fear, fear in the material world, Half-way covenant, John 11:45, John 11:46, John 11:47, John 11:48, John 11:49, John 11:50, John 11:51, John 11:52, John 11:53, loosing power, pharisees, sadducees, sanhedrin, scribes, temple captain, temporal worldview, worldly, worldly fears
In John 11:45-57 we find a group of men worried about controlling the nation of Israel. Their focus is purely temporal. It includes a fear of loosing control of their worldly existence, the temple in Jerusalem itself. These religious leaders see their position as one of control over the people, control of their station, control of their livelihood, their small part in controlling the horrible life situation under Roman rule. They fear loosing all they perceive they live for.
There are a great many people who live this day to day life in our world today. Religious leaders who will do anything, including allow unbelievers to control the function and operation of worship. This happened during Jonathan Edward’s day with his grandfather in the half-way covenant.
The churches in the later 17th century were filling, as they are today, more and more with unbelievers. They saw attendance as a matter of civic duty, a way to be accepted in their society as moral people. They attended mostly just the Sunday morning services then went about their way.
In churches of that day, as in today, to be a church member one was supposed to publicly testify of their conversion, faith in Christ and be baptized. The half-way covenant provided for partial church membership to support tithes. People became members because they were related to one another. Grand children because of their grand parents, etc. People could accept the covenant, be morally proper abiding in the church creed. They could be baptized into the church without testimony. They could not accept communion or vote. This arrangement kept people coming, listening to the gospel, collecting tithes maintaining numbers and hoping for godly influence on society and influence them for conversion.
This pattern began in Jesus day with the Pharisees, Scribes and Sadducees. It happened in the 17th century in Jonathan Edward’s church and it continues today. True believers hunger for the word, hunger to fellowship with other believers, hunger to be in their place of worship, wait with great anticipation to be in God’s presence at every opportunity. They seek God’s glory daily and find its highest intensity in the sanctuary of their church. The believer does not attend on occasion for their benefit, they attend with zeal at every opportunity from an insatiable hunger to learn of God’s glory, His grace, His mercy, His mystery, His love. The believer attends to learn of Christ and implement His life more in their own.
Christian, release the zeal in your heart for Christ. That strength is what the religious leaders of yesterday, and many today as well as their followers lack. Christian, hunger and thirst for righteousness.