Brad Espin 6 March 2016                          HE IS FAITHFUL                                            [1]

Hebrews  10:23
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering for He who promised is faithful

1.  FAITHFUL OR FAITHLESS

To be faithless is to have less faith but those who are faithful are full of faith or have more faith.

2 Timothy 2:13 If we are faithless He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.

God remains faithful even when we are unfaithful because God’s character is faithful and He cannot do or be anything other than what His character is…Jesus His Son is the expression of the Father’s character and God expects His children to be faithful.

Faithful implies being loyal, constant, steadfast, resolute and firm in adherence to Jesus to whom we have pledged our allegiance.

Being faithful is better understood in the way a person is:

  • thorough in the performance of duty
  • true to one's word – promises – vows
  • steady in allegiance - affection - loyal to friends
  • reliable – trusted – believed
  • adheres to a standard – original law, script

As a body of believers who are members of the Body of Christ, His Church are we reliable and consistent in what we believe and do?

Have we remained true to God in our relationship with Him and are we steadfast in purpose, devotion and affection towards Him and others or do we change because of the environment, circumstances and experiences we encounter?

Are you holding fast to your faith in Jesus Christ which implies beingfirm, loyal, true to, unwavering, true, devoted and  

trustworthy.

2.  COVENANT PEOPLE 

                                         

A Marriage Covenant relates to 2 persons who have pledged their love, allegiance and commitment towards each other and this implies being faithful to each other.

A Covenant is a binding agreement or a contract between two people and the most powerful agreements known to man is a “blood covenant”.  ………………………………………………….                                                                                                     

David Stanley who was sent by the English government to find David Livingstone, the missionary in the African jungles encountered a strong, hostile African tribe near the equator and Stanley was advised to enter a covenant with the tribe to avoid certain death. 

Terms were agreed and a representative chosen from each group cut the covenant and blood from each representative mingled together and mixed with wine was drunk by both and gunpowder rubbed in the incision created a permanent scar.

The pagan priest pronounced blessings for keeping and curses for violating the covenant in order to seal the covenant then Stanley and the chief exchanged gifts.

David Stanley gave the chief a prized goat brought from England and the chief gave Stanley a spear bearing his insignia and Stanley was not sure what to do with the old spear.

Stanley soon realised that when other tribes saw the chief’s spear in Stanley’s hand and his covenant mark, they knew that he was in covenant with the most feared tribe in the land, and dared not attack him or prevent him from passing through therefore they bowed to him and allowed him to pass through their territories, and provided him with anything he needed.

3.  COVENANT OF GOD

                                                                            

We serve a Covenant keeping God and throughout the Bible God enters into covenants with certain people.

OT: BERIT = Covenant, Treaty 

NT: DIATHEKE = Covenant, testament, will

NOAH            Genesis 9:9-17                   Flood - Ground - Rainbow

ABRAHAM  Genesis 15:18; 17:1-19  Father/Nation-Circumcision

MOSES          Exodus 24:1-8, 9-18        People of God – Right Living

God starts of progressively putting in place and restoring the following : Ground – Country / Nation – People called out

God’s covenant people were not faithful to keep the terms of the covenant but He remained faithful to keeping the Covenant.

Terms of the Covenant included Blessings of Obedience

Deuteronomy 28:1-2  Now it shall come to pass, if you diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all His commandments which I command you today, that the Lord your God will set you high above all nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the Lord your God:

Curses on Disobedience

Deuteronomy 28:15 But it shall come to pass, if you do not obey the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all His commandments and His statutes which I command you today, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you:

God promised a New Covenant to His people because of His love towards them and their unfaithfulness in keeping the terms of the Covenant.  

Jeremiah 31: 31–34 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 that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the Lord. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. No more shall every man teach his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”

KARAT – a covenant is cut when 2 or more people entering into a covenant walk in a figure 8 through the parts of a sacrificed animal. (8 - symbolic of new beginnings)  

Jeremiah 34:18And I will give the men who have transgressed My covenant, who have not performed the words of the covenant which they made before Me, when they cut the calf in two and passed between the parts of it

The action of walking being the dismembered parts of the animal implied - let this be done to me as has been done to this beast if I fail to keep my pledge of covenant loyalty.

Blood was the foundation of covenant and the only basis for man to approach or communicate with God.

Leviticus 17:11       Life of flesh – blood

Hebrews 9:22 without shedding of blood there is no remission of sin

4. LAMB OF GOD

Hebrews 9:15 And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.

The procedure of cutting a covenant involved 9 steps and Jesus did this when He willing entered the covenant on our behalf and He is the Mediator of God’s new covenant.

John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

  1. Removal of robe:  Character and nature : Jesus exchanged His Glory and took on human nature and exchanged His robes of righteousness to take our sin upon Himself
  2. Removal of belt: Strength and support  : Jesus became weak so that through Him we can become strong and rely on His support
  3. Cut the Covenant:  Denial of self - living a sacrificial life : Jesus denied Himself and sacrificed His life for our lives.
  4. Mix Blood:  Allegiance: two lives become one  : Jesus blood paid the price and through His blood we are washed and share His righteousness
  5. Exchange Names:  Authority and reputation : Jesus has given us His authority and a new reputation in Him
  6. Make a scar:  Mark of a covenant man : Jesus alone will bear the scar of this life when we behold Him face to face and see the scars of the price He paid for us
  7. Terms:Assets and liabilities : Old things have passed away and all things have become new and our debt of sin has been cancelled and we share in His inheritance
  8. Meal: Symbolising partaking of each other : It is through the Covenant Meal we are reminded that in Him we live ad move and have our being
  9. Memorial Stones:  Reminder for all to see : Jesus Cross is a reminder of this Covenant

Jesus alone is faithful and He entered into a covenant with God the Father on our behalf as in the human form of man He represented us but He lived a life of obedience and without sin.

5.  MARRIAGE OF THE LAMB

The wedding is a description of the Covenant Jesus made as Bridegroom and his revealed plan to return to fetch His Bride Bible was written with traditions, cultures, values and principles from an ancient middle eastern perspective which Jesus lived accordingly to not coming to change but to fulfil doing what was right in God’s eyes not man’s eyes.

Revelation 19:7-9 Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. Then he said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!’” And he said to me, “These are the true sayings of God.”

Custom of Marriage - 3 Stages: Jesus shows His faithfulness

Why – God is Love and the highest commitment of showing love is proposing to someone to get married

Christianity is not a religion – Relegare – bound by laws, rules and traditions – set free from these by Jesus

Christianity is a relationship with God – love relationship

Three Stages:   Arrangement – Betrothal - Wedding Ceremony

  1. ARRANGEMENT / SHIDDUKHIN

Fatherselected a bride/wife for his son and often delegated this responsibility to a representative who remained with the bride to protect her on her journey to meet her bridegroom SHADKHAN = matchmaker - Genesis 24:2-27Abraham / Eliezar

John 15:16 You did not choose me, but I have chosen you.

Shadkhan – Matchmaker - Eliezar = He is the comforter – the Helper - the Holy Spirit remains with us to guide, protect and comfort us as we await to meet Jesus Christ the Bridegroom

John 16:7-15 The promised Holy Spirit

  1. BETROTHAL / KIDUSHIN

The son prepared a contract [covenant] describing the terms of the proposal which included the price that he was willing to pay the father in law for his bride / future wife

Proposal was in the form of a cup of wine and the young man

would pour a glass of wine and take a sip and set it before the                                                              

young woman to drink.

If the young woman agreed to the terms and price offered in the she would take the cup of wine and drink it to the dregs [consume it all, leaving nothing including the sediments] showing she accepted the marriage proposal and that she was binding herself to him.

After the bride drank from the cup the bridegroom would announce

John 14:2-6 I’m going back to my father’s house to prepare a place for you, and when he [my father] says it is ready I will return and take you there to be with me forever.

The Bridegroom gave gifts to the Bride [“Matan”] to show his appreciation towards her, and for her to remember him during the time of separation. [Betrothal period].

The Brides was given her with a dowry [“shiluhim”] as part of her inheritance and to equip her for her new life as she prepared for her wedding and made herself ready during this time of separation.

The Bride immersed herself in a ritual bath [“Mikvah”] to symbolize her rebirth into a new life - The Church as Bride undergoes a ‘Mikvah’ – Water baptism symbolizing [Matt 28:19] her ‘rebirth’ and through this the Bride is set apart, sanctified, consecrated to the Bridegroom [Jesus Christ]

The Bride wore a veil as a symbol of consecration to her bridegroom during her time of waiting - the Holy Spirit that seals and set it apart [Eph 4:30] – in this world, not of this world and awaits the Bridegroom’s return – at the sound of the trumpet.

She and her bridesmaids would have their oil lamps ready and wait at her house expecting every night for her Bridegroom to come.  1 Samuel 12:24Only fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things he has done for you.

 III.  WEDDING CEREMONY / HUPPAH - Rapture

[Communion / Baptism / Holy Spirit / Spiritual Gifts/ Rapture]

6.  COMMUNION - CHURCH  AS  BRIDE

Matthew 25:1-14  5 Wise Virgins– live wisely – be faithful

Jesus gave two sacraments to the church His Bride:

[1] Communion - [2] Baptism

‘Relationship between Christ and the Church’

Through this the great mystery concerning Christ and the church is revealed.

Ephesians 5:25-27 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.

Jesus proposed to His Church with a contract [New Covenant] in which He offered His life to pay the price, He gave us the cup of the New Covenant to drink from if we accept the terms of His proposal.

1 Corinthians 11:23-26 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes