Written Sermons & Bible Studies

The Grand Story of God

Today is a special day. Not only because I can’t wait to taste all your dishes. I spent yesterday with the aroma of smoked chuck steak burnt ends and beet salad wafting through the house—it’s Carry-in Sunday, after all.

Today holds weight for another reason. We’re finishing our series on the covenants of God. They provide a roadmap of God’s unshakeable promises that have guided humanity from Creation to this very moment.

I try to be a meticulous cook and pay attention to the dishes I prepare. God, too, has meticulously shaped history to bring us to the climax of these sacred covenants. But unlike a dish that is consumed and finished, for God, the divine banquet begins with Jesus Christ and lasts for eternity.

Jesus takes God’s laws and promises, and embodies them in a life-changing, grace-filled reality. Jesus doesn’t merely follow the divine plan; He is its Lord and creator. Returning to the cooking picture, Jesus is the Master Chef, and the key ingredient is boundless grace.

In this series, we’ve walked through Adam’s relationship and fall, Noah’s preservation, Abraham’s faith, Moses’ law, and David’s eternal kingship. I want you to know that Jesus Christ makes sense of it all. In Christ, grace replaces law, love conquers sin, and life triumphs over death. Today, we reflect on God’s grace—an ingredient so vital that it enriches every aspect of our lives and our relationship with God. Maybe this short poem captures the essence of the covenants and grace.

God has relentlessly pursued us through history, from Adam to Christ.

God is Creator of stars and worlds, yet God chose to be with us.

God made Earth a special place, and even more, each person on it.

God sent his Son, Jesus, showing God’s ultimate care.

Miracles of Jesus spoke a simple message: “I love you.”

The cross? Christ’s love letter. He defeated death to say, “I’m with you forever.”

In a world that pushes down, God, Christ and the Holy Spirit lift us up.

With wisdom and comfort for all, the Spirit listens to us all.

So, we strive to love, forever connected to Christ.

The profound reality of God’s grace is hard to understand. I have an illustration of the depth to which God pursues us. Many of you have met my dog Hazy. It may seem strange to use my dog as an example of God. But stay with me.

We have been talking about all the covenants God has made with people. Adam, Noah, Abraham, Israel with Moses and finally King David. Then God made the covenant to end all covenants, the covenant of grace given us by Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. These covenants have one very important thing in common. God trying to draw close to people, God trying to help people flourish, God paying attention to people and finally God trying to connect with people as a family of one body and blood.

Like God, my dog Hazy wants too always be with us. She will go to great lengths to stay connected to Jan and me. If we leave her at the Vet for boarding when we travel, she will communicate her great joy at our return and her profound disappointment that we left her, all at the same time. She will jump, twirl around, rub up against us and insist on excessive petting. At the same time, she will whine and communicate her displeasure with the latest stay at the vet. She wants to be with us.

Scripture often communicates God’s joy when someone accepts the blessing of grace. Other passages in Scripture communicate God’s displeasure when someone doesn’t act like a follower of Christ and thus is far from God.

When we leave the house without Hazy and back out of the garage, she will open the garage door and chase after us. While we are pulling out of the garage; we’ll see the handle of the door start to bob up and down and then Hazy comes trotting out. Her little tail wagging away with the look on her face of, “you really did want to take me with, didn’t you!” She wants to be with us. She loves the car. She sits in the back. Her pack is together, and she is happy. It reminds me of when we take the time to be with God in prayer or in silence. Like my dog Hazy, God just wants to be with us.

In the morning, I get up earlier than Jan, and Hazy will come out of the bedroom into the kitchen with me. At some point, she will realize Jan isn’t there. She’ll open the bedroom door and go in and wake Jan up. Hazy wants her pack together.

It reminds me of God’s desire to have us in community. From the beginning, God desired to have God’s people in a close-knit community. Much of the Moses laws were designed to help people live well together. Relational harmony was always on God’s agenda. From the first gathering of those who accepted the good news of Jesus Christ, coming together in a community of believers has always been God’s design. We are meant to be the church. We are meant to be the body of Christ. I believe we are meant to be in community churches like Place of Grace Fellowship.

Sometimes, we do not know exactly where Hazy is hiding in the house. When we locate her, she is tucked away in a corner or on one of her dog beds. Regardless of where she is, she has us in her sights. She knows where we are. God can often seem absent from our lives. We look for God, we listen for the Holy Spirit and hear nothing. We call out and do not get a response. It seems like God is gone. Yet, like Hazy, we are always in God’s sight. God always knows where we are and how we are doing. God always cares and is always aware and engaged in our lives.

Ah, Hazy! Man’s best friend indeed. I think many of you know Hazy—our friendly church canine who roams the premises, wagging her tail in pure joy. Now, Hazy loves us in a peculiar way. She seeks our attention, and what does she get in return? Adoration through excessive petting and, of course, treats and table scraps as her form of sacrifice. Now, I want to clarify something: God isn’t in the business of divine treats and heavenly belly rubs. No, the God we serve, the one true God, doesn’t ask for sacrifices or rewards to love us or pay attention to us. God’s attention isn’t transactional; it’s grace-filled.

And that brings us to our conversation about how all the covenants speak to the heart of God’s grace.

Let’s start with the covenant with Adam. In the beginning, God created Adam and established a divine covenant, a sacred promise. If Adam would refrain from eating from the tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil, life would be good and he would have dominion over the earth. Adam, representing all of humanity, stumbled. He broke the covenant and sent the human race into a tragic journey marked by suffering and mortality. But let’s remember Romans 5: 18-19, “Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people.”

In Jesus Christ, God initiated a new act—a reverse gear to Adam’s fall. Through Christ’s obedience, a cosmic ‘undo’ button got pressed. No longer are we bound by Adam’s failing; we are now new creations. So, when you catch yourself in a loop of self-condemning lies this week, fight back with this truth: In Christ, you are renewed.

God’s promise to Noah was that he would never destroy all of humanity again. In addition, people could take the flesh of other animals to eat. To understand what the story of Noah means to us, let’s read 1 Peter 3:20-21, “God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”

In discussing Adam’s Covenant, we talked about how God’s grace restores our Divine relationship despite human failure. Now, consider Noah. God made him a promise: no more global destruction. And guess what? God kept it. Through Jesus Christ, He offered us not just survival, but eternal life. We mark that with baptism. God’s decision demonstrates God’s enduring grace and teaches us our role in preserving life.

Think of your life’s blessings. How many times has God preserved you? Now ask, how can you help preserve others? This Noahic Covenant isn’t just a promise from God; it’s an invitation to be life-preservers in our communities.

Transitioning from the promise of preservation in Noah’s time, let’s delve into another monumental covenant, God’s promise to Abraham. God said that the descendants of Abraham would number greater than the sands of the seashore and that they would bless all of humankind. The covenant with Abraham, the father of faith, is one that shapes our spiritual lineage. Let’s read Galatians 3:29: “If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”

Here’s where faith enters as the basis of our bond with God. With Abraham, God made a promise that radiates blessings onto all humanity, fulfilled ultimately through Christ. Much like Abraham’s faith, our faith in Christ serves as the bedrock of our spiritual lives. We too become Abraham’s descendants, adopted fully into God’s family.

Trust isn’t effortless; it gets tested. You will face doubts, navigate through pain, and weather disappointments. Yet, amid these challenges, God bestows grace, blessings, and love upon us. Keep faith at the center. In good times and bad, hold fast to your belief in Christ and live a faith-filled life.

Moving from the centrality of faith in God, we examine the Mosaic Covenant. God told Moses that if the Israelites followed the Torah and worshipped God, then they would prosper as a nation with God as their only God. In God’s Word given to Moses, law and liberation will intersect in Jesus Christ. Let’s read Matthew 5:17: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.”

When God gave the law to Moses, God gave the Israelites a framework for holiness, setting the stage for their prosperity and global impact. Fast forward to Christ, who was the living embodiment of God’s Word, who didn’t dismantle the law but perfected it.

While the Mosaic law etched rules on stone tablets, Christ writes love and grace into our hearts. We’ve moved from a life dictated by legalistic rules to one steered by love. In each of us, the Holy Spirit takes residence, guiding our actions and moral compass. We can abandon legalism and embrace the freedom of living under the Spirit’s guidance.

Because Christ fulfilled the Mosaic covenant, we live according to the spirit of the law. Now, let’s pivot to the Davidic Covenant, which brings into focus the themes of kingship and eternity. God Promised David that his descendant would one day rule an eternal Kingdom that would be a blessing to all of humanity. Let’s read Luke 1:32-33: “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

Here, the covenantal promise to David is transformed by Christ. Originally granted to David, this covenant promises an eternal kingship. But when Christ arrived, he not only was seated on the throne, but he also transformed the promise into a pledge offered to all who believe. You, me, and every believer become co-heirs of this eternal kingdom. It’s like inheriting a family estate that never deteriorates or devalues, except this one is spiritual and everlasting.

Now, imagine if you discovered you were a long-lost relative of a royal family and suddenly had access to untold wealth and power. How would that transform your actions, your decisions, or even how you treat others? Wouldn’t you want to represent your newfound family well? That’s the transformative power of realizing we’re part of God’s eternal kingdom. We are not just clocking in and clocking out of a mundane, earthly existence. We’re walking and talking representatives of a divine kingdom led by Christ. We’re not just passing through this world; we’re preparing for the next. Our behavior, choices, and the love we show others become the window through which people can catch a glimpse of this divine promise. As you go about your week, keep in mind that you’re not merely a citizen of your country or a member of your local community. You’re an ambassador of a kingdom that has no end, under the rule of a King who embodies mercy and justice. Act accordingly and bring the kingdom of heaven a little closer to earth.

All the covenants and all the roads travelled in our long human journey with God point to one figure and one defining moment. The arrival of Jesus is the center around which all human history and eternity turn. Now here’s the mind-blowing part of it all. This was God’s plan all along to reach you and restore your life. God sees you, treasures you, and relentlessly pursues you. You are the very reason God sent Jesus to live as a human, die on the cross, arise from the grave and ascend into heaven. This was God’s most extraordinary effort to reclaim us, preserve us, renew us, and save us for eternity.

Just as our Luke passage declares, Jesus’ reign will never end. Through grace, Jesus welcomes you into a kingdom built on everlasting love. And that reign is not one of a distant king, but of a close friend, a savior who wants to be with you. Christ wants his pack, his family, his community of believers together, now and forever. Amen.

About Pastor Tim

Tim Holmes

Senior Pastor

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