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December 23, 2021 12:01 am
Thousands of years ago, the prophet Jeremiah revealed God's promise of a new covenant. As Christians, we are beneficiaries of that promise. Today, R.C. Sproul considers the new covenant in Christ and the blessings we have in Him.
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Today on Renewing Your Mind. I'm doing a new work in the future and I will be there God and they will be my people to see what God is saying here is the base are coming when I'm going to create a whole new community promise to create a new community of believers came to the nation of Israel through the prophet Jeremiah and no thousands of years later you and I live under that new covenant.
We are the beneficiaries of the promise here is Dr. Marcy's bowl as we continue our preparation for the Advent season we are looking at the promises of the gospel. So far we looked at the original gospel promise the first gospel, the proto-of van Gogh in Genesis 315 and then we moved from there to the call to the patriarch Abraham and we saw how that in the middle of the night. God visited Abraham when Abraham was asking the question, how can I know for sure God that your promises will come to pass that God went through this strange and elaborate ritual with Abraham by which God swore by his own deity that he would keep his promise and then from there we went on and we saw how the patriarchal blessing. The covenant promises that God made with Abraham were passed on from father to son.
And then we reach that point in Jewish history. When Jacob assembled his sons and instead of passing on the blessing to his firstborn, Ruben or to Simeon and Levi. He gave the promise of the covenant to Judah a promise of kingship will that kind of tradition of passing on the redemptive promise, the covenant blessing in the Old Testament didn't stop with the sons of Jacob. That tradition continues throughout the Old Testament we remember how God made a covenant with the people of Israel at Mount Sinai and how Moses mediated that promise to his people, and based that promise on the giving of the law and how at the end of his life. Moses then summoned the people together and transferred their allegiance from him to Joshua and the promise was carried on.
Moses was not allowed to inherit the blessing that was given to Abraham. Even Moses was not allowed to set foot in the promised land he could view it from the distance from the top of the mountain, but he was not allowed to enter that fulfillment of the original promise to Abraham was given to Joshua and so in the book of Joshua we read of the inheritance of the land that God had once promise to Abraham and the conquest of Canaan under the military leadership of Joshua and at the end of Joshua's life. He assembles all of the people together at Shechem, and the purpose of that meeting was to renew the covenant and in that situation.
He said to the people choose this day whom you will serve to remember the and then he made his own commitment to trust and to obey the promises of God when he said, as for me and my house we will serve the Lord.
That was a ceremony, a ceremony of recommitment to the promises of the covenant of God, and so on page after page, day after day, year after year.
Throughout the old testament. The covenant with its promises is maintained and renewed, and then we read some startling news that comes to us in the book of Jeremiah where God chooses Jeremiah to be his voice to be his spokesperson to the nation and as the prophet Jeremiah performs this task faithfully and we read this strange announcement in chapter 31 of the book that bears Jeremiah's name in verse 31 of chapter 31 that makes it easy to remember.
Jeremiah 3131 we have this astonishing announcement.
Behold, God is speaking now through the prophet, behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the Lord.
He recent he's making a promise about the future. Jeremiah says to the people. Thus says the Lord. The days are coming and going to make a new a new covenant with Judah a new covenant with Israel a covenant so new that though it of course will be an extension to some degree of the promises that I have already made on not repudiating the old covenant. I'm not annulling the old covenant.
I'm not disregarding the old covenant, but something new is going to happen out of the old new order will be established a new situation will emerge. I'm adding a new dimension to the historic promises that I have made to Jacob to Isaac to Abraham to the promises given by Moses in this new covenant will be not like the one I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt. What he supposed his concern with this new kind of covenant is the history of Israel attests the problem with the old covenant was not a problem with God's problem with the people God says here I'm going to make a covenant. This can be different from the old one that you had why because you keep breaking it, but because I broke my promise but you had promises to keep, and you didn't keep them. You broke your promises. And so I gotta do something different; was a process I was a husband to them, says the Lord. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, said the Lord. I will put my law in their minds and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be there God and they shall be my people, new dimension is coming.
Jeremiah says the people where can you find the terms of the old covenant if you want to know what the stipulations are in that agreement.
Where can we look to find them on the answer was obvious there inscribed on stone there written by the finger of God there on the tablets of Moses there contained in the ark of the covenant that the place of deposit, which became the throne of God. That was kept in the holy of holies there in that room in that chest on those tablets was the word of God's law. I wrote my law on tablets of stone in the Bible says they were written on the stones by the finger of God. Some of you recall that that phrase finger of God becomes later on in the Bible, a title for God the Holy Spirit.
And here Jeremiah says in the new covenant. I'm also going to write down my law, but this time I'm not going to write them instead.
I'm not going to write my law on tablets on parchment or in manuscript I'm going to inscribe them in the hearts of my people. I wouldn't write them in their minds I were to make sure that my word and my promise penetrates the people so that my word will no longer merely be an external to my people, but I will internalize the terms of my word in their minds and in their hearts I'm doing a new work in the future with the Holy Spirit and I will be there God and they will be my people to see what God is saying here is, the days are coming when I'm going to create a whole new community a whole new group of people. It won't be restricted by biology or by national boundaries and you remember the original promise I made to Abraham that in you all of the nations of the world will be blessed. Do you remember Israel that in the original covenant I made with the Abraham that you were blessed to be a blessing, but you have taken your status of being my favored nation and you build a wall around yourself is not extended the blessings to the whole world is not been a light to the nations hope to the Gentiles, but my original purpose using Israel in her distinctive mission.
My original vision was for the whole for men and women of every tribe and every tongue and every nation. My work of redemption is going to reach out to the Gentile. This was not utterly new in the Old Testament, but for the most part it was hidden, do remember in the New Testament when Paul picks up his pen.
Paul, who is been called of God to be an apostle, to whom, to the Gentiles to the nation to fulfill the great commission of Christ to go to Judah to go to Jerusalem to go to Judea to go to Samaria but then where to the uttermost parts of the earth. The church was established in Jerusalem, but quickly expanded throughout the Jewish nation but the significant point is beyond it went to the Gentiles that went to Greece and went to Rome but went to Asia minor. It went to the whole world.
And when Paul picked up his pen. He said, behold, I speak of a mystery, a mystery that once was hidden, but now is revealed. Christ in you the hope of the Gentiles, not just God's promises outside of you, but in this new covenant, Christ will be in you, you will be in Christ, and that is given to the effort and the way to the nations to the Gentile. If you are listening to this right now and you are not of Jewish descent realize that the promise of God, the Jeremiah is now making is for you that it is your hope to be included in the promises of God's covenant that is expanded through a new covenant that comes with the advent of Christ. Now we are celebrating the advent of Christ because we've seen that he comes as Savior, but he not only comes as Savior to crush the head of the serpent as was promised Adam and Eve, but he also comes as the king as the lion of Judah to fulfill the promise that was made by Jacob, but also as we read the New Testament we see that one of the roles that is given to Christ is to be a prophet like to Moses and that role is fulfilled in Christ work as the mediator of the new covenant.
A mediator is a go-between in the Old Testament the go-between the person that God used, to establish the covenant of Israel at Mount Sinai, and the giving of the law was Moses. And that's the old covenant, but now God brings a new covenant to his people and the mediator, the one through whom that covenant comes to reality is Christ whose advent now we celebrate.
Jeremiah says in chapter 31 the days will come when I will make a new covenant with my people is a covenant that will be different, not detached, not divorced from not separated. We know that the new covenant grows out of the old covenant that there is a cohesion between the two covenants as St. Augustine said the new is in the old concealed the old is in the new revealed but there is a new dimension of glory that God promises through Jeremiah that will come to pass. Once it is a question often asked by seminary students solicited coming when the new covenant came to pass, when was the birthday of the church and usually the answer is that the church was born on the day of Pentecost when God opened up the heavens and poured out his Holy Spirit to empower his people to fulfill the promises that had made in the Old Testament that he would put his spirit upon every believer that certainly happened on the day of Pentecost and certainly the day of Pentecost is a watershed event for the New Testament and for the new covenant. That's not the birthday that's not what started with some say it started in Bethlehem when the mediator of the new covenant was born. Yes, the mediator of the new covenant came at Bethlehem. And yes, the king was born on that day that he announced the kingdom throughout his earthly life and throughout his preaching, but he didn't initiate the covenant that one was the birthday of the church. Some say was at the cross would challenge that in the death of Christ on the cross.
The new covenant was ratified.
It was cut. It was sealed it was confirmed in his death and in his blood. That's not what it began. It began on the night in which he was betrayed when he gathered his friends out of a deep passionate desire to celebrate the ceremony of the old covenant with his friends for the last time that I long to celebrate the Passover with you one last time before I die because I won't eat of this bread or drink this cup again with you until we sit down in my father's house and so he assembled them together in private in the upper room for one last celebration of the past and each of the disciples had memorized by heart. The elements of the Cedar.
The elements of the procedures that were part of this annual feast of Passover, they look back to God's redemption in the Old Testament when the angel of death passed over the firstborn children of Israel, and as they're keeping the feast and going over the ritual suddenly suddenly Jesus deviates from the traditional text. When he picks up the bread and he breaks it and he says this is my body broken for you. What's this this is in part of the ritual and then he takes the company lifts it up and he said this is the cup the new covenant, poured out in my plot to see what he does. He takes the supreme feast that commemorates the old covenant and in the midst of it celebration inaugurates the new covenant. It's time for the new covenant. He says this is the birthday of the church by making a new promise, and it is the cup of that new covenant that we are drinking now that is ratified in my blood, which is poured out for you. Not tonight but tomorrow but Jesus announced the coming of the promise to Jeremiah that night in the upper room.
The new covenant was born and God fulfilled the promise of the ages in those days I will make a new with my people. They shall be my people and I will be there power God the promise keeper fulfill Jeremiah's prophecy this week on Renewing Your Mind. We are pleased to feature portions of Dr. RC scrolls series promises in this five-part series, we learned about the promises made and fulfilled to Abraham, Jeremiah, Isaiah and others in the Old Testament. I hope you'll contact us today with a donation of any amount so that we can send you the series and added to your learning library you'll be able to stream the messages right away. Additionally will send you the two DVDs of RC series. The promise keeper God of the covenants will provide both of these resources to you for your donation of any about the leader ministries.
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So were thankful when you keep us in mind and if you would like to give the deadline for your urine contribution is next Friday the 31st so we would ask that you make sure that your check is postmarked by then or you can go online to give your gift at Ligonier.Ward/donate, then an advanced, let me thank you for your generosity in our Coram day of thought for today. Let me ask you that as we celebrate Advent this year that we will think of the coming not only of the Savior and of the king, but also of the mediator of the new covenant and that you will think about this, not only at Christmas, but that every time we sit down at the Lord's table every time that we commemorate his death. We remember that we are remembering the birthday of the church, the coming of the new promise the coming of the new covenant that is sealed in the body and the blood of Christ. The something else so involved in here in the Old Testament when covenant renewal took place. There was a dynastic succession, the handing over of authority from one to another, as Moses turned over the authority to Joshua so in the New Testament Christ hands us over to the Holy Spirit, whose authority is expressed in the inspiration of the Scriptures than the birthday of the church.
It was in the upper room that we have the longest discussion that Jesus ever gives of the coming Holy Spirit. And every time we sit down at the Lord's table. We remember that Christ established a new covenant for his church and he was giving the Holy Spirit to us as our living authority in his word is gospel account of Jesus birth in Bethlehem. Matthew sees it as a fulfillment of a prophecy given to Isaiah the future version would conceive and bring forth a trial tomorrow. Dr. scrolls messages on this stunning prophecy and I hope you'll join us Friday for Renewing Your Mind