Posts Tagged ‘ Rules ’

VerseD: Isaiah 43:18-19

“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”

Isaiah 43:18‭-‬19, ESV

We are not bound to the Law of Moses with strict rules and sacrifices, for the perfect sacrifice was made. In Christ, we now seek to love God who indwells us by His Holy Spirit and helps us.

VerseD: Deuteronomy 30:16

If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you today, by loving the Lord your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his rules, then you shall live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to take possession of it.
Deuteronomy 30:16, ESV

God explained His commandments, statutes, and rules simply: Love God, love people, love the Church.
Our blessing? Eternal life through and with the Son!

VerseD: Deuteronomy 30:16

If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you today, by loving the Lord your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his rules, then you shall live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to take possession of it.
Deuteronomy 30:16, ESV

The commands we obey are summarized in loving God, loving people, and loving the Church.

Our Promised Land is eternity with Christ.

Possess eternity through faith in Christ.

Nothing New: The Church’s Foundation: Part 4: Legalists

I am currently the Youth Pastor for The Church Next Door in Prescott Valley, AZ. On Sunday, August 11, 2019, I took over teaching the adult Sunday School class (the foundation of why we learn from history) before the regular service. (If you find yourself in North Central Arizona, specifically the Prescott Valley area, come join in from 8:45 to 9:45 AM, and then stay for the singing and sermon at 10!)

The second and third lessons were combined in the post two weeks ago, with a look at when the Church was founded and the various forms of leadership Jesus dealt with. Previous was a look at how he rebuked those in leadership.

Again, here are my notes:

Nothing New: The Importance of Church History

Lesson 5: Christ and the Church’s Foundation – Modern Comparisons

The leadership in the time of Jesus included the entirely secular yet pagan Roman Empire, the hyper-religious Pharisees, the super-compromised Sadducees, the fastidious Essenes, and the rebellious Zealots.

Briefly, how do we see nothing new in our leadership?

Modern comparisons:

  • The Divided leadership (remember that there can be bleed-over from group to group):
    • Pharisees – Got a lot right, but added a lot.
      • Legalism – Follow our rules our way, or you are a heathen
        • Matthew 15:1-9 (quoting Isaiah 29:13)
        • Colossians 2:4-10
      • Expected a Messiah to come, but they were willing to work with the government.
        • Many expected two messiahs: conquering king and reforming high priest
          • Think Ezra and Nehemiah as precursors
      • Very similar to Post-millennial Christians and wanting the religious leadership in charge.
      • Modern equivalents: Roman Catholic, some Lutheran, believers in “Federal Vision” (the Church runs the government), New Apostolic Reformation and their 7 Hills/Mountains

Reblog: The Church of No People – I Don’t Have a Relationship, I Have Rules

Matt Appling is at it again over at his blog The Church of No People. I spent the better part of a year living by the rule “I don’t have a religion, I have a relationship!” To see roughly (probably even exactly) where I stand today, you can read my post from last year here, or head on over to Matt’s site and read his words:

I Don’t Have a Relationship, I Have Rules

Christians like to say that we have “relationship.”relationship

Not rules.

Not religion.

While “rules” or “religion” have connotations of stuffy, outdated, legalistic, overbearing control, relationship seems to open and inviting, doesn’t it? While the former might carry the image of an angry nun with a ruler, ready to rap your knuckles, the latter looks like Jesus holding his arms out for a big bear hug.

If there’s one phrase modern Christianity has embraced, it’s that one.  We have moved past religion, and now we have relationship.

And I wonder how much damage that phrase has caused to the relationship we have with God.

Continue reading over at Matt’s Church of No People …

I Love/Hate Religion.

That’s right. I love religion, and I hate religion.

One of the first sayings (not the first, mind you) I learned as a young believer in Christ was “I hate religion” because “It’s a relationship!” Everyone knows that religion is a trap that constrains all who practice from truly knowing God! Everyone knows that religion causes wars and fights and church splits and all sorts of mayhem!

We hear on our TV’s and read in our newspapers and magazines that religion is what has caused all of the travesties in our world. We are raised in churches being told that religion separates us from our relationship with God. (For the record, I know this is not universally true … just go with me on this!) James even tells us that religion is worthless! (Yep, I heard this teaching in a church, and that more than once and more than one church!)

So, then, what about what James said next?

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” (James 1:27, NIV)

Wait. Religion can be good? Okay, but only one biblical reference does not really mean anything does it?

How about Paul?

“But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God” (1 Timothy 5:4, NIV).

Huh. That sounded pretty familiar.

Our friends at Merriam-Webster have a few words to throw in, too:

 “(1) : the service and worship of God or the supernatural (2) : commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance”


“a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices.”

Yeah, I left out some other definitions, but this is my blog and I am trying to make a point!

I really like that second definition mixed with the first part of the first definition. Allow me to reword it:

“Religion is serving and worshiping God through a set or system of attitudes, beliefs, and practices.”

Makes religion sound a whole lot better, doesn’t it?

We can argue that our attitudes and beliefs and practices can interfere with our relationship with God (“what I hate I do“), and in the greater context of the whole Bible those references above and multitude others imply that to be true. We can argue that it is too easy for people to focus on following the rules or traditions or practices instead of for Whom we are doing them all.

I will use an analogy:

We sit down to play chess. For it to be enjoyable, we follow certain rules. Our pieces can only move in certain ways. We have to take turns moving our pieces. There is either a stalemate or one winner and one loser. If we change the rules or disregard them completely, then it is really a game of “I Win” and the winner is whoever can fight or argue better!

Or how about driving. We can drive however we want when we are behind the wheel; but if we want to avoid injury, loss of property/time/money, or even loss of life, then we have to follow certain safe driving rules and laws.

I hate religion because so many people get caught up in religion instead of following God.

I love religion because it helps me grow in my relationship with my Lord and Savior. If there were not certain guidelines for me to follow, I could still be heading straight for Hell thinking I am doing alright. If I have guidelines and rules to help me, we can help each other stay on the path to righteousness and grow closer to Our Lord and Savior.

What do you think? Have I gone of the deep end? Have I nailed it? Have I had  too much time on my hands and picked this to pieces?

Grace and Peace!