Summary: We must be made new, fresh--sometimes every day. We must then renew over and over again, our intimate relationship with our God and we can continue to be God’s people, living in community with one another, signified by the meals that we share.
“I will be your God, and you will be My people”
April 9, 2000
Text: Jeremiah 31.31-34; John 12.20-33
· Only through death can there be life:
· The seed dies in order that the plant may grow.
· Construction re-modeling--everything is gutted so that a whole new house may be built.
· Israelites in exile, hitting rock bottom, giving up on God--then they cry for help so that they may be rebuilt as a nation.
· This is the human condition: we cry for help in our low times and God pulls us out because we are so trusting.
· When a child is hurt, even though he may run away from his parents, he runs back because he knows that the parent will be there to help heal the wound.
· So it is with God.
· When we hit rock bottom, when our questions become doubts and all is lost, it is then that our will takes over and we WANT to trust in God’s promises--the promises of the new covenant.
· It is through these experiences that we learn to trust God and grow in our relationship with God--we learn to trust God’s promises in this new covenant.
Three promises: I will be your God, and you will my people. And this will be written upon your hearts.
I. First promise in new covenant: “I will be your God.”
· Covenant initiated by God--God is reaching out to us, only God could do this
· People of Israel broke the old covenant given to them through Moses (set of laws, commandments)
· God of grace and forgiveness
· God who is revealed to us.
· God who seeks an intimate relationship with us--our God, available to us every minute of every day.
· No longer needing an intermediary, JC is our intermediary, our direct link to God.
II. Second promise: “and you will be my people.”
· Calling for our obedience to God’s will through faithfulness.
· Calling for us to be intentional about our faith, pro-active in how we respond.
· Communion--this is our sign, the covenant set in JC’s blood, our link as a people, not as individuals.
· Israelites in exile--God will bring “God’s people” together.
· Who are God’s people? JC shows us that all who believe are God’s people no matter what group we may belong to:
· past wrongs,
· criminal record,
· sexual orientation
· anyone who believes--the gospel reaches to some of the farthest places in this world.
III. Third promise: It will be written upon your hearts
· Message is in us, a part of who we are, our very identity--our guiding force (the light to our path)
· It is free, already there for the taking, ready to be accepted.
· Heart=one’s will -- it guides our will and our faithfulness.
· Discussion with recent friend
· Calls himself an existential atheist.
· Says, “I have not been given the gift of faith”
· But interested
· Wants to know
· It is there inside of him, waiting to be discovered.
· Already has the capacity--much like many of us (Virtual Faith)
· Israelites: renewal of the old laws in a new form--a new attitude. (Jesus brought this)
· Love the Lord your God with everything you have inside you (which is from God)