Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Obedience First

1 Corinthians 13:11 (NASB) When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things.

There were things that I could tolerate in my youth that I can no longer handle. The same is true of spiritual maturity. As you grow in grace, you realize that some stuff has nothing to do with living the abundant life that Christ offers.

For example, why do we place so much emphasis on how people dress for church? Beyond decent, does it really matter? Of course, there are appropriate things to wear to be on a stage or platform, but we spend way too much energy on our clothing. Some of us treat church like some kind of exclusive country club. You have to fit a certain stereotype, or you will be treated as an outsider.

We do the same thing with denomination. Every single one of them is man-made, so they are flawed. We should worry less about denomination and focus more on the Word of God. If the church you’re in believes the Bible, abides by the Bible, and teaches the Bible, that should be sufficient. As long as the church isn’t adding to or taking away from the Scriptures or misusing the Scriptures, there shouldn’t be a problem fellowshipping with it. That means we have to study to know whether a church is ‘rightly dividing the Word of Truth.’

Unfortunately, there are enough unchurched and unsaved people for all the churches to be full. The harvest is indeed plentiful, but we are too busy with differences in tradition, doctrine, and theology to just love the people in the communities that God has placed us in. It’s great to know why you believe what you believe, but it’s even more important to be obedient to what God has told us to do. Obedience doesn’t require understanding.

Jesus Christ didn’t come to establish dress code or denomination. He told us why He came, and He told us what to do. Here are just a few examples. There are plenty more in the Scriptures.

Luke 19:10 (NASB) For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.

John 10:10 (NASB) The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.

Matthew 22:37-39 (NASB) 37 And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the great and foremost commandment. 39 The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’

Matthew 28:19-20 (NASB) 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.

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