Summary: The Christian faith is based on an everlasting, unchangeable covenant with God. Our salvation is because of the covenant of love we have entered into with God.
Our theme this year is Hope Found Here, and this month we are considering the Hope of the Covenant.
To focus our thoughts this morning listen to the words of Romans 15:4 (NIV) says, “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”
The Christian 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.
In non-Biblical terms, a covenant is a legal, binding agreement or contract. When you get married, take out a loan, rent a house, or sign a document, you enter into a type of covenant; an agreement in which both parties make certain promises to one another.
In Biblical terms, a covenant between God and His people has an even greater significance, it forms the foundation of how God interacts with His people.
The covenant most often referred to by Jesus as “The Law” is the Mosaic Covenant. Given to Moses at Mount Sinai, this covenant laid out the rules for how God’s chosen people would agree to live.
In Old Testament times God gave many rules, regulations and commandments that His people were meant to live by, probably the ones we know most are The Ten Commandments. The problem with the Old Testament covenant was that no matter how hard a person tried to live in the way God wanted them to live, no person was able to keep their side of the covenant!
The law gave the guidelines of how God wanted people to live and what a sinless life should look like, but for every human who has ever lived it was an impossible standard for us to ever reach on our own.
BUT God, had a plan. John 3:16-18 says, “For this is how God loved the world: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. “There is no judgment against anyone who believes in Him. But anyone who does not believe in Him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son.”
There is hope found here! Here is the truth of the Gospel, the good news of the new covenant established by God, a new covenant established with each of us when we accept Jesus as our Lord and Saviour.
God in His love, in His mercy, gives us the opportunity to be saved, saved not by law but by the grace of God! The new covenant is established through what Jesus did on the cross, Jesus born the punishment we deserved, full atonement, Jesus paid the penalty for our sin in full.
By trusting in Jesus and in Jesus alone, we are saved and brought into the promises of the new covenant. This new, everlasting covenant is so different from the previous one. The laws of the old covenant were impossible to keep, the new covenant is based on our faith and trust in Jesus as Lord and Saviour.
Jesus fulfilled the old covenant completely so that through faith in Him, our sins are forgiven and we are assured of a place in Heaven. Hallelujah!
The Hope we find here is God’s beautiful mercy to us in the new covenant is we are saved not by works, but by faith.
Well that was the introduction, let’s get into the main part of the message. We are only a few days away from Valentine’s Day, so this morning I want us to think about covenant love and covenant faith.
We are going to consider a love story that begins with despair and ends with delight, the Old Testament book of Ruth. Ruth is a story of love and loyalty and covenant, but we’re separated by thousands of miles and thousands of years from its setting.
The Book of Ruth is still very significant to the Jewish people. During the festival of “Shavuot,” the entire book is sung or read out loud. On the Thursday night of the festival, many people stay up all night to study the Book of Ruth. It’s also customary to eat dairy foods throughout the festival because the Torah is likened to the sweetness of milk and honey.
There is something special about stories where everything in life is falling apart, things look hopeless and broken, the situation is desperate, but then somehow it all comes together and there’s wholeness and a happy ending. I think the reason we like those kind of stories, is that, for all of us, things at times feel hopeless, things in our lives can feel like they’re falling apart.