The New Deal
1. Our country and our churches are not in the best of shape. It is easy to become negative or cynical, but we need to remember that things could be worse, much worse.
2. When God’s people are not taking Him seriously, it can be confusing. But the truth is that not all who claim to know Christ do, in fact, know Him. We assume that those who have made professions of faith have truly believed because only God sees the heart, we cannot. But sometimes we cannot help suspecting otherwise.
3. Jeremiah was frustrated. He had preached God’s Word, but the people were simply not receptive. The problem was not Jeremiah’s technique, nor his delivery -- but the people. They simply did not have hearts that were disposed towards the true God. Religion, yes, but a relationship with the true God, no.
4. They worshipped idols, offered their children in sacrifice to pagan gods, and considered it narrow to believe that Yahweh was the only God, and that He was to receive all the glory and to be obeyed completely.
5. After suffering persecution and rejection, God revealed to Jeremiah about a time in the future -- a time when the Jewish nation would be completely disposed toward God. A time when they would want to serve Him because their hearts were changed. This is called the New Covenant.
6. This is the focus of the Book of Jeremiah. The book is arranged like an arrow, with the tip of the arrow being the passage before us today.
7. A covenant is simply an agreement between God and man. It might be conditional (like a contract) or simply an announcement of God’s intention. Either way, attached to a covenant are expectations. But the New Covenant is a covenant of personal transformation. When you hear NC, think personal transformation.
Main Idea: Regenerate believers since the time of Jesus – including most of us -- have begun to experience the New Covenant, the nation of Israel will experience the New Covenant in the future, and these realities need to be clarified and applied.
I. The New Covenant Is Only for the REGENERATE (31-34)
Everyone under the New Covenant is regenerate, therefore only regenerate people are part of the New Covenant…
Today, my first point is not strictly from the text; two comings [mystery]
A. How this CONTRASTS with the Old Covenant
1. Older [Mosaic] made with a visible nation, not individuals from all nations; Jeremiah does not mention the gentiles, although Isaiah does
2. A Jew was born into the Old Covenant, but one enters the New Covenant through being born-again, spiritual birth, what we call regeneration.
3. In the Older C, the covenant people consisted of both regenerate (transformed) and unregenerate, saved and unsaved people. No clear distinction made.
4. The NC is both more restrictive and less; spiritual criteria, not genetic…
5. In other words, God does not offer a New Covenant to those who never had the Old Covenant, so we non-Jews share in the Jewish New Covenant -- our only Covenant, unless we go back to Noah...
In John 4:22, Jesus is speaking to the Woman at the Well, "You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews."
I Corinthians 15:27b, "For if the Gentiles have shared in the Jews’ spiritual blessings, they owe it to the Jews to share with them their material blessings."
Romans 9:3-5, "For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race, the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption as sons; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen."
B. OT Believers: Regenerate but not INDWELT
The "Law of God" on the heart (3 Levels)
1. Conscience (used in Romans of gentiles who did not have the Mosaic Law)
2. The New Nature -- an intensification of conscience & desire to serve God
3. The Holy Spirit (the NC advantage) Who indwells and empowers
• God the Holy Spirit is transforming us through the Word, experiences in life, using other believers, praying for us, assuring us…
C. All N.C. People Are FORGIVEN and KNOW the Lord
• Under the Old Covenant, the Jewish people leaving Egypt had to ask Moses to pray for them …perhaps because many of them were unsaved…
• Under the OC, some people knew the Lord, while some (most?) did not
• This doesn’t mean that we know everything about the Lord, or that we cannot know Him better; it means, rather, that we are now in relationship with Him.
• The New Covenant involves personal transformation…changed lives…
D. The INVISIBLE Church
E. Jesus ROLLED Out the N.C. At the Last Supper
• When Jesus instituted the New Covenant when He presented the ritual of the Covenant, the Lord’s Supper; note that the disciples did not eat the middle matzo or drink the cup of redemption until Judas had left…
• Jesus established this New Covenant with the remnant of Jews who believed and later with believing gentiles.
• The basis of the NC is the sacrificial death of Christ and His resurrection, the age of the NC was official at Pentecost
II. Upon His Return, JESUS Will Roll Out The NC for All Israel (35-37)
A. Since God is SOVEREIGN, He Can Regenerate an Entire Nation!
Despite Israel’s unbelief and rejection … He will cause that last generation of Jews to embrace Jesus by faith. This is technically called unconditional election; God will make it happen very much like He zapped Paul on the road to Damascus.
B. LOGIC demands it
NC is just for the Regenerate, and experienced by all Israel, then Israel must become regenerate.
This will occur in God’s time when the "full number of Gentiles has come in…"
Romans 11:25-26a, "I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved…"
C. The stars TESTIFY to the literalness of God’s Promise
III. Clarifications and APPLICATIONS
A. Two Big DIFFERENCES Between the Covenants
1. The Criteria of REGENERATION
2. The INDWELLING of the Spirit
B. The "Sets of Rules" Issue is NOT the Primary Issue
1. Rather, it is how I RELATE to God
2. God’s PURPOSES for Israel and the Church are similar in that they are to glorify Him, but differ as to how they do that
Romans 14:1-8, Acts 21
The day after the wedding, we had to drop Luke off at Moody. Right in back of the visitor’s parking lot was a Pakistani cafeteria. A real dive, but dives often have the best food. I ordered my favorite, goat; Luke had fish and Marylu and Hannah chicken.
As I was standing in line, the small eating area was filled with Arab men in white hats. One went to a Mic, I think, and began chanting an afternoon prayer to Allah.
Those men there were sincere, they were devout, they were religious, but they were not born-again; they were not part of the New Covenant, not because they were particularly bad or worse than anyone else. But they simply did not know the true God.
We do not have to leave Christendom to find such examples. We have plenty of them within the evangelical church, and have had a number of examples of this here at HPC.
Is God real in your life? Is He active? Are you be transformed? Do you desire to know God better? Are you spiritually alive? If not, my prayer is that God will give You a heart that seeks Him.
C. Have you entered the New Covenant by New BIRTH?