Covenant & Kingdom: The Cross, 5 October 2014

Big Idea: The Cross is about a substitutionary death―our Covenant, and the victory of God over our enemies― the Kingdom.

Key Scripture: 2 Corinthians 5:14-21


In previous weeks we said the Bible is a big book. It’s actually a library of 66 books. We usually study it verse-by-verse, like looking through a microscope. This series will look at it through a telescope, examining the big idea of the Bible.

Covenant and Kingdom are woven throughout the Scriptures like a
double helix is woven in DNA.

Covenant is a sacred treaty in which two parties become one. In ancient times, this always involved the shedding of blood by an animal to imply consequences for failure to fulfill the agreement.

God made a covenant with Abram, promising blessings to him and his offspring in order for them to bless the world.

Covenant is about relationship. Being. Invitation.
Kingdom is about responsibility. Doing. Challenge.

Life is filled with tension between being and doing, relationship and responsibility, being invited into relationship with God while also being challenged to represent Him and bless the world.

As we look at this idea of challenge, of kingdom, of doing God’s work in the world we are going to look at the most important week in human history, the Passion Week.

In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.” (Luke 22:20)

Did you catch that? Jesus introduces a new covenant in His blood. Remember, covenants required the shedding of blood for two parties to become one.

For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. (2 Corinthians 5:14)

As we have said throughout this series and our earlier series on Ephesians, followers of Jesus are “in Christ.” Whatever is true of Jesus is true of us. We’re on His team. We wear His uniform. Because Jesus died, we have died. Jesus is the Son of God. We are Sons of God (it’s not a gender issue).

And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. (2 Corinthians 5:15)

Jesus gave His life for us. The only appropriate response is to give ours in return.

So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer.  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!  (2 Corinthians 5:16-17)

This is not an instant thing. Jesus actually likens it to a birth. The moment you are born, you are completely human, but not fully developed. We are not perfect. Our world is not perfect. We can, however, live in peace in the midst of chaos knowing we are never alone and one day we will rule and reign with our Father the King forever.

All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: (2 Corinthians 5:18)

God the Father gives us the same ministry of reconciliation He gave Jesus because we are His, too! A human brought sin and death into the world and, therefore, God became human to conquer sin and death through Jesus. He became One of us. Last week we talked about how He understands temptation. He also understands pain and suffering.

Have you ever looked at our broken world and thought, “Why isn’t God doing something?”

He is.

You’re it!

…that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. (2 Corinthians 5:19)

We begin in covenant with the Father and then He enlists us to serve in His Kingdom, to announce the good news that Jesus is LORD. We are His team. There’s no plan B! He’s our Father. He’s the King. We have royal blood and represent Him.

We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. (2 Corinthians 5:20)

We are on a mission from God. We are His ambassadors, His representatives. When people see us, they see Him. You are the only Bible some people will ever read!

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21) 

That’s the cross. Jesus had no sin, yet God dumped our sin upon Him. It killed Jesus! By Jesus’ blood we get the antibody for the disease of sin. He became Sin and we become Sons (again, not gender). We become, to God, exactly as Jesus is. When the Father looks at you, He looks at you as if it was Jesus because we are one with Christ.

Covenant gives us value.
Kingdom gives us vision.

On the cross, Christ extends His arms as if to welcome us. He was suspended between heaven and earth, the vertical bar an image of our covenant relationship with the Father and the horizontal bar a picture of our kingdom responsibility to love our neighbor.

ʻAt that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus' resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people. When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, "Surely he was the Son of God!"ʼ (Matthew 27:51-54)

The day of Judgment came because God the Father judged sin. He declares His judgment upon Jesus. The earth shook. Rocks split. Tombs broke open. The universe was forever changed.

On the cross Jesus died instead of us.

His body was broken instead of ours.

His blood was shed as a new covenant.

He gave everything for us. It’s only appropriate that we return the favor.

ʻWhen you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the Cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.ʼ (Colossians 2:13-14)

The early church fathers described it this way: God tricked the devil! Satan thought he won when Jesus was put into the tomb, but Jesus had one final play!
Jesus entered the world of the dead and announced to the spirits captive there that He had won. Jesus has the keys to death and hell. He won them. He’s our champion!
You see, the Gospel is really really good! He has died in our place so that we might be in Covenant with God, so that we might be ONE with him, so that we might be connected again. And he has defeated the principalities and the powers of darkness, bringing forth the brightest of light and healing and is asking us to do the same.


Ideas for this series taken from book of the same title by Mike Breen and

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