Summary: Man could not keep the covenant with God so a new covenant was required that we might be saved according to the will of God.
A New Covenant
Text: Jeremiah 31:31-34
I was channel surfing the other day, that’s how I spent my time during commercial breaks when watching TV, and as I went past the comedy channel I paused because the featured performer was talking about the bible.
ILL: Comedian Lewis Black talks about the bible:
(paraphrasing) “…The book of my people, the Jewish people. And that book wasn’t good enough for you Christians, was it? No, you had to have a better book with a better character, “you’re going to love it!” And you called your book “new” and said that our book was “ollllld.””
Now I don’t suggest that we look for spiritual enlightenment in the act of a comedian but I had the thought as I heard these words: “It wasn’t us!”
It wasn’t “Christians which drew the distinction between the old and the new, it was God!” The words of Jesus:
Luke 22:19 - 20 And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood.”
Some 2,500 years earlier, the prophet Jeremiah was given a look into the future. Jeremiah was shown by God a day in which the “old” ways of thinking about right and wrong, love and duty, sin and forgiveness, would give way to righteousness and grace. Jeremiah was shown a bold new Covenant; a new kind of living that God would bring to his people. And in Jesus, that vision was brought to life. It is a bold and blessed new day for those who have faith to accept it. There is a new emphasis in the new Covenant that God said he would make with his people.
I. A New Covenant
A. The emphasis on Relationship not Rules (Jeremiah 31:32)
Jeremiah 31:31 - 32 “Behold, days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares the LORD.
1. A covenant was a binding agreement between Man and God. Throughout Israel’s history God made many agreements with his people.
a. One of the greatest was the covenant God made with his people Israel on Mount Sinai when Moses was given the 10 Commandments on tablets of stone.
b. In the covenant there were do’s and don’ts for God’s people to obey, these are called laws. There are laws upon laws given. There were laws against breaking laws.
c. In fact there was a sum total of 600 or more laws that Israel received from God to cover every area of life.
d. For generations God’s people learned to think of God as a matter of Law. God was the God who lived in the clouds of a high and holy mountain, who spoke in the thunder demanding complete obedience. (As when God spoke the ten commandments)
Exodus 20:18 - 20 All the people perceived the thunder and the lightning flashes and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood at a distance. Then they said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen; but let not God speak to us, or we will die.” Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid; for God has come in order to test you, and in order that the fear of Him may remain with you, so that you may not sin.”
2. God said the Old was a broken Covenant
"Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read in the hearing of the people. And they said, All that the Lord has said we will do, and be obedient." (Exodus 24:7, NKJV)
"And the Lord said to Moses, Go, get down! For your people whom you brought out of the land of Egypt have corrupted themselves. "They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them. (Exodus 32:7-8)
a. The old is good with it comes the knowledge of sin and death: Romans 7:7- 12
b. The old Covenant would give way to the new because the people could not keep their part (Jeremiah 31:32).
c. "For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit." (Romans 8:3-4, NKJV)