Upgrade Your Life

Understanding Why The New Covenant Is An Upgrade For Believers

Bryan Vander Tuig
Jun 26, 2022    41m
This message shares Bible verses that compare the old covenant and the new covenant to explain why the new covenant is an upgrade, more glorious, for those who Believe in Jesus. We learn that the new covenant is more glorious because it gives life, not death, it brings righteousness, not condemnation, and it is permanent, not temporary. Video recorded at Upland, California.

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Intro: [00:00:00] Hey, there. Thanks so much for checking out one of our messages here at Life Bible Fellowship Church. And we know there are two great ways you can connect with us. You can visit our website at LBF.church to learn more about all of our ministries and what we believe. And also, you can subscribe to us on YouTube to make sure that you don't miss one of our future videos.

Bryan Vander Tuig: [00:00:19] In 2018, my wife and I, Kathy and I, were on a tour in Israel. I'm going to move this back a little bit. And we landed in Tel Aviv and the tour bus picked us up at the airport and brought us to our first hotel on that first night, we were staying in a place just north of Tel Aviv, right on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. And as Kathy and I got out of the bus and we got our luggage and we got to our room and we walked into our room, we thought to each other, man, this is really nice, this has a nice view of the Mediterranean Sea, it has a balcony that we can step out onto and just enjoy the beauty of God's creation. But we didn't really think much more of it than that, like, man, this is really nice. Well, a little while later, another person on our tour who's our daughter-in-law now, came up to our room to get something from us, she knocked on the door and we let her in and said, hey, Brianna, what's up? And she walked into our room and she's like, man, this is a nice room. And we were like, your room isn't like this. She's like, no, nothing like this, my room is on the other side of the hotel, I don't have a view, I don't have anything that you have that makes it this really beautiful room. What Kathy and I realized pretty quickly, is that we had been upgraded, we had been upgraded by the tour company that we were working with on this tour. We didn't ask for it, we didn't expect it, they just gave it as a gift to be received. And let me tell you, we received it, it was good. And that happened for the next couple of nights, and it was just an amazing blessing for us to receive this upgrade that we didn't expect, it was just a gift to be received.

Bryan Vander Tuig: [00:02:24] Well, this morning we're going to talk about the greatest upgrade ever given, the greatest upgrade. And we're continuing in the series that we started a few weeks ago titled Glory and Frailty. And in this series, we see that God reveals his glory to the world through the frailty of his servants. And kind of the main point of the message this morning is this, the Gospel is glorious because it solves the problem that the law exposes. The Gospel is glorious because it solves the problem that the law exposes, and we'll unpack that as we work our way through this morning's message.

Bryan Vander Tuig: [00:03:12] In last week's message from the verses preceding what was read, and specifically in verse 6, Paul mentions a phrase or a term, he uses the phrase, new covenant. He says that God has made him competent as a minister of a new covenant. And we're going to see, and we're going to talk about covenants this morning. And so I want to spend just a little bit of time kind of defining what is a covenant and looking at how God used covenants throughout biblical history to demonstrate this or to show us this. So a covenant is really just an agreement, it's a contract made between two or more people, it often has conditions or responsibilities that each party in this agreement have to live by, and it's often accompanied by a sign to remind the parties of their covenantal agreement. And biblically speaking, at least, it's often based upon a promise.

Bryan Vander Tuig: [00:04:19] And so if you kind of go back in biblical history and just walk your way through the Scriptures, you see that God relates with His people through different covenant agreements. And you can go back to Genesis 9, and you see that God entered into a covenant agreement with Noah after the flood. And when he came out of the boat, God entered into a covenant relationship with him.

Bryan Vander Tuig: [00:04:43] And then you fast forward in the text a little bit, and God calls a man named Abraham out of his country, out of the country of Ur, and he brings them to the promised land and God enters into a covenant relationship with Abraham as a man. And the promise was, Abraham, I'm going to, through you, be a blessing to the nations. Fast forward a little bit more in biblical history and you come to the nation of Israel, right, the descendants of Abraham who had lived in the country of Egypt for over 400 years, and a good chunk of that as slaves in bondage to the Egyptians. And God raises up a leader, Moses, to come and deliver them from that bondage. And God brings them out into the desert, to a mountain we know as Mount Sinai. And in Exodus Chapter 19, God enters into a covenant relationship with the nation of Israel, and the covenant was conditioned upon the nation of Israel's total consecration to the Lord, their total consecration to the Lord. And God's promise to them was, I will be your God.

Bryan Vander Tuig: [00:06:01] So we keep moving through biblical history and we come up now into the prophetic book of Jeremiah. And in Jeremiah, Jeremiah was a prophet at the time that the nation of Israel was being judged because of their wickedness, because of their rebellion against God, and Jeremiah was prophesying that they were going to be exiled into Babylon. And in Chapter 31 of that prophetic book, Jeremiah, the word of the Lord comes to Jeremiah, and it's a promise of a new covenant, a new day that God is going to bring. And it's in verses 31 through 34, and it says this, “The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah. 32It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord. 33“This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the Lord. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. 34No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the Lord. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” This promise of this new covenant was given to Israel on the verge of their exile to Babylon, and it is a covenant of pure grace, it's a promise of forgiveness, of sins, the promise of transformation of a heart from the inside out, not the outside in. It is a promise of God to be their God in spite of their rebellion, it is a promise that is not earned or a relationship that is not earned, but it is given as a gift, it is a clear upgrade.

Bryan Vander Tuig: [00:08:13] We know that this covenant was fulfilled in the life of Jesus, and we see that in the New Testament. Just as the old covenant at Mount Sinai was ratified with blood, the blood of animals, as Moses sprinkled blood on the people as he declared that covenant agreement before them, so the new covenant in Jesus Christ is ratified, but with the blood of Jesus. And we see that in Luke chapter 22, where Jesus is at The Last Supper with His disciples, and he is celebrating that Passover meal with them, "And Jesus took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you." A new day has dawned. And so it's the ministry of these last two covenants, the covenant from Mount Sinai, which we often call the old covenant, and this new covenant that in the text this morning, Paul compares and contrasts. And Paul refers to the ministry of the new covenant as the ministry of the Spirit, and so we're going to see three things about this ministry of the spirit this morning. We're going to see that it is more glorious because it gives life, not death, because it results in righteousness, not condemnation, and because it is permanent, not temporary.

Bryan Vander Tuig: [00:09:43] So if you have your Bibles, open them to Second Corinthians chapter 3 if you haven't done that already, and we're going to begin to work our way through this text. We're going to start actually in verse 10, which is a little bit abnormal, right? When we typically go through a section of scripture, we start at the beginning of the text, this morning we're going to start at verse 10 because verse 10 is a summary statement of the verses around it. Verse 10 says, "For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory." It's a summary statement, the old covenant, of which Moses was the mediator, though certainly having a glory of its own has now, by comparison, come to have no splendor at all.

Bryan Vander Tuig: [00:10:37] Scholars believe that these verses, and as the Scripture text was read earlier, you saw that Paul in verses 7 and 8, he mentions Moses and he mentions the face of Moses and it’s this, fading glory. And scholars believe that these verses are Paul's exposition of a text from Exodus Chapter 34 verses 29 through 32 and let me kind of give you the context of that so that we can understand it as we get into these verses. So I mentioned earlier that God brought the nation of Israel out of bondage, out of slavery in Egypt through the Ministry of Moses and God brings them to Mount Sinai, and he establishes this covenant relationship with them, they consecrate themselves to God completely and wholly, and God promises to be their God. And while Moses is on Mount Sinai receiving the tablets of the law from the Lord, the people are down at the base of the mountain and they're there wondering where Moses had gone, where is this leader that God had given to us? And they say to Aaron, Moses' brother, fashioned for us an idol that we can worship, we don't know what happened to your brother Moses. And so they fashioned this golden calf, and the nation of Israel breaks the covenant, and they begin to worship this golden calf and they begin to participate in all kinds of sinful behavior.

Bryan Vander Tuig: [00:12:03] The covenant is already broken, but God in his grace calls Moses back to the mountain, the mediator between God and a sinful people, he calls them back to receive a second set of commandments. And so Moses goes back and he's there for 40 days and 40 nights with God, and Moses, his face is radiant with the glory of God. A beautiful text in the Scriptures is Exodus 33, you can read that when you get home later today. But in that text, Moses makes us bold requests of God. He says, God, show me your glory, show me your glory that I might know you. And God in His faithfulness responds, and he shows Moses His glory. And so when Moses comes down the mountain, his face is radiant with the glory of God, and the people don't really know what to do with that. And first, they're afraid, but then they come to Moses, and he gives them the words of God. But Moses began to put a veil over his face any time he spoke to the people of Israel, and the purpose of the veil was so that the people wouldn't see, that the glory would fade, the glory was going away, its function was to reaffirm and to legitimate Moses as the mediator of that covenant, the one who represented God to the people. And so he would wear the veil before the people, and he would take it off when he would go back into the presence of God.

Bryan Vander Tuig: [00:13:35] And so that's what Paul is referencing in these verses. And Paul sees that the old covenant was accompanied with splendor, it came with glory. But in these verses, Paul uses a method of teaching, it's a rabbinic method, it's the lesser to the greater. And in that method, he argues that the Ministry of the new covenant is accompanied by a much greater splendor than the old covenant. And so let's start now, and go back to verses 7 and 8, and in verses 7 and 8 it says, Now, if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory fading though it was will not the Ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious. And so Paul's first argument from the lesser to the greater is this If the ministry that brought death came with glory, will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious?

Bryan Vander Tuig: [00:14:44] We see that in the New Testament that Paul talks about these topics, if you will, in many of his writings. We read about these things in Romans, certainly Second Corinthians, and Galatians, we're going to look at a couple of those things because it helps us to understand what he's talking about here.

Bryan Vander Tuig: [00:15:05] The first one is Romans chapter 7 verse 10, he talks about the law that brings death. And in Romans 7:10, he says, "I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death." And when he says the commandment, he's talking about the whole law, Torah. And so we have to ask ourselves, does God's good and holy and perfect law actually bring death? Is it God's law that is the issue? No, God's law was not the problem, God's law was not broken, it's humankind that's broken. You see, what Paul is saying here is that the law kills when it is used improperly as a set of rules to be observed to establish one's own righteousness. In other words, the law kills when we use it to save ourselves, to believe that we can strive to obey the law completely and wholly and perfectly in an effort to save ourselves. Using the law in this way leads to death because no one can satisfy its demands, therefore, all come under its condemnation.

Bryan Vander Tuig: [00:16:30] Paul was an observant Jew, and Paul knew that Leviticus chapter 18 verse 5, may promise life to those who keep the law, but Paul also knew that no one does so. And the law can only pronounce death over the transgressor, this is like heavy stuff, right? Talking about the law and how it brings death. And maybe for some of you this morning, even as I talk about God's law, that might even stir up within you some sense of fear, it might stir up and use some sense of hurt, right, some of you may have grown up in a home that really stressed obedience to God's law, not as a way of discipleship, but really as a striving effort to earn your own salvation before God. We know that that happens, right? If that's you this morning, if that's what you experienced or maybe even are still experiencing, know that this message comes with grace from God, and there's good news.

Bryan Vander Tuig: [00:17:41] For some of you this morning, you still might be living in that pattern, right, of striving, of doing everything you can. And again, not obedience as a form of discipleship, but more about saving yourself. Man, if I just do this, If I just read the Bible more, if I just pray more, if I just go to church more, if I just serve more, if I do all of these things which are good in and of themselves, we know that, but if its intent is to save, to earn our right place before God, it falls short and it will only bring condemnation because we cannot save ourselves. And if we're there, we're not experiencing the upgrade of the good news of the Gospel. And so, Paul, in this text, he doesn't leave us there, he contrasts it with the good news of the new covenant. And he says, in contrast to the law that kills the spirit given under the new covenant actually causes people to walk in the way of God's commandments and bring life. Life, isn't that what we all want, right?

Bryan Vander Tuig: [00:18:56] In Ezekiel, another Old Testament prophetic book, and Ezekiel was a prophet who gave the word of the Lord to God's people from exile in Babylon. So again, it's a promise looking forward, and in Ezekiel 36 versus 26 and 27, Ezekiel kind of picks up on this new covenant promise and he says, the word of the Lord said, "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27And I will put my Spirit in you and move you." Another way to say that is, "I will cause you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws." Friends, this is transformation language. The promise of a new heart, no longer a heart of stone, but one a flesh. A heart that is pliable, a heart that is teachable, a heart that is moldable through the work of the Holy Spirit in us. And as God's Spirit moves you and causes you to follow God's decrees, we grow in faith. And so through God's Spirit in us, God enables the human spirit to do His will.

Bryan Vander Tuig: [00:20:17] Paul even picks up on this more in Romans chapter 8 verses 3 and 4 where he says, "For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the sinful nature" If you like to underline in your Bibles if you have a paper Bible, that's not really the thing today, right, it's all on the phones. But if you have a paper bible and you like to underline, underline the words 'God did'. God did this, right, what the law was powerless to do, God did, by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us who do not live according to the sinful nature, but according to the spirit. The law was powerless, Paul says, to overcome sin and give salvation. Let me say that again. The law was powerless to overcome sin and give salvation, so God acted. God acted, and I am so glad that we have a God who acts. If you go all the way back to the Garden of Eden, where this began, where Adam and Eve said, you know what, God, we don't really need you, we can trust ourselves. We're going to disobey, we're going to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, right? God could have said, all right, that's it, this is it, we're done. But he didn't, God said, I'm going to step into your mess and I'm going to create a pathway of redemption for you. And that's the whole biblical story, through the Old Testament, God is pointing his people to the cross of Jesus Christ. God acted, and that's what Paul says here, what the law was powerless to do, God did, by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man. You see, the law could point out our sin, the law could expose our sin, in some cases, the law can even stimulate sin, but it could not save, it could not remove sin, and so it brought condemnation.

Bryan Vander Tuig: [00:22:37] But in contrast, by God's grace, Jesus fulfilled the requirements of the law for us, and when we come to him in faith, we are given the gift of life. So that’s the key point this morning, right, we can see that now, the Gospel message is glorious because it solves the problem that the law exposes, it solves the problem of sin, and it's all because of what God did in Jesus Christ. the Gospel gives life where the law gives death. And so for that reason, the ministry of the Spirit is more glorious. And if you have come to Christ in faith and you're experiencing that freedom from the bondage of the law, guess what? You're in the upgraded room, right, you're in the room with the view. You're in the room with the balcony and life is good, right? You're not on the other side of the building, you're now in the good room, the upgraded room.

Bryan Vander Tuig: [00:23:39] But the good news is it doesn't even end there, right, Paul keeps going and he says, the new covenant is even more glorious, first of all, because it gives life, but second, because it results in righteousness, not condemnation, so Paul's second argument is from verse 9, let's read that real quick, "If the ministry the ministry that condemns is glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry of righteousness." So the second argument is this, if the ministry that condemns men, which is very similar to what we read in verse 7 in how it brings death, if that's glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness?

Bryan Vander Tuig: [00:24:27] Deuteronomy chapter 27 verse 26, in the Old Testament, said this, “Cursed is anyone who does not uphold the words of this law by carrying them out.” And just as we saw in that last section, it applies here too, the law that operates under this covenant, can only condemn those who fail to meet its demands. And then Paul contrasts that with the ministry of the Spirit that brings righteousness, so let's look at that. The ministry that brings righteousness. Paul says in Romans chapter 3 verses 21 and 22, "But now a righteousness from God, apart from the law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22This righteousness from God comes through faith in h Jesus Christ to all who believe." The ministry of the Spirit is called the ministry of righteousness because under its provisions, those who are certainly guilty of transgressions are nevertheless accounted righteous by God. That's the beautiful promise, those who are certainly guilty of transgressions are nevertheless accounted righteous by God.

Bryan Vander Tuig: [00:25:57] So we have to ask ourselves, well, how does that happen? How does a sinful person stand righteous before God? And Paul gives us the answer in another text, in Second Corinthians chapter 5, which is where this sermon series will eventually land. And it says this, "God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." Is that not the most beautiful thing in the world? Amen? I think we even sing a song that has those words in it, right? God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.

Bryan Vander Tuig: [00:26:45] Some of you know that I work in the federal court system, and so we deal with defendants and offenders that commit federal offenses, break federal laws, and I'm a part of a probation office that supervises them in the community. So let's think about this for a second, let's take a person who commits a bank robbery. Let's say an individual goes into a bank, which is a federal offense. And let's say this bank robber goes in and he's carrying a firearm and things don't quite go the way he was hoping it would go, and in the process of robbing the bank, he shoots dead a couple of customers. And the tellers aren't quite obeying his commands fast enough, and so he, out of panic, shoots a couple of bank tellers. And then he leaves, and eventually, he gets caught and he gets charged with murder, he gets charged with bank robbery, it's a horrible offense. People have lost their lives, they've been traumatized, right? Now. let's imagine that that defendant comes before a federal judge and says to the judge, man, your honor, I know what I did was absolutely horrendous, I don't know what came over me, I'm really not like that and I'm so sorry for what I did, I'll never, ever do that again. And imagine the judge responding with, you know what, I think you're pretty serious about your contriteness and your repentance, and because of that, you're free to go. You're free to go. That would be ludicrous, right? That would be crazy, you're all like, is this really happening? That would be crazy, right, it would be incomprehensible. Because what's the purpose of a judge, the judge's role is to impart the law, right, to impart the law. And if he lets this lawbreaker go, he's not imparting the law. Well God is the just judge who must impart the law. And we just read in Deuteronomy 27, verse 26 and it says, "Cursed or condemned as the man who does not uphold the words of this law by carrying them out." There has to be judgment, there has to be a penalty, otherwise, God ceases to be who he claims to be.

Bryan Vander Tuig: [00:29:18] And so what did God accomplish through Jesus, for mankind, on the cross? Paul gives us the answer in that text from Second Corinthians, "God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us." On the cross, God treated Jesus as if He were a sinner, though he was not. God treated Jesus as if He had committed every sin, committed by every believer who ever lived, even though in reality he never committed a single one of them, he was the perfect son. And on that cross, God poured out his full fury, wrath, and judgment against all of the sins of all of the people who would ever believe. Another way to say this is that man's sins were imputed to Jesus, man's sins were transferred from their account to Jesus's account. That's the Gospel message, but it's only half of the good news, it keeps going.

Bryan Vander Tuig: [00:30:31] Paul says in the second part of that Second Corinthians 5 text, "That we might become the righteousness of God." That's the second part, right? God grants to us the righteousness of God in Jesus. On the cross, God treated Jesus as if He were a sinner, though He was not. Now he treats us as righteous, though we are not. Jesus lived a complete, sinless life that is now credited to your account. The righteousness of Jesus was imputed to you and to your account, your sins were imputed to Jesus, and Jesus' righteousness imputed to you. Another way to say that is, that God looked at Jesus on the cross and saw you, now God looks at you and sees Jesus. That's the good news of the Gospel, that is the new covenant upgrade, because of what Jesus did, what God did in him as he acted through Jesus' death and life.

Bryan Vander Tuig: [00:31:48] And now we can be in this upgraded room, and we can have the full view, and the balcony, and enjoy the Mediterranean Sea because of what God has done for us in Jesus Christ. And so I want to ask you this morning, have you experienced the upgrade? Have you come to Jesus in faith and said, I'm tired of striving, Jesus, it's not getting me anywhere? I want to come to you and receive your amazing gift of grace. The Gospel is glorious because it solves the problem that the law exposes. The Gospel is glorious because it solves the problem the law exposes.

Bryan Vander Tuig: [00:32:29] So now we’ve seen two things, the new covenant is more glorious because it gives life, not death, because it brings righteousness, not condemnation, and the last thing now is it is permanent, not temporary. And we see that in verse 11, "For if what was fading away came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts?" So Paul's third argument from the lesser to the greater is this, if the ministry of the law that was fading was glorious, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts? Paul says that the purpose of God in bringing the new covenant of the Spirit was precisely that, the righteous demands of the law might be fulfilled in those who walk by the Spirit, and we see that in Romans chapter 8 verse 4.

Bryan Vander Tuig: [00:33:20] Saint Augustine, who was one of the early church fathers, said it this way, "Law was given that grace may be sought, grace was given that the law might be fulfilled." You see in God's plan of redemptive history, the old covenant did serve a purpose, it exposed the sins of God's people, necessitating their need for a savior. In Galatians chapter 3 verses 24 and 25, Paul writes, "So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ." It's right there, the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by our own good works. That's not what it says right, by faith, so that we are justified by faith. Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law.

Bryan Vander Tuig: [00:34:17] The time of the ministry of the law has come to an end because, in God's redemptive plan, he has created a new way, a new way to be in relationship with humankind. And that's through his son, Jesus Christ. The new covenant is a permanent covenant, it's a lasting covenant, and that's what makes it more splendid. And the beautiful part of this new covenant is that we as believers are already living in the reality of that permanent covenant, it's not something that we have to wait for. When we come to Jesus Christ in faith, we step into the reality of that permanent covenant, we receive God's grace, and we receive forgiveness. It's the new covenant, and the gift of the Holy Spirit in us, that will never leave us. We experience it now.

Bryan Vander Tuig: [00:35:11] So we see throughout this text Paul's argument, that the glory of the new covenant is greater than the glory of the old because it brings life, not death, righteousness, not condemnation, and it's permanent, not temporary. So in thinking about these verses, I think there are really two very specific ways that we can respond to it.

Bryan Vander Tuig: [00:35:41] The first is addressed to those of us who are here that have received Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we've taken that step of faith, we're in the room, right, we're in the upgraded room. But there's application for us in this, and the application is this that Paul teaches that because of Christ's life and death, God's righteousness brings about transformation, right? God wants to transform us in Christ through the work of the Holy Spirit in us. The evidence of the sealing of the Spirit in us is our obedience of faith, it is our obedience of faith, of growing in faith, of submitting to the work of the Holy Spirit each and every day, and allowing God's Spirit to sanctify us, to change us from the inside out. That's the application for us who are believers in Christ, and so my question to you is, are you submitting to the work of the Holy Spirit each and every day? Are you surrendering to Christ each and every day, and every day saying, more of you, Jesus, less of me, more of you, Jesus today, less of Brian? Change those hard places in me, take away the anger, God, take away the lust, God, take away the greed God, sanctify me by the work of Your Holy Spirit, that's the application for those of us who are followers of Christ, to grow in obedience of faith.

Bryan Vander Tuig: [00:37:17] The other response is, for those of you who might be here this morning, who have not taken that step of faith. And maybe you are going through life and you're thinking, man, I'm a pretty good moral person, I'm pretty ethical. I do my best to do the right thing with people in business and in my personal life, and overall, I think I'm doing pretty good, I think I'm going to end up in a good place. And this morning's message, I think, makes it pretty clear that no one, apart from Christ, can fulfill the demands of God's holy and perfect law, and you will come up short. So the good news is that Jesus did it for you, he obeyed that law for you, and he took your sins for you. And when you come to him in faith, he gives you new clothes, clothes of righteousness, not dirty and filthy rags, but white robes of righteousness, and God will see Jesus as he looks at you.

Bryan Vander Tuig: [00:38:22] And so I want to invite you this morning, if you have not taken that step of faith, to take it. If God's prompting your heart, don't ignore that. And after the service, there's going to be people up here, elders, and prayer partners, and I'll stay up here. And if you just want to come up and just pray with somebody, and man, there would be people that would love to have that conversation with you.

Bryan Vander Tuig: [00:38:46] And if you're part of that first group and you're thinking, man, I want to walk in obedience of faith and I know Jesus is my Savior, but I'm really struggling; please come up and pray as well, we would love to cover you in prayer. Amen?

Bryan Vander Tuig: [00:39:00] Let me close us in prayer. God, I'm so grateful that you're a God who stepped into our mess. You're not just some God who sits back in the cosmos and just lets everything kind of take care of itself, you're a God of love and you're a God of mercy and you're a God of grace, and you stepped into our mess, and you created a way for us to come back to you. It was broken in the garden, but through God in Christ, we are redeemed, we are free, we are saved, and we bless you for that. You deserve the glory, you deserve the praise, you deserve to be exalted, you deserve to be magnified.

Bryan Vander Tuig: [00:40:04] God, I pray for this body of believers. I pray, God, if there are men or women or young people in this room who have received you by faith but are struggling in their journey of faith, God, I pray that by your spirit you would work in their hearts today, that you would encourage them, that you would embrace them with your loving arms, God, and that we would be a church that covers them and prays for them and encourages them and walks alongside of them so that we can all grow together in faith.

Bryan Vander Tuig: [00:40:35] And God, if there are some here this morning who don't know Jesus and have not received the upgrade. God, I pray that your Holy Spirit would prompt them this morning, that they would come into your incredible family. Incredible, not because we're incredible, but because you're incredible. So God, do your good work this morning. We pray this in the powerful name of Jesus, the one who took our sins and the one who blesses us with His righteousness. Amen.

Bryan Vander Tuig: [00:41:09] Brothers and sisters, have a great week, God bless you. If you are wanting prayer, please come to the front, we would love to pray with you.

Recorded in Upland, California.
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