One of the most misunderstood aspects of Christianity to non-Christians and young believers alike is the relationship of the Old Covenant to the New Covenant. Today’s sermon will hopefully clarify the issues and give practical wisdom for Christ’s disciple to live a life pleasing to God. For starters, in the Old Testament Jesus is concealed in prophecy, law, and history- and in the New Testament Jesus is revealed through His incarnation, teachings, sinless life, sacrifice, and resurrection from the dead. So from beginning to end, the Bible is all about Jesus. As a result, what Jesus said in Mark 2:25-27 about the Jewish sabbath could be said of the entire Law, “27 …The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. 28 So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.” Jesus is Lord over the Law!
Matthew 5:17-20, “17 Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19 Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.”
- Sermon on the Mount: The longest single portion of Jesus’ teaching found in Matthew 5-7 that serves as the foundation of Christian morality and spiritual practice. #KingdomBasics
- Disciples: Born again committed students and followers of Jesus Christ.
- Kingdom of Heaven/God: The active rule and reign of Jesus in one’s life and upon the earth with kingdom blessings. The kingdom is all about the King!
LAW & PROPHETS
- TESTAMENT: A covenant made between God and man. In referring to the Bible, there is an, “Old Covenant” and “New Covenant.” The Old Testament/Covenant portion of the Bible has 39 books and the New Testament/Covenant has 27.
- FOUR MAIN COVENANTS IN THE OLD TESTAMENT BOOKS (BEFORE JESUS): (1) Genesis 6:18, the first covenant made with man between God and Noah. (2) Genesis 15:18, God made a covenant with Abraham. (4) Exodus 24:8, God made a covenant with Moses and the people of Israel. (4) 2 Samuel 7:28, God made a covenant with the house of David.
- ONE MAIN COVENANT IN THE NEW TESTAMENT BOOKS (WITH JESUS): (1) Hebrews 8:6, God made a new covenant with His Son Jesus.
- LAW: The “law” was considered to be the first five books of the Old Testament- Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, & Deuteronomy. Also, known as the “law of Moses,” “Pentateuch,” or the “Torah.” The law, containing 613 commands, was the standard for the Old Covenant.
- PROPHETS: The prophets referred to the books in the Old Testament written by the Jewish prophets mainly Isaiah-Malachi (but could also include all the writings except from Moses). The role of the prophets were to teach God’s commands, correct and rebuke God’s people when they disobeyed them, and give promises of blessings & judgment.
- GOD PROMISED THROUGH THE PROPHETS A NEW COVENANT: Jeremiah 31:31-34, “31 “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. 32 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 broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord. 33 “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the Lord. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. 34 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,” declares the Lord. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” Also, Isaiah 55:3 & Ezekiel 36:26.
- JESUS’ SACRIFICE WAS THE FOUNDATION OF THE NEW COVENANT: 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.” Also, 2 Corinthians 3:6, Galatians 4:23-26, and Hebrews 9:15.
FULFILL & ACCOMPLISH
- FULFILL: Complete, to bring to completion or reality. Jesus came to “complete” the Law. From the New Living Translation, “17 Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose.”
- ACCOMPLISHED: Achieved, to come to pass and finish. Jesus said the Law would not disappear until everything it pointed to was “achieved,” mainly salvation. From the NLT, “18 I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not even the smallest detail of God’s law will disappear until its purpose is achieved.”
- THE LAW=BABY SITTER FOR HUMANITY: Paul gave a great illustration of the Law being a “baby sitter/guardian” in Galatians 3:23-25, “23 Before the coming of this faith, we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed. 24 So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. 25 Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian.”
- SUMMARY: Jesus didn’t come to change or destroy the Law, but rather He came to complete it. After completing it He gave God’s people a new and better covenant based on the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and His teachings. Hebrews 8:13, “By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear.”
- HOW DO WE OBEY THE OLD TESTAMENT LAWS IN THE NEW TESTAMENT? By obeying what Jesus and His apostles taught. For example, Jesus completed the dietary laws and declared all food clean with prayer. Mark 7:19, “For it doesn’t go into their heart but into their stomach, and then out of the body.” (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods clean.)”
- HOW TO VIEW THE OLD TESTAMENT LAWS IN THE NEW COVENANT: (a) Completed and still the same application or (b) Completed and different application. Therefore, generally speaking all the laws pertaining to the priesthood, temple, sacrifice, social/civil order, diet, and the like are complete and applied differently in the NT. However, the laws regarding morality have generally the same application (if not more- like with murder/adultery includes thoughts & words).
For more info regarding the chart and the Law visit, Grace Communion International.
Jesus came to accomplish the Law and bring about its full meaning in the New Covenant. Therefore, we are to fully obey Jesus’ teachings of the Law and Prophets as revealed in the New Testament!