Matthew 26:27-29 Matthew 26:27-29 27 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; 28 For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. 29 But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.
Hebrews 8:6-8 Hebrews 8:6-8 6 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. 7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. 8 For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:
Hebrews 8:9-10 Hebrews 8:9-10 9 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, saith the Lord. 10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:
Hebrews 8:11-13 Hebrews 8:11-13 11 And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. 12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more. 13 In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.
Focus Verse Hebrews 8:10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people.
Focus Thought The Old Covenant written on stone lacked the power to change lives. Jesus died to institute a New Covenant and to write His laws in our minds and on our hearts, giving us the power to live a victorious life in Him.
Introduction Introduction Perhaps many people have wondered what Jesus’ statement in Matthew 26:28 really meant: “For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” Surely those who heard Jesus make the statement that day understood, because they were raised with the very oracles, or utterances, of God. (See Romans 3:1-2.) The original Greek word for testament means “covenant,” and the disciples who were with Jesus probably understood the meaning of a blood covenant.
Introduction Although Jesus was implementing a new blood covenant that night, He was building it on the foundation of the Old Covenant, or the Old Testament. Thus, every time we receive communion, we remember the blood covenant that we have with God—a binding agreement sealed with the precious, innocent blood of Jesus Christ.
Although the idea of a blood covenant may seem repulsive to many people today, nearly every primitive tribe on earth understands its meaning. Many Hebrew rituals involving animal sacrifice degenerated into something repulsive to New Testament believers—even more so to people of the post-Christian era. Yet those blood sacrifices bore the marks of the original covenants of the Hebrew people with God. The “new” blood covenant that Jesus introduced the night before His death, however, is for all people and will be in force until the end of time. The blood of Jesus Christ has accomplished something wonderful for all believers, ensuring that they are no longer strangers and foreigners to the household of God. Through redemption by His blood, they are members of His divine family. Introduction
Ephesians 2:19 “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God” (Ephesians 2:19).
Introduction Because the rituals associated with the covenant had degenerated from that which we find in the Old and New Testaments, many missionaries have seen blood covenants enacted but did not understand their significance. Thinking they were simply heathen rituals, they often dismissed them, missing the opportunity to explain the meaning of the Last Supper and the New Testament.
The doctrine of the blood covenant is one of the foundational doctrines of the Christian faith. Because many Christians have a poor understanding of this doctrine, they frequently live powerless, defeated lives. They may claim to be Christians, but they lack understanding of the available power to overcome sin and Satan, which causes them to exist in a beleaguered state of lukewarmness. They are not necessarily in that state because they enjoy the pleasures of sin, but because they know of no other option. Often, it is because their religious leaders do not understand what it means to be “heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:17). We have the opportunity to join in the blood covenant with God and become blood brothers with Jesus Christ. Then, not only does all that we have belong to Him, but also all that He has is ours. Introduction
Introduction Concerning this covenant relationship, Andrew Murray made the following observation: “To many a person a true and living faith in it would mean the transformation of his whole life. The full knowledge of what God wants to do for him and the assurance that He will certainly do it makes the covenant the very gate of heaven. May the Holy Spirit give us insight into some of its glory” (Andrew Murray, The Two Covenants: Eighteen Meditations, 12).
Introduction Two major covenants—the Old Testament and the New Testament—provided for the redemption of mankind. The Old Covenant laid the foundation and established the pattern for redemption, which came to fruition in the New Covenant by the shed blood of Jesus Christ. Today’s lesson will discuss the need for the new blood covenant and the benefits to the one who enters into the covenant.
The Need for a New Covenant I. The Need for a New Covenant Our text in Hebrews begins with a comparison of the high priest under the Old Covenant with the great High Priest, Jesus Christ, under the New Covenant. The writer of Hebrews wrote that the quality of the priest matched the covenant. Hebrews 8:6-8 clearly delineates this comparison.
“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 saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah” (Hebrews 8:6-8). Hebrews 8:6-8
I. The Need for a New Covenant The Old Covenant was weak because of the weaknesses of both the high priest and the people. (See Hebrews 7:27-28.) Mankind could not keep the demands of the law, and a violation of one point of the law caused one to be guilty of breaking the whole law. (See James 2:10.)
The Old Covenant I. The Need for a New Covenant (A-B) Although God began to establish the Old Covenant as far back as Adam and Eve, no formal covenant was known before the time of Abraham. In the Hebrew language, the word covenant embodies the sense of cutting. On Abraham’s part, circumcision—a cutting of the flesh—sealed the covenant. (See Genesis 17.) Throughout history, the word covenant has been closely associated with cutting, whether in the Old Testament (circumcision), the New Testament (circumcision of the heart), or in degenerate forms, such as those observed by Stanley and Livingstone (cutting of the wrists).
I. The Need for a New Covenant (A-B) Abraham gave himself to God in utter abandonment, and the blood covenant bound God to Abraham and his descendants forever. (See Genesis 17:7-8.) This meant that as long as Abraham and his descendants bound themselves to God, He bound Himself to them to sustain and to protect them to the very end. Sadly, mankind has repeatedly broken the covenant, but God has remained eternally faithful.
Inadequacies of the Old Covenant I. The Need for a New Covenant (A-B) “For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second” (Hebrews 8:7).
I. The Need for a New Covenant (A-B) The first covenant was inadequate in a number of ways. (See Hebrews 10:1.) First, it was weak in that it was only a shadow of things to come. For example, the atonement with its blood sacrifice was only a shadow of the remission of sins, which finally received its fulfillment in the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ. The atonement sacrifices of the Old Testament were unable to cleanse a person of his sins because it is impossible for the blood of bulls or goats to absolve sin.
Hebrews 10:2-4 “For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins. But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins” (Hebrews 10:2-4).
I. The Need for a New Covenant (A-B) The Old Covenant also was inadequate in that its priesthood was flawed. The priesthood faced the same dilemma as all other members of the human race—the constant struggle with sin. (See Hebrews 5:1-3.) He could not offer a sacrifice one time for his own sin and then remain clean and sinless for the remainder of his life. The guilt of his sin remained and he needed to offer sacrifices repeatedly for his own sins.
I. The Need for a New Covenant (A-B) As a result of the Old Covenant’s weaknesses, mankind was left in a state of longing to return to the garden from which he was cast and to eat of the Tree of Life and live forever. But he would never be able to return to that utopian setting in the garden. Still, today mankind hopes for a reconciliation with God that will restore the fellowship and joy that was lost.
Promise of a New Covenant I. The Need for a New Covenant (C) Approximately six hundred years before the birth of Christ, the Spirit of God moved on the prophet Jeremiah and foretold the coming of a New Covenant that would address the weaknesses of the Old Covenant. (See Jeremiah 31:33.) God promised that the New Covenant would be very different from the Old Covenant.
I. The Need for a New Covenant (C) Instead of being written externally on tablets of stone, the New Covenant would be written within mankind’s heart and mind. No longer would God be distant from man, holding up a condemning law written on stone. Instead, He would write His holy law in mankind’s innermost parts, and He also would inhabit His people and give them both the power and the will to obey His law.
Philippians 2:13 “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13).
As those six hundred years crept by, mankind must have dreamed of the day when God would enact this New Covenant. The Lord made another promise regarding the New Covenant: that He would forgive sins and remember them no longer. (See Jeremiah 31:34.) Many years later, the apostle Paul penned words that beautifully described the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives: “And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross” (Colossians 2:13-14). I. The Need for a New Covenant (C)
The Power of the Cross II. The Power of the Cross (A) The Sacrifice at Calvary “And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; for this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (Matthew 26:27-28).
II. The Power of the Cross (A) The Cross stands for all time as a reminder of the greatest sacrifice ever, and it symbolizes the fundamental requirement of the New Covenant—the shedding of the blood of a perfect sacrifice. The New Covenant does not just cover our sins or postpone judgment, but it remits them through the judgment placed on Jesus Christ. Implicit within the word remission is the concept that our debt of sin is “paid in full.” This is the heart of the teachings of the Book of Hebrews.
II. The Power of the Cross (A) The phrase “end of the world” in Hebrews 9:26 speaks of the historical point in time where the two ages, or times, of two covenants, met—at the Cross. It is important that we realize that those who have lived since Calvary are not the only benefactors of the Cross and the New Covenant. The blood of bulls and goats offered under the Old Covenant did not take away sins, but it only postponed their judgment. However, when Jesus came, He provided redemption for all mankind, including those under the Old Covenant who by their faith in God had sacrificed the blood of bulls and goats.
II. The Power of the Cross (A) Moreover, the Cross was where the old method of atonement ended and the new method of remission began. One of the great benefits of the Cross was that Jesus settled the sin problem and made it legally possible for God to remit our sins and make us new creations in Christ Jesus. (See II Corinthians 5:17-19.)
The Mediator of the New Covenant II. The Power of the Cross (B) Mankind needed a mediator because he lost his relationship with God through sin, leaving him with no basis upon which to approach God. Now the blood of Jesus Christ serves as a propitiation, or substitute, to atone for our sins. When Jesus, as the great High Priest, ascended into heaven, He carried the blood of the sacrifice into the true Holy of Holies and became the mediator of the New Testament. Now we may stand without condemnation in the presence of a living God.
II. The Power of the Cross (B) Jesus was able to mediate a New Covenant for two reasons: (1) because of who He is and (2) because of what He has done. First, Jesus bridged the gulf between God and mankind through the Incarnation. (See I Timothy 2:5.) He is God manifested in flesh.
II. The Power of the Cross (B) Second, Jesus is mankind’s mediator because of what He has done. (See Colossians 1:21-22.) In essence, there could not have been mediation between mankind and God had there not first been reconciliation between them. Mankind was unrighteous and spiritually dead, and while he was in that condition, there could be no mediation. However, Jesus reconciled us through the death of His physical body, and He proceeded to mediate a New Covenant for us.
Hebrews 9:15 “And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance” (Hebrews 9:15).
The Benefits of the New Covenant III. The Benefits of the New Covenant Just as the U.S. Constitution and the laws of the United States of America and of Canada guarantee certain protections, the New Covenant guarantees certain benefits and protections to the believer. This may be one of the least understood concepts of the New Covenant.
Occasionally, we may hear individuals use phrases such as “plead the blood” or “get under the blood” when praying against the effects of a trial or temptation, but what do those words mean? To plead the blood of Jesus Christ is a statement that expresses one’s faith in His shed blood. It is a matter of appealing to the blood covenant with Jesus Christ—claiming the guarantees of Scripture. When Satan, the accuser of the brethren, falsely accuses a person of past sins that the shed blood of Jesus Christ has remitted, the believer can turn to the Scriptures that declare him clean and proclaim, “Not guilty!” III. The Benefits of the New Covenant
Romans 5:1-2 “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:1-2).
Access to God III. The Benefits of the New Covenant (A-B) Although full access to God was not available until about fifty days after the Crucifixion, Jesus’ finished work on earth displayed an object lesson for us. The veil was torn in two from its top to its bottom, opening the way to the Holy of Holies. (See Mark 15:38.) For the first time, the inner sanctuary was no longer the exclusive domain of the priesthood, but everyone had access into the presence of God. The writer of Hebrews declared, “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).
III. The Benefits of the New Covenant (A-B) Three times, Paul used the word access in reference to our ability to approach God as a direct result of the New Covenant. The first appearance of this word in his writings is in the Book of Romans where he directly connects it with justification—one of the many benefits of the New Covenant. (See Romans 5:1-2.) Jesus became the propitiation for our sins, and thereby we are at peace with God. He bore our sins and died, just as though we were dying for our sins as required by the law. Therefore, our entering into the covenant relationship justifies us. We are then at peace with God and have access into His grace.
III. The Benefits of the New Covenant (A-B) Paul’s second usage of the word access mentions the equal access to God enjoyed by both Gentiles and Jews in the New Covenant relationship with the Lord. (See Ephesians 2:18.) Paul described the alienated state of Gentiles prior to the New Covenant when he wrote, “That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12). Now, however, Jews and Gentiles alike have access directly to the heavenly Father!
III. The Benefits of the New Covenant (A-B) Paul’s third use of the word access also appears in the Book of Ephesians: “In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him” (Ephesians 3:12). The New International Version renders this verse as follows: “In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.” No longer do we have to hide our faces from God; but because we have been forgiven and are free from sin, we can enter into the presence of God with freedom and confidence.
A Changed Life III. The Benefits of the New Covenant (A-B) “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (II Corinthians 5:17).
III. The Benefits of the New Covenant (A-B) One feature of the New Covenant is that in Jesus Christ all things become new. The apostle Paul taught that entering into this covenant relationship is a process of putting off the old lifestyle and putting on a new lifestyle. This includes changing the way one thinks, which produces the fruit of righteousness and holiness. (See Ephesians 4:22-24.) It is impossible to truly be in a covenant relationship with Jesus and continue in a sinful lifestyle. “But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life” (Romans 6:22).
III. The Benefits of the New Covenant (A-B) Educators refer to a change such as this as a paradigm shift, but theologians call it conversion. In reality, it is a covenant relationship whereby the Spirit of God produces in believers the fruit of righteousness and holiness. It is no longer mankind attempting to be good, but it is God working good in him and through him. It is mankind resting from his work and by faith allowing God to work the miracle of sanctification. (See Hebrews 13:20-21.)
It is common for new converts to return to their place of employment following conversion and have fellow employees tell them that they look different. What is this difference? It is the testimony of a changed life. In a moment, a person is transformed from being a slave to the flesh to being a believer, redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ. The transformed person is no longer a slave—a foreigner or non-relative; but he has become a child of the heavenly Father and a blood brother with Jesus Christ, bearing the inherited resemblance of the Father. It is no wonder that people say a new convert looks different and then ask, “What happened?” Without question, a person who enters into the New Covenant is different! III. The Benefits of the New Covenant (A-B)
Power to Overcome III. The Benefits of the New Covenant (C) When Abraham and God entered into covenant, they became one. Through Jesus Christ, we too can enter the covenant with God and become one with Him. As long as we remain in Him, we have all the benefits and protections of the Son of God—the One who overcame temptation and even death (Galatians 2:20).