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a call to… Renew the Covenant. Final Countdown

Convocations, they used to call them. A Trumpet blast, rallying call to the whole nation to assemble together in submission to God and his will. Old Israel had lots of them; their weekly convocation was the Sabbath, but their annual convocations started with Passover, which was just about this time of the year!

The Wesley Version

silvertrumpetsIn 1755 John Wesley created a form of service adapted from the works of Joseph and Richard Alleine. These works came from the Puritan tradition of pastoral and spiritual guidance. Wesley therefore insisted that the Covenant Service be located in a framework of pastoral care, preaching and guidance.

There would be a series of meetings relating to the Covenant involving sermons, explanations and exhortations. An invitation would then be issued for “those as will” to come to the Covenant Service. After a day’s “Retreat” for people to prepare themselves in prayer, fasting, reflection and self-examination there would be the Covenant Service itself. This would be held in the context of the celebration of the Lord’s Supper. Many Methodists and others still hold this service year by year.

The ‘biblebase focus event’ version!

We have planned our own version of this for this coming Saturday. April 9th 2016. 

The venue will be Bracknell New Covenant Church and we will start with welcome and a cup of something at 9.30 am.

The rest of the day is scheduled thus…

9:30 am Tea /Coffee
10:00 – 11:00 New Exodus – New Covenant – Wayne Crossley
11:00 – 11:30 Tea/Coffee
11:30 – 12:30 Preparing for the Covenant – Ron Bailey
12:45 – 1:45 Light Lunch Soup etc.
2:30 – 4:30 Renewing the Covenant – Ron Bailey
4:30 – 5:00 Snack & Scatter

The afternoon session will be in the context of a celebration of the Lord’s Supper.

The day is without charge but an opportunity to share in the costs will be available.

a call to Renew the Covenant: Countdown – 4 weeks

The First Passover

The first of the annual ‘convocations’ was the feast of Passover, or as Leviticus expresses it “Jehovah’s Passover”. It marked the people’s last day in Egypt and the beginning of their freedom. The event is a new start of such dimensions that God reset the clocks and made this the beginning of their year.

Now the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying,“This month shall be your beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you. Ex 12:1–2 NKJV.

How desperately men and women need a new start. “In the beginning God…” We need a God who can give us a new beginning by effecting a decisive break with the past.

It began with a forward look to what God was beginning but all of the subsequent Passovers were a backwards look to the historic event that culminated in them becoming “God’s people”, “a holy (set apart) nation”. We know the story so well or, at least, we think we do…

The lambs were slaughtered and the blood was to be splashed upon the doorposts and lintels of the house where they were actually eating the meal.

And they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses where they eat it. Ex 12:7 NKJV.

It’s easy to miss but the main feature of the Passover was that they would ‘feed on the lamb’. In the moment when God’s judgments were falling upon the nation of Egypt and the power of their oppressor was being broken the people of Israel were feasting on God’s provision for their journey. Not that they were taking their ease. They were instructed to be on their sandalled feet, their few belongings on their backs, their staffs in their hands. Ready to leave at a moment’s notice. Their bread was to be without leaven/yeast signifying that there was no time to wait, but the absence of the leaven was to hold another significance. Jehovah’s Passover was to be the culmination of 7 days when leaven was banished from their homes. It became a time of great fun for the children as they scoured their homes looking for bits of leaven that Mother had hidden as part of a game but its deeper significance was that the leaven was to be hunted down and eliminated. It signified the removal of sin from the lives of God’s people.

The Last Passover

The first Passover was in Egypt; the second was in the Promised Land. The first looked forward, all the others looked backwards. They kept the annual feast sporadically but new moves of God among the people often found expression in super Passovers as the nation remembered its birth and its destiny.

When the time was full Christ invited his disciples to join him in the Passover celebration. They gathered together in an upper room and followed the prescribed tradition with its various elements and cups of wine. He declared that with ‘great passion’ he had desired to share Passover with them “before I suffer”. And that he would not celebrate the Passover again “until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God”. Mysterious words. Everyone spent Passover looking backwards but he was looking forwards to its “fulfilment”. They had all thought that the Passover was a commemoration of the past. It was, but it was also a prophetic glimpse into the future.

When the Passover was complete Christ introduced an innovation. He took a piece of unleavened bread, gave thanks and broke it. As he distributed it among the disciples he spoke those wonderful words;

  And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you. Luke 22:19–20 NKJV.

The first Passover heralded the Sinai Covenant; the Last Passover heralded its fulfilment in the death of “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world”.

A new Passover

Paul took the symbolism of the Passover and transposed it into another key; that of the New Covenant;

  Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. 1 Cor 5:6–8 NKJV.

As the biblebase focus day gets nearer we have our opportunity to allow God to search our hearts and lives and to deal with any ‘leaven’ that might have worked its way into our lives. The early Methodists, of Wesley’s time, would spend several days under the ministry of the word of God and set aside time to pray and to search their hearts.

Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified. 2 Cor 13:5 NKJV.

How strange this language is to most of us. We are saturated with the language of God wanting to restore a ‘healthy self-image’. Are we ready to let God search our hearts and to ask ourselves the searching question “am I in the faith”? O, I can hear the protests. “It will unsettle people and bring them into condemnation, they cry.

So here is our convocation, our call to “Renew the Covenant”. To reset the clock and make a new start. Will you join us?

a call to Renew the Covenant: Countdown – 5 weeks

So what does that mean? What is a covenant and why do they need to be renewed? It’s a long story…

What is a covenant?

A covenant is a legally binding agreement between two or more people. Perhaps the covenant we are most familiar with is the one we call a marriage. It sometimes creates a new legal entity, as in marriage. Each person in a covenant has privileges… and obligations.

God has always worked in covenants. Although he brings many one-off blessings into our lives his intention is always relationship and that can usually best be described in terms of a covenant. There is a cryptic verse in the prophecy of Hosea that seems to suggest that God entered into a covenant with Adam right back at the beginning. (more…)

Special Notice: Scotland Biblebase Focus Event. 18-20 Sept 2015.

Just trying to touch all the bases and ensure that everyone hears this who ought to…

In February we conducted our first ‘focus event’ in Bracknell, Berkshire, England and many said how much they appreciated it and were blessed. Me too! Thank you for being part of it in prayer, support, presence! Now we want to ensure that others are blessed too so we are heading for Scotland. I’m sharing the coordination of the Scotland Focus Event with Ian Macmillan, and old and faithful friend. (not so old!)

A weekend conference in a Scottish castle.

tulliallan-castle-1Our venue will be a castle! Tulliallen Castle in Fife. We have accommodation for all who want to join us. You can come for the whole weekend with full bed and board, as we say in the UK. (bedrooms with en-suite, and full meals). There will be no formal charge but opportunity will be given for any to make a contribution to the costs of the weekend. We want to be sure that no one is missing due to lack of funds, so we look forward to seeing you all. More details on the website.

New Covenant Priesthood: His and Ours

Our topic for the ‘focus’ this time will be “New Covenant Priesthood: His and Ours.” And our sperobertakers will include Ron Bailey and Robert Wurtz II from the Delaware Christian Fellowship in Independence, Missouri. Robert is another old and faithful friend (not so old!) who has been a constant support and encouragement to the work of biblebase for many years. Robert has authored several books and is a regular blogger and YouTube presence and well as being a contributor to various biblebase forums.

Come and join us… and book in today.

Over many years we have been blessed with visits to England from various brothers in Scotland. Their faithful presence at meetings in the ‘deep south’ (of England) have been a challenge and encouragement to many. Now we have an opportunity to ‘return the blessing’, so read the full details of the weekend under the Scotland Focus Event on the website and please sign up as soon as you can. We need to know numbers, particularly for catering, as soon as possible.

The purpose of the weekend is prayer, fellowship and an opportunity to give some time to appreciate our wonderful inheritance in the Better Covenant!

If you need more information please contact me. Looking forward to seeing you there.

biblebase FOCUS events –

biblebase FOCUS events – 2015

April 9-11th at New Covenant Church, Bracknell.

 

Friday at 7:30 pm – Keynote Session – Welcome and Plan of Action

Saturday: 10:00 – Coffee and Welcome

Saturday 10:30 – 11:30 Session 1 – Ron Bailey – One Bible in Two Testaments. Why?

Saturday 11:30 – Tea/Coffee

Saturday 12:00 – 13:00 Session 2 – Wayne Crossley – Subject – to be announced

Saturday 13:00 Lunch provided

Saturday afternoon – Fellowship, Q&A, Future Plans,

Saturday 19:30 Evening Meeting – songs, testimony and preaching

Sunday Morning 10:30 Welcome to New Covenant Church, Bracknell, Sunday Meeting

Here’s the plan…  to hold a series of biblebase FOCUS events in different locations to give readers of this blog and members of our Facebook “friends of biblebase” group an opportunity to dig a little deeper into the thrilling wonders of this New Covenant. Oh, I know some folks think I have a bit of an obsession with the New Covenant. Really, the truth is that I have a decades’ long fascination with the wonders of God’s revelation in the Scriptures and the progressive revelation that we find there.

Isaac Watts wrote a wonderful hymn that begins with the line…

Join all the glorious names…

 

Isaac WattsHe makes a journey through many of the titles and descriptions given to Christ in the scripture to show what he calls God’s “condescending ways”. (that’s the old use of the word) He believed, as did many before him and many who have followed him, that God had ‘stooped down in grace’ to communicate truth to us. He used diverse ways to reveal himself to men and in particular he used words. Usually those words were not merely titles and labels but revelations of his character. Many spring to mind immediately; The Shepherd, The Vine, The Light, The Life. Some have dropped from public consciousness but they remain revelations of his character. Some have even dropped from Isaac Watts great hymn in its modern forms. Watts first three verses set the scene for what follows…

1 JOIN all the glorious names

Of wisdom, love, and power,

That ever mortals knew,

That angels ever bore;

All are too mean to speak his worth,

Too mean to set our Saviour forth.

2 But O what gentle means,

What condescending ways,

Doth our Redeemer use,

To teach his heavenly grace;

My soul, with joy and wonder see

What forms of love he bears for thee!

3 Arrayed in mortal flesh

The Covenant-Angel stands,

And holds the promises

And pardons in his hands;

Commissioned from his Father’s throne

To make his grace to mortals known.

The prophecy of Malachi ‘sets our Saviour forth’ as Watts has it as the ‘Covenant-Angel’ or messenger. His Calvary baptism was accomplished in order to bring in a ‘New Covenant’ …through his blood.

This New Covenant changes everything and provides a new perspective for so much of God’s work of redemption.  It is the language of God’s ‘condescending ‘ways’ but it is also the most comprehensive of God’s revelations of his saving power. I have long wanted to examine different aspects of the Scriptures through the lens of the New Covenant. I mean, I wanted the opportunity to gather like minded brothers and sisters together to use the truth of the New Covenant to bring other vital truths into focus through the lens of the New Covenant, hence “biblebase FOCUS events”. Times set aside to examine the implications of the New Covenant on our life and faith.

We plan two ‘Focus’ events this year. This first one in April based on New Covenant Church, Bracknell and a second scheduled for September in Scotland. More details on costs and accommodation to follow. For the time being just book the slot in your diary. We hope to have a good cross section of folks from different age groups, so plan to come and let us know.

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