Friday 5 June 2009

church on the street, fear vs love, Old covenant vs new, kingdom of priests

May 26, 2009

Exodus 33:7-11 says that Moses would go out to the tent of meeting outside the camp, and the pillar of God would descend, and God would speak to him - while the people would watch from their tent doors, and worship from there, as God spoke to Moses face to face.

This reminded me somewhat of the way "traditional church" seems often to function... but it's not supposed to be that way; in fact, even among the Israelites it appears it wasn't supposed to be that way: Exodus 19:5-6 "Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession... 6. and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation." (note: "a kingdom of priests" - though even then Moses was a mediator and advocate! - as Jesus is for us!).

At first they said to God, sure, we'll do everything You say (19:8) ... but when they witnessed the glory/presence of God up close, they were afraid. The purpose of the fear was to keep them obedient to God's commands (to not sin) (20:20) so that they would all be priests before him (19:5-6)... but instead, because of their fear, they preferred to have God speak only to Moses, and have Moses pass on God's message (20:19,21)...and a small group of men were appointed as priests (ch 28) SO: Old covenant --> FEAR: punishment (see 1 Jn 4:18)

Under the New Covenant, God's anointing (the Holy Spirit) rests on every believer, and teaches them all things (truth)(1Jn 2:27) and our sins have been forgiven for Jesus' name's sake (1 John 2:12) so we are God's children (1 Jn 3:1) and we abide in him with confidence, not shame (1 Jn 2:28), and we keep His commands (to believe in Jesus, and to love one another... 1 Jn 5:1-3, 1 Jn 3:23-24), and are born of God and know God (1 Jn 4:7, also 1 Jn 5:18) because God manifested His love in sending His Son to be the propitiation for our sins (1 Jn 4:10) and now He abides in us and His love is perfected in us (1 Jn 4:12) - and there is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear (1 Jn 4:18). We love because He first loved us! (1 Jn 4:18). And we have life! (1 Jn 5:11). SO: New covenant --> LOVE: perfection (fear is cast out!) (1 Jn 4:18)

(I was reading about Hezekiah yesterday... and like most other people in the Old Covenant time, he seemed to believe that death was the end, and one could only worship and obey God in this life... though some seemed to understand more: like Job, who said, "I know that my Redeemer lives, and that I shall see Him hereafter" ... also glimpses in the prophets, etc... and in Jesus' time the Pharisees believed in resurrection, but the Saducees did not. So for a people who really weren't sure if an afterlife existed (or at least one in which they could actively worship God), the gospel brought by Jesus was good news indeed: assurance of eternal life with God for those who believe in His Son.)

I am seeing more and more how important it is to LIVE IN THE NEW COVENANT! The Old covenant is recorded for our warning against sin and death... and for our joy in realizing what God's love has provided for us: life, freedom from sin, abiding in Him and He in us. So let's not be "foolish Galatians!" (Gal 2:16 to 3:14). Understand the Old Covenant and its purposes: but live within the New Covenant!

Exodus 33:13-17 says that knowing God's ways results in knowing God and finding favor in His sight; then He'll go with You; and others will know you belong to God.

... later... On Sunday, one of the street guys brought me a red jacket that someone had given him to pass on to someone who needed one (he noticed that I have a warm winter jacket but not a spring jacket!). And today, when I was out walking, one of the guys, who makes and sells jewellery to make a little cash, gave me a pearl necklace! I never have dull or lonely walks anymore - all the folks from Peter's gatherings are so friendly... and I am so happy I can't stop smiling - and all kinds of people smile back and say hello! You are awesome, wonderful, good, loving - Papa! Jesus! Holy Spirit! Wow! I love You, three-persons-one-God~!

Isa 42:3 "A bruised reed He will not break and a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish; He will faithfully bring forth justice... 6... And I will apoint You as a covenant [a new one!] to the people, As a light to the nations, 7. to open blind eyes, to bring out prisoners from the dungeon, and those who swell in darkness from the prison... 16. I will lead the blind by a way they do not know, In paths they do not know I will guide them. I will make darkness into light before them..." [ I think about how Jesus treated the poor and "sinners" ... and I see that reflected in our "street pastor" ... and I hope - pray - it may yet be reflected in me... please Father, Jesus, Holy Spirit - God!]

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