Why do we live by Old Testament Worship Patterns in the New Testament Community of Believers?
“A woman shall not wear man’s clothing, nor shall a man put on a woman’s clothing; for whoever does these things is an abomination to the LORD your God.” Deut. 22:5
“The pig, because it divides the hoof but does not chew the cud, it is unclean for you. You shall not eat any of their flesh nor touch their carcasses.” Deut. 14:8.
It seems that Christians today make their decisions to follow certain Old Testament laws based on whether a law seems to be relevant or not. Dare I say convenient?
> Take tithing for example.
“A tithe [tenth] of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the LORD; it is holy to the LORD.” (Lev 27:30)
In the Old Testament it is clear that 10% belongs to the Lord of everything from the land. In the New Testament it’s not so clear. Jesus seems to have demanded a much higher percentage, rooted in the command to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength and love our neighbor as ourselves! Do we love ourselves only 10%?
And He said, “Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all of them; for they all out of their surplus put into the offering; but she out of her poverty put in all that she had to live on.” (Luke 21:3-4)
Jesus was the end of the law.
“The Law was a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ, but after faith is come we are no longer under the schoolmaster.” (People’s New Testament)
“Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. (Mtt 5:17)
According to the Law, in the OT the people of God went up into the temple, singing songs of praise.
“Enter His gates with thanksgiving And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name.” Ps 100:4
As the priest ascended the 15 steps to the temple the people sang one of the accompanying 15 Psalms of Ascent (see Pss. 120-134). On the Day of Atonement, the High Priest alone officiated. Throughout the day, he would wash his whole body five times, and his hands and feet ten times and then put on his usual priestly garments – the golden garments.
Sadly we use these Old Testament passages and recreate their situation in the New Testament community of believers.
Our High Priest (the pastor) calls forth the people to come into the temple (church) and then sit and watch him perform his high priestly duties, such as burning the incense, lighting the lamps, and offering the sacrifice (preaching, praying, prophesying, etc.).
In complete opposition to this, the New Testament community of believers was called to meet together in the context of a home, “break bread” as one body and share a meal together. They were also called to edify one another by “each one” using his or her spiritual gifts with the gathered community of believers.
In a real sense we were to be priests to one another!
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. (1 Peter 2:9)
In a real sense we believers are now “God’s temple”!
“The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands” (Acts 17:24)
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? (1 Cor 6: 19)
In a real sense we were to sing to, teach and edify each other!
What is the outcome then, brethren? When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification. (I Cor 14: 26)
The Spirit’s gifts are the common property of the Christian community, each Christian being but a steward for the edifying of the whole, not receiving the gift merely for his own use. (Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary)
Why don’t we act as the New Testament community of believers?? Is it because that it is easier to follow the Law than the Holy Spirit? We who’ll judge angels and the world live at the low level of taking our believing brothers to courts of law over trivial matters. (I Cor 6) It drove Paul mad and is still driving the Spirit of God mad during this present hour!
“Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated?” (I Cor 6:7) Paul argued with the First Century Corinthians who were taking each other to local courts! Would he not also argue with us today as we settle for an Old Testament worship experience centered on the temple and the priest rather than press through layers and layers of human tradition and live at a higher level in a true New Testament expression of a gathered community?
But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter. Rom 7:6
By calling this covenant “New,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear. Heb 8:13
Yours for the Coming One,