Below is a series of eight videos that I made awhile back on the issue of same-sex "marriage" and the sin of homosexuality. Hopefully you find them helpful as you interact with people in the world who hold some false views about these subjects.
The first act of worship that we will examine is the music that we offer to the Lord. Our music is an example of a spiritual sacrifice that we give to God. It, like the sacrifices given by the priests, are a fulfillment of the system of OT worship. Just as we are the temple, the priests, the sacrifices, and the sacrifice givers, we are also the “Levitical singers” of the temple who offer up sacrifices of praise to God.
“Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name…with such sacrifices God is pleased. Hebrews 13:15-16
We are in a giving our offering or sacrifice of “fruits” to God as we sing and give thanks to Him. In regard to what we do when we gather together with our fellow priests and saints, our singing not only is a sacrifice and offering to God, it has the purpose of admonishing and teaching each other as we offer it to the Lord. Paul says in Colossians 3:16:
“Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”
The picture we are given here is that those who have the word of Christ dwelling in them will have it come out from within us as teaching and admonishing. This is the natural thing that will happen. As we sing to the Lord, we need to learn and be challenged by the things that we are hearing one another sing. The same point is made in a parallel passage in Ephesians 5:18-19:
“And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord”
Our singing goes two directions, horizontally to one another and vertically to the Lord to be offered at His throne. We sing to God along with His heavenly host. Paul also says that we make melody in our hearts to the Lord as we sing and speak to one another. The melody doesn’t necessarily come from our mouth, although we do use our mouths to teach and admonish while we sing. But the melody is to the Lord from and with our hearts. It comes from within us and goes to the Lord. Thankfully, He doesn’t talk about the melody coming from our vocal chords. I know at times there is not much melody to be heard there. At times my singing doesn’t sound good to my ear (and probably others), but it is a sweet sound to the ear of the Lord as our hearts make melody with thankfulness to Him.
One other point I would like to make from this passage that I hinted to earlier: I believe this passage is also showing us that we are not just the fulfillment of the shadow of the temple singers, but also of the instruments that some of the Levites used during their temple ceremonies. Our instrument is within us. It is our heart. The melody that we offer to the Lord comes from our within us. The phrase “make melody with your hearts” does literally mean that we are “plucking the strings of our hearts.” This is where the music/melody comes from when we sing to the Lord. Instead of using the Old Covenant instruments that were meant to be a shadow of what was to come in Christ, we “in spirit” worship God by giving Him thanksgiving and praise from the heart. This is our “sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.” Under the New Covenant, this is the kind of worship that our God and King is pleased with, and this is the kind of music that He specifically commands that He be worshipped with.
This is why bringing a mechanical instrument, such as a guitar or piano, etc. into New Testament worship just does not fit. The melody that is offered to the Lord is to come from within us, not from instruments that we use that are outside of us that are more for our ears and emotional stimulation. The Lord says to sing and make melody with our hearts. He does not give His approval in the New Testament for any other instrument.
I agree with John Calvin when he said, “Musical instruments in celebrating the praise of God would be no more suitable than the burning of incense, the lighting up of lamps, the restoration of the other shadows of the law.” Either all of the worship in the Old Covenant is fulfilled under the New Covenant, or none of it is. If you want to bring in other instruments other than the heart, why not bring incense to accompany our prayers? Or lighting candles during the offering? How about we all come to worship wearing the garments that God gives the priests under the Old Covenant? We could go on and on here. Those who want to introduce the mechanical instrument into worship really are picking and choosing “buffet style” what they want to do in worship from a covenant that we are not under instead of looking at the New Testament and asking, “what does God tell us that He wants for His church?” And many times, those who want to use instruments do it because it is what they prefer in worship, and they go to Old Testament passages to justify what they want to do. This is always the wrong way to approach scripture.
I would ask this question to those who want to bring the “shadow” of the instrument from the worship under the Old Covenant: why? Why introduce a mechanical instrument into the worship of the New Covenant, especially when He does not show His approval of it in the New Testament? We cannot know it is pleasing to Him unless He tells us it is. To do so would be presumptuous. Unfortunately, the answers we receive to these questions are often, “It is because I like it more than just singing,” or “this is the way we have always done it,” or “this is what is common in our culture today.” Once again, these lines of reasoning place us and our culture on the throne as the authority to decide what God wants in worship instead of allowing Him as King to tell us what is pleasing to Him for New Covenant worship.
"And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God, 5 you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 For this is contained in Scripture: “BEHOLD, I LAY IN ZION A CHOICE STONE, A PRECIOUS CORNER stone, AND HE WHO BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.” 7 This precious value, then, is for you who believe; but for those who disbelieve, “THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED, THIS BECAME THE VERY CORNER stone,” 8 and, “A STONE OF STUMBLING AND A ROCK OF OFFENSE”; for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom they were also appointed. 9 But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 for you once were NOT A PEOPLE, but now you are THE PEOPLE OF GOD; you had NOT RECEIVED MERCY, but now you have RECEIVED MERCY" (1 Peter 2:4-10).
Peter tells us that we as Christians are a Royal Priesthood under our Great King and High Priest. He tells us a lot about the worship and work of priests under the New Covenant, especially about the nature of our work and worship.
There are two points I would like to explore in this article:
WE ARE A SPIRITUAL KINGDOM AND PRIESTHOOD
We are the Spiritual Israel, the descendants of Abraham. We are a spiritual kingdom of Priests:
WE ARE A SPIRITUAL SACRIFICE
All work and worship within the kingdom begins with full self-sacrifice to God. This is foreshadowed in the Old Testament with the burnt offering. This sacrifice was brought to the temple by the one offering it. It was killed and then it was prepared by the Levitical priest to be taken to the altar where it was fully consumed on the altar as a sacrifice to God.
As New Testament Priest, Jesus gives us the prime example of what it means to give yourself as a burnt offering to God. He fully consumed Himself with doing the will of God, even to the point of His death on the cross, where He completely emptied Himself of life itself as an offering to God on our behalf. Paul uses burnt offering terminology when He talks about the offering that Jesus gave to God for us in Ephesians 5:2:
“and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.”
Paul teaches us that we need to follow in Jesus’ steps in giving ourselves to God as a sacrifice in Romans 12:1.
“Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.“
Unlike the Levitical burnt offering and our Lord’s offering for us, we are called living sacrifices in this passage. We put our lives fully on the altar to be sacrificed to God for His worship and work. We are “fully consumed” in His work and service. If we want our worship and work to be pleasing to God, this is where we must begin. It begins with us giving our whole being to the Lord.
WE GIVE SPIRITUAL SACRIFICES IN OUR WORSHIP AND SERVICE TO GOD
After we give ourselves to be totally consumed on the altar for God, we then from our hearts offer to God sacrifices that are pleasing to Him, sacrifices that are referred to as a “a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well-pleasing to God” (Philippians 4:18).
Peter tells us in 1 Peter 2 that we offer to God spiritual sacrifices. They are not physical sacrifices like the ones offered in the Old Testament. Jesus in John 4 tells us that the true worshipers under the New Covenant would worship God as He is, in spirit. Even though we may do things in this realm for God, our service and worship to Him is spiritual in nature. This may mean a couple things for our service and worship to God:
Whenever we are deciding whether we should do something, the common question that we ask ourselves is, “Does the Bible say that it is wrong?” Or, when we ask another brother or sister about a certain behavior that they are approving of or are involved in, they may answer by saying, “Show me in the Bible where it’s wrong! Show me where it’s condemned!” We get into discussions and debates asking questions, such as, “Is it wrong to gamble? Is it wrong to smoke? Is it wrong to have one alcoholic beverage? Is it wrong to dance or go to the prom? Is it wrong to be involved with politics or not to vote? Is it wrong to skip our Bible studies or the 9am Sunday sermon?” While the question, “Is it wrong?” certainly has its place, we need to consider the fact that there are other questions which need to be asked as well. There are more questions that need to be asked than just, “Is it against the rules?”
Christian living is about walking by faith (2 Corinthians 5:7), walking by the Spirit (Galatians 5:16-26), and walking in the light (1 John 1:7). These passages show that we are called to a higher standard, and we have to ask more mature questions than just, “Is it wrong? or, “Is it lawful?” or, “Is it against the rules?” Paul shows this when he was interacting with the same kind of responses from the Corinthians. Since the law of Moses was done away with and they were now under the grace of Christ, they would say things like, “All things are lawful.” Paul responds by showing that even if things are permitted (or not explicitly condemned), this does not mean one should do them. Paul responded by saying, “But not all things are helpful” and, “Not all things build up” (1 Cor. 10:23). Paul shows them (and us) that there are other questions that need asked before engaging in a certain behavior. These questions would include (but are not limited to):
We have to get better at asking questions like these. We must understand that just because we can do something, doesn’t mean we should do it. There are many things we can do, but fewer things we should do. We have to start asking, “What is the likely outcome of this course of action?” and then only proceed if people will be helped, God will be glorified, and purity and holiness will be reflected.
But even when these questions are asked, this does not mean we will all come to the same conclusion about all of these behaviors. In this case, I believe there are at least three principles we must keep in mind:
Many subjects are a matter of wisdom and discernment. We need to in these areas work to distinguish between good and evil, using God’s word to do so (Hebrews 5:13). We need to have our minds renewed so that we can “discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2). We see in Romans 12:2 a different kind of thinking. Instead of thinking, “is this wrong,” we need to ask, “is this behavior good, acceptable, and perfect?” Let’s help each other to be wise. Let’s help each other ask better questions. And let’s learn to love each other even when we arrive at different conclusions.
Dealing w/ Our King's Silence
What do we do when our King is silent on a matter? Does God’s silence prohibit or permit? This has been a topic of debate for centuries, and is one which I have wrestled with for years. Below are a few principles and passages of scripture that show some of the conclusions I have come to in my studies of Bible Authority:
First, if we are seeking to please God, we will only do that which we know is pleasing to Him. We will examine what He does say, and base our practices on what is revealed by our Shepherd. Jesus gives us a great example of this in John 5. In verse 19 He says, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner.” He says in verse 30, “I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.” Is this not the kind of attitude we need to have if we want to please God? We should only want to do what we know is pleasing to Him; what we know will bring Him glory. The reason why we shouldn’t want to act on silence is because it is acting in an area of the unknown when it comes to God’s will. If we don’t know if it is pleasing to God, we should not want to do it as His people!
We need to remember: The ONLY way we can know for certain that something is pleasing or displeasing to our King is if He reveals it to us through His Apostles and Prophets in the New Testament. When God is truly 100% silent on a matter, we (as those who desire to please Him) need to show some caution in saying that God condemns or approves of something. It is dangerous to be presumptuous either way when God does not reveal His mind on a matter. God is the only One who can properly commend and approve, and He is the only One who can properly condemn and disapprove. Silence should not be seen as a reason to condemn an action or commend an action. “We don’t know” at times is the best thing we could say. We should stick with the old saying that we "speak where the Bible speaks and are silent when the Bible is silent."
Second, God is not silent about as many things as we think He may be. Here are two reasons as to why this is the case:
I could say more points about how to deal with silence, but I will leave it at this. Hopefully these are at least some helpful things to think about when thinking about the “silence” of our King.
Do you have any specific questions about the silence of the scriptures, let me know in the comments below!
How Our King Reveals What Pleases Him
In our first article in this series, we discussed what our primary motivation must be as Christians. We were redeemed by Christ to be His possession. We are His, and because of this, we are to make sure we please Him in all that we do as His people (2 Cor 5:9-10; Colossians 1:9-10) . This being the case, we need to learn what is pleasing to Him and what is not pleasing to Him. The only objective place where we can go to get this information is in the word of God. Only the word of Christ given through His Apostles and Prophets can equip us with the knowledge we need in order to be pleasing to God under the New Covenant.
But the question arises, how does our King in His word communicate to us what is pleasing to Him? He communicates His will to us the same way any of us communicate our will to others. For instance, parents, whenever they want to communicate to their kids that something is pleasing to them, how do they do it? Can I suggest they do it in one of three ways. They will either TELL them that what they want them to do, SHOW them what they want their kids to do, or IMPLY something to them in what they tell them or show them. Is there another way but these three ways to communicate your will to someone? This is how God in His word communicates His will to us.
Let’s look at an example of these in action in the New Testament. Let’s look at what God reveals about baptism:
He tells us, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved, but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16). If we want to be pleasing to God, we will do what He tells us to do here in this direct statement to be saved. God uses both direct statements and commands to show us that baptism is something we must do to be pleasing Him.
Jesus gives us a multitude of examples in scripture of people being baptized. We learn in these examples that a way of baptizing that pleases God is by immersion. John was baptizing because it was a place where there was much water (John 3:23). When the Ethiopian Eunuch was baptized, we see that they went down into the water and then came out of the water (Acts 8:38-39). We are not given any examples of other modes of baptizing that are pleasing to God other than immersion. It is also the only mode that is inherent in the definition of the word.
God also implies certain things to us in scripture about baptism. God implies to us that preaching about baptism is included in “preaching Jesus.” We are told that Philip preached Jesus to the Eunuch, and the Eunuch responded by saying as they traveled, “look, water, what hinders me from being baptized?” This implies that Phillip told him about baptism. Another thing God implies to us in scripture about baptism is that babies cannot be baptized. Since he tells us that one must believe, repent, and confess Jesus as Lord before baptism, then it logically follows from this that an infant cannot be baptized because they are unable to do those things. Also, when God tells us in Mark 16:16 that we need to believe and be baptized to be saved, and when He shows us in Peter’s sermon on the day of Pentecost that one must repent and be baptized for the remission of sins, God is implying to us that these passages apply to us if we want salvation and the remission of our sins. We must use our ability to reason and the logic that God gives us as we come to commands, direct statements, and examples within the Bible to decide whether they apply beyond their original audience to us.
How our King reveals His will on baptism shows us how He reveals what is pleasing to Him regarding every Biblical doctrine/teaching. Once again, what other way is there for our King to reveal His decrees to us other than these three ways? This is how communication works, and this cannot be denied. It is a self-evident truth. One cannot communicate their will about anything without telling you something, showing you something, or implying something to you.
Our Goal As Disciples of Christ
What is our goal as Christians? Why is it that we do what we do? How we answer this question is important. We need to have the right reason as to why we choose to do what we do in service and worship to God. I believe the Apostle Paul sums up pretty well what that reason should be in 2 Corinthians 5:9:
“Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him.”
In everything we do, is this our desire? This needs to be the motivation we have in approaching the will of God and the Authority of Christ. Each one of us as Christians must make it our goal and aim to be pleasing to Him in EVERYTHING we do. This must be where we begin any discussion about Bible authority because we need to remember what our goal is. In our worship, in the organization of the local church, in evangelism, and in every aspect of our lives, our goal must be to please the Lord. The question that always must be asked is, "Does this please Him? Does this action please our King?"
Then once we ask this question, we must find the answer. And in order to do so, there are many places we do not primarily go to get it:
Paul told the Colossians in 1:9-10 that he prayed that they would “be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding" and that they "may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God…”
If we want to be fully pleasing to God, we need to be filled with the knowledge of His will. But where do we get this knowledge? The only way in which we can “be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding…and increasing in the knowledge of God…” is to, as Paul says in Colossians 3:16, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom…” Only the word of Christ given through His Apostles and Prophets can equip us with the knowledge we need to be pleasing to God. We cannot know whether anything is pleasing or displeasing to God unless He reveals it to us in His word.
If we don't want to fall into idolatry; into spiritual adultery, we must protect the relationship that we have with our God! Just as we would need to work hard to build and protect the relationships we have with our spouses, we need to put some serious effort into our relationship with God. We must make sure He is the one you look to for meaning, purpose, and fulfillment in life. Make sure He is the one who you find security and hope in. He needs to be the one who satisfies us and we cannot live without.
STAY FAITHFUL IN OUR “SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINES.”
Nothing kills a relationship like not spending quantity and quality time with the person. “Quality time” usually happens during the “quantity time”. This is important for our relationships, but for some reason, this at times we don’t apply this to our relationship with the Lord. If we are not spending time often in Bible reading and study and prayer, it is going to kill our relationship with God and our hearts will be tempted to look elsewhere for satisfaction and meaning.
How much time are you spending during the week building up your relationship with God? Five minutes? Ten minutes? Thirty minutes? I will say this, it is more than likely not enough if all we are doing is reading a morning devotional in a devotional book and saying a ten second prayer when we are done. We are not going to build a strong relationship with God that way. Reading one verse with a page worth of men’s words (which usually take the verse out of it’s original context) is not good enough. We need more. We need to spend enough time in God’s word that we are able to see on a weekly basis just how much we need Him and depend on Him in our lives. We need to spend enough time in His word that we can know His word (in context) and not be led away to believe things that are wrong or to serve other things. We will put more time into study and prayer if our relationship with God is as important as we claim it is! I don’t think it is too much to ask to challenge ourselves with spending AT LEAST a half hour per day for around four to five days per week in combined study time and prayer time. That adds up to two to three hours per week OUTSIDE OF WHAT YOU DO WITH OTHERS DURING SERVICES AND STUDIES. I would recommend more than that. Many here may spend more time than that exercising, surfing the web, and watching TV per week!
“Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?--unless indeed you are disqualified” (2 Corinthians 13:5)
We need regular spiritual checkups. Adults are supposed to see a doctor annually to prevent heart ailments, cancer and other problems. Yet many of us don’t examine our health spiritually and do what is needed to prevent sin in our lives. This is something we need to do often. We need weekly checkups to see how we are doing spiritually. Just because we are being faithful to God now does not mean will be faithful to Him next week or next month. We need to keep on asking ourselves some important questions in regards to our relationship with God.
Here are some key questions to examine our hearts with…
“Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.” (The Apostle Paul)
Whenever we think of one who was given over to his possessions, the first person that comes to mind in scripture is the rich young ruler. I think many of us at times can be like this man if we are not careful.
From the looks of things, when he comes to Jesus, he has many of good things going for him.
HE WAS A RELIGIOUS MAN. When Jesus told him what he needed to do to inherit eternal life: " 'DO NOT MURDER, DO NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, DO NOT STEAL, DO NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS, Do not defraud, HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER' " (v19), he answered by saying that he had been practicing these things since his youth. He had been taught the word of God and trained to obey it in these areas. Obviously he wasn't perfect at it. If you would have asked him, he probably would have said such, just as the majority of people would. But he was trying to do what was right. But in spite of this, there was still something missing. We are not told why he came to Jesus, but it seems to me that it was because he felt that there was still something missing in his life. There was still something that seemed to be missing to him. He still did not know if he had eternal life, and he wanted the answer to what he needed to do.
HE WAS EAGER. It is encouraging to see how he approaches Jesus. He didn't just walk up to Jesus. He ran up to Jesus. He wanted an answer to his question, and he wanted it quickly…
HE ALSO DISPLAYED SOME HUMILITY BEFORE JESUS. He knew that he did not have the answer to the question he asked Jesus, so he came to the One who he believed would have the answer. And when he got to Jesus, verse 17 tells us that the rich young ruler fell before Jesus. This would have been unusual with the difference in social status and dress between him and Jesus. Here the rich and powerful man falling down before the poor and lowly.
HE WAS YOUNG. He may have many years to work on all of these things. Just think, if he had risen to the position where he is at so early in his life, this man shows a lot of promise of being able to grow in all of these things and being a great servant of God.
HE WAS RICH AND HAD INFLUENCE. He had a lot of resources to use for the kingdom if he would dedicate it to the Lord, and because he was wealthy, many may have looked up to him at that time. He could have used his influence for kingdom work.
I think it is safe to say that if we met this young man, we would see him as a great candidate for the gospel and for the kingdom. He is a religious, young man who could have made a difference in the kingdom. I think he would fit in pretty well amongst the people of God today.
BUT HE MISSED EVERYTHING!
He had some major issues and sin that got in the way of this happening. When Jesus says that this young man only lacked one thing, it may be easy to be tempted to think that this man was "pretty close" to being kingdom material. This one thing that kept him from choosing to follow Christ was a big thing. Surgery was required. He had to cut away his stuff.
His allegiances are divided, but in a sense, not divided. He was trying to serve both God and wealth, but was failing. The "one thing" he was missing was that he was an idolater. He was missing the fact that it is impossible to serve both God and his possessions. He was in reality serving money while wearing the "I am a religious person" mask. The same mask you and I can be guilty of wearing!
We need to keep in mind what Jesus says after His encounter with this young man:
"And Jesus, looking around, said to His disciples, "How hard it will be for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God!" 24 The disciples were amazed at His words. But Jesus answered again and said to them, "Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25 "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." 26 They were even more astonished and said to Him, "Then who can be saved?" 27 Looking at them, Jesus said, "With people it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God."
If Jesus said to you, I want you to go and sell ALL that you have, then I want you to come and follow me,” would there be some things that you own that you would be unwilling to part with? This is an important question. It may serve us well at times to take the command that was given to the rich young ruler as a command to us so that our devotions can really be tested!
Please consider a few more passages about the dangers of wealth and possessions:
“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money" (Matthew 6:24)
"And he said to them, 'Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.'" (Luke 12:15)
“Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." (Luke 12:32-34)
It can become very easy to idolize those who are closest to us. Our friends and our family. This can be very dangerous for our souls! It is hard not to put too much emphasis on our closest relationships in this life. How often regarding family members have you heard said, “I just could not live without you”? First, it is simply not a true statement. I lived for about 25 years without my wife. It is possible. I lived for over 30 years without my daughter. I can live with or without them. These relationships are great to have, but they are not what our life is all about. Our spouses and our children should not be the “center of our universe”. Only God should be! Christ is the only one I cannot live without. We need to be careful not to make them “ultimate things” in our life.
Some say, I could never accept that doctrine. It would mean that my parents are wrong and that my dead grandma is in Hell!” Some are unwilling to accept the truth about how to be saved because doing so would “condemn their dead relatives” or because their parents would be wrong and they do not want to disagree with their parents about the Bible. Many are led to reject the truth or to sin by family members.
We need to be careful because putting too much emphasis on these temporary relationships can also lead us to reject the truth. I have heard of so many instances where people out of nowhere changed their beliefs about Biblical doctrines because of a loved one. People change their views about divorce and remarriage when they find out that one of their loved ones are in an adulterous relationship? Many parents have changed their minds about what the Bible teaches about homosexuality when their son or daughter confesses to be a homosexual. When these kind of things happen, we are exalting our family above our God and His teachings. Jesus says,
"If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple" Luke 14:26
This is a challenging passage for us, isn’t it? Our devotion to Christ must be greater than any other relationship. For God’s people, for disciples of Jesus Christ, Jesus is the only One we truly need. He is the only One we cannot live without. “To live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Jesus is the one who gives our lives meaning and lasting, ultimate satisfaction and fulfillment. We are living for Him, and even our deaths will be rewarded with Him, the one who we are living for. My relationship with the Lord is THE relationship that my life here and my eternal life in Heaven will be ultimately focused on. My family and friends are NOT the ultimate reason why I want to go to Heaven, no matter which loved ones may be there. Why do we really want to go to Heaven? Isn’t going to Heaven ultimately about going to be with our God and Savior?
Whenever I share the gospel with people, I like to ask them this question to gauge whether or not they have truly given themselves over to Christ or if they have idols in their life, “If I were to line up ten of your closest friends and family members and ask them what the most important thing in your life is, what would they say?” Almost every time, without fail, on of the top answers I get is 'family.'
How would you answer this question? Would your family and friends say based on what THEY see in you that the most important thing in your life is Jesus? Or may they say your family?
Do you have any questions?
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Hello! My name is Jason Smith. I have been preaching and teaching the Lord's people since 2007, and I started working with the church in Madrid Iowa in July of 2016.