The Sunset pastor on Sunday continued our “Covenant” series with a message, “In with the New: A New Covenant.”  The text was from Hebrews 8:7-13:  “I will make a new covenant… For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”

 God is a good God, ever living and ever loving.  He desires to have sweet fellowship with us his human creation.

 But ever since our first parents Adam and Eve decided to go their own way—apart from God’s guidance and wisdom, we have made it hard for God to live with.  We’ve not loved God as we ought, and we’ve not loved our neighbors as ourselves.

The pastor made three points:  (1) Old Covenant Problem; (2) God’s New Covenant; (3) Opening Heaven’s Door.

(1) Old Covenant Problem.  V7:  “For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another.  But God found fault with the people….”

God gave the Ten Commandments — representing the first covenant — to Moses on Mt. Sinai, and God upheld his end of the agreement:  The law was God’s good law.   God gave it, and we should do it:  that was the Old Covenant.

 The problem was that none of us has kept God’s law very well.  We all failed, so the Old Covenant failed to bring us to God.

(2) God’s New Covenant.  V8:  Quoting Jeremiah, “The time is coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant… It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers…, because they did not remain faithful to my covenant….”

 The New Covenant was embodied in Jesus.  It was an agreement between God and humanity which depended not on faulty human effort but on God’s grace to be effective.

 John 1:17:  “The Law came by Moses; grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.”  In the Old Covenant we were responsible to obey God’s law in order to be in relationship with God.

 In the New Covenant we have a representative — Jesus—whose righteous living and sacrificial dying is presented to the Father for us.

 Instead of our presenting imperfect selves to God, we trust in the One who presents himself in His sinless perfection to his Father for us.  We come into him by faith, and when God sees us now in Christ, he sees us as forgiven and sinless because we are part of Christ’s body.

So, what kind of person is in this New Covenant?  V10b-11:  “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.  No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest.”

 In the Old Covenant, many people knew about the Lord — in the stories of the Exodus, Passover and the giving of the Law — but they may not have known the Lord.

 But in the New Covenant, “they will all know me,” because the Holy Spirit who lives in all believers — giving us a personal relationship with God — is our primary teacher.  God’s Spirit is our teacher, and we listen to Him.

 In Christ we have new perspectives, new values, new goals and new desires.  God himself who dwells in us puts his laws in our minds and writes them on our hearts.  By his grace and our faith, God becomes our God, and we are His people. That is the New Covenant.

 (3) Opening Heaven’s Door.  V12, “I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”  Jesus died for our sins, God forgives, and opens heaven’s door to us forgiven sinners who are trusting in Christ.

wThe New Covenant is good news.  Jesus died and rose, and his grace sufficient.

 Our Sunset Music Minister Jerry Hinson on Sunday sang a moving Lenten special, “Unworthy.”  Truly we are.

 “Declare God’s glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples.”  [Psalm 96:3]

May you be a bright light for the Lord this week — our prayer for you from your friends at Sunset Christian Church.