IIntroduction: When God gives a specific
command, it not only demands doing all He commands, but it also
restricts action to only that which is specified! Such a
command is inclusive, and is also exclusive! It included all
within the command, but it also excludes everything else!
Nothing can be added to it, or taken from it. Nor can one obey
by substituting, or taken from it. But if it is a generic
command, then there is tolerance allowed for choice of action
while still obeying. A generic command does not specify as to
how, when, where, etc. What is not specified may be entirely
optional in a generic command. It is the specific command which
allows no such latitude.
illustrate for ease of understanding. If you are sent to the
store with the command: “Go and buy groceries,” you are free to
buy any kind of food in the store. There are no restrictions.
But a specific command might be: “Go and buy a loaf of bread
and a quart of milk.” Then you are restricted to those two
items! If you omit either you have not obeyed, and if you get
more than one of each you have not obeyed. You cannot obey by
buying a substitute or something else. A specific command is
inclusive and exclusive: it includes the loaf of bread and
quart of milk – and it excludes every other item you may find on
the shelves! You cannot crowd bacon and eggs, butter, cheese
and preserves into that specific order!
THE SPECIFIC ORDER REGARDING WORSHIP:
Man was created with the natural inclination to worship.
But God wants man to direct his worship to the proper object of
If God had merely commanded: “Worship”; then man would
have been free to worship anything, and in any way, he pleased!
He could have worshipped Astarte, Baal, Dagon, or any
other heathen god or idol.
He could have worshipped in paganism, in heathenism, and
chosen any number of vain religions in the world.
Under a generic command to worship, he could have chosen
Taoism, Buddhism, or the Moslem religion.
But God gave no such choice, and made no allowances!
God made it specific and plan: “I am the Lord thy
God. Thou shalt have no other gods before me” (Ex.
The worship of God was specifically set forth by Jesus
our Lord: “Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him
only shalt thou serve” (Matt. 4:10).
That has neither latitude nor allowance!
But Jesus emphasized again: “Thou shalt love the
Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with
all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment”
After seeing the revelation, John wrote: “And when
I had seen and heard, I fell down to worship at the feet of the
angel which showed me these things. Then said he unto me, See
thou do it not: for I am thy fellow servant, and of thy
brethren the prophets, and of them that keep the sayings of this
book: Worship God” (Rev. 22:8-9).
That specific command rules out any worship to other
gods. It is inclusive and exclusive.
“One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through
all, and in you all.”
THE SPECIFICS REGULATING MARRIAGE:
If God had not been specific about marriage, then mankind
could have chosen between monogamy, bigamy, or polygamy.
The original pattern for the home was given at the
beginning: “God created man in his own image, in the image
of God created he him; male and female created he them.”
God ordained one man, one woman; male and female; husband
and wife. Though man often has ignored God’s original order,
God has not altered it!
“Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and
shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”
You cannot get but one man and one woman in the specifics
of that relationship! When Jesus was questioned of this by the
Pharisees, He cited this, and added: “Wherefore they are
no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined
together, let not man put asunder” (Matt. 19:4-9).
The specifics of marriage were used by Christ to show His
affinity with the church.
“For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and
shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.
This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and his
The confined, restricted relationship is seen in Paul’s
words: “Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man
have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband”
(1 Cor. 7:2).
a. Degenerates of Hollywood mock God’s specific arrangement, but
it still stands, and will be intact at judgment!
NOAH’S RESTRICTIONS IN BUILDING THE ARK:
When God determined to destroy a sinful world with the
flood, He found Noah a righteous man, and gave a plan for Noah
and his family’s salvation.
God said: “Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms
shalt thou make in the ark, and shall pitch it within and
without with pitch” (Gen. 6:14).
Noah had his orders! God was very specific detailing the
length, breadth, and the height of the ark. He also specified
one door and one window. If God had merely said, “Build an
ark,” it would have allowed Noah to build it of any length,
width and height, and of as many materials in which he desired.
He could have had several windows and doors.
But God gave a command, and Noah was restricted to it!
He could not use walnut, hickory, oak or mahogany and still obey
God. The Lord had said “gopher wood.” Noah
understood the restrictions: “Thus did Noah; according to
all that God commanded him, so did he.” ((Gen. 6:22).
Noah did not try to substitute another kind of wood, nor
alter the plans God gave. He acted on orders!
“By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as
yet, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he
condemned the world, and became heir of righteousness which is
Noah’s faith was sufficient to obey implicitly, and it
put him into God’s gallery of the faithful!
THE CLEANING OF NAAMAN, THE LEPER:
Naaman, the great Syrian army captain, sought a cure for
his leprosy. After vainly seeking cleansing from the king of
Israel, he was summoned by the prophet Elisha.
He was given a specific command in which he was unwilling
at first to receive. Elisha instructed him: “Go and wash
in Jordan seven times.” (2 Kings 4:10). But that was
too restrictive for the army man! He expected something else,
and thought of a substitute! “Are not Abana and Pharpar,
rivers of Damascus, better than all the rivers in Israel?”
But Elisha gave specific orders! He did not say Abana or
Pharpar, he said Jordan! He could have cured him by having
herbs rubbed on the spots; or anointing the skin with snake oil;
or having him roll in the dust. He could have cured him any way
In fact, His Son cured ten lepers without them doing
anything (Luke 17:12-16). God was not restricted, but He
restricted Naaman by giving a specific order! After He said dip
seven times in Jordan, Naaman could be cured no other way! His
specific order was inclusive, and exclusive!
SOME SPECIFICS REGARDING THE CHURCH:
If God had said, “One church is as good as another,” and
“Join the church of your choice,” the field would have been
“wide open” to choose among several hundred different sects in
the U. S. A.
But God did not deal in generalities! God’s Word
specifically sets forth one church and He allows no substitute
Jesus said, “Upon this rock I will build my church”
(Matt. 16:18). That is singular! After He had built one
church, who has the audacity to build one to compete against it.
“…And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be
Since He adds to only one, what right have men to “vote
them in” to some rival church? Elders were told to “feed
the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood”
Since the Lord purchased only one church with His blood,
who has paid such a price for all these counterfeit churches?
Christ’s blood has never purchased but that one church; so who
had the nerve to start all of the denominational churches that
God gave His son “to be the head over all things to
the church, which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth
all in all” (Eph. 1:22-23).
If you find Him the Head over another body, you will then
have two bodies and one Head, which is a very freakish notion?
Or if you find two Heads over one body, again you have a circus
attraction! There is just one body, and one Head! That is
inclusive and exclusive!
“Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.”
Do you see the exclusiveness of that? Jesus did not
bleed and die for any other church!
“Christ is the head of the church, and he is the Savior of
3. This being true, why jeopardize your soul by joining any
REGARDING THE SPECIFIC RELIGIOUS NAME:
If God had just said, “Choose some religious name,” we
could then choose among hundreds floating about.
Many are prone to say, “There is nothing in a name!”
Of course, when it comes to signing a check an individual
would soon learn that names are significant.
No one actually believes that there is nothing in a
name. After all, anyone would resent being called a traitor or
Long before Jesus was born, God’s prophet foretold of a
new specific name to be given His people.
“And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings
thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the
mouth of the Lord shall name.”
“And ye shall leave your name for a curse unto my chosen:
for the Lord God shall slay thee, and call his servant by
What is that new name?
“…And the disciples were called Christians first in
“Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be
1 Pet. 4:16,
“Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be
ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.”
Those saints were glad to suffer for “that worthy name
by which ye are called” (James 2:7).
The name Christian is the family name of God’s people
under the new covenant.
That name includes all in the family of God, and excludes
THE SPECIFICS OF THE LORD’S SUPPER:
In ordaining the Lord’s Supper, if Jesus had merely said
“Eat and drink in my memory,” we would have had a generic
command, with much latitude and no restrictions!
We could have had freedom of choice of what would be
included on the Lord’s Table.
Ham and eggs, black-eyed peas and buttermilk would have
But again, we find the specifics which rules out the
26:26-29, “And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and
blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and
said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave
thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; for
this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many
for the remission of sins. But I say unto you, I will not drink
henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I
drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”
The law of inclusion and exclusion forever settles what
shall be on the Lord’s Table!
The bread and fruit of the vine cannot be changed, and no
substitutes will be acceptable!
Due to corruptions in their observance in Corinth, Paul
was very explicit in directing the saints, citing the words of
the Lord in ordaining it (1 Cor. 11:18-34).
So, in view of what is written, can we substitute
anything for the bread and fruit of the vine? What order shall
be followed in partaking? Can we offer thanks for the bread and
the cup, and then pass them out to be taken simultaneously?
Does it make a difference?
The Lord was specific in the instituting the Supper and
He will not condone our tampering with His divine orders! A
true application of Heb. 8:5 is – “See that ye do all things
according to the pattern showed to thee.”
An apostolic example establishes the time and frequency
of this observance.
“And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came
together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to
depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.”
The specific reason for this gathering was “to break
bread.” Other things may have been done, but this was the
cause of their gathering. So, if we follow their example, on
what day will we meet” And how often? And for what purpose? As
often as the “first day of the week” comes around, saints
meet to break bread!
It’s strange that sectarian preachers cannot see this.
But they readily pounce on First Corinthians 16:2, “Upon the
first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store.”
Oh, they love to preach that, and exalt that practice!
Yet the “lay by in store” on that day was because saints
met on that day to observe the Lord’s Supper!
THE SPECIFICS OF MUSIC IN WORSHIP:
If the Lord had given a generic command, “Make music,” we
would have been left free to ascribe any kind of music to Him in
We would have been allowed to devise any mechanical music
This would have opened the way for Tambourines, drums,
fiddles, pianos, pipe organs, and any other noise-makers we
But God was not so generous!
1 Cor. 14:15,
“I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the
Now, did you get any instrumental music out of that? It
is specific: the word is “sing.” It includes vocal
music; it excludes all mechanical instruments of music.
“Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual
songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.”
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom;
teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and
spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the
The New Testament is very specific regarding music in
praise to God. It tells us what to do, even to stating
what is to be sung!
If it had been a generic command, we could then use any
song we liked. We could borrow songs from the stage or screen.
But God says, “psalms, hymns and spiritual songs.”
Since we are told what to sing, we are not at liberty to
use secular songs in praise to God. We are to sing praise unto
God, not to false gods.
When the Lord said, “sing, making melody in your heart
to the Lord,” He ruled out everything but singing.
He ruled out making melody on mechanical instruments.
Mechanical instruments are excluded in the same way
mahogany was excluded from Noah’s ark. Instrumental music is
excluded by the same rule as animal sacrifice, burning of
incense, and wearing of robes/
SPECIFICS REGARDING BAPTISM:
If the Lord had simply commanded to administer water upon
a penitent believe, then any mode of administering water would
The term baptism is commanded, not sprinkling or
The Greek word baptidzo has been transliterated
into English; it means “to dip, plunge, to immerse.”
There are two entire different words in the Greek language for
sprinkling and pouring. The Greek word for sprinkle is:
rhantidzo; and the Greek word for pour is: ekcheo.
3:16-17, “And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up
straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened
unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove,
and lighting upon him: and lo a voice from heaven, saying, This
is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.”
“Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus
Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried
with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised
up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also
should walk in newness of life.”
“Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with
him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised
him from the dead.”
The Lord was specific as to why we must be baptized in
order to be pleasing unto Him.
16:15-16, “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the
world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that
believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth
not shall be damned.”
“Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one
of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins,
and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”
“And now why tarriest thou? Arise, and be baptized, and wash
away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.”
1 Pet. 3:21,
“The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save
us, (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the
answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of
From this study
we see that God’s law is inclusive and exclusive. We must
determine whether a particular command is specific or generic.