Recently, I received on my blog a comment from an anonymous source asking, "When did the New Testament start and were the disciples born again" Great questions. I confess I don't have all the answers but I have given this some thought.
If the word Testament is another word for Covenant, than I believe the New Testament (Covenant) started after Jesus' ascension. After His resurrection, Jesus had to take His blood to the Mercy Seat in Heaven to make atonement for Adam's sin. Remember how when Mary first thought that He was the gardener, but when she recognized Him she wanted to embrace Him? His response was, "Don't touch Me, I have not yet ascended!" Could that of meant that the Mercy Seat was waiting for His blood? I don't know. God has His timing in everything.
I have also given some thought to the last supper, when Jesus lifted the cup of redemption saying, "this is my blood shed for you. this bread is my body broken for you." Could this be the beginning of the New Testament? Both Jeremiah and Ezekiel prophesied that a New Covenant was going to be made.
Some people think that the New Testament started with St. Paul, and that Jesus was only speaking to the Jews. Personally, I think it had to do with the heavenly Mercy Seat. It required a holy, righteous, prefect sacrifice of a man. Jesus, God's Son, was the 'only one' who could fulfilled it's requirements. After His death and resurrection, the curtain was torn in the temple and the, the believer could now enter the Throne of Grace by the blood of the Lamb, Jesus.
To attempt to answer 'Were the disciples born again" with biblical proof?" I don't think there is an explicit place where it says, "The disciples were born again". I believe it has been implied. One possibility might be in John 20:22. After His resurrection, Jesus appeared to the disciples in the upper room. He breathed on them saying,"Receive the Holy Spirit". The disciples now had the Holy Spirit in them, Later at Pentecost, the disciples received the 'power' to witness the resurrection. Their lives were changed. Peter especially became bold with His speech.
Today, as disciples of Jesus,we are born again. The Lord has breathed into our spirits eternal life. But the question remains, have we received the "power" the witness the resurrection of our Lord? Are we ready to testify His gospel, face persecution, be hated by the world, love our enemies, forgive those who offend us, do we love one another?" Without His power released in us, we can't forsake the world and only be true to Him.
Monday, February 24, 2014
Monday, February 17, 2014
Several year ago, I had a bible study in my home. It was a very special group of ladies that I held dear to my heart. One evening, I received a phone call from one of the ladies.
"Dottie, I need help." Her trembling voice cried out", holding back tears. "Will you come and pray with me? I can't go on like this."
"Jean, is this you?" I asked. She said it was. We agreed to meet at a near-by restaurant for prayer in half an hour.
After settling my family for the evening, I left for the restaurant. Jean was already there and had reserved a booth. We ordered coffee, and as we started to talk, I could see that she was extremely upset, not the cool, laid back Jean, I knew in class.
"What is going on Jean? Tell me about it.? How can I pray for you?" I asked.
"Can we talk in your car? I think it will be more private." She responded. It all seemed a little strange to me. But, why not?
We left a tip, and headed for my car. At first, Jean was very quiet. She didn't know where to begin. I encouraged her to 'just begin".
"Do you know what parapsychology is?" she confidentially asked. Her whole countenance changed. I told her that I had some idea.
"Isn't it something like telepathy, clairvoyance, channeling,etc.? It is totally forbidden by the Lord in Deuteronomy 18. I think it is consider an occult spirit," I responded.
She continued to explain more to me. What a lie, a deception from the pit of hell. I have never felt so helpless. It is one thing to teach the Word and quite another to apply it.
By now, Jean was getting very anxious. "You've got to help me! Ever since I became a Christian, my mind has been in torment. I don't know what to do! Since this morning in class, when we were discussing how Jesus came to set the captive free by the authority of His Name, my mind has been so confused. I cannot rid myself of the thoughts of parapsychology. I want to be set free." Jean was desperate.
My mind flooded with craziness. Thoughts came from every direction. "Who do you think you are? Your prayer don't get answered! It was a contest between my flesh and spirit. Who was I going to listen to?"
Finally, I had to ask myself, " Did I believe what I taught or didn't I?" By the grace of God, FAITH rose in my heart. The presence of the Holy Spirit presence was so strong. My sister Jean was miserable and needed Jesus, now. He was her only hope. Through prayer, I could become an instrument of His grace for her deliverance.
"Jean", I asked, "Are you sure you do not want parapsychology any more?" She assured me, she did not, and was ready to renounce its control in her mind. She also confessed her agreement with it as sin, repented of it and received God's forgiveness. I thought everything was going great. I didn't expect what happened next.
I started to pray, "Lord Jesus, I thank you for the power of the cross and the cleansing power of your blood. In the Name of Jesus, I take authority over the spirit of parapsychology and all of its influence in Jean's mind. You have no right to oppress her any more. She is a child of the living God and belongs to Jesus Christ. You must bow and leave her now."
Within seconds, Jean fainted and collapsed in the front seat. The presence of the Lord was so strong. I continued to take authority in the Name of Jesus over the spirit of parapsychology, fear and torment. I commanded it to leave this child of God. I looked over at her. She was still unconscious. I knew this battle was the Lord's. I waited some more. Just as I was getting really concerned, Jean woke up, lifted her head and said, "Wow, what happened? I feel terrific. All of the heavy fear and torment of the parapsychology has left. It's gone." Jean was thrilled. We both hugged and rejoiced in the glorious power of the cross.
I explained to her that Jesus had delivered her from a deeply rooted occult spirit, called parapsychology. Now,it was important that she return home, throw out very book and anything else related to it. She was free to renew her mind with the Word of God.
Jean grew in grace like a weed. She devoured the Word and never missed church or bible study. Over the years, I have lost contact with my dear sister. We moved out of the area, but our hearts will always remain one in Christ. That night in the restaurant parking lot, Jean and I meet the power of the living God. Together, we can confess, "Greater is He who is in us, than he who is in the world." Amen