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Covenant Community

Covenant For Life  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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In covenant community, commitment is natural because of mutual love and a common connection

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Series Theme: As His bride, His Body, His Building, His people, let us pursue a deeper understanding of and commitment to the covenant life to which Jesus has called us.
As His bride, His Body, His Building, His people, let us pursue a deeper understanding of and commitment to the covenant life to which Jesus has called us.
Introduction
Has anyone ever made a promise? That’s great! When you keep promises and commitments, people respect you for that. Has anyone ever made a promise or a commitment only to break it? Probably all of us. My kids would really get my attention when they said, “Dad, you promised!” Sometimes they were just trying to manipulate me. Other times, I actually had promised.
The most powerful and dependable promises are not really spoken that much, if at all. “Actions speak louder than words.” You live them out through your actions and lifestyle.
Throughout history various cultures developed customs enabling them to ratify covenants, treaties, and other sorts of binding agreements. In the Bible we see people making covenants around meals. In fact, Jesus made a covenant with the Disciples during their last Passover meal together: to prepare a place for them, to send the Holy Spirit, etc. Sometimes covenants were made official by taking off their sandal, salt covenants, etc. Covenants are different from what we know as business agreements or contracts. They are binding at a much deeper level — beyond mere legal obligations
You live them out through your actions and lifestyle. Throughout history people have developed customs that enable them to make covenants, treaties, and other sorts of binding agreements. In the Bible we see people making a covenant around a meal, other times through shaking hands, or taking off their sandal.
Okay…here’s anther question. Has anyone ever made a promise or a commitment only to break it?
The most powerful and dependable promises are not really spoken that much, if at all. You live them out through your actions and lifestyle. Throughout history people have developed customs that enable them to make covenants, treaties, and other sorts of binding agreements. In the Bible we see people making a covenant around a meal, other times through shaking hands, or taking off their sandal.
The most powerful and dependable promises are not really spoken that much, if at all. You live them out through your actions and lifestyle. Throughout history people have developed customs that enable them to make covenants, treaties, and other sorts of binding agreements. In the Bible we see people making a covenant around a meal, other times through shaking hands, or taking off their sandal.
One of the most powerful images of covenant ratification involves the shedding of blood. I vaguely remember doing the whole “blood brother” thing as a 8-10 year old little boy — only once because I was too much of a wimp to do it again. It seemed like a good idea at the time. But really, two snotty faced little boys with dirty hands sharing one another’s blood sounds a little unhealthy.
Two Hebrew words were commonly used together to make up the phrase “make a covenant.”
berith: covenant
karath: to cut off, cut down
Used together in the context of making a covenant: “to cut a covenant”
Sort of reminds me of our phrase “to cut a deal”
Of course, in many covenant agreements (biblical, and otherwise in the ancient world), animals were killed to ratify the agreement. Let’s look at one quick example from Genesis
Genesis 15:10–18 NIV
Abram brought all these to him, cut them in two and arranged the halves opposite each other; the birds, however, he did not cut in half. Then birds of prey came down on the carcasses, but Abram drove them away. As the sun was setting, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and a thick and dreadful darkness came over him. Then the Lord said to him, “Know for certain that for four hundred years your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own and that they will be enslaved and mistreated there. But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterward they will come out with great possessions. You, however, will go to your ancestors in peace and be buried at a good old age. In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure.” When the sun had set and darkness had fallen, a smoking firepot with a blazing torch appeared and passed between the pieces. On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram and said, “To your descendants I give this land, from the Wadi of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates—
5:1-
Verse 18…literally, “the Lord cut a covenant with Abram”. God moved between to two halves…He made the covenant…He keeps His covenants.
I saw a reference in biblestudymagazine.com describing it this way:
By cutting the animals in half during covenant ceremonies, the parties making the covenant were effectively saying, “Let this be done to us if we break the terms of this covenant.” http://www.biblestudymagazine.com/bible-study-magazine-blog/2017/9/19/cutting-a-covenant
This series is entitled “Covenant for Life” — What does the Bible show us about covenants, commitments, integrity, obedience? The whole Bible is about covenants, in one form or another. If you think about it…anything God does or says is covenant because He is not a man that He should lie. He keeps His Word.
the I vaguely remember doing the whole “blood brother” thing as a 8-10 year old little boy — only once because I was too much of a wimp to do it again. It seemed like a good idea at the time. But really, two snotty faced little boys with dirty hands sharing one another’s blood sounds a little unhealthy.
This series is entitled “Covenant for Life” — What does the Bible show us about covenants, commitments, integrity, obedience? The whole Bible is about covenants, in one form or another. If you think about it…anything God does or says is covenant because He is not a man that He should lie. He keeps His Word.
This series is entitled “Covenant for Life” — What does the Bible show us about covenants, commitments, integrity, obedience? The whole Bible is about covenants, in one form or another. If you think about it…anything God does or says is covenant because He is not a man that He should lie. He keeps His Word.
Let’s look at a couple passages of scripture as we dive into this deep well
Leviticus 26:3–4 NIV
“ ‘If you follow my decrees and are careful to obey my commands, I will send you rain in its season, and the ground will yield its crops and the trees their fruit.
Malachi 3:8–12 NIV
“Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me. “But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you?’ “In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse—your whole nation—because you are robbing me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not drop their fruit before it is ripe,” says the Lord Almighty. “Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land,” says the Lord Almighty.
We see a simple covenant agreement here: God says “if you do this, I will do this”. James said “let your yes be yes and your no be no”
Neither one of those passages use the word covenant, but the idea of covenant is obvious. We see simple covenant agreements here: God says “if you do this, I will do this.” And, “if you don’t do this, you can expect this.”
James said “let your yes be yes and your no be no”
God keeps His Word — the word of the Lord stays and stays and stays
Do you keep your covenants? With God, your spouse, your fellow believers, your home church?
Let’s begin with a basic definition of covenant
Covenant: A solemn agreement or promise, sometimes confirmed by sacrifice or by sharing a meal, by which two or more parties commit themselves to the rights and responsibilities demanded by their relationship and their agreed course of action, and accept the serious consequences of breaking faith. — M.H. Manser
,
We don’t talk about covenant that much in church — that’s kind of crazy since God is a covenant God. From Genesis to Revelation God is involved in covenants, with all the blessings and curses that can come from them
We don’t talk about covenant that much in church — that’s kind of crazy since God is a covenant God. From Genesis to Revelation God is involved in covenants, with all the accompanying blessings and curses. Today I want to zero in for a few minutes on one of the essential ingredients is any covenant: community.
Big Idea
Big Idea
Big Idea
In covenant community, commitment is natural because of mutual love and a common connection

Covenant Only Works in Community

The Trinity
Father, Son, and Spirit — One in Three — shows us what a covenant community looks like in it’s most perfect form
God invented covenant community — He is the embodiment of it
In the relationship between Father, Son, and Spirit we are shown the importance of
Role
Responsibility
Communication
Submission
Unity
Intimacy
Ultimately…we see how pure love works in God’s community. He is our model to follow.
Some examples of covenant community between God and man — and, by default, between God’s people
Adam and Eve and God
Adam and Eve
Abraham and God

No Community…No Bride

Abraham
Noah and God
The nation of Isreal and God
David and God
th

Covenant Only Works if there is a strong and natural connection

A real covenant among people means you are all in --- it is not something taken lightly. It is done because the parties involved have invested themselves, heart and soul, in this relationship. It becomes second nature to stay true to the covenant.

Covenant Only Works if there is a strong and natural connection

Bride and a Groom

Bride and a Groom

If you don’t have both a bride and a groom…you can’t have a wedding
Marriage means the bride and groom know each other intimately
Marriage means the bride and groom trust each other without question
Marriage means the bride and groom are in it for life
Jesus left the Father to redeem His bride
He is the groom…He won’t abandon His commitment to us
Will we?
The Israelites were unfaithful to God many times
But God
…another image of Jesus and the Church (found in Paul’s writings) is that of...

The body and all of its parts

The body and all of its parts

The most natural, intuitive covenant of all is between a body and all of its parts
Colossians 1:15–19 NIV
The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him,
Colossians 1:15–20 NIV
The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
Colossians 1:15–18 NIV
The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.
The image of Christ as the head of the church — and each member of His church as part of the body — powerfully portrays covenant community.
This image really
In covenant community, commitment is natural because of mutual love and a common connection
In covenant community, commitment is natural because of mutual love and a common connection

CHALLENGE

In covenant community, commitment is natural because of mutual love and a common connection
Video: “Body, Bride, Building”
Are you living in covenant community with Christ?
Compare your commitment to Him with your other commitments
Is He the foundation of every other commitment, or just a separate compartment in your life…sometimes almost forgotten?
I’m going out on a limb here — but my guess is this; many of us really don’t put Christ first in everything we do and are
This isn’t good --- God is calling us to pursue Him first (seek ye first)
Are you living in covenant community with the Body of Christ?
Compare your commitment to your church family with other commitments in your life
I’m going out on another limb here — my guess is: many of us, if push came to shove, would have to admit that the church (our covenant community) takes a back seat to many other things. We squeeze it in if there is room.
This isn’t good either — because commitment to the Lord naturally leads to commitment to our covenant community: our church family.
THE LORD’S SUPPER
Let us come to the table of the Lord, in fresh surrender and a new commitment to community
“Communion” is a personal and individual action, true
But is is also, by it’s very nature, an activity meant for the family of God to share together…as His covenant community.
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