Covenant Concepts ~ Congregation: Respond in Rejoicing

Covenant Concepts ~ Congregation: Responds in Rejoicing Sermon Audio Here
Isaiah 50:4-9a; John 12:12-16

As we consider the ancient practices of covenant, we are reminded that the stronger party would force the weaker party to walk a blood-soaked path. However, on Palm Sunday, we see a reverse picture of covenant; Jesus in the middle of the crowd (stronger party going through weaker party).

God Frames Relationships With Covenant Concepts

Respond to the Mission of the Master
Isa. 50:4-9a ~ Song of the Suffering Servant

  • v4/5 Listen to the Lord
  • v6/7 Find Resolve in Faith
  • v8/9 Presume the Presence of God (remember that God is always close)

Rejoice in Recognition of the Redeemer
John 12:12-16 ~ Song for the Sacrificial Savior

  • v12/13 Hosanna – plea to save! Blessed is he… pilgrims coming to temple SO…
  • Approach Worship with Anticipation
  • v14/15 donkey=peace; SO….
  • Recognize the Value of Peace (Zech. 9:9-10)
  • v16 peace through payment: Jesus came as a worshiper AND as the sacrifice; SO…
  • Realize Your Redemption

We are redeemed because of the obedience of Christ; HIS response and submission to God’s will makes possible OUR response and submission to God’s will. Jesus made it possible for us to be brought to life; is it any wonder that we still cry “Hosanna”?

Covenant Concepts ~ Jeremiah: God Emphasizes Relationship

Covenant Concepts ~ Jeremiah: God Emphasizes Relationship Sermon Audio Here

Jer. 31:31-34 / Heb. 5:5-10

Nut Tree development in Vacaville, CA, around since 1921, was closed a while ago. Last week, its iconic sign was taken down, and residents mourn the loss of identity of their cherished space.

God Frames Relationships With Covenant Concepts

Written On The Inside
Jer. 31:31-34

  • v33 God puts His terms in our hearts
  • v34 we don’t teach; we encourage to listen to God

Worn Upon The Outside

Heb. 5:5-10

  • v5/6 Christ is appointed as our representative
  • v7/8 Jesus reinforces relationship (submission/obedience)
  • v9 perfect/completed the story “author of salvation”
  • v10 called/named: recognition of existing relationship

What is YOUR name? How do YOU refer to yourself?
Do you know how God refers to you?
Adored,
Blood-bought;
Child-of-God,
Dearest,
Elected,
Faithful,
Gifted,
Holy,
Innocent,
all because of Jesus.

Covenant Concepts ~ Israel: God Rescues from Rebellion

Covenant Concepts ~ Israel: God Rescues from Rebellion Sermon Audio Here

Ephesians 2:1-10

In the Old Testament reading, Numbers 21:4-9, Israel rebels against God, and pays the penalty. But God also provides a rescue from that penalty, if Israel will only choose to use it.

God Frames Relationships With Covenant Concepts

Rebellion Results in Wrath
Ephesians 2:1-3

  • v1/2 spiritual death the result of following the wrong ruler
  • v3 following our flesh responsible for penalty
  •      (if we trespass, we are held liable; if we go into debt, it must be paid)

Relationship Results in Rescue
Ephesians 2:4-10

  • v4/5 God brings us to life; we don’t choose it
  • v6/7 God raises us in life; He doesn’t leave us in our sin
  • v8/9 Grace is God’s choice; faith is God’s means of delivery; we receive it as a gift, not a payment
  • v10 CATCH THIS: “to/in/with good works” is indirect object ~ receives the action;
    that means that we aren’t created to DO the good works near as much as we are to EXPERIENCE the good works;
    peripatéō, to walk around in them with God

God rescues us from our Rebellion WITH HIS PRESENCE; look to the Cross and LIVE.

Covenant Concepts ~ Moses: God Expects Righteousness

Covenant Concepts ~ Moses: God Expects Righteousness Sermon Audio Here

1 Cor. 1:18-25

God Establishes His Covenant with Moses; in fact, it is His most famous Covenant: The 10 Commandments. What’s different about this particular covenant? God (the Stronger Party) dictates what WE (the weaker party) will and will not do to keep it.

God Frames Relationships With Covenant Concepts

God’s Wisdom is Beyond our Wisdom
1 Cor. 1:18-21

  • v18 BEING saved: it is GOD’s power at work!
  • v19/20 We did not figure salvation out on our own
  • v21 God’s reasoning is that we stop trusting our reasoning to figure out God.

When We Give Up, We Win
1 Cor. 1:22-25

  • v22 signs: God MUST show us power; wisdom: God MUST make sense to us
  • v23 Jesus is NEITHER
  • v24 Christ is power IN weakness; Jesus taught wisdom beyond our experience
  • v25 God is MORE than we can imagine

When we give up, HE Wins (and somehow, we win, too).

My Daily Bible Reading, automated

Bible and glasses

Readers, be warned: this is one of those geeky posts of mine. I basically put these up to remind myself how I did something.

One thing I’ve noticed is that I tend to be much more intentional about reading what shows up on my computer screen than I am in reading a physical book. Everything I want to read (almost) can be found at my fingertips through the internet.

Now, like some of you, I have tweaked the settings in my browser so that the tabs to which I always need access are set to open as default. And I thought how neat it would be to create a script that would take my daily bible readings, and put them into a webpage so that I would read the text as I start my day.

The challenges:

  1. To insert the text according to my preferred reading plan (by Grant Horner, found here).
  2. To set up a web page for each day of the year with that day’s readings.
  3. To serve each day’s webpage to my browser.

Here’s how I did it.

To set up the text the way I wanted, I wrote a script using the excellent tool “diatheke”. It’s a command-line tool that comes with my bible program (Xiphos, in case anyone is wondering). Diatheke allows me to search and select Bibles for verses (or topics, or phrases), and use the results of that search in lots of interesting ways. I won’t show you the whole script, but I will show you a line of the file, and explain what it does.

diatheke -b ESV -f HTML -k Matthew 1, Genesis 1, Romans 1, Job 1, Psalm 1, James 1, 1 Samuel 1, Isaiah 1, Acts 1, Proverbs 1 > biblechapter1.html

“diatheke” is the name of the program. “-b ESV” selects the version to read. “-f HTML” selects the format that will create a webpage. “-k Matthew 1, Genesis 1, etc.” selects each chapter of each book I want to read. And finally “> biblechapter1.html” puts all of the gathered information into a single webpage (called biblechapter1.html”).

The script does this 365 times, with the different chapters that I want. After running it, I now have 365 little webpages with just the text of Scripture for that day of the year.

INSERT EDIT: After having used this for a few days, I noticed that the version of diatheke has an annoying little bug in it: it appends the last verse of whatever the search terms as an extra line. I wanted to get rid of this extra appendage, and I used the following command to do it.

sed -i “s/^: .*/<br>/g” biblechapter*.html

“sed” is the Stream EDitor program on most Linux systems, and with the input -i, the specific command s/ switches every line that starts with a colon and a space ^: , no matter what comes behind it .* with an HTML carriage break <br>, and does so globally /g for every file that starts with the name biblechapter, and ends with .html.

Finally, I wrote a little “home page” file that would select a different Biblechapter page depending upon the day of the year. This one page has a script that calculates the day of the year, and then serves that numbered biblechapter file to my browser. Here’s what that file looks like, shortened for readability:

<html>
  <body>
<script type="text/javascript">

var ie=document.all
var doy=document.getElementById

//How will the IFRAME be displayed?
var iframeprops='width=1400 height=6000 marginwidth="0" marginheight="0" hspace="0" vspace="0" frameborder="0" scrolling="yes"'

//Show all days of the year
var daycontent=new Array()
daycontent[1]="biblechapter1.html"
daycontent[2]="biblechapter2.html"
.
.
.   all the way through the whole year, 1 - 365
.
.
daycontent[364]="biblechapter364.html"
daycontent[365]="biblechapter365.html"

if (ie||doy)
document.write('<a href=""></a>')

var now = new Date();
var start = new Date(now.getFullYear(), 0, 0);
var diff = now - start;
var oneDay = 1000 * 60 * 60 * 24;
var mytoday = Math.floor(diff / oneDay);

function dayofyear_iframe(){
if (ie||doy){
var iframeobj=document.getElementById? document.getElementById("dynstuff") : document.all.dynstuff
iframeobj.src=daycontent[mytoday]
}
}

window.onload=dayofyear_iframe

</script>  </body>
</html>

Once that was working, I simply had to tell my browser (Chrome) to open three tabs every time it started: my calendar, my email, and my Bible reading for the day.

Well, that’s what works for me. Are you using some kind of system or specific discipline to keep you in the Word… and the Word in you?

Covenant Concepts ~ Abraham: God Will Rename

Covenant Concepts ~ Abraham: God Will Rename Sermon Audio Here

Romans 4:13-25

Abram’s name meant “high father”; AbraHAm added idea of “multitude”; God changed Abraham’s name to show His intended promise.

God Frames Relationships With Covenant Concepts

God Values Relationship Over Rules
(Rom. 4:13-15)

  • v13 Abraham didn’t follow the Law (before Moses)
  • v14 “doing Law” not equal to relationship with LawGiver
  • v15 wrath comes when Law is broken
  • (can’t trespass when there’s no boundary line)

God Gives Grace Instead of Rewards
(Rom. 4:16-25)

  • v16-17 Promise comes by faith from God (available to all), not earned by works
  • v18-21 God knows how He’ll keep His promise ~ even when we don’t
  • v22-24 trusting God is credited as a righteous thing

UNDERLINE and UNDERSTAND Rom. 4:25~By His death, we are redeemed; By His life we are renewed

Covenant Concepts ~ Noah: God Will Remember

Covenant Concepts ~ Noah: God Will Remember Sermon Audio Here

Genesis 9:8-17/1 Peter 3:18-22

To start this new series based on Covenant Concepts, we need to realizes that Covenants are agreements between stronger and weaker parties. Just like when a person borrows money to purchase a home, they go to the bank (the stronger party in this instance because they have the money) and agree to pay them more money over a long period of time because they do not currently have sufficient cash to purchase the house. The relationship between the strong party (the bank) and the weak party (the home-buyer) are defined by the terms of the covenant. God does this with us; He provides ways for us to understand Him through the use of covenant. Why does God use this format?

God Frames Relationships With Covenant Concepts

God Remembers Us In Faithfulness
Gen.9:8-17

  • v8-10 God’s faithfulness is for EVERYONE
  • v11-13 God’s faithfulness reassures us
  • v14-17 God does not forget (Heb 6:10)
  • bow as token is for US to remember that God will not forget – the definition of faithfulness

=> Mark Twain and his friend William Dean Howells stepped out of church just as a violent rainstorm began. Howells said, “I wonder if it will stop”; and Mark Twain replied, “It always has.”

God Redeems Us In Authority
1 Peter 3:18-22

  • v21 Baptism is a symbolic act of covenant; we agree that we are unable to save ourselves
  • v22 God raised Jesus; we will be raised because of our connection to Christ

Remember: God Is Faithful; He Does NOT forget us. God is Able; He Does Not abandon us.


Pastor Ed Backell

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