Ministers of God’s New Covenant, Sufficient by Way of the Spirit

BLCF: Proverbs_9_10

‘Ministers of God’s New Covenant, Sufficient by Way of the Spirit’

© May 24, 2015 2015 by Steve Mickelson

BLCF Bulletin May 24, 2015

BLCF: fires_of_pentecost


Announcements & Call to Worship: Responsive Reading #639                                                      (The Holy Spirit Given – Acts 2); Prayer

Opening Hymn #204: “There’s a Quiet Understanding”; Choruses

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

Today’s Scriptures:

Deuteronomy 4:32-40, 2 Corinthians 3:4-11, Acts 1:1-5, Acts 2:1-13

BLCF: Pentecost

Let us pray…

Today is Sunday May 24, 2015, which according to scholars of the Bible is Pentecost Sunday. So it is not difficult to understand that our lesson today at Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship is on the subject of Pentecost.

Let us begin by understanding what is meant by Pentecost. Let us begin by a definition via Wikibits:


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Pentecost (Ancient Greek: Πεντηκοστή [ἡμέρα], Pentēkostē [hēmera], “the fiftieth [day]”) is the Greek name for Shavuot, the Feast of Weeks, a prominent feast in the calendar of ancient Israel celebrating the giving of the Law on Sinai. This feast is still celebrated in Judaism as Shavuot. Later, in the Christian liturgical year, it became a feast commemorating the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and other followers of Jesus Christ (120 in all), as described in the Acts of the Apostles 2:1–31.[1] For this reason, Pentecost is sometimes described by some Christians today as the “Birthday of the Church”.

In the Eastern church, Pentecost can also refer to the whole fifty (50) days between Easter and Pentecost, hence the book containing the liturgical texts for Paschaltide is called the Pentecostarion. The feast is also called White Sunday, or Whitsunday, especially in England, where the following Monday was traditionally a public holiday. Pentecost is celebrated fifty days (i.e. 49 days with the first day counted, seven weeks) after Easter Sunday, hence its name.[2] Pentecost falls on the tenth day after Ascension Thursday (which falls 40 days after Easter).

Perhaps a shorter definition would be, that for Christians, Pentecost is the day upon which the Lord Jesus sent to those believers in the Resurrected Christ the Holy Spirit. The arrival of the Spirit also is generally considered to be the moment that the Christian Church was born.

Before the advent of Jesus, the Word Made Flesh, who: died on the cross for all the sins of humanity, was resurrected from the grave, and then ascended back into heaven, humanity had to rely solely upon God’s Laws which were given to Moses, along with His Covenant under those Laws, as we see in Deuteronomy 4:32-40 (ESV):

The Lord Alone Is God

BLCF: Obedience

32 “For ask now of the days that are past, which were before you, since the day that God created man on the earth, and ask from one end of heaven to the other, whether such a great thing as this has ever happened or was ever heard of. 33 Did any people ever hear the voice of a god speaking out of the midst of the fire, as you have heard, and still live? 34 Or has any god ever attempted to go and take a nation for himself from the midst of another nation, by trials, by signs, by wonders, and by war, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, and by great deeds of terror, all of which the Lord your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes? 35 To you it was shown, that you might know that the Lord is God; there is no other besides him. 36 Out of heaven he let you hear his voice, that he might discipline you. And on earth he let you see his great fire, and you heard his words out of the midst of the fire. 37 And because he loved your fathers and chose their offspring after them[a] and brought you out of Egypt with his own presence, by his great power, 38 driving out before you nations greater and mightier than you, to bring you in, to give you their land for an inheritance, as it is this day, 39 know therefore today, and lay it to your heart, that the Lord is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other. 40 Therefore you shall keep his statutes and his commandments, which I command you today, that it may go well with you and with your children after you, and that you may prolong your days in the land that the Lord your God is giving you for all time.”                                             

Footnotes: a. Deuteronomy 4:37 Hebrew his offspring after him

God sent His Son, Jesus to establish a New Covenant, not of Law, but of the Spirit, as we see in 2 Corinthians 3:4-11 (ESV):

BLCF: 10 Commandments

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.

God’s Old Covenant included a judgement and death for sin or transgressions against any of God’s Commandments which were written laws that no one could hope to keep. If a person violated a law under the Old Covenant, they were expected to bring a sacrifice, usually a lamb or dove, to the Temple Priest. Every time a sin was committed, a sacrifice had to be made. If a person committed a sin and did not make to the temple to offer a sacrifice, say they died before getting to the temple, then they would be considered in violation of the Law which brings the judgment of death.

Then there is the possibility of violating a Commandment in a manner that seems unintentional. Breaking any of the ten without confession and sacrifice brings the same judgment of death.

The Tenth Commandment is: “Thou should not covet.”  Now take the case of parent who wants to provide the best for his or her children. We all want to provide for their needs. After all, children deserve the best that we as parents are able to provide. That is what I wanted for mine. But suppose my son or daughter wants something that is the latest, greatest and most popular item. After all, everybody, all of their friends and peers want it; desire it; covet it. So by purchasing such an item, are we not in danger of facilitating covetous behaviour? We may rationalize the “keeping up with the Jones” as not violating God’s Law, just as Adam and Eve ate forbidden fruit because it was “appealing to the eye” and would “give God’s knowledge of good and evil”, which are aspects that they coveted.  Regardless of the rational, if we covet, we sin. And if we sin, under the law, we die. So it is under the Covenant of the Law.

Jesus came to establish a New Covenant, a Covenant of the Spirit, which is also a Covenant of Life. Christ was the last and final sacrifice. It is no longer necessary to bring sacrifices to the temple’s high priest. Through the Lord, we are forgiven of our transgressions, sanctified, under the new Covenant. After he ascended to Heaven, Jesus sent to all believers the Holy Spirit to bring understanding to our testimony of the Gospel to whomever we witness. It is not by our ability, but by the power of the Spirit that a non-believer becomes convicted in faith.

The New Covenant from God was of Salvation and Life, by faith in Jesus Christ, Acts 1:1-5 (ESV):

The Promise of the Holy Spirit


1 In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.

And while staying[a] with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with[b] the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”                                                                                      

Footnotes: a. Acts 1:4 Or eating b. Acts 1:5 Or in

The description of the arrival of the Holy Spirit to the believers in Christ is found in Acts 2:1-13 (ESV):

The Coming of the Holy Spirit

BLCF: pentecost1

2 When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested[a] on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language. And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, 11 both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians—we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.” 12 And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13 But others mocking said, “They are filled with new wine.”               

 Footnotes: a. Acts 2:3 Or And tongues as of fire appeared to them, distributed among them, and rested

It is not surprising that some of those non-believers who observed the behavior of the disciples’ of Christ, who through the Great Commission had become Apostles or Messengers of Jesus, misunderstood what they observed when the Spirit arrived. For the spectators were wise in the world, not the Spirit, 1 Corinthians 2:11-16 (ESV):

Wisdom from the Spirit

BLCF: Ephesians-1-17

11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. 13 And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.[a]

14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 15 The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. 16 “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.                                             

 Footnotes: a. 1 Corinthians 2:13 Or interpreting spiritual truths in spiritual language, or comparing spiritual things with spiritual

Let us pray…

Closing Hymn #225: Standing on the Promises

Benediction – (2 Corinthians 13:14):  The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

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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





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.

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!


  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

BLCF: Jeremiah_31_31-34

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


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:



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