can trust these promises and we know that he is going to keep those things that He has told us that He is going to keep.
So how do we obtain these better promises? Wouldn’t it be great to have that home in Heaven, that mansion prepared to take that rest from this life knowing that we’re now with God and our Savior Jesus Christ? How do we obtain those promises? Hebrews chapter 6 again. Through faith and through patience. Hebrews chapter 6 going all the way back to verse 9 talking about how we need to be faithful in this life. That salvation that is there to us. Beginning there in verse 10, it says, “For God is not unjust to forget your work and your labor of love which you have shown toward His name and that you administer to the saints and do minister. And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end that you do not become sluggish but imitate those that through faith and patience inherit the promises.” And guess what the writer uses as an example. Abraham himself! A man who waited for years and years to have his son Isaac, through faith and patience believed that God would fulfill the promise that He made to him. He says, “Imitate that. Imitate that faith and patience that we have seen in that great patriarch, not to fall short.”
Read with me another verse, Hebrews chapter 4 there in verse 1. It says, “Therefore since a promise remains of entering his rest that great reward of Heaven, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it.” How disappointing would it be for us to run in this race of life and then at the very end fall short of crossing that finish line? Try to remain faithful to God and then finally in the end turning to sin and being unfaithful to Him before we die. Well we’re running a race and it’s a spiritual race and we have got to make sure we continue to discipline ourselves, to continue to run as Paul encouraged us to run there in 1 Corinthians chapter 9, “to run with endurance,” just like the Hebrew writer says there in verse 12, that “race that is set before us laying aside that sin,” looking for those better promises that Jesus Christ Himself has to offer.
One final verse that reminds us of our need to be faithful in this life: Hebrews chapter 10 verse 36. It says, “For you have need for endurance so that after you have done the Will of God you may receive the promise.” Not all of God’s promises are unconditional. The conditions on this promise so that you may receive that promise of Heaven is to do what? To do the Will of God. Revelation 2 verse 10, “Be thou faithful unto death and I will give thee a crown of life.”
This covenant with Jesus Christ as the mediator, these better promises that we have in Jesus Christ, if we will be faithful until death, we can all enjoy that great reward of Heaven. So seek the better promises of this New Covenant of Jesus Christ.
(SONG # 3 - “He Lives!”)
What a blessing it has been to join together in the things of God this morning. Thank you for doing your part in making all these things to be according to His Will. As always, we invite you back every Lord’s Day morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this offering for God!
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Thanks be to God that we have such wondrous blessings and promises through His Son Jesus Christ. May we always respond to these gifts of God in an obedient way.