Our theme this year is Hope Found Here, and this month we are considering the Hope of the Covenant.

Our faith is based on an everlasting, unchangeable covenant with God. Our salvation is not based on us being ‘good enough’, or ticking the right boxes, or trying to ‘be better’ or ‘doing good works’.

I am saved, you are saved because of the covenant we have entered into with God. This idea of covenant is seen throughout the Bible from Genesis to Revelation.

This morning I want to speak to you about A Covenant of Faith and a man named Abraham.

Listen to the words of the Apostle Paul from Romans chapter 4: “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.” (Romans 4:3)

“Clearly, God’s promise to give the whole earth to Abraham and his descendants was based not on his obedience to God’s law, but on a right relationship with God that comes by faith. If God’s promise is only for those who obey the law, then faith is not necessary and the promise is pointless. For the law always brings punishment on those who try to obey it. (The only way to avoid breaking the law is to have no law to break!) So the promise is received by faith. It is given as a free gift. And we are all certain to receive it, whether or not we live according to the law of Moses, if we have faith like Abraham’s. For Abraham is the father of all who believe.” (Romans 4:13-16)

Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping—believing that he would become the father of many nations. For God had said to him, “That’s how many descendants you will have!” And Abraham’s faith did not weaken, even though, at about 100 years of age, he figured his body was as good as dead—and so was Sarah’s womb. Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises. And because of Abraham’s faith, God counted him as righteous. And when God counted him as righteous, it wasn’t just for Abraham’s benefit. It was recorded for our benefit, too, assuring us that God will also count us as righteous if we believe in him, the one who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He was handed over to die because of our sins, and he was raised to life to make us right with God. (Romans 4:18-25)

Abraham is a wonderful example of how the Christian life is meant to be lived - we are meant to live a life of covenant faith - trusting God. Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping, and we should live by faith in the same way. Abraham was in a covenant relationship with God, a relationship that gave him hope.

Was everything in Abraham’s life simple and easy? No! He had problems, situations and circumstances throughout his life that brought worry and fear. Yet Abraham trusted God. Abraham found his reason for hope was God.

I want us to spend a few moments considering the covenant God made with Abraham in Genesis chapter 15. Abraham was still known as Abram at this time.

Every covenant with God has a beginning, so let me give you a quick overview of Genesis 14 to put Genesis 15 into context. The city-kings around the Dead Sea paid tribute to kings to the north of Palestine. When the city kings rebelled the kings from the north invaded through modern day Jordan on the east side of the Jordan River.

A battle took place to the north of Sodom in a valley on the South East corner of the Dead Sea.

During the battle, Abram’s nephew Lot was kidnapped. After the battle the armies took their spoils of war and their prisoners and returned to the city of Dan in northern Israel.

Abram lived near Hebron on the west side of the Jordan River and he took 318 men on a journey of hundreds of miles to go and rescue Lot. It is interesting that after being treated pretty badly by Lot, Abram was still willing to risk his life to rescue Lot.

There is hope found here. This is a picture of how God seeks to rescue people who choose to ignore Him, the difference is Jesus actually gave His life for our freedom, Jesus gave His life to save us from the captivity of sin.

Abram rescues Lot and the other people who had been captured. Abram also recovers all the things that had been stolen.

Then the king, Melchizedek, blesses Abram. Melchizedek was a Canaanite gentile not a Jew. Melchizedek was a king and a priest - He brings out bread and wine - remind you of anything?

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Dean Courtier

commented on Feb 21, 2018

The audio recording of this sermon is available here:

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