Thursday, April 12, 2001

Maundy Thursday

Maundy Thursday   
April 12, 2001 
1 Corinthians 11:23-34

A Truly New Covenant

Introduction:  Something truly new and different is happening as Christ our Lord institutes His supper. We call it the Last Supper because it was the Last Supper, which Jesus ate before His arrest, trial, and death.  It can also be referred to as the Last Supper because at last, after this supper something new is taking place. In establishing this Holy Communion Jesus is presenting to us a new covenant in His body and blood. Holy Communion certainly is a truly new covenant.  What is this new thing?

I.     The blood of Christ replaces the blood of animals.

A.   Specific animals had to be offered for specific sacrifices.

1.   The list of tasks was endless. Regulations abounded. The requirements were tremendous. The law required for a strict enforcement of all of the regulations of the ceremonies. An animal had to be killed in a certain manner; certain sacrifices required certain animals.

2.   Men had to be therefore taught repeatedly concerning these sacrifices. Each generation had to pass down to the next one how the sacrifices were to be carried out. If they failed to teach their children how the sacrifice was to be performed the entire custom would be lost in one generation. The hope for forgiveness, restoration and peace would be lost forever.

B.    These sacrifices had to be frequent because people repeatedly sinned.

1.   As there were sacrifices named for specific sins, these sacrifices could only last but once. There was but one sacrifice for each offense. When a subsequent offense occurred, another sacrifice had to be offered if a person were to have their sin atoned and their conscience stilled.

2.   This made an interesting enterprise for some. There would have to be animals on hand, available to be sacrificed. These had to be kept, housed, fed, and cared for. Often abuses were found, as just a few days before His arrest Jesus took a whip and drove out the animals, and the money launders who had turned God's house into a dean of thieves.

Transition: Such was the old system of sacrifices. It was limited, cumbersome, full of regulations, and a system that was full of abuse. That is why Christ came to give us a more acceptable way. Consider Jesus' new covenant.

II.     The new covenant speaks of the work that was accomplished in Jesus Christ.

A.   The Old covenant ="this do and live"

1.   It was a covenant of regulations disciplines and rules. It was based on strict obedience. It was motivated by fear; fear of reprisals, fear of failure, fear of offending a just a holy God.

2.   It could not stand the test of every man for no one is capable of following the decrees and dictates of a holy God. For this reason our good and gracious Father sent forth a plan that a just the right time His Son, our Savior would break into time and space to offer up Himself a good and perfect sacrifice. This was accomplished with Christ instituted His Supper "which is give and shed for you for the forgiveness of all of your sins.

B.    The New covenant = "live and do this"

1.   The benefits of the new covenant, celebrated by Christians in this wonderful Sacrament are the fruits of Christ's righteousness. He gives to us the forgiveness of sins, life and salvation. We are now free to live and the children of God.

2.   Because of this freedom, this new life that is offered by Christ, we are also strengthen to will and to do the will of our heavenly Father. Obedience no longer becomes a burden. It becomes a blessing and an opportunity to serve God in righteousness and purity.

Conclusion:  This meal is truly a celebration of the new things God is working in us. It is a new covenant, a covenant of His mercy and grace. It is a feast of victory of our God who has done all things well for His glory and our good. Come, for all things are now ready. Amen.

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