28th January 2024

Chasing two opposites and getting nowhere

Passage: Galatians 3:23-29, Hebrews 4:14-16
Service Type:

Automatically Generated Transcript

We've been spending quite a bit of time across the last year or so in the Beatitudes, these statements that Jesus made as to the essence of his teaching. We did ask in the evening service for folks to comment on whether they thought Jesus was living in the Old Covenant or in the New Covenant, because certainly the teaching of Jesus as it is crystallised in our four Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, is the essence of the teaching of the New Covenant. And yet the truth is that Jesus lived out all of his days right up until dying on the cross under the Old Covenant and the advice that he gave was to other people who were living under that Old Covenant, the Jewish nation. And the beginning of the New Covenant, the very first moment people could get into the New Covenant, was to respond to the call of the Apostle Peter on the day of Pentecost when he gave the Gospel message centred around Jesus dying on the cross and rising again, centred around the promises of the Old Testament that one day God would make a New Covenant with his people Israel and giving a call for folk to come and receive the benefit of those promises. It was a Gospel message and the call to the New Covenant was to respond to the call of the Apostle Peter and the call was for those who wanted to come for the forgiveness of sins to repent and be baptised in the name of Jesus for the forgiveness of sins and that they would receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. And so that New Covenant was far more dramatically different from the Old Covenant, which nonetheless had been that which showed promise as was of the New Coming. And the quotations that Peter made on that day of Pentecost, from the book of Joel, as in the last previous weeks we were looking, were ones that were fulfilled partially in the coming of the Holy Spirit and in the people speaking in tongues and in the people learning to come to Christ for the forgiveness of sins and to answer the call of God. And there's a lot of confusion about what makes us in the New Covenant and what makes us in the Old Covenant and because the whole Bible is the Bible of Christians and we do not only access the New Testament because we see ourselves only in the New Covenant but we take the whole Bible to be information for us, which it is, about how to live as Jesus was teaching. Just interestingly, about those Beatitudes, Jesus spoke very positively about each of the Beatitudes as to what you'd get if you, if you fulfilled the condition, right through to the end of verse 19 in chapter 5 and then from verse 20 on, suddenly he explains the same ideas but from the negative point of view of what happens if you don't do what God requires. And then he goes on to speak about different behaviours, different aspects of life, which are spoken to by the teaching that he gave that was applicable both to the Old Covenant and to the New. So, let's have a moment and give you an oversight about where we've been. And what I now want to talk about, I've given a heading, the heading might give you a hint, but there is a lot of confusion about how to read our scriptures and so this heading I've given for the sermon today, and you can tell me afterwards whether it was descriptive or not or what we got into, but it is, Chasing Two Opposites and Getting Nowhere. Chasing two opposites, and getting nowhere. and getting nowhere. And what are the opposites but the Old Covenant and the New Covenant, though they were given by God? And as the New Testament tells us, that the law came through Moses, but grace and truth come through Jesus Christ. And it doesn't mean that there's no truth in the Old Testament. It doesn't mean that God was not behind what the Old Covenant was and all of the teaching and all of the set-up of the priesthood, the Jewish priesthood, and what happened in the temple. All of that was definitely of God and that Jesus was for it and that Jesus very visibly demonstrated his zeal for the house of God when he drove out the money changers and where he spoke very angrily against people who frustrated the purpose of the house of God. And there's a quote that is applied to Jesus showing that frustration. It says, The zeal of your house has burned me up. So this is not a case of the two opposites, one being right and one being wrong. It has been two approaches, which the Bible itself is the author of their existence and that sometimes we don't know how to utilize what we learn in the Old Covenant and what we learn in the New Covenant and what it's calling on us to do. So I want us to turn to a verse in 1 John 1 and verse 9, which is, a little letter of John. And this little letter of John, which is good teaching about how as Christians we should behave and particularly that we shouldn't just let ourselves get into sin and ignore it and say that that's okay. But it tells us in 1 John 1, 9, if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Now surely the Beatitudes have been about the need for righteousness and Jesus made it very clear that unless your righteousness was greater than that of the scribes and Pharisees, you'd never end up in heaven. You'd never get into the kingdom of heaven. You'd have nothing to do with God's kingdom. And so righteousness is important. But what we were learning as we went through the Beatitudes is that the righteousness being spoken of by Jesus is a righteousness not of our own. Reason simple, because we're, we're already too unrighteous and have been concluded so by God for the very essence of our rebellion and sinfulness and how we have corrupt hearts before we start. And though we may talk of little babies as being innocent, they are innocent in action, but they're not innocent in their background and from what their heart is like. And as any mother and father will know, that you don't have to teach little children to lie. You're going to teach them how to be honest, and it's true in so many different ways that although we may be childlike and have a sense of innocence from that, nonetheless, there is a righteousness that we do not of ourselves have. And as all the little beautiful innocent children, as we see them grow up, they all come to the same place of having shown themselves to be sinners. And so the book of Romans, our central theological treatise in the New Testament, says for all have sinned and have come short of the glory of God. And the essence of sin, the lack of righteousness, is that you've come short of the glory of God. So where do the Beatitudes speak about that there is righteousness for us as they keep on saying that the righteousness is the key that will bring blessing? The righteousness is God-given. He gives us righteousness that we didn't work up. That is true. And the place of the old covenant and particularly the giving of the law and the practice that was happening in the temple and all of the things that the priest did was all by way of teaching people that righteousness was God's standard, number one. That two, we keep failing and are sinners, number two. And the three, God wants to provide for the forgiveness of our sins in the temple and the priests and whatever as the final thing that it teaches. There has to be some substance in order to get us forgiven. And that substitute were in forms of all of the sacrifices, the sheep and the goats and the birds and all the rest. But the Bible also teaches that none of those sacrifices of blood could ever really atone for sin, but it was all a teaching mechanism to drive home through the purpose of the old covenant, drive home the fact that there has to come some replacement, a replacement for us if we're ever to be made free from those unrighteousnesses. There has to be a substitute, whether it was a bull or a goat. But it also clearly says in the book of Hebrews, this is the best place to read this, that none of the blood of the bulls and goats could ever atone for sin. It was setting up the understanding of the world who eventually would come to grasp, but if they read the scriptures, that even though God requires a substitute, there was no suitable substitute available. Unless God himself provided the substitute, which is what he did at Christmas time. And the central teaching of the Bible has the V of its importance. It has the moment where we must see the centre of it in the coming of the person of Jesus Christ, the person that he was and is, the person that came with the duty to go as a sinless human being, to go to the cross and take on him our sins. Jesus had to die under the old covenant, bearing our sins, but being a perfect substitute, the one that the Old Testament bulls and goats could never satisfy. It was Jesus who did it. That's why the centre of the Christian message is always Christ and him crucified. As last Sunday I was saying, Paul made it clear that he never got astray from where the central point was. It wasn't a new covenant happening of Jesus Christ coming into the world, to set it all up for us, to be able to hear the message that he has died for us, that he's risen for us, that he's gone back to heaven for us, that he's been crowned King of Kings. Not only has he been the Jewish Messiah who had the Spirit on him from the Father, but as he goes to heaven because of what he was prepared to do and that debasement of him coming from heaven to bear our sins, to take on humanity, just the step down that Jesus took, the book of Philippians, chapter 2 is the spot, tells us that just as he came down, so God has so highly exalted him. And not only is Jesus the one who was the Messiah, but Jesus is the one who is now crowned as Prince, as King, and he's King and Leader of the Kingdom of God so totally that there's nothing more than Jesus, there's nowhere further to look than Jesus. He is the place to have your eye upon and the Gospel has its centrality in the coming of Jesus and his mission, the completion of that and the fruits of that as he sits in heaven today to be our intercessor. And so Christianity centres around the person of Jesus Christ. It doesn't centre around the law as much as it did in the Old Covenant, but the New Covenant is the one that teaches us that what we could never provide, God has provided in Christ. Now I sit in my heading of this and chasing two opposites and getting nowhere. How does that happen? Well we have a whole book of the New Testament that speaks to this topic. It's called the Book of Galatians. And so in the Book of Galatians we have telling us about this very fact and the mention that I've made of before faith came, I've had a whole sermon on this, before faith came. And that is in the Book of Galatians, and if you would like please to turn to Galatians 3, 23 to 29. And in this passage the Apostle Paul is trying hard to get the listeners, the readers of, in the town of Galatia, of Antioch, he's trying to get them to understand that though they've had a good background in Judaism, you can't carry the Judaism into Christianity in the sense that the effort it called on you to keep the law is how you think you're going to be a success. The whole lesson to be learned from the Old Covenant was in the failure that it was, not because it was bad, God's the one that instituted it, but because it doesn't get anybody justified. And it doesn't get anybody to overcome sin. But rather it keeps us captive to be trying. We were captives under that law, we the people who were Jews and who were back there in that point in history were captive under the law. Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. Now I have been at pains to try and point out that when the Bible speaks about faith, there's two types of speaking that it does. One is by putting the article, that's a the word, a or the word in front of a noun, you call that the article, by putting a the word and it's called, talking about the faith. And such verses are ones that say this is what overcomes the world, even our the faith. The English translations leave the the out because it doesn't sort of read right, but it's there in the original language. And what overcomes the world is the whole story line of what God has done to present his son and who completed the sacrifice, who rose again and went back to heaven. And this elocution of the good news is what overcomes the world. And in order for it to overcome the world and our lives, is that we needed to respond with a special type of faith, a faith that receives Christ, a faith that believes, believes in Jesus for the forgiveness of sins, as in John's gospel, talking about people getting born again. And the born again thing is that which happens when we personally respond to what Jesus did by taking our sins on the cross and putting our trust, our faith in him. And so there is a personalization needed of the results of the faith to be in us personally, putting our faith. Just the faith, Christianity and having church and having teaching on it and people believing in the propositions, that isn't what overcomes the world alone. It's the basis of there being many good things happen. But the faith is the faith that overcomes the world by being so propagated, but by being personal in us, that we respond to what Jesus has done and come to him as our own personal saviour. The language evangelists may use differs from denomination to denomination and to trend to trend and there have been great trends where people back when I was a youth used to talk about making your decision. There's actually a little bit of error in that because it's not the fact that you make a decision to have faith, it is the faith that you have as a result of that decision. But often in Youth for Christ circles they used to talk about well this style of evangelism gets more decisions. But that language was somewhat accurate to describe what happened in certain instances but could take away the truth of the fact that's really being spoken of that you need is personal trust in Jesus as your saviour. Another language that was used by missionary people that I ever heard a lot was personal trust as your own personal saviour. And by the personal they meant you did it for you. And so when John's Gospel talks about receiving Christ it's talking about the fact that you have come to some point whether it be by slow gradual teaching gone in and you just come to rest but it is a thing that's the availability of faith to get saved in a way the old covenant didn't offer. The old covenant offered that you would be obedient to the law and you carried out all the things of going to the temple and making the sacrifices and you did have faith. Faith by the way in the sense of just believing in God has always been the status quo for a person to be someone made by God and someone doing the right thing by God is to believe in him. So to have faith in God is good but the faith that gets you to be converted is not just that you believe in God but it is that you've suddenly had faith in the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit does the work to do this that Jesus died for you that he rose to be available to be your saviour and that Peter on the day of Pentecost called out and says to as many as the Lord our God shall call and the call to become a Christian is the call to come to the new covenant where you trust God to give you what you didn't have yourself you know what it is it's your righteousness that you have none outside of Christ that you do while you do not you're not in Christ the things that you do before you've come are described by the Bible as dead works dead because they're being done by a dead person dead spiritually someone who needs to find the saviour because without Jesus there is no life and only when you come to Christ and take him on board as your personal saviour whatever language it might be the style that's used to make you realise that whether you make a decision to do it or not you're encouraged to rest your case with Jesus there's 101 different ways we can articulate the evangelistic call but it's a call to come to Jesus so that you take him as your own personal saviour now when you take Jesus to be your own personal saviour it has a number of aspects to it that it means you're going to seek to live for him and very early in someone having so come to Christ and becoming a Christian they make the big discovery they've all made that it didn't mean that we were going to find ourselves terribly capable to live it out and so many a Christian has become a Christian and then thought I'm going to be great for God I'm going to serve the Lord and I'll give heart and flop they fail and there's some very big names of people who tried hard to do that for God until at last they realised that what they need to do is that when they came to Jesus not only trust him for the forgiveness or the righteousness to get in the door but the development of righteousness that's meant to follow there's another set of sermons I've been sprinkling in to what is our diet and the morning services that it's about the fact that God's purpose for you wasn't just that you made the decision or just that you came to Christ or just that you became a believer however you wish to articulate it but that you began to become sanctified and that very wonderful verse in Thessalonians is the will of God even your sanctification or in chapter 4 this is the will of God even the word holiness and we had a whole message on how the word hagiasmos in the Greek it means holiness it means sanctification it means all these things like dedication it means your commitment it means about the progress you make having become a Christian to gradually learn to overcome sin now this is the point of frustration that my sermon topic is talking about because they're chasing two directions and getting nowhere and there's been a many person who's made a response to the gospel to become a Christian but then as they look back across several years they don't seem to have gone anywhere or become someone whose life is showing their Christianhood and they know they tried it's not as though they were all guilty to be a backslider running after the world and doing bad things deliberately some of those people actually had a good try but they come to that spot and I told you in one of those messages of how a group of us as young people went to preach church on the north side I didn't tell you which but when we preached about the fact that God wanted us to be sanctified and he wanted us to learn to overcome the things that previously got us down and one of the leaders of that church coming out I can't remember whether it was outside or inside but he cried out in annoyance at the message that I gave he said there is no victory the whole idea that you strive for some perfection in Christianity or some improvement in your life that all the different denominations that chase after a degree of holiness is really what had annoyed him because there were these movements that people were trying to get Christians to become more holiness it was called the holiness movement it actually spawns the Pentecostal movement and that Pentecostal spawning was a slight difference because instead of chasing after holiness they started chasing after gifts and power and that movement spread to England and around the world and so a lot of our denominations have their differentiation on the basis of whether or not they believe they can help you become sinless or at least somewhat sinless and the different Methodist denominations have a slightly different wording as to whether you can become sinless or whether you can just not make any deliberate decisions of sin but all of that discussion and then there are others who step back and say no it's impossible the moment you come to Christ you're still a big sinner and you're still going to make a big wreck and you just need to recognise that there is no victory but it makes for a very pessimistic Christianity where you don't you see Christians all behaving badly and you excuse it or you see yourself not being successful and you excuse yourself yes we all sin yes it's true that we all sin but it's also true that your coming to Jesus is going to provide the Holy Spirit that's the whole point of the difference between the Old Covenant and the New in the Old Covenant the Spirit was given to the people to give some leadership and to do particular roles but the basic people didn't receive a permanent indwelling of the Holy Spirit didn't have the resource of the Holy Spirit to make them less of a sinner they just were able to keep on going to the temple offering the sacrifice and that would help them feel that they're forgiven but what was missing was the promise of the Holy Spirit that is a part of the New Covenant Gospel repent of your sins Receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. He comes to reside in your personality in a permanent way that you don't have to fear he'll ever leave. And what's his first job, by the way, is that he brings the indwelling of Jesus into your heart. In the book of Ephesians, which we went through over a year ago now, but we went through the book of Ephesians, the whole point is that it's the Holy Spirit that strengthens the heart of the Christian that you might take the indwelling of Christ, that there might be formed in you Jesus, Jesus being the centre of the gospel, Jesus being the centre of the offering to deal with sin, on the cross for your forgiveness, for he by his presence in your life to help you to live the Christian life, for he's brought by the Holy Spirit, and you, by the way, so you need to be strengthened because you couldn't take the moral impact of Jesus residing in you if you didn't have the Holy Spirit strengthen you as what the book of Ephesians actually says. Read the first two or three chapters and you'll find what I'm talking about. That's the gospel, the availability of Jesus in your heart to strengthen you. And gradually your sanctification progresses and there comes a moment when you suddenly realise, my goodness, I didn't know I was going to change like that. It's the gospel. It's the gospel. It's a fantastic thing to realise that God works changes in you and that there are promises. You know, I found on the internet, I went looking for this sermon and say about this and I found all sorts of different people who've made the same discoveries as what I'm giving you. But what one man did is he had seven things that you get from Jesus by the Holy Spirit's agency being present in your life. And of these seven ones, some of them are more very visible than others, but things like reconciliation. And the book of Ephesians talks about the breaking down of walls of separation. The biggest one they had back then was between Jew and Gentile. And the anger of the Gentiles because the Jews were the chosen ones. And the sort of hypocritical, snooty-nosedness of the Jews to say that they were the important ones, the rest, we can call them dogs. They did, they called them like that, or pigs. It wasn't really very much a pleasant division. But when Jesus Christ died on the cross and paid for the sin of the world, any person hearing his call can come and become a part of his people. You're a part of the people of God. The very covenant that was made as the new covenant for the Jews is a covenant that we get into and is the basis of the church. And so that verse in Galatians, it says that there's neither Jew nor Gentile. It says there's neither male nor female. There's neither slave nor free. It wasn't saying that there weren't people who were slaves and weren't free back then, or that there aren't always going to be males and females, or there's not always going to be people who are caught up in some place of work where they're the workers and others are leaders. There are going to be divisions. But what there won't be is your being a Christian has got nothing to do with those divisions. That every single person that comes to Jesus is equally a part of the new covenant. And you don't have to strive to be in it. You are in it. And you're equally important to Jesus and the promises are to you as much as it is to anybody. It doesn't mean that the callings of God, as in the list of Ephesians 4, of there being... apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, teacher, those five things, they're necessarily ones you can take your pick. It's rather as the Spirit distributes those. There's a whole list of other gifts that God gives to people who are part of the church and you don't decide those either. But they're things that you discover the Spirit does through you and that therefore is how you know your gift because it keeps happening and God uses it, but it's His decision and God has some very funny choices. Being a teacher at theological college, you end up having to recognize that. It always struck me how amazing it was that some of the people that I would have said, boy, that's a good recruit we've got here coming to college, handsome looking young man, very articulate, he can do this and do that and he's, you know, been good training for the rest of his life. What a wonderful pastor he's going to make. It didn't work out. I have people in my class who come to me and say, come to college because they were taking a step up and they were trained and had a very wonderful job and they decided to give up and go to college and become a pastor because they wanted to serve the Lord but every time they gave them a church just nothing happened. And eventually the people, the person I'm talking about came to me and said, I realize I've never been called to do this. There are gifts given and yet I had some others who I thought were very ordinary and strange. That's stupid little me. My dad was a principal and I thought I knew everything about college but I'd try and pick someone as, well, they'll never make it and yet they're some of those people. It moves me because I saw the hand of God through them. There's one very ordinary fellow who was, this is in Adelaide, dad was the vice principal of the college there and I'm 14, 15 and there's one fellow there who, he didn't impress me. There are others who were really good drivers. There was one other blokes who, you know, had sports cars and there were some of them who were famous sports persons in other respects and there were others of them who just had dynamic personalities. Every time the students were together you could see who the leaders were and I used to say, well, he's going to make it and he'll do well. There was one guy who was rather too shy and he was rather too, one of those people, if you said, describe his character, he couldn't really pick out anything special about it but he was given a church, a very little church, hardly any people. They didn't have any young people but one young man. The one young man wasn't a Christian, didn't seem to be responding but the pastor prayed to God and God told him to put on a service for a youth service. Now fancy having only one young person you put on the youth service. Next step, he says, he asked me because I was a young person just beginning, can't remember what year but I think it was the end of high school and he asked me to come and be the preacher because he said this, his idea was I'd be about the same age as this one person who was not a Christian. I got my sister to come and sing a song and when the call was given the one young man came to Christ and that bloke who I would have been I would have guessed has never made much of a pastor. God was with him because you see the details as to what God does in churches depends on the sovereignty of Christ. He was understood and recognised as the leader on earth because the spirit was on him but no one really realised how much he was leader because he was God. But in his humanity after humbling himself he was taken back to heaven and the name Jesus was accredited with the greatest of all heavenly authority the authority of God's name himself. The name Jesus now has that authority and he's the one who is made in charge of the church and he decides for the church who does what and gives gifts to different people. And it isn't necessarily according to human wisdom but if you try your hardest to be a bit of a success and you do it because you think if you obey all the rules or if you try and get yourself to be a really good personality and you learn how to dress properly that doesn't make it either. And that's what I learned by watching that when you try hard by becoming a Christian that's the new covenant and then you try hard by satisfying all the requisites all the legalisms all the things to do so people say he's such a good strong young man see how he dresses you can see how I didn't do too well when there were people in churches they'd say see how there's still churches today who you know if you mention my name they say oh he just wears those jeans you know they and they have an idea as to who's a success by certain human standards. I want to tell you that heaven thinks differently from humanity. I want to tell you that God in Christ is the one who's the head of the church and he decides what gets to go. And it's because of Jesus and his call and what we are to do is to not try and perform in a way to earn it because that is using old covenant motivation. We are not to get proud because of our successes and certain things we've done to serve the Lord and we've upheld the church. Do you know in every church there's always some people who are very beautifully have been loyal across the years. I'm not talking about them necessarily I'm talking about the fact that there is in the human heart some ability to sort of see yourself as right. You're rather well done than serving the Lord and thinking that you deserve to be blessed. That's old covenant thinking. Even the old covenant didn't quite work exactly that but it's what we do looking back into the Old Testament and somehow draw out things to give us a performance treadmill. And when you somehow see yourself in the light of your performance to certain things that you see need to be done. When you've done that I want to say that that is old covenant thinking and the basic result of that is that you've got the new covenant for sure because you've become a Christian but you're doing things old covenant style and you discover you're getting nowhere because there's two opposites. You're employing two opposites and you're ending up getting nowhere. What does the New Testament give us to do? Well I started with that verse in 1 John 1.9 That verse has always puzzled me a bit. What? Puzzled me is not if you confess you get forgiven. I think I've experienced that too many times to know how true it is. But what got me puzzled was he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. What's the faithfulness and just that he is? It is that he's the one who puzzles us who paid for all our unfaithfulness and all of us all of our sins and all of our unrighteousness and sometimes in my attitudes I had reasons to believe that I had a lot going for me. My dad was the principal of the college and I had things I thought I was good at but all of the rest and the trust in those things were nothing. And I was yet really to learn the lesson the Apostle Paul learned when he talked about the fact that he took all the things he thought he was good at he was doing so well in Judaism but he saw them all as and he used the word done rubbish out the back door all useless smelly unrighteous and the thing that was the greatest blessing to him was the very fact that God gave him a calling and God would do it. And when God does it he does it with his righteousness that he gave you and his blessing on you when he sanctifies you and you come out of the activity knowing that you didn't deserve what happened. I was listing some of the things this ministry and the internet said and he had seven of them but it was rather interesting because he had a Bible verse attached and it was rather interesting that he said that he was a man So I'll just pick a few of them. In 2 Corinthians 12 and 9, the Word of God, the Bible says in 2 Corinthians 12 and 9, My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is very perfect in weakness. I think I've told our church before, some of you would have heard in my younger days because I was so sensitive and shy and I was a difficult person to get to know and I got told off by different individuals that I wasn't sort of a friendly enough personality. As a matter of fact, there was a certain person of this church who told other folk when I first came as pastor, Jim wasn't friendly enough. And I've always forgotten names and I forgot people's names and sort of proved the point, I didn't even remember their names. So he said to some others, Jim's not very friendly. The truth is, I didn't know I was the sort of personality like my dad and he'd give me a talking to as to how he found it too hard when he was older to change his personality. He knew he had a deficit there. But he says, you're young enough to change it. And so I looked to the scriptures to find a way to change that part of me and it was very difficult to be what was required. And this is while I was still a college student now what I'm telling you and while I was still a college student, when it came to Christmas time, it was a lonely time for me because all the ones I was close to and friendly with, they went off elsewhere and I was left because I lived in the manse with my dad and mum on my own. And I decided to do something about this and I decided to do something about this. I found a verse in John chapter 15, if you abide in me and my words abide in you, you shall ask what you will and it shall be done unto you. Do you know that one of the promises of the new covenant is that God will answer your prayers? Whatever might be the weakness you have, if you take it to him, he will help you. Or if you have a situation that is the problem, and you need God to step in. He's a person, if you go and ask him, he'll step in in mercy. And so I did that and I got the words of Jesus and wrote them out in little cards, all the ones where the Bible I had had the words of Jesus in red. I wrote them out in cards, I had quite a stack. And because the college at Brookfield back then was at the back of Mount Coot-tha and there were lots of little tracks, I went up some of those tracks. And found somewhere that no one went. Made a bit of a place walking up and down where I got rid of some of the weeds and all, where I could pray. And the prayer was, Lord, I really need you to help me in these areas of how will I serve you when I'm not very good at reaching out to people. Or, Lord, I need your help. I want you, Jesus, to be my personality. I want you, Jesus, to be my personality in those areas. Well, anyway, the new year began. And when the new year began, a whole host of new students and suddenly I found myself, I'm in the middle of them, very much a part of the fellowship. I found that youth camps I went on to speak, that I was able to get close to people and lead them to Christ. I actually haven't changed from being a bit of an introvert. But I want to tell you something changed. I'm not quite sure. I'm not quite sure how to talk about it, except that Jesus turns up. The new covenant offers to us the Holy Spirit permanently to indwell and he will be your need that you had to ask him for. In my case, he was overcome. The uptightness. The uptightness and difficulty I had because I was so tense. I got told by one man, you're the tensest person I've ever met. You know, because I couldn't relax. But somehow Jesus became that. You may have altogether different needs. You might not relate to my storyline at all, but there's a promise about the new covenant. Maybe your one is for wisdom. In Colossians 2 and verse 3, all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden in Christ. They're hidden in Christ. You can't go closer to the very centre of the greatest treasures of all the world than you do when you get close to Christ. And all... The wisdom and the knowledge are in Christ. They're hidden in Christ. And if you have some need because whatever God gave to you naturally leaves you a bit lacking, can I suggest what to do? And I have in my mind an example of someone that did this, not me, but a young man in my travels came up to me after a service. And he said, he loved evangelism. He said, can I travel with you and just go to the different places? He'd just stand around and watch and learn. And I said, yes. He used to come out to our house. Now my dad got for the college people sending him books for the library. And there were some people who made their own translations of the Bible. One bloke did a pretty good job and he sent the college copies. His dad put one on the library and the other one didn't know what to do with it. And when they... When this young man came to our house, it turned out that he couldn't read. He was an opportunity class sort of young person. He had a parent who was always in trouble with the police. He had reasons why his life was... I think he failed third year high school three years in a row. He couldn't read at all. And my dad gave him one of these Bibles. And I thought, what good is... he going to be able to do with that Bible while he couldn't read it? But you know what he did? He wept over it and asked Jesus to help him read. He turned up at our house a few months later and that Bible was covered with tears. But what's more, he knew how to read. He knew how to read, covered with tears. He has ever since. God's used him in his things. He's had his ups and downs, I'd better say. But if you lack wisdom, ask Jesus for it. Don't get it just from your efforts. If you have two opposing methods of getting blessed, you'll end up going nowhere. The way of the new covenant is to go to Jesus and the availability of the Holy Spirit. You're beaten by temptation and you're prepared to cry over it with Jesus. His Holy Spirit will help you. Go to Jesus for the new covenant has all that we need. Let me pray. Father, we thank you for the new covenant that Jesus taught on. Thank you that he lived under the old covenant, that he might obey the law. And be a perfect sacrifice. Thank you for his matchless death that deals with our sins. But thank you for his mighty resurrection, his return to heaven, his crowned as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. That the name of Jesus every knee shall bow. What a name that we can pray in. Forgive us for not using that resource. But Lord, we pray that we will follow him in the new covenant we ask in his name. Amen.

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