The Promise: God's Everlasting Covenant

January, February, March 2003

Want to learn more about The Promise: God's Everlasting Covenant? Use these Bible Studies for personal devotion, group Bible studies, or teaching a church class. Below are links to the lessons in this 13-part series.

Lesson 1: What Happened? (Genesis 1-3)
God has entered into a contract with humans. Humans enter into contracts with each other all the time to get things they want. Have you ever considered, however, entering into a contract with your country? Citizens of a country have certain obligations. It is a two-way street. The country makes basic promises to its citizens and the citizens make promises to the country. An example is paying taxes in exchange for order, protection and basic services. How about God? What contracts, what promises, have we exchanged with Him? Let's dive into our study this week to begin our study of the topic, "The Promise."

Lesson 2: Covenant Primer (Genesis 6&12, Exodus 3&6, Deuteronomy 4&6, Jeremiah 31)
Samples. People offer me samples all the time. They send them in the mail. They put them in with my newspaper. They offer them on street corners. They tempt me with them in stores. Why do merchants give out samples? They hope to draw me in to buy their product. Our lesson this week is also a sample. We are going to sample four contracts between God and man. Let's jump into our lesson and see if this encourages us to study these promises in more depth later this quarter!

Lesson 3: "All Future Generations" (Genesis 4, 6 & 9)
After Adam and Eve sinned, the course of humanity took a real downward spiral. This week we look at two sides of God's reaction to sin. The one side is judgment, the other side is a search for a special, protective relationship with those who reject sin. Let's dive into our lesson to learn about Noah's special relationship with God.

Lesson 4: An Everlasting Covenant (Exodus 3, Genesis 15 & 17)
Parents, think back to the time when you were naming your children. Was there a name you absolutely would not give your child because you knew someone with that name? You could not, for example, name the child after an old boyfriend or old girlfriend, right? Among people I know, it is unusual for parents to give a child a name specifically because of its meaning. Most parents choose the name based on whether they like the sound or the looks of the name. Nevertheless, our avoidance of certain names shows that we pay some attention to name associations. The Hebrews gave their children names based on meaning, rather than the sound or look of the name. This week we turn our attention to names and the covenant God seeks with us. Let's jump in!

Lesson 5: Children of the Promise (Genesis 12, 15 & 28)
This week we continue with our study of the covenant with Abraham. God promised Abraham great things. Do these promises extend to us? If so, what exactly did God promise to Abraham? Let's jump into our lesson and find out!

Lesson 6: Abraham's Seed (Deuteronomy 7, Galatians 3)
Last week we touched on the subject of whether and why God would choose a certain group to be His special messengers to the world. The Bible reveals that God chose Israel to be His "covenant partner." This week we explore further the question of what this meant to Israel. Does God has special messengers today? If God has special messengers today, who are they? Is it a job we would want? Is it a job we can have? Let's dive into our study and find out!

Lesson 7: Covenant at Sinai (Psalms 103, Exodus 19 & 20, Romans 3)
In some Christian circles the Ten Commandments have gotten a bad reputation. Even the apostle Paul seemed to say some pretty harsh things about them. What do you think, are the Ten Commandments something good or bad? Are you glad they exist? Are they a "contract" to which you would like to be a party? Not sure? Let's jump into our study to find out more about the Ten Commandments!

Lesson 8: Covenant Law (Matthew 22, Exodus 20)
How many times do you have to tell your children something before it sinks in? An old adage is that you have to say something three times before it will be remembered. Our lesson quarterly is working on the premise you must say things four times, because the quarterly's lesson this week looks a lot like our lessons for the last three weeks. I am going to give you a break, and go on a little different course this week, while still trying to stay with our topic of the covenant. Let's jump into our study!

Lesson 9: The Covenant Sign (Exodus 20, Genesis 2, Deuteronomy 6, Isaiah 66)
Last week we saw how Jesus summarized the Ten Commandments into two groups. The first four dealt with our love for God and the last six with our love for our fellow humans. (See Matthew 22:36-40) Some of you may have said, "Wait a minute, Bruce, I'm not sure the fourth commandment neatly fits into one of those two groups. It has as much to do with God's love for us and with our love for Him." I agree it is a special commandment that deserves more attention. Let's dive into God's Word and see what we can learn about the fourth commandment!

Lesson 10: The New Covenant (Jeremiah 31, Deuteronomy 6, Hebrews 7, Matthew 5)
All this quarter when we have bumped into the topic of the "new covenant" I have asked you: "Is it really new?" If not, what is it? If it's not new, why would God call it "new?" Our lesson this week is devoted to the topic of the new covenant, so let's dive into the Bible and see what we can learn!

Lesson 11: New-Covenant Sanctuary (Hebrews 9)
When God gave His people the Ten Commandments, He also gave them detailed instructions on how to build a place for Him to live with them. God's home on earth was designed for a procedure the people could use to rid themselves of sin. Any "outsider" looking at this would have concluded that God was very concerned about sin. After all, His dwelling itself addressed the problem of sin. Of course, an outsider would also probably be mystified by the "sin removal procedure" with its focus on the shedding of animal blood. This week we study Hebrews 9 to try to uncover what God really had in mind with His house design and sin procedures. Let's dive into our study!

Lesson 12: Covenant Faith (Romans 3 & 4)
Our series of lessons for the past 11 weeks has taught us that God's law, the Ten Commandments, still stands as God's standard for our lives. What has changed about the covenant (the contract) between God and humanity, is our side of the agreement. Instead of being required to perfectly keep the law, we are instead asked to accept, as our substitute, Jesus' perfect obedience to the law and His death for our sins. Does this make any sense to you? If it does, how should it affect our attitude towards others? Paul lays out a logical summary of this change in Romans 3 and 4. Let's explore the logic of Paul for our study this week!

Lesson 13: The New-Covenant Life (1 John 1, Romans 8, Ephesians 3, John 11, Matthew 28)
What is life like under the New Covenant? Is it good now? If you say, "yes," then why did God promise us heaven in the future? Consider another angle to this. What was life like for early "new covenant" men like Peter and Paul? How did their life compare to "old covenant" men like Abraham and Isaac? Is there something that is not obvious that makes "new covenant" life better? Let's jump into our lesson and see what the Bible has to teach us!

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