x261.......NT Church by OT Rules
There are certain things in the church today that we recognize--but we do not or cannot (in the system which we commonly operate our churches) truly live out.
Re 1:6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father;
to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
Re 5:10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
We are all made "priests" unto God--in the New Covenant.
This meant a huge change for the 1st century Jews who read this word in the Bible--The "priests" of Israel were strictly the tribe of Levi--they were the only ones who had the birthright--the God given mandate to do ministry. (again this is also one of the proofs that in he NT we are all made ministers)
Jesus in His ministry was not a member of the tribe of Levi
This was one of the things that upset the priests of the temple--He was not of the right tribe to minister--and He also chose followers who were not Levites. This clearly shows a change in the NT. Of course we see this taught succinctly with the statement that we are all made kings and priests unto God.
But the question is this--do we in our current system of operating the church recognize the priesthood of all the members of the church? Or do we still believe that only "some" people are really the ministers--that only some of the people--in a sense a NT "tribe of Levites" are the 'real' ministers"--the pastors--the leaders--etc.
We still cling to the idea of only some receiving the tithe. The tithe
was for the purposes of operating the OT ministry--the offerings--and the
support of the Levites (they ate some of the offerings). The Levites had
a full-time job--obeying all he necessary commands of the OT (sometime
read all the requirements of the book of Leviticus--as well as numbers
and Exodus--etc) making daily offerings for the sin of Israel--making all
the right sacrifices and offerings. The tithe operated all these offerings---all
of which fortunately are done away with by the blood of Jesus on the cross---He
is our high priest--we therefore do not need an earthly high
priests---but at the same time we are all given the ministry of priests-
Question--If we are all now priests--where is our tithe?
In the NT they operated under a system of Spirit-lead--giving--one to another as the Spirit of God lead. They were not limited by a tithe--they were being told by he Spirit what to sell and whom to give it to--they were directly lead in their giving and so could receive the direct blessing of God in sowing into others' ministries--as well as their own.
So now we know that we all made priest unto God--but where and how do we operate our ministry unto the Lord, when we are certain that only "some " people have ministry? How do we operate our ministry when we are functioning under a system that only supports "some" people in ministry?
The NT way of supporting ministry was to do away with the tithe, and to give in a Spirit-lead way to whomever needed. Note that when the people decide to begin "laying their money at the aposltes" feet--this lead to a "distribution"--and immediately we see problems with money (annanias and Saphira) and the distribution to the widows--which leads to the stoning of Stephen) (see acts 5-6) and eventually the church is run out of Jerusalem.
Now we are priests serving a building rather than priest serving God. We have many many substitute "ministries" in the church--because we are mistakenly serving a building rather than serving God directly as the NT Bible tells us to do.
One of the most important understandings of the NT church--and certainly
totally ignored in our system of operating is the fact that the
church of the NT met in homes.
why did thy meet in homes?
Mt 18:20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
1Co 6:19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
These are concepts which we are familiar with in our common church teachings--however--do we live these concepts our fully?
To a 1st century Jew these concepts were radical and different than the OT system. In the OT, a temple had to be built to house God. The Holy Spirit live behind a veil--only the high priest could go into that holy place. But once again we see that our priesthood permits all of us to have access to the Holy spirit.
When the veil of the temple was torn in 2 while Jesus was on the cross--this meant a tremendous amount to the people of the day of the Bible. They fully understood the difference from the OT. The indwelling of the Spirit permits all of us (who are born again and Spirit-filled believers) to be temples of God. This in itself prohibits us from spending time building temples to God--we all are in our bodies--in our spirits--containers of the Holy Spirit. This is more than any of us realize. And this obviously prohibits us from the need to build temples to God.
Notice: in the OT on many occasions we see the patriarchs (Moses--Abraham--among
others) Building alters to God--the lord commands them to do this--the
lord tells them that this place or another is a holy place unto Him. In
the OT it was necessary to build holy places for the presence of God to
dwell. Again, this a a big change in the NT--our bodies are the temple
of God--the temple of the Holy spirit. So we see in the NT that there are
no temples being built. (the upper room where they met was rented!--they
only needed it until they had the Spirit--then they left--it was not a
holy spot--they simply received the Spirit there and left as Jesus had
commanded them to do!) And in the NT we do not see anyone told by God to build an altar--or to build a temple--there was no "spot" which was sanctioned by God as holy unto Him and there was no altar building needed.
The NT solution to a meeting place was the "house of God"--the already existing homes of the new believers. Again, this made perfect sense when we fully consider these NT principles which are clearly changes from the OT way of doing things. (this is why there is so much doctrine in the NT about marriages--family--etc.---every believer was being instructed and qualified to operate a church from their home)
In the OT, the presence of God needed a temple--needed a sanctuary-the
blood which purified at that time was only the blood of animals--only a
representation of the blood of Jesus which cleanses us completely from
sin. The indwelling of the Spirit does away with he necessity of a sanctuary--a
temple or any "holy place" to be built. Yet in our system of
operation today we spend enormous amounts of time and money building buildings
for us to meet in. The ministry of many Christians is in service to the
operation of these buildings--rather than in direct serve to God. (this
is serving mammon since it is the operation of theses buildings which takes
up most of the tithes and offerings of the people of God). We are told
that being an usher is a ministry--or cleaning the building is a
ministry. WE operate the church along the Ot concept of a sanctuary of God--a temple that we need to keep clean and serve. This ignores the priesthood of every Chrstian--it delays or prohibits most for serving God directly--and it ignores the fact that the Spirit of God now dwells in people rather than a place.
But--"when I go to church I feel God---when I go to church I've been healed--I've; been delivered--I love to praise and worship God in my sanctuary my temple --my church"
But the reason that God functions in he church is not the building--it is not the "holy sanctary" it is not the temple that contains God--
Mt 18:20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
And if Christ is present--all the parts of His ministry are in (potential) operation--
18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to
preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted,
to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty them (Greek: apostello) that are bruised,
(Luke 4:18, KJV).
This is yet another change from OT to NT. In the OT it was the building--the one holy temple of God which contained the presence of God to accomplish His will. God only did function outside the temple in certain chosen people. ((prophets--etc). But now in he NT--where 2 or more of us--of any of us--of any Christians who are gathered together in the holy name of Jesus--God will be there.
Anywhere we gather. WE all know this --very well. WE all have prayed with other Christians in our homes--in our workplace --in our schools--anywhere--and God is faithful to His word which says that if 2 or more are gathered together in agreement that Jesus Christ is Lord--the presence of God will be in our midst. We all have experienced this. So again he question--why must we build temples--sanctuaries to God?
The reason we feel God in our churches--the reason we get healed and
delivered by God in our churches--the reason we feel close to
God in our churches--is not because of the building--it is because 2 or more of us are gathered together. WE bring God to church--he
does not wait in church for us to come to "His holy place" as in the OT. In the NT it is the gathering of the saints which brings the full presence of God to our midst---to heal deliver bless and do all the full functioning of God.
In the NT Bible times they were operating under a system which is far
superior to ours. They were totally interested in qualifying every
possible member of a church as a minister.
We see the qualifications for a deacon (minister) in 1 Timothy 3 as
limitations rather than simply qualifications. Note first that they are
all about qualifications for a home ministry. We must read this chapter under the understanding that these are the requirements for doing the ministry. The tradition of our interpretation of the Bible has given these simple terms weight that they are not meant to carry.
A "bishop" is simply someone who coordinates a group of home ministries.
A "Deacon: is simply a minister who operates from his or her home. (note that this is the "5-fold" gifts of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers)
Note that most of these qualifications are about the home of the person--the family--and their home behavior. A "deacon" can be someone who is very new in the lord. The qualifications are all about their home--the importance of the home being Godly is stressed--since they will operate from their home--they will operate their ministry out of the already existing dwelling place--since they are the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit--since they are already made priests unto God through he blood of Jesus and the anointing of the Holy Spirit.
But we have seen these as limitations rather than seeing them in terms
like this--why don't we qualify absolutely everyone we can as a
deacon (minister)? What NT right do we have to limit the move of god through His body--His entire body--which is clearly shown to be
the container of all the minstry gifts---which are there to be operating the purposes of God in the earth--to "edify the body--to add members to the body and build those who are already in.
The way the NT church operated was by this division system. Each new
Christian--every new convert was a potential operator of a church
from their home. Only those who had troubled homes could not operate one of these NT churches. Everyone else was being told to do this in this chapter.
It was an incredible system of multiplying what God had given--of sowing what he had given to reap a massive harvest. It was in fact, jusst the continuation of the apstolic systme which Jesus had demonstrated to His follwers. This church flourished under the worst persecution which any church has every faced--the Roman government was trying in every way to stamp out this move of God--and the church was defeating Rome and surviving under impossible circumstances--spreading throughout the earth at a faster rate than we are today--even with our advanced communications and technology!
The process works by the same miraculous type of sowing and reaping that Jesus had demonstrated.
When Jesus was face with the task of feeding 5,000 people, His first
reaction was not what the disciples was--(((they wanted to go take
up a collection and feed everybody)))--instead, Jesus asks what they had--He discerns properly what God has provided--He then divides it--he breaks it--and he gives thanks for what He has--and he willingly sows it to God.
when we are obedient to sow and reap--we then put God in the position where he must give the increase.
The Bible NT church recognized clearly he differences and changes in his NT--they functioned and operated their church along these lines--multiplying--sowing what they had over and over--reaping a quick harvest--spreading the word quickly throughout the world--into wasting time money or effort building and maintaining unnesesary temples of God---they recognized that every believer was now a temple of God--that every believer could operate a church within their home---thus freeing most of the funds and time of gathering to operate the church--to feed the hungry--to clothe the naked--to preach the Gospel and heal the sick--these are all the work of every Christian--no longer the the function of a certain group of Levite priests.
The NT church is the church which God describes in the NT bible. We are supposed to be NT believers---why do we not operate our churches today along these lines?