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Sabbath Mornings at Ballymacashon – 7th July 2013

06/07/2013

Ballymacashon Congregational Church

Order of Service: Sabbath 7th July 2013
Service Theme: The New Covenant – Great Glory and a Greater Effect!

Call to Worship: Jeremiah 31:31-34

Psalm: 32:1-6
(Tune: Martyrdom)

1 O blessed is the man to whom

is freely pardoned

All the transgression he hath done,

whose sin is covered.

2 Bless’d is the man to whom the Lord

imputeth not his sin,

And in whose sp’rit there is no guile,

nor fraud is found therein.

3 When as I did refrain my speech,

and silent was my tongue,

My bones then waxed old, because

I roared all day long.

4 For upon me both day and night

thine hand did heavy lie,

So that my moisture turned is

in summer’s drought thereby.

5 I thereupon have unto thee

my sin acknowledged,

And likewise mine iniquity

I have not covered:

I will confess unto the Lord

my trespasses, said I;

And of my sin thou freely didst

forgive th’ iniquity.

6 For this shall ev’ry godly one

his prayer make to thee;

In such a time he shall thee seek,

as found thou mayest be.

Scottish Psalter

Prayer:

Reading: 2nd Corinthians 3:7-18

Children’s Address

Praise: Old Yet Ever New

Sermon:
A Greater Glory & a Greater Effect!
Text: 2nd Cur. 3:7-18
In our passage for this study, Paul develops the great truth, that the letter kills, but the Holy Spirit brings life, by illustrating it applied to the difference between the Law and the Gospel. Look at what he says:-

1. Two Glorious Covenant Administrations!
Now Paul describes the vital differences between the Law and the Gospel, here in this passage. Let’s look closely at the text and compare them:-

The Ministration of Death! But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away. Now, see what Paul is saying about the Old Covenant Administration here:

It resulted in death! What a deadly covenant it was! It was a covenant that killed hope, for there was never any hope that people could keep it! It killed strength, for it told people what to do, but could never help them to do it!

It was written on stones. You know the story of the giving of the Law to Moses – they were literally written on stone. Exodus 31:18. Now, there was something else that we should know about this covenant administration:-

It was glorious! When Moses came down from the mountain, there was a veil upon his face, for Moses had beheld the Glory of the Lord God Jehovah face to face, and his own face radiated with the glory of God! But there was another reason why the people were bidden not to gaze upon the glory of the OT Covenant…

It was temporary! This Covenant was glorious, but it was a temporary glory! Moses’ face would eventually return to normal, and the luminance of the glory of God would fade from it. It was a glory which would be done away!

Now, compare that with Paul calls:

The Ministration of Life! How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious? For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory

It is a Spiritual – a LIFE-GIVING Covenant! God freely makes this life-giving covenant with sinful men and women who have nothing to offer him in return!

Written on HEARTS! This is the first great difference between the Law and the Gospel. While the Law was written on stone, in the New Covenant, God has written His Law on the hearts of His people. 2 Cor. 3:3. Now, this was simply what the prophet Jeremiah had said, when he spoke about the New Covenant that God would make with His people. Jeremiah 31:31-34. Now, immediately you will see that…

It was MORE Glorious! How great is the glory of the covenant between God and the believer!

It was PERMANENT! While the glorious old covenant was designed to be temporary, this covenant is designed to be eternal! It shall never fail or pass away! The Old Covenant was truly glorious, but now it must die and give way to the even greater glory of the new Covenant! For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious.

Now, let’s just be very clear about the differences between Law and Gospel as Paul outlines them here:

The Law (Old Covenant) is the COVENANT OF CONDEMNATION! ‘the ministration of condemnation.’ There is no doubt that this is true. The Lord in His love and mercy for his people gave us the Law for a distinct purpose, to show us that we cannot please God by our own righteousness and works. Paul tells us that the Law was like a schoolmaster. Galatians 3:23-24. Its purpose was to awaken him to his inability to please God, to teach him his own unworthiness and unrighteousness, and to drive him to Christ, who kept the law for him, died on the cross as his substitute and sin-bearer, and offered him complete forgiveness! The law was too hard for any man to keep, because as Paul tells us, ‘all have sinned and come short of the glory of God!’

The Gospel (New Covenant) is the COVENANT OF RIGHTEOUSNESS! ‘the ministration of righteousness.’ In the New Covenant we obtain righteousness, not from our own works or efforts, but from Christ alone. God gives us his righteousness in Christ as a free gift, and we are set free from the law, and brought nigh to God in Christ.

How do we obtain that righteousness? The Bible uses a word to explain how God’s righteousness in imparted to us in Christ. That word is IMPUTATION. Read Romans 4:11 … Abraham had faith in God, that when God made a promise, he would always keep it, even when the odds against that promise being kept in human terms seemed impossible! (Sarah and the promise of seed) God counted that faith as Righteousness! Romans 4:22-24. James made the same point in James 2:23 So, by faith our sins are put to Christ’s account, and his righteousness is put to our account!

2. A Practical Application.
There is also a very practical application of all of this. Because we have become partakers in this New Covenant:-

We have hope! ‘Seeing then that we have such hope.’ What great hope this gives us in this despairing world, for we are no longer trying to get to heaven alone! We have Christ, who opens the door for us, and invites us to come! You don’t get hope like this from anyone else but Christ!

We have plain speech! ‘we use great plainness of speech.’ So the Gospel is very plain indeed! It is very simple, as far as mankind is concerned. God calls us to repent and to put our whole trust in Christ!

We have nothing between us and God! ‘even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their (unbelieving Jews) heart. Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away.’ There is a veil – a separation between sinful men and women and the Lord God. Sinners outside of Christ cannot know God, or have fellowship with Him, or even recognise him! We cannot come into his presence, neither now (in prayer for example) or in eternity, because our sins have separated us from him! When we are saved by God’s grace the veil is ripped away! We are granted the right of fellowship and access, for our sins have been dealt with, and covered with the precious blood of Christ.

Praise: Who is a Pardoning God like Thee

Benediction.

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