Sermons by Dave Bovenmyer (Page 3)
Although Christians do not participate in the covenant that God made with Israel, there is much we can learn from that covenant. God rescued Israel from cruel bondage in Egypt, cared for them in the wilderness, and gave them the ten commandments and many other personal and societal laws. His purpose was to develop and instill faith and obedience in their hearts. We also can turn our hearts toward God and His blessing by loving His Word, sticking with the Church, remembering His works, and cultivating an honest, open heart.
In His covenant with Israel, God promised amazing blessings to the nation if they remained loyal and obedient to Him and horrific curses if they forsook Him and turned to other gods. Christians are not under Israel’s covenant, but are under the New Covenant—which also contains promises and warnings, but with significant differences. Yet, Christians, too, must love and honor God in order to be blessed.
Israel was commanded by God to drive the Canaanites out of the land and completely destroy those who remain. Although appalling to modern sensibilities, this command can be harmonized with the Bible’s portrayal of a God of perfect love and justice. God has a duty to judge the world and sometimes judges people and nations in the course of history, not always waiting until the final judgment day. We should respect and appreciate God’s judgments, flee from anything that defiles…
Along with thunder, lighting, earthquake, fire and smoke, the voice of God boomed out the Ten Commandments from the mountain as over three million Israelites trembled in fear. These commandments are the center of God’s covenant with Israel and a clear call to love God and our neighbor. They show us practically what love looks like. Although we are under a different covenant, nine of the ten commandments are repeated in the new covenant and we can learn much about how to live and please God through them.
Even in his highly exhortative book, James appeals to the truths of the gospel of Christ. When we authentically engage with the whole gospel–what God has done, is doing, and will do in Christ–our lives will be transformed.
In James chapter two, we find that we become right with God by faith, but only by a faith that results in action – in loving God and others.
We call this book the Bible. Interestingly, the word “Bible” mean “book.” But this is not actually one book but 66 books or 66 writings written by 40 different authors over a 1,500 year time period. We are beginning a study of one of those writings, the letter of the Apostle Paul to the Romans. But it might be even a bit misleading to call it a letter. Because it is unlike a typical letter that you or I…