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Copr. 1997, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.

LESSON 4 - WEDDING VOWS

INTRODUCTION: OUR LESSON THIS WEEK DEALS WITH COVENANTS--CONTRACTS.
FIRST WE LOOK AT THE COVENANT WITH GOD, AND IF WE HAVE TIME WE'LL
BRIEFLY LOOK AT THIS IN TERMS OF THE  MARRIAGE COVENANT.

I. ELEMENTS OF A CONTRACT

     A.  WHAT MAKES UP A CONTRACT? ASSUME YOU WERE ADVISING SOMEONE
     ON HOW TO ACTUALLY BUY A CAR THAT THEY HAD ALREADY SELECTED,
     WHAT WOULD YOU TELL THEM THEY SHOULD DO?  
          1. WE'LL GET YOUR LEGAL ADVICE?

          2. ANSWER:

               a. AGREE ON THE TERMS (THE LESSON CALLS IT
               EXCHANGING PROMISES): I WILL PROMISE TO GIVE YOU A
               SPECIFIC SUM OF MONEY AND YOU WILL PROMISE TO GIVE
               ME THIS SPECIFIC CAR.

               b.CONSIDERATION (LESSON CALLS IT OBLIGATIONS) THE
               PROMISES OBLIGATE EACH PARTY TO DOING SOMETHING. IN
               THIS CASE EXCHANGING THE MONEY FOR THE CAR.
               GENERALLY, UNDER THE LAW IF YOU DO NOT PROMISE
               SOMETHING OF VALUE YOU DO NOT HAVE A CONTRACT: IF
               YOU JUST SAY "I'LL GIVE YOU SOME MONEY" OR "I'LL
               GIVE YOU A CAR" THERE IS NO CONTRACT BECAUSE THERE
               IS NOT CONSIDERATION (NO OBLIGATION) THAT WAS
               EXHANGED.)

               c. PERFORMANCE (LESSON CALLS IT "MEANS" TO MEET THE
               OBLIGATION.) IN A CONTRACT YOU HAVE TO ACTUALLY DO
               WHAT YOU PROMISED TO DO. IN THE SPIRITUAL REALM WE
               HAVE A PROBLEM BECAUSE WE NEED HELP WITH FULFILLING
               OUR SIDE OF THE CONTRACT.

II. GOD'S CONTRACT WITH JUDAH

     A. LETS LOOK AT GOD'S COVENANT WITH JUDAH. READ JER 11: 1-5.

     B. WHAT WERE THE TERMS OF THE K? THE PROMISES? (OBEY AND I 
     WILL BE YOUR GOD WHICH MEANS THAT I WILL GIVE YOU A WONDERFUL
     HOME.)

     C. WHAT CONSIDERATION WERE THE PEOPLE GIVING TO GOD? THAT IS,
     GOD SPEAKS OF "TERMS" THAT CAME OUT OF THE WILDERNESS? (THE 10
     COMMANDS: EX 19:4-6. AND THIS REALLY GOES BACK TO AX IN GEN
     17:1,2,7,8.)

     D. READ JER 11:6-11. DID THE PEOPLE PERFORM ON THE CONTRACT?
     (NO. GOD SAYS THEY BROKE THE CONTRACT. OFTEN CONTRACTS WILL
     SPECIFY THE PENALTY FOR BREAKING THE CONTRACT, AND GOD SAYS
     HERE (v.8) THAT THE PEOPLE KNEW THE PENALTY FOR
     NONPERFORMANCE. IN LEV 26 GOD HAD SET OUT THE BLESSINGS AND
     THE CURSES THAT WOULD FLOW FROM KEEPING THE CONTRACT OR
     BREAKING THE CONTRACT.)

III. TODAY'S COVENANT:

     A. THAT WAS THE OLD TESTAMENT AND THE JEWISH NATION. IS THIS
     CONTRACT STILL AROUND? 
          1. IS IT STILL OPEN? 
          2. ARE WE STILL BOUND BY THE TERMS?

     B. LETS TURN TO JER 31:31-33. THIS IS THE ONLY TIME A "NEW 
     COVENANT" IS MENTIONED IN THE OT.

          1. WHAT IS THE MOTIVATION OF GOD TO CREATE THIS "NEW" 
          CONTRACT? (HE SAYS THAT THE PEOPLE BROKE THE OLD ONE EVEN
          THOUGH HE WAS HUSBAND TO THEM.)

          2. WHAT IS DIFFERENT ABOUT THIS "NEW CONTRACT" (LETS GO
          BACK TO THE ELEMENTS OF A CONTRACT:

               a. PROMISES
               b. CONSIDERATION
               c. PERFORMANCE

          3. ARE THE PROMISES DIFFERENT? (NO. NEW: 31:33 "I WILL BE
          THEIR GOD AND THEY WILL BE MY PEOPLE." OLD: 11:4 "YOU
          WILL BE MY PEOPLE AND I WILL BE YOUR GOD."

          4. IS THE CONSIDERATION OR OBLIGATION DIFFERENT? (IT 
          LOOKS LIKE THE TERMS ARE OBEDIENCE AGAIN FOR US. BUT IT
          LOOKS LIKE GOD HAS US OBEY IN A DIFFERENT WAY, SO LETS
          LOOK AT PERFORMANCE.)

          5. IS THE PERFORMANCE THE SAME? (NO. 11:8 SAYS "THEY 
          FOLLOWED THE STUBBORNESS OF THEIR EVIL HEARTS." 31:33
          SAYS "I WILL PUT MY LAW IN THEIR MINDS AND WRITE IT IN
          THEIR HEARTS." IT SEEMS TO ME THAT GOD IS THE PRIME MOVER
          HERE: HE IS WRITING IT IN THEIR HEARTS)

          6. LETS LOOK AT AN EXAMPLE TO SEE HOW CHRIST TAUGHT THIS
          IDEA.

IV. EXAMPLES OF THE NEW CONTRACT.
          
     A. READ MATT 19:16-20. DOES IT SOUND LIKE THE PROMISES AND 
     OBLIGATIONS OF THE CONTRACT --OBEDIANCE-- IS THE SAME? (IT
     DOES.)

     B. LETS READ ON. READ MATT 19: 21-25. WHEN THIS MAN REALLY
KNEW THE TERMS OF THE CONTRACT, IT WAS TOO MUCH FOR HIM.

          1. v. 25 SAYS THE DISCIPLES WERE AMAZED. WHY DO YOU THINK
          THEY WERE AMAZED? (BECAUSE UNDER THE CONTRACT AS THEY
          UNDERSTOOD IT, YOU WERE BLESSED IF YOU OBEYED.)

     C.LETS READ ON. MATT 19: 26. 

          1. WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? 
          2. WHAT DOES THIS TEACH US ABOUT THE PERFORMANCE PART OF
          THE NEW CONTRACT? (THAT IT CAN BE DONE ONLY THROUGH GOD'S
          POWER.)
          3. CONSIDER THAT JESUS' NEXT STORY IS THE STORY OF THE 
          LABORERS WHO CAME TO WORK AT DIFFERENT TIMES AND ALL GOT
          THE SAME WAGES. 

               a. WHAT DOES THAT TELL US ABOUT THE NATURE OF THE
               OBEDIENCE --THE PERFORMANCE-- THAT GOD WANTS UNDER
               THE NEW CONTRACT? (HE WANTS US TO COMMIT TO HIM. TO
               MAKE A DECISION TO OBEY.)

          4. DID THE RICH MAN WANT TO COMMIT TO CHRIST? WHY NOT?
          (HE DEPENDED UPON WHAT HE HAD MADE: MONEY. GOES BACK TO
          THE IDEA OF IDOL WORSHIP. HE ALSO WAS DEPENDING ON WHAT
          HE HAD DONE, ANOTHER TYPE OF IDOL WORSHIP. INSTEAD JESUS
          SAYS THAT GOD CAN DO ALL OF THIS AND SHOWS THAT IT IS A
          GIFT BY THE LABORERS STORY.)

     D. LETS CONSIDER THE LANGUAGE OF JER 31:33 AGAIN: "I WILL PUT
     MY LAW IN THEIR MINDS AND WRITE IT ON THEIR HEARTS."

          1. WHAT KIND OF RELATIONSHIP IS THIS? WHAT DO YOU THINK
          THIS MEANS? (GOD'S LAW "NEEDED TO TOUCH THE LIFE DEEPLY
          AND INWARDLY IN MIND AND WILL." THOMPSON, p.581)

          2. SO ASK YOURSELF, "HAS GOD'S LAW TOUCHED MY LIFE DEEPLY
          IN MIND AND WILL?"
                    --NOT JUST "AM I OBEYING," "BUT, IS IT PART OF
                    MY WILL, MY ATTITUDE?"

                    --THIS DRIVES US TO OUR KNEES BECAUSE ONLY GOD
                    CAN CHANGE THE HEART. ONLY GOD CAN GIVE US A
                    NEW HEART AND A NEW WILL.

     (LET ME READ YOU SOMETHING THAT WAS IN THE TEACHER'S HELPS AND
     NOT IN YOUR LESSON. IT IS A QUOTE FROM PAT AND PROPH p.431:
          
          NOTHING BUT THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF CHRIST CAN
          ENTITLE US TO ONE OF THE BLESSINGS OF THE
          COVENANT OF GRACE.  THERE ARE MANY WHO HAVE
          LONG DESIRED AND TRIED TO OBTAIN THESE
          BLESSINGS, BUT HAVVE NOT RECEIVED THEM BECAUSE
          THEY HAVE CHERISHED THE IDEA THAT THEY COULD
          DO SOMETHING TO MAKE THEMSELVES WORTHY OF
          THEM.... WE MUST NOT THINK THAT OUR OWN MERITS
          WILL SAVE US; CHRIST IS OUR ONLY HOPE OF
          SALVATION.")  (SEE ALSO GAL 4:22-26.)

V. WANDERING WIFE:

     A. READ JER 2:2 AND 3:1-3. WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO THE LITTLE 
     WOMAN? (ADULTRY, DIVORCE.)
          1. I SUPPOSE MOST OF US HERE KNOW WHAT GOD IS TALKING 
          ABOUT BECAUSE WE HAVE EITHER HAD A GOOD FRIEND WHO HAS
          GONE THROUGH THE EXPERIENCE OF ADULTRY OR WE HAVE GONE
          THROUGH IT PERSONALLY.

          2. HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE THE ONE WHO IS LEFT? (NO GOOD.)

          3. BY USING THE MARRIAGE RELATIONSHIP I THINK GOD WANTS
          TO GIVE US A SENSE OF HOW MUCH HE LOVES US AND HOW HARD
          IT IS ON HIM WHEN WE DISOBEY. ANYONE WHO HAS A GOOD
          MARRIAGE AND HAS CONSIDERED ADULTRY HAS GOT TO HAVE
          ASKED, "HOW MUCH WILL THIS DAMAGE MY SPOUSE THAT I LOVE?" 
          I THINK GOD CALLS ON US TO LOOK AT OUR RELATIONSHIP TO
          HIM THAT WAY.)

VI. NEXT WEEK: THE PRAYING PROPHET.