“You shall not worship the Lord your God with such things” #1659

1 These are the statutes and judgments which you shall be careful to observe in the land which the Lord God of your fathers is giving you to possess, all the days that you live on the earth. 2 You shall utterly destroy all the places where the nations which you shall dispossess served their gods, on the high mountains and on the hills and under every green tree. 3 And you shall destroy their altars, break their sacred pillars, and burn their wooden images with fire; you shall cut down the carved images of their gods and destroy their names from that place. 4 You shall not worship the Lord your God with such things. (Deuteronomy 12:1–4, NKJV)

How we worship God is critically important to being accepted by God. Israel was commanded to destroy the false gods and their places of worship in the land of Canaan. They were forbidden to worship God “with such things” (v. 4). Christians cannot borrow items of unauthorized, false worship and expect God to be pleased. The true God only accepts true worship (“in spirit and truth,” John 4:23-24). Whether it is lighting candles, ritual ceremonies, using instrumental music, or many other such things, every attempt to minimize and discard the pattern of worship in the New Testament is an affront against God. This is a primary reason to carefully approach God with worship He approves, not worship devised by the wisdom and will of humanity.

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Cycles of the Earth #1658

5 The sun also rises, and the sun goes down, and hastens to the place where it arose. The wind goes toward the south, and turns around to the north; 6 The wind whirls about continually, and comes again on its circuit. 7 All the rivers run into the sea, yet the sea is not full; To the place from which the rivers come, there they return again. (Ecclesiastes 1:5–7, NKJV)

The Lord God created the earth with times and seasons intended to regulate and sustain life on this planet. The heavens and the earth are His, and He honors us with being stewards of His great creation (Psalm 8). These cycles of life are evident in the daily rotation of the earth that makes the sun appear to rise and set each and every day. Wind currents encircle the earth, forming weather patterns and helping to shape arid, temperate, tropical and frigid regions of the earth. The earth’s evaporation system moves water from the seas to the clouds to the land to the rivers and back to the seas. It is an amazing filtration system that provides life-sustaining water to humans, animals and plants. These cycles and seasons did not appear by chance. They could not have merely evolved over billions of years. No, my friend. God “spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast” (Psalm 33:9). Yes, climate changes. It always has. Seasons come and go. God made them that way. While we take care of the planet, remember, God created the earth to take care of you.

“Bear With the Word of Exhortation” #1657

And I appeal to you, brethren, bear with the word of exhortation, for I have written to you in few words. (Hebrews 13:22, NKJV)

This inspired writer was concerned about how his readers would receive his words. Although brief, his letter had been written as a message of exhortation to give comfort, to console and to entreat his fellow Christians to be vigilant in their faith. The writer wanted them to agree with his word of exhortation and be compelled by it (not merely tolerate it). When we exhort others, we must do so from the word of God, with a clear goal in mind. Our aim ought to be instruction and persuasion intended to bring about righteous, holy conduct. Perhaps the exhortation we wish to give another is a warning against some spiritual danger. In that case, our goal is to rescue and save the lost (Jas. 5:19-20). When we find ourselves on the receiving end of exhortations, let us receive them and conform ourselves to the truth they contain. Exhortation s given in truth and love encourage us to do better, to be better. We all need that. So, be an exhorter. And, be ready and eager to accept the word of exhortation when it is given to you.

Do Not Circulate False Reports #1656

1 You shall not circulate a false report. Do not put your hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness. 2 You shall not follow a crowd to do evil; nor shall you testify in a dispute so as to turn aside after many to pervert justice. (Exodus 23:1–2, NKJV)

Israel was strictly charged not to 1) Spread falsehoods, 2) Support unrighteous witnesses, 3) Join others in committing evil, and 4) Affirm what is false and influence others to pervert justice. Honest people continue to earnestly avoid speaking and promoting falsehoods against others. So, shouldn’t we be just as concerned with not advancing falsehoods about God? Yet, untold millions of otherwise honest people see no problem with accepting and spreading false teachings as if they belong to God. By affirming doctrinal error as truth, they influence many others to twist the truth. False teaching in the name of God is a sin of injustice against God. We are sure this does not go unnoticed by the Almighty (Matt. 7:21-23). Before you assign a doctrine and a practice to “the will of God” you must be sure His word supports it (2 Tim. 3:16-17). Examine the Scriptures to see if what you or others are saying about God and His will is true (Acts 17:11; 1 John 4:1, 6). Accept no counterfeit gospels. They are false reports that bring souls under divine condemnation (Gal. 1:6-10).

God’s Arrangement of Headship #1655

But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. (1 Corinthians 11:3, NKJV)

One of the apostolic traditions (teachings) we follow as we imitate Christ is respect for and compliance with God’s arrangement of headship. Headship refers to leadership. Whether God, Christ, man or woman, each have a role that is definable and distinguishable. The apostle wanted them to know (perceive, grasp, understand) the orderliness of the headship, for it will lay a foundation for what he will say concerning certain women wearing an artificial covering in the following verses (4-16). Headship is not tyranny, and, following the leadership of one’s head does not make you a slave. Different roles do not mean one is more valuable than another. Headship describes the authority to lead, while implying one’s willing submission to that leadership. Christ willingly follows the will of God the Father. Man serves under Christ and also leads at His direction. Women are to respect to leadership role God gave men, not usurp it. When understood, this principle solves rivalry and produces solidarity with God and Christ, and between men and women. The dereliction of headship, the refusal to respect headship, and the usurping of headship are affronts to God and His order of headship. Once we understand (“know”) headship, we are ready to hear Paul apply this truth to the question of women wearing a covering when praying or prophesying (v. 5).

You Keep the Traditions #1654

Now I praise you, brethren, that you remember me in all things and keep the traditions just as I delivered them to you. (1 Corinthians 11:2, NKJV)

Traditions hold a place of value in our lives. They distinguish families, enclaves, nations, and religions. The Bible discusses traditions we are to hold fast as the teachings and practices handed down to us by the apostles (2 Thess. 2:15). It is praiseworthy when Christians keep the apostolic traditions because they came from God by revelation and were transmitted by inspiration (Eph. 3:3-5; 2 Tim. 3:16-17). Christians who refuse to live according to the truth the apostles taught are “walking disorderly” (2 Thess. 3:6). Note how Paul commended the Corinthians because they kept the apostolic traditions “just as I delivered them to you.” They were not at liberty to change what the apostles taught and practiced to suit themselves. Indeed, they apostles taught the same truth “everywhere in every church” (1 Cor. 4:17). Commit yourself to keeping the apostles’ traditions. They are the traditions that have eternal value.

Imitate the Apostles #1653

Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ. (1 Corinthians 11:1, NKJV)

The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit expect Christians to follow the examples set by the apostles. By inspiration, Paul the apostle commands imitation of him as he imitated Christ. Obviously, our ultimate model is Christ Jesus. The apostles were His faithful witnesses to the world. It is by their preaching that we know of Christ, come to trust in Christ, are called to follow Christ, and are saved in Christ. It naturally follows that once saved by the apostolic gospel, we then follow the pattern they set to continue to be faithful to the Master (Matt. 28:19-20). To imitate means to mimic, to be a follower of another. In today’s verse, Paul is repeating an earlier exhortation (1 Cor. 4:16). Who is your role model? Jesus, you say? Then, you will be following the examples of His apostles, because they are our “pattern” (Phil. 3:17). Let us imitate the apostles of Christ to have peace and fulfillment in life and throughout eternity. “The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you” (Phil. 4:9).

“And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (Eph. 6:17)