Sermon:
“I will be your God, and you will be My people”
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 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.

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: “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:

· 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=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