Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Nullifying the Word of God

Chuckle: While wandering inside a pet store, I stopped in front of a birdcage to admire a parakeet. We watched each other for a few minutes before it asked, “Can you talk?” –Shirley Brown
 
Quote: “Holy obedience puts to shame all natural and selfish desires. It mortifies our lower nature and makes it obey the Spirit and our fellow men.” –St Francis of Assisi
 
“You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men” (Mark 7:8 NIV.Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that” (Mark 7:13 NIV).
 
To nullify God’s Word is to render or declare it null and void -- to deprive God’s Word of value or effectiveness; to make it futile or of no consequence.
 
I’ve heard it said, “If you don’t want to do something, one excuse for not doing it is as good as another.” How many times have you tried to convince God and your conscience that what you have done is a worthy and acceptable alternative to what you know is the will of God as revealed in His Word? In Mark 7, Jesus was admonishing the Pharisees because they had allowed handed down traditions of men to become more important than obeying the commands of God. Following traditions had become more important than worshiping God by their obedience.
 
It’s interesting that Jesus would use the caring for aging parents to illustrate the need for obeying God’s commands. The Pharisees used giving to God as an excuse to avoid helping their parents. They came to the conclusion that it was more important to give money to the temple treasury than to help their parents, even though God’s law specifically says we are to honor our parents and otherwise care for them. See Exodus 20:12 and Leviticus 25:35-43. No doubt we should faithfully give of our time and money to God. But, on the other hand, we should never use that giving as an excuse for neglecting our responsibility to honor God by helping those in need.
 
As I thought about these words of Jesus, I began to realize that we may be as guilty as the Pharisees Jesus was addressing. For example: We may try to soothe our consciences by writing generous checks to support missions rather than obeying God’s command to actually do missions on a personal face-to-face level. Such giving to missions is a wonderful thing if it is not used to buy ourselves a clear conscience before God for not being obedient by personally participating in reaching people for Christ and ministering to those in need spiritually, physically, or emotionally.
 
What should be our motivation for obeying and honoring God in all we do? David Brainerd once said this to Jonathan Edwards: “I do not go to heaven to be advanced but to give honor to God. It is no matter where I shall be stationed in heaven, whether I have a high or low seat there, but to live and please and glorify God . . . My heaven is to please God and glorify Him, and to give all to Him, and to be wholly devoted to His glory.”  David Brainerd was an American missionary to  Native Americans and had a fruitful ministry among the Delaware Indians of New Jersey in the 1700’s. Jonathan Edwards was a famous Puritan preacher, philosopher, and theologian.
 
Love, Jerry & Dotse

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