Have no FEAR?

No Fear Inc Logo Decal Sticker

 

Can Caution become Cowardly? 

Rev 21:8 “But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”

 

Can Concern become Worry?

2Cor 11:28 besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches.

Mat 6:25 “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life,

 

Can Obeying the Government become disobedience to God?

Rom 13:1 Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.

Acts 5:29 But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: “We ought to obey God rather than men.

 

These are questions each of us must consider and answer as we continue to face this new world of COVID fear.

 

What is FEAR? 

FAILURE?

Mat 25:24 “Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 ‘And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.’

 

Are we afraid of EVIL men?

Lu 12:4 And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. Mat 10:28

 

Perhaps we’re afraid of the ANONYMOUS or invisible enemies.

Ro 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” 37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

Maybe our FEAR has opened the door to RATIONALIZING our disobedience?

Num 14:2 And all the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron, and the whole congregation said to them, “If only we had died in the land of Egypt! Or if only we had died in this wilderness! Num 14:10 And all the congregation said to stone them (Joshua & Caleb) with stones.

 

We live in a new world now that COVID-19 has entered. Say what you will about the virulence of the virus, it matters not. The FEAR of it exists in many hearts regardless of the reality.

It’s easy to talk about FEAR when there’s not much to fear. It becomes much more difficult when you are facing the command to cross the Jordan into battle.

 

WHAT IS COURAGE?

Courage is not the lack of FEAR. Courage is taking action despite the fear.

Courage is not taking action without precautions. Paul was both ready to be bound, but also to die [Acts 21:13]. But that boldness didn’t mean he shouldn’t take precautions. The Lord told him he would make it to Rome, but it was Paul that foiled the plot against his life. It was Paul that stopped the Roman soldiers from scourging him by appealing to his Roman citizenship.

 

FEAR is a natural emotional response that protects us from harm. It is good when it prompts you to take precautions. We recognize fire’s power to burn, but it doesn’t stop us from utilizing it for good.

FEAR becomes sin [Rev 21:8] when it stops one from doing that which is right. When it stops one from obeying God.

 

Let us move away from fear. The answer to casting out fear is LOVE.

1John 4:17 Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.

 

Let us LOVE God so much that we will do His will.

John 14:15 “If you love Me, keep My commandments.

 

Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

 

Mat 5:13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.
14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.
15 “Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.
16 “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

 

Our Light needs recharging!

 

Congregational Worship and COVID-19

Virtual worship: Should you live stream, do a podcast, or send an ...

Congregational Worship and COVID-19

By Joe R. Price

“The more things change, the more they stay the same.” So the saying goes. Indeed, there is nothing new under the sun (Eccl. 1:9).

The present COVID-19 pandemic reminds us of valuable spiritual lessons we may have taken for granted until this moment of crisis. For instance, God, in His providence, continues to furnish our needs so that our faith does not turn into anxiety (Matt. 6:24-34). Also, while we have free will with its choices and consequences, we still live under the unexpected reality of “time and chance” (Eccl. 9:11-12). Such times warn us to turn to God with all our heart (Joel 2:12-14). And, we call to mind that “Thy will be done” must be our north star as we navigate life (Jas. 4:13-17).

Even as 9-11 brought new travel screenings and requirements, this event is likely to produce its share of social changes as we move beyond the temporary “stay at home” orders. Social or physical distancing may continue to impact going to large crowd events, restaurants, doctor’s offices, etc. Education continues to be affected. Sure, online study courses have been around for a long time. Now, online learning has increased to accommodate the stay at home orders prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Washington State Superintendent of Public Instruction (Chris Reykdal) recently said to expect distance learning to be in place “for quite a long time” (“State schools chief: Expect to use distance learning ‘for quite a long time,’” James Drew, The Bellingham Herald, April 6, 2020). Restaurants are introducing no-touch food delivery systems to prevent food contamination. Tele-med services are on the increase and may become a more standardized way of visiting doctors in the future. These are just some of the innovations and changes happening as we pass through this temporary crisis.

The COVID-19 crisis is also affecting churches of Christ. Many have temporarily rearranged or canceled worship assemblies. Online Bible classes have multiplied to fill this space. Each congregation is making these temporary decisions for the safety of its members (much as they do when extreme weather prevents safe passage to its place of assembly).

The COVID-19 pandemic has seen a surge of internet activity among brethren. Most congregations have been providing online sermons, Bible study, and teaching material on their websites for years. During this time, many brethren have turned to additional online methods of communication like Facetime, Skype, Messenger, and internet conferencing services like Zoom to facilitate teaching God’s word.

Perhaps it will be helpful to review the meaning of “virtual” within the context of the internet and computer world. Virtual is defined as:

“being something in essence or effect, though not actually or in fact” is from mid-15c., probably via sense of “capable of producing a certain effect” (early 15c.). Computer sense of “not physically existing but made to appear by software” is attested from 1959” (Online Etymology Dictionary).

The Concise Oxford English Dictionary says of virtual computing, “not physically existing as such but made by software to appear to do so.”  It also notes that to “virtualize” is to “convert to a computer-generated simulation of reality” (Ibid).

Merriam-Webster corroborates the definition of virtual as “being on or simulated on a computer or computer network…occurring or existing primarily online… of, relating to, or existing within a virtual reality” (merriam-webster.com).

By definition, the virtual world is simulated; it does not physically exist. It is not an actual world. The internet is a medium (a network) by which we communicate through computer-generated codes (and many things that go way over my head)! But I do know this: I have not changed my location when I am online. I am at my keyboard in front of a monitor (or using a smartphone or some other internet device). I am in virtual reality (the virtual world), but I am actually (really) still in a physical or material location.

That said, our purpose here is to issue a gentle warning to avoid letting the temporary become the norm. Just as our country and the world must return to regular activities, so also must local churches. As the virtual world becomes more and more useful and used, we should be careful not to change the nature of the local church of Christ as we use the bandwidth of cyberspace.

In other words, we must not take Bible authority for granted as we used the internet. Even in the virtual world, we must have Bible authority for whatever we say and do (Col.. 3:17).

The Bible is a book of patterns to which we must conform and hold fast (2 Tim. 1:13; Phil. 3:17; 4:9; 2 Thess. 2:15). By doing so, we obey the commands of Christ’s apostles (2 Thess. 3:4; 1 Cor. 11:1).

Holding fast to Bible patterns is another way of referring to having and applying Bible authority (God’s authority). Just as God told Moses to build the tabernacle and its furnishings “according to the pattern” shown him on Mt. Sinai, we are charged not to alter the gospel of Christ (Heb. 8:5; Gal. 1:6-9).

When we follow God’s word, we will hold fast to the pattern of work for the local church that He approves and blesses. For example, God commanded King Saul to utterly destroy the Amalekites as God’s act of just punishment for their sins against Israel (1 Sam. 15:1-3). God regarded Saul’s failure to follow His revealed will (His pattern) as disobedience and rebellion (1 Sam. 15:9-11, 22-23). Saul changed the nature of his conduct into rebellion when he failed to follow God’s pattern. As a result, God rejected Saul as king.

The New Testament pattern for the work of the local church is spiritual. The local church’s work is evangelism, edification, and benevolence to needy Christians (cf. Acts 2:42-46; 4:32-35; 6:1-7; 1 Thess. 1:8; et al.). When we change the pattern of work for the local church, we have changed the nature of that work into disobedient rebellion against God. Surely, God is no more pleased with us when we change His pattern of work for the local church as He was with Saul when he did not follow God’s command.

When we follow God’s word, we hold fast to the pattern of worship for the local church that He approves and blesses. For example, the fire Nadab and Abihu offered God was “strange” because God “had not commanded it” (Lev. 10:1). They changed (corrupted) the nature of worship when they offered unauthorized fire. Their worship became “strange” (profane, foreign) and unacceptable to God.

The New Testament reveals a pattern for the worship of the local churchLocal churches assembled to pray, to sing, to eat the Lord’s Supper, to give as they have prospered, and to hear the word of God (Acts 2:42; 20:7; 1 Cor. 14:15; Eph. 5:19; 1 Cor. 16:2). When we change the pattern of worship for the local church, we have changed the nature of that worship into “strange fire” that God has not commanded. Surely, God is no more pleased with us when we change His pattern of worship as He was with Nadab and Abihu when they changed the fire He commanded.

When we follow God’s word, we hold fast to the pattern of congregational worship that He approves and blesses. Each Christian is responsible for his or her worship. And, God has provided the congregational arrangement for us to express our individual worship responsibilities. For example, the church at Corinth came “together…as a church…in one place…to eat the Lord’s Supper” (1 Cor. 11:17, 18, 20). (Unfortunately, their worship became corrupted, which the apostle addressed.) Each Christian was to eat the Supper while gathered together (1 Cor. 11:23-34). The Lord arranged the assembling of ourselves together as a feature of regular worship (Heb. 10:24-25; 1 Cor. 14:23, 26; Acts 20:7). And so, when we come together as a church in one place, we are following the New Testament pattern of congregational worship.

During this period of temporary suspension of worship assemblies, we should realize we are not attempting to reconstitute the congregational worship assembly when we arrange a virtual Bible study online. We are individuals in different places, not in one place, communicating via the internet. The internet is no more an actual “place” we gather any more than the old telephone party line was an actual place we met. Both the party line and an internet conference call are forms of communication individuals use at the same time when they are in different places. We may indeed “meet” on the phone or online to converse, but we are not in “one place.” When we “come together to eat,” it is contrasted with and different from activities done “at home” (1 Cor. 11:33-34).

God’s pattern reveals some acts of worship are designed exclusively for when the church comes together in one place. The Lord’s Supper and the weekly contribution are of this nature (1 Cor. 11:17-22, 33-34; 16:2). Other acts of worship (singing, praying, and listening to the God word) are included in, but not limited to, a congregational context (Jas. 5:13-16; Acts 20:20).

We understand and practice this when a Christian is sick and unable to attend the worship assembly. We do not take the Lord’s Supper to them, because the word of God places the Supper in the assembly of the local church. We do not take the collection plate to the sick Christian, either…

Let us remember that honorable intentions do not equate to God’s approval (Bible authority). There was a time when many Christians would take the Lord’s Supper to brethren who were shut-in in nursing homes. Though well-intended, this practice overlooks the congregational arrangement for the Supper. And, perhaps unwittingly, it reflected an undue elevation of the Supper to a near sacramental status as the most essential part of worship.

Just here, it helps us to recall King Saul’s impatient disobedience in 1 Samuel 13. When Samuel did not arrive at Gilgal in the time expected, Saul went ahead and offered a burnt offering. When Samuel came and questioned Saul, he replied by describing the circumstances he faced, then explained, “Therefore I FELT compelled, and offered a burnt offering” (1 Sam. 13:11-12). But in truth, what Saul did (however good his intentions) was foolish disobedience (1 Sam. 13:13).

Good intentions do not equal Bible authority and God’s approval. In our zeal to actively maintain a connection with our brethren through online Bible studies and prayers while going through the temporary suspension of our assemblies, let us be careful that we do not change the nature of God’s pattern of congregational worship.

After this current situation passes, it will still be a violation of God’s word to forsake the assembling of ourselves together. Arranging a virtual worship service at the lake (or at home) instead of coming together as a church will not suffice (Heb. 10:24-25). If this is incorrect, then let us simply abandon the actual assembling of ourselves and transition to virtual assembling and virtual congregational worship. Or, if there is no distinction, then let us provide a “tradition” worship assembly (so as not to offend the older, more traditional brethren), and also arrange a “virtual” worship assembly (for those who are more comfortable with a new reality). But, to do these things changes the nature of the worship assembly. When we change the nature of congregational worship from actual to virtual, it amounts to offering God “strange fire” that He has not commanded.

Please understand, we are not charging anyone with deliberately and willfully changing the nature of worship. Not at all. By all means, we are thrilled to see many Christians having online Bible studies and sharing video sermons to spread the gospel and edify the saints. There is a needed place for such worthy endeavors. As we do so, may we be cautious and not allow our temporary, virtual practice to redefine (or replace) the actual practice of congregational worship.

We pray for a swift reversal of this present crisis, for the sake of saving lives and so that Christians may soon come together in one place for the congregational worship God designed (Heb. 10:24-25).

 

http://www.bibleanswer.com/2020_Vol_22_No_14_12Apr.htm#Congregational

 

What Think Ye of Christ?

 

“Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he?” Matthew 22:42

 

What’s our ATTITUDE toward CHRIST?

For Some

  • My Lord & my God. John 20:28.
  • Fell down to worship Him. Mat 2:11 Wise men; Mat 8:2 leper; Mat 15:25 a woman of Canaan; John 9:38 the blind man; Luke 24:52 Men on road to Emmaus; Mark 5:6 Legion of demons; Mat 28:9 His disciples. Mat 14:33 after walking on water. Mat 9:18 a ruler.
  • He is POWERFUL. Mark 5:25-28; Mark 4:41 storm;
  • Marveled at His words. Luke 4:22; 7:9; 20:26
  • Saw Him as having authority, Mat 7:29; Mark 1:22
  • Thou art the Christ. Peter in Mat 16:16.
  • As a King. John 6:15; 12:13 Triumphal entry; John 18:37 Jesus said.

 

EVEN DEMONS said…

  • Holy One of God. Mark 1:24 I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God. Luke 4:34
  • You are the Christ, the Son of God. Luke 4:41; Mat 8:29
  • Thou art the Son of God. Mark 3:11 unclean spirits, Mark 5:7; Luke 8:28;
  • Demons believe & tremble. Jas 2:19
    • Acts 19:15 Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?

 

Others said

  • He has a devil. John 10:20; Mark 3:22;
  • He was a law breaker. John 5:18
  • He was mad. Mark 3:21 his Relatives;
  • He was a food pantry. John 6:25-26;
  • He was a blasphemer. John 10:33 Jews sought to stone Him. Luke 5:21 forgiving sins.
  • He was a court jester. Luke 23:8 Herod to see a miracle.
  • Some didn’t think much of Him at all. Luke 7:39 A Pharisee.
    • The Weeping Woman; v37-38. What did she think of Him?

What is WORSHIP on the 1st day of the week?

 

WORSHIP on the Lord’s Day is on the 1st day of the week when the saints gather together.

2 Types of worship.

  • Daily Glorification of God in our godliness. Cr. Acts 16:25
  • 1st Day of the week with 3 unique things.
    • Lord’s Supper. 1Cor 11:17-33; Acts 20:7
    • Contribution. 1Cor 16:1-2
    • Gathered Together in one place. 1Cor 11:17,18,20,33

ONE Another is together. 1Cor 11:17-33; Acts 20:7; Heb 10:25; Eph 5:19; Col 3:16

REQUIRED of God. John 4:24, Heb 10:24-25 (with exception to CRISIS)

  • Control is not yours. Paul in custody Acts 27
  • Real, not made up. ‘my ox fell in the ditch.’ Who pushed it in?
    • Lu 14:5 And answered them, saying, Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the sabbath day?
    • Ex 23:5; De 22:4; Lu 13:15
  • Illness, Lev 13:46 outside of the camp.
  • Storms & other dangerous events
  • Infectious, Lepers.
    • Lev 13:45-46 face covered.
  • Sometimes, not habitual or customary
    • Heb 10:25 manner of some

SUPPER of the Lord has 2 elements [Exo 12; Luke 22:14-21 & a few conditions [tarry for one another 1Cor 11:33]. 1st Day, together, Spirit & Truth.

  • How do you forsake assembling of ourselves together if it’s incidental? Heb 10:25
  • How do we sing to one another? Eph 5:19, Col 3:16
  • How do we tarry for one another? 1Cor 10:33

HAVE no fear, some say. Does being fearless also include being reckless? Consider Paul who was not afraid to die, but avoided death on a few occasions. [Acts 9:23-25, 21:13; 23:11-22]

  • “God’s in Control” & “If it’s my time to die…”
  • Then play with rattlesnakes in the freeway.
  • “don’t tempt God.” EXACTLY! Don’t tempt God by being reckless. If you wish to be reckless, do it for yourself!

INDIVIDUALLY together. We come together, but God examines each heart individually. cf. Rev 3:4; Heb 4:12

PLEASING to God has to first be authorized. Gal 1:10; Mark 7:7; Phil 3:19; Col 2:23. 2Sam 7:1-7

It’s not necessarily Pleasing to God when it just feels good in our heart.

 

CLOSE; 1Cor 1:10 Paul Pleading with a divided church.

Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

Watch video here.

How will you redeem the time at HOME

We’re all being urged to self-quarantine at Home during this COVID-19 panic. How will you be spending the time?

Will you be WASTING time or REDEEMING the time?

Here are 4 things we can do to REDEEM the time while we’re confined at HOME.

 

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FFranklinstreetchurchofChristBorger%2Fvideos%2F702409923921651%2F&show_text=0&width=560“>watch.

Things to do at HOME during COVID-19 Isolation.

COVID-19 & The things we can do.

In prayerful response to the COVID-19 concern, the church at Franklin & Juniper will cancel all services for the next 2 weeks.
We will continue to evaluate & update as the situation changes.

This decision is similar to how we cancel services during times of severe weather as well as how some make the personal choice to remain home when they are sick.

For some, if their condition prevents them from doing secular activities, it will prevent them from assembling with the saints.

This is not just a local situation, nor a national. It is an international situation.

Just because we’re practicing SOCIAL DISTANCING if we must go out for groceries (or take out) it doesn’t mean we’re no longer interacting with people in other ways. We may be in ISOLATION, but this is no time to be IDLE. There are several things we can do during the time we self-quarantine at HOME.

The first thing we can do is HEAL. This virus has a 14-day incubation period. Many may be asymptomatic, meaning they have the virus but have no symptoms. Let’s take time to HEAL our bodies.

We can HEED the warnings about limiting physical contact. We can HELP the helpless. There may be some who have compromised immune systems or other risk factors. Perhaps as some gather necessities, you could look out for their needs.

Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.” [Phil 2:4]

We can OPEN OUR BIBLES. Far too many have lived hectic & harried lives. While you may still be able to work from home, almost every non-essential activity has been canceled. What a great time to start that Bible Reading Program you resolved to do this year.  It only takes about 20 hours to read the New Testament. Everyone could read the entire NT during this time. (30 min in the morning & evening.

Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Chris)” [ Eph 3:4]

Another great thing we can do is we can now have MEALS with the family. This is a lost tradition in modern times. What a great way to return to this wonderful custom where we can connect & talk with our family. Resist the urge to graze all day long, eating our meals in front of electronics.

Married couples can find ways to improve their MARRIAGES. This goes beyond the physical and looks to the Spiritual.

Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;” [Eph 5:25]

Let’s remember the lonely and we can connect to the lonely through MESSAGING & calls. There are some among us who were lonely before this and are now more so.

Lastly, just because the building is closed there is no reason to shut down EVANGELISM. Crisis causes many to turn to God. We see this repeatedly in Scripture. Keep you EYES & EARS open to how your friends & family talk about the present distress. As Christians we are have the comfort of God’s word that removes all fear.

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord…” [2Tim 1:7-8]

We must maintain our hope & excitement for the Lord. When unbelievers see our enthusiasm, they may want to know why. Be ready to answer. [1Peter 3:15]

Be aware of a real phenomenon called cabin fever as well as the tendency for tempers to flare during confinement. Remember to ESTEEM others better than self. [Phil 2:3]

Trust in God, although our OUTWARD man is perishing, our INWARD man can be renewed daily. [2Cor 4:16]

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;”

–Spencer

4 Keys to an Exciting Worship

 

You’ve heard it before, people saying, ‘church is boring.’ Some have even said, ‘I didn’t get anything out of the worship.’ This is one of the main criticisms of the church of Christ is that it’s too boring.

One visitor said, “this isn’t for me.” Another person said, “I’m not drawn to God by the bands, the food and the entertainment, but I would never go to church without them.” More frequently you’ll find folks comparing amenities between ‘churches’ like they choose options when buying a car.

Perhaps you’ve had similar thoughts. There are a variety of reasons people give as to why

their attendance drops off. The preacher is boring, the singing is flat, the building is ugly, the people are cold & unfriendly.

Allow me to make a bold statement, none of these are the reason. You and you alone are the reason worship is boring!

I’ll prove it to you by showing you the 4 keys to VAIN worship and the remedies for making worship exciting.

The 1st reason some find worship boring is they don’t like the old ways. It’s not in VOGUE with today’s music & styles. They’ll also be critical of the building, the pews & any number of things that appear old fashioned.

REMEDY #1; Remember that worship is ordered by God our creator. [John 4:24]. When we stylize worship to our taste buds, we become guilty of worshiping our bellies or our own selves.

Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.” [Phil 3:19; cr Col 2:23]

We must do all in the name of Jesus, that means by His permission. We worship the way we do by the scriptural authority of Jesus, the one who purchased the church with His own blood. Remember that, and you’ll instantly see a boost in your excitement.

Reason #2 some find worship cold & boring is that they impugn others motives. They act as mind readers which is impossible. Communication is difficult under the best of circumstances and nearly impossible when you make up thoughts others are having and ATTACK them mentally. Are you not being judgmental yourself?

REMEDY #2; Leave the mind & heart reading to God. We’re not good at it. All we can do is go by their actions & words. Instead of thinking poorly about one another, we’re allowed to think loving thoughts.

“(Love)…thinks no evil;” [1Cor 13:5b]

Reason #3 that folks give is that the people are unfriendly. Really? Let’s see how the typical person enters the building. They come in and walk IMMEDIATELY to a rear pew, on the outside edge speaking to no one as they enter. Then they hold court as if on a “throne” expecting the rest of the congregation to come to them for a greeting. And you’re calling the rest of us cold?! It reminds me of the Pharisees; “Woe to you Pharisees! For you love the best seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces.” [Luke 11:43]

REMEDY #3; Here are 5 simple tricks you can do to instantly feel welcome while making others feel welcome also; SMILE.

  • Stand up, don’t race to sit down.
  • Make eye contact with us. You’re allowed to say hello.
  • Interest in others is a gift you give another.
  • Listen to them & they will listen to you.
  • Expect that others will like you instead of assuming otherwise.

Reason #4 some dislike worship, is that they’re NEEDY.  Needy people sound like this, “I didn’t get anything out of the worship.” What if everybody thought that way, where would the giving be?

REMEDY #4; We need to be NEEDY to give. Jesus said it’s more blessed to give. Worship is designed for givers.

  • Give teaching in song. Eph 5:19, Col 3:16
  • Give of means for spreading gospel. 1Cor 16:1-2
  • Give edification. Eph 4:29-32
  • Give heart to God. Mat 22:37-39, Mark 7:7
  • Give attention to scripture & doctrine. 1Tim 4:13

If you take this in the heart it is given, you will INSTANTLY find more joy in the worship that God has designed.

I love you all.

—Spencer

I Don’t Keep Any Of The Ten Commandments

Image result for 10 commandments
I Don’t Keep Any Of The Ten Commandments
William J. Stewart | Odessa, Ontario, Canada
 
When speaking with folks about the distinction between the Old and New Testaments, I will, to make a vivid point, often declare, “I don’t keep any of the Ten Commandments.” You ought to see the look such a statement elicits on the face of some people. Now, what do |I mean by that statement? I acknowledge the God of heaven and worship Him alone. I do not serve false gods. I do not misuse the name of God. I worship on the day which God has prescribed. I render the appropriate respect to my parents. I do not murder. I do not commit fornication. I do not steal. I do not lie. I do not covet other people’s goods. And yet, I earnestly say, “I don’t keep any of the Ten Commandments.”
 
The Ten Commandments (and indeed, the whole Law of Moses) were not given for me to keep, but for the people of Israel (Deuteronomy 4:44-45; 5:1-3). As we consider the testimony of Scripture, it ought to become evident that we are not under the Law of Christ, not the Law of Moses. Consider:
 
MATTHEW 5:17-18
Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.
 
Many will use this text to affirm that the Law would never cease, but the careful Bible student will realize that Jesus is saying just the opposite. In verse 17, the Lord states unequivocally that He came to fulfill the Law. In the next verse, He plainly indicates what would take place once it was fulfilled – it would pass away.
 
A parent may tell a child not to get off a chair until his “time out” is over. A union leader may tell management that the workers will not return until all their demands are met. There are countless statements where a given result will occur once a condition has been met. Shall we leave the child on the chair even after the “time out” is completed? Shall the workers forsake their jobs even after their demands have been satisfied? Of course not. Neither should we affirm the perpetuation of the Law, for the Lord has fulfilled it.
 
ACTS 15:1, 5
Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved. … It is necessary to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.
 
These two statements were made by some first century Jewish Christians with regard to the Gentile converts to Christ. They, like some today, were proponents of the Law, and sought to bind it upon believers. Notice what the apostles had to say of them and their position:
  • Peter asked, “…why do you test God by putting a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither you nor your fathers were able to bear?” (15:10)
  • James, considering the coming of the Gentiles to Christ, in view of prophecy, stated, “…we should not trouble those from among the Gentiles who are turning to God…” (15:19)
  • The apostles distinguished themselves from the Law proponents, declaring, “…we gave no such commandment…” (15:24)
  • The apostles, inspired of God, wrote to the Gentiles, saying, “…it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: that you abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality.” (15:28-29)
Those who affirm that we are still subject to the Law of Moses today set themselves against the apostles of Christ and the Holy Spirit himself.
 
GALATIANS 3:23-26
But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.
 
Paul revealed the purpose of the Law of Moses. It guarded the hearts of the Jews until faith came. Not personal faith, for personal faith has existed since creation began. The faith spoke of is the law of faith, which would be revealed in Christ. But notice, when the faith came (ie. the New Testament Law, the Gospel), then “…we are no longer under a tutor.” The purpose of the law had been served. Now, we are God’s people, not by the Law of Moses, but “…through faith in Christ Jesus.” (NOTE, it was only the Jews who had been kept under guard by the law, the Gentiles were never under the law)
 
HEBREWS 8:7-13
For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. Because finding fault with them, He says, ‘Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah – not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the days when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the LORD. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.’ In that He says, ‘A new covenant,’ He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.
 
Two covenants are under consideration here, the first being established through Moses, the second, through the Christ. In bringing forth a new covenant, what did God plan for the former? Was it to remain, and be kept in conjunction with the second? The Hebrew writer uses words such as “obsolete,” “growing old,” and “ready to vanish away” to describe the Law of Moses. We are not subject to the covenant established by God with Israel at Mount Sinai. We are subject to the law established with the entire world through the Christ at Calvary.
 
GALATIANS 5:1-4
Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. Indeed, I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing. And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law. You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. 
 
Those who contend that we are still subject to Moses’ law today fail to be consistent with their own claim. Paul indicated that if one presumes to keep part of the law, they are indebted to keep the whole law (v 3). Do those who claim to keep the law today continue in the sacrifices prescribed? Do they observe the feasts in the way they are commanded? Do they hold to the penalties instructed for crimes and offences under Moses’ law? Some who claim we should keep Moses’ Law even fail to keep the Sabbath day as instructed in the Law. Their claim fails support through their actions.
 
In Galatians 5, Paul wrote to Gentile Christians whom Judaizing teachers pressured to receive circumcision in obedience to the Law of Moses (the same issue which existed in Acts 15), Paul’s message was clear – don’t do it! You have been made free in Christ, why would you turn to a law of bondage (cf. Galatians 2:4)? To seek to be justified by Moses’ law is to separate oneself from Christ.
 
COLOSSIANS 2:14-17
…having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it. So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.
 
What was the handwriting of requirements that was against and contrary to us? It is the law of Moses. Recall Peter’s statement in Acts 15 – the law was a yoke “…which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear.” It was “taken out of the way … nailed to the cross.” The Law of Moses had “become obsolete” and was “ready to vanish away” (Hebrews 8). That being the case, Paul urged the disciples not to allow people to judge them in matters related to the Law – food, drink, festivals, new moons, sabbaths. The disciples of Christ are not subject to these laws or any laws from Moses. He identifies the Law as a shadow – the reality, the true, is found in Christ and His law, the gospel.
 
Well, hang on. I said earlier that I acknowledge the one true God, worship Him alone, I don’t misuse His name and I worship on the day He prescribed. I have respect for my parents, I do not murder, commit fornication, steal, lie or covet my neighbour’s goods. By definition, am I not keeping the Ten Commandments? Nope, not a one. All of the commandments (except the Sabbath law) are repeated in the New Testament (Matthew 4:10; 1 Corinthians 10:14; 1 Timothy 6:1; Colossians 3:20; Romans 13:9; 1 Thessalonians 4:3; Ephesians 4:28; Colossians 3:9; Hebrews 13:5). The Sabbath is not repeated, for the prescribed day of worship in the New Testament is the first day of the week (Matthew 28:1-2; John 20:19; Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:2).
Friend, we are not subject to Moses’ law. It was not and is not our law, not even the Ten Commandments. We are subject to Christ, to the message of the gospel as revealed through the New Testament.

Whats An Expedient?

 

All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient:” [1Corinthians 6:12]

A challenge that the church faces is regarding the concept of expedients. What are they? Why do we care? How are we to decide?

First, we need to define the concept. An expedient is the tactics or actions we take to fulfill a generic command. It only applies with a generic command. A specific command is limited to that which is specified.

Let’s look at a familiar example;

“Make thee an ark of gopher wood;” [Genesis 6:14]

The SPECIFIC COMMAND is an Ark of gopher wood among other things. There are 17+ specific commands to Noah. The details are laid out when God commands what to build. Noah couldn’t change or modify the command. He was limited to an “ark” not a dingy, nor a house, nor a barn.

The GENERIC COMMAND is ‘make.’ This is generic as God doesn’t go into the details of the building process. He gives the size and number of floors, but He doesn’t tell Noah HOW to build it.

God left those details up to Noah to work out.

  • How was he to gather the wood?
  • How was he to mill the wood?
  • How was he to attach the wood together?
  • Could he use a hammer & saw? They aren’t mentioned, does this mean he couldn’t use them?

Noah is given the freedom to choose HOW to accomplish the GENERIC command while completing the SPECIFIC command.

Here’s where the EXPEDIENT comes in. He was commanded to build an ark, so he needed to find the necessary means to fulfill this command. Could he have built the ark out of gopher wood twigs, sure, but that wouldn’t EXPEDITE the command. It would take far too long. He needed to fulfill the command in the most efficient & effective way. That’s an EXPEDIENT.

Here are 6 rules about expedients:

  • Expedients must first be LAWFUL. The phrase, ‘the end justifies the means’ is wrong. We cannot do anything as long as the desired outcome is accomplished. For example, to help a hungry brother, theft is not allowed. That’s one thing we learn in 1Sam 15:22. The expedient must first be LAWFUL.

 

  • Expedients do not make a DOCTRINE. Denominations must create rules and organizations to regulate their expedients. That’s the tail wagging the dog. The expedient aides in accomplishing a SPECIFIC command when the method how is not given. For example, we are commanded to give on the first day of the week [1Cor 16:1-2]. The church cannot start a bank to fulfill that command. We can open a bank account to hold the funds until they are needed, but to open a Bank goes beyond the command.

 

  • Expedients do not require a SUBSTITUTION of the command. We are told to baptize (immerse in water). Sometimes a person is sick or infirmed making the command seem difficult. Some have then substituted sprinkling or pouring to make the command easier. Doing this modifies the specific part of the command to   IMMERSE in water. Therefore, it is not an expedient. We cannot do things to expedite a generic command when it violates the specific command.

 

  • Expedients don’t cause others to STUMBLE. Sometimes we find a lawful expedient, but for another it violates their conscience. Maybe because of their background. This is what we learn from 1Corinthians 8. It was lawful to eat meat that was sold in the marketplace despite the fact that it had been previously offered at the temple to a false god. Because some had converted out of that mess, they didn’t feel it was right to eat meat sacrificed to idols. Paul said,

“Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.”

[1Cor 8:13; cr. 10:23]

  • Saying, “I don’t like change” is not a reason to stop an expedient. There are changes in technology that makes fulfilling a command more efficient. For example, the disciples didn’t have PowerPoint. We do, and it’s an efficient and effective tool when presenting a lesson or leading singing.

 

  • Expedients aren’t BINDING. It’s authorized to baptize in a river, but to require it is a violation. We can baptize in a baptistery, the ocean, lake or puddle. As long as the command to IMMERSE is met. [cf. Acts 8:36]

Our desire here is to serve God with all our hearts, soul & mind without violating God’s commands nor anyone’s conscience. With patience, prayer & study, we can learn how to fulfill all of God’s commands as EFFICIENTLY & EFFECTIVELY for the edifying of the body.

—Spencer