Rendering Heavenly Treasures: Sanctified in His Truth and Unified by His Spirit

BLCF: Jesus_Savior

Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship – BLCF Church Message for Sunday:

‘Rendering Heavenly Treasures: Sanctified in His Truth and Unified by His Spirit’

© May 3, 2015 2015 by Steve Mickelson

BLCF Bulletin May 3, 2015

BLCF: enemy_of_greed

Announcements & Call to Worship:                                                                                                            

Responsive Reading #618(Heavenly Treasure – Matthew 6); Prayer 

Opening Hymn #484: It Only Takes a Spark: Choruses

Tithing and Prayer Requests: Hymn #572: Praise God; Prayers

Today’s Scriptures: Mark 12:13-17, Matthew 6:19-20, John 18:33-40, John 17:1-19

BLCF: Caesar_Coin__Tiberius 

Mark 12:13-17 (ESV) Paying Taxes to Caesar

13 And they sent to him some of the Pharisees and some of the Herodians, to trap him in his talk. 14 And they came and said to him, “Teacher, we know that you are true and do not care about anyone’s opinion. For you are not swayed by appearances,[a] but truly teach the way of God. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? Should we pay them, or should we not?” 15 But, knowing their hypocrisy, he said to them, “Why put me to the test? Bring me a denarius[b] and let me look at it.” 16 And they brought one. And he said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They said to him, “Caesar’s.” 17 Jesus said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they marveled at him.                                                                                                                                                               

Footnotes: a. Mark 12:14 Greek you do not look at people’s faces b. Mark 12:15  A denarius was a day’s wage for a laborer

BLCF: HEAVENLY-TREASURE

Let us pray…

Good morning and welcome to BLCF Church’s Praise and Worship Service for the first Sunday of May, 2015, which is also Communion Sunday.

Sometimes, the toughest part about writing a lesson is to remember that while I may struggle to clarify a verse or some aspect of the Gospel, I must remind myself that help is available from both the Holy Spirit and fellow members of the Body of Believers. Just as Moses and Paul succeeded in their respective missions, when they allowed the Lord to guide their path, rather than depending solely on their own strengths. While, as believers in the Resurrected Christ, we share the Gospel Message; it is the power and work of the Spirit is responsible to convict, transform and grow the faith conversion of the non-believer.

At times, Christian believers struggled to heed the guidance of the Spirit, as had both the prophets and the disciples at times. An example of this challenge was given by Pastor Charles Stanley, writing his Tips for Being Led by the Holy Spirit, as appeared in the online Charisma Magazine:

 

BLCF: F-Stanley-

Pastor Charles Stanley shares how to walk in step with the Holy Spirit’s promptings.

Several years ago during a photographic trip, my group had been traveling up a trail for almost three hours, and I began to have a funny feeling that we were going in the wrong direction. I asked the guide about it, and he assured me that everything was fine. Not wanting to be presumptuous, I kept walking. After a few minutes, I noticed that my sense of uneasiness persisted; in fact, it was growing stronger. I pulled out my compass and looked at the map. Sure enough, we were headed away from our intended destination.

It took us close to an hour and a half to return to where we had taken the incorrect turn off the trail. Sadly, this meant that by the time we got to the site, our window for taking photographs was cut short.

The event helped me to realize two valuable lessons. First, when we sense an internal witness encouraging us to take a certain course of action, we should listen. Second, when you and I choose people to guide us, we must be certain they know the path ahead better than we do.

Have you ever felt something alerting you to pay attention or pulling you in a particular direction? Perhaps you were listening to a sermon and you sensed God telling you to follow Him in obedience. Or maybe you walked into a restaurant and were filled with dread, as if you should leave quickly.

If you are a believer, then most likely these feelings were the prompting of the Holy Spirit, who always guides you to understand and accept the Father’s will. He is the One speaking to your heart, warning you about danger and encouraging you to submit to God’s purposes.

Unlike the fellow who accompanied us on that photographic trip, the Holy Spirit is a trustworthy guide who will never lead us astray and knows the path ahead much better than we do. Apart from Him, you and I cannot live a godly life. Galatians 5:16 instructs, “Walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh” (NASB). The Holy Spirit empowers us to resist sin and obey God. But He does so much more: He also helps us to understand Scripture and enables us to fellowship with the Lord. He will never advise us to do anything that contradicts Scripture.

http://www.charismamag.com/spirit/spiritual-growth/15418-guided-by-the-spirit

BLCF: render_unto_Caesar_Malczewski_Jacek_Grosz_czynszowy

Today’s first Scripture verse, Mark 12:13-17, gives an account where Jesus was challenged by a group of Pharisees and Herodians, who hoped to snare the Lord into speaking out against taxes, by asking, (verse 14): “Teacher, we know that you are true and do not care about anyone’s opinion. For you are not swayed by appearances, but truly teach the way of God. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? Should we pay them, or should we not?”

We see that the Spirit allowed the Lord to discern their motives and give an answer which satisfied both their faith values, while not being subversive to authority of Rome,(verses 15-17): “Why put me to the test? Bring me a denarius[b] and let me look at it.” 16 And they brought one. And he said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They said to him, “Caesar’s.” 17 Jesus said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they marveled at him.

The stumbling block for many Christians is living in a world that based upon a completely different set of values from those held by our Lord, Matthew 6:19-20:

BLCF: Heavenly_Treasures

 Lay Up Treasures in Heaven

19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.                   

We find that the proponents of both the Empire of Rome, represented by Pilate and Pharisees, or chief priests, struggled with the truth of God as was taught by Jesus, John 18:33-40:

BLCF: Jesus_and_Pilate

My Kingdom Is Not of This World

33 So Pilate entered his headquarters again and called Jesus and said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” 34 Jesus answered, “Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?” 35 Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you over to me. What have you done?” 36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” 37 Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” 38 Pilate said to him, “What is truth?”

After he had said this, he went back outside to the Jews and told them, “I find no guilt in him. 39 But you have a custom that I should release one man for you at the Passover. So do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?” 40 They cried out again, “Not this man, but Barabbas!” Now Barabbas was a robber.[a]  

Footnotes: a. John 18:40 Or an insurrectionist

The Pharisees and Herodians, not being guided by the Spirit, understood neither the purpose nor the truth brought to them by Jesus. Their lack of understanding came as a result of the absence of faith and trust in powers of Heaven.

While Pilate, the Pharisees and Herodians may have failed to accept or understand the truth of the Lord, those disciples and others who believed were the focus of the High Priestly Prayer that Jesus prayed just before his crucifixion, John 17:1-19:

BLCF; Jesus Prayed

The High Priestly Prayer

17 When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.

6“I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. 10 All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. 11 And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. 13 But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. 14 I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.[a] 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them[b] in the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sake I consecrate myself,[c] that they also may be sanctified[d] in truth.                                      

Footnotes: a. John 17:15 Or from evil b. John 17:17 Greek Set them apart (for holy service to God) c. John 17:19 Or I sanctify myself; or I set myself apart (for holy service to God) e. John 17:19 Greek may be set apart (for holy service to God)

We know that Jesus often left the disciples in order to pray. John 17 gives us an insight of not only whom the Lord prayed for, but reveals to us the nature of his advocacy on behalf of Christian believers after he ascended to heaven.  We note the difference between those who heeded the words of the Lord and those who rejected it, (verses 6-11):

6“I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. 10 All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. 11 And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.

In John 17, Jesus continues to pray for the believers’ sanctification (in the truth), protection from Satan (the evil one), and Christ’s determination to set himself apart so that the believers may continue to remain sanctified in the truth – all implemented by the companion in the Holy Spirit which was sent in place of Christ after his ascension into heaven.

For all believers are united by Holy Spirit, given as a reward to confession of their sins and faith that Jesus died for those sins. Believers are instructed to share the Gospel of Jesus and to gather together in the name of the Lord and observe the sacrifice and Lordship, until the day that he returns.

Let us pray…

BLCF: Communion

Communion – (1 Corinthians 11:23-26):                                                                                                          

For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

Closing Hymn #505: Out in the Highways and Byways of Life

Benediction – (Romans 12:1-2):                                                                                                                        

I appeal to you therefore brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. 

BLCF: he-prayed-for-you 

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Jesus: God’s Final Passover Lamb

BLCF: Christ-our-Passover

Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship – BLCF Church Message for Sunday:

‘Jesus: God’s Final Passover Lamb 

© February 1, 2015 by Steve Mickelson

 BLCF Bulletin February 1, 2015

BLCF: Jesus_the_Christ_the_spotless_Lamb_of_God

Reading #612 (The Lamb of GOD – Isaiah 53); Prayer                                              

Opening Hymn #1: Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord God Almighty; Choruses                  

Prayer and Tithing: Hymn #572: Praise God from Whom All Blessings             

Scripture Verses: Exodus 12:1-14, John 1:29-34, Hebrews 10:5-18

 

 Let us pray…

Welcome to Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship on this, the first Sunday of February; Communion Sunday.

Our lesson today is entitled: ‘Jesus: God’s Final Passover Lamb, where with the help of the Scriptures and our Wikibits we will explore and connect the dots between the first Passover in Egypt, the Festival of Passover or Pesach, and Jesus as the final Passover lamb.

It is hoped that our journey today will give us a better understanding and appreciation for the communion.

Let us begin our journey today with the first Passover, where Jewish People celebrate not only their liberation from enslavement under Pharaoh in Egypt and by the blood of a sacrificed lamb,  avoided the judgment of death, which was the Tenth Plague rendered by God.

Passover – from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

BLCF: Passover_Seder

Passover or Pesach (/ˈpɛsɑːx, ˈpsɑːx/;[4] from: פֶּסַח in Hebrew, Yiddish; Tiberian: [pɛsaħ] ( listen), Modern Hebrew: [ˈpesaχ] Pesah, Pesakh; Yiddish: Peysekh, Paysakh, Paysokh), is an important biblically derived Jewish festival. The Jewish people celebrate Passover as a commemoration of their liberation over 3,300 years ago by God from slavery in ancient Egypt that was ruled by the Pharaohs, and their freedom as a nation under the leadership of Moses. It commemorates the story of the Exodus as described in the Hebrew Bible especially in the Book of Exodus, in which the Israelites were freed from slavery in Egypt.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passover

We see how Passover celebrates the liberation the Jewish people, from life as Hebrew slaves, but how dis GOD effect their release from bondage?

The Tenth Plague of Egypt

BLCF: List_of_10_Plagues

The Plagues of Egypt (Hebrew: מכות מצרים, Makot Mitzrayim), also called the ten plagues (Hebrew: עשר המכות, Eser HaMakot) or the biblical plagues, were ten calamities that, according to the biblical Book of Exodus, Israel’s God inflicted upon Egypt to persuade the Pharaoh to release the ill-treated Israelites from slavery. Pharaoh capitulated after the tenth plague, triggering the Exodus of the Hebrew people. The plagues were designed to contrast the power of Yahweh with the impotence of Egypt’s various gods.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plagues_of_Egypt#10._Death_of_the_firstborn_.28.D7.9E.D6.B7.D7.9B.D6.B7.D6.BC.D7.AA_.D7.91.D6.B0.D6.BC.D7.9B.D7.95.D6.B9.D7.A8.D7.95.D6.B9.D7.AA.29:_Ex._11:1.E2.80.9312:36

Let us now review our first Scripture Passage, which gives us the account of the first Passover, from Exodus 12:1-14 (ESV):

The Passover

BLCF: The Passover

12 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, “This month shall be for you the beginning of months. It shall be the first month of the year for you. Tell all the congregation of Israel that on the tenth day of this month every man shall take a lamb according to their fathers’ houses, a lamb for a household. And if the household is too small for a lamb, then he and his nearest neighbor shall take according to the number of persons; according to what each can eat you shall make your count for the lamb. Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male a year old. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats, and you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month, when the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill their lambs at twilight.[a]

“Then they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat it. They shall eat the flesh that night, roasted on the fire; with unleavened bread and bitter herbs they shall eat it. Do not eat any of it raw or boiled in water, but roasted, its head with its legs and its inner parts. 10 And you shall let none of it remain until the morning; anything that remains until the morning you shall burn. 11 In this manner you shall eat it: with your belt fastened, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. And you shall eat it in haste. It is the Lord’s Passover. 12 For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the Lord. 13 The blood shall be a sign for you, on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you, when I strike the land of Egypt.

14 “This day shall be for you a memorial day, and you shall keep it as a feast to the Lord; throughout your generations, as a statute forever, you shall keep it as a feast.

Footnotes: a. Exodus 12:6 Hebrew between the two evenings

GOD instructed the people of Israel to celebrate Passover throughout generations. It is interesting that the Passover Feast begins the day before as a fast, for some people, as we see in this posting from chabad.org:

 The Fast of the First Born (chabad.org) – by Eliyahu Kitov

BLCF: Exodus_tenth_plague_great_cry

It is an ancient and widespread custom for the firstborn to fast on the day before Passover. This commemorates the miracle which spared the firstborn Jewish sons from the plague which struck down the firstborn sons of the Egyptians.

By right, this fast should be held on the anniversary of the day on which the miracle occurred: on the night of the fifteenth of Nissan. However, since the fifteenth is already Passover, and we do not fast on Festival days the fast is pushed back to the fourteenth.

There is an additional reason why we fast specifically on the fourteenth. The firstborn of the Jews were saved in Egypt because they humbled themselves before GOD, admitting and declaring that all greatness, power, and sovereignty are His alone.

This stood in contradistinction to the Egyptians who, filled with foolish pride and egotism, declared: “I am, and besides me there is none other.”

http://www.chabad.org/holidays/passover/pesach_cdo/aid/1678/jewish/The-Fast-of-the-First-Born.htm

If GOD instructed the people to celebrate Passover as a statue forever, are Christians obliged to observe Passover? Let us go back to our Wikibits:

Passover (Christian holiday)

Passover_Chart

The Epistle to the Hebrews states that the sacrificial killing of animals could not finally take away sin, but awaited the atonement of Christ. (Hebrews 10). It proceeds to explain that Jesus Christ offered the one sacrifice that was acceptable to God, and that he lives forever as the believers’ intercessory high priest, replacing the Jewish sacrificial system and its sacerdotal priesthood. Most Christians consider the external ritual of sacrifice instituted in the Old Testament by God to be a precursor of the self-sacrifice offered by Jesus. For this reason, Jesus is called the “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

The main Christian view is that the Passover, as observed by ancient Israel as well as Jews today, was a type of the true Passover Sacrifice of God that was to be made by Jesus.[3] The Israelites’ Passover observance was the commemoration of their physical deliverance from bondage in Egypt, whereas Passover represents for most Christians a spiritual deliverance from the slavery of sin (John 8:34) and, since Jesus’ death, a memorial of the sacrifice that Jesus has made for mankind.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passover_(Christian_holiday)

As Jesus died on the cross, as a final sacrifice for all of our sins, as Christians we celebrate not only GOD’s passing over our judgment from sin through Christ; we are given the assurance of our salvation and resurrection from death, as well as the gifting of the Holy Spirt, until the day the Lord returns. For that reason we see the celebration of an annual Passover Feast, replaced by Communion, as instructed by Jesus, at the last Passover.

Where Passover gives celebrants pause to reflect upon the liberation of the Israel Nation from the bondage of enslavement and the judgment of death to all first born in Egypt, Communion observance gives Christians an opportunity to celebrate the freedom of all of humanity from bondage and judgment for sin through the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus, which is a gift to all from GOD.

Let us look at the Scriptures account of the Lamb of GOD, from John 1:29-34 (ESV):

Behold, the Lamb of GOD

 BLCF: John-the-Baptist

 29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me.’ 31 I myself did not know him, but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.” 32 And John bore witness: “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. 33 I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.”

Although John, also known as John the Baptist, does identify Jesus as Lamb of God, the Apostle Paul gives us a more complete understanding of the significance of this final sacrifice, in Hebrews 10:5-18 (ESV):

BLCF: Passover-Cross-montage

Consequently, when Christ[a] came into the world, he said,

“Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired,                                                               

but a body have you prepared for me;                                                                                   

in burnt offerings and sin offerings                                                                                  

you have taken no pleasure.                                                                                                 

 Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come to do your will, O God,                                           

as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.’”

When he said above, “You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings” (these are offered according to the law), then he added, “Behold, I have come to do your will.” He does away with the first in order to establish the second. 10 And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

11 And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But when Christ[b] had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 13 waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. 14 For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.

15 And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying,

16 “This is the covenant that I will make with them     

after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws on their hearts,     

and write them on their minds,”

17 then he adds,

“I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.”

18 Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin.

Footnotes: a. Hebrews 10:5 Greek he b. Hebrews 10:12 Greek this one

BLCF: Jesus - Passover Lamb

 

Looking closer at this Scripture passage, we see that the sacrifice of Christ does away with all other sacrifices, including that performed at Passover, Hebrews 10:8-10:

“You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings” (these are offered according to the law), then he added, “Behold, I have come to do your will.” He does away with the first in order to establish the second. 10 And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

BLCF: Jesus_Lamb_of_GOD

 

In final portion of this Scripture passage, not only do we need not to follow the observances of the Mosaic Law of Feasts, for we now come under GOD’s new covenant, through our Lord, Christ Jesus, Hebrews 10:15-18:

15 And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying,

16 “This is the covenant that I will make with them                                                       

after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws on their hearts,                      

and write them on their minds,”

17 then he adds,

“I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.”

18 Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin.

blcf: Jesus_Passover_Lamb

 

While there is no need to observe the old laws under the OLD Covenant, as Christians, who are freed from the judgment for our sins by our Passover lamb, who is Christ, we must continue to worship the Lord in Spirit and in Truth, as we read in 1 Corinthians 5:7-8 (ESV):

BLCF: Yeshua_Passover_Lamb

Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

Let us pray…

At this point in our worship service, we will observe Communion, which we reflect and remember the final sacrifice made by our Lord, Jesus, which saved not just the people of Israel from a single threat and judgment, as had happened in Egypt, but the Passover of all believers in the Resurrected Christ, potentially of humanity, from the death judgment of all sin, for all time, until the day Christ returns.

Communion differs from Passover, which celebrates a single miracle, at a single point in time. We have Communion celebrate a miracle that is more global in scale, for everyone who believe, not just at one time, but for all time.

Passover is an observation for all generations, under the Mosaic Law and Old Covenant; where Communion is an ongoing observation celebrated more frequently, as salvation after Jesus’ sacrifice and New Covenant comes at any time a believer makes a faith decision to accept Christ’s gift of salvation and agrees to accept his Lordship. Salvation and the New Covenant may occur for anyone, at any time, and in that regard is not limited to a single day or time. That is why Christian Churches celebrate the “New Passover” more frequently, in the spirit and truth the Lord intended.

We have the following description of the Words of Institution or Consecration spoken while we observer Communion.

 Communion: Words of Institution

 BLCF: mysteries-of-the-holy-eucharist

The Words of Institution (also called the Words of Consecration) are words echoing those of Jesus himself at his Last Supper that, when consecrating bread and wine, Christian Eucharistic liturgies include in a narrative of that event. Eucharistic scholars sometimes refer to them simply as the verba (Latin for “words”). Protestant denominations

Protestant denominations generally, with the exception of the Anglican Communion and Lutheranism, rely exclusively on the words of St. Paul as recorded in 1 Corinthians 11:23-26. (ESV):

Protestantism has typically utilized the words of institution as a central part of its Communion service, though precise traditions vary by denomination. The debate over the force and literalness of the words of institution underlies the arguments between consubstantiation and transubstantiation. Most of the established churches in the Protestant tradition employ a mirroring of Paul’s words surrounding the words of institution, while Congregationalist and Baptist churches use the words themselves without the full citation of Paul’s wording.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Words_of_Institution

1 Corinthians 11:23-26

BLCF: Communion

“For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, ‘This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’

In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.’

For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.”

Let us pray…

 Closing Hymn #248: And Can It Be That I Should Gain                                      

Benediction – (Hebrews 13:20-21): 

Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant,  equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen

BLCF: Hebrews10_10

 

Sharing the Gospel as Ministers of the Lord’s New Covenant

BLCF: Romans10_4

 

Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship – BLCF Church Message for Sunday:

           ‘Sharing the Gospel as Ministers of the Lord’s New Covenant’

                         © April 6, 2014 by Steve Mickelson

BLCF: Bulletin April 6,, 2014

BLCF:the-great-commission

BLCF:the_great_commission

 

 

Announcements and Call to Worship: Responsive Reading #624

(The Great Commission – Matthew 26, Luke 24, Acts 1, Mark 16); Prayer

Opening Hymn #37: Great Is Thy Faithfulness; Choruses  

Scripture Verses: Psalm 105:1-27, Jeremiah 31:31-34, 2 Corinthians 3

Let us pray…

Last Sunday, we discussed in order to receive the Lord’s salvation, glorification and the promise of eternal life through Jesus Christ; we must obediently turn from a life of being a “slave of sin” to that of being a “slaves of righteousness.”

Salvation through Christ comes by was of a change in attitude both towards God and others. That attitude reveals our love, obedience and commitment to the Gospel of Christ, which leads first righteousness, then to sanctification and ultimately to eternal life as the Lord had promised in His “New Covenant.”

And so let us review what is meant by the term “covenant”? And so we turn to our Wiki bits for definition, Covenant from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
Covenant (religion), a formal alliance or agreement made by God with a religious community or with humanity in general

A biblical covenant is a religious covenant that is described in the Bible. All Abrahamic religions consider biblical covenants important.  

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Covenant_(biblical)

BLCF: Biblr Covenants

 

We find a general summary of the significant God’s Covenants in Psalm 105, where the Psalmist exhorts us to witness and tell every one of His “Wonderful Works”:

Psalm 105:1-27 (ESV) Tell of All His Wonderful Works

Psalm 105

English Standard Version (ESV)

Tell of All His Wonderful Works

105 Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name;
    make known his deeds among the peoples!
Sing to him, sing praises to him;
    tell of all his wondrous works!
Glory in his holy name;
    let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice!
Seek the Lord and his strength;
    seek his presence continually!
Remember the wondrous works that he has done,
    his miracles, and the judgments he uttered,
O offspring of Abraham, his servant,
    children of Jacob, his chosen ones!

He is the Lord our God;
    his judgments are in all the earth.
He remembers his covenant forever,
    the word that he commanded, for a thousand generations,
the covenant that he made with Abraham,
    his sworn promise to Isaac,
10 which he confirmed to Jacob as a statute,
    to Israel as an everlasting covenant,
11 saying, “To you I will give the land of Canaan
    as your portion for an inheritance.”

12 When they were few in number,
    of little account, and sojourners in it,
13 wandering from nation to nation,
    from one kingdom to another people,
14 he allowed no one to oppress them;
    he rebuked kings on their account,
15 saying, “Touch not my anointed ones,
    do my prophets no harm!”

16 When he summoned a famine on the land
    and broke all supply[a] of bread,
17 he had sent a man ahead of them,
    Joseph, who was sold as a slave.
18 His feet were hurt with fetters;
    his neck was put in a collar of iron;
19 until what he had said came to pass,
    the word of the Lord tested him.
20 The king sent and released him;
    the ruler of the peoples set him free;
21 he made him lord of his house
    and ruler of all his possessions,
22 to bind[b] his princes at his pleasure
    and to teach his elders wisdom.

23 Then Israel came to Egypt;
    Jacob sojourned in the land of Ham.
24 And the Lord made his people very fruitful
    and made them stronger than their foes.
25 He turned their hearts to hate his people,
    to deal craftily with his servants.

26 He sent Moses, his servant,
    and Aaron, whom he had chosen.
27 They performed his signs among them
    and miracles in the land of Ham.
28 He sent darkness, and made the land dark;
    they did not rebel[c] against his words.
29 He turned their waters into blood
    and caused their fish to die.
30 Their land swarmed with frogs,
    even in the chambers of their kings.
31 He spoke, and there came swarms of flies,
    and gnats throughout their country.
32 He gave them hail for rain,
    and fiery lightning bolts through their land.
33 He struck down their vines and fig trees,
    and shattered the trees of their country.
34 He spoke, and the locusts came,
    young locusts without number,
35 which devoured all the vegetation in their land
    and ate up the fruit of their ground.
36 He struck down all the firstborn in their land,
    the firstfruits of all their strength.

37 Then he brought out Israel with silver and gold,
    and there was none among his tribes who stumbled.
38 Egypt was glad when they departed,
    for dread of them had fallen upon it.

39 He spread a cloud for a covering,
    and fire to give light by night.
40 They asked, and he brought quail,
    and gave them bread from heaven in abundance.
41 He opened the rock, and water gushed out;
    it flowed through the desert like a river.
42 For he remembered his holy promise,
    and Abraham, his servant.

43 So he brought his people out with joy,
    his chosen ones with singing.
44 And he gave them the lands of the nations,
    and they took possession of the fruit of the peoples’ toil,
45 that they might keep his statutes
    and observe his laws.
Praise the Lord!

Footnotes:

  1. Psalm 105:16 Hebrew staff
  2. Psalm 105:22 Septuagint, Syriac, Jerome instruct
  3. Psalm 105:28 Septuagint, Syriac omit not

 

BLCF: the-biblical-covenants

God had made a Covenant with Abraham, which He renewed with the prophets through to Moses.

Then we see that God reveals a New Covenant, as described in the Book of Jeremiah, Chapter 31, is no longer teaching the laws from one generation, to the next, which fails if the teaching is made by those of little faith or who corrupt God’s Word for personal gain or edification:

Jeremiah 31:31-34 (ESV) The New Covenant

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31 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, 32 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the Lord. 33 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

BLCF: written-upon-their-hearts

Last week, we discussed how God sought to preserve the good of humanity, along with the animals of the earth, by means of an ark constructed by Noah. This ark provided a means for God’s good creation to avoid flood which destroyed the remainder of a sinful humanity. And we talked about how God sought to be close to His chosen people, by having Moses construct an ark to hold and preserve both God’s Holy Spirit as well as the tablets upon which God wrote His Laws.

Unfortunately, sin prevented most of humanity, save for a select righteous few, from drawing near or knowing God. For sin prevented most people from gazing upon the face of Moses, let alone drawing near to Ark of God’s Covenant. And how well can anyone expect to teach others about God’s Glory, as they were instructed in Psalm 105, if sin prevented them from drawing close to and understanding Him? Not very well indeed!

BLCF: priesthoods

But, as was prophesised in Jeremiah 31, God promised humanity a New Covenant and a way, whereby all will be able to know Him by His plan of reconciliation and sanctification. This New Covenant was fulfilled by Jesus, as described by the Apostle Paul in chapter 3 of his second epistle to the Corinthians:

2 Corinthians 3 (ESV) Ministers of the New Covenant

BLCF:NewCovenant

3 Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, as some do, letters of recommendation to you, or from you? You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on our[a] hearts, to be known and read by all. And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.[b]

Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses’ face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end, will not the ministry of the Spirit have even more glory? For if there was glory in the ministry of condemnation, the ministry of righteousness must far exceed it in glory. 10 Indeed, in this case, what once had glory has come to have no glory at all, because of the glory that surpasses it. 11 For if what was being brought to an end came with glory, much more will what is permanent have glory.

12 Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, 13 not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to an end. 14 But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. 15 Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. 16 But when one[c] turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. 17 Now the Lord[d] is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord,[e] are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

Footnotes: a. 2 Corinthians 3:2 Some manuscripts your b. 2 Corinthians 3:3 Greek fleshly hearts c. 2 Corinthians 3:16 Greek he d. 2 Corinthians 3:17 Or this Lord e. 2 Corinthians 3:18 Or reflecting the glory of the Lord

BLCF: no-longer-under-the-veil

But God’s plan was to remove humanity’s judgment and separation from God that was caused by sin and to provide a way of reconciliation with God, through His Son, Jesus. Jesus died on the cross to atone for humanity’s sins, serving as a final sacrifice, by his death on the cross. This New Covenant, is completed, when by faith in Christ, we accept his sacrifice, confess our sins, and chose to follow the righteous path by turning away from our sinful life.

BLCF:Ministers of the New Covenant

In return, the Lord promised forgiveness, sanctification, the promise of the resurrection and eternal life and His presence in the form of the Holy Spirit. Through the Holy Spirit, we as believers may understand God and be transformed and empowered, through the Spirit to witnesses and minister to others the Gospel of Jesus, which we obliged to do under Christ’s “Great Commission.” It is our responsibility to share the Gospel of Christ unto the ends of the earth, until the day that the whole world has heard the salvation message, through Jesus. And until that time, we must keep our part of the New Covenant until the day we take that final sleep until the day the Lord returns. I would like to quote the poet Robert Frost who authored, Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, a poet expression which illustrates how we, even in the winter years of life, must continue upholding our covenants or promises before we take that final sleep at life’s end:

BLCF:Robert_Frost     

 

Let us pray…

Closing Hymn #40: To God Be the Glory

We now have an opportunity to demonstrate, by way of Communion, our obligation under the New Covenant to remember the sacrifice made by Jesus’ who provided us with forgiveness, sanctification, reconciliation and justification from the judgment for sin.

 

Communion: Matthew 26:26-29 (ESV) Institution of the Lord’s Supper

BLCF: Communion

 

26 Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” 27 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, 28 for this is my blood of the new covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29 I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”  

                                                                               

BLCF: Piasecki-LastSupper

 

Benediction (Revelation 22:20-21): He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!  The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen

 

BLCF: Share-the-Good-News

BLCF: 2corinthians3_6