Robert Morris - A Better Covenant
Well, hey, everyone. As you saw from the video, if you haven't heard, I announced it last Sunday night. So, last Sunday, about 3:30 in the morning, Pastor Jack, one of our apostolic elders, went to be with the Lord. And so, that's sad, but it's also great. A life well lived. He was 88 years old, and he went on the 8th day of January. Three eights in a row. Three is confirmation, the number of confirmation in the Bible; eight, the number of new beginnings. And so, the confirmation of a new beginning for Pastor Jack. So, please be in prayer for the family, the Hayford family.
I'll be going to be a part of a private memorial with just the family and close friends. But Pastor Jack, as you know, was a spiritual father, spiritual mentor to me for many, many years. And we've just been praying for his home going. We knew it was close, but he's also served as an apostolic elder here at Gateway Church for many, many years. And you've probably heard him speak here. I would say, if you haven't listened to him in a while, go back and listen to every message he preached here because it's incredible. And we have some of his books. He wrote over 50 books and over 600 worship songs. But we have in our bookstore the book called Pastor Jack, and this is his biography, authorized biography. And so, it's just a blast to read.
So, if you would like to read about his life, it's amazing to read about this human that was used by God. We have other books as well, such as the book Majesty. He wrote the song Majesty and things like that. So, anyway, I want to let you know also, one of our members that was also known really around the world, Devi Titus, went to be with the Lord a few weeks ago. And so, I attended her memorial last Saturday and so pray for her husband, Larry, and then also for the Titus family as well.
All right. Let me just tell you that I was so proud of you, the way you attended. And I heard about all the people that those that couldn't attend maybe every night watching online the First Conference. I felt like it was probably our best attendance in years, especially since COVID, But just coming together and watching what God did. Each message was absolutely incredible. I thought to myself, "Who am I going to get to come next year," after the five of these spoke.
And I also noticed that coming up in February, the Pink Impact Women's Conference and the speakers that we have for that, and one of them is Joyce Meyer. It's just incredible. So, if you haven't registered for that, it probably will sell out. So, I would say don't wait till the last minute. So, register for that. And then the Mens Summit, I don't know for sure. We've got great speakers for the Men's summit, but then there's an extra one that I'm in communication with right now that looks like he wants to come and looks like he's going to be able to come. He's the quarterback of this football team named the Dallas Cowboys. But Dak Prescott wants to come, and so he's trying to work that out to come and share with us about being raised by a single mom and things like that. And so, anyway, we got a lot going on, and it is amazing the people, the men and women that God brings to speak to us.
So, anyway, we are beginning a new series today called Divinely Human. I've never preached this series. Every summer, I take vacation and a study break. Some of you, if you haven't been around for very long at the church, you might think Pastor Robert takes a long vacation. I don't. I take a vacation and a study break, and I study for really the fall and even into the spring of what God wants me to speak. I learned years ago that if I took a three-week vacation, the last week or a week and a half I was studying. I wasn't on vacation. So, this summer, the Lord spoke this series to me called Divinely Human. Now, here's what I mean by that. All right? I'm only going to use Jesus as an opening type, but we're not going to be talking about Christ in this series as far as focusing on His life. But Jesus was fully divine and fully human, fully divine and fully human. Okay. I am not fully divine. I know that surprises some of you, but I am fully human, but I am partially divine because I know Christ, because Christ lives in me.
Once you get saved, and I'm going to show you the scripture in just a moment, you are also partly divine, but fully human. In other words, I can be talking with someone sometimes, and I can say something, and they say, "I can't believe you just said that, because that's exactly what the Holy Spirit said to me in my quiet time this morning. And I wrote it down, and you said it word for word". Okay, that was divine, because I'm not that smart. That was not human. That was divine. So, there are times I'm divine, but there are a lot of times that I'm human and not even a good human.
There are some times that, we're not going to give my wife the microphone, that I'm not even a good human. I'm a bad human, and I say bad things. There are times I don't want to forgive people. There are times that I get angry. There are times that I might say something mean or hurtful. And there are times that I, get ready, sin. Twice last year, at least, I sinned. Here's the problem. We see our humanity, and we count ourselves out for being used by God. So, what we're going to do in this series is we're going to look at some men and women in the Bible that were greatly used by God, did miracles, raised the dead, unbelievable things. And then I'm going to show you their humanity. I'm going to show you how, you know, Moses went back and did the ten plagues. But on the way back to Egypt to set God's people free. He and his wife got in a fight and separated. Did you know that? And Moses' sons didn't see any of the miracles because he and his wife were separated.
So, I'm going to show you some humans who did divine things, but they were human. And I've got to show us this because for us to understand you can be human, make mistakes, and even sin, and still be used greatly by God because He's taking care of your sin. And it's a full and complete work. So, let me show you. Like even Elijah raised the dead, and then his successor Elisha also raised the dead. He did it in 1 Kings 17, Elijah. And Elisha would have been 2 Kings 4 when he raised the dead, almost the same way. And yet I see things in Elijah's life where he ran for his life at one point. And Elisha was bald, and nothing wrong with being bald, but some young people made fun of him being bald, call him a baldy, "Go up thou bald head". And he called two bears out of the woods, and they mauled them. I don't think that was that divine. Matter of fact, we've got a scripture about Elijah.
James 5:17 says, "Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for three and a half years"! That was divine, but he was human. So, let me show you the part of you that's divine. Now it's in 2 Peter, and I'd love for you to go back and read the whole chapter and the whole book, and the book before it and the book after. And you can start at Genesis if you want and go to Revelation. But I got to kind of jump in just because of my time and just use one scripture. he's talking about because of grace and because we have Christ living in us, we now have these great and exceeding promises. Okay? So, that's where I'm going to jump in. But I want to show you this divineness 2 Peter 1:4, "by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that's in the world through lust". "...you may be partakers of the divine nature"
Now, you know how I love words. Look at the word "partaker". And then look at it this way: Part-takers. In other words, I get to receive part of God's divine nature when I get saved. Hey, if Christ is in you, there's something divine about you. Now, you don't have any problem believing there's something human about you, but we have a lot of problem believing there's something divine. But I'm telling you, God can use you. Literally, you could pray over a person with cancer, and that person could be healed because there's something divine in you. But before I can get into the individuals, I had the person I was going to start with this week. And it's a real funny message, and it was great, but the Lord said, "You've got to cover something else first".
And so, the title of the message today is A Better Covenant. A Better Covenant. Not a revamped covenant, a better covenant. And what I've got to show you is I've got to show you the difference between the old covenant and the new covenant. Now, the old covenant is the Mosaic covenant. The new covenant is the Christ covenant. There are other covenants in the Bible. We don't have time to go through the Noahic covenant. He's never going to cover the Earth with water again. Even the Adamic covenant, that his seed would crush Satan one day. The Abrahamic covenant, we'll talk a little about that. The Davidic covenant, that one of his descendants would sit on the throne. And even there's a covenant with Israel that explains, and I'm not trying to get political; I'm just saying what the Bible says, that actually outlines the borders of Israel. And we love the Israeli people, and we love the Palestinian people. But if you want to know where the borders are, read the Bible, because it's... And by the way, He said, "And this is an eternal covenant".
So, there are some covenants in the Bible, but there's an old covenant and a new covenant. And the old covenant came through the Law and through Moses. All right, so I've only got two points. The Old Covenant and The New Covenant. All right, so here's number one: The Old Covenant. Now, here's what you need to know about the old Covenant. God is so cool that when He speaks to us, He speaks in our language. And what I mean by that is not English or Spanish or German or Portuguese or something like that. What it means, and He does that as well. He can speak every language and every dialect. But what I mean is, He speaks in language or in terms we can understand.
So, when he made the covenant with Moses and the children of Israel, there were two types of treaties in the world at that time... And the word treaty... treaty is another word for covenant. Okay? The first was called the Suzerain-Vassal Treaty. This is history. Archaeologists have uncovered so many of these treaties. They were carved on stone, a short version carved on stone, and a long version written on paper. This was around 1500 BC. All right? Now, I want you to think about this. The law, there was a short version carved on stone. Are you all with me? Because this is even better than, I just thought y'all would be going, "This is incredible". A short version carved on stone, which archaeologists have found remains of these other ones between nations, and then a long version on paper, which is Numbers, Exodus, Leviticus and Deuteronomy, when you talk about the Mosaic Covenant, that's the part that you skip a little bit when you're reading through the Bible of the year. You fudge a little in those places.
So, the Suzerain-Vassal Treaty was one, and the second treaty, these are the only two at that time, 1500 BC, was called a Parity Treaty. And I want to explain what both those were. So, a Suzerain-Vassal. Let me tell you what Suzerain means. It simply means stronger or sovereign or supreme. And vassal means servant. So, the best way to remember it would be supreme and a servant. All right? And what this was, was the king of a nation would go to a lesser king, and he would say to him, "Okay, let's just be honest. I could squash you like a bug if I wanted to. I could come in, I could send my armies, and I could destroy your cities, and I could kill all your men". At that time, women didn't go to battle. That's why they lost so many. But just the men would go to battle.
So, this king would say, "I could come in and just destroy your cities and kill all of your men and even all your boys, but what good would that do me? Then I've got destroyed cities, and I've got no men to rebuild them, and I've got no men to protect them. And so, I'd have to send some of my men, and I also don't have men to populate them, because you got to have a man and a woman. So, I'd have to send some of my men from other cities to rebuild the cities and to repopulate them and to protect them. So, instead of me coming in and squashing you like a bug, we'll make a treaty". And this was called, again, this treaty, where you've got the sovereign and then you've got the weaker or the servant. "And we'll make a treaty, and you will be the vassal, I'll be the suzerain, and we'll make this treaty. You'll be my servants, but in return, I'll protect you". Everyone following?
The Parity Treaty was when two kings of equal power made a treaty. And because they were of equal power, they would say, "You know, if we went to war, we really don't know who'd win. I mean, we're about the same. We're equal. And so, you might win, you might get the advantage. I might. And there's no reason for us to go to war, but let's make a treaty that if someone attacks you, then it's like they're attacking me". I'm hoping all the way through this message, you start getting ahead of me. This was actually called a family treaty because these two nations became family. It's like the old saying: you attack me, you attack my whole family. We're coming after you. Okay? So, these two powers that were equal would make a treaty. But you got to remember now, God wants to make a treaty or a covenant with the nation of Israel. But he couldn't use the Parity Treaty at that time because there was no human that was equal to him. I sure hope you get ahead of me on this. So, he had to make a Suzerain-Vassal treaty.
By the way, this treaty is in the Bible. 2 Kings 17:3, "Shalmaneser king of Assyria came up against him; and Hoshea became his vassal [his servant], and paid him tribute money". 2 Kings 24:1, "In his days..." That's Jehoiakim's days, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up, and Jehoiakim became his vassal for three years. It's right there in the Bible. So, God wants to make a covenant with Israel, but they're not equal. So, what He says is, "If you'll be My servants, if you'll serve Me, then I'll protect you, and I'll provide for you". But here's what you need to know about the old covenant. It's an if-and-then covenant. If you do this, then I'll do this.
The reason that I've got to, before I can get into divinely human and talk about that even though we're humans, and God wants to use you in a divine way. The reason I've got to nail this down is because many of you have been saved and are living under the New Covenant, but you're living like you're still living under the Old Covenant. And it's not an if-and-then covenant anymore. And it's not dependent on your works and your righteousness. It's dependent on Christ's work and Christ's righteousness. And just to go ahead and let the cat out of the bag, it's a Parity Covenant, because two equals made the covenant: God the Father and God the Son. And this is why it's so good. So, you got this old covenant where God says if and then. If you do this, then I'll do this. Matter of fact, let me just read you a couple of them.
Exodus 19:5. "'Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people.'" People say, they were a special treasure. God said, No, only if. If you obey, then you'll be a special treasure. I just read it to you. Don't give me that look. Like, "I don't know about that, pastor". I read you the Bible. Let me hold it up here. That's the Bible. God said, if, to Israel, then I'll do this. Exhibit 23:22, "'if you indeed obey His voice and do all that I speak, then I will be an enemy to your enemies and an adversary to your adversaries.'" I'll protect you and I'll provide for you if you obey everything I say.
Deuteronomy 28 is called the Blessings and Curses chapter. Deuteronomy 28. Let me think, 68 verses. The first 14 verses are blessings. The other 54 are curses. It's really not that fair. But for 14 verses, He says, if you'll do this, blessed shall you be when you come in, and bless shall you be when you go out. You ever heard those? Blessed shall you be in the city, blessed shall you be in the field, blessed shall be the fruit of your womb. Blessed. Okay, 14 verses, but verse 15, and it really emphasizes the if and the then. That's why I want to show it to you. That's when He starts the curses. It says Deuteronomy 28:15. "'But if you will not obey the voice of the Lord your God or be careful to do all his commandments and his statutes that I command you today, then all these curses shall come upon you and overtake you.'"
This is the Bible. I understand, some of you, this is tough for you because you were raised under Old Covenant preaching. If you're good, if you'll be good, then, if you'll do this, then. If - then. Now, this doesn't do away with sowing and reaping. You need to know that. I'm not saying that. We're not talking about now consequences, because if you commit adultery, there are consequences. But if you're truly saved, you don't lose your salvation. You just have to know that the New Covenant is not based on if you do all the right things and don't do all the wrong things. It's just not based on that. And here's the reason, and I'm going to show it to you right in the Bible later, because you can't do it. You don't have the ability to be perfect. So, the Old Covenant is a Suzerain-vassal covenant. It's an if and a then covenant. And it's the only covenant that was available to God at that time because there was no human that was His equal that He could make a covenant with until about 2000 years ago.
So, we talked about the Old Covenant. Now let's talk about the New Covenant. Jeremiah 31, 600 years before Christ says, "'Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not according to [not like] the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt'", that was Moses, the Mosaic covenant, the law, "'My covenant'", watch this, "'which they broke.'" They didn't keep it. I told them if, and they didn't do it, "'...though I was a husband to them, says the Lord.'" It was based on their behavior. And here's Hebrews 8 now talking about this New Covenant. "But now He", that's Jesus, "has attained a more excellent ministry inasmuch as he is also the mediator of a better covenant". If I didn't tell you that's the title of this message, A Better Covenant "which was established on better promises".
Now watch verse seven very carefully, "For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second". Listen to what he said. This is the Bible. "If there hadn't been a fault with the first covenant, then I wouldn't have needed to do a second covenant". That's what the Bible just said. If the first covenant had been faultless, did not have a fault, then I wouldn't have had to do a second one. But it did have a fault, verse eight, "Because finding fault with them", you know who the fault was? The people. They couldn't do it. "Finding fault with them, He says: 'Behold...'" Now listen, this is what we just read in Jeremiah 31. Hebrews is quoting it. "'...Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the Lord.'"
Here's another way the Bible talks about the fault with the first covenant. Galatian says, if the law could have made you righteous, then Christ died in vain. If the first covenant could have made you in right standing with God, then Jesus died in vain. So, he has to make a Parity covenant. Here's what's so cool about this. 500 years before Moses, God makes a covenant with Abraham, and it's a covenant, it's a true covenant, but it's also exemplary of the New Covenant. He shows up and in Genesis 17, he says "When Abram was ninety-nine years old", he'd already talked to when he was 75, "the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, 'I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless.'" Still doesn't take away that we should walk in holiness. "'And I will make My covenant between Me and you and will multiply you exceedingly.' Then Abram fell on his face and God talked with him, saying, 'As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you'", I just need you to pick up that this is a covenant between God and a person, "'and you shall be a father of many nations.'" Okay? So, did your Bible say? He said, "This is a covenant between me and you".
Did y'all see that? Hello? Maybe you people online. Can you all say it at home? Say, yeah. Did God say to Abraham, "This covenant is between me and you"? Did he say that? But do you know how He made the covenant? Put him to sleep. That's how much Abraham was needed to make the covenant. And here's what they would do. They took animals, and they cut them in half. And then the two people making the covenant, and this is the same way that the Parity covenant was made. It's the same way, these two equal kings. They would walk through these animals and then one would go that way, and one would go this way. And then they would come back around, and they'd come back to where they started. And remember, there's a shedding of blood. And what it symbolized was that we are going to walk together even through blood. But if one day life takes you one way and life takes me another way, at some point, because we're in covenant, we're going to come back together again. It reminds me of Romans 8, that nothing can separate me from the love of Christ. Nothing.
And by the way, God makes this covenant with Abraham through the shedding of blood. And 2000 years after that, he walks up the same hill. Most theologians believe it's the same hill. He walks up the same hill that Abraham raised a knife in the air. And God walks up that hill with His Son, raises a spear in the air and cuts a covenant with the shedding of blood with His own Son. Same thing. But he puts Abraham asleep. Abraham thinks he's going to walk through the pieces, but he goes to sleep, and it says a smoking oven, which many people believe it's the Father because all things are formed. You put something in the oven and it's formed. All things are formed through the Father. And a burning torch came, which represents the Son, the light of the world, and passed through the pieces. God the Father made the covenant with God the Son.
"But I thought it was a covenant between Abraham and God"? Well, it was. But if God the Father made the covenant with God the Son, then how did Abraham get in on it? But you got to understand, when He made this covenant, He didn't want it to be a Suzerain-vassal or a supreme-servant covenant. He wanted it to be a Parity covenant. And this is what Hebrews actually tells us, chapter 6 verse 13. "For when God made a promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself". This word greater literally just means great. In other words, because he could find no one as great as he was. And did you know, one time that word's translated equal. Because he could not find an equal, He made the covenant with Himself. God the Father and God the Son. But if this covenant is between God and Abraham, how did Abraham get in on it? Well, Romans 4:3 tells us, "For what does the scripture say"? And this is quoting now Genesis. "'Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.'"
Another way to say it was accounted to him for righteousness is that righteousness was put in his account. Sin was taken out of his account, and righteousness was put in his account. So, if God the Father needed a parity, an equal for the new covenant, and we know that equal was Jesus because He was fully human and fully divine, he died the death that we should have died, and he lived the life that we couldn't live. And he makes a covenant. How do we get in on it? The same way Abraham got in on it. By believing. Look at this scripture. Galatians 3:9. "So all who put their faith in Christ share the same blessing Abraham received because of his faith".
Now, what was the blessing? Righteousness. And what's righteousness? Right standing with God. See, the New Covenant is not a revamped Old Covenant. And if you're trying to live in a relationship with God under if and then then you'll see your humanity, you'll see your faults, you'll see your frailties, you'll see your weaknesses and even your sins. And you'll discount yourself from being partakers of the divine nature. And you'll discount yourself from being able to put your hands on someone who needs healing and watch God use you to do a miracle. And I'm telling you that these great heroes in the Bible, these men and women we look up to, were just as human as we are, but because they believed they were divinely human. And you, brothers and sisters, because you have believed in Christ, are divinely human, and God can do miracles through you. It's amazing.
So, before we go through the series and we look at Peter and we look at Mary and we look at Esther, and we look at Abraham or David or any of these others, that are great men and women of God, I had to clear up something. You are in a relationship with God not based on if and then, not based on that you do the right things and you don't do the wrong things. You're in a relationship with God because Christ did the right things and you believe in Jesus.
I want you to bow your heads and close your eyes, and I want to just take a moment like we always do, online, every campus, and say, Holy Spirit, what are You saying to me? And I want you to listen what the Holy Spirit is saying to you, but I want you to hear one thing from your pastor. You got to stop living under a covenant that Hebrews says is obsolete. That's the Bible. It's referring to the Old Covenant, and it said, "It's obsolete". It's obsolete, because there's a mediator of a New Covenant, a better covenant, established on better promises. And you can be at lunch with someone or talking to your neighbor or coworker and you can be used by God just like people in the Bible were used by God.
Lord, I pray for my brothers and sisters. I pray God that you would take all legalistic thinking out of our hearts and minds and you would replace it with grace and truth that the law came through Moses, the Old Covenant, but grace and truth, the New Covenant, came through Jesus. And I pray, Lord, that you will put it in our hearts that we are partakers of the divine nature now and we can cooperate with You and You can work through us miracles on this earth today. In Jesus' name, amen.