THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 2-18-01
LESSON TITLE: WHY DO YOUR DISCIPLES NOT WALK ACCORDING TO THE TRADITIONS OF THE ELDERS?
Welcome to our program on this wondrous Lord's Day morning. Here we are together on another beautiful day which the Lord has given us. No matter what it is like outside, everyday should be magnificent with God on our side!
It is great to have you with us this morning for this time of worship to God. Let me encourage us all to do our part today, to make this time together acceptable in His sight. Now let's begin by approaching His throne in prayer.
There are so many good songs we sing together about our great savior, Jesus Christ. Just consider the great blessing He gives us throughout our life. This morning we want to sing about one of the greatest things He gives us as our Savior and Friend - that is the peace that passes all understanding! So, won't you join in with the brethren at this time as we sing together, "Peace, Perfect Peace!"
(SONG # 1)
In the book which Paul wrote to the Thessalonians we see that he continually exhorted them to do what God wanted them to. In fact, I like his reference in 1 Thessalonians 2:11, when he refers to his exhortation as similar to that between a "father and a child." In that verse he told them, "as you know how we exhorted, and comforted, and charged every one of you, as a father does his own children." What wonderful love and concern this statement shows for the brethren. Paul told them that he was only trying to help them be their best by exhorting and encouraging them, just as a parent would motivate his or her child.
Now, look at verse 12 with me, there he goes on to say, "...walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory." Wow, this is a massive statement here, which I don't think we often really comprehend or understand ourselves. Have we forgotten who our God is? Have we failed to remember that He is all righteous, all powerful, the creator, and giver of all? Now with that in mind, let's read Paul's words again, "walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory." Scary isn't it! How can we truly walk worthy and acceptable, before such an awesome and magnificent God.
Well, the good news is we can, because God is only asking that we give it our best. He realizes that we are not perfect and never will be. He understands that we have sinned, and will sin - remember that He made us with an ability to choose! That is why the writers of the Bible always talk about the need we have to more like Christ, and to go on toward perfection However, God knowing all along that as human beings we can not reach it!
Remember what the Hebrew writer said in Hebrews 6:1, "...let us go on to perfection...." Paul said, "Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ," 1 Corinthians 11:1. As Christians we must strive every day to be more Christ like, thus proving ourselves to be worthy of His promises and blessing, which we receive through His grace!
So, I would ask you this morning, how are you living for Christ in this present world? Are you doing your best and striving to walk worthy according to what He wants of you? Are you giving it your very best so that God can be pleased with what you are doing? If not, why not commit yourselves to being more like Him, even today - so that you may truly receive His gifts, if you do all of that which is according to His Will.
Today, we are excited to have a special guest speaker with us. He is the minister for the Curry Street Church of Christ in West Plains, Missouri. We are happy to have with us again, brother Ivie Powell. He will lead us this morning in our study from God's Word. Concerning our topic today, we are still considering our series called "The Lord's Response." Our specific lesson this morning will be, "Why Do Your Disciples Not Walk According To The Traditions Of The Elders?" So, please stay with us and in a few minutes brother Powell will return with this study from the Bible. Now it's time to join in our second hymn of the day, the name of the song, "Jesus Is Tenderly Calling."
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Ivie Powell
Thank you very much, brother Sullins. I deeply appreciate the opportunity of being here with you today. We would like to encourage all of you in the West Plains area to attend Bible study this morning at 9:30 and the morning service at 10:30 at the Curry Street church of Christ. The Lord willing, we'll meet back again tonight at 6:00 o'clock and we also have services Wednesday evenings at 7:00.
Our text today is taken from Mark the 7th chapter. We encourage you to get your Bible and to turn to verses 7 through 9. Actually, it begins a little earlier in verse 4. When they will come from the market, except they wash, they eat not. And many others there be which they received to hold as the washing of cups, and pots, brazen vessels, and of tables. Then the Pharisees and scribes ask him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashed hands? He answered and said unto them, Well did Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, this people honoreth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
Now observe carefully the next few verses.
For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men as the washing of pots, and cups and many other such things as you do. And He said unto them, Full well do you reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.
Now here we find two traditions. The traditions of men and the tradition of God. We find that they had taken the traditions of men and intertwined them with the teaching of God and through the practice of these things, people came to the conclusion that they were one in the same when they were not. Now this particular question, "Why do you?", is actually a question that has been asked many members of the church of Christ. "Why do you?" type of questions or "Why don't you?" type of questions. And that actually is the center of our discussion today.
I'd like for you to consider with me, "Why don't you, meaning members of the church of Christ, use instruments of music in worship?" This perhaps is a question that many people are wondering about especially for the first time to attend the services of the church of Christ. For they will find that we do not use any kind of instruments of music in the worship. Well the answer as to why we don't do it is because there is no Bible authority for it.
In Colossians 3 and verse 17, Paul says very clearly that whatever we do in word or deed, we're to do all in the name of the Lord Jesus giving thanks to God and the Father by Him. That is, we do it by the authority of Christ. And so since we do not find anywhere in the New Testament where Christ ever commanded the use of instruments of music in New Testament worship. Nor do we find where any apostle ever sanctioned it. Nor do we find any Bible example in the New Testament of a congregation of the church of our Lord using instruments of music and then furthermore, one can not turn through the entire New Testament and find inferences that supports the use of instruments of music. So, that's the answer my friend. There is no Bible authority for it.
I might ask you this question, "Where do you find the authority in the New Testament for the use of instruments of music in worship?"
And then a second question that probably a lot of people have thought of though they may not have actually asked somehow. It may be asked in a variety of ways. I'm going to ask it this way: "Why don't you people in the church of Christ admit that Alexander the Campbell started the church of Christ? And why don't you admit that it is a denomination among denominations?"
Well first of all, Alexander the Campbell, Alexander Campbell was not alive when the church of Christ was established. When you turn to Matthew 16, verses 16 through 18, you will find that Jesus in the 18th verse said that, Thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build My church and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it. Thus Christ, not Alexander Campbell, is the builder of the church.
Secondly, we find that in Acts 20 verse 28 that the Lord said that He purchased the church with His own blood. Thus, Christ purchased the church with His own blood, not Alexander Campbell.
Thirdly, we find that Jesus Christ is the head of the church according to Ephesians 1:22 and 23, not Alexander Campbell.
Fourthly, in Acts the second chapter, we read of individuals having heard the gospel of our Lord for the first time cried out in verse 37, Men and brethren, what shall we do? And Peter said in verse 38, Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Now observe verse 41. Verse 41 says, Those that gladly receive the word or His word were baptized. Now turn to verse 47. There you will find that the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved or those that were being saved. Therefore my friend, the church of Christ came into existence on the first Pentecost following the resurrection of Christ as is recorded in Acts the second chapter.
As far as Alexander Campbell and other men are concerned, the church of Christ was in existence in this country before they ever came to this country. Mr. Campbell and other people simply said, "Let's go back and restore the church." And thus, he having obeyed the gospel of our Lord, like all others who did obey the gospel, left denominationalism and became members of the church that you can read about in your Bible, the church of Christ.
I remind you that Paul said in Romans 16:16, The churches of Christ salute you.
Now another third question on "why don't you?" or "why do you?" type of question. "Why don't you people in the church observe December the 25th as the birthdate of Christ?" Well actually the answer to this is actually the answer to the first question regarding instruments of music. Colossians 3:17, No Biblical authority for it. Now you can not turn anywhere in the New Testament and find the exact birthdate of Jesus Christ. It simply is not there. You will find of course that our Lord was born of the virgin Mary, that He indeed is the divine son of Almighty God, that He died for the sins of the entire world. Hebrew writer says, He tasted death for every man, Hebrews 2:9. You will find that He was crucified and that He arose again from the grave, arose from the grave, and is at the right hand side of the Father. Greater emphasis is placed on the death of Christ than on the birth of Christ. Now why is that? All men live. All men die. But not all men die or have died for the sins of the world. Not all men were the divine son of God. Jesus Christ is God's only son, divine son. Therefore, Jesus proved by the life He lived, the works He set forth, that He indeed was the son of God and He did die for the sins of the world. Christians meet every Lord's day just like today and we are going to assemble around the Lord's table and we will follow the instructions of Paul in 1 Corinthians 11:23 through about verse 30. And that is, we will partake of the unleavened bread and the fruit of the vine which represents the body and blood of our Lord. We are remembering the death of Christ on Calvary's cross. We partake of it in view of His coming again and so the first day of the week is the day that we assemble to observe the death of Jesus Christ.
Well another interesting "Why don't you?" question would be this: "Why don't you people believe in the Old Testament?" Well, my response is, "What makes you think we don't believe in the Old Testament?" Why certainly we believe in the Old Testament. When you turn in your Bible to 2 Timothy 3 and verse 16, Paul says that all, not part of, but all scripture is given by inspiration of God. Now that first part of the verse sets forth that the entire word of God is God breathed. From the Old Testament of Genesis 1 all of the way through the New Testament of Revelation 22. This message came from God, but that does not mean that we live under the teaching of the Old law. The Old law was done away with on the cross, Colossians 2:14. We today live under the New Covenant, not the Old Covenant. Now when you turn to Hebrews 9, you notice verse 15 through 17, and the Hebrew writer shows that we are under a New Testament, that Christ is the head of the church that His testament is in force. Therefore, we do not live under the Old law. An interesting verse by the way would be Galatians chapter 5, verse 4. You will find there are individuals who wanted to go back and to bring over a lot of things from the Old law into New Testament Christianity, and Paul tells them in Galatians 5:4 that If they would be justified by the Old law, now listen carefully, you have fallen from grace.
Now one other point real quick and that is "Why don't you in the church of Christ observe the Sabbath Day?" Because it's not commanded in the New Testament. That's the answer right there. I received a lot of letters from some folks not really that far from here always arguing for Sabbath Day observance. One fellow wrote me a letter and offered me a $1000 if I could prove that we're not under the Sabbath Day. Well, where's me $1000 fellow? I find it interesting he didn't even sign his name to the letter. Now when you turn to such passages as Exodus 20, and when you turn to Nehemiah 9, you will find that the Old law was given to the Jews. You will not find anywhere where it was given to the Gentiles. You can not even turn in the book of Genesis and find, now listen carefully, seventh day observance and that it was commanded. You just can't find it. But you can turn to the Bible and you will find that we are not under the law but under grace, Paul said in Romans 6, verse 14. The Old law has been done away with, Paul said in Colossians 2 and verse 14. We live under the New Testament dispensation and in the New Testament dispensation the disciples of the Lord met on the first day of the week to break bread, Acts 20 verse 7. By the way, this idea that we observe the Christian Sabbath is nowhere found in the Bible. Sunday is not the Christian Sabbath. The Lord's day is the first day of the week. And so no we do not observe the Sabbath Day. We observe the first day of the week.
Now let me ask you a question. Would you be willing, my dear friend, to lay aside creeds, manuals, disciplines, catechisms, and simply go back to the Bible to speak where the Bible speaks, to remain silent where the Bible is silent and to do Bible things in Bible ways? Are you willing to be a member of the same, not a 32nd cousin of, but the same church that Peter, Paul, James, John, Phoebe and others were members of? Why not do that? Why not simply be a member of the church that you can read about in the Bible? We encourage you to write, ask questions. I know brother Sullins will be more than delighted to correspond with you and I certainly will be glad to do that if you would write me at: 111 South Curry Street, in West Plains, Missouri. And we certainly encourage you my friend, to investigate the word of God.
These few areas that we have discussed this morning have not been for the intent of making people mad. That's not the intent. It's to make people think, to make people open up the Bible, to open up their mind and to search the word of God. Now it is not the case that I'm right and you're wrong. It is the case that we're just as right as we follow the word of Almighty God. And that makes an entire different outlook on matters. Doesn't it? After all, if we have not followed the word of God then we are not Christians. Now how do we know that? In 1 Peter chapter 1 and verse 22, Peter said, Seeing you have purified your souls, now notice it carefully, in obeying (what?) the truth. If I have not obeyed the truth, I am not a Christian. If you, my dear friend, have not obeyed the truth, you are not a Christian. Just because you think you've obeyed the truth doesn't mean you've obeyed the truth. We encourage you to open up the Bible, open up your mind and to search the inspired, inerrant, all-authoritative word of God, to be a member of the Lord's church. You will never regret doing what is right.
We appreciate you being with us today and I appreciate the opportunity of being on this program. Again, let me encourage you to be with us for Bible study this morning at 9:30 and the morning assembly at 10:30. We encourage you to be with us at 6:00 tonight and Wednesday night at 7:00. All the churches of Christ in this entire viewing area would be glad to have you attend their services. And so my friend, when you think about the "Why don't you?" questions, there are a lot of "Why don't you?" questions, but I want to encourage you "Why don't you do what is right?" There are a lot of people out there who know the truth, but they have for whatever the reason shunned to obey the gospel of Christ. I remind you that Jesus said, Not everyone that sayeth unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of Heaven but he that doeth the will of my father which is in Heaven, Matthew 7:21. Thank you for being with us. Good day.
(SONG # 3 - "He Leadeth Me!")
Thanks for choosing to be with us today for the Living Word program. I hope and trust, that together we have all benefited from this service to our Lord. And let me invite you to join us every Lord's Day morning at 7:30 as we give this time to our Creator.
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As followers of God, may we all learn to follow God's Will in His Way, so that we may truly be found pleasing in His sight!