Sermons & Sunday Schools

Pulling Back the Curtain of the Old and the New (Part 9)

Full Transcript:

In ending Hebrews 9, Pulling Back the Curtain of the Old and the New, we will be looking at the eternal legacy that Jesus Christ has obtained for us. Everybody wants to have a legacy that they leave when they leave the earth. Hopefully, the legacy is a good name, a fortune, possessions, or simply leaving something to someone. Then, hopefully, that one who inherits the legacy passes it on, and it continues to get passed on. The Lord has given us a legacy. However, it is an interesting kind of legacy where we don’t pass it on, but we keep it.

As I get into Hebrews 9, the New Covenant offers a superlative plan for the salvation of sinful humanity. Nothing comes close to it or equals it, and it is the only way to be saved. The basic idea of a covenant, a testament or a will, is a relationship between God and man. God makes a covenant to have a relationship with himself and humanity. The Old Covenant, or the first covenant, was depending on man keeping the law. As soon as a person broke the law, the covenant became ineffective and access to God was lost. The New Covenant, or second and last covenant, is where Jesus inaugurated a new covenant with His blood, and people who are called by the gospel and receive Jesus as their substitute sacrifice, have access to God and fellowship with Him forever. Therefore, Jesus has left us an eternal legacy that is never-ending or passed on, and it is a legacy we can enjoy with God forever.

In this portion of Scripture, the author is dealing with that topic, which will lead to a point of rejoicing. Furthermore, the book of Hebrews contains the plan of salvation and how you are included. God has put us in His will and we have become the benefactor of what God is giving us. I want you to note the graciousness of the benefactor of how God has been incredibly gracious to his children. Hebrews 9:15:

For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.

A mediator is someone who mediates between two parties to remove a disagreement, a problem, or to reach a common goal. In Scripture, Jesus comes to us as God’s mediator. 1 Timothy 2:5:

For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.

So, it is between God, the Father and humanity, and right in the middle is Jesus Christ, the mediator. Now, the Mediator has work to do to make sure that His mediation between God and man is done completely or perfectly, so that we may have a relationship with God that could never be broken. Also, a Mediator is to bring a righteous God and disobedient children together, and to break down the huge barrier that sin has directed between us and God. Remember, it is your sin that separates you from God., and sin is the primary target of the Mediator, which is to remove and break down the barrier so that person can be forgiven and have a relationship with God. The very things that cause separation between God and man are transgressions.

Not often used as a word for sin, but the term transgressions, used purposefully by the Holy Spirit, means the acknowledgment of the fact that you cannot get to God because of your own sin. Therefore, transgressions bring to your mind the consciousness of sin, so you are made conscious of the fact that you have offended a Holy God. As the law comes to you, the consciousness is intensified where you start to feel convicted of your sin. You realize that you have sinned against God, and that is the very thing that separates you from God and keeps you from His presence, out of heaven, and keeps you bonded in slavery. Transgressions brings a person to a desire, in their heart, that redemption would be aroused. Remember, redemption is God purchasing you from the slave market of sin. Therefore, there is a desire in your heart to claim to the Lord that you acknowledge that you have sinned against Him and cannot do anything to remove the sin. However, the Lord can, and, as said in His word, He redeems those who believe in Him, and He buys you from the slave market of sin. So, the term transgression intensifies the desire for redemption. In other words, you want to be saved and be made right with God, and this takes over the mind.

A Mediator opens the way to God’s holy presence, and He frees a person from the slave market of sin through releasing them by paying a price. We know the price of our souls is the very Blood of Jesus Christ on the Cross of Calvary. On the cross, He was purchasing you from the slave market of sin, and He was paying the Father for you by His own sacrificial death. This is the only way you can be made right with God and saved.

Though, in this passage of Scripture, there is something problematic: How does Moses, Abraham, or any of the Old Testament saints get saved? If the law and sacrificial system could not save or redeem a soul for eternity, then how does one, before the cross, become saved? Well, the sacrifice of Jesus Christ is retroactive, which means relating or apply to things that have happened in the past as well as in the present. For example, it is like receiving a raise offered in June, but it was retroactive pay to the beginning of the year. Basically, you get a raise in June, but the pay goes back to January, so you are getting a raise all those months. Therefore, all the saints in the Old Testament are saved by Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, so everybody in the Old Testament was looking to the cross. Wherever you look in Scripture, you either look forward to the cross or backward to the cross, but wherever you go, you must look to the cross for salvation.

Jesus’ sacrifice being retroactive means that the sacrifice is effective to wipe out the sins of people committed under the Old Covenant and give permanent access to God. If there was no cross, Moses, Abraham, or no one could be saved, so, the cross, becomes central to how someone becomes a believer. In other words, until Christ, all people in the past, present, and future were and are slaves to sin, but through Christ’s work, we are released from sins mastery and set free to serve and worship God as righteous slaves. We are saved to serve and, now, worship God without guilt or condemnation from the law since that has been removed by Christ, and this frees us up to worship God because we are redeemed. See, it is the generous purpose of the Mediators work to save you completely.

Secondly, not only is God gracious in the purpose of the Mediator’s work, but He is gracious in His call. In other words, God must call you to salvation. Not everybody receives such grace, but only those who respond to heaven’s call receive the grace. Those who have been called may receive what God has to offer them. Meaning, to be called out, invited by God, or summoned by God. Its not a wedding invitation where you either say yes or no, but it’s a gracious invitation from the municipality saying that you must appear. In other words, there is obedience involved in accepting an invitation. In fact, a call to the Gospel is a call to obedience. Will you accept and believe God’s gospel of Jesus Christ, or will you not? Either you’re on your way and not believe it, or you come under the call of God and sense this summoning from God that you must respond. Hebrews 3:1:

Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession.

Again, it’s the one who is called to consider or think about this gospel that God has offered to us, which is the good news in Jesus Christ. Those who respond to the heavenly call know, only too well, that God does not call them as a reward for, or in response to, their special merit, good works, religious devotion to going to church all the time, doing religious things, or their moral achievement. That is not how people get saved, nor is it the gospel. It is all of God’s grace, and it is a gift offered to the undeserving sinner. Let’s consider: how does God call His children? Romans 8:30:

and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.

God calls us to salvation. For us, the operative word is called. In this calling, all that are called are justified. To understand the word called, there are two distinct call. One is the outward call of the gospel. Matthew 22:14:

“For many are called, but few are chosen.”

While heard by the ears, the gospel call can be rejected many times. People will come in and out of church to hear the word of Christ, but they do not respond to the Word nor do they feel the summon that it is for them. So, they hear the Word, but that is all they do. By our experience, we know that not everybody who receives the call of the gospel are justified since not all believe the gospel when they hear it. I don’t know about you, but it was about three or four times that I heard the gospel before I responded in the second way. Why don’t people come to the gospel when they hear it?

Looking back at Acts 7, he gave a few reasons why people don’t come to the gospel when it is heard. One, people are stubborn because they think they have the answer in front of them, or their own philosophy. Another reason why is because they are uncircumcised of heart, a label given specifically to Jews, religious people, or legalistic people. It was an offensive term since at the time they thought they were obeying the law, but never realized the law was really convicting them of their sin. They weren’t responding to it, so they were disobeying part of the law, which demanded a response of heart to God’s fuller revelation, the cross. Third, people don’t respond because they are hard of hearing. Acts 7:51:

You men who are stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears are always resisting the Holy Spirit; you are doing just as your fathers did.

The word resisting, the old word meaning to fall against or to rush against. In other words, putting up a wall and saying, “Stop! I don’t want to hear it,” is resistance against God. What great sin is committed when people resist the Holy Spirit by refusing to believe the summons that God gives them to come to Christ for salvation, forgiveness of your sins, cleansing of your soul, legacy that God gives you, and eternal redemption. What a grand and great call! Yet, people say they don’t need it. Another thing, it is not just slow comprehension that people don’t hear and respond to the gospel, but it’s inability.

The prophet, Jerimiah, was right when he diagnosed the people’s spiritual condition. Jerimiah 6:10:

To whom shall I speak and give warning
That they may hear?
Behold, their ears are closed
And they cannot listen.
Behold, the word of the LORD has become
a reproach to them;
They have no delight in it.

When God’s word comes to them, they have no delight in it nor do they want to hear. It irks them and goes against what the world tells them they ought to do, what the flesh tells them to do, their desires, and passions. This is something that is old fashioned, or something that people feel they don’t need. Yet, that’s the outward call. The general call to salvation is made to everyone who hears. In fact, the Holy Spirit extends that call to people all the time.

However, there is the second call in Scripture, the inward call. Usually, it takes place when the outward call of the Gospel is happening. How will they hear without a preacher, or how will they understand unless the word is taught and preached? It’s when the Holy Spirit calls His people effectually by working a miracle in their hearts, and bringing them from spiritual death to life, which is what the term “Born Again” means. You were dead, and you had to be born again, made alive, or regenerated. So, the Holy Spirit transforms the heart, the mind, and the will. John 6:63:

It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.

The outward, general call to salvation is made to everyone who hears the gospel of God’s grace. Then, the Holy Spirit extends to the elect a special inward call, and it brings that person to salvation. The external call, which is made to all without distinctions, can be, and often is, rejected. The internal call, which is made only to the elect, cannot be rejected. In fact, how do you know when people are alive? They respond to the gospel, and accept the invitation that God is offering them. Then, they continue in it since it’s not a passing religious fad. It’s not like saying, “Oh, I’ll try Jesus,” rather a deep conviction that they have offended God in their sin, and they realize that they are in trouble and need salvation, which is Jesus. So, God extends to them an inward call, which could not be rejected and always results in conversion because it is God’s work.

By means of this special effectual call, the spirit irresistibly draws sinners to Christ. Remember, Chris is not limited in His work of applying salvation by man’s will. One thing that is so great about God’s spirit is that He overcomes your will, your stubbornness, and your ability to resist. In fact, He does more than that by resurrecting you from death. A dead person cannot respond anyway. The spirit graciously causes the elect sinner to cooperate, believe, repent, and to come freely and willingly with a desire to be saved. John 1:12-13:

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, 13who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

For anyone to be saved, have their sins forgiven, and to be made right with God, it is God’s will that it happens. Then, the spirit of God convicts that person, calls them inwardly, and they are summoned and obey the summons delightfully and gladly. In other words, salvation is all God, not of us. The flesh profits nothing when it comes to salvation.

Because of the graciousness of the mediators work and God’s call to salvation, it brings us to the graciousness of God’s promise to those who are called. Right now, anyone who believes in Jesus Christ has the Holy Spirit of God in them, and that is for a very important reason. It is to sanctify you to make you more like Christ, but it is for another reason that is connected to your inheritance. You’re in God’s will as a believer, you get an eternal inheritance.

Really, the believer, in this life, has been given a pledge or a down payment for their inheritance. In other words, God is saying that there is a down payment for what will come like when a guy gives a woman an engagement ring. He becomes engaged and what comes is the wedding day. Basically, he is promising to be faithful, before people, and on that day, he fulfills his down payment by adding a ring to the other ring. The wedding seals the promise of the down payment. If we do that, in weakness, then what about God when he makes that kind of promise? Ephesians 1:13-14:

In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.

God is saying, in other words, that He is going to give His people a down payment for what will come in their full inheritance, which is the Holy Spirit of God. Of course, a connection with the Spirit of God is the Word of God. The Holy Spirit wrote the word and doesn’t leave us out there to flounder and wonder what God wants us to do. As believers remain true to their call, or persevere in their faith, at death, you receive the eternal inheritance in heaven. At death, which is not the end for a believer but rather a doorway into God’s presence, you realize you have an eternal inheritance that could never be taken away.

That is the difference between this inheritance and inheritances that we are used to hearing about as human beings. Normal inheritances pass from one family to the next, and somebody must die for it to be passed on. However, in this case, an eternal inheritance you don’t pass on, but you keep forever, and that is God’s grace. However, an inheritance of this magnitude cannot be distributed unless someone dies. A testator is a will-maker, and for the will to go into effect, you must die. Therefore, the will that Christ has made on our behalf is His death, and that is the mediation on how we get our inheritance. Hebrews 9:16-17:

For where a covenant is, there must of necessity be the death of the one who made it. 17For a covenant is valid only when men are dead, for it is never in force while the one who made it lives.

Here is given the very nature of a will or testament. A death must occur for the inheritance to be received, but it is not your death rather Christ’s death. In our text, there is an important fact that cannot be missed concerning the death of Christ. The very death of Christ enables us to receive our eternal inheritance, and His death makes the inheritance accessible to all who are heirs irrespective of when you lived on this earth. If you were on the Old Covenant, it is about the cross, your heirs, and having internal inheritance because of the cross. If you are on the other side of the cross, we look back to the cross, and we get our inheritance by the death of Jesus Christ. Therefore, Jesus Christ is the testator who dies for the beneficiaries of the will, which is us.

Normally, this isn’t how it works, but that’s how it works with God. The great thing about it is that Christ is the heir of all things. What does Christ own if He is the creator of all things? He owns everything. If Christ owns everything, and we become joint heirs with Christ, what do we own as believers? We own everything. Hebrews 1:2:

in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.

Right in the beginning, he is letting us know that the heir of all things is Christ. An heir signifies a person who, on the death of another, becomes the possessor of their father’s property. Also, an heir is a person who is lord of all the inherits, and he takes full possession of all that he inherits. Because our inheritance will not pass on from us to someone else, Christ makes us joints heirs, a unique phrase. Romans 8:17:

The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, 17and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.

Brethren, He makes us fellow heirs because He lives. He arose from the grave and He lives. Because He lives, we, as His heirs, live and never die. If you never die, you can never pass your inheritance on to someone else. You never die since Christ never died, so our internal inheritance cannot be lost to someone. It will always be yours, so there is no insecurity in this will.

Lastly, all this has happened based on the sacrificial death on the One who makes the will. If you have been following, and I know that you must work to follow, then you may know that for a Jew, a dead messiah is no messiah. Then again, for a gentile, a dead messiah is no messiah either. So, the author begins to show us that the death of the Messiah, the testator and maker of the will, must die. It is necessary for him to die, so that we may be the beneficiary of the will. Without the sacrificial death, no testament or will could be enforced, and no sins could be forgiven. When God inaugurated the first covenant, he did it with the shedding of blood, so the Mosaic testament was inaugurated with the death and blood of sacrificial victims. The Old Covenant was put into force by blood, which means the New Covenant must be put into force by blood. Hebrews 9:18-21:

Therefore even the first covenant was not inaugurated without blood. 19For when every commandment had been spoken by Moses to all the people according to the Law, he took the blood of the calves and the goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, 20saying, “THIS IS THE BLOOD OF THE COVENANT WHICH GOD COMMANDED YOU.” 21And in the same way he sprinkled both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry with the blood.

Everything that was defiled, or become unholy, had to be sprinkled with the blood of the sacrificial victims. The blood washes away the uncleanness so that the person may approach God. In this case, the people, the book of the law, the tabernacle, and all the vessels were sprinkled, and there is only one place, in Scripture, that this type of ceremony is mentioned in addition to Exodus 34. Half the blood that Moses sprinkled on the alter signifying God’s part, and half the blood was sprinkled on the people signifying the people’s part. God’s part was to keep the promise of the covenant, and the people’s part was to obey the covenant. However, the problem in the Old Testament is that the people could not obey.

To differentiate, the covenant that is inaugurated with the blood of Christ cannot be broken on either person’s side. The reason being that it is a will. When a believer is saved by the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit, which makes their past election a present reality, then they are brought into a covenant of obedience sealed by the blood of Christ. Don’t forget, in Hebrews, a different word is used for covenant. It is a word that does not mean agreement, but it means will. The conditions of the will are not made on equal terms, but they are made entirely by one person, the testator of the will. The other party cannot alter the terms, but they can only accept or refuse the inheritance offered. That is why our relationship to God is a relationship where only one person is responsible, and that the relationship is offered solely on the initiative and grace of God. Again, salvation is all of God.

When we use the word covenant, we must always remember that it does not mean that man makes a bargain with God on equal terms, but it always means that the whole initiative is with God. The terms are His, and man cannot alter them in the slightest. Under the Old Covenant, God offered the people a unique relationship with Himself, but the whole relationship was entirely dependent on keeping the law. Because of Jesus Christ, in the New Covenant, we respond to the gospel call. When Jesus shed His blood, He brought redeemed man and God into a covenant of willful obedience. Christ’s blood, applied, sprinkled, or shed on us, in a spiritual sense, wiping out all our sins, making us completely clean, and eternally forgiving us for everything we have ever done. The gospel of Jesus Christ is proactive in every respect, covers all people, all of time, and by God’s spirit, we will obey.

Jesus takes care of the covenant, ratifies the will, supplies eternal redemption to us, cleanses us completely, and forgives us of our sin, so it will never come up against us again. Therefore, blood is used to cleanse everything unclean, and make things and people ceremonially clean. When it comes to remitting of sins, there is no remission apart from blood shedding. Hebrews 9:22:

And according to the Law, one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.

Remission means to wipe away and remit the penalty. Only the holy, precious, and all-sufficient blood of the testator, Jesus Christ, can forever wipe away the sin of His children. Psalms tells us to send away the sin from the sinner as far as the east is from the west. Micah 7:19:

He will again have compassion on us;
He will tread our iniquities under foot.
Yes, You will cast all their sins
Into the depths of the sea

It is humanly impossible to dive into the depth of the ocean, but the Lord sends out sin to the deepest part of the ocean, never to be brought up. In Isaiah, He sends away the sin from the sinner; thus, blotting out the sins even from their memory, and He sends the sin away from the sinner as a cloud is blotted out and vanishes. As Christians, Christ leaves us an eternal inheritance that will never be passed on to another, taken from us, or lost in anyway. Truly, how wealthy all believers are. We ought to live according to our wealth. We ought to live according to our high calling, and that means to live as the children of God to live in the Kingdom of God forever. Therefore, we are wealthy.

We are privileged and have an awesome responsibility as believers. The Spirit of God is bringing you to live like Christ. I pray that you get a sense of the grandness and whole scope of salvation that God did for us, so we can be saved and have an inheritance that no one can touch. Our inheritance is imperishable, and that is how grand the Grace of God is and how much He loves us. So, let’s not lay it aside, think lightly of it, or minimize it since God is good to us, and we should give him praise and glory. Let’s pray:

Lord, I thank you so much. I pray, Lord, today, that if someone does not know you as their Lord and Savior, I pray, Lord, today they would sense your summoning. They would sense that they have never heard such a message in which they were presented with the gospel of Christ, the one who dies in the place of sinners to offer them a salvation that is eternal, forgiveness of sins, a wiping away of sin that could never be brought back up in any kind of court of law, to have a relationship with the God who has created the heaven and the earth. Lord, I pray that you would draw them to yourself, and that the call would be eternal. I pray all those who know you, Lord, would take their Christian life real serious, and that they would not only be sober about it, but, Lord, that you would make us joyful about what you have given us and how wealthy we are. Lord, thank you for the down payment of the Spirit of God. We know that you are a God who doesn’t lie, so you must give us the inheritance. We know that our Testator has already died, so our inheritance is waiting to be given out. I pray, Lord, that we persevere in the faith until that day when we will see you face to face where we can drop off faith and see you with our eyes. Lord, we praise you, and let us now lift our voices to worship in this last song. In Christ, I pray, Amen.