Do We Need to be Reconciled unto God, or Does God Need to be Reconciled Unto Us?

Introduction:

   There is a consecrated effort within denominations as well as many in the church of our Lord to change beliefs and practices to satisfy the wants and wishes of the majority of society.  This may please those in whom we are attempting to influence and will surely increase the number attending the services of the church, but is that a good thing?   

Discussion: 

I.                   THERE IS A POPULAR CONCEPT IN THE UNITED STATES AND IN MANY OTHER AREAS OF THE WORLD THAT RELIGION SHOULD BE ADAPTED TO THE DESIRES AND FELT NEEDS OF MANKIND.

A.      Not only is this true in today’s society, but the interest in harmonizing religious beliefs and practices to human desires has been true throughout the history of the human race.

1.                      In the second generation of the human race, Cain presumptuously substituted a sacrifice other than that which God had authorized (Genesis 4:1-15)

Hebrews 11:4, “By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts:  and by it he being dead yet speaketh.” 

Romans 10:17, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” 

2.                      Nadab and Abihu, two of the sons of Aaron, substituted fire from a source not sanctioned by the Lord in their censer in offering incense unto God. 

Leviticus 10:1-2, “And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the Lord, which he commanded them not.  And there went out fire from the Lord, and devoured them, and they died before the Lord.” 

3.                      Denominational churches primarily exist because of this tendency to satisfy the wishes and whims of a permissive attitude among a majority of mankind.

4.                      Digressive brethren are now following suit by bringing innovations into the church of Christ. 

B.      The community church concept is to determine by a survey of a community what its citizens want in a church and then accommodate them. 

1.                      This usually includes such innovations as entertainment, more casual wear that includes scanty attire, shorter services, feel-good sermons that are positive in nature (no “thou shalt not”), little or no quotations from the Bible, women leaders in the church, contemporary gospel music, the use of instrumental music in some worship services, emotional displays such as handclapping or throwing up of the hands, and the changing up of the order of the worship service to accommodate these innovations.

2.         Such shenanigans are not authorized in New Testament.  

C.      We certainly should take into consideration such things as: the customs of those in whom we are attempting to reach, their morality, their religious or non-religious background, etc. 

1 Corinthians 9:19-23, “For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more.  And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law.  To the weak became I as weak that I might gain the weak:  I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.  And this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you.” 

1.                      The Apostle Paul was not indicating in that passage that he compromised a “thus saith the Lord” in order to reach others.

2.                      As long as he did not have to compromise on matters of truth, Paul went out of his way to keep from unnecessarily offending those in whom he was attempting to reach with the gospel of Christ.  For example:  he had Timothy circumcised, but refused to have Titus circumcised in that Titus was a Gentile (Acts 16:3; Galatians 2:3-5).

3.                      The Apostle Peter considered the Jews background as he preached unto them on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2).  Whereas, the Apostle Paul used altogether a different approach in preaching to the philosophies at Athens (Acts 17:16-34).

4.                      Jude taught that we must take in consideration each and every person in determining how best to approach them in order to be most effective in doing so. 

Jude 22-23, “And of some have compassion, making a difference:  And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.”   

II.                IT IS A VIOLATION OF THE WILL OF GOD TO EITHER ADD TO, SUBTRACT FROM, OR TO MODIFY IN ANY WAY HIS INSPIRED WORD. 

Revelation 22:18-19, “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:  And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” 

Galatians 1:6-9, “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:  Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.  But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.  As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.”   

A.      It is all sufficient in directing us to do the will of our Heavenly Father. 

2 Timothy 3:16-17, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:  That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” 

III.             HUMANITY HAS BEEN OUT OF HARMONY WITH THE WILL OF GOD; THEREFORE, EVERY SOUL MUST BE RECONCILED UNTO HIM. 

A.      The term “reconcile” means to be brought back into favor with, to bring back into harmony with another.

1.                      God does not need to be brought into favor with man, but rather man needs to be brought into harmony with God.  Sin separates us from God. 

2 Corinthians 5:18-21, “And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.  Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us:  we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.  For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” 

Isaiah 59:1-2, “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:  But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” 

B.      We have a pattern in the New Testament for both the church as a collective body, and for the individual to conform to.

1.                      We have a pattern in the New Testament for both the church as a collective body, and for the individual to conform to.

a.       The Greek word tupos in the New Testament has been translated by the English words:  form, pattern, example, and ensample. 

Romans 6:17, “But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.”

(1)     The term form means:  the teaching which embodies the sum and substance of religion and represents it to the mind, manner of writing, the contents and form of a letter.

Titus 2:7-8, “In all things showing thyself a pattern of good works:  in doctrine showing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.”

Hebrews 8:5, “Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle:  for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern showed to thee in the mount.”

(2)     When the Greek word tupos is translated as either example or pattern it carries the meaning of:   an example or pattern in which we are to conform to.

Romans 12:2, “And be not conformed to this world:  but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.   

Conclusion:  God’s way is absolute and right.  Man, who was created in the image of God, departed from God.  The Lord has not changed, but is “…the same yesterday, and today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).   

   God’s means of drawing us unto Him is by way of His inspired Word.  Recorded at John 6:44-45, Jesus declared, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him:  and I will raise him up at the last day.  It is written in the prophets, and they shall be all taught of God.  Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.”   

   In the words of the Apostle Peter, “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out,…” (Acts 3:19).  Conversion is to change.  God does not need to change, but rather sinful humanity.

                                                                                                                      --Dub Mowery

 

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