New Testament Christianity

Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.” [Galatians 5:4]

This passage in Galatians is a warning for Christians that keeping any part of the Law of Moses will take you out of the grace of Christ. Some try to reinterpret it as a faith only passage. Not so. The followers of Christ are to be command keepers [Mat 7:21-23; Luke 6:46] of His New Covenant.

There is a reason why the churches of Christ do what they do (a Capella singing, simple worship, weekly observance of the Lord’s Supper). We recognize Christ as our Head [Col 1:18], He has all authority [Mat 28:18] and those that love Him will keep HIS commandments [John 14:15]. God the Father said this, “This is my beloved Son: hear him.” [Mark 9:7] This means that we listen to Jesus, not Moses, and especially not any man nor man made religion.

Jesus promised to build His church [Mat 16:18], and that this church [which is His kingdom Col 1:13] will begin within the lifetime of those that heard him [Mark 9:1]. On the first Pentecost after His resurrection, [Acts 2:1–47] the church began. No one spoke of it being in existence before that day, and thereafter it’s spoken of as being in existence.

The guiding rules of faith and practices are found in the covenant from Jesus, as delivered by the Holy Spirit [John 16:13; Eph 3:1-4] and not the Law of Moses from Mt. Sinai.

We need to pay attention to what The Holy Spirit reveals in the New Testament about the change from the Law of Moses to the Law of Christ.

• Hear Jesus, not Moses [Mat 17:5; Mark 9:7].
• Preach the gospel [Mat 28:18–20].
• The Word of Christ Judges [John 12:48].
• Dead to the Law of Moses [Romans 7:1–7].
• “Christ is the end of the law” [Romans 10:4].
• “Engraven in stones…done away” [2Cor 3:7–14].
• Broken down the wall [Eph 2:14].
• Nailing it to His cross [Col 2:14].
• A Priesthood change required a Law change [Hebrews 7:12; 9:11].
• He is the mediator of the new testament [Hebrews 9:16–17].
• He (Jesus) taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. [Hebrews 10:9].

No longer does man offer animals to atone for sin. “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.” [Heb 10:4] Jesus shed His blood “once for all” and has “sat down on the right hand of God.” [Heb 10:12]

No longer does man keep the Passover, abstain from certain foods nor keep certain days [Col 2:14-17]. No longer do we need a special group of priests, for those added to the church are now a ‘royal priesthood’ [1Pet 2:9]. This new Law of Christ doesn’t require it, and to revert to it is to sin against the One who shed His blood, ‘ye have fallen from Grace.’

In the New Testament, no longer do we burn incense, build temples (we are the temple Eph 2:21), dance or play instruments. Did God leave New Testament worship up for us to decide? No, God tells us what He wants, and we do it [Mat 28:20]. We are given unleavened bread, fruit of the vine, prayers, vocal singing, giving & teaching.

The Old Testament is for our learning, not for New Testament law. “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning,” [Rom 15:4]. We should read the Old Testament to learn about many things, some of which is how God communicates with and how He instructs man. However, to go back to the Law of Moses to bring forward any practice (musical instruments, clergy / laity, feasts) will remove you from the grace of Christ and obligate you to do it all. You will have fallen from Grace.

We here at the Franklin & Juniper church of Christ practice New Testament Christianity with the Bible as our creed book. We Welcome you to come find out what the Bible says.

A Survey of the Bible

SOMETIMES IT’S GOOD to stop to take in the entire landscape. This is what we are doing with our Wednesday study of the Old Testament.

One of the primary reasons many people haven’t made the effort to get to know the Bible is that they feel it is intimidating and confusing. Without a basic understanding of how the Bible is written this can often be the case. To help develop an overall picture of the Bible, turn to the Table of Contents. You will notice that the Bible is actually a collection of 66 books that are divided into two sections, the Old Testament and the New Testament. Let’s notice how the Old Testament can be outlined.   

The Old Testament is made up of 39 books. Here is how they can be grouped and categorized:

Genesis to Esther: History books (of the Jewish people), Mostly chronological, starts at beginning of time and goes to about 400 BC.

Job to The Song of Solomon: Poetry books, not chronological, all written sometime during the History section, designed to teach lessons about everyday life kinds of things: Job – trials, Psalms – worship/prayer, Proverbs – wisdom, Ecclesiastes – philosophy, Song of Solomon – love.

Isaiah to Malachi: Prophecy books, not chronological, all written sometime during the History section, basically they were preachers inspired by God to warn the people of judgment and foretell certain future events. 

The New Testament is made up of 27 books. Here is how they can be grouped and categorized:

Matthew to Acts: History books, not chronological, Matthew, Mark, Luke, & John are all self-contained histories of Jesus’ life. Acts is the history of the early church (or followers) of Jesus.

Romans to Jude: Letters to churches or individual Christians, not chronological, many written during the time frame of Acts’ history, designed to teach lessons about everyday life kinds of things: worship, morality, love, relationships, trials, philosophy, wisdom, etc.

Revelation: Prophecy book, written to correct and warn early Christians.

Recognizing these things will be extremely helpful in your reading of the Bible. Simply understanding the context of what you’re reading will make the Bible less confusing. Knowing the above should give you confidence in your ability to understand God’s Word.

The Outline of the Bible:

overview

Study the chart above. Notice that the three periods of time are divided by how God delivered His laws to mankind. The first was through patriarchs or heads of families. Second was through Moses and the prophets. And finally He delivered His will to man through Jesus.

The Patriarchal Age. This period starts in Genesis 1 at the creation of the world. Adam & Eve disobey God and are made to leave the Garden of Eden. After many years the earth is full of evil and God decides to send a flood to destroy all that will not repent. Noah and 7 of his family are the only ones who are saved. Over 400 years later a man named Abram (later Abraham) is chosen by God to become the father of the Israelite nation (Gen. 12).

From this time on the Bible specifically traces the History of that one nation. Abraham has Isaac, Isaac has Jacob, and after Jacob’s name is changed to Israel he starts the family. The Israelites (also called Hebrews or Jews) begin to grow as a family after Jacob has 12 sons who later become 12 tribes. At the end of Genesis they are a still a small family who have moved to Egypt. They are taken into captivity for a couple hundred years and grow to be a large nation.

The Mosaic Age. God chooses a man named Moses to deliver the people of Israel out of Egyptian bondage. Moses leads the people out of Egypt to a mountain called Horeb (later Sanai). Here God delivers his law for the Israelites.

After the Israelites wander for 40 years in the wilderness, they go into “the Promised Land” (Canaan) under Joshua’s command. Once they settle the land God leads the people by appointing a series of Judges (who were basically military leaders) for around 350 years. After this the people want to be lead by a king like the nations around them. God warns them it’s a bad idea but grants their request by giving them Saul, David, and then Solomon. After Solomon’s reign (925 BC), the nation divides into two groups – Israel in the north and Judah in the south.  The northern kingdom of Israel grows increasingly evil and at God’s decree is taken into captivity by the Assyrians in 721 BC never to return again. Later, the southern kingdom of Judah is punished by being taken into captivity by the Babylonians. After 70 years they returned to their homeland and rebuilt their nation. It is their descendants who are the Jews of today and through whom Christ came.

During the time of these two kingdoms, the Prophets wrote their books. Almost all of them spoke of the coming of a Savior or Messiah. Most of them also spoke of a new covenant that would be enacted when this Savior came.

The Christian Age. This is the final way that God has revealed His will to mankind. We are now living in this age. The Bible teaches that once the Messiah came, so did the new covenant.

According to the Bible people today are to follow the New Testament. This is one reason why there are so many churches today doing so many different things yet all claiming to follow the Bible. There are many religious groups who say they follow the Bible but for some reason have missed this important Bible teaching. Can you think of any religious practices you’ve seen before which are only found in the Old Testament?

Jesus Has All Authority:

The Bible teaches us 4 things that are NOT our authority for religious practice. 1) The Old Testament, 2) Our own initiative to change something God commanded (like Nadab & Abihu), 3) Emotion or good motives (like David & Uzzah), 4) The traditions of men. If none of these can accurately define for us what God wants from us, where must we look?