The following are my (Richard) notes roughly following the flow of Jeff Zaremsky's sermon.
The Olive Tree
There are two commonly found theological errors about the church. One is replacement theology, that the church replaces Israel. The other is dispensationalism, that there are two separate people of God— the Jews and the Church.
But if some of the branches were broken off and you—being a wild olive—were grafted in among them and became a partaker of the root of the olive tree with its richness, do not boast against the branches. But if you do boast, it is not you who support the root but the root supports you. (Romans 11:17-18 TLV)
Who are “some” of the branches that are broken off? The Jewish people. Were all the branches broken off? No. Were many or most broken off? No. Just some of the branches.
Who is the “you” being grafted in? It is the Gentiles.
Who is the root? Jesus.
Replacement theology cuts down the whole olive tree. Dispensationalism says that there are two trees. These are both false. There is one tree— Jesus is the root sustaining all, both Jews and Gentiles.
Israel of God
The stories of Joshua, Achan and Rahab illustrate the Israel of God.
Which of these three individuals is part of the Israel of God?
Joshua remains with the people of God. Achan is cut off from the people of God. Rehab believes and joins the people of God.
This takes place before the cross. It has always been God's plan for Jews and Gentiles to be together connected to the root. The invitation has always been open.
There is no theology shift that takes place at the cross. No ethnic shift that takes place at he cross.
Old and New Covenants
The Old Testament is not the Old Covenant. The Law had not been done away with. The phrases “Old Testament” and “New Testament” are not helpful— they are misleading. We “shoot ourselves in the foot— or in the head”— when we use those terms because it suggests that part of the Bible is old and “passing away”.
So, what is the Old Covenant?
“You came near and stood at the bottom of the mountain while the mountain was blazing with fire up to the heart of the heavens—darkness, cloud, and fog. Adonai spoke to you from the midst of the fire. The sound of words you heard, but a form you did not see—only a voice. He declared to you His covenant, which He commanded you to do—the Ten Words—and He wrote them on two tablets of stone. (Deuteronomy 4:11-13 TLV)
He declared His covenant. It is God's covenant. The Ten Commandments— “Ten Words”.
What is a covenant? It is an agreement. It is a promise.
So the Ten Commandments are really ten promises. They are God's promises to us. God promises to bless us so abundantly that we will have no desire to take what is not ours. God promises to give us such contentment that we will not look with envy on another. God promises to give us such peace that we will have no desire to murder. He promises to be such a good God that we will have no desire for another.
Our Empty Promises
Even before God gave His covenant, Israel was making promises.
“So Moses came, summoned the elders of the people, and set before them all these words that the LORD had commanded him. The people all answered as one: “Everything that the LORD has spoken we will do.” Moses reported the words of the people to the LORD.” (Exodus 19:7–8 NRSV)
They were making promises. But they did not keep them for very long. It was just a few weeks.
“Then he took the book of the covenant, and read it in the hearing of the people; and they said, “All that the LORD has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient.”” (Exodus 24:7 NRSV)
The Old Covenant is the faulty promises that are unreliable. It is our faulty promises. God's promises, on the other hand, are everlasting.
Hebrews— Jesus is the Mediator of a Better Covenant
Jesus is the mediator of a better covenant. Better promises.
“But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second.” (Hebrews 8:6–7 ESV)
Is there any faults with the Ten Commandments? No. What was at fault? Was the Torah faulty? No. The writings or Prophets? No.
The key to understanding this is in the next verse— verse 8— “For he finds fault with them...”. It is not God's promises that are faulty. It is our empty promises!
“For he finds fault with them when he says: “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah,...” (Hebrews 8:8 ESV)
This is quoting from Jeremiah 31:31.
God is making a New Covenant with Israel and Judah. God is not making a New Covenant with a new people. God is not replacing Israel and Judah.
“For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” (Hebrews 8:10 ESV)
God is doing all the work. It is God's work, not ours.
“In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.” (Hebrews 8:13 ESV)
What is becoming obsolete? Ready to vanish away? It is our old promises, our own self will, our own trying. It is not the Bible that is becoming obsolete and vanishing away.
The Blood of Christ Purifies Our Consciences From Dead Works
“How much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.” (Hebrews 9:14 ESV)
It is God's work to remove from us our “filthy rags”— our weak promises. Without Christ we can do nothing.
God makes promises to us. He will complete them!
“He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6 NKJV)
“It is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:13 NKJV)
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13 NKJV)
God will complete it. He gives us the power to choose. He does it in us. That is His promise. His good works. His good pleasure. To will and to do. I can do all things through Christ.
The New Covenant Isn't New!
These are not new promises. God has always promised to do His work in us. It has always been His work.
“... that you may know that I am the LORD who sanctifies you” (Exodus 31:13 NET)
“You must be sure to obey my statutes. I am the LORD who sanctifies you.” (Leviticus 20:8 NET)
“I, the LORD who sanctifies you all, am holy.” (Leviticus 21:8 NET)
“I will be sanctified in the midst of the Israelites. I am the LORD who sanctifies you, the one who brought you out from the land of Egypt to be your God. I am the LORD.” (Leviticus 22:32–33 NET)
It is His work. God does all the work.
“For I the LORD am He who brought you up from the land of Egypt to be your God: you shall be holy, for I am holy.” (Leviticus 11:45 JPS)
“Speak to the whole Israelite community and say to them: You shall be holy, for I, the LORD your God, am holy.” (Leviticus 19:2 JPS)
“You shall be holy to Me, for I the LORD am holy, and I have set you apart from other peoples to be Mine.” (Leviticus 20:26 JPS)
We are holy because of Him. It is because He is holy.
Let This Mind Be In you— Your Word I Have Hidden In My Heart
“Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You.” (Psalms 119:11 NKJV)
“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,...” (Philippians 2:5 NKJV)
“To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Colossians 1:27 NKJV)
“Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, And to present you faultless Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy,... ” (Jude 1:24 NKJV)
He keeps us from stumbling. He presents us faultless. Now and forever more.
“My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous;...” (1 John 2:1 NRSV)
We have an advocate with the Father— Jesus.
“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:19–20 NRSV)
Our job is to die. Yet, we live by faith. God wants to put his mind in us— both to will and to do.
“May the God of peace himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 5:23 NRSV)
Put our trust in God— not in new years resolutions. Stop promising. Ask God to “live in me”. Ask God ”fulfill your purpose in me”. Say to God ”Give me your mind. Write your laws in my mind.”
Don't put Jews on a pedestal as the Dispensationalists do. Don't put Jews in the gutter as the Replacement Theology people do. (It is one olive tree— and Jesus is the root. It is the root that supports us!)
Let Jesus work in you. Let His mind be in you. Stop living in our own weak promises.