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The Covenant Life

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God's Covenant Love leads us to live a life of loyal love to others.

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Our Response to God’s Covenant Love

Today is our last sermon in our series God’s Covenant love. I hope you now have a greater understanding and appreciation of God’s loyal and steadfast love toward you, His New Covenant people, the church.
Recap of God’s covenant love. Hesed.
Just to give you a picture of the Hesed, God’s Covenant Love.
Psalm 23:6 ESV
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
The words in the Hebrew used here are goodness and Hesed (God’s Covenant love), and the word for follow is actually pursue. The kind of word used for relentlessly pursuing your enemy in battle. But what the psalmist is really saying is that instead of the curse and punishment that we deserve, because of the forgiveness that we have in Christ, God’s covenant love will hunt us down relentlessly all the days of your life.
But what practical application can we get from this series on God’s Covenant love?
The title of my message today is “The Covenant Life” and the big idea is this: God's Covenant Love leads us to live a life of loyal love to others.
Loyalty - a word I want to talk about today.
Last week we talked about commitment. Today we are going to explore another word that describes the Covenant Love of God and that is LOYALTY.
People today just just mouth loyalty, but it’s not a reality in their life. In the world today we hear so many people making wedding vows just to divorce in the end.
LOYALTY
1 John 4:19 ESV
19 We love because he first loved us.
People stop being best friends with someone because they have nothing to offer them anymore. It’s all about what I can get from a relationship, it’s all about me and my personal happiness. The “selfie” generation.
Members of the church who once seemed to be happy at church or even served at that church start to back off from their commitment because they started seeing so many negative things with people around them.
True loyalty is not affected by people nor by circumstances.
What is loyalty?
What is loyalty?
LOYALTY
A commitment to an ongoing relationship and to the attitude and behaviour demanded by it. It is evident in human relationships and also in the covenant relationship between God and his people.
Manser, M. H. (2009). Dictionary of Bible Themes: The Accessible and Comprehensive Tool for Topical Studies. London: Martin Manser.
The ultimate object and source of loyalty is God.
See also ; ; ; ;
God is the Person Who most deserves it. He is also the Person Who best exemplified it.
We have human bosses, but our ultimate loyalty is not to men but to God.
1. God’s Covenant Love is loyal.
The story of John Kenneth Galbraith.
God is also the one who best exemplified loyalty.
Scripture tells us that even if we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny who He is. () He is a loyal covenant God.
We are going to read from a passage in scripture where Jesus washed His disciples’ feet. A lot of times we associate with the topic of humility but today we are going to study it from a different lens. The lens of our response to God’s loyal love by our loyal love to Him and His God’s covenant people.
John 13:1 ESV
1 Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.
John 13:1
Loyal love is not affected by circumstances.

Love for God is commanded

Here we have a snapshot of Jesus speaking to His disciples just hours before He will depart from this world. He knew that within a matter of hours the full wrath of God the Father would be upon Him, and His response to the disciples is a response of love, a love to the very end.
Who among you here have hard days? Or opposite question.
That was the kind of day for Jesus, in the weeks leading to this scene, Jesus was working miracles, but He also preached to huge crowds and also battled His enemies where He would typically expose their hearts and walk away in triumph.
Often when we have a hard day, we think that we should be treated special. That people should cater to us and be considerate to us and we deserve to be pampered.
Well, whatever kind of hard day we have had, we have never had a day where we knew that in a matter of hours that the God of heaven and earth was going to pour out His full wrath on us.
Well, whatever kind of hard day we have had, we have never had a day where we knew that in a matter of hours that the God of heaven and earth was going to pour out His full wrath on us.
Jesus, the One who was about to face the difficulty, the hardship, the challenge that has never been faced before by any human, is thinking about His disciples. John said in verse 1: “having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.”
The greatness of the love of Christ. In face of the cup of suffering He still thought of others first.
That is a tall order. If we are the ones faced with stress, we care about our feelings. We cause drama over the slightest intrusion on our security. And mind you that security does not involve life and death. It is about our feelings, don’t you hurt me!
Yet with Jesus, faced with suffering the punishment for the sins of the whole world. He still thought of others and He loved them. Loyal love is not affected by circumstances.
I want to be like the Lord. Imagine the emotional hurts that we will be spared from if we just love others like the way Jesus loved. You’ll walk into a room, instead of thinking don’t annoy me, don’t invade my private space, don’t hurt me, you’ll be thinking: there are people in this room who need my love and encouragement today. I have to find them!
What Jesus did next was even more amazing:
John 13:2–5 ESV
2 During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him, 3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, 4 rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. 5 Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
John 13:2-
2. Loyal Love Serves Others.
Matthew 22:37–38 ESV
37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment.
What Jesus did in washing the feet of His disciples was not only a display of service He did not only do a servant’s job. He did the lowliest job of all. There was a hierarchy in the households of first century Palestine..
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Why did Jesus do it?

Loving God involves loving Jesus Christ

We may think it is just a lesson in humility. If you want to be first, you have to be last. In God’s economy, when we humble ourselves God exalts us. This may be a perfectly reasonable thing to conclude. But this is not the answer that the passage gives us. When we ask the question: How could Jesus do this thing?, the answer is found in verse 3: “Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God.”
John 8:42 ESV
42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but he sent me.
If you want to be first, you have to be last. If you want to live, you must die. Everything is upside down. We might be inclined to say this is what Jesus has in mind here. In God’s economy, when we humble ourselves God exalts us. This may be a perfectly reasonable thing to conclude. But this is not the answer that the passage gives us. When we ask the question: How could Jesus do this thing?, the answer is found in verse 3: “Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God.”
This text does not take us to an example of humiliation to glory, but from glory to humiliation. The reason why Jesus is about to do this is not because He aspires to be glorified one day, but because He came from glory and gives a picture of God’s loyal love that He sent His only Son, the Only One Who can truly cleanse us.
See also ;

Expressing love for God

John 13:6
John 13:6–11 ESV
6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” 7 Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.” 8 Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” 9 Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” 10 Jesus said to him, “The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not every one of you.” 11 For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, “Not all of you are clean.”

Delight in worship and in God’s house

3. Loyal Love sanctifies us.
Psalm 27:4 ESV
4 One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple.
We have to realize that we need the Lord’s daily cleansing of our lives. We need to have a part with Jesus in the sanctification process. We need to abide in Him, that is His command and our response to His covenant love.
See also ; ; ; ; ; ;
In our sanctification, we need to realize that we walk with dirty feet. Notice that we are already saved, cleansed and washed by the the work of the Holy Spirit but our feet still touch the dirt of the world. We need daily cleansing from God. That is the work of God and not ours.

Love for God’s word

This is not talking about our salvation, Jesus said the one who was bathed does not need to wash his whole body, except for his feet, because he is completely clean.
We are like Peter sometimes. We love Jesus; we are on Jesus’ side and want to see the kingdom expand. So when we see Jesus washing the disciples dirty, nasty feet, we want to help Jesus out.
Oh Lord, this person needs some work. That brother or sister needs to fix his life. The problem of self-righteousness.
Psalm 119:97 ESV
97 Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day.
And we would have made the same mistake as Peter, and Jesus would have said to us, “get in line so that I can wash your dirty, nasty feet, because if I don’t, you have no share with Me.”
Isn’t Peter like us? Don’t we see ourselves to be heroic solders fighting side by side with Jesus in the name of the kingdom and His reign? The fact of the matter, however, is that Jesus is fighting this battle, and we are on the battlefield with Him, but we need Jesus to cleanse us or we don’t have a real share in His Kingdom work.
See also ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
God’s loyal love did not end with our salvation, He continues His work of sanctifying us.

Self-sacrifice

John 13:12–17 ESV
12 When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? 13 You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. 16 Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.
John 13:12-
John 13:12–18 ESV
12 When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? 13 You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. 16 Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them. 18 I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But the Scripture will be fulfilled, ‘He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.’
John 13:12-
4. Loyal Love is spread to others.
Luke 14:33 ESV
33 So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.
4. Loyal Love
Here we see that in washing His disciples’ feet, Jesus modeled serving others. We have to wash each others’ feet, not because we have the power to cleanse others of their sins, but we are to serve one another.
See also ; ;
The third truth is not as simple as we might think. Jesus calls us here to “do likewise.” We often spiritualize this text by saying that we are supposed to serve one another. Our calling is not just to do “a” job for our neighbors, but even to do the nasty, difficult jobs that truly serve your neighbor.

Giving

We cannot do what Jesus does here because we are dirty and unworthy to be able to wash away the sins of others. Jesus did not tell one person, “Peter, you have seen what I have done for all of you. Now I give you the task of washing their feet, ok?” No, he commanded everyone, wash one another’s feet. No, he didn’t tell the pastor wash everyone’s feet and play the role of God, and be exempt from your own foot washing. Rather we are all called to symbolically wash one another’s feet by serving one another.
1 Chronicles 29:3 ESV
3 Moreover, in addition to all that I have provided for the holy house, I have a treasure of my own of gold and silver, and because of my devotion to the house of my God I give it to the house of my God:
That said, we are called to serve our brothers by recognizing that our feet are equally dirty and that we will not hold their sins against them. We will not remember their iniquities. We need to be persuaded that our feet our dirty, and that humility isn’t just serving your brother, it is forgiving him.
How do we do this when we are so certain that their feet are dirtier than ours? We do that by knowing that we have been born again in the Spirit and are joint heirs with Christ.
See also ; ; ; ; ; ;
1 Peter 4:8 ESV
8 Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.
But what does it mean to be joint heirs with Christ? It means that what Christ inherits, we inherit. What does He inherit? Everything.

Obeying God

Do we really break fellowship over the color of the carpet? Do we really split churches over discrete doctrinal issue? No, churches split because we want something, and we are clamoring over the crumbs off the table where the dirty feet walk. Jesus is offing us to dine with Him, and gives us everything we need.
1 John 5:3 ESV
3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.
The lesson of foot washing is that we should be more conscious of our faults than that of others.
See also ; ; ; ;
We like holding people’s faults and sins against them. This really breaks our relationship with our brothers and sisters.

Loving others

“Ok I forgive you. But I won’t be friends with you anymore.”
1 John 4:21 ESV
21 And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.
You see we should love our brothers and sisters even though they do not deserve our love. Jesus did the nastiest kind of service by washing the feet of His disciples. These are people Who in His foreknowledge would betray Him! He knew that Peter would deny Him three times. He knew that they were going to abandon Him and yet He chose to love them and wash their feet.
See also ; ;
That is the loyalty of God’s love.

The blessings of loving God

For our part, we don’t have the same foreknowledge about anyone and yet we already judge them. This person does not seem to be the kind that deserves my time and attention. He does this and that. He does all these crazy things on Facebook, I don’t want to have anything to do with him.
John 14:15–16 ESV
15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever,
We are still called to serve.
See also ; ;
One thing we have to remember. Jesus also washed Judas’ feet.

Examples of love for God and Jesus Christ

I believe that is to show his disciples after they found out later that Judas was the one who would betray Him that we should be willing to serve even the worst of us. Well, he is a Judas, he is going to hell anyway. One of the greatest sins that we can commit is the sin of presumption and judge others.
Psalm 18:1 ESV
1 I love you, O Lord, my strength.
I believe that is to show his disciples after they found out later that Judas was the one who would betray Him that we should be willing to serve even the worst of us. Well, he is a Judas, he is going to hell anyway. One of the greatest sins that we can commit is the sin of presumption and judge others.
It is true that the wheat and tares will grow up together in the church, but we are not to be presumptuous about who the tares might be, but have to love everyone.
See also ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
We have to love everyone with a loyal love.
Loyal love does not require anything of anyone before you love that person.
Remember the picture of God’s loyal love? It is like a victorious powerful mighty warrior hunting someone he defeated in battle who is running away? That is the tenacity of God’s love. He hunts us down relentlessly with His covenant love.
A lot of times we give up so easily on people. As a pastor, I will try my best..
Last week I said the terms of the New Covenant in Christ is not based on our commitment but rather God’s commitment to us through the finished work of Christ. That is why the New Covenant is better than the Old.
It is not about following the commandments, a list of do’s and don’ts in order to stay in that Covenant.
But in that new covenant Jesus gave us a new commandment to follow. You know what that commandment is?
John 13:34–35 ESV
34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
John 13:
John 13:34 ESV
34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.
As a pastor
We are not to judge, we are not to presume about their shortcomings. Through God’s loyal covenant love, we are to love, serve and pray for one another. That is our part in the New Covenant and in doing so, the world will know that we are God’s Covenant people.
The cross.
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