20th January 2019 George Methodist Church 8am
With Peter Veysie
Genesis 12 – 17
What is a covenant?
It is a contract or agreement which is made out of relationship and love between God or people enabling to understand where the boundaries are.I like the word promise.
It is for a specific time and duration and has an appointed purpose for humankind.
It can also be broken and lead to some serious consequences especially in the old covenant.
A covenant should be distinguished from a contract because it is a personal relationship which people voluntarily enter. The definition of covenant here is rather broad, but that is because there are many different kinds of covenants in Scripture. Marriage is a good illustration of a covenant, for a man and woman choose to enter into a relationship with one another and make promises to one another.
I had the privilege of marrying Ryan Shipton and Lisa Shipton(Riddick) yesterday at Carmel and to understand the relational theology is made very clear when we are together at a wedding. Two become one.
Not all covenants were alike in the ancient world. In some covenants a person with more authority made a covenant with those having less authority and power. Such was the case when a king made a relationship with his subjects.God having all authority made a covenant with us as his children and this was done with different people throughout the Bible.
- The Covenant between God and Adam. Genesis 3:14 -24
The first time we see a covenant is the promise that God makes for Adam and Eve to have rule over the whole earth – remember Adam means humanity and Eve means life.
The covenantal condition from God was not to eat from the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil (everything in Hebrew) and they broke this and therefore there were consequences in that they had to leave the garden which was actually used to fulfill the ongoing purposes of God in spite of their failure.
- Covenant with Noah Genesis 8:21 – 9:17
Noah and his family are chosen by God to build an ark and save the animals and his family.
God promises that after the flood He would never again.
The sign of this covenant was a rainbow in the sky which we can still observe after rain or just before a storm.
- Covenant with Abraham. Genesis 12 -17
Remember last week we observed the disastrous spirals of rebellion after the garden and so God chooses a man and his name is Abraham and promises that he and Sarah would be parents to many nations.
The first way in which this covenant is remembered is in the flesh through circumcision and the second part of the covenant was to give the descendants of Abraham a land of their own. We are still battling over who are the descendants of Abraham.
God blessed Abraham and his descendants and also all the people of the world.
The requirement was to have simple trust and faith in the Lord.
- Covenant with Moses. Exodus 19 – 24
The Mosaic covenant applied to the people of Israel, and God promised to bless them as his own.
He gave Moses a list of commandments (10) and enabled the people to understand that this was for their own protection and understanding of how to keep covenant with their God. It still applies today and gives us boundaries as to live with God and our neighbour. Jesus declares love as the greatest commandment of all for God and each other and it still is the best way to live life.
- Covenant with David 2 Samuel 7:1-17
David was called by God to be the shepherd ruler of Israel and would provide rule and reign after the disastrous rule of Saul.
The covenant from God was that one of his sons – Solomon would build the temple in Jerusalem
And also that one day from his line the Messiah would come from the same tribe of Judah and establish a kingdom which would have now end.
- The new Covenant. Jeremiah 31:31- 34 and Joel 2: 28 – 29
Jeremiah prophesied about this new covenant in Jeremiah 31: 31 -34, 50:5 and Joel also prophesied about it in 2: 28 -29
Because the Old covenant was written on stone and God knew that it would lead to death, he gave us a New Covenant which would be written on the hearts of men and woman all around the earth and no-one would be excluded. This new covenant was ushered in on the day of Pentecost with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit but it began before that at the time of the beginning of the ministry of Jesus and even before that at his birth.
Another event in history made this clear that the old covenant was fulfilled in all who Christ is and that was the destruction of the temple in 70ad. This is not to say that the Old Testament and the covenant which God made has no relevance, but rather that it is complete and fulfilled in Christ. Otherwise we would have to fulfill all The Talmud notes that the Hebrew numerical value (gematria) of the word “Torah” is 611, and combining Moses’s 611 commandments with the first two of the Ten Commandments which were the only ones heard directly from God, adds up to 613. It is impossible to keep all these laws or to keep all the requirements and therefore we are required to live under the new covenant of the love of Christ.
Conclusion 2 Cor 3: 1 – 18.
2 Cor 3 Makes this so clear and I conclude with Paul’s powerful words :
3 Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, like some people, letters of recommendation to you or from you? 2 You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone. 3 You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.
4 Such confidence we have through Christ before God. 5 Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. 6 He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
The Greater Glory of the New Covenant
7 Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, transitory though it was, 8 will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? 9 If the ministry that brought condemnation was glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness! 10 For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory.
11 And if what was transitory came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts!
12 Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold.
13 We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to prevent the Israelites from seeing the end of what was passing away. 14 But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. 15 Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts.
16 But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate[a] the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.