Today’s sermon was titled “A Heart of Flesh or a Heart of Stone”. Our pastor is currently teaching through 2 Corinthians. Following is a bit of notes that I took during the service.
Under the Old Covenant, God wrote the Law on tablets of stone. Under the New Covenant, God is writing salvation on human hearts. The Old Testament Law brought the knowledge of sin and death and showed the desperate need for a Savior.
“For by the works of the law no human being will be justified in His sight, since through the law comes the knowledge of sin.” Romans 3:20 ESV
“Therefore, the law became our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith.” Galations 3:24 NASB
He gave a great analogy about a man looking into a mirror and seeing dirt on his face. He doesn’t pull the mirror off the wall and begin to clean his face with it, but rather uses the soap to clean his face. The mirror’s job is to show him the dirt, and the soap is there to clean his face. The Old Testament Law reveals sin and the New Testament Covenant (through the blood of the Jesus) cleanses sin.
All of the countless animal sacrifices offered under the Old Covenant could only cover sin, not cleanse sin.
“For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sin.” Hebrews 10:4 ESV
The entire Old Testament points forward to the Messiah who will fulfill and obey the entire Old Testament Law perfectly, and Who will usher in the New Covenant making the Old Covenant obsolete.
“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.” Matthew 5:17 ESV
“In the same way He took the cup, after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.'” 1 Corinthians 11:25 ESV
So, why do we still study the Old Testament? Because the New Testament encourages us to do it.
“For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” Romans 15:4 ESV
Which of the Old Testament’s commands and laws are we as New Covenant believers called to follow? We are to obey any Old Testament commands that are repeated or intensified in the new Testament. For example, the OT Law states that “You shall not commit adultery”. Jesus says in Matthew 5:27-28, “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
And for self examination, we can ask ourselves:
Instead of a soft, pliable heart of flesh, have I developed a hard heart?
“Do all things without grumbling or questioning.” Philippians 2:14 ESV
Instead of a soft, pliable heart of flesh, have I developed a cold heart?
“For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God which is in you…” 2 Timothy 1:6a ESV
“Keep yourselves in the love of God..” Jude 21a ESV
Instead of a soft, pliable heart of flesh, have I developed a wandering heart?
“Little children, keep yourselves from idols.” 1 John 5:21 ESV
“Do not love the world or the things of the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” 1 John 2:15 ESV
And so, we begin another week, new in Christ, in which to become more like Him in all things. And let us encourage one another to love and good deeds as we are told in the Scriptures. And all the more as we see the day drawing near!
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