THIS WEEK YOU ARE GETTING TO THE MAIN POINT OF HEBREWS
A BETTER COVENANT
WE COULD NOT KEEP THE LAW
SO HE WILL PUT HIS LAW IN OUR HEARTS
WE HAVE THIS NOW, AND YET NOT YET
WE HAVE HIS SPIRIT
BUT STILL A BENT FOR SINNING
BUT ONE DAY HE WILL MAKE US COMPLETELY HIS
THIS PROMISE IN HEBREWS IS ALSO THROUGHOUT THE PROPHETS
THIS IS NOT RELIGION
THIS IS RELATIONSHIP
For many years, I have been in a secular summer book club my sister Bonnie started. Last month I had lunch with a woman who seems to be seeking, because she often asks me questions, and has mentioned getting together. And so I invited her to lunch to listen, to see what was keeping her from a personal relationship with Christ.
Early in our conversation she told me, “I don’t like religion. It causes wars and division.”
“Yes, I said, it does.”
She looked surprised. So I went on to say (with a lot of help from this week’s sermon from Keller), “Jesus didn’t like religion either. He came to end it.”
“Yes — religion has to do with rituals and rules to get yourself right with God — but in Christianity, Christ paid the price for our sin to make us right with God. Every other religion has people going through steps or pillars to make themselves clean. But Jesus, when He paid the price on the cross, makes us clean — if we receive it.”
“And that’s not religion?”
“When the Bible uses the word religion, God speaks against it. He said he was weary of religious feasts and sacrifices where peoples’ hearts were not right with Him. The only time the word religion is used in the New Testament is in speaking of other religions, or sarcastically, as when James thundered at the people who were “religious” but showed by their lives that they didn’t love God. Jesus came to end religion. He wants a relationship with us.”
“So you aren’t religious?”
“I know, that the women in the book club see me like that. They may think I feel “holier” than them. But I don’t. I sin every day. My hope though is not in religion but in Jesus. I come to Him regularly for forgiveness, for trying to be my own god. In my deepest of hearts, I want Him to be my God — but I honestly fail every day. I’m not better than anyone — I’m a sinner, but I’m also forgiven and loved.”
“I don’t like all this talk about sin. I don’t like churches that beat you over the head about sin.”
“Could I tell you my story?”
She nodded, though I knew she was wary. I remembered how I felt cornered by my sister so long ago, yet how also, her words broke through. So I shared my testimony with her and then told her: “Though I would not have thought of myself as a ‘sinner,’ and had justified my behavior intellectually, deep within my heart I felt guilty. I had a silent cancer the way Steve did — and it was slowly killing me. It wasn’t until I acknowledged my need and put my trust in Christ that He took that guilt away and I felt SO MUCH LIGHTER. Then I knew, that though I had denied it, sin was weighing me down and ruining my life.”
“And now your life is good?”
“Life is hard. But now I know I am forgiven and loved and I do have an intimate relationship with Jesus — and I sense His presence every day. It’s not a religion — it’s a relationship. When I hurt Jesus by sinning, it hurts our relationship in the same way as when I hurt a friend. But He is ready to forgive me and He is always faithful to do that. I need Him so much. Life is really hard. It’s been that way for you — your divorce, your cancer, your daughter’s heartache…Jesus said this world was full of trouble. But He is longing for you to know Him personally — to have, not a new religion, but an intimate relationship with Him.”
She was silent. She took some books I brought and said we could get together again to talk about them. And so, I pray!
This week Hebrews shows us that Christ came to offer a better way than religion.
WE NO LONGER NEED AN EARTHLY PRIEST TO INTERCEDE FOR US
We have something better.
Jesus is the final priest who intercedes
who was without sin
and will never die.
We can go right to Him.
WE NO LONGER HAVE TO MAKE SACRIFICES OVER AND OVER AGAIN
WE HAVE SOMETHING BETTER.
WHEN JESUS CAME, JOHN THE BAPTIST SAID
BEHOLD THE LAMB OF GOD
WHO TAKES AWAY THE SINS OF THE WORLD
WHEN JESUS SACRIFICED HIMSELF
HE SAID, “IT IS FINISHED.”
NO MORE SACRIFICES.
IT IS DONE.
WE ARE FORGIVEN.
WE MUST BEAT THAT INTO OUR HEARTS.
FOR WE HAVE AN ENEMY WHO TELLS US IT IS NOT FINISHED.
HE BLAMES AND SHAMES AND CAUSES DOUBT.
BUT IT IS FINISHED!
ON EARTH, AN ADVOCATE PLEADS YOUR CASE IN COURT
EXPLAINING YOUR BEHAVIOR
HOPING FOR MERCY
BUT WE HAVE A BETTER ADVOCATE
WHO DOESN’T PLEAD FOR MERCY
BUT FOR JUSTICE
FOR THE DEBT HAS ALREADY BEEN PAID
1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
2. What will you tell your soul the next time the enemy comes to accuse you?
Monday-Wednesday Bible Study
3. Read Hebrews 7:18-25 and see if you can explain why Jesus was better than:
A. The law in making us right with God
B. The priests who interceded for us but who sinned and died
Read Hebrews 8:8-13
4. How is the New Covenant (Christ rescuing us and putting a new law in our hearts) better than the Old Covenant (our keeping the law)?
5. Read slowly and out loud Hebrews 8:10-12. This is a direct quote from Jeremiah 31, so I want you to turn there now. This is a beautiful chapter where Jeremiah is prophesying about the New Covenant that the Messiah will bring. I want these words to seep deep into your soul and bring health to you. Read the following passages and choose one that quickens you. Stop. Meditate. Pray it back putting your name into it. Let me show you with the first — but then you find one and make it yours. This passage has promise after promise about what the New Covenant will bring.
A. Jeremiah 31:3 You have loved me, Dee, with an everlasting love, therefore you have continued your faithfulness to me.
I am so unfaithful, but You are faithful. You love me — and not just for a time, but always and forever. I rest in that.
B. Jeremiah 31:12-13
C. Jeremiah 31:25
D. Jeremiah 31:31-34
6. Why is the new covenant so much better? Because it relies on Christ instead of ourselves! Idols cannot be removed — only replaced. If you haven’t seen it yet, I think you’ll be inspired by the testimonies in Video 7 of Idol Lies on my website. If you have time, watch and comment. http://deebrestin.wpengine.com/idol-lies/
7. Hebrews 8:9-10 is the core of Hebrews — you may notice that Hebrews 8:1 tells us the author is getting to the main point. This promise of a new law in our hearts is the now and the not yet. We do now have His Spirit within us if we are His. Yet we still fail Him. Turn back to Hosea 2:16-23 and describe the glorious day that is coming and express what this means to you.
Thursday-Friday Keller Sermons (2nd is optional but so good!)
This is in the series you bought and it is called The Advocate or you can purchase it individually here:
The second, which is optional (but so good) is called The God You Can Know and is the next in the series or can be purchased
There is also a free sermon which covers many of the same points as the optional sermon above (The God We Can Know) and you can find it here: Link
8. What are your notes?
9. What is your take-a-way and why?