Wednesday, April 5, 2000

Mid-week Lent 5

Midweek Lenten Service 5 
April 5, 2000
Jeremiah 31:31-34

The Attitude of Sacrifice 
The Coming Days Have Come

Introduction:  “The Days are coming” when God will make a new covenant with His people. If this is only a promise of a future new relationship with God, where is the good news other than hope for the future? Christians have more than a promise; they have the fulfillment in Christ who effected the new covenant. The days are not coming; they have come in Christ. This is the good news for this day!

Because of Christ and His sacrifice…

1.                  A new covenant has been made v. 31 "I will make a new covenant with the house of Judah and with the house of Israel."

What is new about a covenant between God and man?  After all, there had been a number of covenants made in the past between God and His people. There was Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Moses.  The making of a covenant is nothing new, but this promised covenant would be new - brand new! 

This covenant would not be one like those of the past.  The covenants of the past were only renewals. Here is a whole new deal. God is going to give Israel another chance to be His own people. This new covenant will be made through the blood of God's own Son Jesus Christ.

2.                 A covenant in which we know God in Christ v. 34  " And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother saying 'Know the Lord' for they shall all know me from the least of them unto the greatest of them says the Lord…"

The people are told you will know God. When God is loved with the whole heart, there is no longer any more need to teach someone who God is or anything about God.  They will know Him intimately. That person will know God instinctively.  To know God is not a mere intellectual exercise or a mere understanding of the concept of God. To know God is to have a relationship with Him, a personal, deep, personal experience with God, which is based on trust. This new covenant is what brings us back to God when God instructed us to fear, love and trust in God above all things.  This knowledge of God comes through a relationship with Jesus Christ.

3.                 We experience forgiveness through Christ v. 34  "…for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more."

Here we find the effect of this new covenant.  God must forgive the people past sins that they may begin anew in their relationship with God.  To have this new relationship with God there must be the forgiveness of sins. The sins and misgivings of the past must be removed so that God and man can begin anew in their relationship with God as though nothing had happened.

God not only promises to forgive but to forget!  He tells us that He will remember our sins no more. This is wonderful news!  This good news is that when we confess our sins and are forgiven, those sins are blotted out and will no longer be brought up at judgment day.  God keeps no record of wrong. There are no tapes for playing back all of our sins.  He buries them in the sea of forgetfulness and remembers our sins no more!

This new covenant is given to us in Baptism, and is lived each and every day our lives. We live under this new covenant; it's based on trust, on love and on hope. It's God's final word to us.  It is a word that He will not break.  Thank God for this amazing mercy and grace.

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