Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Shall we do all that the Lord has commanded?

1 “And Bezalel and Aholiab, and every gifted artisan in whom the LORD has put wisdom and understanding, to know how to do all manner of work for the service of the sanctuary, shall do according to all that the LORD has commanded.” (Exodus 36:1)

This phrase: "... shall do according to all that the LORD has commanded" is re-stated more fully by Jesus when He said, "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments" (John 14:15). Sadly, the idea of commandments has become associated with legalism, in much of the modern church. However, according to Jesus, legalism is not equated with obedience to God's commandments, legalism is the twisting of God's commandments to make them reflect a different spirit to that which God intended - by adding to, or taking away from the commandment. In this regard, much of the modern church, despite its distaste for God's commandments and accusations of legalism against those who call the church back to a life of obedience, is as legalistic as the Pharisees of Jesus' day.

First, let us establish Jesus' attitude towards obedience and disobedience. Jesus said, "22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ 24 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: ..." (Matthew 7:22-24); "40 Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age. 41 The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, 42 and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.(Matthew 13:40-42 ); 27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. 28 Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. (Matthew 23:27-28); 11 Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. 12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved. (Matthew 24:11-13 )

Having established Jesus' attitude to lawlessness, and by implication His attitude to law-keeping, let us look at how the modern church has become Pharisaical. God clearly condemns the sin of homosexuality (Lev. 18:22 and elsewhere). Yet, despite the plain commandments of God, parts of the modern church have so exalted their notions of "love" that they have now justified the ordination of open homosexuals into the offices of clergy. In the same manner, the teaching of Scripture prohibits women from holding governmental office (in the family, the church and the state) [Eph. 5:23; I Timothy 2:12; Prov 31:23], yet Jesus' example of treating women with dignity and respect has been construed by the Pharisaical church to mean that God's commandments in regards to male leadership are no longer operative. The Law of God clearly condemns murder, and especially condemns the murdering of the innocent (Ex 20:13; 2 Ki 24:4), yet the Pharisaical elements of the church condone, and many members practice, abortion; which is the murder of the most vulnerable and innocent of all.

Bezolel and Aholiab were commissioned to build the Tabernacle, and their building was to be according to all that the Lord has commanded. In the same way, we are to build the Temple of the Lord, the Church, according to all the commandments of the Lord. We are not to be as the Pharisees, twisting the commandments of God to say and mean something completely different to what God has plainly stated; requiring obedience to what are merely the inventions of men. And we are not be be lawless, "every one doing what is right in his own eyes."

3 comments:

Steve from the Alice said...

I agree wholeheartedly on all points. It's not just the negative laws (against murder, homosexuality, women in church leadership, etc) that are Pharisee-ised. The positive command to tithe is discarded as being less spiritual than following the lead of the Spirit. Current experience at the church I now attend, where for the most part tithing is not actually encouraged and has within the last ten years at least been actively discouraged or disparaged(even from the pulpit), means that, if current, chronic budget shortfalls are any indication, then the same members who enthusiastically support various budget increases for staff, programs, buildings etc, are apparently not being led enough in and by the Holy Spirit to provide adequate funding for the very programs that, presumably the Holy Spirit led the Body corporate to accept in the first place. It seems folly to me!

Bridge said...

What you say is very true. Add to this the concept of borrowing (the sin of covetousness) and you have a recipe for finanical disaster for a church; especially in the context of a downturn in the economy. Thou shalt owe no man anything; Thous shalt pay a tithe of your increase. On these two laws can be established a stable, prosperous and productive church, going about the business of the Lord. The Jewish synagogue could be established around ten tithing families, and the New Testament Church has many of its roots in the synagogue model.

May the Lord grant us the gift of repentance, and may we return to the purity of the Word of God.

Bridge said...

What you say is very true. Add to this the concept of borrowing (the sin of covetousness) and you have a recipe for finanical disaster for a church; especially in the context of a downturn in the economy. Thou shalt owe no man anything; Thous shalt pay a tithe of your increase. On these two laws can be established a stable, prosperous and productive church, going about the business of the Lord. The Jewish synagogue could be established around ten tithing families, and the New Testament Church has many of its roots in the synagogue model.

May the Lord grant us the gift of repentance, and may we return to the purity of the Word of God.