Sermon:
ďI will be your God, and you will be My peopleĒ
April 9, 2000

Text: Jeremiah 31.31-34; John 12.20-33

Opening
∑ 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.
∑ Footprints.

∑ 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 Godís 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 Godís promises in this new covenant.

Latin:
OT=Old Covenant
NT=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: ďI will be your God.Ē

∑ 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: ďand you will be my people.Ē

∑ Calling for our obedience to Godís 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 JCís blood, our link as a people, not as individuals.
∑ Israelites in exile--God will bring ďGodís peopleĒ together.
∑ Who are Godís people? JC shows us that all who believe are Godís people no matter what group we may belong to:

∑ race,
∑ gender,
∑ 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=oneís will -- it guides our will and our faithfulness.
∑ Discussion with recent friend
∑ Calls himself an existential atheist.
∑ Says, ďI have not been given the gift of faithĒ
∑ 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