Friday, February 20, 2015

A Major Hindrance to Revival - Living under Old Covenant instead of New

As Good Friday and Easter approach I've been meditating on that amazing afternoon when Jesus died. I've been asking Father for greater revelation as to its impact and implications for me personally, for all of us, and for how we do life and ministry under this radical New Covenant that was initiated on that incredible day.

I've also been asking myself and Father God: what is the foundational belief that needs to be changed in order for us to see a further release of His Kingdom on earth, to see God's will and ways sweep across communities changing and transforming lives?

I'm not content in my heart with what I see happening in the church today.  There is so much more available for us, for the church, for this broken planet!  What did Jesus die to release that we haven't yet taken hold of?

I'm drawn to consider again the description of the incredible events that took place when Jesus died.  Matthew 27:50-54 says that Jesus released his spirit and at that very moment the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.  An earthquake happened, rocks split in two, and tombs opened.  People rose from the dead and were seen in Jerusalem.  Pretty incredible stuff!  What did it mean?

In the Old Covenant, the ordinary person had no access to God's presence.  Only priests could go before a Holy God after many ceremonies of cleansing and animal sacrifices.  This most holy place where His Presence dwelt, that was only for one very special person (the High Priest), one time a year.

When Jesus died...God himself tore open the pathway to come to Him directly.  He tore open what no human hands could tear...and with that action He said "Come!  Come in and meet me, your sin is paid for, you can now enter my Presence."  Wow!

From that point onward priests were not needed.  Ordinary fishermen could become sons, priests and kings.  Every person had access to Father God, Holy Spirit and Jesus.  The price, the punishment, that kept us from God was paid, once and for all.

Oh that this truth would impact our thinking more fully!  We can come to Him freely now!  No matter what we have done, no matter how unworthy we feel or are. The way is open.

As we come, He then empowers us with His Presence, His authority, His anointing, to carry His Presence out into the world. We invite others to go with us into His Presence, to meet Holy God, loving Father.  Sins forgiven.  Identity changed.  As sons and daughters, not orphans.  As priests, not second class lay people.  As kings, given authority to rule on this earth.

Hebrews 10:14 says "by that one offering he forever made perfect those who are being made holy."  We are made perfect and we are being made holy.

The new covenant is such a radical shift from the old! In the Old covenant, only special people had access, authority and were commissioned to do God's work. The Levites. In the new covenant, everyone has access, authority and is commissioned by God for a joyful partnership with Him of "ministry" in this world.

One of the biggest hindrances to seeing church planting movements, or true revival, is when we don't understand the implications of the New covenant.  We still live, behave and think as if we are under the Old Covenant.  We still look to pastors, worship leaders or other more qualified people to help us come to God, to pray for the sick, to take the lead in sharing the gospel and discipling others.

We say we believe that everyday, ordinary believers are now sons, priests and kings on the earth.  But our behaviors, traditions and actions often look a lot more like the Old Covenant than New.

Why did the church spread like wildfire in the book of Acts?  Because ordinary believers acted as sons, priests and kings- ministering the gospel, full of His Presence and Spirit, going everywhere with the good news and making disciples.  There were apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers and evangelists.  But their job was NOT to do all the work of the ministry. Their job was to equip the saints for ministry, to train and send them (Ephesians 4:12).

Until we get our hearts and beliefs in line with the truth that the veil is torn, that we all are now priests of God, we ALL now have access to God, and are commissioned to go, make disciples, baptize and teach others to obey...we will be stuck with limited growth.  We will be stuck with leaders, pastors and full time workers serving as priests and ministers, while ordinary believers sit in seats on Sundays and remain...well...ordinary. 

Will we embrace the extraordinary identity Jesus paid such a price to give us? Will we take on the responsibility to make disciples who know who they are- sons, priests and kings in this world?  Will we see that our role is to train, equip and help those we disciple to fully take hold of their identity and commission? Our job is never to fill churches with believers.  Our job is to make disciples who make disciples who make disciples.  To multiply sons and daughters who are priests and kings.

This is the New Covenant, the radically different worldview and paradigm Jesus paid the ultimate price on the cross to bring to us. How He must ache for us to enter into what He already died to purchase!

1 comment:

  1. Amazing thought!! wonderful insight! I wonder why it is challenging to understand this truth for the church as a whole and the body of Christ?