Know Your Bible
This is a time when people are wonderfully concerned about "rights." We hear much about "civil rights" and "states rights" and "my rights." This country was settled by people who were concerned about "rights." The Constitution of the United States, with its famous "Bill Of Rights," centers around the "rights" of men. But in the midst of it all, men say but little about "God's Rights." It would be well for us to remember that God has reserved some "rights" for Himself. He calls some things, "Mine."
The Bible talks about some things being "His." The strange thing about it all is that the things which God has reserved for Himself are the very things men feel free to use any way they want.
THE RIGHT TO MAKE LAW
One of the "rights" which God reserved unto Himself is the "right" to legislate in religious matters. In the very beginning, all heaven, earth, and hell understood that God was the Spokesman in religious things. Please recall that in Genesis two and three God and man and the serpent all understood that God was the one to speak. One could not read that without coming to that conclusion.
When the Law of Moses was given, we are impressed with this: "And God spake all these words, saying..." Ex. 20:1. Even the prophets of the Old Testament spake God's message. "Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." 2 Pet. 1:20,21. And yet men take the liberty to usurp God's "rights" and write creeds and talk about what "I think" and about what "I feel." Is it not strange that we can be so concerned about "our rights" and so disregard God's "rights"?
THE RIGHT TO REMIT SIN
Since sin is transgression of God's law, surely God is the One to say what is necessary for man to do to have remission of sin. God does keep that "right" for Himself and does say what man must do. He says that man must hear and believe His word. (Mk. 16:16; Acts 16:31: Heb. 11:6; Rom. 5:1). He further says that man must repent of his sins. (Lk. 13:3; 24:46,47; Acts 2:38;17:30,31). He says that man must confess his faith in Christ. (Rom. 10:9,10). He, for reasons known to Himself and within the scope of His own "rights", says that man must be baptized for the remission of his sins. (Acts 2:38; 22:16; 1 Pet. 3:21). But regardless of such being His "rights", men are prone to say that this is not necessary, that this can be deleted, and that can be added and that it will be all right. But please remember that when men do this, they usurp the "rights" of God without even asking. If we resent other men usurping our individual "rights", how can we take the liberty to do the same thing to God?
THE RIGHT TO SEGREGATE
God reserved the "right" to say who pleases Him and who does not please Him. Men have long assumed that they have the "right" to decide this. But this is not so!
People who believe and are baptized, are called His children by God. Gal. 3:26,27. On the other hand, people who don't do this, God speaks of as being condemned. Mk.16:15,16. God has pronounced blessing upon those, who read and hear His word. Rev. 1:3. On the other hand, God has pronounced condemnation upon those who add or subtract to or from His word (Rev. 22:18,19; 2 Jn. 9). Men often vehemently insist that this is narrow and dogmatic as if this choice belongs to men.
THE RIGHT TO DETERMINE DESTINY OF THE DEAD
Another of God's "rights" is that of deciding the destiny of the dead. Many preachers, when preaching funerals, act as this is their "right". Many people speak as if it were within their "rights" to decide this. However, this is a "right" which God has kept for Himself (Rom. 2:6; 2 Cor. 5:10; Acts 17:30,31). God, through His Son, will determine the destiny of the dead.
THE RIGHT TO SET THE END OF TIME
To God also belongs the "right" to bring this world to an end when He deems wise. Men have long tried to set this time. Some religious groups have been born and exist on the efforts of men in this regard. But this is one of God's "rights". "But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. But as the days of Noah were so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be." Matt. 24:36-39.
Truly God has "rights" which men will do well to remember and respect.
---Curtis E. Flatt
FROM HUNTSVILLE: I agree with "West Coast." Protestant worship services are mostly selling tickets to ball games, pictures, records and signing petitions on political issues. There is very little spirituality. And the music is a disgrace. No hymns anymore just modern junk.
GREENWICH, CONN: That Protestant person is not alone with the complaints about social activities and funs stuff in their worship services. In recent years the major source of funding in many Catholic parishes is bingo.
FORT LAUDERDALE: I agree with "West Coast." There is little worshiping and quiet meditation in our church. No time for it. Too busy congratulating couples on new babies, wedding anniversaries, engagement and leaning on parishioners to shell out more money...pray at home.
WASHINGTON DC- Here in the East it is show-biz time in the Lutheran church. We are asked to "pass the peace." People from all sides grab your hand, mutter "peace be with you," and the scene resembles fruit basket upset. Applause is common. Our minister parades newly baptized babies down the aisle. Everything is so laid back you might as well be in an amusement park.
The above quotes were taken from an Ann Landers column a few years ago. The article came about because a concerned person from the West Coast had written in about modern-day worship services. He said that the services had become too social and frivolous. Ann Landers asked for comments about this. Some people liked the "modern" approach while others did not. The above represents some views of those who did not like the modern trends. Their statements may not reflect the views of many.
Clearly, worship should involve reverence and respect for God. Worship is serious. However, the trends and attitudes today are but a symptom for an even larger problem which is a general lack of respect for God's Word and for Bible authority. We should realize that the work of the church and the way we worship God is not to be decided by mere human opinion or preference. People need to return to the Bible; all must learn that God's Will, which is recorded for us in the Scriptures, is important. Certainly, the Bible is to be our authority (Col. 3:17; 2 Tim. 3:16-17), and we must not add to it or take away from God's Word (Rev. 22:18-19; 2 Jn. 9; 1 Peter 4:11; Gal. 1:6-10). The question, "What does the Bible teach?" is hardly ever asked anymore. Instead, in matters pertaining to religion, it is "what I feel," or "what my parents always believed," or "what is the easiest doctrine to follow," or "what is the most popular" instead of what God actually says in His Word. John 8:32 says, "And ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free."
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