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ThEologic Blindspots

How to find (and fix) your theological blindspots

WE ALL HOLD SYSTEMS OF THEOLOGY THAT ARE PRONE TO PARTICULAR DOCTRINAL DEFICIENCIES.

By  Juan R. Sanchez • June 12, 2020

Editors’ note: This article was originally published at LifeWay Voices. 

Imagine for a moment that your church is looking for a pastor. After carefully and prayerfully working through the process, the search team presents its candidate to the church. “He is eloquent in speech, competent in the Scriptures, educated in the way of the Lord, passionate in spirit, and accurate in the way he speaks and teaches all things concerning Jesus.” Too good to be true? Perhaps. But that is precisely how Luke describes Apollos in Acts 18:24-25.

Apollos had a blind spot

While Apollos sounds like the perfect pastoral candidate, there is one problem. He has one glaring deficiency, except he can’t see it. That’s what we call a blind spot. Apollos only knew the baptism of John the Baptist (Acts 18:25). John’s baptism was a preparatory baptism. He called all Israel to repent from their sins and receive forgiveness in order to prepare for the coming Messiah. John baptized with water, but the Messiah would baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire (Matt. 3:11). More than likely, Apollos had received John’s baptism and led others to receive it as well, since that’s all he knew.

There’s lots to unpack, and even debate, in what it means that Apollos only knew John’s baptism, but let’s not lose sight of Luke’s point. It is crystal clear: It’s not enough to be an eloquent, competent, educated, passionate, and accurate teacher. 

To be useful in ministry, the gospel we share must be complete. Gifted teachers may wow and win audiences, but because of their theological blind spots, they may also lead them away from Christ and his gospel. Incomplete theological teaching stunts Christian growth, harms spiritual well-being, and, as we see in many cases on social media and in our churches, causes division.

Everyone has blind spots 

Sadly, because of all the media options available to us, we have access to many eloquent, competent, educated, passionate teachers who accurately teach the things concerning Jesus but are unaware they possess some theological deficiencies. 

Some emphasize repentance to the neglect of faith and grace, crushing those with tender consciences who think they can never repent enough to be accepted by a holy God. Others stress faith and grace to the exclusion of repentance, leading immature believers to think they can go on living like the world. 

Some exhort you to unhitch the Old Testament from the New, unknowingly giving life to an old heresy condemned long ago. Others actually unhitch the Old Testament from the New, neglecting to preach the Old Testament as Christ and the apostles did. Be vigilant! Just because a Christian teacher has written dozens of books and has tens of thousands of Twitter followers does not mean they are accurate in all areas of theology.

Blind spots are not false teaching

Notice that I am not talking about false teachers. I’m speaking of Christian teachers with theological blind spots. I understand Apollos to have been a Christian teacher. The major clue to his Christian faith is that Aquila and Priscilla did not ask him to be baptized—the public identification of membership in the new covenant community, the community of the Spirit. 

Instead, because they saw him as a Christian, Aquila and Priscilla took him under their wings. Apollos taught the things concerning Jesus accurately (Acts 18:25). Aquila and Priscilla discipled Apollos that he may teach the way of God more accurately (Acts 18:26).

We have much to learn from Aquila and Priscilla. Because they saw Apollos as a fellow brother in Christ, they didn’t call him out publicly and wave the “heretic” flag. Neither did they gossip to the members of the synagogue about his teaching, calling him a false teacher in order to get him removed. No! Instead, they upheld his dignity, taking him aside privately to disciple him, showing him his theological blind spot.

Of course, we have much to learn from Apollos as well. Because he was eloquent, competent, educated, passionate, and already accurately teaching the things concerning Jesus, he could have brushed Aquila and Priscilla aside. Instead, he humbled himself and received their instruction.

We all have theological blind spots. Just admitting that fact will begin to humble us, I hope. We all hold systems of theology that are prone to particular doctrinal deficiencies. Acknowledging that fact will begin to allow Scripture to reshape our systems wherever necessary, I trust. 

Of course, it’s hard to do that alone, or in an echo chamber. That’s why we need our brothers and sisters with whom we disagree. May we humble ourselves and learn from one another instead of waving the “heretic” or “liberal” or “false-teacher” flags prematurely. If we cry “heretic” every time we meet someone we disagree with, no one will listen when we actually need to warn the church of false teachers.

Like Apollos, we all need brothers and sisters in our lives like Aquila and Priscilla who are more mature in the faith and can expose our theological blind spots.  So, let’s humble ourselves. Let’s lovingly disciple one another, that we may grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ and be more useful in gospel ministry (Acts 18:27-28).

How much is Jesus worth to you?

Centuries ago, ancient merchants originated a phrase which came to serve as the universal rule for trade and commerce: “The value of anything is determined by how much it can be traded for.” Ironic as it may seem, one of the greatest illustrations of this principle comes from the tragic story of Christ’s betrayal by one of his own disciples. Judas, who was also the treasurer for the twelve, traded his loyalty to Jesus for thirty pieces of silver. Judas simply traded Christ for something which was of higher value to himself. What a shame, that after being with Jesus daily, witnessing the miracles and the wonders, to Judas the Lord of the universe was only worth a mere 30 pieces of silver! The infamous downfall of Judas, is really a story of warped values — he simply didn’t recognize the true worth, the vast preciousness of Jesus Christ. “Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying, “And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the value of Him who was priced, whom they of the children of Israel priced” (Matt. 27:9).

Twisted values are not uncommon in other Biblical accounts, such as in the story of the twin brothers, Jacob and Esau (Gen. 25). A special blessing and inheritance from their father Isaac belonged to the first-born son, Esau. But Esau lacked a full appreciation for his inherited birthright. In contrast, Jacob realized its astronomical value and coveted his birthright. He eventually found a scheme to transfer its rights to himself. At a time that Esau was famished, Jacob offered him a bowl of lentils in exchange for the birthright. Although this offer was in no way equitable, yet amazingly, Esau agreed to trade his birthright for a single meal. What stupid, distorted values Esau had! But is this any different than the petty, inferior things that many people trade for spiritual things?

Let me ask you a hypothetical question. What if Jesus sent you a letter and promised to personally meet with you and His other followers at a restaurant on Sabbath morning. But let’s say Sabbath comes, and you feel like sleeping in instead. Or maybe it’s such a beautiful day, you prefer to go on a picnic, or perhaps there’s a football game on TV you don’t want to miss. Wouldn’t you say that whatever you selected to do, instead of meeting with Jesus, would say something about the insignificance of your relationship with Him? Wouldn’t it mean that, like Judas, you have established your value upon Christ? Wouldn’t it mean that a TV show has higher worth, that a picnic is more important, or a little extra sleep means more to you than meeting with Jesus Christ, the Lord of the universe?

But you may say, “Jesus hasn’t sent me such a letter. He’s in Heaven and won’t be at a restaurant!” However dear friend, Jesus promised that whenever believers gather in His name, He will always honor that gathering with His presence. “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them” (Matt. 18:20). In other words, He gave His word to be present whenever two or more believers come together in His name.

So do Christians really believe His Word? Many must figure that Jesus doesn’t tell the truth, because week after week, many professing Christians snub the Lord Jesus by not showing up where He promised to be. Either they must figure He lied and won’t be at church, or else they have simply established a low estimate of Jesus’ worth. Yes, that’s right! The things that keep you away from church is the value you have placed on the presence of Jesus — they declare what spiritual things are worth to you.

Thank God there are believers who have such a high value on their meeting with Jesus that it takes something urgent or awfully important to pull them away. Some have no choice but to work at their jobs during the times that some church meetings occur. Some might not come meet with Jesus because of an emergency, sickness, road conditions or car trouble, etc. Although nothing in this world can assume a higher priority than our relationship with Jesus, at least the Lord understands our situations and knows our heart — that we rather would meet with Him and our brethren if it weren’t for similar urgencies.

However, how could we expect the Lord to be pleased if we stay away from His meetings for less serious excuses? What does it say about our spiritual values if we’re absent due to the special sale at Sears, the football game, watching the late show, or are simply too lazy to get up on time? Remember, the reasons which keep people away reflect the value that they take place upon the Lord, spiritual things, their brethren and the church.

Why does the scripture connect the neglect of church attendance to sin? Mere absence from a church meeting is not in itself a sin, however a pattern of absence from church always leads to, or has a relationship to sin and displeasing God. “not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins” (Heb 10:25-26).

Why Unfaithfulness to Church Displeases God
(1) It keeps us away from a spiritual influence that would encourage us and keep us from falling away from the Lord (Heb. 3:12-13).
(2) It keeps us away from encouragement toward repentance and reconciliation should we fall into sin (1 John 1:9, Gal. 6:1).
(3) Prevents our faith from being built up by hearing the Word preached (Rom. 10:17).
(4) It keeps us from obeying the Lord’s command to demonstrate love for our brethren, which keeps us from falling (1 John 2:10, John 15:12).
(5) It prevents us from receiving correction or submission to spiritual authority (Heb. 13:17).
(6) It expresses unbelief and disobedience to God’s Word which tells us to fellowship and assemble together (1 John 1:7, Heb. 10:25).
(7) It shows disregard toward the call to worship the Lord collectively as His body (Psa. 22:22, 35:18, 107:32).
(8) It shows our lack of discernment of the Lord’s body (Matt. 25:14, 1 Cor. 11:29).
(9) It demonstrates a lack of self-sacrifice and discipline (Luke 9:23).
(10) It shows a disregard for the Lord’s presence (Matt. 18:20).
(11) It is a sin of “omission,” in that we know it’s “good” to be faithful to church (James 4:17).

As for Esau, the value he placed on the things of God was only worth the price of a bowl of lentils which he traded in exchange for his birthright to his brother Jacob. For Judas, the things of God were worth only a slightly higher price — thirty pieces of silver which he exchanged for the betrayal of Jesus.

How about you? What is your worth you have placed upon the things of God? What price will it take to keep you away from your church or spiritual things? A favorite TV show? A sale at the shopping mall? A mosquito bite? A boo-boo on your little toe? What do you suppose that God thinks about the value you have placed upon His church and His fellowship?

If you ever thought that being a Christian was something that you could do out of “convenience” you were greatly mistaken. God isn’t interested in your “leftovers.” He must be the highest priority in your life, or else He becomes worthless. In order to serve Christ it will require sacrifice on your part — sacrifice of your time, money, convenience, popularity… and even your life. “…nor will I offer burnt offerings to the LORD my God with that which costs me nothing…” (2 Sam. 24:24).

Open doors?

So David and Abishai came to the people by night, and behold, Saul lay sleeping inside the circle of the camp with his spear stuck in the ground at his head; and Abner and the people were lying around him. Then Abishai said to David, “Today God has delivered your enemy into your hand; now therefore, please let me strike him with the spear to the ground with one stroke, and I will not strike him the second time.”

But David said to Abishai, “Do not destroy him, for who can stretch out his hand against the Lord’s anointed and be without guilt?”

David also said, “As the Lord lives, surely the Lord will strike him, or his day will come that he dies, or he will go down into battle and perish. The Lord forbid that I should stretch out my hand against the Lord’s anointed; but now please take the spear that is at his head and the jug of water, and let us go.”

1 Samuel 26:7-11 (NASB)

Opportunities aren’t always what they appear to be. Don’t be too quick to assume an opportunity is from God just because it’s in front of you. Christians talk a lot about God opening doors, and indeed he does. But we need to be discerning because not every open door is from God. David’s experience is a case in point. King Saul had made his life miserable for years. David’s days were spent on the run; his nights, hiding in caves. And all the while, David had to accept the fact that he, not Saul, was supposed to be the king.

Then it came! An incredible opportunity that would solve all David’s problems. There was Saul, asleep and defenseless at David’s feet! David’s friend immediately assumed this chance must be from God. Who would ever blame David for killing Saul? His friend even offered to do the job for him. But David knew God better than that. He understood that God would take care of Saul himself, in his own time. David was a warrior; he had taken many lives before. But this was different. Even though Saul had been his enemy, David realized that God had called Saul and that God would deal with Saul in his own way. So David spared Saul’s life. This would not be the last time he would do so. Ultimately, David did become king, and Saul did get what he deserved, but it wasn’t because David took matters into his own hands.

We, too, must distinguish between temptation and opportunity. What seems to make perfect sense to us may be totally contrary to God’s will. How can we know the difference? We must learn to know God’s heart as David did, and God will give us the ability to discern the difference.

Jeremiah 7

Bible Study

Just had a Bible Study which I led. Out of nowhere (?) I felt Jeremiah 7 1-28 was the focus. What was significant about the passage is that 3 or 4 others had just recently read and studied this.  Is The Holy Spirit trying to tell us something?  It sounds a lot like America today!

It is direct opposition with those who quote 2 Chronicles 7:14   This passage isn’t talking about America or national identity or some generic sense of “revival.” To apply the verse this way is, whatever one’s political ideology, is theological liberalism.

This verse is a word written to a specific people–the people of God–who were coming home from exile. They were coming home from a time in which they were dominated and enslaved by a foreign power. At a time when they needed to be reminded of who they were, who God was and what he had promised to do, this passage was given to them to point them back to Solomon’s reign, reminding them of what Solomon did when he built the temple, the house of the Lord, the place of the gathering of the worship of God.

Read Jeremiah.  It is a prophesy that God was about to judge the nation for turning away. It too was written for a specific time and people but the similarities to today are striking. The people were sinning during the week and then coming to worship as if all was ok.  In the passage God tells Jeremiah to not pray for them because He would not listen to those prayers.  Judgement was coming unless they really repented.  

But God indicates they would not listen to Jeremiah giving the warning.  

History teaches…. Early in the reign of Jehoiakim, Jeremiah delivered his famous “Temple sermon,” of which there are two versions, one in Jeremiah, chapter 7, verses 1 to 15, the other in chapter 26, verses 1 to 24. He denounced the people for their dependence on the Temple for security and called on them to effect genuine ethical reform. He predicted that God would destroy the Temple of Jerusalem, as he had earlier destroyed that of Shiloh, if they continued in their present path. Jeremiah was immediately arrested and tried on a capital charge. He was acquitted but may have been forbidden to preach again in the Shiloh.

This reference to Shiloh caused me and those participating in the Bible study to read about what happened in Shiloh. 

Shiloh in the Bible. After the conquest, Joshua first dwelt at Gilgal and then at Shiloh (Josh 14:618:1). Why Shiloh was chosen is not known, though the fact that it was seemingly uninhabited in Canaanite times may have suggested it as an “uncontaminated” location for worship. The tent of meeting was set up in Shiloh and the Israelites assembled there. 

The importance of Shiloh as a center for Israelite worship continued into the time of the Judges. The Biblical writer remarks upon the length of time that the house of God was there (Judg 18:31). While shiloh held the place of prominence in Israelite worship during this period, other places began to assume some importance as well. Thus we see that the Ark of the covenant was in Bethel at least for a time (Judg 20:2627).

Shiloh continues to figure largely in the religious life of Israel during Samuel’s time. Elkanah, Samuel’s father, went to Shiloh year by year to sacrifice to Yahweh. Eli and his two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, were priests in Shiloh at the time. It was in the temple at Shiloh that Hannah prayed for a child and there she brought him to be dedicated to Yahweh’s service. The two sons of Eli had largely corrupted the sacrificial system as it was meant to be practiced at Shiloh, and their conduct with the women who served at the entrance of the shrine was by no means above reproach. Yahweh’s appearance to the boy Samuel at Shiloh and his establishment as a prophet there also emphasize the centrality of the place in the religious history of early Israel (1 Sam 3:21).

When the Ark of God was captured and Israel was defeated at the hands of the Philistines, Shiloh lost its significance (4:3412), and the priests evidently fled to Nob just N of Jerusalem (22:11). Shiloh, or at least its temple, was evidently destroyed in about 1050 b.c.   It was generally recognized that God had forsaken “his dwelling at Shiloh, the tent where he dwelt among men, and delivered his power to captivity, his glory to the hand of the foe” (Ps 78:60). Jeremiah implies that in his day the ruins of the temple at Shiloh could still be seen and this fact he used to give force to his declaration that the Temple at Jerusalem would suffer a similar fate because of moral and religious corruption (Jer 7:121426:69). 

Conclusion.

You can believe and quote  2 Chronicles 7:14 if you want to.  But I believe the passage in Jeremiah 7 closely parallels today’s society.  It seems that in the past week, many Christians have been drawn to Jeremiah 7.  Coincidence or Holy Spirit?

Brian

Some prayer make you sick

Some Prayers Make You Sick

I believe in prayer.  I believe that prayers can make you well.  But I also believe some prayers actually make you sick.

Take the following scenario.  Let’s say Brother “Jack” is praying. The following might sound sort of like the sick prayer…

Jack. Hello God.  I need to talk to you about me being sick.  I need your healing.

God.  Howdy Jack. Great to see you. What’s this about being Sick?

Jack.  Well I have (xyz) symptoms.

God.  Jack you don’t seem sick to me.

Jack. Oh yes God I have more symptoms too.

God. Jack you are focusing on the wrong things. You need to focus on Me.

Jack. I will God after you have cured my xyz.  

God.  There is nothing for me to fix. 

Jack.  Just watch God.  I can focus on my body and feel the illness.

God. Jack… focus on me!

Jack eventually wanders off to get an aspirin.  He is now convinced he has xyz and that furthermore God is using his illness to teach him some great spiritual truths.  Jack is now more convinced in the mystery of prayer and healing.  God is allowing Jack to suffer xyz for His glory!  Teaching us to keep our eyes on Jesus even when we are sick.  

Oh and by the way, scientist and Doctors have discovered that the human body will respond to a certain extent to thoughts. That is why there are so many counselors and therapist in hospitals.  Positive thoughts do seem to promote wellness.  And the flip side…negative tends to actually create unhealthy.

So in the case of prayer, while I do not believe in “Name it-Claim it” , I do believe that we can focus on negative even during prayer to our detriment. Thus the title “some prayers make you sick”.

God’s Sabbath In Today’s World


“If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight and the Lord’s holy day honorable,…then you will find your joy in the Lord…” (Isaiah 58:13, 14, NIV).

Is the Sabbath relevant? Is it really practical to keep the Sabbath in today’s world? How should it be observed today?

To answer these questions, let’s consider what the Bible, God’s inspired Word, reveals.

Jesus Christ said that He was “Lord of the Sabbath” and that “the Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27, 28). He did not limit the Sabbath by teaching that it was made for any particular group of people at any specific time in history. Instead, it was made for all mankind for all time. It was enshrined in the Ten Commandments, the heart and core of God’s divine law for mankind.

Right Relationship With God

The Sabbath was made for mankind, but for what purpose?

The book of Isaiah, chapters 58 and 59, describes mankind’s separation from God because of our sins. “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear” (Isaiah 59:1, 2). These verses point out the hypocrisy of those who claim to seek God, yet are still filled with sin and evil intentions (Isaiah 58:1-4; 59:4-15).

But God shows that we can be reconciled to Him: “‘The Redeemer will come to Zion, and to those who turn from transgression in Jacob,’ says the Lord” (Isaiah 59:20). Jesus Christ is that prophesied Redeemer, the One who will redeem, or buy back, mankind for God through the sacrifice of His life (John 3:16; 1 Peter 1:18, 19; 1 John 2:2; 4:9, 10).

God also describes how to build a proper relationship with Him. Doing so involves humility and fasting that we might come to understand God and His ways. “Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am’…Then your light shall dawn in the darkness, and your darkness shall be as the noonday. The Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your soul in drought, and strengthen your bones; you shall be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail” (Isaiah 58:9-11).

Right Understanding Of The Sabbath

There is another critical element in building that right relationship with God, this section of Scripture says, and that is right understanding and observance of the Sabbath.

“‘If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight and the Lord’s holy day honorable, and if you honor it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words, then you will find your joy in the Lord, and I will cause you to ride on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance [physical blessings] of your father Jacob.’ The mouth of the Lord has spoken” (Isaiah 58:13, 14, NIV).

Here we see God’s true intent for the Sabbath: It is part of a proper, loving relationship with Him. It is a matter of honoring God. It is a matter of surrendering one of our most precious possessions, our time, to build a right relationship with our Creator.

Proper observance of the Sabbath, according to God’s instruction here, means turning away from “going your own way,” “doing as you please” and “speaking idle words.” These actions trample His holy time underfoot, says God.

But the Sabbath is not to be a time for doing nothing. It is to be a time for building a relationship with God. It is to be a delight, a time to “find your joy in the Lord,” He tells us.

Rather than spending this time on our own interests and pursuits, it is a time set aside to concentrate on the things that are pleasing to God and nourish our relationship with Him.

Building Proper Relationship

How do we build this right relationship with God? We build it through contact and communication with Him. We talk to God through prayer. He talks to us through His inspired Word, the Bible. These are vital keys to a right relationship with God.

“Continue earnestly in prayer,” we are told (Colossians 4:2). “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you,” Paul instructed

(1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much,” wrote James (James 5:16).

Jesus Christ expected His followers to pray, telling them, “When you pray…” (Matthew 6:5-7; Mark 11:24; Luke 11:2). He gave them specific instruction about prayer and encouraged them that they “always ought to pray and not lose heart” (Luke 18:1).

God’s Sabbath is an ideal time for additional prayer and contact with God. By refraining from our usual work and other activities on that day, we have additional time to spend with God to build our relationship with Him.

The Sabbath is also an ideal time for God to speak with us. He instructs us through His Word, the Bible. “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work,” Paul told Timothy (2 Timothy 3:16, 17).

Not only does Sabbath observance help us understand God’s ways; it helps us better understand our own thoughts and motivations, showing us where we can change to become more like God. Hebrews 4:12 tells us that “the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

We should earnestly desire to study God’s Word and learn more about it. “As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby,” we are told (1 Peter 2:2).

David, a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22), understood that God’s Word shows us the right way to live: “How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word…Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You” (Psalm 119:9, 11).

David used His time to think about God’s ways and how he could live a life more pleasing to God. “I will meditate on Your precepts, and contemplate Your ways…I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day,” he wrote (Psalm 119:15, 97).

Worship Services On The Sabbath

God’s Sabbath is a time for fellowship with others of like mind, a time for mutually encouraging one another. “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:24, 25).

Believers are expected to come together to worship (1 Corinthians 11:18; 14:23). As mentioned above, we should not forsake “the assembling of ourselves together.” In the Old Testament, the Sabbath was “a holy convocation,” also translated “a sacred assembly” (Leviticus 23:3, NIV). God commanded His people to gather to worship on that day.

God’s ministers are expected to teach God’s people about His way of life. Paul instructed the younger minister Timothy to “preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage, with great patience, and careful instruction” (2 Timothy 4:2, NIV).

As we read earlier, the regular practice of Jesus Christ and the apostle Paul was to attend a gathering in the synagogue on the Sabbath to teach and fellowship with those who wanted to learn God’s ways. Jesus Christ constantly showed by His actions, by explaining God’s Word and way of life and by performing works of mercy, the proper way to observe the day.

Today God’s Sabbath is the appropriate day to rest from our normal work and employment, a day to set aside time to meet with other believers to worship God, be instructed in His way of life and likewise perform good works that exemplify God’s way of life.

Build Relationship With God

God tells us, “The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work…” (Exodus 20:10). He made it clear that our ordinary, routine work was unacceptable on that day, and that the Sabbath was to be different. Under the national administration of God’s laws in ancient Israel, the Sabbath was so important to God that He specified that those who violated this command were to be put to death (Exodus 31:14-16; 35:2).

When Israel came out of Egypt, God reinforced this Commandment by providing a double portion of manna on the sixth day and none on the Sabbath every week for 40 years (Exodus 16:26, 35; Joshua 5:12), a total of more than 2,000 miracles! The Sabbath command is clearly important to God, and He expects it to be obeyed. Observing it is vital to maintaining a proper relationship with God.

The Life Application Bible, commenting on Exodus 20:8-11, explains why we as humans need the Sabbath: “The Sabbath was a day set aside for rest and worship. God commanded a Sabbath because human beings need to spend unhurried time in worship and rest each week. A God who is concerned enough to provide a day each week for us to rest is indeed wonderful. To observe a regular time of rest and worship in our fast-paced world demonstrates how important God is to us, and it gives us the extra benefit of refreshing our spirits. Don’t neglect God’s provision.”

Jesus Christ showed by His example the proper way to observe the Sabbath. It was never intended to be a rigid, joyless day constrained by endless restrictions detailing what could and could not be done. He used it as a time to delight in sharing with others the joy of God’s Word and way of life, showing it to be a time for strengthening our relationship with God. He used it as a time for healing, physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. It was a time for encouraging and helping those who were less fortunate.

Jesus Christ made it clear there was nothing wrong with doing good on the Sabbath, pointing out that God’s Sabbath command had never forbidden it. He emphasized what the day is for, rather than listing all the things we can’t do. His actions on the Sabbath pointed to the coming age He referred to as “the Kingdom of God,” in which all humanity will share in God’s promised healing, joy and freedom (Matthew 4:23; 9:35; Luke 4:16-19; 9:11; 10:9).

Christ’s example showed the Sabbath is to be a day of physical rest and spiritual rejuvenation. It is meant to be a welcome, refreshing rest from our weekly labors, a time during which we must no longer be absorbed in our ordinary daily cares and concerns.

Purpose Of God’s Commands

God’s Word tells us that His commandments are never burdensome (1 John 5:3). They are not meaningless or arbitrary. They were given to humanity in love from a God of infinite wisdom and knowledge (Isaiah 55:8, 9). They were given to be a benefit to mankind, bringing blessings when obeyed (Deuteronomy 4:40; 5:29, 33). These commandments include God’s Sabbath. It is a day of rest and refreshing, given to man by the One who designed and created mankind. It is a time for physical, emotional and spiritual renewal.

God knew that we would need this time to nurture and strengthen a right relationship with Him. Part of the Sabbath command reads, “Six days you shall labor and do all your work…” God tells us to take care of our ordinary work and concerns on the other six days, leaving our time and our minds free to properly worship and obey Him by observing the Sabbath. When we are free to focus our minds and thoughts on God’s way and purpose, the Sabbath truly becomes the blessing and delight God intends it to be (Isaiah 58:13, 14).

On this seventh day of each week, we should cease from our own work and allow God to work in us, building and nourishing our relationship with our Creator.

WHAT SHOULD A CHRISTIAN WATCH FOR ENTERTAINMENT?

The Church today is suffering from the legalism argument.  Basically, the argument centers around an activity that someone is trying to JUSTIFY. 

synonyms:
give grounds for, give reasons for, give a justification for, show just cause for, explain, give an explanation for, account for, show/prove to be reason-able, provide a rationale for, rationalize;  defend, answer for, vindicate, substantiate, uphold, sustain;  establish, legitimize, legitimatize  

Those synonyms don’t sound like something you need to do if something is Right, Above Board, Legal, Moral, etc.  They sound like something needed for the gray areas, for something that is not quite Kosher, or acceptable.  They sound like trying to argue something into being good.

A rule of thumb that I have lived by, is that if you have to Justify an action, it is probably not ok in God’s eyes.

Back to the list of good versus bad entertainment for a Christian.  My personal rules are going to sound legalistic to some.  But I am (1.) Trying to honor God. (2.) Avoid opening my mind to Evil Spiritual warfare and (3.) Find wholesome things to share with my friends and family.

So I avoid…

  1. Any paranormal
  2. Any monster or scary
  3. Witchcraft
  4. Modern agendas that push Anti-Bible topics such as Homosexuality…
    1. Statistics state that 3% of the American Population are Gay, yet the TV shows indicate it is 40% or more.  They are pushing this “belief”

Sin is of such awful mein,

That to be hated needs but to be seen,

But seen too oft, face to face;

First we endure, then we embrace.

What does mien mean in German?

From French mine (whence also Danish mine and German Miene), appearance, perhaps from Breton min (“face of an animal”), or from Latin minio (“to redden”).

Sin is of such awful appearance…

This little poem reminds me that allowing sin in and around your life will eventually cause it to be accepted as the norm.  Isn’t this exactly what is happening here in America?

We have the LGBT agenda.  Everyday it seems they find another letter to add to the name.  Another perversion of what God intended.  And they power push it on society with anti-discrimination laws that in and of themselves discriminate against the Christian.

So I chose not to watch those shows, and therefore not contribute to their Financial base of viewers that help them sell the Show and the advertisement that accompanies it.  I may not can change it, but I don’t have to participate in it.

Don’t Watch.

  • Monsters/Evil are not from God… They are therefore of the Devil.  Don’t Watch.
  • Ghosts?  Bible says they don’t exist, but are Evil Spirits and Demons pretending.  Don’t Watch.
  • Witches?  An Abomination to God.  Don’t Watch.
  • LGBT?  Don’t Watch.  It makes it look “Normal”  God says it is a perversion.

So what happens if Christians do watch these type of shows?  Well, nothing immediate or substantial.  Therefore many watch.  But it erodes away your relationship with God.  It is subtle and insidious.  Slowly it draws you into its influence.  You don’t notice any change and all seems well.  But eventually you are changed. 

The Bible makes it clear that there is more to the world than meets the eye. There is an unseen spiritual world, undetectable by our natural eyes, but real nevertheless. And a part of this spiritual world is at war to gain control over you.

Spiritual warfare has affected men and women ever since Satan first tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden. The battle still rages today, and the Bible has a lot to say about our future warfare against the forces of darkness.

I guess it all revolves around your belief in God. Do you Believe enough to change your free time? Does God really matter in your life?

Touch not the Lord’s Anointed?

“Not laying a hand on God’s anointed” in David’s context meant not killing Saul. Like not slaying him with a literal sword. To death. We have a term for that today: assassination. “Touch not the Lord’s anointed” didn’t mean not resisting Saul, not disobeying his commands, or not questioning his character. It meant not killing him. How do we know this? Because David had already resisted Saul, led a group of rebels outside of Saul’s authority, aided Saul’s enemies, rebuked Saul, questioned Saul, disobeyed Saul’s insane and harmful commands, and had made an alliance with Saul’s son Jonathan. All this he had done, but what he wouldn’t do was kill Saul and thus usurp his throne.

Psalm 105:15 and 1 Samuel 26:9 are fascinating and instructive. But they certainly cannot be used by church leaders today to support their claims of authoritarian impunity. In addition, 1 John 2:27 says that all believers have an anointing from God. For a pastor or teacher to claim a special anointing which requires everyone else to do whatever they say is counter-biblical and thus untrue.

“Obey your leaders and submit to their authority” – This comes from Hebrews 13:17.  The Greek doesn’t say “obey.” Instead of using the normal word for “obey,” it uses the uncommon word “peitho” which means to persuade. Again, look it up in a Greek lexicon if you don’t believe me. Since “peitho” is in the middle voice, it means to “allow yourself to be persuaded by.” The verse is better translated, “Allow yourselves to be persuaded by those who guide you.”

This fits the New Testament criteria for authority which is based on truth and trustworthiness (good character). The New Testament never enables a person to claim spiritual authority simply because of his or her position. Instead, he or she must have the truth of God and must demonstrate godly character as described in 1 Timothy 3, Titus 1, and 1 Peter 5.

LIBERTY VS. LEGALISM

A truth that is important to understand is the issue of liberty vs. legalism. Some people can feel threatened and become emotional, angry or even hostile when their traditions are challenged. Even if you can prove to them from the scriptures it is wrong, many people still resist change. A person will always find a way to justify his or her actions. How can we deal with the strong traditionalists or those who may oppose what we believe?

How to Walk In Liberty Without Being Legalistic:

I have found a good rule to go by in dealing with these types of people and issues, is a principle found in Romans 14:1-5 and 10-13. Vs. 19-22

“Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace to mutual upbuilding (edification). Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food in this case for the sake of TRADITION. Whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves.”

It is not our place to judge or condemn anyone for what their particular conviction may be (even if they are wrong). if the subject is not an issue of salvation or doctrine. It becomes a matter of conscience and falls under the same category of those Believers in Paul’s day, who ate food sacrificed to idols.

I Corinthians 8:9

“But beware lest somehow this liberty of yours becomes a stumbling block (or cause of offense) to those who are weak”

“Knowledge puffs up but it is love that builds up. Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual up-building…Let us not judge one another anymore but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brothers way.” Romans 14:13

Judgment begins in the House of God!

Repent of being purpose driven instead of “Spirit led.” Repent of using God as a means to a selfish end, repent of “having church” instead of being the church. Jesus said, “My House is called to be a House of Prayer.”

What would be His testimony of His House today? You have made it a den of entertainment? Seeker friendly, cross-void and tolerant, flattering places of self-help with sooth saying mantras absent from the Word of the Lord,” where prayer is “cliché?”

It seems that our best praying today is for a “good service” instead of just seeking His face. We’ve lost confidence in the very thing that God has ordained as the power of God unto salvation─the preaching of the cross! Jesus Christ crucified is rarely mentioned because it’s not attractive to carnal man.

I know that statement probably comes across judgmental. I pray it’s heard for the way its been laid upon my heart, to realize from where we have fallen. Hey, I grew up in church, I can “play the part.” We’ve learned that well in the “Bible belt” but it has allowed for a modern day “golden calf” to be erected. Church in a lot of ways has replaced God. And it’s another thing to repent of…We need to get back to the heart of God. 

 “You shall love the Lord Your God with all your heart, soul and strength and love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37-38).

What does that look like in our daily walk? How do you fall in love with someone you hardly know and how you do know someone without spending time with them?

I’ve heard it said that love is spelled: T. I. M. E. and TIME is an altar that needs to be rebuilt in our homes, in our prayer closets and in our church gatherings!