Take Hold Of God’s Covenant

 

Isaiah 56:3-8 (KJV) Neither let the son of the stranger, that hath joined himself to the LORD, speak, saying, The LORD hath utterly separated me from his people: neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree. 4 For thus saith the LORD unto the eunuchs that keep my sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant; 5 Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off. 6 Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the LORD, to serve him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant; 7 Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people. 8 The Lord GOD which gathereth the outcasts of Israel saith, Yet will I gather others to him, beside those that are gathered unto him.

Goal of this sermon: To Share the Covenant of Grace so Others will follow Jesus.

Twice God tells His people that He is looking for those who will:

Take Hold Of My Covenant

God speaks …

To The Broken: Take Hold Of My Covenant

In verse 4 the Lord speaks to the eunuchs, to those who were broken by life, unable to bring forth children because of mutilation or disease. Most people are broken in one way or another. God says to those poor souls:

vvs 3 …. neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree

Do not think that you are not good enough, not wanted, not desired. God wants you who are broken. He calls out to you, blessed Child, saying …

vvs 4 … keep my sabbaths, and choose the things that please me,
and take hold of my covenant

In Israel the Priest – the one who had access to God – could not be mutilated nor disfigured. The Lord told Israel:

Leviticus 21:18-21 (KJV) For whatsoever man he be that hath a blemish, he shall not approach {Me as Priest}: a blind man, or a lame, or he that hath a flat nose, or any thing superfluous, 19 Or a man that is brokenfooted, or brokenhanded, 20 Or crookbacked, or a dwarf, or that hath a blemish in his eye, or be scurvy, or scabbed, or hath his stones broken; 21 No man that hath a blemish of the seed of Aaron the priest shall come nigh to offer the offerings of the LORD made by fire: he hath a blemish; he shall not come nigh to offer the bread of his God.

The priest was to be without defect. I myself could not be a priest under the Old Covenant of works. My eyesight is bad, as was the Apostle Paul’s (though I am in no way close to where Paul was in faith). I am broken footed. The eunuch had his stones broken and could not be a priest. But God had a reason as to why the priest was to be physically unblemished, and that reason is

the Old Testament Priest was a picture of the New Testament Christ

The Christ Who has access to God is God Himself, the Son of God, perfect and without sin. He makes intercession for us because He is without sin.

Hebrews 4:14-15 (KJV) Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. 15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

Jesus never sinned. He is the sinless and without blemish Lamb of God Who taketh away the sin of the world (John 1:29). So the Old Testament priest was without blemish. That was a picture of Christ.

But the Priest’s lack of blemish did not mean that God did not call to those who were broken. The Pharisees misinterpreted the Old Covenant that way, but God wants all to come to Him. We see this in Christ.

Right after Jesus called Matthew to follow Him He went home with Matthew. We read:

Mark 2:15-17 (KJV) And it came to pass, that, as Jesus sat at meat in {Matthew’s} house, many publicans and sinners sat also together with Jesus and his disciples: for there were many, and they followed him. 16 And when the scribes and Pharisees saw him eat with publicans and sinners, they said unto his disciples, How is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners? 17 When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

God has never rejected the broken. He called Israel to salvation when she was broken, enslaved in Egypt. God calls the broken to Him. He calls the eunuch to His side, to His covenant of Grace. God calls the sinner to repentance. He says:

keep my sabbaths
Rest in Me!

Rest in God. Rest in Christ. The sabbaths of Israel were many. They not only had 52 weekly sabbaths or days of rest, but:

The Passover Sabbath
The Shavout, or Pentecost Sabbath
The Sabbath of Trumpets
The Sabbath of Atonement
The Sabbath of Tabernacles
and The sabbath of the 8th Day of Assembly
All in all Israel had 70 Sabbaths each year.
A Sabbath is a rest when you focus on God.

These Sabbath or Holy Convocations were times when God’s people rested and reflected in their Covenant Relationship with God. They ceased to labor, and LISTENED to God. I was reading an article the other day that said our problem (mine and yours) is that too often we talk TO God but do not rest IN God. We do not listen. God wants you to listen to Him, to reflect on Him, to follow Him.

Listen to me, all who are broken. God loves you. He cries out to you keep My sabbaths. Rest in Me. Bring your burdens to Me. Trust Me. Jesus says to the broken:

Matthew 11:28-30 (KJV) Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Oh, take hold of the Covenant of Grace. If you are broken, a eunuch in life, come to Him. Receive Him. Trust Him.

II find it interesting that one of the first Evangelists in the Church was Phillip. Phillip was in prayer one day and the Holy Spirit told him “Go into the desert on the road from Jerusalem to Gaza”. Phillip obeyed, and in that very area found a high ranking Ethiopian Eunuch who was reading Isaiah 53:7-8:

Isaiah 53:7-8 (KJV) He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. 8 He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.

Phillip asked “Do you understand what you are reading?” The eunuch – a well off but broken man – said “Will you explain it?” And Phillip began to tell the eunuch about Jesus, how Christ came to be the Lamb of God, how He stood in our placed on Calvary, then rose from the grave after three days and nights. As the eunuch heard these words his heart began to sing. He had been broken by life, emasculated, left without hope.

Christ came for the hopeless,
the broken,
the lonely,
the depressed,
the sinner trapped in iniquity.

Jesus came for them, for us, for us all. For we are all broken in one way or the other. The eunuch reached out, and grabbed the Covenant of Grace. He rested in Christ. God cries out to the broken:

keep my sabbaths, and choose the things that please me…

Choose the things that please ME. As they rode alone – Phillip and that eunuch – he saw WATER enough to be baptized in. “Here is water – why can’t I be baptized now?” The preacher didn’t have to beg him to be baptized. Jesus commanded baptism. Baptism pleases the Father. Jesus said:

Matthew 28:19 (KJV) Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

He didn’t say “Drag them to the water and make them be baptized”. No. If you are broken the Covenant of Grace commands that you come follow Him. If Christ commands baptism, you are baptized. We rest our souls in Him. We are obedient to Him. Jesus said:

If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (John 14:15)

Baptism is a commandment – perhaps the easiest that He has given us. He has also commanded that we:

Love one another.
Love our neighbor.
Forgive, and love our enemy.
Love God above all else.
Follow Him in love.

There are many more commands that our Lord has given us. If you love Him you will obey Him. “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My Word” (John 14:23). Obedience is not optional. The eunuch understood this, and sought baptism. Phillip told the eunuch:

If you believe with all your heart you may be baptized.” To which he replied:

I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God” (Acts 8:37)

To take hold of His Covenant is to come to Him as Savior and Lord.
To be Christ’s disciple.
To be all in with God!

The Lord promises to the broken who take hold of His covenant:

Isaiah 56:4-5 (KJV) For thus saith the LORD unto the eunuchs that keep my sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant; 5 Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off.

God offers to the broken everlasting life. Though the broken may not be able to bear children God says “If you come to Me I will give you a better place and a better name, and everlasting name. This name will never be cut off … it will live on forever.” Those who come to God by Christ are give the power to become Sons of God:

John 1:12-13 (KJV) But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

As a Son of God you have eternity before you, eternal life within you, and Almighty God as your Father. Heaven is your destination, and victory your promise.

God also speaks to the “stranger”.

Israel was to reach out to the “stranger”, the one who was NOT an Israelite. Sadly Israel failed to do so. When Christ told His disciples to go into “Jerusakem, Judea, Samaria, and the uttermost parts of the world” the early Church stayed in Jerusalem until God raised up Saul to run them out of there. God changed Saul to Paul to reach the stranger. Oh that God would raise up those to reach out to the “strangers” today, for sadly, many Churches are social clubs that just reach out to their own families. This is not what God wants of us. We are to reach out to the STRANGER, the odd ones, the people we do not know. That is how the Church grows!

To The Stranger, Take Hold Of His Covenant

Isaiah 56:3, 6 (KJV) Neither let the son of the stranger, that hath joined himself to the LORD, speak, saying, The LORD hath utterly separated me from his people … 6 Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the LORD, to serve him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant;

In the Old Testament Israel had ceased to offer the Gospel of Grace to the Gentile. To those who were of Israel, the Children of Abraham, they invited to the Temple, to the Synagogs, to the sacrifices. But the Gentiles were excluded from the Covenant. They were considered “Strangers” or “Sons of Strangers”. Yet God never wanted this to be. Christ was to be:

Luke 2:32 (KJV) A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.

Christ came to bring light to both Gentile and Jew. Yet when Christ came Israel as a nation rejected Him. Though many Jews came to Him and followed Him, the nation itself rejected Him. Some of the saddest words in Scripture are:

John 1:11 (KJV) He came unto his own, and his own received him not.

Jesus came for all. He brought the Covenant of Grace for all. Not just for the Jew, but for the Gentile. Jesus reaches out to people we know, and people we do not know. Jesus reaches out to all.

2 Corinthians 5:14-15 (KJV) For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: 15 And that {Jesus} died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.

Hebrews 2:9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.

God is not pleased when we make Christ about ourselves and not about God’s Covenant. Jesus came bringing His Covenant to Israel FIRST, but then He turned to us who were strangers, the Gentiles. Our culture is very different from the Jewish culture, yet God loves us as He loves them. The stranger should not say ,,,

The LORD hath utterly separated me from his people

For that’s not true. God wants the stranger. He wants more than “we four and no more”. He wants everyone who will come to Him to come to Him, for Christ gave Himself for all. The Apostle wrote:

Romans 10:16-21 (KJV)16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For {Isaiah} saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? 17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. 18 But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world. 19 But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you. 20 But {Isaiah} is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me. 21 But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.

Sadly, Israel – the oreiginal possessors of the Gospel – did not follow the Lord when He came. So the Lord reached out to the stranger, offering salvation to all who would follow Him. God reaches out to you today. God asks that you …

love the name of the LORD, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant

Love God. Fall in love with Him Who loves you aqnd wants the best for you.
Serve God. Live for Him Who loves you and gave Himself for you.
Rest in Christ. He has paid your admission into the Family. Receive Him.
Take hold of His Covenant.
Become one of the whosoever will.

When you take hold of His Covenant God has promised:

Isaiah 56:7 (KJV) Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.

May God lead you to Christ’s side this very day! He loves you. He wants to bring you JOY. He wants you in relationship with Him. He came for all people.

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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