Posts Tagged ‘Scripture’

All In Moderation

July 17, 2012

Sunlight is a wonderful thing.
It synthesizes vitamin D in our skins.
It is a key element in photosynthesis, necessary for the growth of food plants.
It is vital for keeping our planet warm enough to support life.
It provides us with light for us to see by.

Without the sun, ours would be a cold, barren rock of a planet without a single living thing on it. We need the sun, no question about that. But we also must be careful that we don’t get too much sun: Excessive sun exposure causes painful sunburns, heat stroke, and skin cancers. The very thing that keeps us alive can kill us if we don’t take it in moderation. As with anything in life, balance is the key.

And, just as we need balance in how much sun exposure we receive in our physical lives, we must also have balance with how much Son exposure we get in our spiritual lives. We have no life without the Son, we would be as dead men without HIm (Matthew 8:22 ), much like the Earth would be dead without the sun. Is it equally true that we could also have too much Son exposure as well?

In a manner of speaking, YES.

There are some believers who go a bit overboard in their Christian journey. These ones are so afraid that they might do something wrong that they add on rule upon rule in an attempt to keep members in line with Him. For example, Old Order Amish members do not believe in having their photograph taken because they believe it is a violation of the second commandment which  states “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth” (Exodus 20:4). Old Order Amish women are not allowed to wear make up or shave their legs/armpits due to Scripture regarding vanity and outward appearances. Older Order Amish men cannot have a mustache because of its historical connection to the military.

And it’s not just the Old Order Amish who go overboard:

Jehovah’s Witness members must answer a series of over one hundred questions, correctly (according to their doctrines) before being allowed baptism. Mormons believe you must have a MORMON baptism (even if you had been baptized previously in another denomination). Certain Baptist churches believe in using ONLY the King James Version Bible.  Most Messianic Jews believe male members must wear beards to be right with God. It goes on and on.

How can we know when something is biblical, versus something going overboard? Obviously you test the teaching with the Scriptures, but in most cases these groups believe they have scriptural support for their rules. For example:

The Messianic Jews point to the Scripture which instructs men to refrain from shaving their beards (Leviticus 19:27). This is all well and nice, but they are missing a key point: This is spoken in the Old Jewish Law as a command, and when Jesus Christ died His death finished that Law so that it was no longer an obligation (Click here for details).

By piling on extra rules and regulation in the attempt for purifying one’s worship, such ones tend to make worship a burdensome thing, and Jesus Christ Himself stated that His load is NOT heavy and NOT wearisome (Matthew 11:29-30). God doesn’t want us to worship under fear of slipping up, He wants us to worship in the freedom of forgiveness through Christ’s blood. Although it is a good thing to be careful that you do not offend Him, we must also be careful that we aren’t being required to hold to things that are beyond what is instructed in the Scriptures (Romans 16:17-18).

Not only it is an unnecessary burden to try too hard, but it can also be a snare to our spirituality. One of the most common snares is the sin of pride: Oftentimes, those who are involved in such groups become puffed up, believing that they are more righteous than all other denominations due to their uber-pious living. Closely related to pride is the sin of being overly-judgmental of others, also due to the fostering of a self-righteous attitude. We must remember that “Pride goeth before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18), and that we have no business judging others, as we all will stand in the judgement seat before God (Romans 14:10-12).

So, getting back to the original illustration, we must remember that even though Son Light is essential for our very living, it is important that we don’t overdo it, because the sins of pride, judgmental attitudes, and self-righteousness are the cancers that can kill us spiritually.

 

** This post is in no way accusing any denominations mentioned as being under the sins of pride or self-righteous judgmental attitudes. Each individual in each denomination must make his or her own accounting of such matters. 

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Water and Wine

October 12, 2010

It never ceases to amaze me how consistently the Old Testament points to Jesus Christ. This past Sunday in my adult Sunday school class I was made aware of yet another Old Testament “marker” that foreshadowed Jesus Christ:

In the Old Testament the first miracle that Moses performed was that of turning water into blood (Exodus 4:9). In the New Testament is Christ’s first miracle of turning water in to wine (John 2:7-9) —  keep in mind that wine is symbolic of Christ’s blood (Matthew 26:27-29).

This gave me something to seriously ponder later in the day:

1. Jesus is known as “The Living Water” (John 4:10-14). Also, it is His blood (“wine”) which saves us (Ephesians 1:7). Therefore He is both water and wine for us.

2. The Living Water and the (blood)wine tie in together when water and blood poured out of Jesus Christ when he was crucified (John 19:34).

As I pondered this, I remembered something else: In some faiths who claim Christianity they offer communion with only plain water, not actual wine or grape juice. It’s as though they are accepting Him as the Living Water, yet omitting His blood as the means of Salvation.

You cannot accept His Living Water while at the same time ignoring His cleansing blood, it is an incomplete belief!

In some other faiths who claim Christianity they omit communion from their worship altogether. However, scripture speaks of true Christians as taking communion (Matthew 26:26-28, 1 Corinthians 10:16), and that the taking of communion proclaims witness to the Lord’s death until He returns (1 Corinthians 11:26). Therefore, to eliminate communion means to stop proclaiming His death as a means of Salvation.

A Christian should proclaim His death if for no other reason than that it is the way of Salvation!

It’s a package deal; if you believe in the Salvation of Jesus Christ you must accept the water and the wine and actively pursue that belief by accepting them in your worship.  You can’t “a la carte” Salvation; there is no provision for such a thing in the scriptures. You either believe in the water and wine and proclaim it, or you don’t. There is no fence position; you are either FOR Christ or AGAINST Christ — because those who are not FOR Him are AGAINST Him, there is no middle ground (Luke 11;23). In other words, you cannot be both. Either be for Him fully, or not.

And…those who are against Christ will be put under His feet! (Luke 11:23, 20:43)

This give pause to seriously think:
Do you truly believe in Jesus Christ the Living Water, and Salvation through His Blood?
If so, do you participate in practicing communion?

If you truly believe in the Life Giving Water and the Blood of Salvation, why shouldn’t you participate in the proclamation through communion?!

Praise be to the God who gave us these provisions!
Praise be to the Son who agreed to die for us puny humans!

Please get off the fence if you are on it. Choose a side; if you don’t then it will be like choosing the wrong side anyway. You either choose Christ completely, or you don’t. And He sees it; there’s no fooling Him.

Amen, and God Bless.


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