28330 Bermont Road Punta Gorda Fl    941-639-1700

Pastor's Message

Understanding the New Testament
in the Light of the Old Testament

May 08

Dear Friends,

Last month we were discussing Old Testament interpretation. This month I would like to discuss understanding the New Testament in the light of the Old Testament.

The law that was given to Moses was recorded in the book of Leviticus. The first chapter discusses the very first law, called atonement. "Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, 'When any man of you brings an offering to the Lord, you shall bring your offering of animals from the herd or the flock. 'If his offering is a burnt offering from the herd, he shall offer it, a male without defect; he shall offer it at the doorway of the tent of meeting, that he may be accepted before the Lord. 'He shall lay his hand on the head of the burnt offering, that it may be accepted for him to make atonement on his behalf. 'He shall slay the young bull before the Lord; and Aaron's sons the priests shall offer up the blood and sprinkle the blood around on the altar that is at the doorway of the tent of meeting." (Leviticus 1:2-5).

Moses was instructed to shed the blood of animals without defect for the atonement of their sins. This was a law to be followed and to be continued. Yet this a practice we do not see in the church today.

Based on New Testament instruction given in the book of Hebrews we see something different. "For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things, can never, by the same sacrifices which they offer continually year by year, make perfect those who draw near. Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, because the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have had consciousness of sins? But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins year by year. For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. Therefore, when He comes into the world, He says, "Sacrifice and offering You have not desired, but a body You have prepared for Me; In whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You have taken no pleasure. "Then I said, 'Behold, I have come (In the scroll of the book it is written of Me) To do Your will, O God.'" After saying above, "Sacrifices and offerings and whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You have not desired, nor have You taken pleasure in them" (which are offered according to the Law), then He said, "Behold, I have come to do Your will." He takes away the first in order to establish the second." (Hebrews 10:1-9).

Of course, we know, the fulfillment of the law in this area was the sacrifice of Christ for, not the atonement of our sins, but the remission of our sins. Therefore, the first instruction given to Moses has been overturned by the sacrifice of Christ. His sacrifices is the everlasting sacrifice, and not as the sacrifices of an animal that needed to be offered year after year. Hebrews 10:10-14 "By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins; but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time onward until His enemies be made a footstool for His feet. For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified." So what we see here is the sacrificial offerings of animals has come to an end in the church age since Jesus was offered up as the Lamb of God, taking away our sin, once and for all.

When we are reading the Bible we need to look at what has made it into the New Testament and what had ended with the Old Testament. For example some people want to say the tithing is in the Old Testament and not in the New. Yet the Word of God speaks of tithing in the New Testament in the book of Hebrews. "For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham as he was returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, to whom also Abraham apportioned a tenth part of all the spoils, was first of all, by the translation of his name, king of righteousness, and then also king of Salem, which is king of peace. (Hebrews 7:1-2) Now we know that Abraham, (our father of faith), gave a tenth of the spoils to Melchizedek, priest of the Most High God. The book of Hebrews goes on to talk about Jesus. "For it is attested of Him, "You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek."(v 17) Jesus was not a priest according ot the law, Aaron, or the Levitical priesthood, but according to the order of Melchizedek who received tithes of Abraham long before the Law came into existence. (Read all of Hebrews7). So we see here how tithing has made the move from the Old Testament to the New Testament. This is what makes tithing applicable to us today.

Now let's look at another instance. Deuteronomy 22:22 says, "If a man is found lying with a married woman, then both of them shall die, the man who lay with the woman, and the woman; thus you shall purge the evil from Israel." This is Old Testament law. Jesus, who is the mercy of God, handles the situation in this manner in John 8, "The scribes and the Pharisees *brought a woman caught in adultery, and having set her in the center of the court, they *said to Him, "Teacher, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act. "Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women; what then do You say?" They were saying this, testing Him, so that they might have grounds for accusing Him. But Jesus stooped down and with His finger wrote on the ground. But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, "He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." Again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. When they heard it, they began to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones, and He was left alone, and the woman, where she was, in the center of the court. Straightening up, Jesus said to her, "Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?" She said, "No one, Lord." And Jesus said, "I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more." (V3-11). Jesus certainly showed compassion. He is mercy overriding judgement. His blood was to pay the price for our sin, not so we can continue in it, but so we can have power to destroy it in our lives. While Jesus loves the sinner(no matter what the sin), He does not love sin. Many have failed to read Jesus' parting words to Mary in verse 11; "From now on sin no more." His releasing her empowered her to live free, which she chose to do from that day onward, because she kept following Him.

So again in the New Testament, adultery is not allowed according to the Word of God, but neither is stoning one to death on account of it. So the law of God pertaining to right living has not changed from the Old Testament, but the way of handling it has changed. And the command is still the same; Keep from sinning.

If we believe Jesus paid a high price for us to be free from the results, devastations, and destruction of sin, then we should certainly give ourselves to the freedom He has provided for us out of a heart of great love for Him. The Apostle John tells us in his first epistle; " In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins." (v10). He loved us first. He did what was necessary for us to be free. He paid a price we could not pay. He cancelled a debt that we could not free ourselves from. He has brought about a new dispensation for us to live in. He took away the first and established the second. It is a dispensation of freedom and grace which is the empowerment to defeat sin and put Satan under our feet.

As the Lord desires, I desire also, the very best the Kingdom has to offer for life and godliness, that brings about the results of an abundant life.

Pastor Bob