Preparing for Worship // September 3, 2017

Preparing for Worship // September 3, 2017

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“Covenant” is one of those words that gets thrown around a lot in the presbyterian world: Covenant Day School, Covenant College, Covenant Seminary, Uptown Christ COVENANT Church. But what is a covenant? And why is the concept of a covenant so important? O. Palmer Robertson defines a covenant as “a bond in blood sovereignly administered” (O. Palmer Robertson, The Christ of the Covenants, 4). And since that’s a lot of confusing words crammed into a small space, let’s break it down.

At its core, a covenant is an agreement between two people (or groups of people). On the surface, it looks a lot like a contract. There are two basic parts of a covenant: obligations that each group must keep, and a promise of reward or punishment depending on whether those obligations are met. The key difference between a contract and a covenant is that a contract is merely an agreement, while a covenant actually binds the two groups together. This means that when God makes a covenant with us, we are bound to Him. We become His people. Another key difference between a contract and a covenant is that a contract is agreed upon by both sides, but when God enters into a covenant, He is the primary actor. It is “sovereignly administered.” When God enters into a covenant of grace with us, He does so by His own grace and free will.

Finally, a covenant always involves blood. Here we get at the heart of what a biblical covenant really is. When God makes a covenant with us, we always break that covenant. We are sinners who are prone to wander. When the covenant is broken, the shedding of blood is required. But here’s the beauty of the covenant of grace. When we break the covenant, God’s blood is shed instead of ours. Because Jesus paid the penalty for our unfaithfulness, we can continue to be in a covenant with God; our relationship with God is not broken as a result of our sin. The reason why the idea of covenant is so important is that the covenant is the basis of our relationship with God as His people. And the beauty of the idea of covenant is that Christ’s blood alone makes this covenant possible. His is the blood that binds us to God in covenant love. God initiates and God makes it possible. This week, let us worship our covenant God who has already done everything necessary to make us His.

THE WORD

Scripture: Romans 4:1-17
Sermon: Living in the Covenant of Grace

SONGS

Grace Greater Than Our Sin (Traditional)
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Thy Mercy (Sandra McCracken)
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Only Hope  (Caedmon’s Call)
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Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone) (Chris Tomlin)
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Song of Preparation: Not What My Hands Have Done (Indelible Grace)
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Song of Response: Your Grace Is Enough
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