Author Topic: New Covenant experience  (Read 22516 times)

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ian rankin

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New Covenant experience
« on: June 16, 2004, 09:19:00 AM »
As Adventists we are uniquely placed to understand and respond to end time events.
However I find that people are often confused in their understanding of the difference between the experience God offered an old covenant believer and what He offers a new covenant believer.
There is only one plan of salvation, but it is a progressive series of God's acts whereby He steps into human history to bring about the end of sin. As His plan is progressively implemented it brings changes in the experience of His followers.
Old Testament Israel was a tightly knit ethnic group. The church is composed of individuals from all races. Israel had a country, a temple, the presences of God, a divinely appointed ruler and a priesthood who mediated between them and God.
Christians have no country or material temple. Christ is the head of the church and the only mediator between God and man. The Holy Spirit is its leader.
Israelites were promised, health, prosperity and protection from their enemies. Their nation would become the chief nation of the world and all people would come to Jerusalem to whorship the God of the Israelites.
The outstanding promise to Christians is that no man can take away their saving relationship to God, but they are warned that they will be hated of all men. They are promised persecution, betrayal and death.
There are some Christians who want priests to be the mediators between them and God and leaderrs who have the responsibility for making decisions for them.
Pentecost and the coming of the fullness of the Holy Spirit changed radically the experience of the follower of God.
The gifts of the Holy Spirit include leadership, but make clear that every gift is essential and irrelevant on its own.
Whereas Israel's history reflected the spiritual comndition of its leaders, the letters to the seven church make no mention of leaders, they are addressed to the individual
Ian Rankin

Sister Glass

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Re: New Covenant experience
« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2004, 09:11:00 PM »
Good points. However in the leaders of the churches I would like to say one thing. At the beginning of each message to each church it says: "Unto the Angel of the Church of.." As in Rev. 2:1. When we use the Strongs Concordance we see that there are several meaning here. One is human. That this could very possibility saying: "Unto the Pastor/leader of the Church of...." which would really make sense. If this reasoning is correct then it does indeed mention the leaders of each Church.

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Sister Marie

With Christian Love,
Marie

Richard Myers

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Re: New Covenant experience
« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2004, 10:38:00 PM »
There indeed is a change in the "covenant experience" with the death of Christ.  A new way was opened into the Most Holy Place. No longer would sinful man need a human priest as an intercessor.

Great subject Brother Ian!

You say "Whereas Israel's history reflected the spiritual condition of its leaders, the letters to the seven church make no mention of leaders, they are addressed to the individual."

This is an interesting observation. Could it be that God knew that the age old problem would continue to vex the church? While a new way was opened, as you said, God still provided leaders. There are still pastors and teachers, elders and deacons. I am reminded that seldom will a church rise higher than it's pastor.

While the "New Covenant" Christian ought to respect the position of deacon, elder, and pastor, he ought not allow the leader to step in between him and Christ.

Good food for thought and study, Brother Ian. Let us continue our study of this important topic.

Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of His Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

ian rankin

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Re: New Covenant experience
« Reply #3 on: June 18, 2004, 09:39:00 AM »
Sister Marie,
Thank you for your response. I too wonder about the identity of the 'angel' of each church.
Literally it means 'messenger'and while I don't rule out the application to 'leader', to me it just doen't seem to fit inasmuch as each message is a call to the individual member to become an overcomer.
There is no question that God designs for there to be leadership and that leadership is vested in the Holy Spirit. The question is, what is the role of Holy Spirit delegated leadership in the new covenant? I have not seen an adequate job description produced by the church. I guess this is understandable when you recognise that all the job descriptions are produced by those in leadership roles.
Gifts of leadership are gifts of the Holy Spirit and their purpose is to work together with all the other gifts to build up the body of Christ.
This is not talking about size of the body in numbers but about its growing in the knowledge of the Son of God and to the fullness of the stature of Christ. Eph 4.
Satan's counterfeit has been to produce a church that functions through a hierachy that claims to speak for God.
God bless
Ian
Ian Rankin

ian rankin

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Re: New Covenant experience
« Reply #4 on: June 18, 2004, 09:57:00 AM »
Bro Richard,
Thank you for your response.
As you say, under the new covenant we have only one mediator, the Man Christ Jesus.
We have direct acccess into the presence of God.
The old covenant was with the nation, access was through mediation of the priests.
The new covenant is not with the church, it is with the individual believer who through the Holy Spirit has become a divine/human being. 1Cor 3:16. 6:19. In Christ we are sons and daugters of God, joint heirs with Christ.
Being human, we need leadership, but being Christians we have to learn to surrender self as a part of the body of Christ, each part dependant on the functioning of every other part. As I mentioned in my post to Sis Marie, I fell that as a church we lack an adequate job decscription of leader and proper key performance indicators, not just for leaders but for every gift of the Spirit.
God bless,
Ian
Ian Rankin

Richard Myers

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Re: New Covenant experience
« Reply #5 on: June 18, 2004, 12:40:00 PM »
Amen, Brother Ian!  God has given to each of us a part to play and in order to do that we need the Holy Spirit dwelling within! Hope you are having a blessed Sabbath! Soon we shall be resting also.  :)
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of His Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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Re: New Covenant experience
« Reply #6 on: June 23, 2004, 07:19:00 AM »
What could we say is a proper job description for a leader?
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of His Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Ele Holmes

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Re: New Covenant experience
« Reply #7 on: June 23, 2004, 08:28:00 AM »
Ian, What an interesting subject, to be studied by all....Richard, the first job of any converted leader is to perform all God's work in a Christlike mannor, walking in His footsteps.... Ellen White  gives her opinion, while she was in Europe.  

Her contacts with the European leader through the years were occacional. However, she was well acquainted with his work and esteemed him as a church leader.  For example, while preaching at the General Conference session in 1901, which Conradi attended, she mentioned him by anme publicly....Here are her very words:

"Brother Conradi has carried a very heavy burden of work in Europe.  Brother Conradi, God wants you to have laborers to stand with you, and He wants you to give them all the encouragement you can.  He wants the work you are doing to go with strength and with power.

"You have been doing the work of several men.  God has greatly blessed your labors.  The angels of God have done this work, not Brother Conradi.  He has opened doors for the angels, and they have entered.  And if you will all open doors for the angels and give God opportunity to work, let me tell you that He will set in operation that which will carry forward the work with a strength you do not dream of."

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ian rankin

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Re: New Covenant experience
« Reply #8 on: June 23, 2004, 09:23:00 AM »
Hi Richard,
That is a good question you ask, 'what is the job description for a leader?
Probably the most challenging and important question any church can address, for whatever is decided as the answer, reaches down to apply to every member. I say this, remembering that we are all members of a royal priesthood, a holy nation.
Well I don't have any pat answer, but I will try to define some principles that I believe must guide any attempt to provide an answer to your question.

1. A proper description for a leader must be derived from the Bible and not from world business practices. Jesus is the world's example of a perfect leader.
  b. The church is the body of Christ and each part functions to its potential only as every part participates. The gifts of the Spirit identify a memeber's function, they sre never a measure of a person's  importance.
  c. The Holy Spirit is the leader and He never exults Himself, He only works to glorify Christ. He wants our commitment, not our contribution. The test of any true gift will be that its possessor's acts always glorify Christ. This does not allow for a person to give God the glory but take the credit for themselves.
  d. Eph 3:11-16. The gifts of the Spirit are for the building up of the body - for the equipping of the saints. A true leader will never use his followers. He will use himself up to enable them to achieve their potential
  e. A true leader takes responsibility for the mistakes of those under him. He supports, encourages, represents. In my years in the ministry I longed for someone who would listen. Not tell me what to do, but enable and challenge me to clarify my goals and evaluate the results of my efforts.

Having some clear, nice sounding goals is good, but more important are clear Key Performance Indicators.
If leaders have no clearly stated KPIs then the whole organisation will be floundering.

I know of no better source of KPIs than Ephesians 3:11-16  
  a. Is the church growing in the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ?
  b.Are the members growing in awareness and practice of the gifts of the Spirit.
  c.Is the church growing in unity of faith and knowledge of the Son of God?
  d. Is the whole body building itself up in love.

Christ's Object Lessons p69 sums it up when it says that when the image of Christ is perfectly reproduced in His people(the body) then He will return.
The preaching of the gospel in all the world is not a KPI, it is a by-product of true KPIs.

I hope all this rambling makes some sense, or at least helps to stimulate our thinking about this vital topic?
God bless
Ian

Ian Rankin

Richard Myers

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Re: New Covenant experience
« Reply #9 on: January 03, 2008, 12:42:05 PM »
Yes, dear brother, it not only makes sense, but it is truth. It is founded in the new covenant experience, Christ in us the hope of glory!
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of His Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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Re: New Covenant experience
« Reply #10 on: October 17, 2009, 03:39:50 PM »
I would like to continue this discussion as it is an important subject. It is mis-taught both by those of our faith and also by those who claim the law is no longer binding.

When we consider the typical interpretation that we have heard so often, we find that it does not address the Scripture properly. Let me ask two questions and see if you have a ready answer.

"But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises."  Heb. 8:6.


What is the "better" covenant? And what are the "better" promises? Do you really think we have addressed this correctly? Use your common sense along with the Holy Spirit. If you do not have an answer that is fine, but please do not rely upon what you have heard in the past, if it does not fit. What is the answer to these two questions?
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of His Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Mimi

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Re: New Covenant experience
« Reply #11 on: October 19, 2009, 09:07:41 PM »
Quote
What is the "better" covenant? And what are the "better" promises?

The answers are simple, but not so simple when explaining to those who want to do away with the law of God and say the "old covenant" was faulty. The "old covenant" was brief: "Obey and live." Read Paul's 2 Corinthians 3:6-11 and completely digest it. I'm still trying! Then try on Hebrews 8 to see what is really being discussed. In Corinthians, it appears Paul is saying the law is on one side and Christ's merits on the other. No one can keep the law outside of Christ. (Paul can be very difficult to understand without the Holy Spirit's help, too!)

Hebrews 8 tells of the "new covenant" which really boils down to the Everlasting Covenant made with Adam and extends down to our day. It is righteousness by faith in the merits of Jesus that enables us to keep the law of God. That is a better promise made through a better ministry of our most excellent High Priest. Adam had that all along. So did Noah and Abraham. We have it today.

Someone else summed it up much better:

:[The Old Covenant: Obey and Live] "If a man do, he shall even live in them" (Ezekiel 20:11; Leviticus 18:5); but "cursed be he that confirmeth not all the words of this law to do them." Deuteronomy 27:26. The "new covenant" was established upon "better promises"--the promise of forgiveness of sins and of the grace of God to renew the heart and bring it into harmony with the principles of God's law. "This shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts. . . . I will forgive their iniquity, and will remember their sin no more." Jeremiah 31:33, 34.  {PP 372.1} 

     The same law that was engraved upon the tables of stone is written by the Holy Spirit upon the tables of the heart. Instead of going about to establish our own righteousness we accept the righteousness of Christ. His blood atones for our sins. His obedience is accepted for us. Then the heart renewed by the Holy Spirit will bring forth "the fruits of the Spirit." Through the grace of Christ we shall live in obedience to the law of God written upon our hearts. Having the Spirit of Christ, we shall walk even as He walked. Through the prophet He declared of Himself, "I delight to do Thy will, O My God: yea, Thy law is within My heart." Psalm 40:8. And when among men He said, "The Father hath not left Me alone; for I do always those things that please Him." John 8:29. {PP 372.2}


  For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven. Psalm 119:89 

Richard Myers

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Re: New Covenant experience
« Reply #12 on: October 19, 2009, 09:49:41 PM »
Better promises, indeed! Very good.  The promise under the new covenant was that God would write His law (ten commandments) on our heart. That seems to be a much better promise than was given at Sinai under the old covenant. What was promised then?

Now, Paul says that the old covenant was faulty. How was it faulty? The law is not faulty, is it? Then what was faulty about the old covenant? Yes, the people were faulty, but the question is not who was faulty, but what was faulty about the covenant, the agreement?  

Another question. Was the old covenant exactly like the everlasting covenant? If not, how was it different? We have a lot of Bible teachers in this fellowship. Let's hear from some of them as to the difference between the everlasting covenant and the old covenant. We are attempting to stretch our minds a little so that we are not left believing an untruth.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of His Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

ian rankin

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Re: New Covenant experience
« Reply #13 on: October 20, 2009, 01:11:20 PM »
Hi Richard,
Thanks for your invitation to start thinking again about the question of Old and New covenant.
I think this question challenges us on every level.
I guess to really start to understand things we have to understand first what the sanctuary represented
For example, there was no sacrifice to atone for wilful, deliberate commandment breaking. See Psalm 51.
There is only one plan and one way of salvation - Jesus Christ the Lamb of God.
The New Covenant is not a new way of salvation - it is not a replacement of the Old Covenant, it is the fulfulment of the Old Covenant.
It was promised to Israel.
The first New Covenanrt believers, the first Christians, were the faithful remnant of Israel.
They had real problems finding their feet as New Covenant believers. For example, at the Jerusalem Council, were they rejected cicumcision as the mark of the true believer.
Today we as a church still struggle with our cultural beliefs coming into confilct with our acceptance that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are gender-neutral.
God bless,
Ian
Ian Rankin

Richard Myers

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Re: New Covenant experience
« Reply #14 on: October 20, 2009, 01:22:11 PM »
Welcome back, dear brother!

You have given us a lot to think about. While I am digesting your post, can you explain your understanding of the the difference between the old covenant and the everlasting covenant? I think this will go a long way in helping us understand what the old covenant was.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of His Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

ian rankin

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Re: New Covenant experience
« Reply #15 on: October 21, 2009, 01:04:55 PM »
Hi Richard,
To my understanding the Everlasting Covenant is God's provision in Jesus, the Lamb of God slain before the foundation of the world. Before He created mankind God had provided for the redemption of mankind.
That redemption though is a process, promised in Gen 3:15, acted on in Gen 4:4, fleshed out at Sinai in the establishment of the Old Covenant. There the full series of the seven acts by which God would step into human history where acted out in the seven annual feasts of the sanctuary.
At Calvary the first and foundational act became reality and God's followers moved into the New Covenant experience with the restoration at Pentecost of the promised fullness of the Holy Spirit.
God bless,
Ian
Ian Rankin

Mimi

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Re: New Covenant experience
« Reply #16 on: October 21, 2009, 01:22:42 PM »
That is sensible. The unfolding of this, as you described, Brother Ian, is confirmed by Inspiration.
  For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven. Psalm 119:89 

Mimi

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Re: New Covenant experience
« Reply #17 on: October 21, 2009, 01:26:06 PM »
Question, Brother Ian: Have you created a chronology of the covenants, major ones and minor as well?
  For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven. Psalm 119:89 

Richard Myers

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Re: New Covenant experience
« Reply #18 on: October 21, 2009, 10:37:03 PM »
Brother Ian, was there a difference between the agreement made at Sinai and that made with Abraham?
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of His Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

ian rankin

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Re: New Covenant experience
« Reply #19 on: October 22, 2009, 02:43:46 PM »
Hi Sybil,
The question about a chronology of the covenants puzzles me somewhat. The prophecies of Daniel give times for the fulfilment of the acts of God symbolized in the annual sanctuary feasts. Jeremiah gives the promise of a new covenant. Daniel 9 limits the time available for Israel, which I suppose could be seen as the limit of the Old Covenant?
Hebrews 8-9 is very specific about the first covenant becoming obsolete and being replaced by the more excellent ministry of Christ.
There is a chronology of the plan of salvation, but I wonder if it an answerable question to seek a chronology of the covenants. Amost they are a means, not an entity, not to be compared to the plan of salvation.
Sorry, this is all a bit vague.
Ian
Ian Rankin