In our sermon series titled “From Adam to Abraham” we are at week three, week one was Cain and Abel, and Phil told us about Abel’s faith, and the also about Cain’s choice – and then last week we had Noah’s Ark and I spoke about Noah being righteous and also about Noah’s faith, and we both spoke about how these point to Jesus and the relationship that God wants with each one of us.
Our reading from Gen 7:1-10 and 8:1-17 tells us that God the instructions that God gave Noah and how He God ensured that every creature would be saved, and what Noah did to ensure that the flood had ended.
I wonder do you know how long they were on the ark – forty days and forty nights right? Well actually, as was pointed out to be the other day by Gemma Louise, it was a year. Look at chapter 7 verse 6 Noah was six hundred years old when the floodwaters came on the earth. And now look at chapter 8 verse 13: “By the first day of the first month of Noah’s six hundred and first year, the water had dried up from the earth. Noah then removed the covering from the ark and saw that the surface of the ground was dry. By the twenty-seventh day of the second month the earth was completely dry.” So they were on the ark for over a year but it rained for forty days and forty nights, it is strange the small things we can miss in the Bible.
But what I want to talk about today is not in our reading but is in the next chapter so please turn with me to Chapter 9 verse 1 – God’s covenant with Noah:
Then God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth. The fear and dread of you will fall on all the beasts of the earth, and on all the birds in the sky, on every creature that moves along the ground, and on all the fish in the sea; they are given into your hands. Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything. “But you must not eat meat that has its lifeblood still in it. And for your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal. And from each human being, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of another human being. “Whoever sheds human blood, by humans shall their blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made mankind. As for you, be fruitful and increase in number; multiply on the earth and increase upon it.”
Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him: “I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you and with every living creature that was with you—the birds, the livestock and all the wild animals, all those that came out of the ark with you—every living creature on earth. I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be destroyed by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.” And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.” So God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant I have established between me and all life on the earth.”
God’s Covenant is what I want us to look at. Noah was righteous and Noah had faith in God and God honoured that faith with the covenant that we have just read. Now many thousands of years later what about us? So let’s start at the beginning – what is a covenant? It is an agreement between two parties. It can be an agreement between a husband and wife, a friendship pact between two people, an alliance between two nations, or an agreement between God and humans.
So this was covenant between God and Noah but through Noah all humans. God sets the terms, he makes the offer, and we respond to it with either cooperation or resistance. And through Jesus God re-affirmed his His covenant with us, because humans had managed to get it so wrong so Jesus came to make it simple and to show us the way. God is the one who sets the terms of this relationship. He tells us in advance what he will do. And He gives as free will to respond to his terms.
The terms God has set are these: Jesus died for our sins. Jesus paid the price for our sins. There is no more debt. We have been forgiven. Our good lives can’t add anything to it. God has in Jesus acted alone, reconciling all things to himself (Colossians 1:20).
In short the new covenant is Jesus Christ. He embodies everything the new covenant is. He is the Word of God and the Son of God, made human for us. He is the Message of God, the Mind of God, the Meaning of God, made flesh for us to see and know and love. In himself, he empowers us to be friends with God. In Jesus Christ, God has given us a new basis for our relationship with God. This is the covenant God has given; we respond to Jesus with either yes or no.
How should we respond to what Jesus has done? We should turn away from self-reliance and put our confidence completely in Jesus. One way to describe it is that we stop doing things the devil’s way (relying on self) and do things God’s way. We stop building our own kingdom and accept the kingdom he has built for us. We accept the covenant-promise he has given us. That is how we can be in accord and faithfulness with him.
Jesus Christ is the basis of the new covenant, the bond of friendship that God has given us. We can accept this or reject it. Because he loves us with indescribable love, he urges us to accept it — to put our faith, our trust, in Jesus Christ—to trust him with our lives, and to accept him as our only means of salvation.
All this is a gift—it is not something we could ever earn. If we look at what we deserve, we deserve to be separate from God and therefore separated from the joy of knowing him and participating in his eternal blessings. But the good news is that we don’t have to be alienated—Jesus has already reconciled us. We can live forever enjoying harmony with God because of Jesus Christ, because of what he did for us in his death and resurrection. Our salvation is being rescued from destruction and restored as favoured children of God — depends entirely on Jesus. He is the basis of this great rescue. Accepting him is the one requirement that God makes as the basis of this magnificent agreement we call the new covenant. Jesus Christ is the core of the new covenant. That is why he must always be the centre of our personal lives.
Let us pray: “Lord thank you for your love for us for your grace, Lord thank you for the covenant given to Noah and the second convent brought by Jesus blood for us, Lord we commit our lives to you, Lord we pray your will be done in our lives, Amen.”