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The Beauty Of The New Covenant
The New Covenant of our New Testament is only new in regard to God's Covenant with the nation* Israel.
Outside of this, the work of God in Jesus Christ opened a door into the heart of God, which was anticipated long before in God's response to the moral failure of humanity at its beginning, before any nation existed. To the walking-serpent God said –
"...I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed;
He will bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel."
(Genesis 3:15 Literal Translation).
*Not the State of Israel.
the virgin-birth of Christ Jesus (so understood as 'virgin' by the Jewish scribes who translated the Septuagint version of Isaiah 7:14) God's promise came. In no sense whatsoever therefore is this Covenant in Christ a substitute for, or a refinement of, the Sinai Covenant of Israel's Law through Moses so many centuries later. It is as New as if there had never been an Old Covenant!
Yet sadly, in the body of people (the Christian Church) in whom this Covenant of Christ is to be expressed to humanity, Israel's Covenant has been repeatedly used to blur the edges of its unique nature and confuse the character of its newness.
of these is the Old Covenant command to Israel to bring ten-percent of their annual harvest to their temple every third year (Deut.26:12). This has often been translated into Christian practice, with much quoting of Scripture out-of-context, as a pay-day tithe on gross income to finance the local church. (I have yet to hear these twisters of Scripture limit tithing to every third pay-day as with Israel's tithe).
See: The Tithe in Israel
Abraham's gift of ten-percent of his war-plunder to King Melchizedek has frequently been used to predate Israel's religious 'tithing' in their Sinai Law so as to make it appear obligatory on God's people today, using the Hebrews-7-reference in violation of its own typological context. If this were really so, then Abraham's circumcision would apply today to every Christian even more so, but it does not. To blur the issue even further, the acceptance of Abel's annual offering from the firstlings of his flock, compared to Cain's offering from his crop harvest, has been misrepresented to make 'first-fruits' to meaning priority-giving (a pre-tax tithe) compared to a donation.
It was
perhaps understandable that the Apostle Peter should have become confused when more educated Jewish Christians than he came to Antioch from Jerusalem teaching circumcision for all Christians. But just as God used the Apostle Paul to administer a public rebuke to him in this regard, we today have even less excuse for confusion after the Holy Spirit chose to use this Apostle to give us the greater part of our New Testament Scriptures in order for us to understand this reality of the New.
Galatians 2
The Principles:
From Christ's training of His apostles (as in Matthew 10), Paul extracted principles which he applied to Christian church-life and which is thus laid down for us in our New Testament for today. Paul lived by these principles in his ministry to the Christian churches of his generation, and so encouraged others to follow his example –
"I urge you, then, be imitators of me."
1 Corinthians 4:16.
Christian ministry is always to be free-of-charge.
  Jesus had said –
"Freely you have received; freely give" –or– "You received without paying; give without pay"
Matthew 10:8.
Ministry generates its support only from its beneficiaries.
  Jesus had said –
"Acquire no gold nor silver nor copper for your belts, no bag for your journey,
nor two tunics nor sandals nor a staff, for the labourer deserves his food."
Matthew 10:9-10.
The preacher is to live at the same economic level as his flock.
  So, Paul taught –
"One who is taught the Word must share all good things with the one who teaches."
Galatians 6:6.
is no field of church conduct that has been more misrepresented in Christianity today than the financial. But more serious than its misrepresentation, for there will always be some form of error in our thinking at some level while we are in the flesh, is the precious truth that the error itself hides. In this regard, financing systems that support church ministry functions that are not based on the above three principles allow ministries to grow and develop that are totally out-of-gear with the Holy Spirit.
The Church of Jesus, the People of this New Covenant, is a spiritual community created directly by the Holy Spirit Himself – from individual initial conviction of sin and spiritual rebirth – to the filling with the Spirit for charismatically-equipped ministry in love toward others.
when a missionary's deputation-duties are imposed on him/her to raise support, or tithing-systems are taught as the key to God's blessings in order to finance church functions (as in the Old Covenant system), the safe-guards and balances of these principles that Jesus and Paul taught are disabled, and the qualitative development of Christ's Church is hindered behind an appearance of organisation and numerical growth.
An American Baptist theological college professor even encouraged a new (bi-vocational) form of ministry: that the preacher/pastor should take secular employment to lift the burden off his congregation in view of their other expenses. This, is direct contradiction of Principle Two, of which Paul wrote –
"...the Lord [Jesus] commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel"
1 Corinthians 9:14.
Paul wrote this, after using a quote from Israel's Law "You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain" as a metaphor for this, or as Jesus Himself had bluntly put it "the labourer deserves his food" – for there is no higher priority than remunerating the preacher for the benefits received. This principle was emphasized to young Timothy as "It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops." (2 Tim.2:6)
principle has a built-in safeguard for Christ's Church. Those academically-qualified or administratively-gifted preachers who do not bear spiritual fruit in the lives of their hearers are not meant to survive financially. The tithing system so commonly propagated in Western Christianity in particular annuls this safeguard, and leads to un-anointed ministry cluttering the work of God.
This New Covenant work of God is the welfare of the people for whom Christ died, beginning with the intimacy of their personal relationship to Him to bring them into His embrace.
But as Jesus showed us there is no limit on the particular sphere of need in this work of God, whether it be water-to-wine at a wedding, bread-and-fish multiplied on a hillside, or healing the eyes of a blind beggar. The need is where God's heart is.
fellowship then of God's people, the people who have received the Spirit of Christ, is a fellowship-of-caring in practical/financial terms, whatever the need may be. For –
"...God has so composed the Body [of Christ],
giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the Body,
but that the members may have the same care for one another.
If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together."
1 Corinthians 12:24-26.
it was written of them then as an example for our encouragement today –
" is not that there may be ease to others, but trouble to you [Achaian Christians];
but by equality in the present time, your abundance for their need
[Judaean Christians];
but also that their abundance may be for your need, that there may be equality;
even as it has been written, 'He gathering much, he had nothing left over, and he gathering little had no less.'"
(Exodus 16:18)
2 Corinthians 8:13-15
Literal Translation
Covenant in Christ is the direct embrace of God's heart.
  Let us live and die by it — all the way!  

Giving to God
Church Meeting Dynamics
Understanding The Bible

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