Saturday, March 29, 2008

The Big Circle

I have taught the subject of applying God’s authority at least four times over the years at different congregations and to all age levels. The more I study and search the sciptures, the more I realize how important this subject matter is to us all. I always like to illustrate with a large circle…within the circle is doing God’s will and by His authority as He has revealed to us. Anything beyond the circle, whether one pixel outside or 10 feet away is outside of the realm of His authorization.

Many people rationalize their actions by referring to God’s word as nothing more than a series of personal letters written as general guidelines for us to use, or not use as we see fit. I have corresponded with a preacher at a church of Christ congregation that has been studying and proclaiming this philosophy for a number of years in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia. He readily admits being of a more conservative nature but feels so much more free and liberated to have a more liberal stance.

When we disregard God’s commandments, don’t follow His examples or necessarily infer what actions to take in our worship and church conduct, we do things that may be very offensive to God and have to bear the consequences. This is exactly why so many churches continue to get further and further from the "circle of authority." This divergence is nothing new in our modern times. The apostle Paul found that the church at Galatia very quickly began to pervert God’s word after he had taught them the Gospel.

Galatians 1:6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: 7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. 9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.

Satan uses all sorts of gimmicks and emotions to get us to rationalize by just barely crossing that "circle" to test the waters. Once we cross that boundary, nothing but the conscience of mankind will set those new boundaries. All must be done by HIS authority:

Colossians 3:17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

God takes His commands and authority very seriously. The silence of the Scriptures gives us no authority to act. How do we know if something is pleasing to God unless we go the New Testament and see if it is so? We should all be able to justify our worship and actions with Bible commands and examples or at least be able to infer that God required it of us. I leave you with one final passage.

1 Corinthians 1:25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

1 comment:

Fantabular said...

I like the example of the circle, it leaves no "wriggle room". I don't know if I've heard you preach that sermon, maybe it was a while back when we went to the same congregation.
Good luck with trying to show that "hampton roads" preacher his error. Why does it seem that the older we get, the more stubborn we are? Human nature is an interesting thing.
If we'd just listen to what the bible says, we'd realize that holding on to views & refusing to change because of stubbornness & pride is just petty & basically sinful. Pride makes us do crazy things.
Another thing that satan uses to get us to "test the waters" and try things outside that circle, is cable television. There's so much filth there these days, it's hard to imagine what kind of programming there'll be when my kids are my age. And it's even WORSE in other countries. My sister went to Germany & they didn't censor HALF as much as the USA does. So I guess we should be glad we have less filth than other countries; but it doesn't mean our tv programming is clean.
I'm also shocked by how much filth I'm seeing on shows or movies that Disney makes. I can remember a day (this is probably dating myself) when the worse word you heard in a Disney movie was "well gosh!"
But back in the early 90s, I heard someone take the Lord's name in vain...and that was a DISNEY movie!! Just goes to show you that we can't let Disney tell us what's right or wrong.
We'd better stay inside that circle & use the Bible as our guide.