Today we take a dive into the best news in the whole world and look at how the new covenant that Jesus brought is truly life changing. Don’t miss a minute of this worship service! Help us advance the Kingdom, support our online ministry (harmonychurch.cc/give). Got kids? Check out Harmony Kids online (updated weekly) https://www.harmonychurch.cc/harmony-kids-online/!
Sermon Notes Slide Key:
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OPENING ILLUSTRATION: Normally the Passover meal is full of celebration, fun, and meaning. But this one has been unusually deep with meaning and mystery.
Jesus has longed to eat this meal with them. One last moment with them before all hell breaks loose.
At the Passover meal, literally every element was pregnant with symbolism, from the bitter herbs they ate that represented the bitterness of their slavery to the roasted shank bone of a lamb, it represented the Passover sacrifice.
It is in the middle of this meal, all reclining around a table, that Jesus says these words…
Luke 22:19-2019 And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”20 In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.
Jesus is taking this meal that they were used to being full of symbolism and introduces a new symbol
This bread is my body given for you, this cup is the new covenant in my blood.
ILLUSTRATION: Have you ever known someone who has a higher view of themselves than they really should? they walk in to the room wanting everyone to see them and think they are really something. If you don’t know that person, you might be them 🙂
I don’t know if you know how big of a deal what Jesus just said is…Jesus is making a claim that He is ending the original agreement with God and implementing a new one.
I know, you’ve already decided you believe in Him, but I need you to put yourself in the first century for a moment and recognize, He just made a HUGE claim…
He is literally telling them that His body and His blood is the fulfillment of prophecy. See, for thousands of years, God had been dripping promises into history that there would be a new covenant introduced into the world and that it would not be like the original.
Hebrews 8:8-128 But God found fault with the people and said[a]:“The days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah.9 It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they did not remain faithful to my covenant, and I turned away from them, declares the Lord.10 This is the covenant I will establish with the people of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.11 No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord, ’because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest.12 For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”[b]
What in the world is a covenant and why does this matter? b Covenants were an agreement between two parties-usually, one with power or authority over or greater than the other-they were legal arrangements
Oftentimes there was a death(s) of an animal along with the agreement. The underlying assumption was that if the agreement was broken, just like the the animal that died, so would you die.
They would actually split the animal into two parts and walk between the parts. You can see this kind of covenant being played out in: Genesis 15:9-18 & Jeremiah 34:12-20
This type of covenant is called a Suzerainty covenant b These covenants were based on an “I will if you will” promise
ILLUSTRATION: You’ve all made tiny suzerainty type covenants – the I will if you will promises. This is curfew with your kids – If you keep my curfew, I will bless you by letting you borrow my car and have the freedom of not being grounded. But if you break it, I will take away that privilege.
If the Israelites will obey these commands, I will bless you. This is exactly what the old covenant was… A Suzerainty covenant
You can hear echoes of this covenant all through the OT
Listen to one famous example of this that is almost always taken out of context to apply into our lives
1 Chronicles 7:14 14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
God is echoing the “I will if you will promise.” Did you hear it?
if my people will humbly pray and seek me, then I will forgive their sins…
This covenant started way earlier though… God had brought the people of Israel out of slavery from the Egyptians and he makes a covenant with them out in the desert as they begin to establish who they are as a free people… This is what that agreement looked like…
Exodus 24:3-8 Moses will tell the people all of the law of God. They people say they commit to the law. And so Moses builds an altar to sacrifice young bulls on. He is both sacrificing to God in worship, but also letting the blood of the animals represent the covenant promises. the “I will if you will” is in full force. Moses begins to sprinkle blood of the animals on the altar and on the people. He’s showing them how serious this commitment is that they are making…and then he says this…Exodus 24:8 “This is the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.”
Did you hear the words Moses used and how Jesus is intentionally calling back to them with what He did?
Luke 22:20 In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.
Jesus is introducing a new covenant and He is establishing it not with the blood of animals, but His blood…
The Old Covenant was “I will if you will” The New Covenant is “I did, so you can”
Can I just ask you a question? why do SO many Christians live as though they still live under the old covenant? Did you know the word Testament means “covenant”
Listen to what the author of Hebrews says at the end of that section about God bringing about a New covenant…Hebrews 8:1313 By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear. The first covenant is… Obsolete. It’s no longer enforced
LISTEN TO ME there are SO many people that hold back from God because of their sin. b They think this means “I can’t, so He won’t…”
But that is Not our Covenant…
Jesus didn’t die on a cross because you could be perfect, He died because you aren’t.
Romans 5:8but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
CLOSING: Today, we are going to take communion together, because we are going to remember that today, praise God, we are not under the old covenant, but under the new covenant of Jesus – the I did, so you can…
But we are going to do it differently. We have some paper and pens spread across the stage – we want you to come up and take one of those and write what it is that has kept you from fully engaging with Jesus and then leave it at the cross, then take your communion. We will sing several songs during this time. If you need to talk to someone, come and talk.