The Two Covenants - 2017

Scripture: Galatians 4:26, Genesis 1:28, Exodus 6:2-8
Date: 09/02/2017 
Lesson: 10
"In what ways has your lack of faith in God’s promises caused you some pain? How can you learn from these mistakes to take God at His word, no matter what? What choices can you make that can help strengthen your ability to trust God’s promises?"
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Hello friends, and welcome to Sabbath School Study Hour, coming here from the Granite Bay Seventh-day Adventist Church near Sacramento, California. I'd like to welcome our online members and also those joining us across the country and around the world and, of course, the members and the visitors right here at the Granite Bay church. Always good to see you from Sabbath to Sabbath. We're glad you came a little early today to participate in our Bible study. We've been studying through the book of Galatians for our lesson quarter and, today, we find ourselves on lesson #10 entitled the two covenants and we'll be getting to that here in just a few moments.

We do have a free offer that goes along with our study of the two covenants - it's a book written by Joe Crews - why the old covenant failed. This is our free offer for today for those of you who are watching online, the number to call is 866-788-3966 and you can ask for offer #716. Well, before we get to our study today, we have something very special. One of our own members, jamie wilson will be bringing us a special musical item at this time. Following that we will have our prayer and get right to our lesson study.

There are days of taking more than I can give and there are choices that I made that I wouldn't make again I've had my share of laughter of tears and troubled times this has been the story of my life I have won and I have lost I got it right sometimes but sometimes I did not life's been a journey I've seen joy, I've seen regret oh and you have been my God through all of it you were there when it all came down on me and I was blinded by my fear and I struggled to believe but in those unclear moments you were the one keeping me strong this is how my story's always gone I have won and I have lost I got it right sometimes but sometimes I did not life's been a journey I've seen joy, I've seen regret oh and you have been my God through all of it through all of it and this is who you are more constant than the stars up in the sky all these years of my life i, I look back and I see you right now I still do and I'm always going to I have won and I have lost I got it right sometimes but sometimes I did not life's been a journey I've seen joy I've seen regret oh and you have been my God through all of it oh and you have been my God through all of it oh and you have been my God through all of it. Let's bow our heads for a word of prayer. Dear Father in heaven, what a privilege to be able to open Your Word and study this very important passage in Galatians. Help us to understand the new covenant and how you want to write your law upon our hearts and upon our minds - that we would keep your commandments, not just from an outward observance, but from a change of heart. Father, we thank you for your grace, we thank you for your spirit that ever works within us, and we ask your special blessing now as we open up the Scriptures and study together, for we ask this in Jesus' Name, amen.

Amen. Our lesson study this morning is going to be brought to us by Pastor Doug. Thank you, Pastor Ross, and good morning, friends. Good morning. Morning - I want to welcome those who are part of the wider Granite Bay Sabbath school class.

It's exciting to see how the class keeps growing, as pastor ross was saying earlier, in a week's time we may have as many as a million people that will tune in either for the church - when you combine the church service, the prayer meeting, the Sabbath school and some of the other Amazing Facts websites, and it's just really exciting to know that what's happening in this comparatively humble spot is reaching so many parts of the world. And we are continuing our study on a very challenging book of Galatians. Some pastors have dedicated their careers to trying to unpack what some of the meaning was in just the book of Galatians. It's a great book. It's a deep book.

And we have a memory verse. Now we're on lesson #10 today and the lesson title is the two covenants. We have a memory verse and the memory verse comes to us from Galatians 4:26 - we'll get to it in a minute, but why don't you say it with me now? Galatians 4:26 - you ready? "But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother." What does that mean? Hold that thought. We'll get to it in a little bit. Now, as we delve into the study of the two covenants, maybe it would be good to start and talk about what a covenant is, again.

We've dealt with this a little bit in earlier studies, but I know that there's always people who are joining us for the first time, and the word 'covenant' basically is an agreement. You have covenants all the time. Every time you download software, you know it's got a little box that you click that says, 'I agree to the terms'? You know, you're making a covenant and there's all kinds of lawyers that look into the language, because if that software crashes your computer, you can't sue the company. Have you ever read the fine print on some of those? We do covenants if you buy a house - if you buy a car - it's almost as many pages you sign in buying a car as buying a house these days. It's amazing.

Marriage is a covenant. The word that's typically translated 'covenant' in Hebrew is 'berith'. It occurs nearly three hundred times in the old testament, and it's talking about a contract, an agreement, or a treaty between at least two parties. Now, you've got some examples of covenants that God made - some of the great covenants in the Bible. You've got the covenant God made with adam, you've got the covenant God made with Noah, with David - and we're going to be studying, today, the covenant God made, in particular, with Abraham.

But if you look, for instance, in Genesis 1:28, here you have God's covenant with adam, "then God blessed them, and God said to them, 'be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.'" So, originally, God made a covenant with man and woman and he said, 'I'm making you stewards of this world, you'll be given dominion over all the creatures. All you have to do is fly over with an airplane, you can tell which of the millions of species on the world has dominion. Pretty clear to see, not too many lions keep people in cages. It's a pretty - it's a one-way arrangement around the planet. You don't save the people from whales, you save the whales from the people.

I'm not saying that man has done a very good job being a steward of the planet. God put man in the garden to dress and to keep it, but I think we all know that things have been over-exploited, and - but the Lord made a covenant that man would have dominion. Now the ultimate dominion of the world was lost, because the Bible says, 'whoever you obey, that's whose servant you are.' And when God put a test in the garden, between the good tree and the bad tree - life - the tree of knowledge of good and evil - the Tree of Life - God says, 'if you eat from this tree, you'll live. Do not eat from this forbidden tree' - and when man chose to believe the temptation of the devil instead of the temptation of God, Romans chapter 6 says, 'whoever you obey, that's whose servant you are.' And man surrendered the dominion of the world to the enemy. That's why, when the devil came, he called - even Jesus calls him 'the prince of this world'.

And so, that was an original covenant, but it was a conditional covenant that God made in the beginning. Then you've got the covenant with Noah. Genesis 9, "so God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them: 'be fruitful and multiply,'" - now, you notice in these covenants he's telling adam and eve 'be fruitful', he's telling Noah to be fruitful, then he later tells Abraham, 'I'll make you fruitful', so it's something interesting there that he would multiply them. "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth. And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be on every beast of the earth, on every bird of the air, on all that move on the earth, and on all the fish of the sea.

They are given into your hand." And, of course, then he has the covenant of the rainbow that he set in the heavens. And then you have a covenant that God makes with David - and this is in 2 Samuel 7, verse 12 - God says to David, "when your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you," - your descendants - "who will come from you body, and I will establish his kingdom." Who is God talking about? The seed of David and his kingdom would be established. It's a trick question; it's both. It's both Solomon and it's Jesus. This is what you call a dual prophecy in the Bible, because David, his desire was 'I want to build a temple for the Lord' and God said, 'you're not going to build it, but your seed will build the temple for me.

David had a son named Solomon who did build the temple. David had a great, great, great, great, great, great grandson named Jesus who said, 'destroy this temple made with hands and in three days I'll make one without hands.' And the body of Christ - the church - is the temple - and so, you've got the son of David - Jesus is called The Son of David - Solomon's called The Son of David - so this would be one of the examples of a dual prophecy. But God made a covenant with David that 'through your descendants the Messiah would come'. And, of course, the Messiah came through adam, through Noah, through David - and our study today is really through Abraham. Now, in our - that was just introduction - in our study of Galatians today, we've been breaking down the book.

Here's - our assignment is - you go to Galatians 4 and I'm going to just read through it so you know what we want to try to explain - Galatians 4, verse 21 through the end of the chapter, verse 31 - 21 to 31 - and Paul picks up with his theme about do you want to be under law or do you want to be under grace? You want the old covenant or do you want the new covenant. So let me read this to you: "tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not hear the law? For it is written that Abraham had two sons: the one by a bondwoman, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and he of the freewoman through promise," - you realize he's talking about hagar and Sarah, Isaac and ishmael - he's contrasting these two women and the two children - "which things are symbolic." - Now some of you have got the king James version; does it say 'allegory' there? Yes. Yeah, it - I don't know whether to say it now or later. I'll wait - just want to make sure I remember - "which things are symbolic.

For these are the two covenants: the one from Mount Sinai which gives birth to bondage, which is hagar - for this hagar is Mount Sinai in arabia, and corresponds to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children - but the Jerusalem above is free, which is the mother of us all. For it is written: 'rejoice, o barren, you who do not bear! Break forth and shout, you who are not in labor! For the desolate has many more children than she who has a husband.' Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are children of promise. But, as he who was born according to the flesh then persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, even so it is now. Nevertheless what does the Scripture say? 'Cast out the bondwoman and Her son, for The Son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with The Son of the freewoman.' So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman but of the free." Alright, so he's taking these two principle wives that Abraham had - one was a servant - a concubine - hagar - she was a surrogate. And, you know, the idea of having a surrogate mother and - did not begin in the last twenty years.

It goes way back. And then you had Sarah, who was the real wife, and they both ended up having children. How many of you have known someone that tried and tried - a couple - they tried and tried to have children and they couldn't, so they adopted, and then the mother gets pregnant? Have you seen that happen before? It's just, you know, God's got a cosmic sense of humor. But I have a friend that that happened to; he and his wife, I mean, they were married 15 years - no children - they adopted then she got pregnant. And you always hope that they love the adopted one as much as the natural one, but with Abraham - Abraham did - he loved both sons.

But Abraham, he had to make a decision between the two, so we'll get to that. Alright, so getting back to the covenant - now you've got, in the Bible, a new covenant and an old covenant. Let's just establish, again, what that is. Deuteronomy 4 - and someone's going to read, for me, Exodus :7 - John, you'll have that in just a moment - Deuteronomy 4, verse 7, "then he took the book of the covenant and read in the hearing of the people. And they said" - no, I'm sorry - Deuteronomy 4:13, is what I want first, "so he declared to you his covenant which he commanded you to perform, even ten commandments; and he wrote them on two tablets of stone.

" So what is the first, or primary, covenant? "He declared to you his covenant. He commanded you to perform, even Ten Commandments; and he wrote them on two tables of stone." Original covenant - Ten Commandments. Why would you have a second covenant, unless there's something wrong with the first? Now, was the first covenant the Ten Commandments? Ten Commandments were part of the covenant, they were not the covenant, the covenant is an agreement. So, if you buy a car, is the car the covenant, or is the contract the covenant? Contract. The contract's the covenant.

The car is not the covenant. And so, the Ten Commandments were not done away with. There was nothing wrong with the Ten Commandments. They're the moral law. The Bible says the law of God is just and perfect and holy.

The law of God is good - the Bible says - the law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul. There's nothing wrong with what God speaks with his voice and writes with his finger. He did not make a mistake. The law was good. The agreement between the two parties - there was a flaw.

Now listen to what that was: in Exodus 19:8 - after the people hear the law they said, "all that the Lord has spoken we will do." Now they made a promise to keep the law. They've got an agreement. God says, 'here's what I want you to do' and they said, 'all you said we'll do' - and Moses returned "the words of the people to the Lord." - Now, go ahead, read your part, John - in Exodus 24:7. "Then he took the book of the covenant and read in the hearing of the people. And they said, 'all that the Lord has said we will do, and be obedient.

'" Alright, now the people heard the Ten Commandments, they promised - what's the second commandment? Come on, you guys can do better than that. Thou shalt have no other Gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, the likeness of anything in the heaven above - right? Thou shall have no other Gods before me is the first commandment. The second commandment is idolatry. When the Lord was up on the mountain receiving the written transcript of the covenant - first he spoke it - they heard it - they agreed.

While he's on the mountain, now, getting the Ten Commandments, Joshua comes and says, 'there's the sound of war in the camp.' Was it war or was it a party? Party. It was a party. Isn't it interesting, it's hard to tell the difference between (laughter) the two? Any of you ever had neighbors that sound like war next door? (Laughter) so, they come down and they have broken the covenant. They had just promised, 'all the Lord has said, we will do' - but did they do it? So there's a problem. They violated the covenant.

Is the problem with the ten commandments or is the problem with the promise of the people. See, the first covenant is the people said, 'we will do' - we will do - now what's the new covenant? You look in Jeremiah - by the way, where do you first find the new covenant - old or new testament? Old. You think 'new covenant' - new testament. No, new covenant's first in the old testament. It's prophesied.

Jeremiah 31:31, "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," - amen. So was there a problem with the covenant or with their breaking it? - "'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.'" Alright, notice the difference? The old covenant they said, 'we will, we will' - new covenant God says, 'I will'. So one is the works of man - old covenant - one is the works of God. One is obedience through 'we will do it' - it's of the flesh - the other one is the Spirit - 'I will put my law in your hearts and I will write them on your hearts'.

Same law - the law of the Lord is love. It's the Ten Commandments, but it's not written on the heart - and God says, 'I will take the initiative' - this is the new birth - something that happens inside. It's when the Holy Spirit comes in. He empowers us. Let me give you another verse because you all look very austere right now and you're thinking or you're not convinced.

Ezekiel 36:26, "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put my spirit within you and cause you to walk in my statutes, and you will keep my judgments and do them. Then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; you shall be my people, and I will be your God." Again, who's taking the initiative here? God says, 'I will.' But the new covenant is 'I will put my spirit in you and I'll cause you to walk in my ways, because you love me.' Isn't that the reason to obey? Amen. God says, 'if you love me, keep my commandments.' So we're just, you know, trying to establish, here, what is this difference between the old covenant and the new covenant? Now, with that in mind, let's go back and read Galatians 4:21 again. Someone's going to read, for me, in just a moment - dan, maybe that's you - Hebrews 8:6 - okay? Let's read our opening verse - Galatians 4:21, 23 - "tell me," - Paul is saying to the Galatians - "you who desire to be under the law, do you not hear the law?" Now, when you say 'law' in the Bible, it could be one of several laws.

It could mean the ceremonial law. It could mean the moral ten commandment law. Sometimes they called the torah the law. The five books of Moses were called the law. Sometimes they referred to it as the law and the prophets - it's the five books of Moses and then you had the prophets - it's a very general term.

So now Paul is using a more general term when he says, 'do you hear the law?' - He's referring to the first of the five books of Moses. What's that book called? Genesis. Genesis. First of the five books - Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, right? And so, he says, "do you not hear the law?" - And then he, now, refers to that - "for it is written that Abraham had two sons:" - that's Genesis, right? - "The one by a bondwoman," - hagar - "the other by a freewoman." - Sarah - "but he who was of the bondwoman" - hagar - "was born according to the flesh, and he of the freewoman through promise." So, go ahead, read Hebrews 8:6 and then we're going to go back and we're going to look at what happened there. "But now he has obtained a more excEllent ministry, inasmuch as he is also mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises.

" Alright, so, remember we read the promises of the people - old covenant - 'we will walk in his ways'; promises of the new covenant - better promises through the Spirit - 'I will cause you to walk in my ways'. Now, because this says God'll cause you to walk in his ways, doesn't mean there's no effort involved in obedience. Sometimes there's an effort, but now we're wanting to obey because of love. We're not doing it in our own strength, we're depending on his power. But there may still be a struggle so don't - don't misunderstand that.

So, when you go back in the Bible - and we'll go on to the next section here where it talks about the Abrahamic covenant. God makes this covenant with Abraham - you look in Genesis :1, "now the Lord had said to abram:" - his name isn't even Abraham yet. He's coming out of the land of mesopotamia - "get out of your country, from your family and from your Father's house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.

" Now, not only did God say that it would be through the line of David and then it was through the line of judah but, of course, it starts with the line of Abraham. All the descendants of the world would be blessed. How is all the world blessed through Abraham? Let's just make this clear. Jesus. The Messiah - the Savior of the world would come through him.

And so he made this promise - 'in you all the families of the world would be blessed.' Now, Abraham's probably wondering - when God makes that promise to him, he's 75. Now, granted, Abraham lived a lot longer than we do today. Life spans were longer back then. The Bible says Abraham lived 175 years. But, even back then, when you got to be 75 and your wife has passed the age of bearing, it didn't look very hopeful anymore.

But Abraham doesn't doubt. He believes God and God counts it to him for righteousness. At least, most of the time he believed God. So he takes off without having any internet to search. He couldn't go on travelocity or any website and find out 'what does this land of Israel look like?' He couldn't download pictures.

He had no idea. The Bible says he went out in faith, not knowing where he went. How many of you have planned a vacation that way? (Laughter) don't you always like to know where you're going? See pictures? Know where you're staying? Read the reviews? Abraham probably wouldn't have gone if he had read some of the reviews because the canaanites were in the land back then. And then, finally, go to Genesis 15. Now we're still reading what Paul is referring to.

And Abraham - Genesis 15:2 - Abraham says, "Lord God, what will you give, seeing I go childless," - he's made it to the promised land; he still has no children - "and the heir of my house is eliezer of damascus?" Now, the chief servant in Abraham's house - if you had no son, you would then will your possessions to your chief servant. And he had no son - you know, I learned a few years ago about inheritance law, a little bit. And if you have no children then it may go to your siblings. It may go back up to your parents. It may go to uncles and nieces.

It's a very interesting law that's written out about a line of inheritance. If nothing's written out, the courts have to decide it so they need a template. How do you spread out a person's assets if they die and it's not written out. And so, they had an ancient custom for that and he said - you know, he left his father's house, he's got nobody - I guess he's got lot there - he said, 'but in my family, all I've got is eliezer, my chief steward.' Was he a good guy? Yes. Where else does eliezer appear in the Bible in a prominent way? Isaac.

He's the one that Abraham trusts so much he sends him to - back to haran with a caravan and a lot of money - to find a bride for Isaac - who ends up being Rebekah. And he prays - he's a Godly man - and God answers his prayer. So he's a good man, but he said, 'you know, the only one I can see that I could leave everything to is eliezer of damascus.' And Abraham said, "look, you have given me no offspring; indeed one born in my house" - eliezer, evidently, had been born in his house - "'is my heir!' And behold, the word of the Lord came to him, saying, 'this one shall not be your heir, but one who will come from your own body shall be your heir.'" Now, I want to take a little detour. Another reason you know eliezer was an extraordinary man: he was in line to receive everything Abraham owned but he was happy when Isaac was born and he even helped pick - because he knew it was of God - he helped pray and pick the wife for Isaac. Isn't that interesting? When he's going through all that, don't forget, he was being considered as the heir until - wouldn't you be a little jealous? 'All of it was going to be mine and this baby comes along.

' (Laughter) ruined everything. But he had a good attitude. He said, 'this is God's will. This is God's plan.' And he just wanted his master to prosper. He's an example of a good servant.

He said, "this one shall not be your heir, but one who will come from your own body shall be your heir." Alright, so he said, 'okay, that's not how it's going to happen.' But it didn't happen. So Sarah said, 'look, Abraham, God said it's going to come from your body, but he didn't specifically say my body.' So, at first he didn't, and so she said, 'I've got a plan.' Now you go to Genesis 17 and - oh no, actually, before Genesis 17 - I'm sorry - in Genesis 16 - "now sarai," - her name hadn't been changed yet - "abram's wife, had borne him no children. And she had an Egyptian maidservant whose name was hagar." How did that happen? You've got to jump back to Genesis chapter 12 - there's a famine, and Abraham goes back to Egypt during the famine, because there's no food in canaan, and he's a little worried that, even though she's like 60 - 65 years old, Sarah is drop-dead beautiful, as they say. And, keep in mind, they lived a lot longer then. They retained their resilience and their beauty longer, I'm assuming.

You know, I'm assuming that if you live to 175, that you don't start looking 75 when you're 75 - that you look better longer. And so, even though she had technically gone through menopause - because she said 'the time of bearing is past', she was still very beautiful. And Abraham was afraid that - maybe she had, you know, these beautiful sky blue eyes or just something very striking and unusual - and some of the commentators that I've read said the people living in Egypt then were a little more swarthy and she stood out as someone who would be a real prize in a harem. So Abraham was - he must have known it too, because he was afraid. And he says to Sarah, 'look, I know you're a beautiful woman.

And when we go to Egypt, they're going to see you and they - they're not as civilized as some places. They're going to kill me and take you. So, do me a favor, you are my half sister. Let's forget the husband and wife part, just mention the sister/brother part when we go down.' He said, 'you know, it's not a total lie, just 50% true.' Which means the other 50% is what? A lie. A lie.

Yeah, I mean, wouldn't you have a different relationship between your wife and your sister? We hope. (Laughter) so it's not being - it's not communicating the truth. So they go down there and pharaoh, sure enough, the people in pharaoh's house say, 'wow, that - have you seen that guy's [sister]? She is' - he takes her into his harem, but he hasn't known her yet - and all these plagues fall on his house and, finally, the Lord says, you know, 'don't touch that man's wife. That's his wife.' And pharaoh said, 'you know, she should have veiled herself. Take her out of the land and' - he gives Abraham all these rewards and says, 'look, I know God's with you so I'm going to give you these things.

' And, among the things he gives him, it says - you read in Genesis :15-16, "the princes of pharaoh also saw her and commended her to pharaoh. And the woman was taken to pharaoh's house. He treated abram well for her sake. He had sheep, oxen, male donkeys, male and female servants, female donkeys, and camels." - Notice where it says 'female servants'. Somewhere along the way, pharaoh gave Abraham female servants.

Later, we hear about a servant named hagar who was an Egyptian. That's probably where she was acquired. He didn't bring her from mesopotamia where he had come from. Now you go to Genesis 16:1, "now sarai, abram's wife, had borne him no children. And she had an Egyptian maidservant whose name was hagar.

" - She's young, she's vibrant, she's healthy - "so sarai said to abram, 'see now, the Lord has restrained me from bearing children.'" - 'He said he's going to have children through your own body, but maybe not through my body.' - At least not yet she hadn't heard that - "please, go in to my maid;" - back then, they didn't use the test tube, they did it the old-fashioned way. But she was going to be a surrogate - "please, go in to my maid; perhaps I shall obtain children by her." - Now this isn't the only time that happened. Who else went for the surrogate idea? Jacob. Jacob's wives, when they stopped bearing they attempted to have children through their handmaids and did the same thing. So this is not unheard of back then.

Rather than adopt they said, 'well, at least the child will be 50%' - you could adopt, but they said, 'at least the child will be 50% because it'll be half of the husband's - maybe not the wife's - but that was how they dealt with it back then - "then sarai, abram's wife, took hagar her maid, the Egyptian, and gave her to her husband abram to be his wife, after abram had dwelt tent years in the land of canaan." - Now he's 85, nothing's happened - no children yet - "so he went in to hagar, and she conceived. And when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress became despised in her eyes." Now, you've got to face it, you know, if she is the servant girl of Sarah and she said, 'yes, ma'am. Yes, ma'am.' And she's doing whatever Sarah says, and I'm sure, at first, Sarah was very kind to her, but now she has been intimate with Sarah's husband, she's pregnant, she's going to have the baby - she probably begins to strut around and show off her tummy and Sarah keeps - still orders her around, as in the good old days, but hagar says, 'wait a second. I'm not just a slave, I'm a wife.' Did you notice that word there? It says, 'to be his wife' - she gave her to her husband to be his wife - her status has changed but Sarah is still treating her like a servant. So hagar, you can understand - she became despised in her eyes.

So there was a tension that develops here, at this point. Abraham has ishmael; God says to Abraham, 'he is not the one.' And you go to Genesis 17:19, "then God said: 'no, Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his descendants after him. And as for ishmael, I have heard you. Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall beget twelve princes," - now, how many sons did Jacob have? Twelve.

Isn't it interesting that two major religions in the world today - you heard my series earlier in the year - some of you - on Christianity and islam - that the two major religions in the world today began with Jacob having twelve sons - it starts, actually, with ishmael having twelve princes - twelve sons. Jacob - one becomes a father of the Hebrews and - Christianity comes through the line of Jacob - and islam comes through the line of ishmael. And so, I think that's just more than coincidence. Both children, sons of Abraham, and - now what is - getting back to Paul, what is he saying about all of this. So God, then, he visits Sarah, Sarah has a son - his name is Isaac.

But you know what happens, is Isaac is persecuted by ishmael. Maybe I'm getting ahead of myself. One is born by promise, one is born after the flesh. When Abraham could not have children and Sarah said, 'look, let's take matters into our own hands. Sleep with my servant.

' And he says, 'well, maybe we're supposed to help God fulfill his promise.' So they used the old-fashioned carnal method. They do have a son, but this is a son of the flesh. God said, 'no, it was to be a miracle.' It was to be a son of the spirit. How was Jesus born? Mary was conceived of what? The Holy Spirit. Isaac was to be a type of Christ.

Didn't Abraham offer Isaac on the mountain? Isaac was a type of the Spiritual birth. Amen. Jesus was a spiritual, supernatural birth. We are to experience that spiritual new birth; it's called being born again. But they wanted to help God out and they said, 'we're going to make it happen, but we're going to do it through the flesh.

And what you see here, and what Paul is saying is, you've got one that is the law of the old covenant - 'we will do it' - 'our own power' - 'in our strength' - 'our way' - it's the law of the flesh and the other one is the law of the Spirit. You see these two contrasted all through the Bible. Someone is going to read for me, in a moment, Romans 8:1 - manjeet, you'll have that? Just - we'll get to you in a second. I want to read Matthew 26, verse 41 - a very important statement Jesus makes. When the disciples are with him in the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus says, 'come pray with me.

' And they start to try to pray but how long did it last? What happened? They fell asleep. They fell asleep. And Jesus said, "watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. the Spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." Now, is there anyone here - can you relate to that? Have you ever struggled between the Spirit and the flesh? It might be in - with a temper, where the Spirit is saying, 'don't say it' but the flesh is mad. It might be with a diet where the Spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.

It could be with all manner of different temptations. We feel a battle that goes on between the Spirit and the flesh. Paul is saying, 'here you've got that in The Sons of Abraham.' You've got one that is the flesh and one that is the Spirit. Corinthians 3:1, "and i, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ." He says - you know what carnal means? Carne - anyone speak spanish? What does carne mean? Meat. It means the flesh.

So next time you go to a carnival (laughter) do you know where that word comes from? The word 'carnival' is they used to have these roman parties and it would often involve the gladiator scenes and bloodshed and violence and - they were entertained by gore. We use the word 'carnival' today - it has, hopefully, a little different meaning, but that's where it comes from. And so, you've got the battle between the carnal side and the Spiritual side. Do you know, your brain is divided in - your cerebellum and your cerebrum and they say, you know, your higher powers are in the frontal lobes - I always get the two mixed up, which one is this? Frontal. Cerebrum? Cerebellum.

Cerebrum. Cerebrum. Cerebellum. But animals have the same two parts of the brain, but their frontal lobe is very small. They are controlled by the animalistic instincts.

Most of the way you teach an animal is you reward them physically when you give them some food or there's some satisfaction or you praise them - you pet them - and they're kind of carnally trained. Not too many of them reason very far and ahead that 'this is morally the right thing to do and so it's what I'm going to do.' They have found that some animals do seem to exhibit very unselfish behaviors, but - alright, go ahead, read Romans 8:1 and 2. "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death." Thank you very much. I gave you one of the most important Scriptures in our study today.

You notice the words 'law', 'spirit', 'law', 'flesh' - we're talking about two covenants - we're talking about old covenant/new covenant - old covenant - 'we will' - new covenant - God says, 'I will'. And here it's telling us that there's no condemnation to those who are in Jesus who do not walk after the flesh but after the spirit. It's not being pharisaical, it's being spirit-minded. "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death." Matter of fact, if you read Romans 7:14, "for we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin." You've got this tension between the two in our lives. Go to Romans 8:4, "that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

For those that are after the flesh, do mind the things of the flesh, but those the Spirit, the things of the Spirit." And this is a very important verse, "for to be carnally minded" - to be fleshly minded - "is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace." If we go through our lives under the old covenant, thinking 'I will do it', our religion will be drudgery, misery, and end in death. It has to be God doing it in us. the Lord says, 'I will.' Now, were people in the old testament saved by the old covenant? That's a trick question. Were the people in the old testament saved by the old covenant? No. Is anybody saved by the old covenant? No.

The idea that 'I will' - who delivers? What human is involved in delivering the old covenant? Moses, right? Listen to what Moses says: 'circumcise, therefore, the foreskin of your heart and be no more stiff-necked.' He always knew that it was something that happened in the heart, even though they had the signs and the symbols and the ceremonies and the feasts and things, that were all portraying the old covenant, they were symbolic of the true. Abraham believed God and it was counted him for righteousness. They were saved by the new covenant. Now, we're going on further - go to Galatians 4:26 and it says, "but the Jerusalem above is free, which is the mother of us all." I've heard all kinds of interesting exposés on what that means. Someone's going to read, for me, Hebrews 12:22, in just a moment.

I'll start out by reading - what is it talking about? 'Jerusalem, which is above, is free, the mother of us all'? Look in Colossians chapter 3, verses 1 and 2, "if then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth." So when it talks about the Jerusalem which is above - go ahead read, for me, Hebrews 12:22. "But you have come to mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem to an innumerable company of angels," - now, most of the time, when I say 'the new Jerusalem', what book in the Bible do you go to? Revelation. You go to Revelation - the last book in the Bible, where we hear about the new Jerusalem coming down from God. But for the jews in Paul's day, was the idea of a spiritual Jerusalem a new concept or did they understand that? When the Bible says that - was it Moses? He looked for a city that had foundations whose builder and maker is God.

He wasn't looking for the earthly Jerusalem. He was looking for the heavenly Jerusalem. When Jesus said, 'the Kingdom of heaven is at hand', did that kingdom have a capitol? It's the new Jerusalem. Why does he contrast the new and the old Jerusalem? And don't - don't miss what it's saying here in Galatians, he says 'for the Jerusalem that now is, is under bondage.' When Paul wrote that, what flag flew above Jerusalem? Was it a Hebrew flag? Or was it a roman flag? Even the literal Jerusalem was occupied during that time, so they all looked for the new kingdom - the Messiah's kingdom - 'the heavenly Jerusalem' they called it. And so, it's just basically saying you need to think about the Spiritual side of these things.

And then, if you go to the next verse - verse 27, he says, "for it is written: 'rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry," - I'm in Galatians 4:27 - this is the next verse - "rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband." Now, you realize what happened with Abraham and hagar and Sarah and Isaac and ishmael is, after Isaac was born, when he was weaned they had a party, you know, there was a celebration - if you're Jewish you know, they have a bris - they have a celebration when the child is eight days old and they name him and he's circumcised. They had a celebration when the child was weaned and, of course, they would nurse them a lot longer then. They were usually up and walking around. Remember, Moses, he stayed with his mother until he was weaned and he was old enough to be taught in pharaoh's house. Samuel stayed with hannah until he was weaned and he was old enough to take care of himself in the temple with eli.

And so, you know, they sometimes nursed them until they were four or five years old. I know, that seems unbelievable, but you go to some countries and you still see that. They wanted to make sure they had all of their minerals, I guess. Anyway, we won't talk about that anymore, but - so they have a party and, at the party everybody is gushing over Isaac and he's the center of attention. Now, how do you think ishmael feels? He's not liking this very much.

Hagar has probably instilled in him some disdain for this other child of the Spirit - this miracle baby that's called 'laughter' and everybody's laughing. And he begins to make fun of and to mock his younger brother and Sarah sees that and says, 'oh, I can see how this is and we are not going to have that.' And Sarah goes to Abraham and says, 'divorce the bondwoman.' The term that is used is 'put her away' - it's the term that is used, later in the Bible, for divorce. Abraham needs to separate - a permanent separation - from hagar. And that broke his heart. He said, 'look, you told me to do this, now you're telling me to divorce her.

You started the whole thing.' And 'he's my son. I love him.' And Abraham is much troubled over this and God says to Abraham, 'listen to the voice of Sarah.' Now, if he had not listened to Sarah the first time, they wouldn't have this problem, but now he's got to listen to Sarah and he says, 'send away the bondwoman and Isaac.' Now this is very important - ishmael. Ishmael - thank you. 'Send away hagar and ishmael' because hagar and ishmael did not get the inheritance. Don't you and I want the eternal inheritance? Amen.

The inheritance of Christ did not come through them. So Paul is using this as an allegory. Paul uses a lot of old testament stories as allegories. Have you read, in 1 Corinthians , where Paul talks about the children of Israel and says what happened to them is an allegory of salvation and says, 'Christ is the rock' - 'Christ is the bread' - 'the red see represents baptism' - 'the pillar of fire represents baptism in the Spirit'? And Paul often takes these old testament stories - this is one of my favorite things to do, is look for Christ in all the stories of the Bible. He takes these old testament stories and says they are allegories of salvation.

It's very important to remember that hagar is sent away. She does not inherit it. They do not get the promised land. They go off into arabia. They go off into the deserts.

They're called 'the people of the east' - the descendents of ishmael. And - and so, going back and reading this again, it says 'rejoice those who were barren' - because you've had more children than the one who bore. Do you remember the story of hannah and peninnah? You've got these two mothers and they're fighting over which one is going to have an abundance of children. And, at first, peninnah, but later, hannah not only has Samuel through prayer, she has a miracle birth and she ends up having, I think, five or six more children after Samuel. And so - do you remember the story of the two women who came to Solomon? They're fighting over the baby and he has to make a spiritual judgment, which one is the real mother? Do you remember the story where rachel and leah are fighting over Jacob's attention and who's going to have the children? Do you remember the story - it's not a very pleasant one - 2 Kings, during a time of famine, two mothers come to the King, they're fighting over their son.

You see this happening all through the Bible and it's the tension between the true and the false. Who is buried with Jacob, rachel or leah? Leah. Leah. Isn't that right? It's not rachel. Rachel was the one he loved.

Rachel is buried in Bethlehem. She dies giving birth to Benjamin. Leah is buried. Which one did Jesus come through? Leah, not rachel. Rachel had a great son named Joseph, but Jesus didn't come through Joseph, Jesus came through judah - through leah's son.

And so, you can see this happening through the Bible, there's the promised child. Alright, back to Galatians here. And so, I better just go back to the book of Galatians and finish this up with you here. Now go to verse 28, "now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise." Now is that self-explanatory? He said, 'we're not the children of ishmael, where it's we're trying to help God out and do it by works, we're the children of faith and it's a miracle birth. When Isaac was born, it is a miracle birth.

When you are born again it is a miracle birth. What that means is God has to do it in you. Amen. God says, 'I will'. And if you feel like, 'I've never had that miracle birth', you need to be praying for it because it doesn't come through your works, it comes through your prayers.

You need to be praying for a genuine conversion. Or, if you've lost it, you need to find it again. Revelation says if you've lost that first love - that new birth experience - pray for it again. Seek for it. You know, the methodists were really big on praying until they had that assurance of conversion - that they experienced the new birth.

Alright, going back to Galatians again, "but, as he who was born according to the flesh then persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit," - and here, Paul is saying he that is born according to the flesh - ishmael - there at the weaning birthday party - persecuted Isaac. He said that's what happening today, the scribes and the pharisees and the sadducees and the lawyers all persecuted the apostles and those who say, 'we are born of Christ. We are born of the Spirit.' They said, 'oh no.' And the ones who believed in - that the Gospel could go to the gentiles were persecuted by those who said,' oh, no no, we're saved by the laws of Moses.' Remember, the whole theme of Galatians is, 'is it the new birth? Is it the ceremonial laws? Or is it the law of the Spirit?' So this is the big battle that's taking place here. Nevertheless, what does the Scripture say? "'Cast out the bondwoman and her son, for The Son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with The Son of the freewoman.' So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman but of the free." So that's his whole point is, he's making - all through this chapter he's making a very important allegory between those who are born of the Spirit and those who are born of the flesh. I think I had one more thought here I was going to share with you on this point.

Yeah, and so, you can see - there was one verse here I wanted to highlight that it says - go to verse 25 - I went right by it. "For this hagar is Mount Sinai in arabia, and corresponds to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children -" where is Mount Sinai? Saudi arabia. We usually say it's in the sinai peninsula and, if you go on a tour of the middle east and you say, 'I want to see where the Ten Commandments were given', they're going to take you to a mountain they call Mount Sinai, in the sinai peninsula, and it's because it was named that during the time of constantine. They picked out a mountain and said, 'this is where it is' and they build st. Catherine's monastery, I think, at the base of it, and they've been taking tours up this mountain ever since.

But that's not in arabia and it's certainly not forty days - you remember when Elijah fled forty days to Mount Sinai? It's not a forty-day journey, it's comparatively close. A lot of people now believe that Mount Sinai is, actually, in the arabian peninsula. It is much further south. And so, I just wanted to highlight that for you. I thought that was an interesting point.

Paul was one who says, 'mount sinai, in arabia, corresponds to Jerusalem that now is in bondage with her children' - even Jerusalem today, in the days of the Romans, it was in bondage - 'but the Jerusalem above' - this is a new one - 'is free, the mother of us all.' Alright, well, I think that we've covered most of our lesson. I want to remind our friends, if you did not join us at the beginning of the study, I'd like to remind you about the free offer. This is really a good book. If you've not read this, everybody here - everybody watching - you ought to read this book - why the old covenant failed - ask for offer #716 and, when you read it, share it with a friend. That number - 866-788-3966 or you just dial 866-study-more and we'll send that to you.

God bless you, friends, we look forward to studying His Word together with you again next week. Friends, we're out here in the pacific ocean not too far from the island of fiji, and we're getting ready to look at some wonders in the deep. The Bible says God made the heaven and the earth and the sea. And there are things under the sea that are beautiful that many people have never seen. Some folks might just skim along - snorkel on the surface, but if you want to see the real majesty of the ocean, you've got to go deeper.

(Lively music) because people don't have gills like fish, we have to do something extraordinary to be able to breathe below the surface. Because you have to breathe all the time, we need this special equipment. (Sound of breathing apparatus) in the same way, the Bible says a Christian needs to pray without ceasing. We need to always be breathing the atmosphere of heaven if we're going to live a Christian life in this world below. Wow, what a wonderful world.

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