Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Real Revivals and the New Covenant

14.16 Revivals in the New Covenant dispensation of grace

We have demonstrated that the quest of the New Covenant believer is TO KNOW CHRIST and HIS FINISHED WORK. Today, I would like to walk you down the major revivals modern day Church history to demonstrate this truth.

What is a revival? As a Christian, I grew up chasing after revivals. I thought if I fasted and prayed long enough, God would send revival down from heaven. Or if I loved Him enough, He would appear in my room as a bright light, or in person. Christians look for some outward phenomena – like seeing gold dust, having gold tooth, etc.

First of all, revival does not come through us doing enough to move God’s hand. Secondly, revival is not about looking for an outward phenomenon, to confirm God’s visitation.

Firstly, Jesus has finished the work on the cross – which enables every believer to walk in the fullness of Christ (revival). There is nothing that we can add to His work or revival through our effort. When Jesus went to heaven, He poured down the fullness of the Holy Spirit to indwell the Church. There is no amount of prayer or fasting that will move God to pour out any more of His Spirit.

Secondly, revival is not about outward phenomenon as we know it. When we chase after signs and wonders, we will be disappointed. The hope of glory in the New Covenant is Christ dwelling in us. He is the fullness of everything.

True revival is about RECEIVING A NEW REVELATION ABOUT CHRIST that leads to a new experience of CHRITST WITHIN US. Remember that Paul prayed THAT WE MAY KNOW. When we know a new revelation of Christ, we start to experience revival.

After praying overnight for Jesus to appear in my room, I was disappointed that God did not visit me. I tried hard and I was looking for a sign.

As I grew mature in the Lord, I came TO KNOW that Jesus lived in me. He was in my room all along because He was in me. I learnt to live by faith in His Word and not by sight in outward phenomenon. As I came TO KNOW more about Jesus through His Word, I began to experience more of Him. When I was enraptured in the revelation of Christ, I found that signs and wonders followed me. When I was conscious of His indwelling presence, I experience His tangible love and power.

I used to pursue revival which was hard to come by. But through the knowledge of Christ, I have been living in a constant revival for many years now, and I also have the privilege of bringing revival to others simply by sharing the knowledge of Christ.

14.15 The true minister of the New Covenant

As believers, it benefits us to know what our inheritance is. What exhortation do we have for ministers? Paul calls himself a minister of the new Covenant. Likewise, we are also ministers of the New Covenant. Do you know that you are a minister of the New Covenant?

A minister of the New Covenant is contrasted by a minister of the Old Covenant. There is a big difference. Let us show you from the scriptures the way Paul contrasts it:

(2 Cor 3:3-9)
5 Not that we are SUFFICIENT OF OURSELVES to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our SUFFIFIENCY IS FROM GOD, 6 who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the LETTER [law engraved on stones] but of the SPIRIT; for the LETTER KILLS, but the SPIRIT GIVES LIFE.
7 But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away, 8 how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious? 9 For if the ministry of condemnation had glory, the ministry of righteousness exceeds much more in glory.

1) Sufficiency of ourselves (under law) vs. sufficient from God (grace)
2) Minister of the letter (law) vs. minister of the Spirit (grace)
3) Ministry of condemnation (under law) vs. ministry of righteousness (justification under grace)
4) Ministry of death (under law) vs. ministry of life (under grace)

For example, we can have a New Covenant prophet vs. an Old Covenant Prophet. An Old Covenant prophet brings forth sins to remembrance and brings forth condemnation. A New Covenant brings forth edification, comfort and edification through the finished work of Christ. Once, a person went forward to a prophet to pray for healing. The prophet told him that he was sick because of his sins. The man was placed under condemnation. In the New Covenant, it works differently. When the paralytic was brought to Jesus, Jesus declared that his sins were forgiven. The man received his healing. We must be able to tell an Old Covenant prophet apart from a New Covenant prophet.

We can also have a teacher of the Law vs. a teacher of the New Covenant. The teacher of law focuses on the system where you have to keep the works of the law to get the blessings. The focus is on your sufficiency. But the teacher of the New Covenant unveils Christ and the finished work. The focus is on the sufficiency of Jesus. This is clear in the Bible. Paul declared in Galatians that anyone who preaches any other gospel apart from the gospel of grace shall be accursed (Gal 1:6-9). We must know the difference.

14.14 Reading for yourself what Christ has done on the cross

Let us go back to the illustration. The son received an inaccurate message from the messenger, which deprived him of his inheritance of the $10m, and he could not fulfill his calling. But the son had the will of his father. He had the opportunity to read for himself the message. Instead of depending on the will, he depended on the messenger.

Today, it is the same with the believer. Jesus has given us His will or testament or covenant. This is called the New Covenant that was established through the death of Jesus. We should be reading the Bible to find out about the New Covenant.

However, many messengers have not fully understood the New Covenant. In fact, they tend to rely a lot on an obsolete covenant called the Old Covenant – which works very differently. The Old Covenant tells us what we must do to attain to righteousness and blessings. That was made obsolete because man could not fulfill it and Jesus came to fulfill it. The New Covenant tells us what Christ has accomplished. Therefore it is important to read and understand the New Covenant for ourselves.

The Bible is divided into three sections - the Old Testament, the Gospels and the Epistles of the New Covenant. The Old Testament was not written to us. It was a covenant between God and Israel. We can learn from it but we are not under that covenant. Israel did not attain to righteousness. So the Old Testament pointed to the coming of Jesus as the Redeemer and Savior.

The Gospels tell of the coming of Jesus, His life, His death and His resurrection. The Gospels is not the New Covenant because Jesus was sent not to the Gentiles but the lost sheep of Israel. The New Covenant was not cut until the point when Jesus went to the cross – which is at the end of the Gospels. A lot of what Jesus said to Israel was under the context of the Old Covenant. The Gospels do not explain why Jesus went to the cross and what He accomplished on the cross.

The Epistles are the letters written to the Church. They are based on the New Covenant and they apply directly to us. This explains why the Epistles are so different from the other parts of the Bible. We should be spending most of our time on the Epistles.

Only the Epistles (Romans) explain what happened on the cross. It explains what the Gospel is all about. They tell us what has changed after the cross for us the New Covenant believer. They are like the will for us as children of God. Ministers of the New Covenant will usually teach from the Epistles. I encourage you to study the Epistles, especially the letter of Paul – which are revelation packed.

14.13 Laboring to fulfill your calling (Labor of the New Covenant)

Let us go back to the illustration. If the son knows that he has received $10m in the bank account. He could have embarked on the project to build the orphanage immediately. He did not have to labor to be qualified to build. He has already been qualified to fulfill his calling.

This is the kind of labor under the New Covenant. We do not have to keep works of the law to qualify for righteousness and blessings. Jesus has qualified us by going to the cross. Today, you are righteous. You are blessed with every blessing in Christ Jesus. You have received an inheritance as co-heir. You have received a calling with gifts of grace endowed upon you to perform.

This kind of labor is like a burning bush that never burns up. You are on fire from within, and you do not feel weary in the Spirit. You are resting in His grace and power to perform. You are not striving for anything – you are flowing with His power and the leading of His Spirit. Though you are rested from within, the things that you do produce results and great impact on others. You do not strive for a breakthrough because Jesus is your breakthrough. You do not strive for the next level, because you are complete in Christ and you are transformed by beholding His glory. Does that sound ideal? Beloved, this is the New Covenant that Christ established for us.

This kind of labor is motivated by passion from the Holy Spirit – not zeal in the flesh. Those who are strong in grace put no confidence in self-performance. There is nothing to boast in the flesh because everything comes from Jesus.

Most people will think that under grace, believers will perform less. They may become lazy and start slacking. Let us go back to the example of Paul. He was zealous under the law but his labor counted for nothing. Nobody was blessed by his zeal. Then he met Jesus (grace) on the road to Damascus.

His life was transformed and he started to preach the gospel of grace. It was a 180 degree switch. In fact, he labored more abundantly than all the other apostles – powered by the grace of God.

(1 Cor 15:10)
But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.

He was the channel used by the Holy Spirit to explain the gospel to us. He wrote two thirds of the New Testament. His writings continue to inspire revivalists like Martin Luther, John Wesley, and New Covenant teachers of today. This is the labor of the New Covenant. Paul fulfilled his calling. Paul prayed that WE MAY KNOW the hope of our calling that we may fulfill ours.

14.12 Laboring to qualify (Labor of the Old Covenant)

Let us go back to the illustration. When the son received the wrong message from the messenger, he started to labor hard to save up the $5m – to qualify himself to build the orphanage.

This is the kind of labor under the Old Covenant. Israel had to keep the works of the law in order to qualify for righteousness and to attain to the blessings of Deuteronomy 28.

It is a labor that makes a person tired and weary because it draws upon the resources of man. You are constantly pushing yourself with the hope to be blessed, but blessings seem to evade you. You are busy with activities but there seems to be limited impact. You don’t seem to see much result. In fact, you are constantly pushing yourself to get a breakthrough. You are constantly trying to get to the next level, but you never seem to get there. Does this sound familiar?

This kind of labor produces a lot of zeal but in the flesh (self-ability). Those who are strong on the law tend to be confident in their performance. Paul was extremely zealous under the system of the law. He had all the credentials and performed well. He even persecuted the law-breakers – the Christians of his day. He went as far as to Damascus.

(Phil 3:4-9)
If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: 5 circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; 6 concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. 7 But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. 8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith;

But all his laboring under the law counted for nothing – when he came face to face with Jesus. The glory of Christ was so much greater than the glory of the law that he counted all his achievements under law as rubbish.

He realized that trying to attain to self-righteousness under the law is nothing compared to receiving the gift of righteousness by faith in Christ. He labored hard to persecute many Christians but there is no lasting benefit to anybody.

But from the moment he met Jesus and forsook the law, he embarked on a new kind of labor that shook the world. We will continue tomorrow.

14.10 Has the messenger been conveying the right message?

We have shared that the devil robs believers of their blessings by making them strive to earn it. We have shared the examples of Eve, Jesus & the healing of the blind man in the book of John.

Today, it makes a world of difference for us to have messengers who convey the right message. Going back to the earlier illustration, if the messenger tells us that we don’t have an inheritance of $10m, we would have to spend a lifetime trying to earn that $5m. But if the messenger tells us that we have an inheritance, we can start our project to build the orphanage.

If, the messengers are ministering the law to us – that we have to earn our righteousness and blessings, we will spend a lifetime trying to earn it. But if the messengers tell us that Jesus has made us righteous and given us an inheritance on the cross, we will spend a lifetime fulfilling his calling – which is far more fun, rewarding and fruitful.

The Bible tells us that Paul was a minister of the New Covenant, as opposed to the Judaizers who were preaching a mixture of grace and law. Paul tells us of righteousness apart from the law. The Judaizers told the believers that they had to have Jesus and the law at the same time, like many of the messages we hear today.

(2 Cor 3:5-6)
5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, 6 who also made us sufficient as MINISTERS OF THE NEW COVENANT, NOT OF THE LETTER BUT OF THE SPIRIT; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

Paul said that the Minister of the New Covenant ministers life, but the ministry of the letter (the Ten Commandments engraved on stones) kills. Why is this so? What is the heart of the issue? Paul was not against morality. He says that morality cannot be achieved through the law (which is external and does not change the heart) but through grace (which transforms the heart).

The issue is that the ministry of the New Covenant tells us that Jesus has finished the work on the cross. We can come to Jesus to receive everything; to receive life. But the system of the law tells us that we must perform works of the law in order to attain to righteousness and blessings. It ignores the fact that Jesus has already finished the work. As in the examples we shared earlier, when we strive for what Christ has already given, we end up drifting further from it.

Today, we should be discerning to sit under ministers of the New Covenant – and through listening to such – THAT YOU MAY KNOW – and experience that which Christ has given you. When you respond by faith, miracles begin to happen.

14.9 How does the thief steal, kill and destroy?

Today, let us share another example to reinforce how we get robbed of our blessings. There is a famous verse which is often quoted – the Satan came to steal, kill and destroy.

(John 10:10)
10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

But who was Jesus referring to? If we read the verse in its context, Jesus was actually referring to the Pharisees & teachers of the law who came before Jesus.

(John 10:7)
7 Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them.

Jesus had just healed a blind man who did not deserve to be healed (it was by grace). The Pharisees were indignant the he has been healed on the Sabbath. Under the law, he should not have been healed. So they excommunicated him. They did not like the doctrine of Jesus that a sinner could be healed (grace). They said that they were Moses’ disciples (the law).

(John 9:28)
28 Then they reviled him and said, “You are His disciple, but we are Moses’ disciples. 29 We know that God spoke to Moses; as for this fellow, we do not know where He is from.”

So Jesus was saying that the teachers of the law were robbing the man of God’s blessings give through grace. When we revert to the law, we fall from grace. When we try to earn that which Jesus has given on the cross, we end up losing it. Israel did not attain to righteousness because they tried to earn it under the law, instead of receiving it as a gift from Jesus by faith. Paul said that they DID NOT HAVE KNOWLEDGE. Through their ignorance of the grace of God, they missed receiving the gift of righteousness.

(Romans 10:2)
2 For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to KNOWLEDGE. 3 For they being IGNORANT of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God.

All these verses reinforce the truth that in the New Covenant, God WANTS US TO KNOW in order to RECEIVE by faith.

14.8 How did Jesus redeem us?

After Jesus was baptized in the River Jordan, He heard the Father tell Him that He was God’s beloved son. Isn’t that so affirming and so sweet?

(Matt 3:17)
17 And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “THIS IS MY BELOVED SON, in whom I am well pleased.”

God also told Jesus that He was pleased with Jesus. You must remember that Jesus had not started His ministry. He had not healed anyone or preached the gospel. Yet God affirmed Him.

When Jesus was tempted in the desert, the devil used the same modus operandi of making Jesus strive for what He already was. He told Jesus, “If you are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread…”

(Matthew 4:2-4)
2 And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. 3 Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “IF YOU ARE THE SON OF GOD, command that these stones become bread.”4 But He answered and said, “IT IS WRITTEN, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”

If Jesus tried to do something just to try to be the Son of God, He would have fallen for the temptation, and mankind would not be redeemed. He would have been robbed of the reality that He is the Son of God. But Jesus was secure in what the Father had told Him. Jesus knew that He was the Son of God. He didn’t have to try to be the Son of God. He believed God more than the devil. He replied, “It is written…,” putting His confidence in God’s word.

Today, it is the same in the New Covenant. The devil may say, “You must be faithful to God and then He will be faithful to you.” By believing that, you will then strive to earn God’s faithfulness by trying to be faithful to Him. The more you try, the more your action reaffirms that God is not already faithful to you. You have uncertainties of His faithfulness. It robs you of that reality.

But if you KNOW the truth, you would reply, “It is written that God remains faithful even if we are faithless.” Your faith in His faithfulness towards you does not waver. When you believe Him, you will be victorious over the temptation. Then when you experience His unconditional faithfulness, you begin to love Him more. You respond by being faithful to Him. You begin to bear fruit of faithfulness. This is the New Covenant – THAT YOU MAY KNOW His love and faithfulness.

14.7 How did mankind fall in the Garden of Eden?

Yesterday, we said that the devil robs us from what we have by making us strive to get it. This is his modus operandi. He uses the law to achieve this. Let us show you some key examples – that have changed the course of history.

Join me as we go back in time to the Garden of Eden. God made Adam and Eve in His image. They were made like God – in the image of God. In the Garden was the tree of life (which represents Jesus the bread of life). There was also another tree – the tree of knowledge of good and evil (which represents the law which tells between good and evil). They were to eat of the tree of life (Jesus) but not from the tree of knowledge of good and evil (the law).

This is a picture of how God wants us to live on the basis of His work and His providence. It was not God’s will for man to live on the basis of the law because man is estranged from God when they live on the basis of right and wrong. Man can live independently from God under religion. God wants us to have relationship and communion with Him.

The devil came to Eve in the form of the serpent to make her eat from the tree that represents the law. How did he do it? He tells us that if she would eat of the forbidden fruit, she could be wise like God.

But the reality is that God has already made her like God – in the image of God. If she KNEW the reality, she would have ignored the devil. She would have said, “I don’t need to do that because I am already made in God’s image!” Her ignorance allowed the devil to make her strive to get something she already had.

When she partook of the law, she fell. The way the devil tempted her is similar to how the law works. The law tells us that we have to keep the works of the law to get what Jesus has already purchased on the cross. Romans 4:4 says that to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt.

When Jesus went to the cross, He brought an end to the law as the means to approaching God, and ushered in a new covenant on the basis of faith (believing what He has done).

(Romans 10:4)
4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

Today we are under a system called faith. The righteous shall live by faith. When we KNOW what Christ has done on the cross, it causes faith to rise in our hearts to believe. Romans 10:17 says that faith comes by hearing the gospel of Christ. The quest of the new covenant believer is THAT WE MAY KNOW…in order to respond in faith.

14.6 Striving for what you already have - actually robs you of it

Let us recap the illustration used earlier. If the father deposited $10m into the son’s bank account, but he does not know it, it is as good as not having the money. The lack of knowledge robs us of what we have. That is why Paul prayed that WE MAY KNOW.

There is another way that we can be robbed of what we have. How? It is when we strive to get it, because it reinforces our belief that we don’t have it yet. When the son strives to save up $10m, it reinforces the belief that he does not have the $10m. The more he channels his energy to get $10m, the further he drifts from the reality.

Have you tried to look for a pen, only to realize that you were holding it in your hand all along? You could have gone looking all over. The harder you try to find it, the more likely you will fail.

Or have you watched the cartoon Madagascar 2, where Gloria was looking for the love of her life, only to realize that Marty was all along by her side. The truth is that when we strive for something that we already have, we are robbed of it. So how does this apply to our Christian lives?

On the cross, Jesus has given us everything. But if we go back to the law – to the system where we have to earn everything, we will not be conscious of what Christ has already given us. If we strive to get righteous, we forget that Jesus is our righteousness. If we strive to get His love, we forget that we already have His love. If we fast and pray for His Spirit, we forget that His Spirit already lives in us. If we try to get healing, we forget that by His stripes we were healed. If we try to earn His blessings, we forget that we have been blessed with every blessing.

When a Christian reverts to live under the law, he actually falls from grace, because he tries to earn what God has given freely. He gets robbed of the blessings of Christ.

The devil uses the law as a weapon to rob believers of their blessings. He uses the law to tell the believer to fulfill requirements that Jesus has already fulfilled. But Jesus nailed the law to the cross and disarmed the devil.

(Col 2:14-15)
14 having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. 15 Having DISARMED principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.

Tomorrow, we will show you how the devil uses the law to rob believers.

14.5 Paul prayed “THAT YOU MAY KNOW the love of Christ…”

(Eph 3:14-19)
14 For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,[c] 15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; THAT YOU, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 MAY BE ABLE TO COMPREHEND with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— 19 TO KNOW THE LOVE OF CHRIST which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Along with Eph 1:16-20, the above prayer is one of the two most powerful prayers in the New Covenant. I also encourage you to pray this prayer over yourself. Personalize it with your own name. Now, let me explain more on this verse.

Firstly, Paul did not pray for the believer to receive more love from God. Secondly, Paul did not pray that the believer would love God more. The majority of Christians would be shocked by this verse because they have grown up being told that they must love God more. Christianity becomes a burdensome because they never seem to be able to love God enough. The verse does not tell them to love God with all their heart, soul, mind and strength – contrary to what was demanded in the Old Covenant.

This powerful prayer from Paul is THAT YOU MAY BE ABLE TO COMPREHEND the infinite love of God! This is the love that has been poured out and demonstrated on the cross. There is a change in direction of the flow of love. The Old Covenant demanded for your love for God. The New Covenant tells of God’s love for you.

God is not going to pour more of His love down to this earth. We are not to ask God to love us any more than He has. We are not to try to love God more with our self-effort. The quest of the believer is to know; to comprehend the love of Christ. This could be a lifetime journey considering that His love is infinite.

This verse also answers another question. How do we have more of God? How do we get filled with more of God? Is it through prayer or fasting? Is it through serving God faithfully? Is it through loving Him more? As important as these are, the answer is none of these. The key to being filled with God is simply TO KNOW the love of Christ.

When WE KNOW the love of Christ, we will fall in love with Him. We then love Him because He first loved us. We then live our lives for Him because He first loved us. We enjoy serving Him because He first loved us.

This is the key to the New Covenant. THAT YOU MAY KNOW the love of Christ. All God’s love has been poured out on the cross. What’s left is for us to KNOW and COMPREHEND it. This is our quest.

14.4 Paul prayed “THAT YOU MAY KNOW…”

(Eph 1:16-20)
16 ...do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, 18 the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; THAT YOU MAY KNOW what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power 20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places...

The above prayer is one of the two most powerful prayers in the New Covenant. The prayer itself is fully packed with revelations. Kenneth Hagin used to pray this prayer over himself regularly. In the midst of praying, the anointing of teaching came upon him like a mantle through the Spirit of wisdom and revelation.

I encourage you to pray this prayer over yourself. Personalize it with your own name. Now, let me explain more on this verse.

In the New Covenant, Jesus completed the work on the cross. All righteousness, blessings, power, love, grace, etc flows from the cross. Many Christians talk and act as if the work was not completed. They then try to complete the work through their prayer, worship, and spiritual activities. This is not possible. We have to know for sure if the work was completed.

Paul did not pray for the believer to get anything. He didn’t pray for them to receive blessings. He prayed that they may know what they have – based on what Jesus had done. Specifically, he prayed that we may know:

1) The hope of His calling (who we are in Christ)
2) The riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints (what we have in Christ)
3) The exceeding greatness of his power toward us who believe (what Christ can accomplish through us by His power)

This means that the people had a great need to know and to understand. It is a life time quest for the believer to discover and experience the fullness of the cross. But it doesn’t come naturally. We need the help of the Holy Spirit. He is now our teacher. He came to reveal the finished work of Jesus to us. We need the Holy Spirit’s wisdom to receive the revelation of the cross.

The more we know, the more we believe, and the more we experience the reality of it. Today, you don’t have to earn it; you just need to know it.

14.3 Knowing what Jesus accomplished is the quest of the New Covenant believer

Under the Old Covenant, the quest of the believer is to attain to something through his self-effort. For 1,500 years under the Old Covenant, they were under the system of Deuteronomy 28. They had to perform all the works of the law in order to attain to righteousness, and to qualify for the blessings of God.

They desired to attain to righteousness and blessings. They struggled and strived to qualify. They had to earn all the blessings of Deuteronomy 28. The wonderful blessings include healing, promotion, provisions, blessings, etc. It was not theirs yet. It was conditional upon their ability to attain to it.

I have been a Christian some 28 years and have met a lot of Christians. The majority do try in one way or another to earn their righteousness and blessings through their actions. Maybe when they fall short, they depend on God’s mercy. But most of the time, they depend on their good works, fasting, praying, tithing, doing their quiet time, and winning souls. How many of you can identify with me.

It is commonly said that if you prayed hard enough, God will heal you. If you are not getting the results, you need to pray harder and fast. If you obey God, He will bless you. If you are faithful to God, He will be faithful to you. If you forgive others, then God will forgive you. As a student, I was told that if you go to church faithfully, God will give you good grades.

How many of you recognize that in all the statements above, the blessings of God are still a distance away, and they are conditional upon you fulfilling some requirements. I grew up under that system, so I know it well. But the Holy Spirit has led me to the land of the New Covenant.

If you read the New Covenant Epistles, you will find that it does not talk in that manner. The book of Ephesians tells you as a statement of fact – “who you are in Christ”, “what you have in Christ” and “what you can accomplish in Christ”.

Let us study two of the greatest prayers in the Bible. In both prayers, Paul does not ask God for anything. Paul knows that Jesus has accomplished everything on the cross. Instead, he prays for the New Covenant Christians that “THEY MAY KNOW WHAT THEY HAVE…” He did not pray for them to “TRY TO GET SOMETHING”.

In fact, he acknowledges that it does not come naturally for Christians to have this paradigm shift. He knows that if left to our own, we will drift back under the old paradigm. He knows that we need help. So he prays for the Holy Spirit to help us “that we may know…” We will share the powerful verse tomorrow.

14.2 Do you know what Jesus accomplished on the cross?

Let’s recap the story I shared yesterday. The son DID NOT KNOW that he had $50m in the bank account. So he spent his lifetime laboring to raise the $10m instead of taking the $50m to build the orphanage. He was laboring for the wrong thing, he missed out on the fulfillment of building the orphanage, and he failed to save up the $10m.

Today, we live in the New Covenant. With His dying breath, Jesus cried, “It is finished.” Now what was Jesus referring to? What did He accomplish on the cross? Do you know with great confidence? Or are we like the son who “DID NOT KNOW what was accomplished?”

What are the messengers telling us? Are they ministers of the New Covenant who share clearly from the finished work of Christ, or are they unsure themselves about what fully transpired on the cross? As we go down this series, we will contrast both approaches.

What about us? Do we check the will or testament for ourselves – especially the New Testament Epistles? Do we have the revelation of the cross when we read the Bible? Or do we feel like we are reading with a veil blocking our understanding? Do we feel inhibited by a lack of revelation when we read the Bible?

What have we been laboring for in our Christian life? Are we laboring for something that Jesus has already given us? [We will cover this in greater detail] Or are we laboring out of the abundance of all that Jesus has given us? Are we laboring so that we can be qualified? Or are we laboring because Jesus has qualified us?

Do we feel that we always fall short in our labor? Do we feel that you are laboring under stress and external pressure? Or are you enjoying the fulfillment of the labor in Christ? Do we feel the demand placed upon us? Or do we feel empowered and liberated to accomplish great things for God? These are two different kinds of labor.

So often I hear people tell me that they have been a Christian all these years without the revelation of Christ. Others say that they feel robbed through the traditional messages they have grown up with. Recently, a Christian friend in need for a healing of a loved one was at a loss of what to do. We shared with her the revelation of Christ. It brought faith, calmness and joy. It is never too late. What is most important is to come to the revelation of the cross as soon as possible.

The quest for the Christian is THAT YOU MAY KNOW what happened on the cross. The lack of revelation robs us of what we truly have in Christ.

Website: www.dailyrhema.blogspot.com

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