X0614..........Don't follow the old covenant ideas
Therefore dear brothers whom God has set apart for himself--you who are chosen for heaven--I want to think now about this Jesus who is God's Messenger and the High Priest of our faith.
For Jesus was faithful to God who appointed him High Priest, just as Moses also faithfully served in God's house. But Jesus has far more glory than Moses, just as a man who builds a fine house gets more praise than his house does. And many people can build houses, but only God made everything.
Well, Moses did a fine job working in God's house, but he was only a servant; and his work was mostly to illustrate and suggest those things that would happen later on. But Christ, Gods' faithful Son, is in complete charge of God's house. And we Christians are God's house--he lives in us!--if we keep up our courage firm to the end, and our joy and trust in the Lord.
And since Christ is so much superior, the Holy Spirit warns us to listen to him, to be careful to hear his voice today and not let our hearts become set against him, as the people of Israel did. They steeled themselves against his love an complained against him in the desert while he was testing them. But God was patient with them forty years, though they tried his patience sorely; he kept right on doing his mighty miracles for them to see. "But," God says, " I was angry with them, for their hearts were always looking somewhere else instead of up to me, and they never found the paths I wanted them to follow."
Then God, full of this anger against them, bound himself with an oath that he would never let them come to his place of rest.
Beware then of your own hearts, dear brothers, lest you find that they, too, are evil and unbelieving and are leading you away from the living God. Speak to each other about these things each day while there is still time, so that none of you will become hardened against God, being blinded by the glamor of sin. For if we are faithful to the end, trusting God just as we did when we first became Christians, we will share in all things that belong to Christ.
Hebrews 3: 1-14 The Book
The book of Hebrews deals specifically with many of the changes from the old covenant to the new. In this area it speaks of the superiority of the new covenant....
"Well, Moses did a fine job working in God's house, but he was only a servant; and his work was mostly to illustrate and suggest those things that would happen later on. But Christ, Gods' faithful Son, is in complete charge of God's house. And we Christians are God's house--he lives in us!--if we keep up our courage firm to the end, and our joy and trust in the Lord."
In the old covenant, the priests needed to carry on the sacrifices in the "house of God" in the earth (which was the temple in Jerusalem). We Christians certainly understand that we do not sacrifice animals or make offerings of grain to have our sin cleansed. But do we see that the house of God is in a different place?.....
".......we Christians are God's house......."
The Biblical basis for the institutional church is the old covenant temple/sanctuary.
In the new covenant the church was "wherever 2 or 3 are gathered"---usually the Christian home. The meetings were in small groups, on a daily basis--not by a law of sabbath....
"Speak to each other about these things each day while there is still time, so that none of you will become hardened against God, being blinded by the glamor of sin"
We are meant to work together each day--to have the availability of meeting with other believers every day. In order to meet our needs, and also in order to meet God's needs! In the Bible, Christians met together each day (not everyone everyday--not a law!!) in small groups, prayed in the Spirit, and asked the Lord where they could carry his Gospel. In the small groups, they acted on His commands quickly.
A simple, direct and effective system of operation. Everyone' ministry counts. Everyone can do their part (conversely there is no room for nonfunctional people)--every gift can be utilized--and Christ is the Head. They met without a preordained format or plan--so they could freely receive gods' direct instruction--and fulfill His needs--and the needs of those around them. They effected the world in a big way, by being active each day, available each day, and in the process they were blessed an had their needs met, through God and one another.
Does your church meet in this way? Or, are we in love with the traditions of the "grand assembly", a once-a-week gathering that is "just for us"--where every move has been preordained, and only certain, selected people can "minister". These are all old covenant types which were put in the operation of the church hundreds of years ago.
What should our attitude be? Should we be sheep and shepherd? Why does it not say in these verses--"continue in your Sunday meetings--follow the rule of the pastor"??
What should our attitude be?
Should we look for the commands on how to operate the church from the old covenant?
"........the Holy Spirit warns us to listen to him, to be careful to hear his voice today and not let our hearts become set against him, as the people of Israel did."
As the church we are meant to listen to God "today". What does this mean? Again--meeting daily--with an openness and readiness to the commands of the Lord. It's the simplest idea--but one which seems lost to the church.....Pray in the Spirit--ask the Lord where to carry the Gospel. Listen to Him today---not hold meetings with pre-ordained plans and a strict format of "rule".
I am sure that all believers understand and try to follow the "heart message" in these verse. Be faithful to God--don't follow sin. But are we truly faithful to the operational principles that the new covenant sets forth?
Perhaps the Bible is asking us for simplicity--a simplicity that God can use. Yes the bible is telling us to be faithful in our hearts to God--but also to the functional example of the new covenant.....
"For if we are faithful to the end, trusting God just as we did when we first became Christians, we will share in all things that belong to Christ."