Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Concepts or Carefulness?

"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others" (Mt. 23:23).

Jesus mentions two ways in which one might serve God. One way is to take the larger principles (justice, mercy, faithfulness) and go through life trying to live by those principles. The other way is to pay close attention to the smallest detail (tithing of herbs), no matter how insignificant it may seem to others.

Some have tried to take this verse and say we must choose whether we will serve God through right principles or through following the strictest details. Actually, Jesus says we must do both - "these are the things you should have done [concepts of justice, mercy, and faithfulness] without neglecting the others [carefulness of strict adherence to the Law]."

The Pharisees were condemned by Jesus for many things. As a result, it is sometimes easy to associate everything about the Pharisees as being wrong. But the Pharisees were NOT condemned for trying to strictly adhere to the Law in this instance. Their strict adherence did not cause them to neglect the "weightier provisions" either. They were just negligent in these areas and needed to be corrected.

So what is the point of the verse? Not that we must choose to focus on principles and attitudes OR precepts and actions. But that we must strive to strictly follow all of the Lord's commands while allowing our hearts and minds to be guided by the greater concepts of the gospel of Christ.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Do Not Receive Him into Your House

When Paul came to Thessalonica in Acts 17, he began preaching in the synagogue with some success (v. 1-4). However, many of the Jews became upset and caused an uproar (v. 5). They searched for Paul and Silas, the ones who had "turned the world upside down" with their teaching (v. 6). When they could not find them, they brought Jason and some of the other brethren before the city authorities (v. 6-7). What charge did they bring against Jason? He "welcomed them" (v. 7).

This reminds me of a passage in 2 John. John wrote, "If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting; for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds" (2 Jn. 10-11). John is teaching that when one supports, welcomes, or receives one who does not bring the "teaching of Christ" (2 Jn. 9), he becomes a partner in evil. The Jews in Thessalonica saw Paul and Silas as evil men. In their minds, Jason, because he welcomed them, was just as deserving of punishment and they were. This is the principle of 2 John 10-11. But the punishment for receiving one that John talked about will not come from civil authorities, but from "Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell" (Mt. 10:28).

It is interesting that some of the enemies of the cross of Christ were able to grasp this principle of fellowship while some of our own brethren cannot. Some Christians and local churches today welcome false teachers, support compromisers, and receive those who are unwilling to bring "the whole counsel of God" (Acts 20:28). When they do this, they become a partner in wickedness and stand just as condemned as the one they receive.

First and foremost, "our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ" (1 Jn. 1:3). Let us not forfeit our relationship with God for any man, no matter how popular, friendly, knowledgeable, zealous, etc., he is.

I just recently read an article, 2 John 9-11 and Fellowship by Tim Haile. If you are interested in reading more on the topic of fellowship, I would recommend that article.

Monday, September 3, 2007

BOTC - September 2007

The new issue of Banner of the Cross is now online and contains the following article:

Words of Wisdom About the Use of Alcohol by Andy Sochor

Banner of the Cross

Saturday, September 1, 2007

PBT - September 2007

The September issue of Plain Bible Teaching is now online with the following articles:

The Source of Authority by Andy Sochor
Only the Red Letters? by Tim Haile
The "Creed in the Deed" by Larry R. DeVore
Immodesty in Dress: Who Is To Blame? by Andy Sochor

You can read the new articles by clicking on the link below. I hope you may find these helpful to you.

Plain Bible Teaching
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