It’s pretty easy to see why New Testament gifts aren’t manifesting in many of today’s churches. It’s because our actions and interactions within our communities are most like the Old Testament.
God took on flesh, died, and resurrected so that we could chose to die daily and be embodied by this resurrected God.
“Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:1-2
The Old Testament had a man of God, a temple, and a worship experience at the temple where God was.
The New Testament has made us men and women of God, it’s made us temples of God, and the worship is our submission to God inside the temple of our bodies. There is still community, but one where God has gifted each part of His “body (New Testament term)” to build up one another.
In the life that is surrendered, the life of God is in us, burning and crackling, prophesying and manifesting miracles. He has died to combine all the danger and beauty of the living God with our bodies. Think about this: the apostles did not send invitations to Jerusalem after the Spirit came on them in power. They stumbled out of the Upper Room, filled with God!, and they went out to the ends of the earth speaking of the redemption of the body. No longer did it have anything to do with a Temple or a God who descended there, it no longer had anything to do with circumcision, or any outward acts; but a more a important act, one that up to that point could not be redeemed, an inward surrender that would provide for the outward works, as God renewed the entire man. This is the New Testament Joshua not saving us from the earthly Egypt, but from the inward Spiritual Egypt of sinfulness, blood sacrifices, and inward and outward death.
After Pentecost churches were birthed in houses, synagogs were converted, nations that were formally pagan and non-jewish received the Spirit of the Living God as they accepted Jesus. The veil was not torn so we could freely go in, it was torn so that God could freely come out. Which is His desire, to be with us.
The problem is that when folks are unwilling to die to themselves, they aren’t comfortable with someone talking about it. And without God dwelling powerfully in us, there is no manifestation of the miraculous. So we settle into an Old Testament style cerebral/works based faith. That has a fragrance of God but lacks the power. There is an essence of truth, but no Kingdom. It should be said that this way of being is more comfortable to the parts of us that are resistant to God. The edgy passages of scripture are polished by clever interpretations and the people are kept comfortably outside of the world-infiltrating, miracle-working power of the Kingdom of God.
We strangely become justified in our greed and self idolatry by our religion. When Jesus made no friends in these matters. It’s seems kinda comical that just like the people sent Moses up Mt. Sinai by himself, so too we send our men and women of God to meet with Jesus and to come down and tell us all about it.
What’s sad is that in the new-way-of-being presented in the New Testament is the most beautiful and freeing way of existence, ever. Come on now, did God the Father send Jesus to die a brutal death so that we would stay the same and find comfort in our own worries and fears. Or did He die to call us out of the order of our old lives, to march to the beat of His drumming.He has gifted for us the power over the adversary and every one of his works, including death.
Bottom line is that when you opt out of being a living sacrifice, you opt out of the New Testament. And if the teaching around you only comforts your lack of participation in New Testament life, you need go somewhere else. Pronto.