Sermons

Summary: Topic - First in a series on the covenant. Theme - The covenant according to O. Palmer Robertson, is a "bond in blood, divinely administered." Today we discuss this definition.

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Introductory Considerations

1. As I looked ahead, thinking and praying about what God would have me preach to you this fall, I sensed we need to work on our relationships - with our spouses, parents, children, families, and with one another in church.

2. But as contemplate this, I though we should first of all look at the most important relationship each one of us have. For it is the understanding this relationship that forms the basis of all of our other relationships.

3. As I told children, each one of us is related to God. This is true for believers and non-believers.

4. As Christians - it is to be basis for life and for faith - for all things. As SS and Catechism teachers, no matter what the lesson is specifically about, remember that the underlying thing you are teaching your class is about their relationship with God.

4. As parents it is imperative we teach this.(Deut 4:9) THEM refers to covenant. Yet the Israelites would fail to do this . The result is recorded in Judg 2:10.

5. They forgot their relationship with God - they did not know Him. We need to understand, teach and live out our relationship with God.

6. And so we will spend a number of Sundays considering the relationship that we have with God. And we will see that we are related to God whether we agreed to be related to Him or not, just as related to parents - we can’t do anything about it - its a fact.

7. The basis of the relationship we have with God is the COVENANT that God has made and continues to make with each one of us. I hope that in a fresh way, we may gain a greater understanding and appreciation for the covenant God makes with us

8. Today we will consider what a covenant is. In future weeks we will look at the specific covenants in the Bible and how they relate to us.

Teaching

1. We use definition given by O. Palmer Robertson - covenant is a "bond in blood divinely administered". To understand this we break it into three parts

2. The covenant is a bond.

a. A bond is something that binds people together into a relationship. (Ezek 20:37) A commitment by two people, two parties to be a related to one another.

b. In the liturgy for marriage we read that marriage is a covenanting or the making of a covenant between two people. The terms of the relationship or covenant or bond are spelled forth in the vows - READ- why NB to remember vows.

c. So also covenant spells out our relationship with God. (Jer 31:33) Our relationship with God is to be His people - significant implications to this.

3. As we will see this bond is established by an oath and/or a symbolic act. Wedding - vows made (oath), rings exchanged(act). With God He makes oaths, gives signs - eg. Rainbow, baptism, Sabbath, Lord’s Supper

a. Each week we see these things - we reminded of relationship we have with God. That is why we do not put table and font away until used - to be visible reminders of God’s covenant with us, ours with Him - of our commitment to one another.

4. A covenant is a bond in BLOOD.

a. We could say a covenant of life and death.

b. Our relationship with God is not a casual relationship like one we may have with someone at work or school. It is a covenant is a serious matter of relationship which has life and death implications.

c. Making a covenant is not just something we do on the surface. The term to make a covenant actually means to cut a covenant.

d. The idea of what this cutting means is seen in God’s covenant with Abraham in Gen 15. God promised Abe that his descendants would be as numerous as the stars of the sky, as well as land. In vs 18, Abram asks "O Sovereign LORD, how can I know that I will gain possession of it?" God responds by saying, "Bring me a heifer, a goat and a ram, each three years old, along with a dove and a young pigeon." In vs10, "Abram brought all these to him, cut them in two and arranged the halves opposite each other; the birds, however, he did not cut in half." Then in verse 17 we read that a smoking firepot with a blazing torch appeared and passed between the pieces.

e. This firepot symbolizes the presence of God. God Himself walked between the halves of the cut-up animals. Why did He do this? God symbolically made a "pledge to the death". The cut-up animals represents the curse that a covenant maker calls upon himself should he not keep his oath - should he break the covenant.

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