A New Covenant 2019
Blessings of the Covenant
This morning we are going to have a shotgun sermon. Most of my sermon are sniper rifle sermons. I attempt to aim at a specific target. I want to have one point in a sermon and I focus on that single concept. I want you to be get the point. This morning I am not going to do that. This morning I have shotgun. I am not going to hit one target I am going to hit everything. I am going to spray you with all kinds of points.
I am using a shotgun this morning for a single purpose… I want you to be overwhelmed by the blessings we have in the New Covenant. I don’t expect you to remember all the blessings but I expect you to be overwhelmed, at least whelmed.
In our Seven Elements of an Effective Biblical Covenant number 3 is…
1) Covenants create relationships by giving identity.
2) There is a superior person and an inferior person in a covenant.
3) Valuable blessings are granted from the superior to the inferior.
4) Binding words of commitment are exchanged.
Subpoint… Covenants are often renewed!
5) A sacrifice cuts the Covenant.
Subpoint… Meals are involved in Covenants.
6) There is an associated symbol to remember.
Often for children.
7) New Names and new Places are created.
We are going to blast through the blessings which are granted to us, the inferiors, by the superior being; Our LORD God!
So, this sermon is going to be fast, and, perhaps, a little furious.
Blessing #1 Identity
Covenants create identity. We, who are in covenant with God, are unique. We have been given a special relationship with God. The covenant makes us who we are! We are connected to God.
It is like being adopted. Imagine… a couple going to a orphans’ home. The kids are all lined up. (I realize they don’t do it this way, now.) All the kids are cleaned up and looking shiny. The couple goes down the line. They are drawn to a cute, little, shy girl. “She’s the one we want.” They sign the papers entering into a covenant with the little girl. Her name is changed. She has a new last name. The couple treats her as their daughter. She is given identity in her new family.
What a wonderful blessing! In the new Covenant we become the family of God!
--God is our father who cares for his children.
--Christ is our brother who knows what it is like to be us.
--We are born again into this covenant family.
--We are then heirs of our Father. We have an inheritance.
Romans 8:14-17 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, "Abba! Father!" The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs- heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
Knowing who you are, your spot, your place, your connection, your identity is a wonderfulblessing.
Along with identity, comes purpose.
Blessing #2 Purpose
To live aimlessly in this life is a curse. To only have satisfying yourself, as a goal, is shallow. To focus on being all you can be… is pointless. But, having direction, having a point, having a purpose is a marvelous blessing.
I have always loved that scene in Jesus’s parable of the talents. The master returns from a journey after giving his servant 5 talents of gold. The servant, who knew the purpose; the servant who knew his reason; the servant who did the master’s will…
Matthew 25:19-21 “Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, 'Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.' His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.'”
I serve a Master… that Master sets my agenda. My Master gives me purpose. When that Master returns, I want to say… “Here I have made five talents more.” I want more than anything to hear… “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
It is a blessing to know you are doing the Master’s will. We are called as children of God to advance his kingdom in this world. We are called to bring His will to this world! Purpose is a marvelous blessing.
With that purpose comes immunity.
Blessing #3 Immunity
Another excellent blessing is living with immunity. We live with identity as children of God. We live with purpose to advance our Master’s kingdom… this identity and purpose comes with accident forgiveness. You have heard the insurance commercials which claim that after so many years without an accident you get accident forgiveness. One wreck, that is your fault, is not going to raise your insurance rates. We have a better deal than that!
From the beginning, as soon as we enter the covenant as his children, with his purpose, we have immunity from sin. Mistakes are not going to change our identity or derail our purpose. Say that again… Our mistakes don’t get us sent back to the orphanage. Our failures can be turned into victory!
1 John 1:5-7 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.
Paul says it more succinctly…
Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
As we live in the covenant our mistakes are not show-stoppers. We simply buck-up and keep on being his children. We simply give it to Him and keep on with our purpose! We simply repent and He covers it up!
Accident forgiveness accompanies the covenant. This is an excellent blessing!
Identity, purpose and immunity is possible because we have… (ready for blessing #4?) the Spirit living within us.
Blessing #4 Indwelling Spirit
God has always wanted to walk with a people who love him. The Mosaic Tabernacle and then Solomon’s Temple were examples of that desire. But in the New Covenant, we have the gift of the Holy Spirit living within us. God is dwelling with his people. This is a spectacular blessing. To be accompanied through life is reassuring.
--I am assured of my identity because the Spirit is within.
--I am guided by the Spirit to live his purpose. I listen to the Spirit as he leads me to do his will. I advance His kingdom by the leading of the Spirit.
--I am not forsaken when I screw up… I am, rather, healed by the Spirit.
Romans 8:9-14 You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you… For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
We have God within us. This is a spectacular blessing.
The Spirit within leads to more blessings.
Blessing #5 Protection
Within the body of Christ there is protection from evil. It is like your immune system. Whenever some foreign germ invades your, your antibodies attack it… destroy it; turn it; make it go away. Within the body of Christ, we have a spiritual immune system. The body of Christ does not allow wrong to destroy us. Wrong attacks us. Harm, certainly, comes our way… sickness, heartache, hatefulness, anger invade. But, we can rely upon the body of Christ, filled with his Spirit, to protect us from evil. Protection is a comforting blessing!
1 John 4:4 Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
Say that with me…
Romans 8:31-39 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died- more than that, who was raised- who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword… No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
In the covenant, because of the Spirit, nothing can touch us! We rely upon our immune system! This is a comforting blessing!
But there is more than just protection from the Spirit.
Blessing #6 Conformity to His Image
One of the functions of the Holy Spirit within us is to make us more like Jesus. Throughout your life in the New Covenant there is continual upgrade. We have immunity, but we also have conformity! The Spirit is cleaning his temple! Conformity to Jesus is an enormous blessing.
Romans 8:26-29 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
Through the Spirit we are helped to be more like Jesus. Our prayers are turned into conformity to his image!
2 Corinthians 3:17-18 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
This is an enormous blessing to know that… the LORD is still working on me. To make me what I ought to be. It took him just a week to make the moon and the stars; sun and the earth and Jupiter and Mars. How loving and special I must be, cause He’s still working on me.
But the Spirit is the guarantee of one more blessing.
Blessing #7 Life
Romans 6:22-23 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. I possess an ongoing life. Death, our enemy, is destroyed… I have the gift, the precious gift of life, unending!
I am looking forward to the rest of my ongoing life. It is a precious gift!
That is my shotgun blast of blessings. We who are in covenant with God are blessed.
Ephesians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.
We are like a kid who got too many gifts on Christmas morning. We can’t even say which is our favorite. We move back and forth thinking of each blessing for just a moment, before we a drawn to another.
--Oh, I like purpose.
--But my favorite is life.
--No, I am thrilled by His indwelling.
--But He’s still working on me
--Wait, I am chosen by Him. I am a Son.
--But what about His covering – I got immunity!
--Don’t forget about protection – the one in me is bigger than anyone else
--Precious Ongoing life, enormous - conformity, wonderful - heirs, excellent - forgiveness, spectacular - temple, comforting - spiritual antibodies, marvelous - Well done…
We can’t make our mind up which is the best blessing. But then it dawns on us, there is a weight of blessings upon us. There is a weight of gifts. The blessings are so abundant it is a whelming weight of grace upon us. This weight should move us to stand and sing for God to Listen to our Hearts in praise.
September 8, 2019
Los Alamos Church of Christ