By L. Bruce Taylor
Two of God’s commandments that surely epitomize the entire scope of the Gospel and the Plan of Salvation are appearing to plague the church universal and the local congregation. It is a tragic scene to see the wisdom of God shunned and cast aside as immaterial by what is undoubtedly human wisdom and self-discernment.
The words of Jesus in Matt. 6:33 ring out loud and clear – “But seek first His (God’s, lbt) kingdom, and His righteousness and all these things shall be added to you.’.’ Are we not able to understand such plain language? Have we not the capacity to realize that the point being emphasized is that NOTHING can come ahead of our service to God if we would be pleasing to Him? We cannot change God’s priorities by our personal whims and fancies and be justified in His sight.
Consider the teaching set forth in Luke 14:16-24. Jesus relates a story concerning a man who prepared a feast and invited many to attend. Each one invited came up with some trivial excuse. One must look at a piece of land he has already bought-? One must “try out” five yoke of oxen that he has already bought-? And another said, “I’ve just gotten married. . . .” (no explanation necessary, lbt)! The Master answered, “. . . none of these men who were invited shall taste of my dinner.” When we by our actions say, “Lord, I’ll get to you when I feel like it after I do what I want to do …… we deny the wisdom of God, and it matters not what we say with our lips. Jesus recalling the words of Isaiah in Matt. 15:8 called those “hypocrites” who “. . . honor with their lips while their heart is far away from Him.” “Human” reasoning leads us down the path to destruction, dear friend, not up to the gates of glory.
Again the inspired words of the Apostle Paul written to the young Christian Timothy in 2 Tim. 2:15, “Be diligent (KJV-study, lbt) to present yourself approved of God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth.” A major point of consideration here is that if you cannot “handle accurately” (use with knowledge and application, lbt) the word of God, you are not to pass it off lightly but rather are to be ashamed! There is only one way to get to heaven and that is to obey the Word of God which by studying, one knows. It is not adequate to simply accept what someone tells you is God’s command but rather you must do a “labor-of-love” and search the scriptures daily. “How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night,” (Psalms 1:1-2).
The admonition of Paul in Hebrews10:25 to “. . . forsake not our assembling together” and the example of New Testament Christians in Acts 2:42 of “. . . continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship (v. 46-daily)” seems to fall upon deafened ears. Instead of being interested in how often we can be getting together and studying God’s Word, to be prepared for better service, we are inventing excuses to get out of those efforts already planned both by the congregation and individual members. Brethren this ought not to be! Why is it so? Are our priorities out of harmony with God’s? Do we feel that we know so much there is no need for us to attend such services? God help us all to realize our inadequacies and search His Word for strength and guidance.
The attitudes of “indifference” and “slothfulness” that we put forth shall in the day of judgment condemn us to eternal punishment if we persist therein. God does not want our excuses but rather our complete obedience by . . . presenting our bodies as living sacrifices” (emphasis mine, lbt) (Rom. 12:1). Anything else is not acceptable!
Truth Magazine, XX:13, p. 13
March 25, 1976