Sermons

Summary: God’s plan for redemptive history is shown in the promises of the New Covenant promises of 1) Reconciliation, 2) Regeneration, 3) Possession, 4) Evangelization & 5) Satisfaction for Sin

In Canada, this is the Victoria Day weekend. In many ways its the strangest day on our holiday calendar. Some have said that it’s a Canadian holiday with no Canadian to cheer for -- sort of like watching an all-American Stanley Cup final. Queen Victoria was British. She never set foot in this country. In the U.S., Memorial Day is always observed on the last Monday in May. The holiday honors members of the military who died in service to their country. We as Canadian share so much with our American allies. Although we are allies in battle, the two countries of Canada and the United States celebrate two different holidays this weekend.

During the final siege of Jerusalem at the end of Zedekiah’s reign, the two tribes of Israel and Judah, both came to realize that their socially constructed world of the prophets was shown to be bankrupt, Jeremiah surprisingly began to preach sermons about God’s future plans for Israel and Judah in a series of poetic promises of a new day (30:1–31:40).

His sermons did not provide false hope like the deceptive prophets. At the time Jerusalem endured terror, pain, and an incurable problem (30:4–7, 12–15). Now that history was proving that Jeremiah’s hopeless prophecies from God were true, the people were finally persuaded to internalize his depressing view of reality for Jerusalem. But in the future God would deliver them from bondage, send their Davidic King, destroy their enemies, and compassionately restore the people to their land (30:8–11, 16–24). Jeremiah proclaimed a new world for the future that was not developed out of the people’s present worldview. He challenged them to transform their thinking, to imagine the possibility that God’s original promises could still be fulfilled in the future.

What could legitimate such a belief? God’s commitment to be their God and their covenant commitment to Him (31:1). God’s everlasting love and compassion, God’s act of bringing back the exiles, and His rich blessing on the land would bring joyful dancing back to Samaria and Zion (31:3–14). When God hears the sorrowful weeping of His chastised people who repent, then there will be hope. Jeremiah constructed a new vision of the future which included both Judah and Israel being built up and planted in the land (31:15–30). A new covenant would establish a close, revitalized relationship. God would forgive their sins, and they would know and follow God’s patterns for life (31:31–34; cf. Deut. 4:13; 30:5–6). Jeremiah pressed the people to accept God’s promise for the future in spite of their present hopeless situation, for it was absolutely as sure as day and night—nothing could change it (31:35–40) (Smith, G. V. (1994). The Prophets as Preachers : An Introduction to the Hebrew Prophets (216–218). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman.).

God has a plan for your future. He has a plan for your spiritual development, your marriage, and your life in general. God’s plan for you is centered on the provision and promises that stem from your new covenant blessings.

Jeremiah 31 is the only passage in the Old Testament that promises “a new covenant.” It is the one place in the Old Covenant that lists the promises of the New Covenant. And since a covenant is also called a “testament,” it is the passage that gives the New Testament its name.

God’s plan for redemptive history is shown in the promises of the New Covenant. In it, the New Covenant promises 1) Reconciliation (Jeremiah 31:31-32), 2) Regeneration (Jeremiah 31:33a), 3) Possession (Jeremiah 31:33b), 4) Evangelization. (Jeremiah 31:34a), 5) Satisfaction for sin: (Jeremiah 31:34b).

1) First, the New Covenant promised Reconciliation, (Jeremiah 31:31-32),

Jeremiah 31:31-32 [31]"Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, [32]not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the LORD. (ESV)

The background to this announcement is the covenant inaugurated between Yahweh and Israel at Sinai (Exod. 19:1–24:11). Integral to that covenant was the concept of Yahweh as the sovereign Lord of the Covenant who laid upon those who accepted it the stipulations of the covenant. The continued existence of the covenant depended on the continuing recognition of Yahweh as Lord, and continuing obedience to the terms of the covenant (Jer. 11:1–8). Failure to obey these laws would result in judgment and the operation of the curses of the covenant. Obedience brought the covenant blessings.

A covenant is an agreement between two or more parties in which obligations are placed on one or both. ...the “grant” was between parties of unequal power in which the stronger obligated himself for the benefit of the weaker party without reciprocal demands (e.g., with Noah in Gen 9:8–17, with Abraham in Gen 12:1–3, and with David in 2 Sam 7:11–16) The covenant was the primary model God chose to use in communicating to Israel the nature of the relationship they would have with him. The foundation for that relationship was God’s promise to Abraham of an innumerable offspring and a land where he would bless them forever. They would also be the channel through which he would bless all the nations (Gen 12:1–3; 15:1–21; 17:1–27). There was a conditional element to the covenant in that faith, signified by circumcision and by right behavior (Gen 17:9–14; 18:19; Deut 10:12–22; 30:6), was required of Abraham’s descendants in order to qualify as heirs of the promises. Nevertheless, it was a grant in that Abraham was assured of its ultimate fulfillment and of a perpetual “remnant” of believing descendants. (Huey, F. (2001). Vol. 16: Jeremiah, Lamentations (electronic ed.). Logos Library System; The New American Commentary (281). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.)

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