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A Covenant Relationship

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God designed relationships, but there is one very important relationship from which everything is patterned in the Christian walk!

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OPEN WITH SKIT GUYS VIDEO, “LOVE ANTHEM”.

Well, I think that most of us know that this Wednesday is Valentine’s Day, right!

I read yesterday that American’s are expected to spend around $19.6 billion dollars this year on Valentine’s Day! WOW!
Here’s a little optimism for you. At current, our national debt is around $20.6 trillion dollars. If we would just spend the $19.6 billion dollars, that is going towards Valentine’s this year, and reapply that same amount to pay off the National Debt, every year, did you know that we could have the debt paid in off in a mere......................................1,051 years!!!!!!
Well, in that line of logic, it makes a whole lot more sense to just buy the flowers and candy and make someone else happy, doesn’t it?!
But, it is that time of year in which that little winged dude that flitters around with his bow and arrows and shoots people to make them fall into love, is depicted on cards and ads and etc.
This time of year in general, is centered upon and focused so much on the subject of relationships.
So many people are all about being in relationship at this time of year.
ELABORATE ABOUT BEING IN A RELATIONSHIP IN A FUNNY WAY: “Are you in one”, “I just got out of one”, “You want back in another one”, “Sure, I need one”, “Can you find one”, “I’m going online to get one tomorrow” , “I heard that she’s in one and he just found a new one”! etc!
Point being, RELATIONSHIPS are a big deal to many people and not always for the right or the healthiest of reasons!
I don’t know how many of you were a year or two ago, but I did a sermon on being wired for love, in which I spoke about how that biologically, physiologically, we can see that God created us to be able to LOVE one another, from all of the recognized levels of love, as we see and understand in the Greek translations: Eros, Philia, Storge and Agape.
And I pointed towards the greatest of these in magnitude, which is agape, or what many refer to as God love, as this is the true nature and depiction of God, , “Anyone who does not love does not know God, because GOD IS LOVE.”
The agape love is best described in , “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever! Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.”
And with all of the emphasis that is put upon relationships in our society, (not just this time of year, but every day of the year), I wanted to stress a huge point with the church this morning.

It is no secret that God created relationships, His word shows this, as we read within the creation account, in , “Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him. So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep. While the man slept, the LORD God took out one of the man’s ribs and closed up the opening. Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib, and he brought her to the man.”

God, as I state quite often for the sake of clarity, wanted His children, His creation, to dwell in communion, both with Him as well as with each other.
This was and always has been and will continue to be the plan, until “perfection comes”; that is, until Jesus the Christ returns for the bride!
We dwell with one another here in communion and fellowship, until either God calls us home to be with Him, or until Jesus returns.
Providing you are in fact His!
In talking about relationships this morning, there are various types and stages of relationships that we recognize and have within our culture and society: acquaintances and friends of different degrees, family relationships (aunt, uncle, cousin, brother, sister, mother, father, husband and wife.), work relationships and of course, dating relationships.
Out of these I just mentioned, there is one that is considered and regarded by most everyone, in every walk of life and society and culture, as the most sacred and revered of all relationships. Can anyone tell me what type of relationship I am talking about?
Right, the marriage relationship; the joining of one man to one woman, which is very clearly spelled out in that same passage in , where it reads, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”
Based upon the word of God, this is what a marriage relationship is! There is no other answer or definition for it, found within the entire Bible!
I am ever amazed at the beauty and design that God used in making the union called, the “MARRIAGE RELATIONSHIP”!
It is a mystery, one that we truly cannot explain or simply pawn off as just another relationship.
And to the average onlooker or spectator, it can be written off as flippantly as; “if it works, it works, if doesn’t, find someone else until it does!”
Too many people are looking for the Hollywood rendition of marriage, which is based upon and built around smoke and mirrors.
Make it look good, make it glamorous. Bedazzle everyone with how you appear as a couple. Then sometime later, when the new has completely worn off, make a dramatic exit and ride off into the sunset, vindicated of your decisions!
It was the motivational speaker, Zig Ziglar, who said this of marriage, “Many people spend more time in planning the wedding than they do in planning the marriage.”
I just said that marriage is a mystery that cannot be explained and the reason that I say this, is because of what happens to the man and the woman when they come together.
There is a union, (a spiritual union), that is formed that no scientist, or medical examiner or philosopher or doctor of theology or anyone can completely explain.
And because of this union that takes place in the marriage relationship, we need to strongly reevaluate how we handle it!
Instead of flipping over to the latest episode of Doctor Phil and trying to figure out what it takes to strengthen you and your marriage, why not flip over to the book of “Phil”-ippians and read of how Paul answers that question by saying that it is Christ alone, whom strengthens us.
Instead of entrusting your marriage and personal life from a story in a book from Dr. Ruth, why not try turning in the Word of God for counsel and guidance and reading from something like the book of Ruth.
My point is, the union between a man and woman, cannot be counseled away or rehabilitated or repaired or explained away by any man and his methodologies.
This union is beyond anything that we can comprehend.
It is only when Yahweh, the very author and creator of all life, is brought into the marriage, (that union that is husband and wife), that we find answers for the marriage.
Instead of looking for justification and reasons to try and get out of the marriage, start praying for and looking for how to bring GOD into the marriage!

You know, if you go through the Bible, and you want to read about “relationships”, especially within translations like the King James, the NASB, the NKJV, the ESV and some others, you really don’t find a translated, literal word used for the word, “relationships” in there.

Now, if you read in the NLT, will find the word “relationships” placed in passages. And when you do find these passages with the word “relationships” inserted, it’s usually always involving the subject of our involvement with our great God and Savior, and not pertaining to or dealing with our relationships with one another!
For instance, , the NLT, we read,
Romans 4:13 NLT
Clearly, God’s promise to give the whole earth to Abraham and his descendants was based not on his obedience to God’s law, but on a right relationship with God that comes by faith.
Now, read that same passage again from the ESV and is reads like this, “For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith.”
The Greek word used here for righteousness, is the word, “dikaiosynē (de-kae-oo-see-nie) and it refers to, being right with, be in a right “relationship” with!
In other words, our righteousness, (our being found morally right and justified in the eyes of God), is the same as, being in a right “relationship” with God!
Through faith and belief in Jesus Christ, we become justified and found righteous and brought into a RELATIONSHIP with God the Father.
,
Romans 5:1 ESV
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
My whole point in saying all of this about the word “relationship”, as used in the Bible, is to express that, although God clearly created us for “relationships” with one another, His main intention for us and the very design of salvation itself for us, is based upon an intimate relationship with Him through His Son, Jesus!
We were created to have a relationship with our Creator, first and foremost!

And so, as I’m talking with you this morning about this intimate relationship that God desires with us and its correlation to our salvation, in conjunction with the most intimate of relationships that we can share here on earth, (THE MARITAL RELATIONSHIP), and with this being the Valentine’s weekend, the time of year that is devoted to the subject of love and relationships, it is so fitting to talk about the COVENANT RELATIONSHIP!

The most intimate of relationships that we have between ourselves, is that of the marriage relationship, right?
Understand this, a purely sexual relationship, or any other kind of relationship that is outside of God’s design for the marital relationship, will NEVER EVER be a COVENANT RELATIONSHIP.
And what is this COVENANT RELATIONSHIP that I am speaking about this morning?
And what is the direct correlation between Biblical marriage and this COVENANT RELATIONSHIP?
Well, I am so glad that you asked that.
Well, this mystery, as we know from reading God’s word, this marital union, is not an agreement as
My intention for this morning’s message, is that when we all leave here today, the main thought that stays impressed upon our minds and our hearts, is, this, “Is my RELATIONSHIP with God the most important one in my life?”
Rather, the Biblical marital relationship, is one that the Bible calls a “COVENANT RELATIONSHIP”
Let me say that again. When you and I leave here today, I want this one thought to completely consume our hearts and our minds, “Is my RELATIONSHIP with God the most important one in my life?”

What is a covenant? You know, we just talked this past Wednesday evening about what a “Covenant of Salt” was and its difference to a Blood Covenant.

The main thing that you and I need to understand morning is, what is a covenant.
Covenant, according to the Lexham Theological Wordbook is - a legally binding agreement between two parties. It is often solidified or ratified by an oath or other means and usually places demands on one or both parties. Covenants played a major role in the ancient Near East, which made them a useful way for God to relate to his people and demonstrate his commitment to them. God’s covenant with Israel is the primary concept used to describe his relationship with his people.
So, a covenant, is a binding agreement between two parties. BINDING, did you get that?
It means not separable, not contractual and unable to be made void!
When two parties made a covenant, as in the Salt or Blood covenants, they were permanent and unalterable. The only way out of the covenant agreement, was through the death of one of the one wanting out.
I want to real quickly just mention the main covenants as we find listed within the Bible:

The Noahic Covenant

The Abrahamic Covenant

The Mosaic Covenant

The Davidic Covenant

The New Covenant

For the expediency of today’s message, let’s just say that the New Covenant is the most important one for us, shall we.
In , the prophet Jeremiah spoke of the New Covenant that would come, where he said, “Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah— not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a HUSBAND to them, says the LORD. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”
This with which says, “And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh.”
From here, we see the full intent of the new Covenant of the Lord. He would, by His word and His sovereignty make a people with whom He could place His own Spirit within them and give them a new heart which would be yielding to Him and His Word.
It is the New Covenant that we see being brought to the forefront and enacted through the finished work of Jesus Christ, as Christ Himself said in the gospels in , "This cup is the new covenant between God and his people--an agreement confirmed with my blood, which is poured out as a sacrifice for you.”
So, if a covenant is a binding agreement between two parties and Jesus enacted and brought the New Covenant into being through His sacrifice on the Cross of Calvary, then what does this have to do the marital RELATIONSHIP and us today?
Well, in order to answer that you need to look at the alpha and the omega, aleph and tav, that is the beginning and the end. In the beginning of the Bible in Genesis, we see the marriage of a man and a woman, Adam and eve.
In the book of Revelation, we see the marriage of the bride, the church and Jesus.
Do you see it, the Bible begins with the marriage of the first man Adam and ends with the second man Jesus. (If through the sin of one man, the first man, Adam, all the world was doomed to sin and death, then through the second man, Jesus, all the world would be given the gift of grace and life).
And everything throughout the Old Testament is filled with the understanding that God is the husband and Israel is the bride of God.
Then, in the New Testament, we see that Jesus is the bridegroom and the church is the bride.
Then I feel safe to say, that God thinks very highly of the RELATIONSHIP known as marriage, right?
And to God, this RELATIONSHIP is more than just words and actions. To God, this union of a man and a woman, is a COVENANT RELATIONSHIP!
The Bible tells us in ,
The Bible tells us in ,
Malachi 2:14–16 NASB95
“Yet you say, ‘For what reason?’ Because the Lord has been a witness between you and the wife of your youth, against whom you have dealt treacherously, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. “But not one has done so who has a remnant of the Spirit. And what did that one do while he was seeking a godly offspring? Take heed then to your spirit, and let no one deal treacherously against the wife of your youth. “For I hate divorce,” says the Lord, the God of Israel, “and him who covers his garment with wrong,” says the Lord of hosts. “So take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously.”
Malachi 2:14–16 ESV
But you say, “Why does he not?” Because the Lord was witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth. “For the man who does not love his wife but divorces her, says the Lord, the God of Israel, covers his garment with violence, says the Lord of hosts. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and do not be faithless.”
And it ‘s here, at the subject of COVENANT RELATIONSHIPS, that the Lord wanted the main emphasis to be placed this morning.
An
You see, because we are ALL born into sin, we naturally love the thoughts of having an eternity in heaven, where there is no more suffering, or tears or sorrow and pain. We will grasp on to and embrace that thought in our hearts.
And we love the part that this is a covenant relationship, meaning that nothing or no one can snatch us from the hand of God. We are secure here.
We will embrace eternal security as a covenant agreement, because that is a long term insurance policy.
BUT, we treat other things and other relationships that God has called a COVENANT RELATIONSHIP, as more of a CONVENIENCE than a COVENANT!
Just like in marriage, many people, even Christians, embrace the marriage relationship and run with it, we’ll make the vows and walk the walk and talk the talk with glee and joy.
UNTIL, it starts getting uncomfortable and then we take out COVENANT and substitute it with CONVENIENCE.
People will say, “Well God loves me and He wouldn’ want me to be miserable and in a marriage where all we do is fight, right?”
Here is the thing. We make and exchange vows at the marriage ceremony and say things like, “till death us do part” and then we kiss and run forward to the wedding reception and out the door to the honeymoon and on with our lives.
But it’s not just vows that solidify the marriage, (although the vows you make are between your spouse and God and He looks at these vows as BINDING), but even more so, it is the joining of the man and the woman the night of the honeymoon, that binds the two together.
The Bible tells us, that the man and woman become ONE FLESH when they come together in sexual intimacy, as a consummation of their vows!
Remember that says,
Genesis 2:23–24 ESV
Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
This is that great mystery that I referred to earlier, when I said that no man or woman can explain or dismiss this union! Only God knows how the two become as one.
This is also the reason why we are to never engage in pre-marital sex, because you become attached, you become as one with t
And this is also the reason why pre-marital sex, fornication and adultery, are forbidden by God. Because you are literally joining yourself to that other person, in a bond.
says “And don’t you realize that if a man joins himself to a prostitute, he becomes one body with her? For the Scriptures say, “The two are united into one.” But the person who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with him.”
So, here is the thing, here is the take home point, for the intimate relationship known as marriage, if you are not looking at it as a COVENANT RELATIONSHIP between you and your husband/wife and God, then do not enter into that RELATIONSHIP.
To God, this is a serious matter and if we can take something that God calls a COVENANT (BINDING) RELATIONSHIP, like marriage, and reduce it down into nothing more than a CONVENIENCE BASED RELATIONSHIP, then how will we ever take a relationship with someone that we can’t see, or hear, or touch and treat it as any more of a COVENANT RELATIONSHIP?

When we ask Jesus to be Lord and Savior of our lives, we enter into a COVENANT RELATIONSHIP with Him! And as soon as we do, we become one with the Body of Christ!

Paul said to the church of Ephesus, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, but I am speaking about Christ and the church.”
You enter into a COVENANT RELATIONSHIP with Him and become ONE with His body as a part of the Bride. Just like God’s creation of the COVENANT RELATIONSHIP known as the marriage between the husband and the wife!
You know, I mentioned earlier about reading the book of Ruth vs listening to Dr. Ruth for relational guidance, but that is no joke.
Have you ever really looked at the nature of the heart of Ruth and of how she viewed a COVENANT RELATIONSHIP?
Look at what she said to her mother in law, after her husband has died and she is legally no longer obligated to Naomi, her mother in law. In we read, “Look,” Naomi said to her, “your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods. You should do the same.” But Ruth replied, “Don’t ask me to leave you and turn back. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. Wherever you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD punish me severely if I allow anything but death to separate us!”
16 But Ruth replied, “Don’t ask me to leave you and turn back. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. 17 Wherever you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD punish me severely if I allow anything but death to separate us!”
This is the heart of someone who understands COVENANT RELATIONSHIP!
Here is the thing church, the Bible calls healthy relationships as the most important thing in this life, as given by the two great commands: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
Our relationship with God comes first and before all else! And after that, we are to sacrificially love and serve one another. The Bible is built upon and all about these two things!

I’m getting ready to close out, but first let me direct you to some things that the apostle Paul said we need to get rid of and some things we need to embrace in order to make our COVENANT RELATIONSHIP with God supreme in our life.

Paul tells us, “So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. Because of these sins, the anger of God is coming. You used to do these things when your life was still part of this world. But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language. Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds.”
Then Paul tells us to embrace these things, “Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him. Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which BINDS us all together in perfect harmony.  And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of ONE BODY you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.
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