Text: Genesis 17:9-14; Ezekiel 36:26-27
A Covenant Heart (Full Sermon Manuscript)
Human hearts are the core of our life. It is the essential part of the body as they say (you can read more about this on our bulletin program.) For today, we will learn the two realities of having a covenant (or renewed) heart, specifically, the new covenant heart.
In our passage, the picture of circumcision is a mere covenant sign. Example: God made a covenant sign of rainbow with Noah and the whole creation. But the rainbow itself does not bear the promise. It only expresses the promise of life preservation. In the same way, the circumcision itself is not the promise but rather it only represents something beneath and more important.
Hence, my first point of having a “renewed” heart, The Internal Reality.
Circumcision of the flesh is just a surface level. What really matters is the one that goes beyond our eyes—the heart. Obeying, keeping God’s covenant signifies humility, submission, and devotion to God. Hence, we do not merely focus on the external rite, but the inner reality of the sign.
So, when Abraham and his descendants enacted the circumcision proper. It is not only because it is traditional but because it is their expression of devotion, full obedience, and submission to God’s authority. By keeping the sign, they are yielding to God’s order. Acknowledging His power. Depending on God’s word.
Going back, another reality of having a renewed heart is the External Reality. A renewed, or covenant heart, is a heart that is transformed—and continuously being transformed by God by the Holy Spirit.
Linking with the point we have a while ago, what matters is the inner part, so in Romans 2:29, Paul contended for the circumcision of the heart; “No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a person’s praise is not from other people, but from God.”
Indeed, by the Spirit, we can do it. Let the Spirit work in our lives and drives us to live righteously and even to speak Life. What do I mean by SpeakLIFE? As our application, as Christians, we know that words are powerful. So, we share these powerful words with other people to encourage them, bring hope.
1. Speak Love – We know that the ultimate love, the very source of love, is Christ. A person cannot fully and genuinely love apart from God (1 John 4:7-9).
2. Speak the Inspired Word of God – Share God’s Word. Meditate upon the Bible. While reading, it is inseparable to also pause and pray God’s Word. Pick up a word, or a thought from your devotion and start praying using that word or idea. This helps us break our repetitive prayer.
3. Speak Your Faith – stand firm and be proud. Just as what Paul said in Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes.”
4. Speak about the Eternal Joy in Heaven – let us be excited about this matter. This is our ultimate hope—the Christian telos, eschatological hope. Seeing the church worship God, follow God, and fellowship with one another is already a glimpse of heaven. But we ought to share this eternal joy and ultimate to all people. Let us evangelize, make disciples, and plant churches.
Ptr. John Paul Arceno
UCBC New Jersey
June 27, 2021
*This section is an excerpt only; download the full manuscript here.