Sermon:  God's Superior Promises


Summary:  The new covenant is superior to the old because it completes the old, which was intended to be temporary.  The new covenant has the capability to bring all under it to know God in a way not possible under the old because the new transforms the heart by solving the sin problem, not just defining it as the old covenant did.  As a result, we now have the power and ability of God to keep his new covenant and remain strong and steadfast in it.


Know:  Only Christ can take care of our sin problem and bring us to God


Feel:  A greater reliance on Christ for knowing God through all areas of life


Do:  Discuss and be able to articulate the reasons the new covenant completes the old and is therefore absolutely necessary today.


Text:  Heb 8


Scripture Reading:  Ezek 36:26-27



1.  Preparation for this lesson made me think of a couple of people I have known

            a.  Lela - excellent Sunday school teacher

                        - Found out she wanted to be school teacher

                        - Classes off and on between kids

                        - Lacked less than semester and student teaching

                        - Even though capable, can't get license, education incomplete

            b.  Tom - Excellent Old Testament Teacher

                        - Did graduate work at Hebrew Union

                        - Just as knowledgeable as any PhD

                        - Never did dissertation, not a doctor, not get pay for doctor

                        - Reason?  Requirements were incomplete

            c.  They are not bad, very capable, but incomplete credentials

2.  Similar thing can be said of the Old Testament

            a.  Nowhere does the Bible say the Old Testament is bad

            b.  Chester in Arkansas said I had a lot of dead weight in my Bible

                        - Should cut away Old Testament

                        - This is a gross misunderstanding

            c.   Marcion in 2nd century rejected Old Testament, declared a heretic

                        - Old Testament is also the word of God

                        - Jesus never criticized the Old Testament, high respect for it

            d.  This text reminds of this

3.  (Heb 8) - Does not say the Old Testament, Old Covenant is "bad"

            a.  The fault was with the people, not the covenant

            b.  Says Jesus enacted a better covenant, not a good as opposed to bad

            c.  Old Covenant was temporary

            d.  Better to say the New Covenant completes the Old Covenant

                        - God never intended to leave things as they were under the old

                        - Heb 11:40 - Apart from us, Old Covenant people not


                        - So the new completes the old

4.  Point:  Jesus is mediator of a better covenant. 

            a.  The old was good, but incomplete. 

            b.  The new is better.

            c.  How is it better? 

            d.  Will look at several capabilities the new has that the old did not


I.  Capability to know the Lord

            A.  Knowing God under the old covenant was limited

            B.  Knowing God was limited under the old, but is greater in the new

                        1.  Knowing God was not a requirement under the old

                                    a.  You were born into the covenant

                                    b.  Parents were supposed to teach you of God

                                    c.  If they did not, you were still part of the covenant

                                    d.  Many did not know God or trust God

                        2.  As a result, people taught their neighbors - "Know the Lord"

                                    a.  Supposed to teach the children

                                    b.  If children not learn, you teach them as adults

                                    c.  Not everyone would know God

                                    d.  Not so under the new covenant

                        3.  Under the new covenant everyone will know the Lord

                                    a.  No one is born into the covenant

                                    b.  Rather, they are reborn into it by acts of faith

                                    c.  They learn of God, then accept the covenant in faith

                                    d.  In this way, all under the new covenant know God

                        4.  One other way knowing God is superior under the new - Christ

                                    a.  1:1-4 - God has spoken to us in his son

                                                - Did not say through his sin, but in his son

                                    b.  1:8; 2:14 - Jesus is God, and Jesus is man

                                    c.  Can know God on a human level through Christ

                                                - Jn 1:18 - Word become flesh has explained God

                                                - Jn 14:7 - If had known me, would know my Father

                                                - Jn 14:9 - If seen me, you have seen the Father

                                                - Jesus is God in the flesh, can know God in flesh

                                    d.  This was not possible under the old covenant

            C.  ILL:  Imagine loving someone you never have seen

                        1.  Remember reading about a soldier with pen pal named Claire

                                    a.  She wrote such strong beautiful things to encourage him

                                    b.  She had such a beautiful heart, wanted to meet her

                        2.  After tour over, made arrangements, meet at train station

                                    a.  He had never seen her, had no idea what she look like

                                    b.  Would she be young, old? 

                                    c.  She told him she would have sign around her neck

                                    d.   Saw beautiful young lady walking toward him, smiling

                                                -  Eyes fastened on hers, heart beating

                                                -  She smiled and said hello

                        3.  Then he saw her, behind young lady

                                    a.  Older woman, frumpy hat, sagging stockings

                                    b.  She had the sign around her neck with his name

                                    c.  He swallowed, let the young lady walk by

                                    d.  This woman who wrote all those beautiful things

                                                - So, it won't be romantic relationship as he hoped

                                                - Maybe it be different kind of beautiful thing

                                                - Maybe it be like mother and son

                        4.  Stopped, said, "Hello, I'm Joe, thrilled to finally meet you Claire

                                    a.  Woman said, "Mister, I don't know what this is about, but

                                         that young woman asked me to wear this sign"

                                    b.  Said if man in uniform greeted me and called me Claire

                                         to send him to coffee shop across street

                                    c.  She wearing Green

                                    d.  It was that woman!  Finally get to meet her and know her

                                         in person

                                                - Letters were nice

                                                - But it nothing like knowing her personally

            D.  Under new covenant, God got personal

                        1.  Now you can know God through Christ

                        2.  The new covenant is superior to the old

                        3.  It has great capabilities than the old


II.  Capability to write on the heart

            A.  The old were written on tablets of stone, the new on the heart

            B.  Laws into their minds and write them on the heart (v.8-10)

                        1.  Old covenant, did not have to internalize law

                                    a.  Could be ignorant of it, never read it

                                    b.  Could be able to recite it, but never live it

                                    c.  In other words, it written on stone and could stay there

                        2.  (Ezek 36:26-27) - God promised to change the heart

                                    a.  Under the old covenant, heart did not necessarily change

                                    b.  For some it did, for others it did not

                                    c.  But God enact new covenant, write it on the heart

                        3.  It is under the new covenant we are transformed

                                    a.  God's word is put in our minds, written on heart

                                    b.  Bible says it in several other ways

                                                - Jn 6 - Jesus is bread of life

                                                            = Not about the Lord's Supper

                                                            = We internalize his teaching and example

                                                - Tit 3:5 - Saved by washing of rebirth, and renewing

                                                   by the Spirit

                                                            = Talking about being transformed by Spirit

                                                            = No longer are you the same person you were

                                                - 2 Cor 5:17 - If in Christ, you are a new creature

                                                - Rom 6 - Old man dies, become a new person

                        4.  Under the new covenant, you transformed from inside out

                                    a.  You hear the word, accept covenant

                                    b.  They become a part of you as you internalize them

                                    c.  This is what is ultimately needed

            C.  ILL:  The old covenant laws helpless to do this

                        1.  Laws and rules do not change you

                                    a.  When at York, had curfew.  People snuck out anyway

                                    b.  Have laws in the land - no steal, people still steal

                                    c.  Traffic sign before intersection, "obey traffic stop sign"

                                                - If not obey stop sign, then another sign not do it

                                    d.  Can put law enforcement people there

                                                - But they only effective if they are present

                                                - Not always effective though

                                                - Can't have officers everywhere at once

                        2.  What is needed is a transformation/renovation of the heart

                                    a.  Law cannot change you

                                    b.  However, under the new covenant, God transforms

                                    c.  Writes the law on your heart

            D.  Transformation happens under the new covenant

                        1.  We internalize our Lord's teaching and example

                        2.  Transforms our thinking and actions

                        3.  Reason it can do this is it deals with the root of our problem


III.  Capability to solve our universal problem

            A.  Our universal problem is sin, and only the new covenant solves it

                        1.  Sin is what causes separation from God

                        2.  Sin is what distorts our mind and heart

                        3.  If sin not dealt with, we are doomed

                        4.  Jesus dealt with sin under new covenant

            B.  (v.12) - Will be merciful and remember sins no more

                        1.  7:27 - Jesus offered self once for all for sins

                                    a.  He took care of the sin problem once for all

                                    b.  Not need to keep going back into sanctuary to sacrifice

                        2.  8:1 - Jesus sat down on the right hand of throne of God

                                    a.  Ever notice there are no chairs in tabernacle?

                                    b.  Priests never sat down, work of sacrifice was never done

                                    c.  However, Jesus finished the word of redemption at cross

                                    d.  So, he sat down, he was finished 

                        3.  Old covenant defines sin, the new solves sin

                                    a.  Rom 7:7 - Would not know sin without the law, it defines it

                                    b.  But here, it says Christ procured forgiveness of sin

                                    c.  Jesus does not just define the problem, he solves it

            C.  ILL:  Biblical Archaeology Review about where altar used to stand

                        1.  Hole in the ground to drain away all the blood

                        2.  Image all that blood over the years - thousands of gallons

                                    a.  Have to offer continually, morning and evening sacrifice

                                    b.  Other special sacrifices

                                    c.  Day of atonement every year

                                    d.  No amount of blood was enough

                        3.  However, Jesus offered up his own blood once for all

                                    a.  He didn't have to offer self continually

                                    b.  He offered himself once, and solved the sin problem

                        4.  Reminds us that forgiveness comes from our Lord, not animal

                                    a.  The animal sacrifices foreshadowed Christ

                                    b.  They were not a permanent solution

                                    c.  God is the one who does the forgiving

            D.  Under the new covenant, we have the sacrifice of Christ

                        1.  He solves the sin problem, old covenant did not

                        2.  Therefore the new covenant is superior



1.  The new covenant has capabilities you will not find anywhere else

            a.  To know the Lord

            b.  To write the Lord's word on your heart

            c.  To solve the problem of sin

2.  As a result, we do not have to follow pattern of Israel under old covenant

            a.  v.9 - They did not continue in the covenant

            b.  They never internalized it, therefore God did not care for them

            c.  They died in the wilderness

3.  We are still in the wilderness today

            a.  This is not our home, it is temporary

            b.  Still have many of the same challenges they did in wilderness

                        - Enemies, not enough to sustain us, other gods

                        - Attitude, complaining, rebelling,

            c.  But we have resources to get us through it - New covenant

                        - Can know God under the new covenant

                                    = Pray anytime, he strengthen us

                                    = God is not just our God, but our Father as well

                        - He writes his laws on our heart

                                    = We can internalize it as we read

                                    = The spirit uses the word to transform us inside out

                                    = Become strong, face any challenge in wilderness

                        - He solves our sin problem

                                    = Restores what sin has twisted

                                    = Fellowship with the Father

4.  Are you under the new covenant here in this wilderness?  (inv)

5.  If you have been converted, remember you are only complete in Christ while in this wilderness.  Without him, you will be incomplete... for eternity


Small Group Notes:  God's Superior Promises


Summary:  The new covenant is superior to the old because it completes the old, which was intended to be temporary.  The new covenant has the capability to bring all under it to know God in a way not possible under the old because the new transforms the heart by solving the sin problem, not just defining it as the old covenant did.  As a result, we now have the power and ability of God to keep his new covenant and remain strong and steadfast in it.




- What items in your home or office would you consider obsolete?



Explore:  (Heb 8)


1.   What do the words "copy," "shadow," and "sketch" indicate about the old covenant and its priesthood?


2.  Discuss the ways the new covenant superior to the old covenant.


3.  How is the new covenant different than the old?


4.  Why was a new covenant needed?  Was there something wrong with the old covenant that God made?


5.  How would this lesson served to strengthen, encourage, and motivate the original readers who had become tired and sluggish in their faith?





6.  Which aspect of the new covenant is the greatest encouragement to you and why? 


7.  How can you use what you learned in this lesson to encourage other Christians?  In what ways can it encourage you?


8.  In what ways can you grow to know God better?