Lectionary Year B
March 16, 2003

Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16
Contemporary Address

Step VI - Contemporary Address

A. Goals

(JFC) This sermon aims at proclaiming God as being real and doing good.

B. Describing the Audience

(JFC) This pericope could provide a very inspirational and insightful sermon for any congregation having forgotten to emphasize God in their personal and/or corporate lives.

C. Address

(JFC) A sermon, entitled for this working draft, "Who This God Is and What This God Does"

In today's text, God is named by all three of the most predominant names for God in the Old Testament. That strategy must mean that the author(s) want to emphasize God's role in these processes. Let's see what God seems to be up to here.

I. God Makes Covenants
A. In the Old Testament, we have the Book of the Covenant and the Ark of the Covenant and, more importantly for us New Testament believers, we have Jeremiah's realizing the Covenant is eternal, as does the second century CE's Testament of Isaac.
B. In the New Testament, the Covenant in the Epistles emphasizes it is a new and corporate entity, in which we may participate, see, especially II Corinthians 3:6.

II. God Changes Names
A. Abraham's and Sarah's new names are important in that God changes them, that they mean for them to change and in that God can change us, too, of course.

B. In the New Testament, God changed Simon Peter's name and Saul of Tarsus', as well. Their transformations made for more faithful opportunities through the rest of their lives.

III. God Provides Multitudes
A. The many progeny God promises the aged Abraham makes for a surprise of major proportions, but, then, aren't all of God's promises to humans right surprising?

B. We are never alone. God gives us families, even multitudes of friends past, present and future.

God is so good to us, calling to us into a relationship based on an eternal covenant, leading us to change as we progress through life maturing all the way and surrounding us with supportive families and friends, etc.

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