This is the first of a series of lessons on patterns. Laying the groundwork tonight.
Does individual behavior matter? Obviously it does but we will be focusing on corporate behavior. Specifically... - Should there be a clearly defined membership?
- What are the holiness expectations?
- How do we worship?
- How we do leadership? But mainly we will focus on: - How is our collection used? Our Savior supreme. Eph 1:22-23; Col 1:18 We have a head who dictates our movements. Jesus is the head of the body, the church, and the Creator of all things. It is His church. We can say whatever we want about the church but His assessment is all that matters. An essential element of salvation is submission, as opposed to rebellion. A submissive mind must be cultivated and nurtured. That’s one of the things we attempt to do every Sunday and Wednesday.
Jeremiah 42 & 43 are two chapters that have been largely overlooked that fit into this. The people said we will follow the Lord. This is a horrible time in the history of Israel, God has had it with them after years and years of pleading with them to change. By this time, it is over. Jerusalem is in ruins, the leaders have been removed. So now the people listen to Jeremiah, now he has some clout because the things he said would take place have happened. Jer 42:5 So they said to Jeremiah, "Let the LORD be a true and faithful witness between us, if we do not do according to everything which the LORD your God sends us by you.
That’s the attitude we need. Just tell us what we need to do. Then at the end of verses 42:10-19, God says DO NOT go to Egypt.
In chapter 43 comes the awful legacy of Johanan. He tells Jeremiah that he is lying. So the people did not obey the voice of the Lord and entered the land of Egypt. So now, 43:10-13, they will be punished in Egypt, since they did not obey the Lord and stay out. 2 lessons: 1. Lips may not confess what is consistent with the heart. In their heart they did what they really wanted to do, despite saying the opposite.
2. God knows things that we don’t. We may not understand the wisdom behind all of the patterns behind what we do in worship here, but we do what God wants because He said to. We need to go to the Bible, find the patterns and be content with following them. Php 4:9 The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you. Paul says practice these things and the God of peace will be with you. 2 Thess. 3:6-9 also mentions following patterns and examples. Also 1 Tim 6:2-3. Following apostolic patterns acknowledges Gods sovereignty, his wisdom and displays submission. Following God’s arrangement will yield the results He desires, whether or not I fully understand that wisdom. What matters is my submissiveness. See Acts 5:1-4. The story of Ananias and Sapphira. Money laid at the apostles feet was then dedicated to God’s special purposes. It was no longer their own. The treasury is designed to accomplish His supreme purposes. We are carrying God’s message to a lost world but we are also helping His people. We spend a lot more money on edification and the strengthening of the members here. If we don’t do that, people tend to fall away from the Lord. Submission is the theme of this lesson, let that be our intent.