October 1, 2023 by P. Kevin Clancey
There you go. All right, dear ones, let’s worship Jesus tonight. Shall we? Yes, we shall. There you go. Psalm 32. “Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord does not count against them, and in whose spirit is no deceit. When I kept silent, my bones wasted away. Through my groaning all day long, for day and night, your hand was heavy on me. My strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity, and I said, I’ll confess. I’ll confess my transgressions to the Lord, and you forgave the guilt of my sin. Therefore, let all the faithful pray to you while you may be found. Surely the rising of mighty waters will not reach them. You are my hiding place. You will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go. I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding, but must be controlled by bit and bridle, sorry, Steven, or they will not come to you. Many are the woes of the wicked, but the Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the one who trusts in him. Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you righteous. Sing. That’s what we’re going to do. Sing. All you who are upright in heart.”
1 Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. 2 Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord does not count against them and in whose spirit is no deceit. 3 When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. 4 For day and night your hand was heavy on me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. 5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord .” And you forgave the guilt of my sin. 6 Therefore let all the faithful pray to you while you may be found; surely the rising of the mighty waters will not reach them. 7 You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. 8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. 9 Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you. 10 Many are the woes of the wicked, but the Lord ’s unfailing love surrounds the one who trusts in him. 11 Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you righteous; sing, all you who are upright in heart! (Psalm 32:1-11, NIV)
So your sins are forgiven. You have, we’re going to talk about it tonight. You have entered into a wonderful new covenant, and it’s worthy of giving God praise. And I know when there’s lots of people in the house, it’s easy to sing because you don’t have to worry about your voice standing out. It’s harder to be extroverted. It’s harder to be passionate in your worship in a small crowd. But I just encourage you to don’t worry about the person on your right, left, behind you, in front of you, but turn all your affection to Jesus tonight, your great savior, your great hope.
And I just have this news for you, and I know this is the thing you’re supposed to say as a pastor, but it’s just so true, and I want you to believe it. He loves you. He loves you, not just the person on your right or left. He loves you with all your quirks, with all your failings, with all the things that the devil tells you you don’t do right. None of that stop him from loving you. If you have children, you know that. You know you can love a less than perfect being, right? I just spent nine days, nine straight days with grandkids. We love our grandkids, and there are times they are little stinkers, you know? But you know it’s easier as a grandparent because they’re their parents’ little stinkers, not ours. But we love them, and we loved our kids, and they were our little stinkers, and we loved them. And God is better than us, right? He says that. “Even though you fathers, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more your heavenly Father, how much more a good God.”
11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! (Matthew 7:11, NIV)
And so come Holy Spirit. Reveal Jesus to us tonight, and Jesus, take us to the Father. We are grateful for a great salvation. We’re grateful that you’re real and that you’re alive, and we can turn our affection toward you tonight because your affection has always turned toward us. Tonight we want to say, I love you too. And so help us to do that. Amen.
Lord, with great gratitude, we come before you tonight, with great gratitude. You sought us and saved us. You bought us with price, your own blood. And on the very night that you were betrayed, you still gave it all to your disciples. You washed their feet. You celebrated their Passover, and forever you transformed, completed what was started with Moses. For you are the Lamb of God, and your blood takes away the sins of the world. And so tonight, you invite us to this table to partake of the blood of Jesus Christ. It takes away the sins of the world. And so tonight, you invite us to this table to partake once again, as Christians have for 2,000 years, of this holy meal, where once again, we recognize that our sins are forgiven, where once again, you feed us and nourish us with the life of Christ, the Holy Spirit living in us, your life living in us. And so tonight, we give you thanks for the food of God, for your invitation to this table, and for how you’ll strengthen us as we eat with you.
“On the night he was betrayed, he took bread and broke it, gave it to his disciples and said, take and eat. This is my body, which is given for you. And in the same way, after supper, he took the cup, poured it out, gave thanks to his Father in heaven. And he said, drink this. This is my blood. It is for the new covenant. It is for the forgiveness of sins. And do this in remembrance of me.”
23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” (1 Corinthians 11:23-25, NIV)
All right. Thank you, God.
We’re going to study Hebrews chapter eight tonight. All right. Hey, we’re going to do, I got the new study picked out. Since we’re going to be going through the Bible chronologically next year, about three-fourths of the year, we’re just going to be in the Old Testament. Old Testament. And so, for our new study, after we’re done with Michael Heiser’s book, we’re going to go through discovering the Messiah, discovering Jesus in the Old Testament. He’s all over the place. He really is.
Remember on the road to Emmaus? These two disciples of Jesus are discussing the things that had happened in Jerusalem. They’re really bummed out because Jesus had been crucified and Jesus appears to them on the road. They don’t recognize him. They’re like, “Oh, we thought he was the one, but guess not.” And he begins to explain to them all the scriptures to prove to them that this Jesus is the Messiah. They don’t recognize him until he breaks bread. And then they recognize him in the breaking of the bread.
And what scriptures did Jesus use to prove to them that he was the resurrected Messiah? Well, it wasn’t Paul’s letter to the Romans. It wasn’t the book of Hebrews. It wasn’t the gospel of John. It was the Hebrew scriptures, the Torah, the prophets, the wisdom literature. And so we’ll be looking into that all next year. We’re not just going to preach through the Old Testament. In fact, I’m going to talk about this tonight. We’re not going to preach through the Old Testament just for information, but he’s there. He’s there. It’s in preparation. It’s shadowy. It’s hidden. It’s mysterious, but he’s there until he bursts on the scene in Nazareth and Capernaum and in Jerusalem.
So we’ll be looking at that all next year, but we’ll be studying that at our five o’clock hour as well. I just got it today. I think it’s called “The Messiah: Finding Jesus in the Old Testament” is the subtitle. The Messiah: Finding Jesus. I think that’s what it’s called. Concordia Press. It’s actually a Lutheran. I think Concordia is a Lutheran press. So we’ll be looking at that. Don’t worry when it gets time, we’ll order you the books. We’ll get the books for you.
But that has a lot to do with what we’re going to talk about tonight in Hebrews chapter eight. “Now, the main point of what we are saying is this: We do have such a high priest.” And I realize it’s been a couple of weeks since I preached on Melchizedek and Jesus and Melchizedek. This is continuing that argument that Jesus is the better priest than the Levitical priesthood of the order of Melchizedek. “We have such a high priest who sat down at the right hand of the throne of majesty in heaven and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle. We talked about that, the tabernacle, the sanctuary of God, the true tabernacle, Jesus at the right hand of the father, set up by the Lord, not by a mere human being. Every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices. And so it was necessary for this one also to have something to offer. If he were here on earth, he would not be a priest for there are already priests who offer the gifts prescribed by the law. They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle, see to it that you make everything according to the pattern showing you on the mountain. But in fact, the ministry Jesus has received is superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is a mediator is superior to the old one. Since the new covenant is established on better promises. For, if there had been nothing wrong with the first covenant, no place would have been sought for another, but God found fault with the people and said, ‘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, 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 turned away and I turned away from them declares the Lord. This is the covenant I will establish with the people of Israel. After that time declares the Lord, I’ll put my laws in their minds and I’ll write them on their hearts. I will be their God and they will be my people. 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, for I will forgive their wickedness and remember their sins no more by calling this covenant new. He has made the first one obsolete and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear.'”
1 Now the main point of what we are saying is this: We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, 2 and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by a mere human being. 3 Every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices, and so it was necessary for this one also to have something to offer. 4 If he were on earth, he would not be a priest, for there are already priests who offer the gifts prescribed by the law. 5 They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: “See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.” 6 But in fact the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, since the new covenant is established on better promises. 7 For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another. 8 But God found fault with the people and said : “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. ” 13 By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear. (Hebrews 8:1-13, NIV)
And may the words of my mouth and the meditations of our hearts be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, our rock, our strength, and our redeemer. Amen.
So, Jesus establishes a new covenant. If you remember, the theme, a big theme in the book of Hebrews is a better thing. Jesus is shown to be superior, better than the angels. Then Jesus is shown to be superior and better than Moses. Jesus is shown to be superior and better than the Levitical priesthood. Now, Jesus is shown to be the mediator of a better, superior covenant than the covenant that came down with Moses from Mount Sinai. The old covenant, the tabernacle, the feast, the laws, all point to Jesus and this new covenant, this better covenant. But the old covenant, in fact, has passed away. The new covenant has come.
This is talking about the new covenant. It says Jesus is that high priest who offered the memory. We talked about this with Melchizedek as the priest of the Melchizedek order that he offered the perfect sacrifice himself and he offered it as the perfect priest himself. Something Levitical priests could never have done.
Now it says he is seated at the right hand of God. Seated at the right hand of God is not just locating Jesus in some place in heaven. It’s not just where Jesus has put his tush. Seated at the right hand of God the Father is a place of authority. It is a place of rulership. What does it mean? It means Jesus is now ruling as king of the earth. He’s not waiting for the rapture. He’s not waiting for a seven-year tribulation. He’s not waiting for Revelation 20. He is now king.
The ascension of Jesus, which is described in Daniel 7, the son of man coming before the ancient of days where he will receive an everlasting kingdom at his ascension. That was his coronation. That was day one of his kingdom. And now his kingdom as he has established as king at the right hand of God the Father is at war with the demonic kingdom and the battleground is Paul’s bow. Kitsap County, Bremerton, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Kazakhstan, wherever. It’s planet earth. The war zone is planet earth.
But the Bible says that he is seated at the right hand of the Father and what he is doing is he’s placing his enemies under his feet. You want to know where we are in history? Christians are always talking about where we are in history and they’re always like oh these are the last days and all the signs are out there. I’ll tell you what, here’s where we are in history. We’re at the place where King Jesus is systematically putting the enemies of God under his feet and the last enemy is what? Death. Death.
And so Jesus, the battle is on. Now let me tell you something about the enemies. I don’t believe in a personal antichrist, I’ve said that before, but I believe in the antichrist spirit and the antichrist spirit is always raising its head up. In the 20th century you look at a movement like Nazi Germany and you see this antichrist spirit and then you look at communist Soviet communism and Chinese communism and you see this atheistic antichrist spirit and it’s interesting that one of those antichrist spirit is really categorized to be on the political far right, the other antichrist spirit is really categorized to be on the political far left and I’ve told you again and again this is not about right and left politics, this is about the kingdom of light versus the kingdom of darkness and the kingdom of darkness can take either of those sides.
And then you see in Islamic fundamentalism again you see what? You see this antichrist spirit. It seems like all these movements hate Jews and Christians. Well what are the two messianic based systems in the world? What are the two systems either looking for Christ to come or looking for Christ to come again? Jews and Christians. And so this antichrist spirit rises up. Atheistic humanism, antichrist spirit, what we kind of look at now is kind of the encroaching ideology in America that you know bothers us so much. It’s part of that antichrist spirit and so I want to say two things about this antichrist spirit.
One of the things is don’t take it lightly. It causes great harm. Look at what the Nazis did and the communists did much more in terms of great harm. Look at what we just got past 9-11. Look at what the Islamic extremism, terrorism did in our planet and look at the evil of secularism and what that does and atheistic humanism and these things cause great damage and therefore it is part of our job in prayer and in practice and in policy to stand up against that and to stand up for the kingdom of God and the values of the kingdom of God and advance those values because Jesus taught us, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
10 your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. (Matthew 6:10, NIV)
We’re not just to resign ourselves to our little rooms and wait to get raptured out of this cruel world. We are meant to be salt and light and so we oppose those systems. We work to bring God’s goodness and our tool in opposing those systems is love. That’s our weapon. It’s like man, I’d rather have a sword but our weapon is love. We love our enemies. We return evil with good and we worship and we pray and some of our brothers and sisters are martyred and yet the kingdom advances. The kingdom grows because why? He’s seated at the right hand of the father.
So that’s the first thing I want to say. Those antichrist systems are not to be, they’re foul, they’re evil, they’re wicked, they cause great harm but here’s the second thing. I want to say about them. I’m not that worried about them because they won’t win. Jesus is seated at the right hand of the father. They will have their day, they will wreak havoc. I’m not making light of that, but they won’t win. Jesus Christ is Lord, Jesus Christ is King, and of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. As the waters cover the sea, so the glory of the Lord will cover the earth. One day, it will be a new earth and heaven will come down. The new Jerusalem will come down from heaven and join the new earth, and it will be well. The war will be over and every enemy will be placed on the other side. There will be no more death, there will be no more suffering. I don’t know how good it’s going to be, but it’s going to be better than I think.
I think even Kathleen might be joyful there. You realize, sister, I’m being facetious because you’re so joyful now, right? Yes, that’s what I am. All right, the old covenant, most of this book by the way, is a shadow. It’s hinting, it’s preparing, and it was written for us. It wasn’t written to us, it was written to an ancient people who lived in a particular historical context where God is trying to show them amongst all the false gods surrounding their culture, all those demonic entities, all those things that wanted to be worshipped, all those Baals and Asherahs and Molech’s etc., Dagon’s, all those false gods.
God is carving out one people, one people group to say those aren’t gods at all. I created all them, they’ve rebelled against me, I’m God, I’m the creator of heavens and earth, follow me, follow this covenant that I’ve given you and you’ll be blessed. Don’t follow it and follow those other gods, it will not go well for you. He’s carving out amongst this sea of demonic polytheism which is what human beings have always worshipped. Anthropologically, human beings have always been polytheistic pagans.
You say, well what about Hindus? They believe in, they don’t believe in a personal God. I know official Hindu religion doesn’t believe in a personal God, Buddhism doesn’t believe in any God, but if you go into a Hindu or Buddhist temple what do you find? Idols. Idols. What about atheism? Atheism is a modern invention of the West. All right, and atheists I know have their idols. The demons want worship that is only due to Yahweh.
And God is carving out a people with this old covenant. That’s what those laws are all about, to say, here, O Israel, the Lord your God is one. You shall worship the Lord your God only. I’m the one who brought you out of Egypt. Here’s my covenant. Here’s my commandments. Here’s how to live in covenant relationship with me. And they didn’t do it. Not very good. They had a few seasons, but not very good, and never for very long. But it wasn’t meant to be the permanent covenant. There was a covenant that was coming that is a better covenant based on better promises.
And he prophesied about it in Jeremiah chapter 31. He prophesied about this new covenant. And I’m going to read it. It’s just written down here in Hebrews. I’m going to read it to you again in a second. But I want to say that the old covenant as a shadow and a copy, that in the time that Hebrews was written, it was passing away. And it has passed away. 70 AD is a very significant date in the history of God’s acting on Earth. And that is when the temple was destroyed, Jerusalem was destroyed.
And there’s this time between the resurrection of Jesus and the destruction of Jerusalem where there’s this transition from the old covenant to the new covenant where King Jesus is seated on the throne. And that thing is done. We do not come here Sunday night after Sunday night and slaughter sheep and oxen and break the necks of birds and pour out the blood. We don’t do that. Why don’t we do that? Don’t have to. It’s done. I’m so glad we don’t do that. I would not have gone to seminary for that job. I don’t want that job.
You know, I want this table. I want this table. It’s not as graphic. It’s not as bloody. But it’s infinitely more powerful based on an infinitely more powerful promise. Jesus said it that night. This is the new covenant in my blood. Later in Hebrews, he’s going to say, once and for all, it is finished. He said that on the cross. It’s done. Boom. We live in a great time. We live under the new covenant, the better covenant with better promises.
So he talks about the old covenant. He quotes Jeremiah. Jeremiah the prophet says this. He says, 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. 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 turned away from them, declares the Lord. This is the covenant I’ll establish with the people of Israel. After that time, declares theLord, “I’ll put my laws in their minds. I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. 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, for I will forgive their wickedness and remember their sins no more. By calling this covenant new, he has made the first one obsolete and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear,” and it has.
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. ” 13 By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear. (Hebrews 8:10-13, NIV)
Here’s the deal with the old covenant. The old covenant could prescribe behavior, but it couldn’t change hearts. See, I love information. I love apologetics. I am absolutely convinced that Christians have the best scientific, best philosophical, best historical, best moral worldview out there. So why aren’t all the smart people Christians? Because it’s not a matter of the head, it’s a matter of the heart.
I’m not saying there isn’t a place for apologetics, but I’m saying that a heart has to be converted. And our hearts don’t want to be converted. Our hearts don’t want to behave. And so simply putting out laws and behavior and having retribution, rewards and punishments doesn’t change hearts. It can modify behavior. All right? We have laws in our culture that are made to modify behavior, and they will modify behavior. You drive slower than you would if you weren’t afraid of getting a ticket, at least some of you. Some of you might drive slow because you really like to be safe, but a lot of times we obey the laws because we don’t want to get in trouble.
We raise our kids that way, right? We raise our kids, and it’s like, listen, I remember telling my kids, my kids did good as teenagers. They didn’t cause us a lot of problems. I remember telling them. I gave them a retributive theology. I said this. I said, I’m going to be the best dad for teenagers out there, and I will say yes to almost everything until you give me a reason to say no. The finger went out, right? And then I said this. I said, then the hammer will fall. And everybody always asks me, what’s the hammer? I have no idea what the hammer was. I just thought it sounded pretty impressive. Then the hammer will fall. They didn’t ask what the hammer was, but I found out later they actually had conversation amongst themselves. We don’t want to know what the hammer is.
It can modify behavior, but we know it doesn’t change hearts. We know it just looking at our own heart, right? We can change our behavior, at least for a while. But man, it’s hard to change our hearts. It’s hard to change our hearts. It’s hard to change human. Why is it that people, I mean, right? Which one of us doesn’t know the best things to do most the time, and we still do what? Eat the donut. We still do what? Watch TV instead of exercise. We still do what? Say that mean, hurtful thing to our spouse instead of the loving, encouraging thing just to get in the final, just to, you know what? I want to win the argument, which is way too costly. And yet we do it anyway.
I have had moments in my life where the words are coming out of my mouth. And I’m thinking, as the words are coming out of my mouth, this will not end well. No. The old covenant could prescribe behaviors, could promise rewards and punishments, but it couldn’t change hearts. Outside in doesn’t work. We are so broke. We’re so messed up. We’re so twisted. We need surgery. We need spiritual surgery. We need new hearts.
And the new covenant, based on better promises, gives us the indwelling spirit who changes our hearts and then gives us the forgiveness of sins so with new hearts we can start fresh. In fact, with new hearts we can start fresh every morning because the promises, the shadows in the Old Testament even point this out. It says, “the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. Listen, His mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning. Great is your faithfulness, O God.”
22 Because of the Lord ’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. 23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22-23, NIV)
Well, how do we experience that? Jesus. It’s Jesus who brings in the mercies of God. So haven’t you experienced this in your walk with Christ? You mess up. You make a commitment to read through the chronological Bible in a year. And you get through three months of it. And you don’t ever, and this is going to be the next January, December of 2025, you’re going to come to me and say, Kev, I didn’t do it. And you know, what am I going to do? You’re not getting grades here. Try again next year, you know? What? Yeah, the hammer will fall. If you don’t read that Bible, the hammer will fall. Ooh, what’s the hammer? I don’t know. All right, I will just make you the butt of my jokes for a year. That’s what it will be. All right, what’s that? Yeah, I know. I know, but maybe I’ll make you the exclusive butt of my jokes for a year. Yeah, don’t fess up. Don’t fess up. I don’t want to know, because then I’ll have to say, yeah, me neither.
But the Spirit gives us a new heart, so that those old things, just like the old covenant, are passing away and the new is coming. And it’s my prayer. And it’s my sincere prayer for me and for you that every day we would experience the newness of life that comes from the Spirit of God. Sunday night when you walk in this store, you walk in one way, and when you walk out, you walk out more like Jesus than when you walked in. This word, this meal, our affections turn to Him in worship. The prayers and the beautiful faces of one another where we see Jesus looking back at us through our brothers and sisters have that impact of filling that new heart to the place where we become more like Jesus.
What are we doing here? We’re preparing to go to heaven. We’re bringing His kingdom to earth so that we’ll be ready for His kingdom when it fully covers the earth. His indwelling Spirit changes us. That’s the new covenant. The new covenant is simply this. By the life, death, and resurrection of God’s Son, Jesus Christ, He comes and lives inside of us, transforms us into His forever family, forgives us our sins, and we experience Him forever in this loving father-child relationship. Jesus is forever our big brother, and we become a part of this new creation, this new life where God will dwell with His people, and He will be their God, and we will be His people, and it will be good.
The way we get this is not by obeying the outward code, but it is by the trust of a little child. I was just with four of my six grandchildren, the four littlest ones, and I was with the two littlest. The two littlest granddaughters are both under a year old, and I have not forgotten this. I remembered this from my parenting days. When I would walk up to one of my little granddaughters and they would look at me, a couple of times they would do this. What does that mean? Pick them up.
I was so, I got to tell you, this was like, this filled my heart because my one little granddaughter, one of my little granddaughters is kind of an extrovert. She loves everybody. She just smiles at everybody. You know, it’s like, oh, another person who loves me, great. But my other granddaughter is kind of a parent. She’s the parent. You know, she likes to be held by her parents, and you know, and when her parents are there, she doesn’t want to be held by anybody else. When her parents aren’t there, yeah, you know, I got to be held by somebody, and you’re there, so.
When her parents are, but my wife and I, we had her for three days. Mom and dad were gone. Mom and dad came back, and the next morning I get up, mom is holding her, and I’ve been loving on her for three days. Mom is holding her, and I walk up, and she looked at me, and she did this. And her mom goes, that doesn’t happen with anybody. And I’m the baby whisperer. But I know, right?
And so this new covenant, we don’t enter into this new covenant by taking these 613 laws and just trying harder than the Jews to obey them. We don’t enter into this new covenant by sacrificing sheep and oxen and making all the offerings and practicing all the feasts. That’s not how we enter this new covenant. How do we enter this new covenant? The life, death, and resurrection of Jesus has opened heaven so that we look up to a loving father, and we do this. Daddy, trust, faith. I need your mercy. And what does a loving father do? What does a loving father do? It’s a better covenant. It’s better than memorizing 613 laws. It’s better than going a lifetime without bacon. It’s a better covenant.
We can know. Go ahead. That was a belief. Yeah, it’s not written anywhere. That was a belief. All right, we can know God by experience. There is a troubling trend among some Christians that say there’s only one experience by which you can know God, and that is by reading his book. Now, I will never bash the book. It’s the book of God. It’s inspired. Give it whatever words you want, infallible, inerrant. I’m with you. And if you’re looking to experience God, it’s a good place. He’ll talk to you.
However, if you read this book without trying to experience God, you’ll become mean. You’ve got to get to the person. You’ve got to get to the author. The book reveals the author, but you’ve got to get to the author. But here’s the thing. The book says there’s all sorts of ways to experience him. In fact, first century people were experiencing him in pretty dramatic ways, and they didn’t have the book. Oh, I mean, they had memorized the Torah and stuff. They had it in their heads. But they didn’t have home group Bible studies in the first century. They did devote themselves, what, to the apostles’ teaching. They devoted themselves to the audible word of God, to what was later recorded as the New Testament and what had already been recorded as the Old Testament.
But they experienced God as a living, resurrected savior. And that is what we’re after here, folks. By faith, we don’t want to just believe that this happened. Somehow, we want to experience the embrace. We want to know that we’re loved. We want to feel the touch. You can feel him physically. You can experience him in your senses. It happens. We were talking about it earlier. We were talking about, man, yeah, I went into this one house where all this satanic stuff had happened, andI felt it. And it was only later that I found out all this satanic stuff had happened. I was like, well, no kidding, I felt that. You know, people talk about that. And there are some people who are more sensitive to that than others. I’m not all that particularly sensitive to it. But I’ve learned to trust people who are. And there are some people who see things in the Spirit. And here’s the thing. We all do it differently.
One of the ways I experience God is in my body, which I never thought I would do, because I am not that way. All right? I am, I was a math major, for goodness sakes. Not art or music or any of those things. I studied math. You know, give me the, Joe Friday, Dragnet, everybody old enough to remember that? Just the facts, ma’am. I don’t want any of those feelings.
And I remember going to this conference, and they were just praying for people to be filled with the Spirit. And I’m sitting there, and I got my arm around my friend. It was appropriate male love. We weren’t cuddly, and I was just resting my arm. But my arm was on the back of the chair, and my buddy Dan Ortiz was sitting next to me. And Randy Clark is up there, and he’s talking about the impartation of the spirit, and how when the, and he’s talking about imparting spiritual gifts, and how you can receive, somebody can lay hands on you. It’s in the Bible, you know, somebody can lay hands on you. You can receive spiritual gifts.
He hadn’t laid hands on me yet. He was just talking about it. But he’s pretty close. My friend Dan made me sit in the front row. Said, we got to get close to this, Kevin. I said, OK. I’m sitting there, and I’m fine. I have now reached the point spiritually where I am comfortable with other people having physical manifestations. I no longer judge those as fake, or phony, or anything like that.
One of the worst things we can do is we can scoff at experiences other people have that we don’t have. Get to know those people before you scoff at their experiences. You’ll find out that a lot of them are really trustworthy witnesses to what has happened to them. They’re not flakes, and crazy, and easily manipulated. Those are stereotypes, and they’re not healthy.
But I’d gotten past that, and I thought, isn’t this wonderful that other people experience God in this way? You know, I experience him mostly in my mathematical mind, exegeting the scriptures. But isn’t it wonderful that this happens to some people? And as I’m thinking this, and Randy Clark’s talking about the impartation of spiritual gifts, my right hand starts to do this. Huh. That’s never happened before. I wonder if I can willfully stop it. So I just set my hand to stop right hand from moving. Huh. OK. Well, if I could stop my left hand. For like 15 minutes, I’m doing this, playing this. I didn’t even know what Randy Clark was talking about. I’m just trying to stop shaking.
And then I’m shaking, and I had gone to another Randy Clark meeting years before, where all sorts of people had manifested, and nothing had happened to me. And I was very disappointed. You know, I just thought I was terrible, and unspiritual, and all that. God didn’t wait too long, and corrected me on the ride home, and it was all good. But now it’s happening to me, and it’s like, OK. And I get up, and I get prayed for. And once I got prayed for, it was no longer just one hand. My whole body was, you know, I looked like a piece of bacon frying in a pan. I was just, you know, pfft.
I’m just thinking, well, this is interesting. This is not really me. This is not the kind of thing I usually do, you know? Doing that and I shook for 24 hours and still it’s 20 years ago and you know I don’t do that anymore though anybody wants to lay hands on me and make it happen I’m fine with that but I still I still get the just talking about it or I’ll be prayer walking through some neighborhood and all of a sudden either my hand will shake or I get the I get the one hand clap this starts to happen or I just get the jerks you know you know sometimes I’ll be laying in bed my wife go you’re praying aren’t you oh yeah how’d you know so I experience in my body now here’s what I want to say nobody said it’s nowhere in here that says that’s how you experience God in your body and how you experience him and how I experience him is unique between God and us but what I am saying is you can’t experience it the normal ways we enter into his presence are called the Christian disciplines fasting prayer Bible study worship communion serving the poor we do those things not to earn his presence but we do those things because his presence the river is already flowing and that’s how we get into the river but once you get into the river all sorts of stuff can happen and I just want to just tell you don’t stop God from doing what he wants to do it will bless your life and don’t judge negatively what God does with somebody else or don’t judge yourself negatively because God does something with somebody else that doesn’t happen to you it is not a spiritual grade. I have seen people who are the most wonderful, spirit-filled, fruitful Christians who never fall, shake, wiggle, manifest in any way. And I’ve seen people who have fallen, shaken, and wiggled, and manifested in lots of ways, and got up and were no different than when they went down. It’s the fruit and faithfulness God is after. But I’m simply saying, you can express.
I saw, I was watching a video of my wife and I watching worship videos last night, and I saw “What a Beautiful Name” by Brooke Lagerwood Hillsong. There’s one version where you can see it happen. She’s there, and she’s opening up this worship session to a huge crowd, you know, Hillsong, huge crowd. She begins to sing this song she wrote about the power of the beautiful name of Jesus and the power in that name. And she gets to that amazing bridge, you know, “Death cannot hold Him, the veil tore before Him,” you know. And she gets to that, you can see it all of a sudden, and pretty soon she’s on her knees.
The uninitiated would look at that and say, “Oh, isn’t that nice, she decided to kneel.” I’m like, she didn’t decide to kneel, she got put on her knees. I see it happening, and it surprises her. You can even see it kind of like, okay, here he comes, here he comes. Brooke, what’s your last name? Lagerwood. I mean, it used to be something, used to be Fraser, and then she got married to a guy with a long last name. So yeah, but it’s we sing, we sing the song here, “What a Beautiful Name,” and you could see it. Every time I watch it, I go, I know that, that’s happened to me.
You can experience Him in a variety of ways. You can just experience Him reading your scriptures in your own little prayer closet and being overcome with gratitude and the joy of the Lord. All I want to tell you is, He’s alive, He’s real. He’s not an idea in a book. He’s not the great I was and the great I will be. He is still the great I am. That’s part of our better covenant, we get Him now. We can have all our sins forgiven.
All our sins forgiven. And here’s the deal, the devil will beat us up over our sins. But here’s my experience with Christ. When I repent and come to Christ after I’ve blown it, “God, I don’t want to be that way. You know, why did I get grumpy? Why was I short with my grandkids or my wife? Why was I sarcastic? Why was I selfish?” Whatever it is, and I just come to Him and I say, “I’m sorry.” You know what my experience is? My experience in 40 plus years as a Christian, I have never been shamed, scolded, had His finger wagged at me, heard the sigh from heaven like, “Kevin, when are you gonna get over this?”
Here’s what I hear every time, “Alright, let’s go. Let’s go. Wait, don’t I have to suffer for this?” “Well, you’ve been listening to the devil beat you up for two weeks, you think that’s suffering enough?” “Yeah, but in fact, you have to suffer at all for this?” “That’s the point, I did that.” Now, doesn’t mean in this world, when you do something stupid, harmful, sinful, rebellious, you won’t suffer the consequences of this world. But it’s not the wrath of God you’re suffering. You know, it’s just God so designed the earth that stupidity is painful. So be it. It’s a great teacher. Pain’s a great teacher.
You know, watch my little granddaughter crawl underneath the table, and before I can get her, she lifts her head, right? It’s like, you know, after a few times, she’s gonna learn, don’t lift your head when you crawl underneath the table. It’s gonna, you know, she’s not good. It’s not gonna be me saying, “Hey, don’t do that.” It’s gonna be like, “Yeah, I did that.” She’s gonna figure it out, right? Smart granddaughter, she’ll figure it out one or two times. A little slower might be more bumps, but she’ll figure it out.
Dear ones, your sins are forgiven. The wrath of God against sin has been dealt with. You live under the mercy. You live under the mercy. That river never runs dry. And because of this, we become one with Him and one with each other in the family of God. So, churches, you don’t like church because you’re gonna be hanging around with these folks. And you know, there’s Christians you don’t like. Like, we usually, and there we usually gather with the ones who think like us and act like us.
But there, there are people. I was watching a guy on YouTube today. He’s like my least favorite public Christian figure. He is always bashing charismatic Christians, and he’s always building up a strong man, and just, it just irks me to no end. And I just want to get in his face and chew him out, you know, and all that kind of stuff. And here’s the deal, I just got a feeling he’s gonna be in my neighborhood in eternity. It’s like, and we’re gonna have to become buddies, you know. For all he, you know, if he makes it, I don’t know. He’s, for all we are, the forever family of God.
And not only us, but with 2,000 years of our brothers and sisters. You’re gonna make some best friends in heaven who lived in the 6th century in China or some other place, right? I don’t know if the gospel had gotten to China in the 6th century, but it’s, but you’re gonna make, and eight billion people on the world, and in the next couple years, millions and millions of them are gonna come to… Jesus, and you’ll have all eternity to get to know them. You’re going to see the fruit of your parents’ ministry generations later with Filipinos. You’re going to see the fruit of that. It’s like this person, this person, this person, generation after generation, because your parents were faithful to go to those islands and teach Jesus. We’re all going to see stuff like that, and we will be God’s forever family.
We’ll get to hang out with the hippies and we’ll get to hang out with the conservative folks who just had a hard time hanging out with the hippies. We’re going to love them all, and it’ll be of every race. There’ll be no white neighborhood, no black neighborhood. We’re just going to be one. It’s going to be good. That’s it. We get to be one with God. That’s the new covenant. We can experience God, we become like him, our sins are forgiven, and we are knit together forever.
Listen, some of us had good families growing up, some of us had pretty hard families growing up. This family’s going to be good. All of our families had relative dysfunction, but some more than others, right? Some were extremely rigid or extremely chaotic. Hopefully, our kids that have grown up under our families had some health. But even then, my wife and I, we love Jesus, we loved our kids, we stayed together, they were never hungry. We tried to love them and affirm them, but there were times I’m sure I jacked my kids up in some ways. I’m sure my brokenness spilled onto them.
I remember one time my daughter was throwing a kind of a little adolescent fit about something and she stomped off to her bedroom. If I was a godly man, I would have turned to my wife and said, “Man, we need to pray about this.” But I just turned to my wife and I said, “Just let her tell her therapist in 20 years. We’re doing our best here.”
But there’s going to be a family there that’s going to be healthy. And you know where it begins? When you look into those eyes for the first time when your breath on this earth ceases and you are escorted into that place. I’ve talked about this before, right? And the greeting crowd separates, and there he comes, and you turn to mush.
I remember it’ll be like times a thousand. My sister was a varsity cheerleader when I was a freshman in high school, and so she hung out with all these cute junior and senior high school girls. They would come over to our house and they would look at me and they’d like pat me on the head and say, “Oh, you’re Kathy’s little brother.” These beautiful girls, you know, “Oh, you’re Kathy’s little brother.” And I remember I would always say something witty, funny, articulate like, “Good girl,” you know, just like being a dork.
I think when Jesus comes, it’s going to be like that times a million. All of the ground, but I got a feeling when you look into those eyes and that love fires into you, the healing will begin. It’ll be life like you and I have never experienced it, and it goes on and on forever.
So that’s it. We’re in war now. It’s war, kingdom of light, kingdom of darkness, battleground planet earth. We’re in it. We’re in it, and so we need each other.
This morning, I loved this story. I don’t love this story for what happened, but my dear friend Josh D’Antonio Santo brings his four kids to church. His wife works strange hours, she comes when she can, but she was sleeping, she’d worked all night. He brings his four kids to church. He has stomach pain. He wasn’t even going to come this morning, but the kids really wanted to come. And so he came, and it just got intense and it got worse.
So another guy in church, Adam, had to rush him to the hospital. And it looks like it’s kidney stones. It’s very painful, but not life-threatening or dangerous. But he wrote, he got back from the hospital, he wrote, he just listed our little church. He said, “Adam took me to the hospital. So you did this, and my wife took the kids for the afternoon and turned what was a scary situation for them into a fun day.” She took them to see our grandson’s football game, which they wanted to see, and took them out for ice cream.
He just said, “I just want to thank God for a church family.” That’s what I’m talking about, family. We’ve got each other’s back.
So the Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you. The Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace. And go in that peace to love and serve the Lord. You are my brothers and sisters, and it is always good to see your precious faces. Always. Thank you.
Alright, God bless. God bless.