Today happened to be a Communion Sunday and the welcome service in honour of the new resident pastor, PS. Samuel Gyau Obuobi and his family. The sermon for the day was delivered by Pastor Samuel Ofori on the topic, “The New Covenant Worshipper”. He began with his texts from Matthew 26: 28, Luke 22, 19, Hebrews 9: 15.
At the last Passover feast Jesus celebrated with his disciples, he gave them bread and wine signifying a new covenant to replace the old. Biblical history shows us that God has related to man, in more ways than one, always with a covenant in mind. A covenant is a formal binding contract between two parties with certain conditions. The essential elements are the two parties, a promise, and an obligation to maintain and fulfill the covenant. There are two types of covenant: Human and Divine.
Human covenant dictates that the two parties involved are supposed to meet certain requirements for it to work out. Examples of these are the contract between Abraham & Abimelech (Genesis 21: 31) and one between Jacob & Laban (Genesis 31: 44). It is in fact a 2 way affair.
In the Divine covenant however, it is a one-way affair; God sets the terms and man is to obey. That is why it is usually referred to as “God’s covenant with man”. There are many notable examples of this Divine covenant in the Bible: there’s what is known as the Adamic covenant where God promised Adam long and continuing life.
Our total obedience is needed when such covenants are formed. Unfortunately, we as man tend to be the ones who betray our word and break the covenant conditions. Adam broke the covenant God had with him (Hosea 6: 7) and thus dashing his hopes of fully experiencing God’s blessings.
There’s also the Noahic covenant (Genesis 9: 9 – 11) where God promised Noah and the rest of humanity never to destroy the earth by flood again.
Another example of such divine covenants is the Abrahamic covenant (Genesis 15: 18, 17: 9 – 11) in which God promised land, fruitfulness and a multitude of descendants among other things.
One other covenant that is really significant is the Mosaic covenant – a covenant between God and the people of Israel at Mt. Sinai. It is also referred to as the Sinaitic covenant or Old covenant. God promised them that if they fully obeyed and kept his covenant, he would make them a treasured possession out of all the nations… (Exodus 19: 5 – 6). Though the people said they would obey God and keep his covenant, there seemed to be a problem with their hearts and were always drawn away from Him. God decided to establish a new covenant and work on our hearts.
The issue in keeping covenants is that our hearts are “broken”. And thus in the new covenant, God sets out to address our heart’s problem (Jeremiah 31: 31 – 34, Ezekiel 36: 26, 27) for though they had the law in their minds during the old covenant; they were unable to uphold it.
There are certain requirements that need to be adhered to with respect to the New Covenant:
- Spiritually receiving a new heart helps us to willingly obey God. The Israelites struggled because they had sin engraved on their hearts (Jeremiah 17: 1). That is not so with us. If there’s any hint of difficulty obeying God, we can ask Him to touch our hearts. The promise of “I will be your God and you will be my people” requires a new relationship between God and man. A new covenant worshipper has an intimate relationship with God.
- A deep and high knowledge of God is required. Knowing God should translate into good relations with our fellow men. Do you know God well enough? What kind of life are you living? Your life is duly affected because in the absence of all, you go about your things knowing well that God’s got His eyes on you.
- There is the promise of forgiveness of sins and here also we are required to live and lead lives of purity. There is no reason for us to live in sin if indeed we know God. God has given us new hearts and put His spirit in us. Our lives should be examples for others to follow.
- The promise of eternal inheritance calls for a high level of perseverance. Moses exemplified this perseverance: “By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.”(Hebrews 11: 24 – 26). Be ready to give your all to benefit from the prospect of the eternal inheritance.
God has done His bit and worked on our hearts and given us His spirit. This new covenant requires that we live a life of obedience, of purity, in the knowledge of God and the promise of the eternal inheritance will be ours. We are new covenant worshipers and should live as such. Amen.