Intro. Webster's Dictionary defines covenant as a formal, solemn and binding, agreement. Throughout the scriptures we find God offering many covenants.
I. GOD'S COVENANT WITH NOAH THAT HE WOULD NEVER AGAIN DESTROY THE EARTH WITH A FLOOD.
A. First note that God initiated the covenant. "I establish My covenant with you."
1. This is true of the covenants in the Bible, God is the initiator
2. I used to think that I was the initiator and God was the responder, I was always trying to do things so that God would respond to me.
3. That was the motivation behind so much of what I did.
4. I used to fast, in hopes that God would respond to my self denial.
5. I was taught that God blesses those who praise Him, so I would praise the Lord, in hopes of being blessed.
B. I thought that somehow I could force God to respond to my wishes if I was faithful in my giving and devotions.
1. I was seeking to earn God's favor.
2. What an eye opener to discover the grace of God and to realize His infinite love that causes Him to want to bless me.
3. When this took place I found myself responding to God. I was no longer praising God to receive a blessing, but praising God for His blessings.
4. I was no longer serving God out of a sense of duty but as Paul said, "The love of Christ constrains me."
C. The difference between works and fruit.
1. Works are my effort to get God to respond to me.
2. Fruit is my response to the goodness and grace of God towards me.
D. The covenant was to Noah and his seed after him. We have all descended from Noah, so we also benefit from the covenant.
E. The covenant was that God would never again destroy the earth and it's inhabitants with a flood.
F. The token of the covenant was the rainbow in the sky.
1. Prior to the flood it had never rained, so that man had never before seen a rainbow.
2. Seeing the rainbow in the sky what do you think of?
a. The pot of gold at the end of the rainbow?
b. It was intended by God to cause you to think of His faithfulness in keeping His promises.
II. GOD HAD MADE A COVENANT IN THE GARDEN AT THE TIME OF ADAM AND EVE'S SIN, HE DECLARED THAT HE WOULD PUT ENMITY BETWEEN THE SEED OF SATAN AND THE SEED OF THE WOMAN, AND THAT THE SEED OF THE WOMAN WOULD BRUISE THE HEAD OF SATAN THOUGH SATAN WOULD BRUISE HIS HEEL.
A. This is the first suggestion that the Messiah would be born of a virgin.
B. God later stated this more clearly in Isaiah 7
Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
C. Matthew tells us:
Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah happened like this: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.
Then Joseph her husband, being a just [man], and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privately.
But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.
And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.
Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,
Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
D. Luke tells us:
The angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,
To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name [was] Mary.
And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, [thou that art] highly favored, the Lord [is] with thee: blessed [art] thou among women.
And when she saw [him], she was troubled at his saying, and wondered, what kind of greeting is this?
And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favor with God.
And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.
He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:
And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?
And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
III. GOD MADE A COVENANT WITH ABRAHAM THAT HE WOULD BE A PROGENITOR OF THE MESSIAH.
A. It was after Abraham passed the supreme test of obedience, and faith in the promises of God, by offering up his son, his only son Issac whom he loved, to God, according to the request of God:
God said, By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld thy son, thine only [son]:
In blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which [is] upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies;
And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.
1. In Paul's commentary on this passage in his letter to the Galatians, he noted that the promise was unto his seed, singular, not seeds plural that is many, and that seed is Christ.
B. Interesting facets to the story of Abraham offering Issac.
1. God said take now thy son, thy only son, whom thou lovest. Wait a minute God aren't you forgetting something, what about Ishmael the son of Abraham by Hagar, the bondwoman? He was the work of the flesh, it is interesting that God does not acknowledge the works of our flesh.
2. Offer him as a burnt offering sacrifice on a mount that I will show you.
3. Abraham journeyed with his servants and Issac for three days to Mount Moriah, during which time his son was dead in the mind of his father.
4. As they left the servants at the base of the hill, Abraham declared to the servants that he and the lad were going to worship God and would return. Abraham had been promised by God that through Issac would his seed be called. Abraham believed that God would raise Issac from the dead if necessary in order to keep His promise.
5. As Abraham and Issac were going up the mountain together Issac said, "We have the wood and the fire, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?" Abraham responded with those remarkable prophetic words, "God will provide Himself a lamb for a burnt offering."
6. As Abraham was ready to obey God and offer his son, God halted him and directed him to a ram, caught by it's horns in a thicket.
7. Abraham called the name of the place Yahovah, yirah declaring "In the mount of the Lord it shall be seen." As you put together the two statements of Abraham you find something quite remarkable. "God will provide Himself a lamb for a burnt offering, on the mount of the Lord it shall be seen."
8. It is not by coincidence that two thousand years later on this same mount that Jesus hung on the cross as God provided Himself a lamb for the sacrifice, thus bringing through Jesus a descendant of Abraham a blessing upon all the nations of the world. For it was on Mount Moriah that through Jesus Christ, God's only Son whom he loved, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself.
IV. GOD LATER MADE A COVENANT WITH DAVID THE HE TOO WOULD BE A PROGENITOR OF THE MESSIAH.
A. He promised that of David's seed would one sit on the throne forever.
1. David understood this to mean that he would be a progenitor of the Messiah.
2. The prophet Isaiah wrote: "For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called wonderful counsellor the mighty God the everlasting Father, and of the increase of government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order and establish it in judgment and justice from henceforth even forever, the zeal of the Lord of Hosts shall perform this.
B. In the fullness of time the promised seed of Abraham and David came, born of a virgin in Bethlehem, and was declared by John the Baptist to be the Lamb of God who would take away the sins of the world.
V. ON THE EVE OF THE DAY THAT JESUS WAS CRUCIFIED, HE HAD THE PASSOVER SUPPER WITH HIS DISCIPLES, AND AS HE TOOK THE CUP, HE SAID, "THIS CUP IS A NEW COVENANT IN MY BLOOD WHICH IS SHED FOR THE REMISSION OF SINS.
A. The God who loves to make covenants with men is offering you a covenant today.
B. If you will put your faith and trust in His Son, Jesus Christ, He will cleanse you from all your sin, and you can spend the rest of your life and all eternity in the glory and joy of fellowship with Him.