|Jesus: Loud & Clear;
Front & Center (Hebrews)
Jesus & the New Covenant (Part 2)
|February 15, 2015|
February 15, 2015
This Week’s Take Home Truth (Passage Summary): “The Old Covenant was only a shadow of the heavenly temple and was unable to redeem mankind, whereas the New Covenant is based on the heavenly temple and is able to accomplish inward redemption.”
NOTE: We will use this same Passage Summary statement for the next four weeks as we teach this mini-series, Jesus & the New Covenant.
This Week’s Resources:
- The Compass Bible Study
- Word Search Answer Key
- Lighthouse Discussion Guide
- Lighthouse Leader Study Guide
Purpose: In this lesson, we focus our attention on the differences between an external emphasis upon religious rituals and traditions verses the internal transformation found only in Jesus Christ. The writer to the Hebrews points to the Old Testament tabernacle as an example of religious rituals that focused on external “cleansing,” yet provided no true internal cleansing. Only Jesus and His death on the cross can bring true spiritual, eternal, internal cleansing that allows us to live with a free conscious.
As you study and prepare for this lesson, be prepared to highlight ways you think we emphasize external religious traditions rather than focus on true internal transformation. Remember, even traditions as important as communion can become ritualistic if our heart and motivation is not right. This is something that we must be concerned with at First Family because we remember the Lord’s Supper on a weekly basis. Be prepared to discuss this concern and ask your Lighthouse members how they keep their focus on true worship rather than allowing weekly communion become nothing more than an external ritual.
For guidance on what it means to be a true worshiper of God, read the article at the conclusion of this week’s notes by Kay Arthur.
- Looking back at your notes from this week’s sermon, was there anything that particularly caught your attention, challenged or confused you?
- If you are suffering from appendicitis, will a painkiller cure the problem? Why or why not?
- Are there religious ceremonies we participate in that can help us feel closer to God and more acceptable to Him?
Read the Text (Hebrews 9:1-14)
The writer to the Hebrews has just been thinking of Jesus as the one who leads us into reality. He has been using the idea that in this world we have only pale copies of what is truly real. The worship that men can offer is only a ghost-like shadow of the real worship which Jesus, the real High Priest, alone can offer. But even as he thinks of that his mind goes back to the Tabernacle (the Tabernacle, remember, not the Temple). Lovingly he remembers its beauty; lovingly he lingers on its priceless possessions. And the thought in his mind is this—if earthly worship was as beautiful as this, what must the true worship be like? If all the loveliness of the Tabernacle was only a shadow of reality, how surpassingly lovely the reality must be. He does not tell of the Tabernacle in detail; he only alludes to certain of its treasures. This was all he needed to do because his readers knew its glories and had them printed on their memories. Read Hebrews 9:1-14.
- The first 10 verses of Hebrews 9 offer a glimpse into the Old Testament tabernacle. The first five verses (v. 1-5) provide a description the layout of the tabernacle and its worship; the next five verses (v. 6-10) describe the regulations of the tabernacle. Study these verses and compare to the diagram below to ensure you have a clear picture of the tabernacle.
- Consider what we learn from 1 Samuel 16:7, “But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” What does this tell us about external rituals vs. internal transformation?
- In v. 9, the writer tells us that as beautiful and simple as the tabernacle worship was, it “cannot perfect the conscience of the worshiper.” What does he mean by this?
- The Hebrews believed that if they returned to the simple rituals of tabernacle worship, they could find forgiveness and acceptance by God. In verses 11-14, the writer argues against this false belief. What is his argument and why is it better than the tabernacle?
- Can you think of examples from our cultural and religious traditions that we might consider as ritualistic?
- Bringing this home to the 21st Century, how do we trust in an intangible, eternal promise rather than the tangible, temporary comforts of our cultural traditions and rituals?
The focus of this week’s lesson has been on exchanging our faith in external rituals for true saving faith in Jesus Christ and the eternal, internal transformation only He can bring. Take some time this week to meditate on these questions and write your responses in a notebook or journal for further reflection.
- What religious externals do you tend to emphasize in your life?
- Why do you focus on these external practices? What comfort do they give you?
- Write down the internal practices that you should emphasize in place of the external practices.
- How can you more intentionally emphasize these internal practices in your life rather than the shallow external practices?
Turn your eyes upon Jesus; look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.