Our Part In Covenant II
OUR PART IN THE NEW COVENANT
A. Introduction: We have been talking about the fact that God offers us rest.
1. The rest He offers is a life of dependence on and trust in Him. Matt 11:28
a. One way God inspires trust and confidence in Him is through covenants.
b. Since man has nothing to give God which He needs, a covenant between God and man is in reality a contract or promise from God to do good for those who have nothing to offer.
2. What does having a covenant with God mean?
a. For Israel under the Old Covenant, it meant that God met their physical needs (provision, protection, healing, direction, victory over enemies) and their spiritual needs (blood sacrifices to cover their sins and a tabernacle where God could meet with them).
b. For Christians under the New Covenant, it means everything Israel had plus more. Heb 8:6; 10-12
1. Our sins are remitted. Luke 24:46,47
2. We receive life from God in our spirits, and our minds can be renewed. I John 5:11,12; II Cor 5:17; Rom 12:2
3. God dwells in us. I Cor 6:19; Phil 2:13
4. We become sons of God. I John 3:2
3. In the last lesson we looked at what God wanted from Abraham.
a. God wanted Abraham to set his will to be and stay faithful to Him, to be separated to Him and put Him first, and to live by a faith or trust in Him which was fully persuaded that what God had promised He would do.
b. God wants us to know what the New Covenant provides, believe it, and then live life based on that knowledge.
B. Let's look at the terms of the New Covenant.
1. The New Covenant is clearly stated for us in Heb 8:10-12. (Amp)
a. v10--For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will imprint my laws upon their minds, even upon their innermost thoughts and understandings, and engrave them upon their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
b. v11--And it will nevermore be necessary for everyone to teach his neighbor and fellow citizen or every one his brother, saying, know [that is] perceive, have knowledge of and get acquainted by experience with -- the Lord; for all will know Me, from the smallest to the greatest of them.
c. v12--For I will be merciful and gracious toward their sins and I will remember their deeds of unrighteousness no more.
2. Notice our part in this -- the two things we do: know God and be His people. Both of those are characteristics of relationship.
3. The Bible is the story of God's desire for a family and the great lengths He went to to get one through Jesus Christ.
a. Everything must be considered in that light, including our behavior.
b. It isn't about keeping this rule or that rule -- it's about knowing God and being related to Him as a son to a father through Jesus Christ. Then, we live our lives based on that relationship.
4. Always keep in mind the purpose behind creation, the reason God made you.
a. Eph 1:4,5--Long ago, even before he made the world, God chose us to be his very own, through what Christ would do for us; he decided then to make us holy in his eyes, without a single fault - we who stand before him covered with his love. He is unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into his own family by sending Jesus Christ to die for us. And he did this because he wanted to. (Living)
b. II Tim 1:9,10--It is he who saved us and chose us for his holy work, not because we deserved it but because that was his plan long before the world began -- to show his love and kindness to us through Christ. And now he has made all of this plain to us by the coming of our Savior Jesus Christ, who broke the power of death and showed us the way of everlasting life through trusting him. (Living)
c. Rom 8:29,30--For from the very beginning God decided that those who came to him -- and all along he knew who would -- should become like his Son, so that his Son would be the First, with many brothers. And having chosen us, he called us to come to him; and when we came, he declared us "not guilty", filled us with Christ's goodness, gave us right standing with himself, and promised us his glory. (Living)
5. Jesus died for your sins to pay for them so that they could be removed so that relationship would be possible between you and God.
a. When you believe the facts of the gospel, make Jesus Lord, and are born again, relationship is established. You become God's child!!
b. Because your sin is paid for, God can now put His life in you, make you His child, and dwell in you.
6. Man has two problems apart from Jesus Christ: what he does and what he is. He's guilty of sin and he's dead in sin. Both are resolved through Jesus.
a. Rom 3:25--Whom God put forward [before the eyes of all] as a mercy seat and propitiation by His blood -- the cleansing and life - giving sacrifice of atonement and reconciliation -- to [be received] through faith. (Amp)
b. Titus 3:5-7--But when the time came for the kindness and love of God our Savior to appear, then he saved us - not because we were good enough to be saved, but because of his kindness and pity -- by washing away our sins and giving us the new joy of the indwelling Holy Spirit whom he poured out upon us with wonderful fullness -- and all because of what Jesus Christ our Savior did so that he could declare us good in God's eyes -- all because of his great kindness; and now we can share in the wealth of eternal life he gives us, and we are eagerly looking forward to receiving it. (Living)
7. When we look at the terms of the New Covenant in Hebrews 8:10-12 we see God's goal in the New Covenant -- to establish relationship with us.
a. That is possible because our sins have been removed through Jesus.
b. Nothing stands between us and God anymore -- not our sin, not us.
C. Part of God's plan is to make us sons and daughters like Jesus. Rom 8:29
1. That process begins at the new birth.
a. We are conformed to the image of Christ inwardly. II Cor 5:17
b. Christ is now our life, our righteousness, our holiness, our goodness. Col 3:4; I Cor 1:30; I John 5:12
2. In the OT God siad He would give us a new heart in the New Covenant.
a. Jer 31:33--But this is the new contract I will make with them: I will inscribe my laws upon their hearts so that they will want to honor me, then they shall truly be my people and I will be their God. (Living)
b. Jer 32:39,40--And I will give them one heart and mind to worship me forever. I will put a desire into their hearts to worship me, and they shall never want to leave me. (Living)
3. God has been working progressively since creation to gather a family conformed to the image of Christ. Covenants are part of that effort.
a. The Old Covenant was not bad or evil; it simply was not God's final solution for man's problems. Jesus is!!
b. One of the weaknesses of the Old Covenant was that it was dependent on flesh to fulfill it. Heb 7:18,19; Rom 8:3
c. This is man's condition without the new birth.
1. Jer 17:1--My people sin as though commanded to, as though their evils were laws chiseled with an iron pen or diamond point upon their stony hearts or on the corners of their altars. (Living)
2. Jer 17:9--The heart is the most deceitful thing there is, and desperately wicked. No one really knows how bad it is. (Living)
d. The Old Covenant did not deal with the inward man in the way that the New Covenant does.
1. Heb 8:10--But this is the new agreement I will make with the people of Israel, says the Lord. I will write my laws in their minds so that they will know what I want them to do without my even telling them, and these laws will be in their hearts so that they will want to obey them, and I will be their God and they shall be my people. (Living)
2. Phil 2:13--For God is at work within you, helping you want to obey him, and then helping you do what he wants. (Living)
5. Under the Old Covenant, God gave Israel a physical sign that they were covenant people -- circumcision. Gen 17:9-14
a. In the New Covenant, circumcision takes place when we are born again.
b. Circumcision: cutting away, removal, sin nature is taken away. Col 2:11
c. In union with Him you have received the circumcision of Christ, not a circumcision administered by hand, but that which consists in cutting away our sinful nature. (Kleist-Lilley)
d. We still have flesh (a body, mind, and emotions) which were not directly affected by the new birth.
1. But, positionally, as far as God is concerned, your relationship to sin is ended -- you died with Christ. Rom 6:6;10
2. You now have life from God in your spirit which can empower you to obey God and affect the way you think, feel, and act.
6. Through the shed blood of Jesus, God has established relationship with us.
D. In Heb 10:16-25 we find a restatement of the New Covenant and instructions on how we are to live in light of what God has done for us in and through Christ.
1. The Holy Spirit begins by first stating the impact of the New Covenant -- no more offering for sin is needed. v18
a. Now, where sins have once been forever forgiven and forgotten, there is no more need to offer sacrifices to get rid of them. (Living)
b. You can't live in the rest and benefits of the New Covenant if you are trying to earn them and / or pay for your sins.
c. The things the Holy Spirit is about to tell believers to do will be impossible unless you know and believe your sins and sin nature are gone.
2. Next, the Holy Spirit tells us that because our sins are removed, we have liberty (boldness) to enter into God's very presence.
a. v19--And so, dear brothers, now we may walk right into the very Holy of Holies where God is, because of the blood of Jesus. (Living)
b. v20--This is the fresh, new life-giving way which Christ has opened up for us by tearing the curtain -- his human body -- to let us into the holy presence of God. (Living)
3. Then the Holy Spirit tells us to come to God believing He will receive us.
a. v21--And since this great High Priest of ours rules over God's household, b. v22--Let us go right in, to God himself, with true hearts fully trusting him to receive us, because we have been sprinkled with Christ's blood to make us clean...(Living)
4. Can you see the point? It's all about relationship!!
a. The purpose of the New Covenant was to bring us to God in a way not possible under the Old Covenant. Heb 7:19; 10:1-4
b. Come to God expecting Him to receive you, accept you, help you because of what Jesus did. You can because the blood of the covenant was shed.
5. Our part in the New Covenant involves three things:
a. Know what God has done about us and our sins through Jesus.
b. Believe it because this is God talking.
1. There is a bottom line every Christian has to get to if you want to experience the freedom God has provided.
2. You must choose to believe God's word over your feelings and experience.
c. Live your life based on what you believe because of what you know.
1. Liberty to enter in (confidently approach your Father) comes from knowing what He has done for us through Jesus. John 8:32
2. Then we boldly speak it out because God said so. Heb 10:23
E. Conclusion: Knowledge of the Covenant brings rest.
1. Rest comes when the work is done. Rest comes when you don't have to work to earn or deserve God's help or pay for your sins.
a. You know and believe that God has already done everything necessary to bring you to Himself.
b. You know and believe God will come through for you because He's bound Himself to you through covenant, as a branch to a vine, as a father to a son.
2. Under the New Covenant as under the Old Covenant God just wants us to believe Him, trust Him, rest in the relationship He has established with us through Jesus Christ.