The Everlasting Covenant and The Eternal Sabbath

Eventually writers get beyond the point of explaining how they came to the knowledge of what they write and just write what they have learned. Perhaps this is the difference in a theologian and a simple disciple of Christ, (the sheep) like me.

The new wine after twenty-two years is still new and sometimes I have to write about how God has grown me with this new wine. This is the case of the two subjects here. Until a few years ago I had never heard that God relates to man only through covenant. Since His creating everything in covenant with His Son and the Holy Spirit, “creating man in our image,” He has established covenants with men; the covenant of works and the covenant of grace (the everlasting covenant established and fulfilled in Christ.)

The first man Adam, never entered into covenant with God, but refused to accept this relationship with Him.

His people could not enter into His sabbath rest because of unbelief in the covenant.  (Hebrews 3:18-19)

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What is a Covenant?
If this is God’s way of relating to us it behooves us to find its meaning. Still not understanding all that it entails, nor its ramifications, I continue to seek understanding through God’s word and prayer.

Basically (for the sheep’s point of view) a covenant is an agreement between two parties (persons). One of the two is the initiator of the covenant, whose work is to bring the second party (person) into the agreement. The first party must reveal and present the content and the intent of the covenant to the second party. A covenant can be understood as a set of rules established by the first party; with its purposes and promises.

God, Creator and Initiator
God as the initiator established His covenant through His Son, Jesus Christ, before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:3; 2 Timothy 1:9) The world was created through Him; all things consist in Him; and in Him all God’s fulness dwells (Colossians 1:15-19). (Is it any wonder that we must believe that there is no life apart from His Son?)
All things are sustained and fulfilled in the power of His Holy Spirit.  All three persons of the Godhead are parties of the first part of the covenant. They each have their place in the presentation, the preservation, and the perseverance of those in the covenant.

I like to think of the covenant as a house or building that is constituted for the protection and provisions of those who are brought in. His covenant is our home.
It is where He teaches us what He will do and work in us through His covenant. Hopefully this is enough for the basic understanding of His covenant, which He has established for His people.

“They shall ask the way to Zion with their faces thitherward, saying,
Come, and let us join ourselves to the Lord in a perpetual covenant
that shall not be forgotten.”
Jeremiah 50:5

The Eternal Sabbath
The eternal Sabbath is similar in that He, in the three persons of the Godhead, provided the Sabbath by His own work and initiation. He, by His work of creation, established the first Sabbath, the seventh day, of His rest. Jesus, by His work of redemption, established the first day, of His rest. The Holy Spirit is still in the process of presenting the covenant and bringing God’s people through the covenant into His eternal rest.

For us, the first day of the week, the Lord’s Day, is lived in observance of the covenant, with a resting and remembering all that He has done and is continuing to do. As we look forward to that eternal Sabbath promised in the everlasting covenant we worship and live the day, in light of the promises, as if we were there with Him. (Ephesians 1:3, 20: 3:10) He is the center of the day, even as He is the center of everyday and all of life.

 “And hath raised us up together,
and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:”
Ephesians 2:6

Life in Christ is life in the covenant.  He was given to us as our covenant.
Life in Christ is our resting in His work, just as we rest in God’s creation of us.  We can do nothing toward either birth, but as His Holy Spirit births Christ in us, we, in agreement, turn in repentance and faith entering into Christ, the everlasting covenant and our eternal rest.

“Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus,
that great shepherd of the sheep,
through the blood of the everlasting covenant,

Make you perfect in every good work to do his will,
working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight,
through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Hebrews 13:20-21

Dear Father, thank you for your covenant, established in Christ your Son, and for that eternal rest into which you have brought us, now and for eternity.  Let us live this day in honor and remembrance of Him as your covenant to us.  In the power of your Spirit, fill us with the fulness of your truth to worship and live in praise to you everyday.  In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen.

Related Article:
The Baptist Covenant of Grace ~ The New Covenant

The Christian Sabbath ~ A Sheep’s View

I approach this subject as I do all others concerning the kingdom of God. I am as a sheep led by that great shepherd of the sheep, the Lord Jesus Christ; and also a servant of the one who has saved me from the slaughter. No longer one who leads and teaches, now I see only Him and His teaching; if perhaps documenting for a legacy what I have seen and continue to see of His kingdom here on earth ~ a prelude of that which is promised for eternity.

We refer to the Christian Sabbath as the Lord’s Day, since, through Christ’s death for our deliverance from sin, and His resurrection as the sure hope of a new life and eternity with Him, He established a new day of rest in Himself. He is our Sabbath; He is our eternal rest. He is Lord of the Sabbath; and He established His own day when He rose in victory over sin and death and ascended to the throne with all power in heaven and earth. (Matthew 28:18)

The Lord’s Day and Worship
The Christian Sabbath ~ the Lord’s Day ~ was established for a different worship than the seventh day. The seventh was established under the law, for a day and a worship that was limited until the law of grace was brought to us in Christ. We no longer worship in the letter of the law in fear of the Lord’s wrath, bringing sacrifices of dead animals for atonement, but from the law written on our hearts and minds.

How we worship on this day depends on how we view the Lord’s Day. As sheep, recipients of the life of Christ and delivered from the slaughter of the former sabbath we bring our praises and thanksgiving to Him. We see worship on this day as an integral part of private and family worship on other days; a bringing together what we have experienced during the week of His presence and His power of salvation.

The Bridge to Eternal Rest
To know Him, His love for me in His suffering and sacrifice is to love Him. To love Him is to love His day. To understand this day and to see it from His perspective we have to know Him personally, as Lord and Savior; to follow Him through the week to what we know as the eighth day and the first day. The end of the week flows into the Lord’s Day, ending in a perpetual praise and worship; beginning a new week in obedience of faith to Him and His word; and preparing for the next Lord’s Day.

Donghai-Bridge-2
It is His day as He has become our bridge to the eternal sabbath.  “The word Sabbath seems to have derived from the verb sabat, meaning to stop, to cease, or to keep. Its theological meaning is rooted in God’s rest following the six days of creation
(Genesis 2:2-3).”  (The Bible Dictionary) The fourth commandment means more to the Christian than it did to the Israelites because we see it as the forerunner of the Christian sabbath. It was used to remember God’s work in creation and His salvation for the Israelites. They were required to offer bloody sacrifices through the priests offerings for atonement for their sins. Those sacrifices were abolished when Jesus, the Lamb of God was sacrificed once and for all time, for all His people in every generation from every nation.

This is the new day, through His sacrifice, that we remember and keep holy unto Him. God, the Father rested from His work of creation. Jesus Christ, the Son has rested from His work of redemption; and now sits in victory as our merciful and faithful High Priest interceding for us at the right hand of the Father until we are there at rest with them. We rest in Him and His work now, as the Holy Spirit continues to lead us in a continual worship in preparation for that eternal rest and worship.

“In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week,
came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.
 And, behold, there was a great earthquake:
for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven,
and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.
His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow:

And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.
And the angel answered and said unto the women,
Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.
He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.
Matthew 28:1-6

 Dear Father, open our eyes to see the living Christ. Let us by your Spirit know you, in obedience of faith worship you in spirit and truth today, and throughout this week know your presence and power. In Jesus name I pray. Amen

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Soul Food for Sunday

“My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the Lord:
my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God.”
Psalm 84:2

 I am addicted to the Word of God.  In it is the power of the life of Jesus Christ, the Lord. The power of the gospel to save, (Romans 1:16)  is the same power that raised Christ from the death, so that His life would be a continual flow of power in and through His people.  Feeding on His word daily is coupled with the Lord’s Day proclamation in the preaching of His word.  His word goes forth in power to those whose hearts and souls feed on Him.  How can we fast on the Lord’s Day when He has prepared a feast for us from His word?

Sword-Word-God-118735“For the word of God is quick, and powerful,
and sharper than any twoedged sword,
piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit,
and of the joints and marrow,
and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
Hebrews 4:12

By His Word and Spirit He searches and knows my heart; He tries me and knows my thoughts, seeing any wicked way in me; and leads me in the paths of righteousness.

 “Man shall not live by bread alone,
but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”
Matthew 4:4

I need His word ~ the same word that penetrated my being ~ to permeate, and perpetuate the life of Christ in and through me; for His sanctification by the “washing of the water by the word.” Ephesians 5:26

It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing:
the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.”

John 6:63

Through His Word are all God’s promises made and fulfilled in Christ.

“For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.”
Psalm 107:9

“I wait for the Lord, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope.”
Psalm 130:5

“Whom have I in heaven but thee?
and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee.
My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart,
and my portion for ever.”
Psalm 73:25:26

sarasota-tropical-garden-design“And the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden,
and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.

Isaiah 58:11

Dear Father, as you bring us this day into your gates with thanksgiving and your courts with praise, open our hearts to your word, that our souls may be fed, nourished, and receiving the bread of life in Christ, your Son, and your Spirit, knowing the abundance of His life within us. Let us this week, in obedience of faith be about our Father’s business of life, doing all your will ~ to your glory and our joy.  In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen.

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Celebration of a Life

(Stay with me—the best wine is reserved for last.)
Our children and grandchildren came today to celebrate the birthday of our youngest child, our daughter, Lee. For more than forty years we have witnessed what God, our heavenly Father, has been doing in this one life—“beforehand ordained” to be born of the earth, and of heaven.
How grateful I am that she has a new mother, for I was not able to give her eternal life. As a child she exhibited traits of someone else’s child. (At times I thought she was perfect; she was not at all like me.)  She attested to her new birth at the age of fifteen when she was baptized and formerly became a member of Christ’s church.

Though we drifted apart over the years we have since been drawn together in a new way through the difficult times—“everything working together” to conform  both of us to the image of Christ.

I lived part of my life through her, for she had a life I did not have.  God enabled me to see what He can do, beyond what any earthly parent can do.  Perhaps this was part of His plan for me to see beyond myself to Him.

This week as I have been preparing for this celebration the thought came that revealed the blessing that God put in my life all these years.  If I could have lived the life of another woman here on this earth I would have wished for the life He gave my daughter.
That is how much I love the daughter that He gave me.

Celebration of  THE LIFE

Now that we have celebrated the life of our daughter today we are continuing our plans for tomorrow.  Every day and every week is the time for preparation for the Lord’s Day—the day we celebrate the Life from which all life comes.

“For by Him (Jesus Christ) were all things created that are in heaven and in the earth…and by Him all things consist.  For it pleased the Father that in Him should all fulness (life) dwell.” Colossians 1:16-19
And of His fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.” John 1:16

Christ exhibited this Life in human form and then sacrificed that physical life that we might receive eternal life through Him.
Those who can testify of their new birth—new life in Christ—will celebrate the eternal life of Jesus Christ on the Lord’s Day.  It is the inheritance we have in Him as children of the living God, our heavenly Father.
We meet together with his other sons and daughters to worship and adore the one who gave His life that we might live with Him, forever.

At Christ Reformed Church we are invited every Lord’s Day to His table to feast on this life—His body broken for us; His blood shed for us—all for us, that we might be all for Him.

My heavenly Father blessed me with a precious daughter and son here on this earth, both originating with His Son.  Through new life in Him, supernaturally by His own Spirit, He continues to bless me and promises this for eternity.
Even in the years of my estrangement from Him Christ compensated for me and in His timing brought me to know His love for me.  Now the only life I desire is the life of Christ; His life in me, and my living in Him.   This is how much I love the Son given to me.

“He who has the Son has Life.”
1 John 5:12

Father, open our eyes to see ourselves as we are without you.  Reveal Christ to us as our only hope of life for this world and for eternity.  In Jesus’ name we pray.  Amen

Observation of the Sabbath

“It is a gross mistake to consider the Sabbath as a mere festival of the Jewish Church, deriving its whole sanctity from the Levitical law.  The abrogation of that law no more releases the worshippers of God from the observation of the Sabbath, than it cancels the injunctions of filial piety, or the prohibitions of theft and murder.  The Christian stands obliged to the observance of a Sabbath.  By keeping a Sabbath, we acknowledge a God and declare we are not atheists; by keeping one day in seven, we protest against idolatry, and acknowledge that God who made the heavens and earth; and by keeping our Sabbath on the first day of the week, we protest against Judaism, and acknowledge that God who, having made the world, sent His only begotten Son to redeem mankind.  The observation of the Sabbath is a public weekly assertion of the two first articles in our creed–the belief in God the Father Almighty, the Maker of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord.” ~  Samuel Horsley (1733-1806)

Profaning the Sabbath

“My soul, how hast thou profaned that day thy God hath sanctified! How hast thou encroached on that which Heaven hath set apart!  If thy impatience cannot act a Sabbath twelve hours, what happiness canst thou expect in a perpetual Sabbath?  Is six days too little for thyself, and two hours too much for thy God?”
~ Francis Quarles 1592-1644 (From Horatius Bonar‘s Words Old and New)

Dear Father, let us not presume to think that we have an interest in Heaven if we have no interest in You.  Why would we want to spend eternity with You if we have no desire to spend a day with You now?  Forgive us, and by Your own Spirit draw us to Yourself in Christ with Your people today. In Jesus’ name we pray.  Amen.

The Lord’s Day ~ The Christian’s Day of Deliverance

“The Christian as well as the Jew, after six days spent in his own works, is to sanctify the seventh, that he may profess himself thereby a servant of God, the Creator of heaven and earth.  For the quotum the Jew and Christian agree; but in designation of the day they differ.  For the Christian chooseth for his holy day that which, with the Jew, was the first day of the week, and calls it the Lord’s day, that he might thereby profess himself a servant of that God who, on the morning of that day, vanquished Satan, the spiritual Pharaoh, and redeemed us from our spiritual thraldom by raising Jesus Christ our Lord from the dead; begetting us, instead of an earthly Canaan, to an inheritance incorruptible in the heavens.  The Christian, by the day he hallows, professes himself a Christian.  The Jew and Christian make their designation of their day on like ground: the Jews, the memorial day of their deliverance from the temporal Eqypt and temporal Pharaoh; the Christians, the memorial day of their deliverance from the spiritual Egypt and spiritual Pharaoh.”
~ Joseph Mede 1586-1639    (From Horatius Bonar’s Words Old and New)