Speak Where the Bible Speaks

There is an old saying among the churches of Christ. The saying is “Speaking where the Bible speaks and be silent where the Bible is silent.”

It seems that this world is always trying to chip away at the Word of God. Over the past several decades, things that once would not have been allowed in society in general, not to mention inside any group of people calling themselves Christians, are now widely tolerated, accepted, and even encouraged in the religious world. I see articles on a pretty regular basis that talk about how religion must change. How it must become more accepting to different “lifestyles.” I even saw a book titled “Why Christianity Must Change or Die” by John Spong who is the Episcopal Bishop of Newark, New Jersey.

One review on Amazon of the book said this:

Spong refers to himself as a believer in exile. He believes the world into which Christianity was born was limited and provincial, particularly when viewed from the perspective of the progress in knowledge and technology made over the past two millennia. This makes any ideas or beliefs formulated in 1st-century Judea totally inadequate to our progressive minds and lives today. So Spong is in exile until Christianity is re-formed to discard all of the outdated and, according to Spong, false tenets of Christianity.

Anytime you see that word “progressive” applied toward the Bible, you should be careful. The Bible was delivered once and it does not change because God does not change.

Churches today are doing everything they can to change. They are allowing things such as women in leadership roles, homosexuals, full rock bands, and unqualified elders and deacons in the name of bringing people closer to God. It never ceases to amaze me that people will try to get closer to God by doing the exact opposite of what He says to do.

As humans, sometimes we compromise our ideals, but at Christians there is more at stake. When we compromise Christianity, we are compromising more than our ideals…we are compromising God’s. And when we compromise God’s ideals, we are also compromising our own salvation.

Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (2 Corinthians 4:1-6 ESV)

Paul is speaking to the Corinthians here, and he is saying that we should not tamper with the Word of God, but rather we should tell the truth. He goes on to say that the god of this world, that is Satan, has blinded the minds of the unbelievers to keep them from seeing the beauty of that truth.

When we try to twist or tamper with the Word of God, we cast darkness over those who hear us. By telling the truth, we cast light and hope on them.

In short, Paul is saying “Speak where the Bible speaks and be silent where the Bible is silent.”

Dirty Mouth?

There are a series of commercials that have been out for sometime now that advertise Orbit chewing gum.  The lady in the commercial always ends by saying “Got a dirty mouth?  Clean it up with Orbit.”  Yes, it cute(ish) and I always loathe a good pun.  However, it does point out a problem in today’s world.

Never before have I seen so many people who profess to be Christians yet use horrible language in their everyday dealings with people.  Sadly, this problem doesn’t limit itself to people’s mouths, but has infected their fingers also.  Yes, I’m talking about social media in general and Facebook in particular.

I have lost count of the number of people that I have had to block from showing up on my Facebook feed because they will post something from the word of God and then immediately post something that has horrible language in it.  Why is this?  Is this what God wants?

I guess the real question is “Does our language really matter?”  I’ve heard people say things like “God isn’t going to condemn me because of a few words.”  This is one way that Satan tricks us into believing that our words don’t matter to God.  But, the truth is our words do matter to God.

Ananias and Sapphira just thought to use a “few words.”  It didn’t turn out so well for them.

But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, and with his wife’s knowledge he kept back for himself some of the proceeds and brought only a part of it and laid it at the apostles’ feet. But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land? While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? Why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to man but to God.” When Ananias heard these words, he fell down and breathed his last. And great fear came upon all who heard of it. The young men rose and wrapped him up and carried him out and buried him.  After an interval of about three hours his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. And Peter said to her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for so much.” And she said, “Yes, for so much.” But Peter said to her, “How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.” Immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. When the young men came in they found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. And great fear came upon the whole church and upon all who heard of these things.  (Acts 5:1-11 ESV)

“But, they lied,” some people would say.  And that is true.  So, I will give evidence that God wants our speech to be pure just as much as he wants all of our actions to be pure.

Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.  (Colossians 3:5-10 ESV)

Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.  (Ephesians 4:25-31 ESV)

Look at the context these things are under!  In both cases, he talks about lying and how bad it is.  He talks about not having malice in both cases.  Then he mentions obscene talk.  Is there any doubt from these two passages that bad language is just as offensive to God as lying, or slandering, or wrath, or anger.  In the second passage it even says that doing these things grieves the Holy Spirit of God.

If we profess to be Christians and regularly use bad language, are we really Christians?  Are we following the example of Christ?  I can’t think of a single time that Christ used offensive language.  When He was having His back beaten bloody by the Romans before His crucifixion, the Bible doesn’t record a single curse word said out of anger or pain.  With all He went through, not a single offensive statement is recorded.  Why not?  Well, some people will say, “It’s because He was God, ” and that is true.  However, He was tempted just as we are.

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.  (Hebrews 4:15 ESV)

So, it wasn’t because He wasn’t tempted to do so.  I think it was because He understood something.

Abstain from every form of evil.  (1 Thessalonians 5:22 ESV)

Christ understood that His actions and words reflected on His Father.  Many people who claim to be Christians today don’t seem to understand that our actions and words also reflect on our Father.  How does it look to the world when we say we are Christians and then live as if we follow Satan?

Some people will say, “I don’t write anything bad, I just repost things other people have said.”  Is that abstaining from every form of evil or is that giving your agreement to what they said?  How do you think God sees that, especially when you add a comment like “I totally agree with this.”  Well, I’ll tell you how God feels about it:

Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works.  (2 John 1:9-11 ESV)

By reposting a message that contains offensive language, we are agreeing with and taking part in that person’s wicked works.  God will not be pleased with that.  Instead, let’s always strive to show all those around us that we belong to God by keeping our speech pure.

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable in your sight,
O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.
(Psalm 19:14 ESV)

The Reality of Hate

Satan is sneaky!  But, worse than being sneaky, he is extremely good at what he does.  From the beginning, he has been using the Word of God and twisting it to his agenda.  The very first temptation recorded in the Bible is one where Satan took the Words of God and changed them just a little.  That temptation worked, Eve sinned, and talked Adam into sinning as well.

During the temptation of Christ, Satan tried the same trick again.  Why shouldn’t he?  It works so well!

Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, “‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and “‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’” (Matthew 4:5-6 ESV)

Here, Satan quotes Scripture as accurately as any apostle of Christ.  In this instance, he quoted the scripture accurately in an attempt to cloud the meaning of the scripture.  That’s a trick that works even better than twisting the Scripture to say something different.  It’s a better trick because those who don’t know the Scripture or don’t desire to put in the study can be made to think that the Scripture (when quoted accurately) means something entirely different from what it actually means.  Satan spoke true.  God would protect Christ until it was time for Him to fulfill all things.  But, that protection didn’t include purposefully throwing Himself off of the pinnacle of the temple to put that promise to a test.  Notice, Christ understood this and replied:

Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’”  (Matthew 4:7 ESV)

Jesus understood that until you have all that the Bible says on a topic, you don’t have the entire truth.  Jesus understood Psalms 119:160:

The sum of your word is truth, and every one of your righteous rules endures forever.  (Psalm 119:160 ESV)

The total of God’s word is truth.  You need to put it all together to get the complete meaning.  Today’s world has a terrible problem understanding this.  Everywhere we look there are people who try to pass off lies as truth and truth as lies.  However, that isn’t just a problem in today’s world…it has always been a problem.

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!  Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and shrewd in their own sight!  (Isaiah 5:20-21 ESV)

Even though this problem has always been around, the older I get the more it feels that it is a problem that is getting worse.  You can barely pick up the newspaper, turn on the television, or listen to the radio without having to sift through a mountain of lies.  The lie that I have had to sift through more than any other recently is the lie that if we, as Christians, say anything against a sin, then we are being, at best, intolerant and at worst, filth spewing hatemongers.  Well, I want to apply truth to that lie and tell you what hate really looks like.

Let’s look at it logically.  Here are some questions to think over:

  1. If I teach to you and convert you, then you will spend all of eternity in Heaven with God.  I also want to spend all of eternity in Heaven with God.  If I hated you, why would I want you to be there?
  2. If I hated you, wouldn’t it be easier to tell you nothing at all and let you go to Hell instead?

If there is one thing that I wish I could wave my hands and make everyone in the world understand it is this: when I try to teach you what the Bible says, I don’t do it out of hate.  I do it out of love.  I do it because I want you to be in Heaven with me for all of eternity.  If I tell you what God says in the Bible, it is not me judging you, it is me begging you to do what God wants you to do so that you can have what I have.  What more loving thing could a person say than “I want you to be with me forever?”

On the contrary, if I had hate in my heart, I would do everything I could to make sure you didn’t know the truth.  I wouldn’t want you with me forever.  I would never try to teach you or, if I did, I would teach you wrong to make sure you were unable to find the truth.

Now, you may say, “But, your interpretation of the Bible is archaic and can’t be the truth.”  I would love to study with you on that, but until I can study with you on that, please know this: I firmly believe that what I am saying is the truth.  I am convinced, convicted, and certain that the things I write and say are the truth and that they are what God wants you to do to be with Him forever.  I’m not making it up.  I have a strong reason for each of my beliefs.

When I try to teach them to you, please take it as a compliment, not a slight.  Under each word I write and under each word I say, please hear the underlying message: I love you enough to want you to spend eternity with you in Heaven.

The world sees what I have just said as hate.  Does it seem like hate to you?  If so, I’m very sorry for you.  I still want to teach you.  That’s love.

Hate pretends to be love.  It makes statements like “don’t judge me.”  It preaches about “tolerance” while teaching the “tolerant” to be tolerant of every despicable lie, but is intolerant of those who try to teach truth.  It hides behind the mantle of enlightenment while bringing darkness to everyone it touches.

That is the reality of hate.

The next time someone tries to teach you about God, even if you don’t agree with them, why not consider that they are doing it out of love for you?  You might just learn something.

Have I then become your enemy by telling you the truth?  (Galatians 4:16 ESV)

What To Do When You’re Wrong

Do you like being wrong?  I bet the answer is an emphatic “No!”  I don’t know anyone that likes to be wrong.

We like to think we have it together.  We like to think that our personal beliefs are always right and we never stray from the path of right.  We like to think that we have valid reasons that we do the things we do.  We think we have thought through those beliefs over years or, perhaps, decades and throughout that time, we have weeded out all the wrong things to the point that only right remains.

Now, I’m not saying that we don’t sin, sometimes we still do.  But, those sins are typically in the heat of the moment.  We apologize and we move on.  What I’m talking about is different.  I’m talking about being wrong in a base belief that we have held for some time.  For instance, when an atheist finds himself being challenged in that belief.  Or when a evolutionist find himself being challenged in that belief.

What do they do?  What do we wish them to do?  I think as Christians, we would hope and pray that they would take an open and honest look at that challenge.  That they would, at the very least, consider the fact that they might be wrong.  My question is “Do we do the same thing when we are challenged about some belief that we hold?”

I have been challenged on my belief in God and also in regards to evolution.  I have considered that I might be wrong.  I have gathered evidence.  I have looked at it with an open mind.  And, ultimately, I have proven to myself that God exists and that He created the world in six 24-hour days.

But, it’s not atheism or evolution that I really want to talk about.  Those are just examples to try to demonstrate how we need to consider that we might be wrong about our beliefs.

In 2 Samuel 11, we see that David had fallen in love with the wife of another.  So, David commanded that her husband, Uriah, be put on the front lines of the battle.  When Uriah was killed, a messenger came to David and told him the news.  David’s reply was:

David said to the messenger, “Thus shall you say to Joab, ‘Do not let this matter displease you, for the sword devours now one and now another. Strengthen your attack against the city and overthrow it.’ And encourage him.”  (2 Samuel 11:25 ESV)

Now, I’m pretty sure that David convinced himself of this.  He was no stranger to war and I’m sure he had lost men before.  His belief was that losing men happened sometimes and that, as King, sometime he made a decision that caused people to die.  I’m also convinced that David was able to convince himself that it was nothing personal.  Just something that had to be done.

We do that sometimes as well.  We may justify some sin to ourselves by using our own reasoning.  Here are some examples:

  1. Being rude to someone we don’t know reasoning that we will never see them again.
  2. A couple that doesn’t get along because both reason that they won’t start doing their part until the other does theirs.
  3. Committing some sin in private reasoning that no one will ever know.
  4. Saying something hurtful to someone reasoning that “it’s just the way I feel” or “I’m a brutally honest person.”
  5. Deciding not to do any church work reasoning that “it’s someone else’s job” or “I’ve done that before, it’s someone else’s turn.”
  6. Deciding not to forgive someone reasoning “they haven’t asked for my forgiveness.”

In all of these cases, we justify our bad behavior by avoiding responsibility.  It’s someone else’s fault / problem.  Is that what David did when he was confronted with his sin?

And the LORD sent Nathan to David. He came to him and said to him, “There were two men in a certain city, the one rich and the other poor. The rich man had very many flocks and herds, but the poor man had nothing but one little ewe lamb, which he had bought. And he brought it up, and it grew up with him and with his children. It used to eat of his morsel and drink from his cup and lie in his arms, and it was like a daughter to him. Now there came a traveler to the rich man, and he was unwilling to take one of his own flock or herd to prepare for the guest who had come to him, but he took the poor man’s lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him.” Then David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man, and he said to Nathan, “As the LORD lives, the man who has done this deserves to die, and he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.”
Nathan said to David, “You are the man! Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you out of the hand of Saul. And I gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your arms and gave you the house of Israel and of Judah. And if this were too little, I would add to you as much more. Why have you despised the word of the LORD, to do what is evil in his sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and have taken his wife to be your wife and have killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. Now therefore the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.’ Thus says the LORD, ‘Behold, I will raise up evil against you out of your own house. And I will take your wives before your eyes and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this sun. For you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel and before the sun.’” David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.” And Nathan said to David, “The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die.  (2 Samuel 12:1-13 ESV)

When David was confronted by Nathan with his sin, he immediately recognized his situation.  All he had to say was “I have sinned against the LORD.”  Do we do that or do we try to continue justifying our sin?  Do we become contrite as did David or do we continue in defiance?

David could have gotten angry at Nathan here.  He could have thought, “Who do you think you are?” or “Why are you trying to make trouble for me?” or “You aren’t worth my time!”  But David did none of those things.  David performed the three R’s.  No, not reading, ‘riting, and ‘rithmetic.

  1. Recognized – David recognized that he had been wrong and that Nathan was right.
  2. Responsibility – David took responsibility that the sin was his.  David didn’t say “Uriah caused me to sin against the LORD” or “The devil made me sin against the LORD.” David said “I have sinned against the LORD.”  He took responsibility for his own sin.
  3. Repentance – David repented of the sin he had committed.

Even though David had committed grievous sin, even though he had murdered, even though he was an adulterer, God later called him a “man after My own heart, who will do all My will.”  Was it God’s will that David murder Uriah?  No, certainly not.  It was, however, God’s will that David repent of sin once he had committed it.

We need to take a lesson from David.  Is there someone that you have treated poorly?  Is there work that God would have you do that you have neglected?  Is there sin that you have committed or are still committing?

Be like David.  Make those things right.

Are You a Hypocrite?

For the past several days I’ve had this thought rolling around in my head and I finally decided to put it down.  The question is “Are you a hypocrite?”  You may be and not even know it.

Let me explain…

God has given us free will to choose as we will.  He desires for us to follow the example and the commands of His Son and Jesus told us in Matthew 7:21:

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”

If we say that we are Christians, followers of Christ, but we don’t make decisions that are in accordance with the Word that God and Christ have said, then we are hypocrites.  When we do that, we are pretenders because we are just pretending to follow Him when we really aren’t.

I said at the beginning that you may be a hypocrite and not even know it.  How is that possible?  I mean, wouldn’t you know if you are just pretending to follow Jesus but inside are making decisions contrary to His will?  The answer to that is…sometimes.

Sometimes, yes, we know we are pretending.  However, there are some decisions that a vast majority of people claiming to be Christians make on a regular basis in which they never stop to consider how the Word of God should play into that decision.

I’m talking about voting.

When I started writing this blog, I decided that I would write exclusively about the Bible.  I decided that I would rarely interject anything about politics, but I feel that I must do this right now.  The overarching question is this:

Are you casting your vote without considering how the Word of God plays into your decision of who to vote for?  If so, you are a hypocrite.

If you vote to support a person that opposes God, then you are voting for a person that supports Satan.  Be very careful!  Let’s take a look at a few things from God’s Word.  I’ll leave it to the reader to decide if their past votes have made them hypocrites.

Abortion

God knows us before we are born:

For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
(Psalm 139:13-15 ESV)

Paul says he we set apart before he was born.  How could an inert hunk of non-human flesh be set apart:

But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace,  (Galatians 1:15 ESV)

Homosexuality

For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.  (Romans 1:26-27 ESV)

Welfare

The Bible talks about those who can work but choose not to.  Keep in mind, this isn’t speaking about those who can’t fend for themselves…Christians should already be helping those who can’t help themselves.  The problem is, we have a lot of people who simply refuse to work in favor of letting everyone else provide for them.  This is what Paul is addressing here.

For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living.  (2 Thessalonians 3:10-12 ESV)

Marriage

The Bible supports only traditional marriage (as it has come to be called…when God invented it, He just called it marriage.)

So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.  (Genesis 1:27 ESV)

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.  (Genesis 2:24 ESV)

Prayer

if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.  (2 Chronicles 7:14 ESV)

Morality in Office

When the wicked rise, people hide themselves,
but when they perish, the righteous increase.  (Proverbs 28:28 ESV)

When the righteous increase, the people rejoice,
but when the wicked rule, the people groan.  (Proverbs 29:2 ESV)

He also told them a parable: “Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit?  (Luke 6:39 ESV)

 

So, I ask once again, are you a hypocrite?  Do you vote the way you want to or do you vote according to God’s Word?  Please pray and consider carefully before you vote.

If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works.  (2 John 1:10-11 ESV)

 

Christ is Sufficient

I recently heard a story that I thought I would share.

A visiting preacher was talking to the regular preacher of a congregation where a meeting was being held.  During the course of the conversation, the visiting preacher asked the regular preacher about a lady who was in the crowd.  He had noticed her as he stood preaching, and wondered about her.  She was wearing a ring, but her husband was not with her.  She looked very tired, but her eyes were clear and bright.

When he asked about her, the regular preacher said, “That is Marsha.  We have plans to go visit at her house tomorrow.  I will tell you her story as we drive over.”

The next day, as they were travelling, the regular preacher told the story.  Marsha was the oldest of 6 children whose mother had died unexpectedly when they were still young.  Marsha’s father had never remarried and Marsha, as the oldest, became the “mother” for her siblings.  One by one, she watched them grow, get married, and leave home.  After the last was away, it was her turn to get married.  She married a good man and had a child.  The child was born with a host of medical and mental problems.  He couldn’t speak or function normally.  The doctors begged Marsha to put him in an institution, but she refused.  For 20 years she cared for her child until he died.

The regular preacher continued to explain that soon after the child had passed away that Marsha’s father came to live with them.  He was elderly and suffered from dementia and blindness.  He needed constant supervision and help.  Furthermore, Marsha’s husband had suffered a stroke two years previously and was also infirm.  Marsha cared for both of them full time.

On top of that, she had prepared lunch for these two preachers.  The visiting preacher was overwhelmed.

After lunch, as they were leaving Marsha’s house, the visiting preacher put his arm around her and asked, “How do you do it?”

Marsha looked at him with those bright, clear eyes that he had noticed while preaching and said only, “Christ is sufficient.”

In this story is a lesson that we all need to learn.  She preached a more powerful sermon by her life and three simple words than most preachers preach in a lifetime.  She showed by her actions what a Christ-like life of service really means.  She truly took the example of Paul to heart:

So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.  (2 Corinthians 12:7-10 ESV)

Christ is sufficient!  Let us never forget what He did for us.

Feasting with Christ

In Matthew 26:26 – 29 we see the account of Jesus instituting what we refer to as the Lord’s Supper or communion.  We see that it was done while Christ and apostles were observing the Passover feast.

Throughout the Old Testament we see that the children of God had many feasts that they observed.  These were held to celebrate certain festivals, like Passover, and also to sacrifice peace offerings.  We see these things detailed in Exodus 12 and also in Leviticus chapters 3 and 7.

During these feasts, the Israelites had certain rules about the sacrifices that they were to follow.  For instance, the animals were to be spotless, and were to be prepared in a particular way.  If they did what they were supposed to then they would experience the blessings of God.

However, many times they failed to do what they were supposed to.  Those feasts and sacrifices were not to be profaned by offering less than perfect animals.  In Malachi, we see that Malachi was sent to the people of God to call them to repent for profaning the worship.

Oh that there were one among you who would shut the doors, that you might not kindle fire on my altar in vain! I have no pleasure in you, says the LORD of hosts, and I will not accept an offering from your hand. For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense will be offered to my name, and a pure offering. For my name will be great among the nations, says the LORD of hosts. But you profane it when you say that the Lord’s table is polluted, and its fruit, that is, its food may be despised. But you say, ‘What a weariness this is,’ and you snort at it, says the LORD of hosts. You bring what has been taken by violence or is lame or sick, and this you bring as your offering! Shall I accept that from your hand? says the LORD. Cursed be the cheat who has a male in his flock, and vows it, and yet sacrifices to the Lord what is blemished. For I am a great King, says the LORD of hosts, and my name will be feared among the nations.  (Malachi 1:10-14 ESV)

Are we guilty of the same thing when we come before the Lord to participate in the supper that He instituted?

Do we say, “What a weariness this is,” like the Israelites did?

Do we snort at it like they did?

Do we bring an unworthy attitude like they brought unworthy animals?

In other words, do we bring our best to this memorial or do we profane the worship by coming before the table with a “just-checking-another-thing-off-my-worship-list” mentality?

Just as Malachi warned the Israelites, Paul warns Christians in 1 Corinthians not to eat or drink this supper in an unworthy manner because if you do you eat and drink judgement on yourself.

Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself.  (1 Corinthians 11:27-29 ESV)

The Lord’s Supper is a time of reflection.  A time of remembrance.  A time of solemn thanks to God for Jesus and for what He did.  The Israelites were supposed to bring their very best before God.  The same God that demanded their best still wants our very best as we approach that memorial.  If we don’t then He may also ask us, as He did the Israelites, “Shall I accept that from your hand?”