To answer this question you must first understand what fasting is. Christians still have a long way to go in understanding the New Covenant. We pick a lot from the Old Covenant and call them New Testament doctrine. To read about what fasting is under the New Covenant click here.
Now a Christian is meant to fast everyday, 24 hrs for the rest of his life. In fact fasting is Christianity, if you are not fasting you are not in Christianity. Fasting is how we live the Christian life. For more, read Fasting In The New Covenant.
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There are a lot of teachings out there about giving and the blessings that come with it. Sermons about giving and prosperity has become very popular in many churches. There is this emphasis that we must give so that God can bless us with more. The question is, should this be the reason for giving? Wouldn’t it be selfish if we only give because we want more? Has the holy God given birth to selfish and self centered children? Surely this shouldn’t be the reason why Christians should give. In this article we would look at the real reason why a true Christian should give.
As Christians, we are children of God and if our Father is this selfless God who died for a people who do not deserve it, ought we also be selfless. Therefore, we do not give for selfish reasons, we do not give because we want more. We give because it is who we are. Men uses money to get that which pleases them; they spend their money on that which gives them pleasure. We as children of God also desire pleasure; there are certain that gives us pleasure, and we are to pursue these things.
“In everything I’ve done, I have demonstrated to you how necessary it is to work on behalf of the weak and not exploit them. You’ll not likely go wrong here if you keep remembering that our Master said, ‘You’re far happier giving than getting.'” (Act 20:35).
You as a child of God is far happier giving than receiving. The children of God derive pleasure from giving. They do not give because they want more neither do they give because they were commanded to. The children of God give because they love to, they enjoy giving, to them it is a pleasure to give and bless others. They want to see people smile, they want to see lives change, and they want to give others a taste of God’s love. These are why you should give, you should give because it is who you are, you are sons of God. You enjoy giving and this is the truth. As a Christian you are called into truth and life; to be true to who you are and to freely express yourself — yes, to be alive.
They say prayer is communicating with God, you know, tell Him things… But what is the essence of telling things to the One who already knows all things. What is the essence of telling a need to a Father who already knows all your needs. Things like this compels us to ask the question, what is the purpose or essence of prayer?
The purpose of prayer is intimacy, it brings you into a level of intimacy with God that you can literary feel that unity with Him. In the place of prayer you would see that indeed you are one with God. You would see that you and God are inseparable, His emotions are your emotions, His thoughts are your thoughts, His desires are your desires and His will is your will. Prayer is where the reality of God collide with your reality and the two realities becomes one.
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And also get this book to learn to experience a kind of prayer life where you enter into a greater intimacy with God.
The Church has come to mean many things to many people. Some sees the Church as a building with the sign of the cross, some sees it as the Christians and yet some sees it has a system. Here we would try to define the Church, firstly according to how the first Christians saw it and secondly according to God sees it. The Greek word translated as Church is ‘ecclesia’. The literal meaning of the word ecclesia is the “assembly of the called out one’s”. The word originated from the Athens democratic system of government.
Athens was a Greek city and a community. These people regularly held a meeting attended by the adult males of that community. It’s a council, an assembly of those that were considered adult citizens. The assembly was responsible for declaring war, military strategy and electing the strategoi and other officials. It was responsible for nominating and electing magistrates, thus indirectly electing the members of the Areopagus. It had the final say on legislation and the right to call magistrates to account after their year of office. And this assembly was called ‘ecclesia’, yes the ecclesia was a civil governmental body.
The word Church also has a Hebraic background. The word ecclesia can be translated in Hebrew as kahal. This word is used in the Old Testament to refer to the whole community of Israel. But sometimes it refers to an assembly of the decision making body which includes the elders, leaders [or princes], judges, and officers of Israel. This was before the time of the kings; before Israel had any king. The assembly of the community is where decisions are made concerning the people. From both the Greek and Hebrew backgrounds of the word church we can conclude that it is a governmental body.
The early believers never saw themselves as a religious group. In fact they didn’t know they had started a new religion, instead they thought they were still under Judaism which was the established religion of the Jews. To the early Christians Christianity is not a religion but a government. To them it is the beginning of a government promised to them by God through the Prophets. Hundreds of years ago God promised the children of Israel that He would establish His kingdom on earth through His anointed one (the Messiah). This anointed one would be the king of the everlasting kingdom of God on earth. Jesus is this anointed one the Christ in Greek and the Messiah in Hebrew. He is the government and those who believe in him becomes one with with him. They become the government of God’s kingdom. The Church is the government of the kingdom of God. This was want the early Christians understood and that is why they refused to use religious terms. They used the word Presbyter or episcopas to designate the leaders of each ecclesia. Presbyters means elders and the idea was gotten from the elders that formed the decision making body of the kahal. And episcopas which is translated as bishop has it background from delegates that were chosen to governor the Greek communities. The first Christians should have used words like priest or any other religious term but they avoid all these because the Church to them is a government.
Now we would try to define the Church based on how God sees it in the spirit. Again let look at the Greek word ecclesia which is translated as church in the English bible. Ecclesia means “assembly of the called out one’s”. It is not the people and it is not the building where the meeting is held, rather it is the assembly. We must understand that Church is not Church without the assembly. As the body of Christ we are assembled together, joined together in Christ.
“Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.” (Eph 4:15-16).
The Church is a body growing together into Christ. The Church is a people that are being assembled into Christ. They are being joined together in everything they do. In every action, work or ministry these people are coming together and forming a body that is Christ. Therefore to church is to be built up together into Christ. The Church is not church when we are not growing up together into Christ. When we are not being assembled into Christ then we do not have a Church. Christianity today is not reflecting that glorious bride because we are not growing together into Christ. Rather, we growing into different theologies, doctrines, denominations and historical or celebrated figures. We are growing apart, we are not assembled and as such there is no Church. Any action, work or ministry that is not building us together in unity into Christ is not Christian. When we meet together in a gathering to worship it cannot be called church until everything done in this meeting builds us all together in unity and into Christ. Hence, church is the assembly that is Christ; we are assembled to form Christ.
“And God put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the Church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.” (Eph 1:22-23).
By the time we are assembled together then the world would see Christ in his fullness. Right now what the world is seeing is different parts of Christ scattered all over. They are not seeing an assembly — a body joined together in unity. We are the Church only when we are united in such a way that we are one man — we are Christ. This is what Church is, it is a unity that forms Christ. The act of churching (holding a church service) is trying to form a unity that is Christ. It is trying to be one man, to function as one body. Churching is not about sermon, singing, dancing and all these religious rituals we do these days. Instead it is about a small group of people trying to experience a unity that makes them function as one man, not just any man but the one we call Lord, the Christ.
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There has been a great deal of controversy in defining the dividing line between the Old and New Testament (Testament is another word for covenant). Where did they meet and where did they part? What is the relationship between both covenant?There is an ongoing argument on what should be picked from the Old Testament and what should be dropped. Many have argued on what Jesus meant when he said, Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill” (Matthew 5:17).
‘Fulfill’ in this passage means to express the meaning. Jesus came to accomplish and express the meaning of all that is in the Old Covenant. We run into problems and confusion because we try to decide on the Old Testament without trying to know its meaning, its purpose and how it is actualized in Christ. When we know and understand the fulfillment then we can truly practice the New Covenant.
The New and the Old Covenants are not at war with each other, Christians had made it look that way. The truth is that the Old and the New Covenant are not two things but one. If you look closely at the Scripture you would realize that God referred to the two as one. Paul gave a better explanation of the relationship between the Old and the New Covenant when he used the sentence, “shadow of things to come”. A man’s shadow is not an alien, the shadow is not another man instead it is the same man. It is a dark projection of the man’s image on a surface. The man is the substance and the shadow is a reflection of that substance. This is why Jesus said he had come to fulfill and not to destroy the Old Covenant. He came to reveal the substance that has been projected through the Law of Moses. The Law and the Prophets were meant to reveal a substance by projecting its shadow. But this shadow cannot give enough information and details about the substance. Jesus came to fulfill and accomplish the very substance that was foreshadowed in the Law and Prophets.
For too long Christians have looked at the Old Covenant as a substance. They either see it as a substance different from the other substance (the New Covenant) or they see it as a substance joined together or intertwined with the other substance (the New Covenant). Both points of view are wrong and that is why there has been so much confusion on this issue. A man is not intertwine with his shadow even though he is one with his shadow. His shadow is not in him but lies apart from him. The reason why we mix the substance with the shadow is because we don’t know the substance. Let’s admit it, we do not know the New Covenant. Even the early Christian do not really know it, that is why God Paul with a staggering revelation of the New Covenant.
Ever since the time of Paul the Church have been growing in the knowledge of the New Covenant. What we practice is an impure version of the New Covenant. Our inability to define the dividing line between the Old and New Covenant has caused us to produced something impure. The New Covenant practice in it purity would produce a glory that would overshadow all the miracles in the Old Testament.
“If the old way, which brings condemnation, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new way, which makes us right with God! In fact, that first glory was not glorious at all compared with the overwhelming glory of the new way. So if the old way, which has been replaced, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new, which remains forever!” (2Cor 9-11).
The Old Covenant was so glorious that Moses (the messenger of the covenant) had to cover his face with a veil because the people could not behold him. If the Old Covenant could be so glorious, how much more the new and perfect Covenant? The reason we are not seeing all that glory is because we continue to interact with the shadow claiming we are practicing the New Covenant.
What then is the New Covenant? Using the foundation lay down by Paul and the technique he applied I try to reconstruct the major constitute of the New Covenant, to reveal the substance foreshadowed in the Old Testament. Here in my book, “The New Covenant” much detail is given concern the New Covenant in it purity and how it should be practiced onto our glory. You can download this book for free.
Yes Christians should offer tithe. I use the word ‘offer’ because tithe is beyond monetary payments. Even in the Old Testament the word “pay tithe” was never used. In fact God never asked that money should be paid as tithe. Read more about tithing in the Old Testament, just click here.
The Church has failed to understand Tithe in the context of the New Covenant. Christ has fulfilled the Law which includes all that God commanded in the Old Testament. Christ is Tithe, he is the meaning, the essence and the fulfillment of Tithe.
What is true of Christ is also true of the Church and down to individual Christian. Christ is tithe, therefore the Church is tithe and the individual Christian is tithe. This is because Christ, the Church and every believer are one body — we are the body of Christ.
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