"THE NEW COVENANT."
Intro. The purpose of a covenant was to establish the terms of a relationship.
I. GOD'S COVENANT WITH ISRAEL IS FOUND IN
A. The promises of the covenant.
1. They would receive seasonal rains that would cause their crops to flourish.
2. They would have an abundance and would dwell in the land in safety.
3. They would live in peace and without fear.
4. God would rid the wild beasts out of the land.
5. They would have victory over their enemies.
6. They would be fruitful and multiply.
7. He would walk among them and be their God and they would be His people.
8. What wonderful promises!
B. This covenant was conditioned on their obedience to His law.
1. God prefaced all of these promises with the words of
Lev. 26:3, "If you walk in My statutes, and keep My commandments and do them."
2. The Ten Commandments spelled out God's conditions for enjoying the benefits of living in fellowship with Him.
3. In Deuteronomy, God said to the people,
C. A wonderful covenant full of rich and precious promises but conditioned on their faithfulness and obedience to God.
D. As wonderful and rich as it was, it failed, because the people failed to keep their end of the bargain.
E. The Lord commanded Jeremiah
II. GOD HAS ESTABLISHED A NEW COVENANT.
A. In verse 8, the writer quotes from
Jeremiah 31:31, where God said, "Behold the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah."
B. The new covenant will not be like the covenant that he made with their fathers.
1. It would not be a covenant engraved in the tables of stone.
a. God was faithful to that covenant, but the people were not.
b. Over and over as we have noted, they broke that covenant.
2. The new covenant would be written in our hearts.
C. I understand this to mean that God will change us from within. God said through the prophet Ezekiel,
D. To Jeremiah God said,
E. This new covenant was established with man through Jesus Christ.
1. Jesus said to His disciples, "This cup is a new covenant in My blood, which is shed for the remission of sin."
F. In this new covenant, God gives me a new heart, a new life.
1. In Corinthians we read,
2. To the Colossians Paul wrote,
3. Paul wrote to the Philippians,
4. Many hesitate to enter into the Christian life, for they say, "I can't live up to the standards that are required to be a Christian."
a. Some say, "I would like to be a Christian, but I can't give up my booze."
b. Others say they can't give up their illicit sex.
c. Still others feel they can't give up the excitment they experience through pornography.
d. It is true that you can't give these things up, but once you are born again and become a new creature in Christ, they just fall off. "Old things are passed away, and behold all things become new."
e. It is not a matter of driving the darkness out of your life, it is a matter of turning on the light and the darkness automatically disappears.
f. It is a matter of replacement. He fills you so full of His life, love and joy, there is just not room in your life anymore for that junk that was destroying you.
g. People are so often worried about what they will have to give up to follow Jesus Christ. It is not a matter of giving up, it is a matter of gaining so much, there is just not room any more for the evil things that once were so important to you.
h. You can be sure that God will not require you to give up one decent thing.
Psalm 37 we read,
1. That does not mean that He will give you your heart's desire.
2. I understand that to mean, that He will put His desires in your heart.
3. That is, He will write His desires in the fleshly tablets of your heart so that your strong desires become a revelation of His will.
4. He will make His will known by placing in your heart the strong longings and desires.
5. You will be able to say as did the psalmist,
H. The first covenant that failed, was imposing the law from the outside in, the new covenant is putting the law within.
1. The old covenant was coming from the outside in.
2. The new is coming from the inside out.
III. WHY THE NEW COVENANT IS SUPERIOR AND WILL STAND.
A. It is established on better promises.
B. It is established on better principles.
1. The first covenant depended on the faithfulness of man to keep the commandments of God.
2. The new covenant is dependant on the faithfulness of God to keep His promises to us.
C. The new covenant begins when you are born again by the Spirit of God.
1. This takes place when you decide to allow Jesus to become the Lord of your life.
2. You turn the reins over to Him that He might lead and guide you in His ways.
3. He then comes and begins to dwell within you, and by His indwelling presence, He begins to change your life. Old things of the flesh begin to pass away, and everything becomes new.
4. If you are a true child of God, you can no longer live in sin, you may on occasion fall in the mud, but you don't lie there.
5. John tells us that He that is begotten of God keeps him, and the wicked one touches him not.
6. Jude wrote,