Posts Tagged ‘New Covenant’


nadab and abihuFor us to gain insight into the power of the blood of Christ, we must first grasp what happened the first time the Priests presumed they could worship God as they wanted. Examine what Moses said in response to God’s reaction to the worship of Nadab and Abihu, who were dressed in their priestly garb, and acting as priests of Jehovah:

Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu each took his own firepan, put fire in it, placed incense on it, and presented unauthorized fire before the LORD, which He had not commanded them ⌊to do⌋. Then fire came from the LORD and burned them to death before the LORD. So Moses said to Aaron, “This is what the LORD meant when He said: I will show My holiness to those who are near Me, and I will reveal My glory before all the people.” But Aaron remained silent. Leviticus 10:1-3

Anyone who approaches (worships) God will know the holiness of God. We can never approach God as if He is common or accepting of sin or the flesh. He will always show His holiness to sinful man. And as He reveals His holiness, all will see His glory!

Aaron in the Holy of HoliesAfter this, Aaron is given by Moses exact instructions for observing the Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement). Do you think Aaron was careful to do exactly as God said? Leviticus 16 details what the High Priest was to do to allow God’s glory to be revealed to sinful man. That glory could only be revealed after man’s sin was dealt with, for all who draw near to God will know His holiness, and His holiness demands that our sin be dealt with!

Notice in verse 16, “…and because of their transgressions in all their sins.” Then in verse 22, “And the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities…” and in verse 21, “…and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel….” He will make atonement for all their transgressions, all their iniquities, all their sins! This was the best that the Law had to offer until Christ should come[1].

On the Day of Atonement, the Blood was sprinkled not only on the Mercy Seat, but throughout the Tent of Holiness. It was sprinkled in the courtyard, upon the altar. When it was sprinkled on the Mercy Seat, who was observing.

darkness covered the crucifixionWhen Jesus shed His blood on the cross, many were watching, but at about noon, something happened that continued for three hours. What was it? (Mt 27:45)

  • The world was covered by darkness from noon to three.
  • Why did God do this? I’ve heard multiple preachers say it was because God could not look upon His son as He became sin. Yest Scriptures says otherwise.

“For the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord, And He ponders all his paths.” Prov. 5:21

“The eyes of the Lord are in every place, Keeping watch on the evil and the good.” Prov. 15:3

“For My eyes are on all their ways; they are not hidden from My face, nor is their iniquity hidden from My eyes.” Jer. 16:17

“And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” Heb. 4:13

So, the question we must answer – What was Jesus doing in the darkness, obscured from man but seen by His Father, and does it relate to the offering of the High Priest in the darkness of the Holy of Holies?
value the blood of JesusThe darkness surrounding Christ as He bled out upon the Cross was to reinforce the truth of the importance of the blood sacrifice-it was first and foremost for the eyes of God!
You may think it was for man’s sin, and you would be partially correct. But the truth is that the blood was for God. God’s holiness demanded cleansing and purification. And darkness fell upon the earth as Christ offered His Holy blood for His Father. Christ’s offering on the Cross was for His Father, so that His righteousness and holiness could be satisfied! God found eternal satisfaction in the offering of His Son!

Do you Value the Blood of Christ the same way?

  • What is the difference between the Priests sacrifice and Christ sacrifice? (Christ offered with the strength of an indestructible life)
  • What is the difference between dead works and living or eternal works? (Living works are done through the one who has Life-Jesus Christ)

REVIEW-Our key passages which are the foundation of understanding the value of the Blood of Christ

  • Now the point in what we are saying is this: we have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, a minister in the holy places, in the true tent that the Lord set up, not man. Hebrews 8:1-2
  • But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises. Hebrews 8:6
  • Now even the first covenant had regulations for worship and an earthly place of holiness. Hebrews 9:1
  • (which is symbolic for the present age). According to this arrangement, gifts and sacrifices are offered that cannot perfect the conscience of the worshiper, but deal only with food and drink and various washings, regulations for the body imposed until the time of reformation. Hebrews 9:9-10
  • For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God. Hebrews 9:13-14

Jesus Christ is the Mediator

  • Therefore, he is the mediator of a new covenant

And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. Hebrews 9:15

MInistry to the Majesty1.  Is Jesus Christ Your Mediator?

  • For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; 1 Timothy 2:5
  • But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises. Hebrews 8:6

The word mediator is from mesites, which in turn comes from mesos which means middle, the midst. Thus a mediator is one who intervenes between two, either to make or restore peace and friendship, to form a compact, or ratify a covenant[2].

Can you name an example of an Old Testament mediator?

so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance,

  • For the Benefit of the Called
  • To Deliver the Promised Eternal Inheritance

since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant. Hebrews 9:15

  • Death that redeems
  • Voids the penalty of the first covenant
    • The first covenant promised blessing or cursing
    • Blessing was based upon obedience
    • It set people up to fail, Romans 3 being the conclusion – all have sinned
priestly_blessing_pix_2Our mediator guarantees our blessing
Our mediator guarantees our presence before the majesty
Our Mediator allows us to live in the LIGHT!

Are you living in the Light? Are you Living in the Presence of the Majesty? If not, then you are not allowing Christ to be your mediator! You are not valuing  His blood the same way God does.He can only be your mediator if you give Him your Heart and Life! For where He mediates, there is the Presence of the Majesty of God!

Questions for Discussion
  1. Why does this mediator guarantee the presence of God?
  2. Why does Jesus guarantee our blessing?
  3. What light does this shed on your efforts for blessing?
  4. What can you do to warrant God’s blessing?
  5. What brings Life and Blessing to your dead works? (refer back to vs 13, 14)
  6. What requirement must you and I meet to enjoy this guaranteed blessing?

He is our Mediator ONLY when we answer His Call! (Hebrews 9:15)

2. Is Your Name in His Will?

new-covenant-written-in-blood1A New York writer, wanting to will his body to science, selected Harvard as the recipient – because…I quote…“my parents wanted me to go there & this is the only way I could get in!”

A wealthy French Industrialist(capitaine Furrer) being disturbed by the impatience & greed of his heirs adopted a blood-sucking leech & bequeathed his fortune to it!

For where a will is involved, the death of the one who made it must be established. For a will takes effect only at death, since it is not in force as long as the one who made it is alive. Hebrews 9:16-17

Are you named in His will?

Have you heard of a Holographic Will (from law.com a dictionary of terms) – a will entirely handwritten, dated and signed by the testator (the person making the will), but not signed by required witnesses. Under those conditions it is valid in about half the states despite the lack of witnesses. A letter which has all the elements of a will can be a holographic will, as can a will scratched in the dust of an automobile hood of a person dying while lost in the desert.[3]

Here Jesus writes a holographic will for us, not in the dust, but with his own blood! It is recognized as legally binding in the greatest court of all time-Heaven!

Jesus writes in bold crimson letters across our lives…Forgiven!

last will and testamentWhat Must be involved for a Will to Be Empowered?

  • There is only one way for a will to be in effect-the one who made the will must die.

There is only one way for you to know the power of this will…you must die to your own will. Do you want to be named in this will, this will that promises you the blessing of God for all eternity? Then die to your will at the Cross, grab hold of the feet of our crucified Savior, and let His blood be sprinkled upon you.

This Will is in effect now…the testator has died…You can live in His will even today! Even better, His will can become your will! You can work to leave this will with others…

3. Are you Living in the Power of His Blood?

Therefore not even the first covenant was inaugurated without blood. For when every commandment of the law had been declared by Moses to all the people, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, saying, “This is the blood of the covenant that God commanded for you.” And in the same way he sprinkled with the blood both the tent and all the vessels used in worship. power of Jesus BloodIndeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. Hebrews 9:18-22

“ALMOST”

The apostle says almost, because a very poor person could bring an offering of flour instead of an animal. (Lev 5:11-13 But if he be not able to bring two turtle-doves, or two young pigeons, then he that sinned shall bring for his offering the tenth part of an ephah of fine flour for a sin offering; he shall put no oil upon it, neither shall he put [any] frankincense thereon: for it [is] a sin offering. 12 Then shall he bring it to the priest, and the priest shall take his handful of it, [even] a memorial thereof, and burn [it] on the altar, according to the offerings made by fire unto the LORD: it [is] a sin offering.

Inanimate objects: because in some cases certain vessels were purified by water, some by fire, Numbers 31:23, and some with the ashes of the red heifer, Numbers 19:2-10, but it was always understood that every thing was at first consecrated by the blood of the victim.

Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. Hebrews 9:22

(Exodus 24:6-8 KJV) And Moses took half of the blood, and put it in basins; and half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar. {7} And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the LORD hath said will we do, and be obedient. {8} And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the LORD hath made with you concerning all these words.

priest covered in blood Kent Hughes maintains that, “During the thousand plus years of the Old Covenant, there were more than a million animal sacrifices. So considering that each bull spilled a gallon or two of blood and each goat a quart, the Old Covenant truly rested on a sea of blood.” During the Passover, a trough was constructed from the Temple down the Kidron Valley for the disposal of blood – a sacrificial plumbing system.”(5)

4. Do you know the Full Power of His Blood?

Thus it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these rites, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. Hebrews 9:23-24

A.   God required His Blood in Heaven

“The earthly tabernacle, as God’s dwelling, might have been supposed to be hallowed by His presence and to need no cleansing, but being also His meeting-place with men it required to be cleansed. And so our heavenly relations with God, and all wherewith we seek to approach Him, need cleansing. In themselves things heavenly need no cleansing, but as entered upon by sinful men they need it. Our eternal relations with God require purification[6].

B.   His Blood only need be applied once.

Minister_of_true_tabernacleNor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. Hebrews 9:25-26

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 1 John 1:7-8

No need to be washed in the blood. We need to say thank you for the blood, for the power of the blood will continue as we walk with the light giver!

5. Are You Aware of How Late it is?

A.   The Power of the Blood is Your Only Hope

hebrews-9-27-appointed to die and face judgment“it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” Hebrews 9:27

(1)  Men/women/children need to be reminded of their appointment with God…their date with Eternity!

    • Put it on your calendar…IT IS ON GOD’S!

(2) “He is the Great Divider, & He does not divide men horizontally (high-class, middle class, low-class) – but vertically, to the right & to the left.”(7)

And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him. Hebrews 9:27-28

B.   Is Your Life Focused on Jesus Christ? 
    • A Past appearing for our Salvation

(26b) “He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.”

    • A Present appearing for our Sanctification

(24b) “now to appear in the presence of God for us”

    • A Future appearing for our Glorification

(28b) “To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.”

6. Are you Still Defeated by Your Sins?

You will be if you do not learn to value the Blood of Christ the same way that God does. Your conscience will continue to nag at you, and you continue to drown out its voice through your default escapes-alcohol, drugs, pleasure, music or what ever you do.

So, how do we value the Blood the same way that God does?

The Gospel is the Way Truth and Life(1) What? (WAY) What about this passage has drawn us into the mercy and love of God?

  • My worse sins are forgiven through the blood sacrifice of Jesus
  • My best sins are forgiven through the blood sacrifice of Jesus
  • I am in the presence of the Majesty through the ministry of Jesus made possible by His blood sacrifice.
  • I do not have to focus on my sins. I do not have to let my conscience drag me down
  • Do not focus on your sin, Focus on His Blood and His coming for you!
  • I don’t have to do works for the sake of doing works. Dead works are produced by people still focusing on their sins. Their conscience is clouded, evil or seared.
  • I can do Living Works by living in the power of the Blood. They are living in the Minister, enjoying the Mediator and eagerly waiting for Him.
  • To build the Word into my life, I must die to my will, and submit my will to my minister, and enjoy living works held by Him!

(2) SO WHAT? (TRUTH)How is this to build this Word into my life?

Learn to apply the Blood of Christ to those sins that haunt you, those regrets that eat at your soul. Daily thank God for the Blood of His Son, and profess your faith in the value of His sacrifice. Imagine God looking upon your life as though He was looking upon HIs Son as He bled out upon the Cross, and know that He values you as much as He values Jesus. Confess your feelings to Him, but assure Him , Father, not my will, but thy will be done! Thank you for the blood of Christ that makes me white as wool before your eyes! I place my sins and my regrets and my failings under that blood, and know that because you value His Holy blood, because you are satisfied with His blood, you see me in Him, forgiven and pure, righteous and justified. I lay everything at the Cross and confess my need for Christ to be my Life!

High Priest sprinkled blood upon mercy seatYou must daily value the Blood of Christ as much as God values it! Learn to see the power of His blood over your sins and failings. Focus on Him and His provisions for you! Change that ‘stinkin-thinkin’ that causes you to focus too much upon your sins and failings. They are continually forgiven, and you are continually cleansed, so live like it and walk in the Light!

(3) NOW WHAT? (LIFE) How does this empower me to live righteously this week?

1)  Take your pulse. Are you alive or are you dead?

2)  Look above you. Is your name written on the Will?

3)  Look behind you. Do you see your dead self lying on the ground?

4)  Look at your clothes. Is there any blood sprinkled on them?

5)  Look at your hand. Is it being held by your heavenly minister?

6)  Look in front of you. Can you see the Majesty?

7)  Look all around you. Is there anything that you hold more dear than the coming of your Savior? Get rid of it and eagerly look for Him!

8)  Focus on His coming and get excited!

9)  Commit your life to living works!

The Power of the Brazen Altar

The fire of the brazen altarWalking into the Tabernacle, you immediately see the Brazen Altar. You smell the flesh, the blood. You are reminded of death and the awfulness of sin. We must all begin there. We must realize God’s Holiness and hatred of sin. Sin is awful, a blight upon our soul and conscience. But we must not dwell there. The Cross of Christ rose from the ashes of the Brazen Altar. It must daily touch our lives, but we must go on, for we belong in the Holy of Holies. We belong in the presence of the Holy One! That is where our High Priest is. That is where He ministers and mediates. If we dwell at the altar of sin, we will never know the beauty of the majesty.

Just as the fire of the Brazen Altar was used to light the candles and burn the incense, we must take that fire with us, and go into the Majesty. The fire of the Holy Spirit burns only when we have first laid at the Cross. We are to be “living sacrifices,” with the fire of the Holy Spirit burning within our souls, drawing us into the Light of the Majesty!

You will not see the Holiness of the Majesty unless you first go to the Cross. This is God’s way. The Cross is Glory to Him. If you approach Him any other way, He will reveal His Glory, but only as you learn His Holiness the hard way. You will learn that the flesh must be burnt away if you are to know God. It is so much better to learn the proper way to approach the Holiness of God, rather than learn the hard way, because you acted presumptuously.

Go to the Cross, be washed in the Blood. But take the fire from the altar and light the candlestick, light the fire of the incense, but go into the majesty and take your ministers hand. Focus on Him, walk with Him, and you will be continually cleansed through the power of the Blood! 


[1] J. Vernon McGee, Thru The Bible with J. Vernon McGee, (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1983), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “Chapter 16″.

[2] Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest’s Word Studies – Volume 1: Word Studies in the Greek New Testament, (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1973), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 106.

[3] Law.com; Holographic will definition.

[4] Adam Clarke, A Commentary and Critical Notes, (New York: Abingdon-Cokesbury Press, 1826), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “Hebrews 9″.

[5] R. Kent Hughes. Hebrews: An Anchor For the Soul. Vol 1 (Wheaton: Crossway Books, 1993) pp. 233-234

[6] “Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest’s Word Studies – Volume 2: Word Studies in the Greek New Testament, (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1973), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 167.

[7] Vance Havner; Day by Day Oct.6th.

[8] Vance Havner; Day by Day Oct.26th.

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GraceLife is about Living Life in Jesus Christ, through Jesus Christ and for Jesus Christ.

It is not fairy dust sprinkled on you that turns you into a super-Christian. In fact GraceLife becomes the most powerful when we become broken vessels in the potters hand. GraceLife is all about taking human vessels and making them vessels of honor for the Glory of God.

As Steve McVey illustrates, GraceLife takes all of us and unites us with the Power of Jesus Christ. As Christ directs our life, the Holy Spirit must do some pruning, and God must do some disciplining. Life and circumstances happen, exposing cracks in our flesh. Don’t try to cover them up or dress them up, for God can use those weaknesses through the power of His grace!

Grace is the Power of God that continually transforms our lives as long as our hearts remain soft (humble) toward Him. Grace through Jesus Christ gives the New Covenant the Power that was missing in the Old Covenant. Hebrews 8:8 indicates the problem with the Old Covenant was the Jewish people themselves. Their hearts were of stone, and the Old Covenant provided no power to change those stony hearts. So the Law had no power to free the Jews from slavery to sin and fleshly desires.

Hebrews 8:7-10 For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second. For he finds fault with them when he says: “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt. For they did not continue in my covenant, and so I showed no concern for them, declares the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

The New Covenant is empowered by Grace, Grace given at the Cross of Jesus Christ, Grace that gives us new hearts, soft hearts, upon which is written the Word of God, empowering us to live a life pleasing to God. GraceLife is applied to soft hearts and empowers us to live life in union with the Rule-Maker. In fact, Jesus unites with our soft hearts to live this life in His righteousness and power!

  • Is your heart soft toward Jesus Christ and His Word?
  • Are you having trouble believing that God can use your vessel for His glory?
Do you think your cracks are too wide or too deep?

Jesus loves our cracks, for they give Him an opportunity to work in our lives and show the power of His grace.

Ephesians 1:6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted (charitoo) [to pursue with grace, compass with favor; to honor with blessings].[1]in the beloved.

In charitóō there is not only the impartation of God’s grace, but also the adoption into God’s family in imparting special favor , to give grace, to remit, forgive. [2]

Jesus Christ pursues you with His grace, encompassing you with His favor and honoring you with His blessings, all because you are His brother/sister, adopted into God’s glorious family of saints.

Regardless of how ugly you think your life is, in Jesus Christ you are beautiful, you are handsome, you are a vessel of honor in His hands. It is time you open your heart and eyes in faith and see the power of Grace that is upon your life!

Don’t let your sin and failures keep you from realizing who you are to Jesus Christ.

Consider the testimony of Christian broadcasting and television personality, Greg Hennis. His show, Second Chances, can be heard on LiftFM 98.5 in New Jersey. He thought he had to hide his cracks until he discovered that Jesus can use them for His glory:

In the beginning of 2010 business was great. My business was doing well. God even opened a door to get my church on TV every Thursday night in prime time in over 2 million homes in the Philadelphia market with many people being saved and set free. But life was about to throw me another curve. In May, my largest customer began to bounce large checks and fall behind. Soon he owed us thousands. Next thing I know the state closed down his business. Then my former employer attempted to bring a personal law suit against me. What else could happen? Things were tough! My business was in debt and I had an angry ex employer trying to bring me down anyway he could for things that weren’t true. Finally, after weighing my options, I realized the only way to get myself out of this financial mess and was to declare personal bankruptcy.

It was a hard thing to decide. I had a great credit score and never had a late payment on my credit report. But I knew what had to be done. In early 2011 it became public knowledge that it was filed. My former employer learned there’d be no suit due to the bankruptcy and he was angry. He began notifying broadcast outlets who did business with me, customers, and anyone who would listen that I had personally filed. He always gave the impression it was his business to try to hurt me.

Not only did I have all this stress, but I had to start calling all my customers and business contacts and tell them myself. Very Humbling. After the first few it got easier and then in February, I was doing an interview on my Christian radio show, “Second Chances”, and the guest said something that made it all seem worthwhile. She said the things in life that we try to hide are the things that God wants us to share to be a blessing and help to others. Since then I haven’t stopped encouraging people by sharing what I just shared with you. They all say the same thing, “WOW, God Is Good.”

And I say to that, “Yes he is.”

What my ex employer doesn’t know is that because of God’s love for us, he gives us the strength to forgive. I have forgiven him and even feel pity for him dealing with the bitterness he has. I hope God’s love will one day heal him. (More is at this link)

GraceLife brings Honor to your vessel. You become a quality vessel not because you look good on the outside, not because you appear to be holy and righteous, but because Jesus is  inside your vessel, multiplying His grace in your life.

We are not talking about how “good” you appear on the outside. We are not talking about how many titles or positions you hold at church. We are talking about whether the Grace of God is actively working in your broken vessel or not. Grace is never passive, but actively pursues us for the pleasure of God.

It is not up to us to prove ourselves worthy of His grace. In fact, there is nothing we can do in our flesh to be more “worthy” of anything. As Hanna Dagenhart writes in “Geckos Are Ceremonially Unclean…It’s Biblical”:

Don’t ever believe that you must try to change yourself to somehow be more worthy of Christ.  For one, He’s seen worse – Paul was the worst of all sinners (1 Tim. 1:15).  Secondly, you can’t do it.  Even God’s chosen people rebelled and fell away on countless occasions.  Look at Israel in Isaiah… “Jerusalem staggers, Judah is falling; their words and deeds are against the Lord, defying his glorious presence.  The look on their faces testifies against them; they parade their sin like Sodom; they do not hide it” (Isa. 3:8-9).  These were the people God had called out for His own; they were the ones who were filthy and unclean, lost in their sin.  Later the Lord tells them,In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it” (Isa. 30:15) Still, he pursues them!  “Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion.  For the Lord is a God of justice.  Blessed are all who wait for him!” (Isa. 30:18).

Are you surrendered to the Potter’s hand? Or are you standing proud in your own self-confidence and resistant to His work in your life? Are you bearing up under the circumstances He has you in, or are you running away to an easier place. Is your heart still soft toward Him, or have you allowed it to harden because of the way you have responded to His touch on your life?

Are you zealous for God and His Word, or are you apathetic and uninterested? Are you praying for the lost around you, open to the hurting around you, or are you content with your own needs being met?

If you are apathetic, ignorant, content, self-centered and unconcerned, you are a vessel that is of no use to the potter, so you are a vessel unto dishonor. You have resisted God’s grace, and your heart has become hard. Your heart has been given over to bitterness, resentment, wrong values, lusts, and even worldly desires. These all harden your heart and block the power of God’s grace.

Vessels unto honor have soft hearts, broken hearts, sensitive to the Word and the Holy Spirit. Vessels unto honor realize their own brokenness, so they don’t judge others or condemn others, but administer Grace to all those around them. Vessels unto honor are there for the lost and hurting around them. God never makes a vessel for self-service. We are to benefit each other. Just as Greg Hennis realized.

Profile of GRACELIFE
How can GraceLife produce vessels of honor from broken vessels? How can GraceLife produce a church of honor, from a church that is broken?

Let’s begin to build a profile of GraceLife. This morning we will look at the “what” of Grace. What does it do for us, and so how will a GraceLife Church appear to an outside observer?

Understand first of all that Grace is not some passive gift that occasionally impacts your life. Grace is not a beautiful sunset, or a peaceful walk on a beautiful cool morning.  Nor is it a force that suddenly falls upon you as you sit in your easy chair and contemplate life! Grace is an active force that never, never leaves you the same! Grace is the very hand of God nudging you to do His good pleasure.

Paul Defines Grace as God’s Active Pursuit of us through which God does Three Things:

Phil 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

  1. Grace works in us the DESIRE for God’s Will
  2. Grace works in us the ability to DO God’s Will
  3. Grace works to ACCOMPLISH God’s pleasure.

“We cannot of ourselves embrace the Gospel of grace:” [2 Corinthians 3:5 Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God]

“The will” comes solely of God’s gift to whom He will [John 6:65 And He said, "Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father”]; so also the power “to do” (rather, “to work effectually, energizing”)

Our will does nothing thereunto without grace; but grace is inactive without our will” [ST. BERNARD]. Man is, in different senses, entirely active, and entirely passive: God producing all, and we acting all. What He produced is our own acts. It is not that God does some, and we the rest. God does all, and we do all. “FOR His good pleasure”; in order to carry out His sovereign gracious purpose towards you Ephesians 1:5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,.[3]

What Does Grace Do?

Since Grace works to accomplish the pleasure of God, we should know what God delights in. Jeremiah offers three things that God works at because He delights in them:

Jeremiah 9:24 But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD.

Since Grace accomplishes the pleasure of God, and the pleasure of God is in working loving-kindness, justice and righteousness, we can rest assured that God’s Grace works in our lives to accomplish what God takes pleasure in. So let’s build a profile of GraceLife, and see where we individually and corporately might be resisting God’s Grace.

Grace Accomplishes God’s Mercy and Steadfast Love (Hesed)

חֶסֶד‎ HESED

Hesed is the active force of God whereby he actively seeks to come to the aid of those with whom He has established a relationship. He displays His strength in showing mercy and loving kindness in a steadfast way. His love and mercy never fail because it is impossible for God to be weakened to the point of failure. (Unfailing Love)  

This word is used 240 times in the Old Testament, and is especially frequent in the Psalms. Is that any surprise since the Psalms were written by a man after God’s Heart.

Hesed has three components working together: “strength”, “steadfastness”, and “love”. Take one away and His hesed is not complete. Any understanding of the word that fails to suggest all three inevitably loses some of its richness.

Ḥesed implies personal involvement and commitment in a relationship beyond the rule of law.

Marital love is often related to hesed. The prophet Hosea applies the analogy to Yahweh’s hesed to Israel within the covenant (e.g., Hosea 2:21). Hence, “devotion” is sometimes the single English word best capable of capturing the nuance of the original. The RSV attempts to bring this out by its translation, “steadfast love”.[4]

However, ḥesed is not only a matter of obligation; it is also of generosity. It is not only a matter of loyalty, but also of mercy. Hesed describes God’s devotion to those He has a relationship with. It is an active, seeking love that is based upon strength and resolve. It is devotion of the heart. Hesed comes from the very heart of God! It is His desire for His people!

Hesed is the Active force of God whereby he actively seeks to come to the aid of those whom He has established a relationship. He displays His strength in showing mercy and loving-kindness in a steadfast way. His love and mercy never fail because it is impossible for God to be weakened to the point of failure. (Jim Tompkins)

  • Brings Men to repentance

Zechariah 12:10 And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.

  • Imparts Faith to Believe

Acts 18:27 And when he was disposed to pass into Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him: who, when he was come, helped them much which had believed through grace:

  • Brings Salvation to Sinful Man

Titus 2:11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,

Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.

WE ARE SAINTS (63 tines this is declared in the New Testament)

  • Gives us all Christ’s riches and full acceptance.

2 Corinthians 8:9 For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.

Ephesians 1:6-7 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

  • Gives Good Things

Psalm 84:11 For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.

  • Increases Thanksgiving

2 Corinthians 4:15 For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.

  • Brings Abundance of faith and love

1 Timothy 1:14 And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.

Grace Accomplishes God’s Design of His Justice in our Lives (mishpat).

‏מִשְׁפָּט‎ mishpāṭ

Mishpat is God’s Kingdom design in place within man through the reign of Christ in our hearts. His Kingdom design must grow to encompass our life, our family, our church –  our ‘House’. (Justice)

Mishpat begins in the external and transforms the internal (Describes the design and function of the Tabernacle)

God has a Kingdom in His heart, a kingdom of justice, of order, a kingdom that is at work in heaven and his desire is for it to be so on earth.

The Tabernacle was an earthly type of the Justice that God seeks on the earth. (Exodus 26:30; 1 Kings 6:38; and Ezekiel 42:11 this word is used in reference to the design of the tabernacle, the temple of Solomon, and the future temple prophesied by Ezekiel, respectively. Significantly, in all these passages it refers to the design or arrangement of God’s dwelling place.)

When His Son came to earth, He did what was necessary to empower this justice on earth. One day He will claim this inheritance and establish God’s Justice on earth. Until that day, we as His children, have an earthly tabernacle in which the Holy Spirit dwells. God can establish His justice in our lives. His Son can reign in our hearts and everywhere our foot trods. Mishpāṭ, as justice, i.e. rightness rooted in God’s character, ought to be an attribute of man in general and of judicial process among them (Psalm 106:37).

Mishpat expresses the nature of God and the demands of God. He desires His mishpat to reign on earth, and to reign in the hearts of mankind. His mishpat is what condemns us; His mishpat is what Jesus Christ satisfied upon the Cross. When God’s mishpat reigns in your heart through faith in Jesus Christ, you stand before God uncondemned. You have standing before God. You have the very ear of God because you delight in the mishpat of Jesus Christ!

The Grace of Jesus Christ works to accomplish God’s Justice in your life, no matter how cracked your vessel may be. Here is how Grace accomplishes God’s justice in our lives:

  • Made a Partaker of Christ

1 Corinthians 10:30 For if I by grace be a partaker, why am I evil spoken of for that for which I give thanks?

1 Corinthians 1:30-31 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.

  • Justified

Titus 3:7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

Romans 3:24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

We are declared Holy! God re-members our sins no more. He doesn’t take them up again and allow them to hurt Him. They are in a bag slung behind Him and dropped in the deepest part of the ocean where they lay as far as the East is from the West. This is true not only at our ‘new birth’, but true the rest of our earthly life with Jesus Christ. Our sins past, present and future were forgiven at the Cross. Our daily cleansing only thanks Christ for our forgiveness and reestablishes our dependence upon Him for our life.

  • Overcome Sin

Romans 5:20-21 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.

  • Gives strength and growth

2 Timothy 2:1 Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.

Acts 20:32 And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.

Luke 2:40 And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.

  • Help in times of need

Hebrews 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

  • Provides Stability

Hebrews 13:9 Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein.

  • Inspires Singing and Songs in our Hearts

Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

A young lady started attending the church I pastored in Edgerton, KS. It wasn’t long before I learned she was in a bitter divorce and custody battle with her estranged husband. He had succeeded in turning her former pastor and congregation against her. She shared how she sang on the praise team. I encouraged her to sing at our church, but I could see that she had lost her “song” for the Lord because of the struggles she was facing. I told her she was welcome at our church, even though her ex-pastor told me I should not let her worship at our church. Together we looked at the Scriptures, and God’s Word opened up God’s wonderful grace to her broken life. Within eight months she came to me and said she felt like singing. Oh what a wonderful voice she had. Her songs were powerful and life-giving, because they came from a broken vessel transformed by the grace of Jesus Christ.

Have you really messed up? Is your vessel pretty broken up and useless? Do not despair, do not be cast down. Jesus can take the broken pieces of your life and make them honorable, useful and beautiful. He will give you a Song in your heart, the song of the matchless grace of Jesus!


[1] J. H. Thayer, trans., Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1889), s.v. “,” WORDsearch CROSS e-book

[2] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 1471.

[3] Jamieson, Robert, Fausset A.R. and Brown, David; 1871,The Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible.



This outline was the basis of our “Covenant Sunday” We began the process of revising our archaic Church Covenant over six months ago, and finally arrived at a church covenant that was relevant and applicable for our church, that was also in harmony with the teachings of Scripture. After reading the new Church Covenant, all members affirmed their support of the Covenant with their written signature.

I. The Church is Built upon a New Covenant

  • Matthew 26:27 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you,
  • Mark 14:24 And he said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.
  • Luke 22:20 Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you

Hebrews 9:15-17 Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant. For where a will is involved, the death of the one who made it must be established. For a will takes effect only at death, since it is not in force as long as the one who made it is alive.

The New Covenant is Conditional

Hebrews 10:26-31 For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has spurned the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

The Purpose of our Church Covenant

Our Covenant Reinforces the Conditions of this New Covenant with Jesus Christ

Our Covenant is the Practical Application of God’s Word to our Church Family

It is a Promise of how we will live our lives in the Church, in our Family, and in the World

It is a Summary of our Family Values

It is our Commitment to each other as a Family of Followers of Christ

It is our Ethical Statement to the World

It is our Biblical Standard for our Family

A.  Basis of Membership (Partnership)

  1. The first century church transformed the way believer’s thought, lived, and used their resources of time and money.
  2. A bond united genuine believers and exposed those who were not a part of the body of Christ. Acts 5:13
  3. The Distinguishing factor between those who were part of the fellowship and those who were not: 1 John 2:19-20

1 John 2:19-20 They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us. But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth. (anointing is the word charisma “the special endowment of the Holy Spirit”)

B. Basis of Discipline

1. Fellowship was so vital and valuable that early discipline was to be disallowed from fellowshipping with the church.

1 Corinthians 5:13 God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked man from among you.”

2. Loss of fellowship was so powerful that it would produce great sorrow.

2 Corinthians 2:6-7 The punishment inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient for him. Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow.

C.  Basis of Mutual Edification

1. Ultimate purpose of the body is to edify one another so that each believer can come to full maturity and a unity in faith.

Ephesians 4:11-13 It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

2. Primary purpose is to provoke one another to do good works.

Hebrews 10:24-25 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

  • Twenty five “one another” commands in the N.T. are listed in our new Covenant

Our Church Covenant serves to unite our family together as the Body of Christ meeting as Pleasant Prairie Baptist Church. He is our Head and we are to function and grow as His Body. Our Covenant is the practical statement of how our body will work together and live together and relate with each other. Our Covenant is what distinguishes our family from the families around us. Our Covenant also provides the basis for dealing with problems in the family. The purpose of the Covenant is not to chain people together, but to promote growth with one another in Jesus Christ. The wellness of the body is the chief aim. Our Church Covenant is to serve to Edify the body meeting as Pleasant Prairie Baptist Church.

II. The Power of Edifying One Another

A. The Goal of Fellowship is to produce spiritual maturity through mutual Edification.

Acts 2:42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.

The Church is to provide opportunities for believer’s to give testimonies of God’s Working in their lives.

Paul testifies to the Power of public testimonies:

1 Corinthians 14:23-25 So if the whole church comes together and everyone speaks in tongues, and some who do not understand or some unbelievers come in, will they not say that you are out of your mind? But if an unbeliever or someone who does not understand comes in while everybody is prophesying, he will be convinced by all that he is a sinner and will be judged by all, and the secrets of his heart will be laid bare. So he will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, “God is really among you!”

    • Secrets of his heart will be exposed
    • Conviction of sins
    • People falling to their face and worshiping God
    • Knowing God is among you

Teaching of the Apostles was the ‘rhema’ of the Word, not the ‘logos.’

  • John 6:63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words (rhema)that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.
  • John 15:7 If you abide in me, and my words (rhema) abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

A “RHEMA” requires confirmation of two or three witnesses

2 Corinthians 13:1 This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word (rhema) be established.

Paul gives further instructions about the importance of sharing what God is doing in your life:

Strengthens the Body

1 Corinthians 14:26-27 26 What then shall we say, brothers? When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church.

Provides Training in Godliness

1 Thessalonians 2:11-12 For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.

  • Testimonies-Psalm, message in sacred song
  • Instruction from Scripture
  • Personal rhema from the Word.
  • Insight into Christian living
  • Report on how truth was applied.

B. Specific Types of Edification

  1. Build faith by sharing rhemas – Romans 10:17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word (rhema) of God.
  2. Glory to God for Answers to prayer (Psalms 50:15 “Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.”)
  3. Sharing fruit from building spiritual disciplines in your life.
  4. Sharing your growth from salvation
  5. Sharing about others coming to Christ
  6. Testifying to the truth of God’s Way of Life – problem in life and how obeying God’s Word has resulted in life.
  7. Dealing with Sin and the illnesses it causes
  8. Sharing the rewards of suffering, or thanking God.
  9. Wisdom gleaned from wise men
  10. Results of good works
  11. Benefits of Godly standards
  12. Praise others for their example

C.  Powerful Potential of Fellowship

  1. Testimonies often reveal needs that the Holy Spirit then impresses others to meet.
  2. Builds ‘koinonia’ -partnership, interaction.
  3. Fellowship of the churches in Macedonia

2 Corinthians 8:1-5 Moreover, brethren, we make known to you the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia: that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded in the riches of their liberality. For I bear witness that according to their ability, yes, and beyond their ability, they were freely willing, imploring us with much urgency that we would receive the gift and the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. And not only as we had hoped, but they first gave themselves to the Lord, and then to us by the will of God.

Our New Church Covenant:

The Foundation

Believing that Jesus Christ is the head of the church, and the church is the body of Christ, and that only by the Holy Spirit is one made alive to God and placed “in Christ”, I make the following two affirmations:

  • I have been born again by the Holy Spirit, having personally repented of my sin before God, received His forgiveness, believed upon the Lord Jesus Christ—crucified, buried, and resurrected—as my one and only Savior.
  • I have identified myself publicly as a Christian and have followed my Lord in baptism in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

The Promises

Having given ourselves to God by our faith in Jesus Christ, and having adopted the Word of God as our rule of faith and practice, and as members of this local Body of Christ, we now give ourselves to one another in this solemn covenant. We hereby promise:

  • To be committed to each other in seeking to love and obey Jesus Christ; and for His sake love, accept, and forgive each other with affectionate care and watchfulness.
  • To join with fellow members to seek God’s will in our common decision-making; to allow every member the privilege of seeking to influence the church in its pursuit of God’s will; to accept congregational decisions without grumbling; and to work to prevent division in the body.
  • To help one another grow in Jesus Christ by building up one another, bearing one another’s burdens, encouraging one another, exhorting one another, praying for one another, confessing our sins to one another, speaking the truth in love to one another, admonishing one another, teaching one another, comforting one another, submitting to one another, serving one another, patiently bearing with one another, being hospitable to one another, being kind and tenderhearted to one another.
  • To work together for the continuance of a faithful evangelical ministry in this church, as we support and sustain its worship, ordinances, discipline and doctrines. As we are being built up we will reach out to the lost and to the fallen and through our love and service seek to bring them into fellowship with Jesus Christ. Through self-denial, faith and good works we endeavor to grow together in grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
  • To practice Biblical stewardship of our resources, and to contribute cheerfully and regularly to the support of the ministry, the expenses of the church, the relief of the poor, and the spread of the Gospel to all nations.
  • To seek, by God’s grace, to live carefully in the world, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to be an example in our speech and conduct, purposing to lead new and holy lives in the power of the Holy Spirit, especially with regard to the following:
    • To use chemical substances such as alcohol and drugs only as informed by the teachings of the Bible, wise medical counsel, and the dictates of the law.
    • To flee sexual immorality; to shun pornography; to reserve sexual activity for one man and one woman united in the covenant of marriage;
    • To initiate divorce proceedings only when there has been clear and continual violation of God’s Word regarding divorce and marriage. Anyone in such a situation agrees to consult with church leadership and seek Christian counseling.
    • To protect and defend the lives of our children from the moment of their conception; to bring up those in our home in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, and by a pure and loving example seek the salvation of our family, teaching and encouraging them to love, follow and serve God.
    • To practice justice and compassion toward all people, especially the poor, the sick, the disabled, widows, and orphans.
    • To conduct all business in honesty and integrity, counting it our chief business in life to extend the influence of Christ in society.
  • To submit to the leadership of the Holy Spirit and pursue the fruit that He brings forth and to work and pray for the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, that the Kingdom of God may come, and His will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

The Protection:

We enter into this covenant voluntarily and affirm the ambitions of this covenant as our own. We realize that we can only fulfill this covenant through the power of Jesus Christ living in us. We invite fellow members to pray for us, teach us, correct us and rebuke us, if necessary; in a spirit of gentleness and humility should we stray from the Lord’s commands. We voluntarily submit ourselves to one another and to the biblical authority of this church. If we fail to live up to this covenant, we commit to yield to correction with meekness, to seek forgiveness and reconciliation, and to turn from our sin, relying on God’s grace to lift us up. Should church discipline ever be required, it will always be undertaken for the purpose of restoration to fellowship with God and with this covenant community – and it will always be done in accordance with Scriptural procedures in Matthew 18:15-22 and Galatians 6:1. We further commit to never refuse forgiveness and reconciliation in the face of Godly repentance.

If we find ourselves unwilling to try to fulfill this covenant, we commit to remove our self from this congregation. If relocation outside the community prevents us from fulfilling this covenant, we commit to unite with another congregation and to continue to pursue growth as a Christian.

The Blessing

May the Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Love of God, and the Fellowship of the Holy Spirit Be With Us All. Amen.