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Monday, August 29, 2011

The Holy Spirit: Power Presence and Purpose Part 29

The Advent Part 21

Since I went on somewhat of a mini-rant in yesterday’s post, today we will discuss and dissect the verse we were supposed to be discussing yesterday. For a seemingly innocuous verse, informing us that the disciples, Mary, and Christ’s brothers continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, there are many layers to it, and much hidden truth that we must explore.

Acts 1:14, “These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.”

As I said there are many layers to this verse, and they have to do, and predominantly so, with the New Covenant as opposed to the Old Covenant. In fact, in this verse we begin to see the transition between the Old and the New Covenants in regards to the people of God.

In the Old Covenant God had one people and they were the Jews. Israel was the chosen nation, the holy nation, through which God fulfilled His plans here on earth. They were the people of God favored above all others.

Although they were always known as Hebrews or Jews, they were not referred to as the Congregation of God until after they were freed from the bondage of their slavery to the Egyptians, and received the Law given to them in the desert of Sinai. It is then that God considered them His congregation, a congregation in the midst of which He would dwell. The commandments God gave regarding His congregation were strict and left no room for debate or second guesses.

Deuteronomy 23:1-4, “He who is emasculated by crushing or mutilation shall not enter the congregation of the Lord. One of illegitimate birth shall not enter the congregation of the Lord; even to the tenth generation none of his descendants shall enter the congregation of the Lord. An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter the congregation of the Lord; even to the tenth generation none of his descendants shall enter the congregation of the Lord forever, because they did not meet you with bread and water on the road when you came out of Egypt, and because they hired against you Balaam the son of Beor from Pethor of Mesopotamia to curse you.”

Deuteronomy 23:14, “For the Lord your God walks in the midst of your camp, to deliver you and give your enemies over to you; therefore your camp shall be holy, that He may see no unclean thing among you, and turn away from you.”

In the New Covenant God still has one holy people, that has not changed, but His ‘Ecclesia’ His congregation is now made up of all tribes, peoples and tongues, from all walks of life, and from every continent on this earth. The foundation of this new congregation, under the New Covenant is the redeeming sacrifice of the Lamb of God, His Son Jesus Christ, who took the sins of the world upon Himself on Calvary’s tree and redeemed those who would receive Him from everlasting darkness.

All who receive Jesus by faith, all who deny themselves, pick up their crosses and follow after Him, all who sanctify the Lord in their hearts are born again in God, and by being reborn they become members within the congregation of God, which is also known as the Body of Christ.

1 Peter 3:15, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.”

John 1:12-13, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name: who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man but of God.”

The congregation of God, the Body of Christ is built up by Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit. There is only one congregation of God, there is only one Body of Christ, and we cannot confuse it or compare it with any manmade, man inspired, and man created religious organization or denomination. The Body of Christ is not any one denomination, it is not any one religious organization, it is not any one ministry, but rather under the New Covenant, as many as receive Him, to them He gives the right to become children of God.

As I said, the congregation of God is formed through the Holy Spirit, centered around and tethered in the person of Jesus the Son of God that it may worship, adore, and praise the Father and have fellowship with Him. We are the Body of Christ, He is our head, and when we submit wholly to Him, when having surrendered our will and having made Him our all in all we are integrated and made active members within His Body, we begin to perceive the beauty and glory of consistent, sustained, and perpetual fellowship with Him.

If we begin our quest for understanding as to what the congregation of God is having preconceived notions, personal preferences, or the traditions of men as a starting point, we will never grasp the full truth of what it is to be a child of God. In order to understand the congregation of God we must be taught by the Word of God, and led by the Spirit of God, for what has been said of the children of God is likewise true of the congregation of God, namely that the world does not know it. We perceive the spiritual through the prism of the spiritual, just as we perceive the physical through the prism of the physical.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I like what you are saying about the congregation of God. "If we fully surrender to God, then He integrates us." Not exactly what you said but close. Which brings me to this question. My husband and I are starting to feel pressure to become members of a denominational church we attend. You have to go through classes taught by pastor. We believe we are already members of Christ's body, and believe that our lives show that. Are we somehow being rebellious to church authority? I know you don't know us but I do like to seek out biblical and wise counsel. We have no problem being accountable or rebuked. We give tithes and offerings. Would like your opinion. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

hey now - i liked your mini rant.

Michael Boldea Jr. said...

As long as you are being accountable, receive correction, and don't bristle at rebuke if warranted, I don't see the reason for the pressure to sign on the dotted line and become a member.
We've gotten so obsessed with numbers in our day and age, how many people are members of the church, the percentage by which the church is growing, what percentage are young, what percentage are old, that we've lost sight of the fact that shepherds are supposed to shepherd, and not be concerned with triviality. Personally, I cannot tell you to join, or not to join, it is a decision that you and your husband will have to prayerfull weigh out and come to an agreement on, but like I said, I don't see the need to sign a membership slip as though the house of God were some kind of club. God bless.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Anonymous said...

Just a comment in regards to membership... in my church (and in the previous church I attended) membership was required in order to participate in most ministry opportunities (on worship team, mission trips, leading small groups, etc.). It was also required in order to vote on budget, name changes, elder choices, building programs, pastor vote of confidence, etc. If you feel this church is your "home" and you want to be able to have a say in what happens in your church, you'll most likely have to become a member. (depends upon your church, of course) If you just attend, but are not interested in joining, you'll be limited in how you can impact your local congregation and possibly in how and where you can serve. Just something to think about. Regards, a sister in Christ