Tag: old covenant

Casting out demons!

Scripture reading for June 28th: Acts 18:22-19:12

One of the major ministries of Jesus Christ was dealing with those bound by demons.  He told His followers that they would also cast out demons in His Name.  (Mark 16:17)  The Kingdom of God is always opposed and in conflict with the kingdom of Satan.  When there is a clash of the kingdoms, those who know Christ always win.  Those who are not properly in God’s kingdom don’t come out as well!

Paul left Apollos at Corinth and went to Ephesus.  There he found some disciples who were baptized in John’s baptism of repentance.  He asked them if they had received the Holy Spirit and they had not even heard about Him!  Paul then told them about Jesus Christ and their need to be baptized.  They were baptized and as Paul prayed for them, laying his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them and they spoke in tongues and prophesied just like they original day of Pentecost!  This was over 20 years after that first Pentecost!

While there preaching in the synagogue for about three months, Paul stirred up more opposition.  He left the synagogue and went to the lecture hall of Tyrannus and spent two years there preaching. “God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them.” (Acts 19:11)

There were seven Jewish exorcists using the name of Jesus, whom Paul preached, attempting to cast out demons.  One day they tried to cast out a demon and the evil spirit spoke back to them.  “Jesus I know, and I know about Paul, but who are you?”  “Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all.  He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding!” (Acts 19:14-16)  This incident caused many who were involved in the occult to bring their occult materials to be burned and to repent.  The result was an even greater revival!

Two lessons we can learn from this story.  One is to not be afraid to deal with the demonic if you truly know Jesus Christ as Lord.  The second is that the devil and demons know whether you are really a Christian.  They don’t treat impostors with respect!

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The better covenant!

Scripture reading for December 14th: Hebrews 8-10

I love new things!  Sometimes old things are nice to collect, but new things are nicer to use because they have all the latest technology and all the parts are new.  But everything we were used to with the old has to be relearned with the new!  Sometimes this shift is difficult for us because we are set in our ways.  This is what happened to many Jewish believers in the time of the letter to the Hebrews.

The old covenant had laws and regulations for those who broke those laws.  The old covenant had promises for those who obeyed and warning for those who didn’t.  Moses was the mediator of the old covenant and Aaron and the Levites were the high priest and priesthood.  These were men who had failings themselves and eventually died.  The old covenant had a mobile tabernacle carried by the Levites, and God could only be visited at prescribed times by a certain few people.

Under the new covenant, things are much better!  Jesus Christ is the mediator of this new covenant.  He revealed it to us by His life, teaching, and sacrificial death on a cross.  He was God’s Son, not just a servant.  He was perfectly obedient to the old covenant while here on earth and then became the sacrifice for laws broken under the old covenant.

His sacrifice was better because His body and blood were without sin.  He offered it once for all to put away sin.  (Hebrews 9:14)  His blood was offered in heaven on the heavenly mercy seat when He rose from the dead.  He lives forever and is able to be a perfect high priest of a different order, that of Melchizedek.  (Hebrews 6:20)  He can identify with us because He is a man and has lived here on earth, experiencing our temptations. (Hebrews 4:15-16)

When we trust in Christ, God gives us a new heart and sends His Spirit to live in us.  (Hebrews 8:10-12)  We become priests of the new covenant –a kingdom of priests!  Our sins are forgiven and erased from God’s memory.  We become the new dwelling place of God, living stones in His new body the church.  We become children of our Father and can approach Him boldly without fear anytime and anywhere.  We should be offering thanks daily for this blessed new covenant!

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