Summary: A sermon on the church as the New Israel (Material adapted from Dr. Jack Cottrell's book, The Faith Once For All, chapter 23, The Church: Its Nature)
My neighbor has a sign that says “We Stand With Israel”. I do stand with Israel, the new Israel. I believe that the modern day nation of Israel has a right to exist. However, many denominations put emphasis upon rallying politicians to Israel. More effort in evangelizing the Jews. We need to be more concerned with the souls in Israel than with political issues surrounding Israel.
One preacher has said this: "The Jewish people have a relationship to God through the law of God as given through Moses. "I believe that every Gentile person can only come to God through the cross of Christ. I believe that every Jewish person who lives in the light of the Torah, which is the word of God, has a relationship with God and will come to redemption." "The law of Moses is sufficient enough to bring a person into the knowledge of God until God gives him a greater revelation. And God has not. "I’m not trying to convert the Jewish people to the Christian faith." "In fact, trying to convert Jews is a ‘waste of time. ‘The Jewish person who has his roots in Judaism is not going to convert to Christianity. There is no form of Christian evangelism that has failed so miserably as evangelizing the Jewish people. They (already) have a faith structure.’ Everyone else, whether Buddhist or Baha’i, needs to believe in Jesus, he says. But not Jews. Jews already have a covenant with God that has never been replaced by Christianity."
Thesis: Let’s talk about how the church is like Israel and how the church is not like Israel
1. How the church is not like Israel
OT Israel was before Christ, the church is after Christ. The coming of Christ was a turning point in history where there was a change in many aspects of the life of the people of God.
Israel’s main purpose was one of preparation.
They prepared the way for the first coming of the Christ, the Savior of the world. God chose the nation of Israel as a farmer chooses a field for a crop, and he dealt with this nation as a farmer plows and works his field in preparing to sow his seed.
Israel had three things that made them God’s instrument to prepare people for the Christ:
They had special revelation from God. Romans 3:1-2: What advantage, then, is there in being a Jew, or what value is there in circumcision? Much in every way! First of all, they have been entrusted with the very words of God.
From this special revelation, we have the messianic prophecies which fed messianic hope.
Moral and religious purity, in contrast with the idolatry and wickedness of the Gentiles.
C. When Christ came and the Old Covenant was fulfilled, Jerusalem, the temple, the sacrificial system, and the levitical priesthood reached its end.
D. The worship of the OT looked forward, whereas the worship of the NT looks backward.
E. The church of today is involved in proclamation not preparation. The church exists to proclaim that the Messiah has already come.
OT Israel was exclusive whereas NT church is inclusive.
From the beginning God planned that his NT people would be inclusive, embracing both Jews and Gentiles, indeed, “all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” Genesis 12:3 and Galatians 3:8: The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.”
Ephesians talks about the transition from the exclusiveness of Israel and the inclusiveness of the church in Ephesians 2:12-14.
This is indeed the great mystery not made clear in OT times, “that the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 3:6.
Shelley Jackson is a writer. Yet, you cannot read anything she’s written in a magazine, book or screen. Instead, you have to look at people. Her story is written on human skin. Her story is called “Skin.” Jackson calls it “a mortal work of art.” It is a fictional piece that is composed of 2,095 words. Over 2,000 volunteers have gotten one word from the story tattooed onto their bodies. Each volunteer got one word daily. It began in 2003 and we can view a version of this on YouTube. I wouldn’t recommend viewing this because it is bizarre, weird and foolish. But isn’t the church also a “mortal work of art” that puts flesh on the gospel that it becomes visible to a watching world?
OT Israel was a physical thing whereas the church is a spiritual thing.
Though God’s dealings with OT Israel certainly involved spiritual blessings and spiritual purposes, the people with whom the covenant was made was a physical nation; and God’s interactions with them were mainly on the level of the physical.