Speaking where the bible speaks, and silent where the bible is silent.

There is no doubt that Jesus was among publicans and sinners and ate with them. What was He doing? Was he gambling with them? Was He smoking with them? Drinking intoxicating drink with them? Cursing and laughing at dirty jokes? Was He being complicit with them as they sinned more? One thing that we know Jesus was not doing is practicing sin with them, or “approving of those who do such things” (Rom 1:32), which would also be a sin. When Jesus was eating with sinners it was to “call them to repentance.” Sinners that Jesus ate with were those sinners that were looking for a better way of life, and had invited Jesus to eat with them so that they could learn from Him.

The kinds of sinners Jesus did not waste time with were sinners who were hardened in sin, and who “hated the light and would not come to the light, lest their deeds be exposed” (Jn 3:20). There are sinners that you cannot help. Jesus said “Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces” (Matt 7:6).

Jesus ate with sinners, but they were not the kind of sinners that did not want to be around someone who told them that they need to change their lives. He never forced Himself upon those who “hated the light” and would not come to the light. As you can see, Jesus ate with sinners who came to Him. He did not go to a house of prostitution and act like one of them. He did not go to a saloon or pub and just fit in as “one of the boys”. He ate with those sinners that were open to listening to His call to repentance, and therefore came to Him to hear His words.

Now it happened, as Jesus sat at the table in the house, that behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to His disciples, “Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” When Jesus heard that, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners , to repentance” (Matt 9:10-13).

These sinners came to Jesus and knew they were wrong and needed to straighten out their lives, and knew that Jesus would tell them the truth in a caring way. They were willing to come to the light. These were no swine who would not appreciate His words and who would trample His words and oppose Him.

Jesus was not being a companion with those who intended to keep sinning. Jesus was showing His compassion for sinners who knew they were wrong and were wanting to know how He could help them.

When Jesus ate with sinners they were never the same when He left them. They came to Him to learn from Him, and they left with clear decisions to make about their lives. He came to call sinners to repentance. He had what they needed, and they were not offended that He called them to repentance.

Is that what you are doing with worldly friends? Are you calling them to repentance? Or, are you trying to just fit in with them? Paul warned that evil companionships corrupt good morals (1 Cor 15:33). Are you doing what they do, dressing like they dress, talking like they talk, and acting like they act? Are they aware that you are a Christian who has left a worldly lifestyle, and are trying to get them to change too? Or, are you hiding the light under a basket so that they are not even aware of your change and your desire for their change? The biggest question for every Christian is: are you changing sinners to God’s Word or are they changing you to the world? In other words, are we changing sinners or are sinners changing us?

It is good to be a light for people in the dark provided that you are not hiding the light. It is good to be the salt of the earth, working among sinners to influence them for good. However, if we have become salt that has lost its savor, we become fit for nothing but to be trampled underfoot of men (Matt 5:13-16). We must let our light shine so that people will know that we are servants of God with a better life and a wonderful hope. If we are trying to be like Jesus, people will know that our lives are centered on God, and they know we want them to know our God and come and glorify Him. They should know that God has made such a good change in our lives. They see the difference in our morals and priorities.

Partnership or fellowship with those living in darkness and sin is not what sinners saw in Jesus or His true followers. They saw Jesus as light of righteousness, compassionate, and merciful to those wanting and needing mercy, yet not compromising the standard of righteousness for friendship sake. It was a pure and holy life they saw in Jesus. They did not see Him as just one of the boys. Christians are the salt of the earth, to make a difference in the world for good, not to compromise God’s truth.

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It appears that most everyone these days feel comfortable cursing. Perhaps they think it makes them sound cool or just like one of the guys. People have always cursed in private or under their breath, but nowadays even the president on down feel comfortable cursing in public. What is the cure for this cursing generation? The Bible suggests a number of remedies. If you are having trouble in this area, or know someone who is, why not try or recommend the following?

Keep your mouth shut. If you can’t express yourself without saying a curse word, then just don’t express yourself. “A fool vents all his feelings, but a wise man holds them back” (Prov 29:11). “Whoever guards his mouth and tongue keeps his soul from troubles” (Prov 21:23).

When you talk, talk less. The more words you speak, the more likely you are to say something you shouldn’t — using a curse word as “filler.” “In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is wise” (Prov 10:19).

Think about how you want others to perceive you. It is a fact that the use of profanity makes a person seem less intelligent and more worldly. “Even a fool is counted wise when he holds his peace; when he shuts his lips, he is considered perceptive” (Prov 17:28).

Think about the example you are setting for others. People learn the use of language by hearing others use it. Whether we’re talking about the words that a child learns from parents, or the words children learn from each other at school, we pattern our speech after the examples set by others. This implies that each of us also serves as a pattern for the speech of others. Paul told Titus to show himself to be “a pattern of good works” using “sound speech that cannot be condemned” (Tit 2:8).

Stay away from people and situations that make you angry and tempt you to lose control. “Make no friendship with an angry man, and with a furious man do not go, lest you learn his ways and set a snare for your soul” (Prov 22:24-25).

Follow the example of Christ. Jesus didn’t curse. He didn’t curse because He didn’t have opportunity to curse or because people never provoked Him. He had plenty of opportunity and provocation. But He “committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return” (1 Pet 2:22-23). In this, He left an example for us to follow.

Can the plague of profanity in our culture be reversed? Perhaps. For that to happen, each individual Christian must determine to set the example! “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers” (Eph 4:29). Remember this, we shall all give an account for all that we say and do. “But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. For by your words you shall be justified, and by your words you shall be condemned” (Matt 12:36, 37).

Why would Catholics want additional books to the Bible as the only authority? The answer is: it is their way of trying to justify their own traditions. How else would they justify them? Furthermore, the reason Catholics try to discredit the Bible as the sole authority is because it plainly and forcefully condemns their doctrines. For example, to cite only a few:

It Condemns Clerical Dress

Matthew 23:4-5 says, “For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. But all their works they do to be seen by men. They make their phylacteries broad and enlarge the borders of their garments.”

It Teaches Against the Adoration of Mary

Luke 11:27-28 says, “And it happened, as He spoke these things, that a certain woman from the crowd raised her voice and said to Him, ‘Blessed is the womb that bore You, and the breasts which nursed You!’ But He said, ‘More than that, blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!'”

It Shows That All Christians Are Priests

1 Peter 2:5,9 says, “…You also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ…But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light...”

It Condemns the Observance of Special Days

Galatians 4:9-11 says, “But now after you have known God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in bondage? You observe days and months and seasons and years. I am afraid for you, lest I have labored for you in vain.”

It Teaches That All Christians Are Saints

1 Corinthians 1:2 says, “To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours...”

It Teaches Baptism is Immersion, Not Pouring

Romans 6:4 says; “Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” Colossians 2:12 says, “Buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.”

It Forbids Us to Address Religious Leaders as “Father”

Matthew 23:9 says, “Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven.”

It Opposes Unmarried Bishops

1 Timothy 3:2-5 says, “A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach; not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous; one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?)…

It Addresses Only God Himself as the “Holy Father”

John 17:11 says, “Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are.”

It Shows That the Great Apostasy Would Forbid Marriage

1 Timothy 4:1-3 says, “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.

It Reveals That the Great Apostasy Would Have One Who Claimed to Take the Place of God

2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 says, “Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.”

The Apostle Paul instructed Timothy to: “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (2 Tim 4:2-4). We are certainly in a time wherein God’s people are not enduring sound teaching. Too many are throwing themselves at false teachers. In the words which God spoke through Jeremiah, I believe we find ourselves in this situation: “For among my people are found wicked men: they lay wait, as he that sets snares; they set a trap, they catch men. A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land; The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so…” (Jer 5:26; 30-31).

Too many among God’s people today are in love with man’s worthless words instead of God Holy Word. Thus, they love to hear what men say, but they are not at all interested in what God has to say. This is the trend that leads people to false teachers. This mindset is what turns people from the word of God to the words of men. Such warnings as we read of in the New Testament are not being heeded to today. Paul warned: “Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision” (Philip 3:2). Yet, today we find those who love the bark of a false teacher. We need to make sure that we are aware of those who would “spoil us through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ” (Col 2:8). Instead of awareness, many are waiting with open arms to be taken captive of the devil through the smooth words of false teachers. We need to cry out and stop the mouths of those who are carrying away so many with their corruptions of the word of God.

We Need to Silence Those Teaching Error

Let me state first that false doctrine will always exist. In fact, there will be many who teach false doctrine (Matt 24:11; 24 ff; 2 Pet 2:1-3; 1 Jn 4:1). However, we have the ability to make known the identities of those teaching false doctrine (1 Tim 1:19-20). We err when we think there is nothing we can do about false teachers. Even worse than that error, we slip further when we take no interest in exposing false teachers to stop their mouths.

When Paul wrote his single epistle to Titus he had many things to say. One important task that Titus had was to set things in order in local congregations and appoint elders (Tit 1:5-9). Within this context Paul told Titus: “For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake. One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are always liars, evil beasts, slow bellies. This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith; Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth” (Tit 1:10-14). Today, we need to heed to the same instruction. We must stop the mouths of false teachers, for they are liars who are turning people away from the truth. Why aren’t we rebuking false teachers? Moreover, why aren’t we exposing those who will not repent of their errors?

False Teachers Need Exposed

False teachers creep in among the flock secretly (2 Pet 2:1 f; Jude 4). Sometimes those who are seeking to draw away disciples can even arise from among the flock (Acts 20:28-31). Some will have a form of godliness (2 Tim 3:5). The point is this; the false teacher is often the one we like. They are the ones who seem to be the “nice guys” among the group. Sometimes they are the ones who are always studying and they seem to have knowledge of God’s word. We cannot forget that there are those who understand neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm (1 Tim 1:7). There are also those who are ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth (2 Tim 3:7). False teachers often seem as though they are good workers in God’s kingdom. Paul said: “But what I do, that I will do, that I may cut off occasion from them which desire occasion; that wherein they glory, they may be found even as we. For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works” (2 Cor 11:12-15).

The word of God demands that we mark and avoid false teachers (Rom 16:17-18). We need to forewarn others who may be in the path of those who are false (2 Tim 4:14-15).

Consider the following passages: “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, truce breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, high minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was” (2 Tim 3:1-9).

When Hymenaeus and Philetus taught error, Paul took the action of marking them: “But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some” (2 Tim 2:16-18). We too must take this action to stop the mouths of false teachers so that those in their path can be forewarned. If we don’t, many can be lost to false teaching, and those who did not forewarn will be held accountable (Ezek 3:17-21).

Conclusion: The next time you hear someone speak favorably of one who teaches error, consider these words: “Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, saith the Lord, that steal my words every one from his neighbor. Behold, I am against the prophets, says the Lord, that use their tongues, and say, He says. Behold, I am against them that prophesy false dreams, says the Lord, and do tell them, and cause my people to err by their lies, and by their lightness; yet I sent them not, nor commanded them: therefore they shall not profit this people at all, says the Lord” (Jer 23:30-32). As the prophet of God established just before these words, he wrote, “The prophet that has a dream, let him tell a dream; and he that has my word, let him speak my word faithfully (Jer 23:28). 

False teaching will always cause souls to be lost. Both those that teach and follow error will be condemned by God (1 Kin 13). There is always going to be those who are willing to twist the Scriptures causing people to be led away (2 Pet 3:16-17). It is important therefore to realize, there will be those who use Scriptures in a way in which they are no longer the truth (Gal 1:6-8). Those who do so are false teachers who are just lying in wait to deceive anyone they can (Eph 4:14). Paul warned: “But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived” (2 Tim 3:13). We can avoid this through our knowledge of the Scriptures (2 Tim 3:14-17). And by searching the scriptures daily to make sure what they say is the truth of God (Acts 17:11). It is very difficult for a false teacher to creep in among a militant group of brethren who know the truth and the identifying marks of false doctrine.

John warned us not to be gullible. He wrote, “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world” (1 Jn 4:1). False teachers are out to deceive you because they are making gain from you. When the money is all dried up, they move on to other prey. Notice the words of Paul who wrote, Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple” (Rom 16:17,18). This was a similar warning he gave to a young Timothy. “If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourself. Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (1 Tim 6:3-10). How many times have you be taught that Paul was in reference to preachers and teachers who would engage you in arguments and debates over the meaning of words (e.g. Hebrew and Greek)? How many times have you been taught that Paul was warning Timothy of preachers and teachers who are greedy for money which do such things to you? Once they have divided the congregation, these same preachers will devour the weak among you and take whatever is left in the treasury.

It is easy to turn away and ignore those who teach error. We have already seen that we are to avoid false teachers. Yet, we cannot close our eyes and ears to the point of unawareness. God instructs us to not allow any man to deceive us (Eph 5:6). We need to know about the errors that are taught and we need to be prepared to defend the truth when they come our way (Philip 1:17 ff; 1 Pet 3:15; Jude 3). Let us all study to know the truth, but let us also be mindful that many are waiting for the opportunity to lead us astray. When we do happen to come upon those false teachers let’s do all that we can to stop their mouths.

The word “hypocrite” is defined as a person who puts on a false appearance of virtue or religion: a person who acts in contradiction to their stated beliefs or feelings. One who pretends to be something which they are not. Hypocrites come in varied forms; their hypocrisy finds expression in different ways, but basically they are all the same under the skin: dishonest and unreliable.

Hypocrites come in all walks of life. In politics it is one who stands up for virtuous things, but in their personal life are complete contradictions. For instance, a politician who is against abortion of unborn children, but refuses to help indigent children who are already born. A politician who is against gay marriage, but seeks no law to ban it. Hypocrite talk the talk but they don’t walk the walk. They say and do not. As Jesus said about the hypocrite,The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do. For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. But all their works they do to be seen by men” (Matt 23:2-4).

Make no mistake about it, hypocrites attend every denominational church and even the churches of Christ. It does not take a close observer to see that the hypocrite’s excuse is as phony as a three-dollar bill. He goes to the football game where there are gamblers, whoremongers, liars, murderers, etc. He will stand in line and be shoved, insulted, and slobbered on by drunks, and smile it all off as a part of the game. But if someone who goes to church has failed to pay a debt somewhere that he knows about, his sensitive soul is so shocked by such an atrocity that he simply cannot bring himself to worship God in the company of such persons. We have no disposition to defend those who refuse to honor their obligation, but we also know that you cannot prevent some counterfeits from getting into the church. They are found in every strata of society. And when we go to worship we should go for the purpose of worshiping God, not to analyze the lives and judge the hearts of the worshipers. A person who lets a hypocrite keep him out of the church stands to spend eternity with that hypocrite. The one who lets the hypocrite keep him from obeying the gospel will be there with him (2 Thess. 1:7-9).

Another one whose name belongs in this list of notables is the preacher who denounces dancing, petting, divorce and remarriage, while carrying on a clandestine affair with the wife of another man. “You, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that a man should not steal, do you steal? You who say, “Do not commit adultery,” do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples”(Rom 2:21,22). Along side of him ought to hang the portrait of the preacher who declares his soundness to the remotest bounds, and loves the truth above all other considerations. In debate he seeks always for truth and never for personal victory. He would have his tongue cleave to the roof of his mouth rather than have it said that he had ever failed to stand for the truth on any matter affecting the kingdom of God. However, when issues arise and lines are drawn which leave him on the side with those “everywhere spoken against,” he changes his course completely or maintains a sphinx-like silence until he is forced to speak, and then evades and double-talks like a politician making a speech on integration.

Consider the hypocrite who comes to worship only now and then when they have a pang of conscience about letting the children grow up without the influence of Christianity in their lives. But, who, if encouraged to come more often, will give out a line of excuses that ought to get him elected to congress, but which excuses never keep him from the little league games and other activities. I am still looking for that fellow who will look you in the eye and say, “I don’t attend worship because I have no interest spiritual things. The church means nothing to me. If there was ever a flame of love for the Lord and His church in my heart, it has gone out, or remains only a dying ember.” If one could ever bring himself to face this fact, he could begin to be faithful. Nobody wants to go to Hell, not even the hypocrite. The hypocrite’s problem is that he doesn’t see himself as a sinner. He sees himself finding loopholes in the Word of God which would allow him to have this world and the world to come. If only he would wake up and see the futility of this ways and finally realize that God is not mocked and we all reap what we sow (Gal 6:7). What the hypocrite sows is hell and damnation to his own soul and all who will follow him. “For what is the hope of the hypocrite, though he has gained, when God takes away his soul?” (Job 27:8)

Discouragement is one of the fiery darts the devil has in his arsenal of weapons. The cause upon which most of this discouragement rests is sin. Those who are trying to please God by teaching others the benefits of believing and obeying God, become discouraged at the nonchalant attitude that some Christians take towards sin and its punishment. Christians need to have the same concern for souls that Christ and his apostles had. Jesus wept as he thought about the many souls that would be lost in the destruction of Jerusalem, and Paul was stirred up or provoked as he viewed the city of Athens wholly given to idolatry (Lk. 19:41 f; Acts 17:16). These men cared enough for their fellow man to preach the word of God in its entirety (Acts 20:27).

Some churches or denominations wink at sin and turn their back hoping that it will go away, while others actively promote and condone sin. Many have turned “the works of the flesh” into the works of the church by sponsoring dances where lasciviousness is promoted, by ignoring God’s marriage law, by accepting practicing homosexuals into their fellowship, by encouraging greed, and by condoning the drunkard (Gal. 5:19-2 1). This is done in many groups by not preaching God’s will on these matters. Silence condones sin. Had Paul remained silent when Peter and several other disciples withdrew and would not eat with the Gentiles in Antioch, his silence would have been an indication of his approval (Gal. 2:11-21 f; Lev. 5:1). Paul’s love and concern for the souls of his brethren drove him to rebuke and admonish them.

The church should be an assembly of Christians who are dedicated to the cause of Christ. They will not be perfect people, but they will be people who are trying to live as God would have them live (1 Jn. 5:3). Their assembling together should be a spiritual feast and produce a lift to carry them through the world until their next time of meeting (Heb. 10:23-25). But, sad to say, there is so much world in the church that it is hard to distinguish the church from the world. Many Christians are not living a sanctified life for God as they profess to be and this is a great discouragement for those who are (Rom. 12:1-2).

Are you now attending a church where bodily exercise is given precedence over spiritual exercise (1 Tim. 4:7-8)? Where cheerleader and twirler costumes are considered modest and young ladies are commended for reaching this “worthy” goal, instead of being taught by older women the importance of rearing godly children and being good homemakers (Tit. 2:3-5)? Where adulterers, fornicators, and homosexuals are never rebuked or disciplined (1 Cor. 6:8-10)? If so, then why not turn to God and his Word for the answer.

Those adulterers and fornicators in Corinth had their sins washed away and became sanctified by obedience to Christ (1 Cor. 6:11). They were taught to worship God and purge ungodly and immoral members from their midst (1 Cor. 5). Allowing the immoral brother to remain among them would cause discouragement and influence others in a negative way (1 Cor. 5:7 cf; 15:33).

The church of Christ strives to worship God in Spirit and truth, teaching and observing the complete will of God (Jn. 4:24). His word is perfect and provides us with all we need to live and worship him acceptably (2 Tim. 3:16 f; 2 Pet. 1:3). We must not attempt to change any part of his will, but we must change ourselves to fit the pattern of His Word (1 Cor 4:6 ff; Gal 1:6-9; 1 Pet 4:11; Rev 22:18,19). If you have one ounce of God within you, I encourage you to stand up for the truth!

The first mention of the Sabbath day appears in Exodus 16. It is true that God rested on the seventh day after creating the world in six days. However, in the nearly 3,000 year record which was given in Genesis there is no mention of mankind observing a Sabbath day. In fact, we find in Exodus 16 that Moses had to explain to the children of Israel exactly what the Sabbath day was and how they were to keep it. Even after the explanation, some of them still violated the law. This was not a continuance of a long time observance, but a brand-new law that many did not understand.

The next mention of the Sabbath comes shortly thereafter in Exodus 20 as a part of the Ten Commandments. Actually, the Ten Commandments were just the beginning of a long series of laws which starts in Exodus 20 and runs through Exodus 23. These were written down by Moses as recorded in Exodus 24:3-4, accepted by the people, who then entered into the covenant with God in Exodus 24:7-8. (Heb 9:18-20)

It is important to note that this covenant, including the Ten Commandments, was not given to the whole world. In speaking of the Sabbath in particular, God said it was to be sign between Him and the children of Israel for the duration of their generations (Ex 31:12-17). God chose Israel alone to receive His laws and he gave them His Sabbaths (Ezek 20:5-6, 10-12). Notice that the Israelites did not have the Sabbath before God gave the Sabbaths to them. Perhaps Moses put it the most bluntly in Deuteronomy 4:8 when he introduced the second reading of the law. He said, “Or what great nation is there that has statutes and judgments as righteous as this whole law which I am setting before you today?”

The Sabbath did more than just commemorate God’s day of rest after the creation. In Deuteronomy 5:15 Moses stated that it was also a time for the Israelites to remember their slavery in Egypt. No other nation was in bondage in Egypt. To no other nation could this memorial apply.

In fact, the most telling statement showing that the Ten Commandments did not exist before they were delivered by God at Mount Sinai is in Deuteronomy 5:1-5. “Then Moses summoned all Israel and said to them, “Hear, O Israel, the statutes and the ordinances which I am speaking today in your hearing, that you may learn them and observe them carefully. The LORD our God made a covenant with us at Horeb. The LORD did not make this covenant with our fathers, but with us, with all those of us alive here today. The LORD spoke to you face to face at the mountain from the midst of the fire, while I was standing between LORD and you at that time, to declare to you the word of the LORD; for you were afraid because of the fire and did not go up the mountain.” Moses then proceeded to recite the Ten Commandments. Moses said that their ancestors did not have this law. Abraham did not have the Ten Commandments. This was something new and unique to the Israelite nation.

The Bible not only records the beginning of the Sabbath and the nation to whom it was given, the Bible also records the ending of the Sabbath. Jeremiah prophesied that the law given at Mount Sinai would end and be replaced by a different Law (Jer 31:31-32). Later, Paul states that Christians have died to the Law (Rom 7:4-7). Notice what Law Paul to which is referring. He illustrates his argument with the commandment “You shall not covet”. This is the tenth commandment in the Ten Commandments. This is the law to which Christians have died. In another letter, Paul said “When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him. Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day — things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ.” (Col 2:13-17). The festivals, new moon observances, and the Sabbath are all parts of the Law delivered by Moses. These shadowy things were canceled by the death of Jesus upon the cross to be replaced by the reality of Christ’s Law.

Paul stated that when a person tries to live by the old Law of Moses, they place themselves under a curse. “For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not abide by all things written in the book of the law, to perform them.” (Gal 3:10-26)

We learn from Paul that no one is justified by the Law. In fact, those who attempt to live under that Law are under a curse. We also know which Law Paul had in mind because he said it came about 430 years after the last ratification of the promises originally made to Abraham. This refers to the Laws given on Mount Sinai, which include the Ten Commandments. As Christians, we are no longer under the tutelage of the Laws given by God at Mount Sinai.

Paul continues his argument in Galatians 4:21-26: “Tell me, you who want to be under law, do you not listen to the law? For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the bondwoman and one by the free woman. But the son by the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and the son by the free woman through the promise. This is allegorically speaking, for these women are two covenants: one proceeding from Mount Sinai bearing children who are to be slaves; she is Hagar. Now this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. But the Jerusalem above is free; she is our mother.”

Paul draws an allegory from the events surrounding Hagar and Sarah. Hagar represents those the covenant given at Mount Sinai. Sarah represents the new covenant given by Christ. Paul bluntly tells us to cast out the old covenant represent by the bondwoman Hagar.

“But what does the Scripture say? “Cast out the bondwoman and her son, For the son of the bondwoman shall not be an heir with the son of the free woman.” So then, brethren, we are not children of a bondwoman, but of the free woman.” (Gal 4:30-31)

Some ask why nine of the Ten Commandments are kept today, but not the commandment regarding the Sabbath. The answer is very simple. Christ’s Law contains commandments similar to the Ten Commandments. For example, lying is wrong because of what Paul recorded in Ephesians 4:25. Adultery is wrong because of the statement in Hebrews 13:4. Idol worship is wrong because of the statement in 1 Corinthians 10:7. We follow these commandments because they are a part of Christ’s new covenant – not because they happened to be in Moses’ old covenant. Interestingly, the commandment for observing the Sabbath is the only one of the Ten Commandments which is not found in the new Law. Even so, the carnal law which was given by Moses to Israel is not the law Christ gave unto us. Ours is a spiritual law written in our hearts (Jer 31:33). Thus, when one is caught in the act of adultery, we do not put them to death. When one commits homosexual and lesbian acts, we do not stone them death. This is what was done under the law of Moses. Under that law was an “eye for an eye”. However, under the law of Christ we are commanded to turn the other cheek (Matt 5:39).

Oddly enough is that anyone who broke the Sabbath was stoned to death under the law of Moses. Even those who seek to keep the Sabbath, break the Sabbath continually. You can imagine the blood bath if all those who desired to be under the law of Moses had to judged by the law of Moses. Thanks be unto Jesus Christ, we are no longer under the old law. Bottom line is this, that Christians do not observe the Sabbath because it was never commanded of Christians in Christ’s new covenant.

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