Robert Morris - The Beginning of Covenant
Hey everyone. It's good to see you. I just want to make an announcement to everyone. I make this about once a year. And it seems like we're getting more reports that someone or people are imitating me online and asking for money. Like on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, you know, all that stuff. My thing is Pastor Robert Morris, I guess. Is that right? Yeah, I don't know what it is, but it's something like that right there. But someone was doing "PSRobertMorris_", you know, and messaging people. Here, you just need to know this. If you ever get a message from me and I'm asking for money, it's not me, or I've lost my mind. One or the other. Okay? But it's not me. If you have a friend, you know, just know. I just want to clarify that. Okay? It's a scam and I don't want you to get scammed. Alright?
Okay. So, we're in a series. We talked about The Beginning of Death, The Beginning of Atonement. Last week, I covered atonement. I will say, I shared a funny story about Debbie, first of the message, you know, about Chick-fil-A, about you know, no cheese and all that. And so, I got Chick-fil-A and was going into a meeting this week at the church, and three people asked me, "Did you get cheese on it"? And I thought, not one of them said, thank you for teaching me the difference between expiation and propitiation, pastor. I've been losing sleep over that one. You know, they just want to know about Debbie's sandwich. Okay. So. We're in this series, The Principles of First Mention. This is the last one in the series, and this week, we're going to talk about The Beginning of Covenant.
It was day nine, so you probably already read that devotional, written by one of our pastors, Elizabeth Settle. Great job. All 21 are great. I said this last weekend. If you're behind, just take your time. It's okay. You got 365 days until we come out with another one. Okay? So just do 21 of them. But make sure, please that you read all of them. And don't just read them, but do a devotional. Take some time and let the Holy Spirit let each of these truths sink in. So we're going to talk about covenant. The first time it appears in the Bible is Genesis 6 with Noah. Here's the verse. Verse 18. "But I will establish My Covenant with you; and you shall go into the ark: you, your sons, your wife, and your sons' wives with you".
So here's the first time it appears in the Bible. There are five covenants in the Bible that God made. Some call this the Noahic covenant. Most theologians call it the Universal covenant. I'll explain that in a moment. And then you've got the Abrahamic, the Mosaic, the Davidic (obviously, Abraham, Moses, David), and then the new covenant. Okay? But let me give you, I was telling Debbie this and giving her a little timeline, and she said I never knew that. I never realized that was the time. So, I want to give you a little timeline so you can kind of see Abraham, Moses, Noah, David, these major players, where the covenants came into the Bible. Okay?
So let me show you this. And at the end of it, we'll leave it up and put it up if you want to take a picture at the end of it. So, 4000 BC, Adam and Eve. Now, I rounded the dates off. Okay? So you don't have to email me, telling me it was 4175. Okay? I know that, but I'm just rounding it off for all of us. Okay? So around 4000 BC, Adam and Eve. 2500 BC, Noah. God spoke to him, according to our history, 2639. It took 120 years to build the ark. 2519, but around 2500 BC. Around 2000 BC, Abraham. Around 1500 BC, Moses. Around 1000 BC, David. And then obviously, AD 30, Jesus Rose from the grave. So, God creates Adam and Eve, and then these are the five covenants right here. Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, Jesus. I'll show you that, but I just want you to notice, from Genesis 1 to Genesis 6, 1500 years. 1500 years. A lot of people don't realize, in five chapters, 'cause it starts in 6, just the first five. But you got to remember, they lived to be like 900 years old. So there wasn't that much going on with Methuselah when he was 842. See, it was a lot like 841. Alright.
So then Abraham, okay. Now, with Noah is the Universal covenant. And then Abraham was the... Oh, I forgot. I want to show you this, 'cause we're going to go into this. Three of the five covenants are unconditional. I'm going to explain all this in the message. So this was an unconditional covenant that God made with Noah and with all of his descendants. Alright? Abraham is the Abrahamic covenant, unconditional covenant. The Mosaic covenant, though, which we call the old covenant, was conditional. We'll go through all this in the message. The Davidic covenant was unconditional. The New Covenant Jesus makes is conditional. So this is really important because you want to be in on this covenant.
So you're going to want me to tell you what the one condition is for you to get in on this covenant. This is really important. So we're going to talk about this. And we'll leave it up, you can look at it. You can put it on the screen, everyone if you want to take a screenshot. We have a great big thing of it. It just kind of might help you remember the timelines. And I've learned to take pictures of things on my phone. My kids taught me that. I say, wait, let me write that down. They said, just take a picture of it, dad. I don't have time for you to write it down. Just take a picture. And I thought, wow, that's a great, great idea. You know? So, alright.
So here's point number one: the unconditional covenants. I want to explain to you about the unconditional covenants, which are three. Alright? The Universal covenant, the Abrahamic, and the Davidic. So, first of all, the Universal covenant, which is called the Noahic, came through Noah. Genesis 9. We talked about Genesis 6, where he told him to build the ark. Genesis 9 is after the flood. Genesis 9:8. "Then God spoke to Noah and to his sons with him, saying: 'And as for Me, behold, I establish My covenant with you'". I just love the way God says, This is my covenant. It's not yours. You don't really have anything to do with this. This is my covenant "'with you and with your descendants after you,"' So that's all of us. We're all descendants of Noah.
Watch this, now. Some of you are going to like this, "'and with every living creature that is with you:'" So your dogs get in on this covenant. See, I knew. Alright. Every living creature gets in on this covenant, "the birds, the cattle, every beast of the earth with you, of all that go out to the ark, every beast of the earth. Thus I establish My covenant with you:'" Here's the covenant. "Never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood; never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.' And then God said: 'this is the sign of the covenant, which I make which I make between Me and you, and every living creature'". Your dogs too. And your cats. I guess I should include the cats. "That is with you, for perpetual generations: I set My rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be for the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth.'"
So this is a universal covenant. And what I mean by that is there are some universal laws of God. And let me make a statement. Some of you will just love this statement. You cannot break the universal laws of God. You can only illustrate them. Now, here's what I mean by that. If you jump out of a window, you're not going to break the law of gravity. You will illustrate it very well, but you won't break it. So there are universal laws of God that you can't break. You can only illustrate. The Universal covenant of there never being another flood, you can't break that. This is an unconditional covenant. And God says, Here's my sign, it's a rainbow. A rainbow, by the way, it's made only by a storm cloud and sun. Not a normal cloud. It's called a storm cloud. Now that's not scientific obviously, but it means, it's when a storm has come, and it's passing over, and the sun is coming out. No human can put a rainbow in the sky. Only God can. But I love the picture. Here's what he's trying to tell you. This storm that you've gone through is over, and the sun is beginning to shine again. So it's a wonderful law that God's given us and a wonderful sign that we can see all the time. So, first of all, the Universal.
The second unconditional, this is all under point 1, is the Abrahamic covenant. Genesis 17:2-4. "'And I will make My covenant between Me and you'", my covenant, "'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, and you shall be a father of many nations.'" This was an unconditional covenant. Now some of you might think, I even had a guy say to me one time, Well, Abraham had to do his part. You know, he had to be with Sarah. Actually, we have proof that God can impregnate a woman without a man. Doesn't even need the man. So yes, he did it this way. And it wasn't that, you know, be with your wife. Okay. You know, I mean, men would say, Okay, that's great if that's that's my part. Alright.
Here's the third unconditional covenant: The Davidic. 2 Chronicles 21:7. "Yet the Lord would not destroy the house of David, because of the covenant that He had made with David, and since He had promised to give a lamp to him and to his sons forever". Now again, these are unconditional. Now the reason I'm saying this is, it's very important to understand that it was not based on their behavior. But they each got in on the covenant because of their belief, but the covenant was going to be enforced no matter their behavior. As a matter of fact, we could list their behavior, and then prove that God's covenant was still enforced. And I'll do a tongue in cheek.
Aren't you glad that after God made this covenant with Noah, that Noah didn't do something foolish, like get drunk... and run around naked. And by the way, I don't want to go into this in too much detail, but that word nakedness, that he uncovered his nakedness, was not the normal word for nakedness. It's the word for indecent behavior. And by the way, Ham saw his nakedness or his indecent behavior, and went out and talked about it. And Ham got cursed, not Noah. There's something to think about. Noah did the indecent behavior, but the one that went out and made fun of him got cursed. It might tell you, don't have a judgmental attitude toward people. So, aren't you glad Noah didn't do that? We'll obviously, he did. Aren't you glad Abraham didn't lie about his wife and didn't sleep with his maid? Well, he did, but we still have the Abrahamic covenant. And obviously, we got a good one now.
David, we know David never did anything wrong. Like commit adultery, have a child out of wedlock, and murder the husband. What I'm trying to say is that God has never backed out of a covenant. God has never broken a covenant. If you ever read something that God broke covenant with Israel, it's false. It's nowhere in the Bible. Here's what it says, You have broken my covenant. Israel broke our covenant. As a matter of fact, one time he's getting accused of breaking covenant, and Jeremiah the prophet says, God says this, show me your certificate of divorce. Show me where I divorced you because I didn't break my covenant, although you've been committing adultery on me. That's what God says. The reason this is good news is because God's faithful even if you're not. He is going to be faithful. So those are the conditional and unconditional covenants.
Here's point number two: the obsolete covenant. This is the Mosaic covenant. Now this might shock you. I know it's called the OId Covenant, but you might be thinking, Well why in the world, Pastor Robert, would you call it the obsolete covenant? Well, only because the Bible does. Hebrews 8:13. "In that He says, 'a new covenant,' He has made the first obsolete.'" Obsolete. Now we'll go into this more. You back up a few verses, in Hebrews 8:6. But now Jesus, "He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second".
So here's what he's saying there. There was a fault with the first covenant. Now I had so many scriptures, I get them all the time, and I just don't have time to go through all of them. You know, if this was a one hour class, I could go through more scripture. So you can read Hebrews 8 and 9, and it you what the fault was. The fault was that they did not continue in it. They could not continue in the covenant. They couldn't do it. Look at their response when Moses tells them about the covenant. Exodus 24:7. "Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read in the hearing of the people. And they said, 'All that the Lord has said we will do, and be obedient'". All the Lord has said we will do. Okay. 613 laws. While God's giving the first 10, they're at the bottom of the mountain, committing adultery, already breaking three or four of the laws.
And here's what God says. Think about this. Here's my covenant. You have to do everything in the law. And here's what they said. Okay. They had already broken it. The fault was, you can't do it. No human can do it. Now, here's an amazing verse. If I asked you, what was the purpose of the law? You probably wouldn't know right off what verse I'm referring to. Galatians 3:19 says, "What purpose then does the law serve"? The law is another word for the Old Covenant. "What purpose then does the law serve"? Watch. "It was added because of transgressions," "It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made".
Now, here's what I mean by that. Remember, I've told you the word transgress is like our word trespass. Okay. So, you don't know you're trespassing if you don't know where the property line is. Paul said it this way. I didn't know that I wasn't supposed to covet until the law told me, thou shalt not covet. Now that the law told me, not to covet, now I know covet is a line I'm not supposed to trespass. But you don't know that it's wrong. So here's what God said, because you kept transgressing, because you kept stepping over the line, I decided then to tell where the lines were. And so that's what the law does, but he doesn't give you any power to not step over the lines. It only tells you where the lines are.
When James, my son, was young, we had a swimming pool. And I walk out to check the burgers or something on the grill, and he's standing there, you know, we had a bed around the pool with rocks, you know, around the house part, then the concrete for the pool. But he standing there just throwing rocks in the pool. And I said to him, Hey, Hey, Hey! Don't throw any rocks in the pool. He looks at me, walks over like this, picks up Josh's bicycle and goes and throw's it in the pool. I didn't say don't throw bikes in the pool. I didn't tell him that was a line. I just told him, don't throw rocks in the pool. So then I said to him, don't throw anything in the pool. And then I thought myself or anyone, because I knew what was coming after that. So that's what the law does. The law says, you can't do this. Don't go that way. But it gives you no power at all to fulfill it. None. Zero.
So that brings us to point number three: the New Covenant. This is also a conditional covenant. The Od Covenant was conditioned upon you keeping the law. So we're going to talk about the condition of the New Covenant. But let me show you the difference between the New Covenant and the Old Covenant, the major difference. Hebrews 8 verses 8 and 10. "Because finding fault with them, He 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 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;"' See that's the covenant through Moses, the Mosaic covenant, "'because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.'"
Okay. Here's the difference in the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. And when it says the old, it's referred to the Mosaic. The difference is that the old told you what not to do, but the new gives you the power to live a holy life, to live, this is the way Titus says it, to live righteously and soberly in this present age. It's the only thing that gives you power. But where's the power come from? Well, how do you get this power? And how do we know about this power? So let's contrast just for a moment, or compare, let's say it that way, the giving of the law and the giving of the Spirit. When the law was given on Mount Sinai, there was a sound from heaven, there was fire, the law was written on tablets of stone, and 3000 people died. When the Spirit was given, there was a sound from heaven, there was fire, the law was written on tablets of flesh, and 3000 people got saved. The law brought death, the Spirit brings life. That's what Roman says. Pretty clear. The Spirit brings life.
So not only do I now know where the lines are, but I had the power of the Holy Spirit to be able to live a holy life on this earth. It doesn't mean I'm never going to cross the line or fall over. You have to understand that God's still never going to break his covenant. One of my favorite scriptures, 2 Timothy 2:13. "If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself". Now, this is really important because you have to understand, the New Covenant is compared with the Abrahamic covenant. It's contrasted with the Mosaic, compared to the Abrahamic. What do I mean by that. Did you know when God made the covenant with Abraham, he put him to sleep? In other words, he didn't need Abraham. And a smoking oven, representing the Father, the Creator of all life, and a burning torch representing the Son, the Light of the World, showed up and passed through the pieces. The Father made the covenant with the Son, and Abraham believed and got in on the covenant.
So what you need to know is 2000 years ago, the Father made a covenant with the Son, and you believe, and you get in on it. And the reason that even when you're faithless, he remains faithful, He cannot deny himself. He can't deny himself because he made the covenant with himself. We just believe. Let me illustrate it. Pastor Thomas, if you'll come up. So when they would make a covenant in those days, there was always the shedding of blood. They would take animals and they would cut them in half. Now I know, you don't have to visualize this 'cause it's bloody, okay. They'd cut them in half, and then the two guys would stand here. And the animals are... So here's what Abraham did. Abraham cut the animals in half, and then he was waiting 'cause he thought God would show up, and then he and God would walk through the animals, but that's not what happened. God put Abraham to sleep. And then the Son shows up and the Father and the Son walk through.
But here's the way people would make it. Alright? So let's say Thomas and I are going to make a covenant. We cut these animals and lay them out. Then we walk through the two pieces, through the blood, and then Thomas goes this way, I go this way. We make a circle. And then he and I come back together where we started. What it represented was that if Thomas and I, we are walking in relationship, but then God leads Thomas to go a certain way, and I go a certain way, we're in covenant, so no matter where life takes us, we are always going to come back together again. That's what it represented, okay? Thanks. So, Abraham's thinking God's going to show up, and he and I are going to walk through the pieces together, and he and I are going to make a covenant. That's not what happened. The Father makes a covenant with the Son and Abraham believes, and it's counted to him for righteousness. That's why the New Covenant says, this is what the New Covenant is like: It's like the Abrahamic covenant because the Father made a covenant with the Son on the cross, and I believe, so I get in on it.
But what's the condition, then? Now, yes, it is belief. Yes it's belief. Abraham believed and it was counted to him for righteous. But I like to take believe to a little deeper level, because I think a lot of people, I'm actually very concerned about this, I think a lot of people believe in their head that Jesus is Lord, but not in their heart. And I don't think they're really saved. I really don't. So I'm going to give you another word in a moment. But it's a little like this guy, I heard, was walking along this hill, and he slipped and he rolled down the hill, and then there was a cliff, like a thousand foot drop. And he fell and there was a little bush tree and he grabbed onto it. He's holding on to it and he shouts out, is there anyone up there that can help me? And this voice from heaven said, I can help you. But you're going to have to let go of the tree. And he said, is there anyone else up there? I feel like God is saying, I can help you, but you got to let go.
So let me show you another scripture about entering the covenant. It's going to use a different word. It's going to use the word Testament, but you need to know this. It's the exact same Greek word for covenant. As a matter of fact, everywhere else in the New Testament it's translated covenant, except in these two verses here, it's translated Testament. By the way, I'm telling Debbie this, I love her to run the things by her. And I said, it's the same... She said, it's the same word? I said, yeah. She said, so when I'm reading the New Testament, I'm reading the new covenant? I said, yeah, kind of like, sure. Didn't you know that? She was like, No, I didn't know that. Why would I know that? I didn't take Greek, Robert. You know, I didn't know that. But it's the same word. The New Testament is the New Covenant. The Old Testament is the Old Covenant, but I think it uses the word testament because it's gotta use the word testator, which is the person making the covenant, and there's no word, you can't say "the Covenator" like the Terminator, you know, Jesus is "the Covenator".
Okay, so. Hebrews 9:16 says, "For where there is a testament," Now remember, this is the same word as covenant. Where there is a covenant, "there must also of necessity be the death of the one who makes it". Some newer versions say to help us understand because we're not familiar with testator, the one who makes the covenant. For a covenant is in force. And one version says, only after men are dead, since it has no power at all, while the one who makes it is still alive. Would you like to know the one condition, the new covenant's conditional, the one condition of entering the new covenant? You know what it is? Death. You have to die. Now, not physical death, I'm going to say something that might throw you off a little, because that would be easy. 'Cause you're going to all get to do that without even trying one day. So it's not physical death. It's death to self. It's death to your will. It's the same death that Jesus experienced in the garden when he said, Not my will, but yours be done.
Now, I'm going to tell you something that's going to shock you. I know some people that have been in church a long time, and I know some people who are even church leaders that still have not died to self, and I'm not sure they're even saved. Jesus said it. "You want to follow me? Take up your cross. If anyone. If anyone wants to follow me, take up your cross and follow me". A covenant, a covenant has no power at all until both people who make it die. He's already died. You don't enter this covenant till you die. Now here's the good thing, though. When you enter this covenant, God's faithful. Let me say this another way. The New Covenant is a conditional covenant based upon an unconditional promise. That's tweetable. I don't really know what that means, but my kids say that. Let me say it again. This is really good. The New Covenant is a conditional covenant, but it's based on an unconditional promise.
You know what the unconditional promise is? I will never leave you nor forsake you. You don't have to worry about God being faithful. He'll be faithful. He'll do his part, even if you don't do your part once you enter this covenant. In other words, if you're not perfect and do everything right, if you'll die to self, he'll do his part, but you got to die.
When our kids were 13, all of them, when they turned 13, Josh, then James, then Elaine, the two boys I took on an overnight trip. We went through the facts of life, things like that. And then we had a promise ring that we gave each of them. And Debbie did it with Elaine, and we told them, we're going to make a covenant with you, and this covenant is that you'll remain pure, that you'll allow us to speak into your life when it comes to a mate. By the way, all three of ours, all three were either pursuing or being pursued by the wrong person for them. Not a bad person, just the wrong one for them. And all three heard our counsel and now they have great marriages and love the Lord and serve the Lord. So we made them covenant and we said, here are some things that are your part, And then we said, here are some things that are our part.
And I had not written... Let me just say this, I had not written any books back then. I was on a normal, regular associate pastor salary, but I said, we're going to pay all the expenses of the wedding. I'm going to pay for your honeymoon. I'm gonna help you with your first home. I don't know. I don't remember drinking any wine that night, but I just said, I said these things, I'm going to do all these things, but I want you to do these things. So I have a part, you have a part. And then with Josh, my first, when he was 13, my oldest son, I said to him, now I want to ask you a question because I've got some things I'm going to do, and I'm asking you to do some things.
So what I want to ask you a question, if you don't do your part, what do you think dad's going to do? And he thought for a minute, and then he said, I think you'll still do your part. And I thought you blew my punchline. I thought I would say, Well, if I don't do my part, you want to do your part. And I was going to be able to go say, I'm still gonna do my part because God always, you know, I had a great little sermonette for it. And he said, I think you'll still do your part. I said, why? Why do you think that? Here's what he said, because you're like God. And I think God loves us even when we're bad.
Now I want you, if you don't get anything out of this message, you need to know this. God loves you even when you're bad. He'll always do his part. He'll always be faithful. And there's a covenant of eternal promises that you can enter into if you'll just die to your selfish will and let him take over your life. Just let him take over.
I want you to bow your heads and close your eyes. And every message every weekend, we just ask the Holy Spirit a question. Everyone in the buildings, everyone at every campus, everyone watching online, just close your eyes just for a minute, if you can. And just say, Holy Spirit, what are you saying to me through this message? And I really have a burden that some of you might feel like, you know, I've gone to church, I believe in Jesus, but Pastor Robert, when you said some of you have not died to self, and you may not be saved, something jumped inside of me, and I thought, I may not be saved.
I'm asking you, would you die to self today? This might be your wake-up call, might be your pigpen moment, where you come to yourself and come home to the Father. So will you do that right now? Will you just take a moment and just tell the Lord, Lord to the best of my ability, I'm going to die to self, and I want to not just believe that Jesus is Lord, but because I really believe he's Lord, I believe that his way is better than my way. And I'm going to quit trying to run my life and quit trying to run everybody else's life. And I'm going to die to self and let Jesus live through me from now on. So just tell him that. Just, tell him in your own words.
Lord, I want to tell you thank you that you are always faithful. Thank you for your eternal covenants, Lord. And God thank you that even when we're faithless, you remain faithful. Thank you for the New Covenant, through the blood of Jesus Christ. I pray all of us will enter in to that covenant and will love you, and be grateful to you for all of our lives, in Jesus' name, amen.