Old Testament Preaching is for the World, Not the Saints
When preaching from the Old Testament, preachers must be careful who they are talking to. Most of the warnings and prophesies from the Old should be directed at the evils of the world unto salvation, not toward the saints.
The New Covenant God made with the world under the grace of Jesus Christ is for anyone in the world that believes and receives the gift of the Holy Ghost; the New Birth. Many so-called believers think they are born again and are saved by grace but if they have not received the Holy Ghost, they are not saved and will be judged from under the Laws of the Old Testament along with the world.
Jesus made the distinction himself when he said, “Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.” St. Matt. 25:11,12. Meaning, not all those who believe they are His children will enter into the Kingdom of God. They must do the will of God and be born again. St. John 3:3,5.
The first Covenant under the Old Testament was specifically for the children of Israel and any strangers (or foreigners) that found refuge in their camps. And it remains that way, therefore, those born again cannot be judged by the Laws of the Old Testament, but judged only by the convictions of the Holy Spirit and the laws of liberty (James 2:12). When preachers incorporate Old Testament Laws to judge the saints of the church of Christ, they are mixing old wine with new wine, which Jesus condemns.
“Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved.” St. Matt. 9:17.
The stories of the Old Testament are relevant for the church, but many of the Laws and ordinances have been disannulled by the grace of Christ; “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” Romans 15:4. The stories we read from the Old are to encourage us and give us faith, but we are not to be disciplined or judged by them. “For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” John 1:17.
As the Old Testament was specifically for Israel, the apostles wrote the epistles and gospels specifically for the church, not for anyone else but those seeking to be born again, and then afterward. If you read the beginning of any epistle, it reads either “to the saints that are in…” or “unto the church which is at…”. When the New Testament mentions Israel, it references stories from the Old that are to encourage us and to learn from, things to do and not to do.
The world, who are without the Spirit of Christ, remain under the Law and will be judged by the Law, and cannot be judged by grace; and as stated before, the saints cannot be judged by the law. “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.” Galatians 3:24. So, preachers who constantly refer to the Old Testament to correct the saints are bringing the curse of the law on the saints and themselves.
“For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.” Galatians 3:10.
“Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.” Galatians 5:4.
When preaching from the Old Testament, preachers must be careful who they are talking to. Most of the warnings and prophesies from the Old should be directed at the evils of the world unto salvation, not toward the saints. In fact, the saints can be corrected and disciplined strictly through the New Testament, without referring so much to the Old.
The New comes with the teachings of Jesus and His Disciples, that mostly require love and righteousness. “…If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well:” James 2:8. But we know that the love required to fulfill the Law comes only through the Holy Ghost. “…because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” Romans 5:5.
“…for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.” Galatians 3:21. The new birth offers eternal life for all who receive it. So even if correction comes through the Old, eternal life is not given unless it is received by faith. Encouragement from the Old Testament includes all the books such as Psalms, Proverbs, the prophets, the books of Moses and the others, but neither offer eternal life.
Those who do not believe and have not received can be more easily reached through the Old Testament readings, to bring them into the faith. Once they have the faith and the gift of the Holy Ghost, they must growth from the milk and meat of the words of the New Testament. Mixing the two, the Old and New, brings a curse. Furthermore, correcting the world from the New will only reach those with faith.