The Enforceable Covenant
Bible Text: Genesis 12:1-20 | Speaker: Paul Henderson | Series: Guest Speakers, Standalone Sermons | This week, as Pastor Parkey teaches and ministers in Cuba with our missionary partner Jack Abraham, Pastoral Intern Paul teaches a message from Genesis he calls “The Enforceable Covenant.” While reading through Genesis 12, something about the covenant with Abraham caught Paul’s attention, and he kept hearing the word “enforceable.” Now enforceable is an adjective derived from the verb enforce. Let’s look at both words together to get an idea of how they are connected to God’s covenants.
Enforce – to put or keep in force; compel obedience to; to obtain (payment, obedience, etc.) by force or compulsion; to impose (a course of action) upon a person
Enforceable – the agreed upon condition of a rule; law; agreement, or other stipulation that can be enforced through compulsion.
“Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” /// Genesis 12:1-3 (ESV)
These three verses are a proclamation from God; an edict or promise from the king. Once issued, it is irrevocable. God cannot take it back because God’s laws are irrevocable. God does not change or alter His promises. They stand as issued. But something needs to happen in order for God’s promise to be enforceable. An appropriate response is required. Let’s look at how Abraham responded to the King’s order.
“So Abram departed [in faithful obedience] as the LORD had directed him…” /// Genesis 12:4 (AMP)
The minute Abraham stepped forward in faithful obedience, what happened? God’s promise became enforceable. His word WILL always be honored because it’s God’s word. God does not lie. Genesis 12 is THE KEY to understanding how God’s promises operate for us today. So, when we read or hear about Jesus and His promises, know that we can trust what He says because of Genesis 12. Jesus came into this world to show He was from God and was God through miracles, signs, and wonders. His objective was for people to believe and receive all of the promises of God.
His objective was this: Once people believe Jesus is LORD, they will begin to understand how to receive God’s promises that are available to them. Peter, having believed, confessed that Jesus was the Messiah the prophets of old spoke about. Once he believed this about Jesus, all of the promises of God instantly became available to Peter. Here are some promises from Jesus:
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” /// Matthew 7:7 (NIV)
“Therefore I tell you, don’t worry about your life, what you will eat; or about the body, what you will wear.” /// Luke 12:22 (CSB)
“For all the [pagan] nations of the world greedily seek these things; and your [heavenly] Father [already] knows that you need them. But [strive for and actively] seek His kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.” /// Luke 12:30-31 (AMP)
What do these promises from Jesus have in common with the Abrahamic covenant?
Three Common Characteristics of God’s promises:
God’s promises are irrevocable
God’s promises are enforceable
Our response will determine their enforceability
Jesus promised us that once He ascended into heaven, He would send a Helper to guide us into all truth. When we believed and were born again, the Holy Spirit came to dwell in us, to guide us, to speak to us, and to remind us of the availability and enforceability of the promises of God the Father. The Holy Spirit is not here to enforce God’s promises in our lives. He is here to gently nudge us into a response. When we respond in obedience, God’s promises become enforceable.
When we find ourselves saying things like, “I don’t know what I’m supposed to be doing for God.” Or, “Why doesn’t God speak to me and tell me what I need to do?” The issue is not a knowing issue, it’s a doing issue. It’s not a hearing issue, it’s a responding issue. Remember when Jesus gave us the parable of the talents? All of us have been entrusted with the same one talent, the same possession to take care of. Whether this one talent we have been entrusted with increases is up to how we respond to it. What is the one talent we have been entrusted with you ask? It is the gospel of Jesus. What we do with Jesus either creates opportunities to obtain God’s promises in our lives or it buries them. If Jesus is LORD of our lives, then whatever Jesus has promised us is available to us depending on how we respond. How we respond determines whether Jesus is truly LORD of and over our lives.
Do you want to see your talent increase?
Do you want to know what God has for you?
Do you want to know what your specific calling is?
Do you want to experience the nudge of the Holy Spirit?
Do you want to experience physical healing or see healing in others?
Do you want a financial breakthrough?
Do you want to see your marriage restored?
Do you want to be used by God to do the miraculous?
Are you waiting to hear from God directly before you get involved in church?
Have you ever wondered why God hasn’t spoken to you directly?
Would you be surprised to know that He already has, but He is waiting on a response from you before moving in your life?
He has always been and will always be an “If, Then” God. He says repeatedly, “If my people will obey my commands then I will bless them and heal their land.” If you find yourself asking the same questions over and over about God’s will and purpose for your life, then you need to go back; find the talent that’s been buried; dig it up; and begin using it. Jesus is that talent!
Jesus has risen, so we can’t expect His promises to be fulfilled in our lives if we keep shoving Him back into the grave!
After the death of Jesus, before His resurrection, Peter buried his talent. He went back to fishing, back to the life he had before his encounter with the Messiah. This was after he witnessed all the miracles, signs, and wonders. This was after he confessed Jesus as the Son of God. This was the response of the original disciple. But Peter became discouraged because the promises Jesus made had not come to pass. So, in response Peter buried his talent with Jesus. When Jesus rose from the dead and met with Peter, he said this, “Peter, do you love me?” Today, Jesus is asking us the same question. “Church, do you love me?” And we say, “Of course we love You, Jesus. You’re our Savior.” Jesus replied directly to Peter and to us. He said, “then feed my sheep.” Jesus as LORD says, “If you love me church, then feed my sheep. Obey my commands and all of the promises will begin to manifest in your life.” He says, when you respond in faithful obedience:
then when you seek you will find
then when you knock it will be opened
then when you ask you shall receive
then you will be able to do even greater things than the disciples
then you will be given the power and authority over every evil spirit
then the Father will provide for all of your needs
then you will have an abundant life
then you will know peace
then you will be with Him for all of eternity
But, it all hinges on our response. If we want God’s promises to manifest in our lives, we need to respond in a manner that will compel Him to enforce His covenant. Because, it’s an enforceable covenant and He’s the one waiting on us.
Luke 12:22, 30-31
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