NEW COVENANT BASIS FOR INTERACTIVE MEETINGS

Brothers and Sisters,

Have you ever noticed how the vast majority of modern Christian gatherings function according to principles of the Old Covenant, EVEN THOUGH MANY PROFESS TO BE N.T. CHURCHES?

I’m more and more convinced that this tragic trend will continue until Christians come to understand the radical differences between the Old and New Covenants!

I have been meditating on this subject for many months. So far, I have noticed 20 definite contrasts between the two. No doubt others of you will be aware of others! Please post the ones you have seen or come to appreciate.

TWENTY FEATURES OF THE OLD COVENANT MADE AT SINAI

  1. The Ten Commandments written on stone were given as the standard of behaviour but could give no power to enable Israelites to keep them. Ex. 20

  2. A man-made altar where men offered sacrifices continually which could never take sins away. Ex.20:24; Heb.10:11

  3. A man-made sanctuary (a building) to be the house or dwelling place of God Ex.25:8-27:21

  4. A memorial meal to be eaten at the appointed time Lev.23:5; Numbers 9

  5. Reverence to be given to the sanctuary (building)Lev.26:2

  6. A distinct priesthood from among the people: Ex.28,29 distinguished by:

  • special clothing Ex.28:1-42

  • special instructions and training Ex..29

  • special consecration ceremony Ex.29:1-35; Lev.8

  • special duties of ministry Ex.29:36-46 and all of Leviticus
  1. Observance of special days:
  • Sabbaths 31:13-17

  • feasts 34:18-28; Lev.23

  1. Offerings taken for the construction of the sanctuary 35:4-36:7

  2. Offerings taken for the support of the special priesthood Lev.2:3; 5:13; 6:14-30; 7:31-34;

  3. Tithes taken for support of special priests and ministers Numbers 18:20-32

  4. Priesthood had to be distinguished from others with proper documentation genealogical records) Ezra 2:62; Nehemiah 7:64

  5. Ministry from above, an elevated place. Nehemiah 8:4,5; 9:4

  6. The ministry of song was usually done by a special class of singers. 2 Chronicles 29:28, 30; Ezra 3:11; Nehemiah 12:42

  7. The ministry of teaching the Lord’s people was characteristically done as a monologue lecture. (one speaker addressing and audience of listeners). Deut.4:5; 31:22; II Kings 17:28; II Chronicles 17:9; 35:3; Nehemiah 8:9;

  8. Specific duties and functions (offering the sacrifices, use and care of the vessels of the tabernacle, erecting and dismantling the tabernacle, teaching the law etc) were reserved exclusively for the male members of the tribe of Levi. Today in Old Covenant religious systems specific duties and functions (administering baptism and the Lord’s Supper, teaching and preaching, marrying and burying etc) are reserved for a male clerical class of priests!

  9. Priestly ministry was always done in a standing position indicating that there was no rest, (the work was never done!) Hebrews 10:11

  10. The Old Covenant made at Sinai was designed by God to “gender” (literally “generate”) bondage! Galatians 4:21- 5:1 It is pictured allegoricly by Hagar, the bond woman.

  11. The Old Covenant made at Sinai (Ex.19-24) was a two way conditional covenant. God promised to do certain things for His people IF they would obey His voice and keep His covenant. Ex.19:5,6. The people agreed to the terms of the covenant Ex.24:3, 7

  12. The visible token of the Old Covenant was the sprinkling of the blood of the sacrifices, the evidence of the death of the sacrifice. Ex.24:6-8; Hebrews 9:18-22 Any covenant stands in force as long as its’ visible token continues.

  13. When the Book of Hebrews was written, the Old Covenant had waxed old and was ready to vanish away. Hebrews 8:13 (Why do we still cling to so many vestiges of it over 2000 years later, especially when we have a covenant that is so much BETTER?!!)

TWENTY FEATURES OF THE NEW COVENANT

  1. The New Covenant raises the standard of behaviour to a much higher level (the love of Christ) and the indwelling Christ gives power that the law never could. II Cor.3:3; 5:14,15; Heb.10:16

  2. Our altar is God’s altar where Christ offered Himself without spot to God, one sacrifice for sins forever. Heb.9:14; 10:12; 13:10-13

  3. There is no man-made sanctuary, rather we enter with Christ into the holiest in heaven! Heb.9:24; 10:19-22

  4. The Lord’s supper (not “the Lord’s snack”) is to be eaten in remembrance of Him as often as we eat the bread and drink the cup. I Cor.11:26

  5. Our bodies (not our buildings) are the temple of the Father, the Son and the Spirit of God! I Cor.6:15-20; Jn.14:20; I Jn.4;13 (Thus we don’t GO TO church… we ARE the church!)

  6. All believers are priests. I Peter 2:5-10 All are ordained. John 15:16 All are ministers.I Peter 4:10,11 All are clergy! I Peter 5:3 (“heritage” is the Greek “KLEROS” from which the word “clergy” is derived.

  7. New covenant believers have no special sabbaths or feast days to observe because our whole LIVES belong to the Lord! Romans 14:5,6; Colossians 2:16,17

  8. Since believers who enjoy the liberties of the New Covenant need not build or maintain physical sanctuaries, (they simply meet in homes) there are no corporate collections for such buildings! Acts 2:46; 8:3; 12:12; 20:20; Romans 16:5; I Cor.16:19; Colossians 4:15: Philemon 1:2

  9. Since all believers are priests, ministers, and clergy, there is no special priesthood to be supported by corporate collections! Rather, New Covenant collections are laid up in store by each believer, PERSONALLY, for the purpose of meeting the needs of POOR OR WEAK SAINTS. (NOT paying mortgages, utilities, and salaries!) I Cor.16:1,2; Ac. 20:33-35

  10. There is no tithe required of New Covenant believers! Rather, the measure of one’s giving is to be “according as a man purposes in his heart… not grudgingly or of necessity, for God loveth a cheerful giver.” II Cor.9:7 The first priority of believers, who live in the enjoyment of the New Covenant, is to GIVE THEIR OWN SELVES TO THE LORD AND THEN TO GIVE THEMSELVES IN SERVICE TO OTHERS. When the Lord has the man or woman, themselves, He also has direct control of their finances. Under the Old Covenant, the TITHE WAS THE LORD’S. But under the New Covenant, the TOTAL IS THE LORD’S! II Cor.8:1-9

  11. Distinguishing documentation such as ordination certificates or workers’ letters of commendation are conspicuous by their absence from the New Testament!

  12. Ministry is to be from beneath, as from little children and slaves and modelled by the Lord Jesus with towel and basin. Matthew 20:25-27; Luke 22:25-27; John 13

  13. The ministry of song is for all, it is participatory. Acts 16:25; Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16; James 5:13

  14. The ministry of teaching the Lord’s people is characteristicly by conversation. Homiletics is NOT the art of sermonizing! All N.T. homilies were conversations! The Greek word HOMILEO is always translated “communed” or “talked”. Luke 24:14,15; Acts 20:11; 24:26. Paul’s “preaching” in Acts 20:7 is the Greek DIALEGOMAI, or dialogue!

  15. Since all New Covenant believers are priests, there are no priestly functions that are reserved for a distinguished class or for believers of one gender! Baptising, serving of meals in which we remember the Lord,marrying, burying, teaching, preaching etc are all open to all believers! All of these things take place in house church assemblies where the one-anothering of reciprocal, and participatory ministry of all believers is the order of the day. Hebrews 10:24,25; I Peter 4:10,11 (The only circumstance where there is a distinction in ministry roles of men and women is in whole church gatherings of the church of God in a city.(I Cor.14 and I Tim 2and 3)

  16. The ministry of New Covenant priests is from a seated position, because we rest in a work that is done! Luke 22:14; Acts 16:13; Ephesians 2:6; Hebrews 1:3; 10:12

  17. The New Covenant was designed by God to bring liberty! Galatians 4:21- 5:1 It is pictured allegoricly by Sarah, the freewoman.

  18. The New Covenant is a one way, unconditional covenant (promises made by a faithful God to His people!) Hebrews 8:8-12

  19. The visible token of the New Covenant is the cup of communion, the evidence of the life of our sacrifice! Matthew 26:27,28; Mark 14:23,24; Luke 22:19,20; I Cor.10:16; 11:25,26; Hebrews 9:23-28

  20. The New Covenant will continue in force forever! The Lord Jesus will drink the cup with us in His Father’s kingdom! Matthew 26:29; Mark 14:25; Luke 22:18

IN ORDER TO DISPENSE WITH ALL ASPECTS OF THE OLD COVENANT
AND EMBRACE THOSE OF THE NEW, WE NEED TO ALLOW SCRIPTURE
TO TRANSFORM OUR OWN THINKING AND ACTIONS RELATIVE TO
OUR RELATIONSHIP TO CHRIST AND OTHER BELIEVERS!

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