Saturday, December 8, 2012

A New Covenant Commandment. . .

Jackie and I had a very nice time at Life Tabernacle's Christmas party last night. Fellowship one with another in the body is very important. Being a part of a church must be more than merely showing up for service, sitting on a pew and listening to a sermon once or twice a week. We are to be brothers and sisters in the body of Christ, and the members of a body are in continual contact one with another.

1 Corinthians 12:25-27
That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. (26) And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it. (27) Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.

By the same measure that there is separation between us, our unity. . . our power and effectiveness is diminished. A body cannot be effective and graceful with a fracture in the leg. . .or a dislocated shoulder or a compressed disc in the back, it is the same spiritually in the body of Christ.

Ephesians 4:14-16
That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; (15) But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: (16) From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

We are to be fitly joined together. Identifying ourselves, and functioning not as individuals, but as unified members of a body. If there is one thing I envy of the Jewish faith, is their sense of identity. It goes beyond their common religion. It is their heritage. . . their genealogy. . . their history. . . their blood.

I greatly desire that sense of identity and belonging and history for us. We must continue to strive for it, but I fear that it will not come of its own. Such strong bonds, may only come at great cost. . . through oppression, and persecution.

We do not have strict dietary restrictions. Circumcision is not required for us. We are not restricted as to what we do on the Sabbath. Though all these things build a sense of identity. They are not a part of our heritage or our doctrine. A secret handshake, special undergarments, and elaborate rituals would certainly help define and separate us, but as followers of Christ those artificial devices, since they are not of God, eventually will become tools of the devil.

There is only one way in which Jesus commanded us to be distinguished from others:

John 13:34-35
A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. (35) By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

This is no mere suggestion, or recommendation. . . this is a COMMANDMENT from Jesus. This must be our identifying boundary and mark. . . our new covenant shibboleth. Anything else we try to substitute for this as a means of establishing community and identity, may succeed in the short term, but long term will end up becoming , a distraction, a stumbling block, and ultimately a wedge between us and God.

Love one another. . .
Love one another. . .
Love one another. . .
By this all men know that ye are MY disciples. . .
By this all men know that ye are MY disciples. . .
By this all men know that ye are MY disciples. . .

I greatly desire to be known as disciple of Jesus. . .
Therefore, I MUST love my brothers, and sisters.
This is a new covenant commandment of God.

I love you my God. . .
Help me my Lord to perfectly love my fellow man. . .

Dave













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