This is a devotional study for all new believers
Great New Principles to apply to your life
As new believers we can never fully understand the bible and the Christian life if we don’t understand the amazing foundation God laid for the church in the Old Testament.
Heb 8:5 They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: “See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.”
“The New Testament is in the old concealed; the Old Testament is in the new revealed.” This famous statement by Saint Augustine expresses the remarkable way in which the two testaments of the Bible are so closely interrelated with each other. The key to understanding the New Testament in its fullest is to see in it the fulfillment of those things that were revealed in the background of the Old Testament. The Old Testament points forward in time, preparing God’s people for the work of Christ in the New Testament.
The foundation of the church was laid in the Old Testament, here are some great principles we see in the early church that we should set as an example for our lives. Act 2:41-47
Here we see some of the principles that the early church devoted themselves to
The devoted themselves to the Apostles Teaching and Fellowship
- When you give your live to Jesus Christ you become a part of the family of God, you become a child of God John 1:12
- But as a child of God, God’s plan is that you belong to a church family Gal 6:10, Eph 2:19
- The church is a place where you can be cared for, where you can be taught, where you can have fellowship with other Christians, where you can encourage others and be encouraged.
- This is why it is vital to get committed to attending church regular. Heb 10:24-25
- The church is a great community of believers all at different stages of their journey so they can be encourage and taught to understand God’s plans and purposes and help to answer some of the many questions that you may have.
Praise and Worship
- The bible teaches that we were created to praise and worship God, this simply means that each Sunday we get to praise God and declare his goodness and his greatness.
- We also get to worship him for who he is
- In the Psalm it gives us many reasons to praise God. Psa 150:1-6
- The best part of our praise and worship is that the bible teaches us that God loves to come and be part of our praise and worship, he literally comes into our presence when we worship him
Psa 22:3 Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the praise of Israel.
- As a church we get to do this in a very modern and contemporary way through music and singing.
The concise oxford dictionary defines prayer as a “solemn request to God.” The bible dictionary takes this definition further by adding that prayer involves relationship with God.
This second definition is very important since it brings out the facts that prayer is one aspect of a relationship with another person. This implies among other things that prayer is a two-way communication and that it is much more than a formal religious exercise. Prayer, in fact is a time of fellowship and sharing with God himself.
Luk 5:16 But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.
As in all other areas in life, Jesus proves to be our great example, to guide and encourage us. As we study the life of Christ, we see that Jesus prayed often.
- By himself: Solitude and freedom from interruption are essential to meaningful prayer. Mark 1:35
- Before making major decisions. In this particular case, he sought God all night for his direction before choosing the 12 disciples to be his apostles. Do you pray earnestly about your decisions? On this occasion, Jesus spent the whole night in prayer. Luke 6:12
- In time of great testing: His first priority was that God’s will should be done and to this end he prayed in a time of great testing and difficulty in his life. Mat 26:39-44
- As we grow in the Christian life you will find prayer to be a great source of strength as we seek God daily for his wisdom, help and strength in all that we do.
- As we grow in our understanding of who God is and what he desires for us we will get to the place where we can pray with great faith. 1 John 5:14-15
- Faith is not a matter of pleading and begging God but simply having a great confidence that God is able to do everything he promised he would do. Your faith will certainly grow as you grow in God and in your understanding of His Word.
As believers our motivation to serve comes from Jesus who demonstrated a life of sacrificial service. Our serving God and serving others will cost us our time and talents.
TPT Mar 10:45 For even the Son of Man did not come expecting to be served by everyone, but to serve everyone, and to give his life as the ransom price in exchange for the salvation of many.”
We have to understand God created us to serve. Eph 2:10
The bible says that God has created you to do good things, in fact it says that when we do good things like serving and helping other people will see God’s light in us. Mat 5:16
One of the most exciting aspects of the Christian life is that we believe God has given us gifts and talents to use to bless other people. Although this is not a comprehensive list here is some of the ways that we can serve others with our gifts. Rom 12:6-8
- These are just some of the ways that you can get involved and help serve in the church
- We also have a serving card with our more specific areas you can get involved in.
- This is the motivation of our serving Rom 12:9-11
- I love this translation in the good news bible
GNB Rom 12:11 Never be lazy in your work, but serve the Lord enthusiastically.
God will empower us and give us his strength when we learn to be faithful in serving and using the gifts God has blessed us with. 1Pe 4:10- 11
When it comes to giving in every area, Time, talents and treasures we will never be able to fully understand it outside of understanding the biblical principle of Stewardship.
In the New Testament, the word “steward” is rooted in the Greek word “oikonomos,” which means “the manager of a household.” If you were a steward in Ancient Greek culture, you were not the owner of the house. Instead you would have been the manager of the house and the household affairs. From making sure the home was clean to managing the finances and perhaps servants, you would have managed everything on behalf of the owner. Psa 24:1
As believers we understand that God has called us to be stewards of all the gifts, talents and resources God has blessed us with.
There is an old saying, “Do you put your money where your mouth is”
- In life there are so many areas that are competing for your finances, you can often tell what a person’s passion or hobbies are by where they put their finances
- As Christians we will develop a passion to build the church and extend the kingdom of God Mat 6:31-33
- This is one of the greatest principles in the bible that says when we put God first, God blesses us. If we bless God’s house God will bless your house
- In the worlds people are motivated and driven by money, but as a Christian God promises us that if we will put him first in every area of our lives he will bless the rest
- In the Bible it speaks about three main types of giving
- Tithing is all about recognising God as the owner and we give back what belongs to him. This is not an offering we give but returning the first and the best that belongs to God.
- The tithe is a kingdom principle of blessing the house of God. Heb 3:4-6, Lev_27:30
- The tithe literally means 10% of your increase
- In Mal 3:8 we see clearly the principle of stewardship and we return what belongs to God. If it belongs to us we have a choice to give it or not, if we believe it belongs to God and withhold it, we in fact rob God
- The blessing of returning what belongs to God is found in what God promises about the one that tithes. God promises when we bless him with our resources he opens the windows of heaven and blesses us with his resources. Mal 3:10-12
- Here is the good thing about tithing, God does not expect equal giving, but he does expect equal sacrifice. If everyone gives 10% of what they earn it is affordable to all
- The tithes are given to bless the house of God so that the church can continue to run and be a blessing in the community
- These were always free will offerings, there was never a specific amount that they had to give. 2Co 9:6-7
- Again, offerings are always given believing that God wants to bless you in return
There is a very wise saying, “you can never out give God”
- Jesus put it like this Luke 6:38
- Please understand it might not just come back in the form of money, in other words if you give a money it doesn’t mean that God will necessary give you money back, it may come in the form of a gift, a promotion at work, a sale or great bargain that saves you money
- God is able to bless and give back in so many ways
- As a church we have several opportunities give into:
- Our building fund to ensure the building is regularly maintained and looked after
- We have several people we support on the missions
- From time to time we take up special offerings for different projects or for people in need
The First fruit
The first fruit is a kingdom principle of honour. Pro 3:9-10
- The principle of first fruits was one of the greatest faith filled offering that the Israelites would give. Before the Children of Israel arrived into the promised land God said when you take over the land and move into the houses and possess the farms, I want you to take the first part of the harvest and dedicate it to me.
- If you will dedicate the first part of the harvest to me, I will bless the rest of the harvest
- When you honour God with your wealth and your first fruits God will honour you and bless you. In fact his blessing will be overflowing
- This is an offering we take up as a church once a year, again it is a freewill offering, so you get to determine the amount
- It is a principle that honours God with the first part of a wage, a gift, an inheritance we get to give it back to God and he promised to bless us
Each week at church we get to give of our tithes and offerings and once a year we get to give a first fruits offering.