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06 AUG Better Than a Mortgage - God's Covenants

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Better Than a Mortgage!: God’s Covenants

A survey of the old and new covenants

Family Camp, Lakeview camp, July 30, 2006

Use a clip from the movie “Fright Night” about “you have to believe”

Example of covenants: marriage, mortgage, business contracts

Purpose of a covenant is to provide clarity, expectations. What are expectations of a spouse? Describe/read expectations of the mortgage covt.

Parts of covt.:

  • Parties
  • Will
  • Work
  • Sign/seal
  • Renewal/remembrance

  Mortgage Marriage
Parties Bank, borrower Husband, wife
Will Desire to lend and to pay back expressed in mortgage document Vows
Work Initial payment by bank, monthly payment of mortgage note Daily interaction, faithfulness, cherishing, partnering
Sign You “sign” the mortgage You “sign” the marriage license, also wear a ring
Renewal You probably don’t want this covt. to last forever! Renew in the marriage bed

God makes covenants too. First was with Abraham and the Jews.

Read Gen. 17.1-14.

  • Parties: God and Abraham (and all his descendants, the Jews)
  • Will: It was pretty one-sided--God will:
    • Be your God
    • Make of you a great nation
    • Give you a land
    • ?
  • Work- come back in a minute
  • Sign/seal :Abraham will circumcise himself in the foreskin. Can you imagine his initial reaction?*
  • Renewal/remembrance

* Note that in ancient days a document was “sealed” with a “signet” ring. Now that most people can write, we use our “signat”ure to “seal” a document, to confirm that we agree to its contents.

God wanted the covt. to last forever. The basic deal was, do what I tell you, and you will be blessed beyond measure. See Dt. 28.1-14.

Over time god added extra clarification to help people follow his will. The 10 commandments, other ordinances found in the first 5 books of the Bible. Ex. 24.3-8. Moses and the people ratified their agreement with the words of the covt. ½ the blood went on the altar to represent God’s agreement, ½ went on the people to represent their agreement. The blood is valuable and represent the seriousness of the covt. it also shows that God will accept subsitutionary sacrifices. More on that in a moment.

God always wants people to follow his will. Obedience is a core value of God. See 1 Sam 15.22. But because the Jews didn’t follow their part of the deal, God had to make provisions for them to get right with him again. Violating the covt. is called Sin, and the “wages of sin is death.” In order not to have to kill everybody God allowed for a system of substitutionary sacrifices. God always was faithful to his end of the bargain. Ultimately, however, the people’s work of the covenant became totally focused on removing sin, and atoning for the distance that sin puts between people and God. Lev. 16.11-22.

Jeremiah 31.3-34: God declares that he will make a new covenant and will “forgive their iniquitiey, and will remember their sin no more.”

This system continued for a couple thousand years until the time was right for something different. God set up a new covenant. Luke 1.67-77 Zechariah (John the Baptist’s father) identifies John as the link between the old covenant and the new. God is doing something new, and through Jesus will issue a new, better covenant. The focus will not be on continually sacrificing animals to get rid of sin. God will offer the final blood sacrifice once and for all. In the new covenant, God’s promises are bigger than in the old covt., and the people’s work is simply to have faith. The new covenant is totally universal. Where the old covt. was for the Jews, the new covenant is for all who would believe. God desires that all men would be saved, and he removed any cultural barriers that may have hindered the spread of the good news. No more kosher dietary restrictions, no more circumcision, no more animal sacrifice.

Hebrews 9.24-26, 10.18 Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross was the last blood that needed to be offered for the forgiveness of sins. That is God’s work in the new covt. Forgiveness and salvation are appropriated  through faith. Rom 10.9-10. Sometimes people get confused over the words faith and believe. They are basically synonyms: Gk pistis = faith, pisteuo = believe. In fact, our work in the new covenant is simply to belive God. John 6.28-29 (especially see the NLT). But this raises the question. Believe him for what? Mark 11.23-24. We can believe God for whatever we want or need!

In the new covenant:

Parties: God and all who will believe

Work: Jesus on cross, our belief

Will: God’s desire is to do for us anything we saw in the Bible. In fact, we can do more even than Jesus: John 14.12.


Mark 9.23: “All things are possible for him who believes.”

Seal/sign: Holy Spirit, but no time to review right now.

Renewal/remembrance: Luke 22.14-20.

Close with Lord’s prayer and communion

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