Bible Study: Hebrews 8

Read Hebrews 8.

Hebrews 8 continues the comparison of Jesus Christ to the Old Testament high priests. It’s a short chapter and there’s not a lot here to unpack, just a continuation of a line of reasoning we have been studying. In chapter 9 we are going to see more details about how the earthly tent – the tabernacle – was set up. In this chapter we are simply reminded that the earthly tent was patterned after the things in heaven. The earthly tent, set up in the Old Testament, made by the hands of men, was a copy, a duplicate of the real heavenly high places. Every priest must make an offering. If Christ were on the earth he would not be a priest at all (see v. 4) because there are priests that make offerings according to the Law. But the ministry of Jesus is greater, having entering the authentic holy places the earthly tent is patterned after. He offers a better sacrifice (which we will get to in Hebrews 9 as well).

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Our Mission is Not Their Mission

The Bible tells one story; the Old Testament and the New are both part of that story.  The message of scripture from beginning to end is how a holy God, perfect in righteousness, deals with humanity, which is fallen, broken and unrighteous.  At the center of that story is Jesus.

There is a definite relationship between the old covenant and the new.  I often describe Judaism as a analogy for Christianity.  The Hebrews in the Old Testament are analogous in many ways to Christians of the New Testament.  There are many similarities but we must be clear: the two are not the same.  The Hebrews came out of Egypt on a mission; as Christians we should be on mission.  But our mission is very different from their mission. Continue reading

The Gospel of the Old Testament

Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are the Gospels in that they tell the story of the life of Jesus.  Jesus preaches in Mark 1 “repent and believe in the gospel.”  More than those four books, gospel means good news.  Jesus died for our sins; he is the way, the truth and the life; he brings the New Covenant, and we are no longer under the Law; all things things are part of the gospel message.  Paul says the Law is bad news; it cannot make us righteous, only more guilty.  But there is more to the Old Testament than the Law, and it’s not all bad news.

The Bible has many stories and characters, but only one message.  (Have you read this?)  The Old Covenant was about keeping the Law and bearing the mark of circumcision.  Paul has many analogies about the difference between the Law and the Gospel; the Gospel brings life, the Law only brings death.  But my point is that there is plenty of good news in the Old Testament as well.  It is part of God’s message. Continue reading

Things Change: A Sermon on Epiphany

Today is January 2nd, and we are nearing the end of Christmastide or the Twelve Days of Christmas.  Western Christians (i.e. Roman Catholics and most Protestant faiths) celebrate Epiphany on January 6th.  Let’s continue to celebrate the birth of Jesus by recognizing that when Jesus arrives, thing change.

Colossians 1:15-20 is a short passage that describes who and what Jesus is.  While the following sermon does not provide exegesis of these verses, they describe not only the incarnation but also the purpose of it.  The birth of Jesus is the meeting of heaven and earth; it changes everything.  Let’s start simple and work our way up. Continue reading