Tuesday, April 04, 2006

April 2, 2006

1 Corinthians 11:23 – 25
Remembering Jesus: the new covenant.

Jesus set aside the first to establish a new covenant [Hebrews 10:9]. This new covenant gives us God’s love which sparks fire, life, and newness.

I. God’s love sparks the fire.

A. In the “Old” we learn that we are not “good enough.”

1. We try to behave thinking:

a. if we are only “good enough” then God will let us in.

b. if we are only “good enough” God will do something good for us.

c. if we are only “good enough” God will keep bad stuff from happening to us.

d. if we are only “good enough” God will, like Santa Clause, show up with good stuff.

2. The old covenant, “the Law,” made it clear:

a. you could do everything right but not be right with God.

b. you could never bring enough sacrifices.

c. the sacrifices had to be endlessly repeated because they could not free you from sin’s guilt or control.

B. Before the Old Covenant there was a principle = FAITH

1. Abraham was justified BEFORE there was “the Law.”

Genesis 15:6 says “Abram BELIEVED the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness.”
James 2:23 says, “And the scripture was fulfilled that says, "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness," and he was called God's friend.”
Again in Galatians 3:6 we read, “Consider Abraham: He believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”

a. “Believe” is an action verb. It is something you do. James 2:24 states, “You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.”

b. Belief goes beyond trying to be good. Galatians 3:7 tells us, “Understand, then, that those who believe are children of Abraham.” and Galatians 3:9 says, “So those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.

2. Faith (“belief”) is the rule of life.

a. Habakkuk 2:4b states: “but the righteous will live by his faith”

Galatians 3:11 – 12a, “Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, "The righteous will live by faith." [12] The law is not based on faith.”

b. Romans 1:17 emphasizes, “For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”

***** In other words it is not our merit, it’s Jesus righteousness. *****

II. God’s love sparks the life.

A. The image of the temple sacrifices in the Old covenant:

1. Temple layout:

a. There was only one entrance.

b. To get in you had to pass the alter.

1.) It was large and elevated.

2.) It was polished to act like a mirror.

2. The priest would cut the sacrifice’s throat.

a. Blood would pour out of the animal.

1.) The blood was sprinkled on the alter (probably splatter on the people).

2.) The rest of the blood would go in a drainage ditch.

b. Blood, smoke, and ash was everywhere... it was required to enter the presence of God.

2. These sacrifices had to be offered for every offense.

B. The heart issue was REPENTANCE.

1. A costly penalty had to be paid for sin.

a. God knows that it is easy to get good at being bad.

b. The “uncanny valley” is when the work becomes so good it seems almost real... it becomes creepy.

1.) The more “almost” the deeper and more important the distinction between life and lifeless.

2.) We can get used to being “almost” alive and harden our heart.

2. The hard heart is a serious problem and a real promise.

a. Ezeliel 36:26 tells us, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”

b. God wants to exchange the lifelike and lifeless with real life.

***** This makes us completely new. *****

III. God’s love sparks the newness.

A. The old is a matter of the past.

1. We start life condemned..

a. It’s why we are looking for something/someone.

b. It’s why we have a nagging sense of fear.

c. It’s why there is a pit of emptiness that we can not permanently fill.

2. God wants to change that and take it away.

a. Jesus paid the penalty for the possibility.

2 Corinthians 5:20 says, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

b. In the most brutal, unfair even of human history, Jesus took the whipping for us. Jesus took the nails for us. Jesus took the bleeding for us. Jesus took the mocking for us. Jesus took the grave for us.

B. Are you tired, hurting, lonely, weighted down with guilt?

1. God WANTS to trade you:

a. God WANTS to trade the good things He has for the bad things you have.

b. Why? Because you are valuable to Him – not for anything you can do – but simply BECAUSE HE LOVES YOU.

2. God wants to be your God.

a. God wants to give you a heart of flesh, a new life.

b. God wants to show those other things that drive you will leave you empty and broken and used up. God wants to make you new.

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