Five Myths About the Lord’s Day

It’s an often-heard question: “Why do you keep Saturday for Sunday?” As questions go, this one is pretty simple and straightforward. So too is the usual response: “There is an abundance of Scripture in which God declares the seventh day of the week is His holy day. The sacredness of the seventh day, which we call Saturday, is well established. However, if there can be found in the Bible even one passage stating that God says He has changed His sacred day, all controversy and doubt regarding which day is God’s holy day would be removed.”

Although not intended to put anyone on the defensive, such a response usually does. Why? Because in truth most Christians have never studied for themselves what the Bible has to say about which day is God’s chosen day of worship. Rather, they have relied upon religious leaders to tell them which day. As a result, typically there are several explanations offered as justification for choosing to worship God on a day other than one that He chose, the seventh day.

1) The Lord’s Day?

The major text offered by many in defense of choosing to worship on the first day of the week is John’s declaration in Revelation 1:10: “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day.” Interestingly, John never says what day he is referencing. So why would it be assumed he meant the first day? Indeed, not one mention of the first day in God’s Word suggests that it represents a change in God’s original directive, “but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God” (Exodus 20:10). Any assumption that the “Lord’s Day” refers to the first day of

Saturday or Sunday?

the week ignores biblical evidence of only two occasions that the Lord’s name is associated with a day. Matthew 12:8 and Mark 2:28 are the only two passages that connect the Lord with a specific day. And in each case the Sabbath day is the day specified.

2) Resurrection holiday?

Another popular myth is the keeping of the first day in honor of the resurrection of Jesus. As added proof of their claim, some observe that the fact Jesus appeared to His disciples several times on the first day, after His resurrection, is significant. But a careful study reveals that in not one of those accounts of first-day encounters does God’s Word tell us that Jesus gave instructions to now worship God on the first day.

3) Keeping them all?

In the absence of any biblical support, some fall back on: “As Christians we keep every day holy.” It certainly sounds pious enough, but such thinking ignores the plain Word of God. Exodus 20:10 and Exodus 23:12 tell believers that six days are to be spent laboring, but on the “seventh-day” there is to be no ordinary work. Notice it doesn’t say choose one day in seven. The Bible is clear. God intended that His designated seventh day be kept holy. Furthermore, we find in Leviticus 23:3, 7, 35, and Numbers 28:25 that on a holy day common work was not to be done. So if every day were kept holy, then the redeemed could work no days of the week. Without work, it’s not possible to meet the needs of the family. And 1 Timothy 5:8 is clear on this point, such behavior would mark one worse than an infidel.

4) Sabbath as a philosophical rest?

Yet another teaching concerning disregarding God’s Sabbath is wrapped in the thought that “the Sabbath rest is not about a day, but about resting in Jesus because of the salvation God makes available through Him, ‘For by grace you have been saved through faith’” (Ephesians 2:8). Although this may feel like a solid basis for departing from God’s commandments, where do we find the Biblical authority for denying the power of the fourth commandment? Besides, in Matthew 11:28 Jesus says “Come unto me and I will give you rest” (KJV). He does not say, “I will be your rest.” Keeping the Sabbath in no way suggests salvation earned by human strength and power. It speaks to acceptance of what Jesus did for humanity on Calvary.

5) Should we be judging the days?

Finally, Paul’s words in Colossians 2:16 are held out as justification for choosing to worship God when we choose. “Let no one judge you” is offered as a biblical comeback. While it is true we are not to judge one another, it is clear from God’s Word that as the Righteous Judge He has that prerogative. Just as in an earthly courtroom to ignore a judge’s orders brings consequences, so too in the last judgment will those who have chosen to ignore God’s orders through disobedience discover the dreadful harvest of dire consequences. As Hebrews 5:9 reminds us, Jesus is the “author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him.”

Truthfully, God’s people do not take Saturday for Sunday. We take God at His Word. He has promised in Isaiah 58:13, 14 that when we honor Him by worshipping Him on His holy day, we shall find our delight in Him, while we ride upon the high places of the earth. That, we take as gospel.

The Sabbath in Bible Prophecy

In six literal days our Creator spoke this world into existence. Established as a celebration of God’s creative power, the weekly Sabbath was instituted on the seventh day of Creation week as a memorial to His creation (Genesis 2:1-3):  a literal 24-hour period of rest, reflection, and renewal with our Creator, coupled with our worship to Him. The importance of weekly Sabbath observance is underscored in God’s irreversible ten– commandment law in the fourth commandment, where God’s creation is reminded to “remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Exodus 20:8).

The very nature of the word “remember” accentuates the verity that this blissful observance is everlasting and eternal in practice (Exodus 31:12-17; Isaiah 58:13, 14), as even Jesus Himself and the apostles participated in this sacred celebration (Luke 4:16-20; Acts 13:42-44), and in the new heavens and earth this adherence will continue (Isaiah 66:22, 23).

Our omniscient Creator’s use of the word “remember” also adeptly intimates that He was aware that an antagonistic authority would seek to change or alter His law. None of the other Ten Commandments begin with this reminder. Rather they declare: “Thou shalt not” or “Honor” (Exodus 20:3-7, 12-17, KJV). 

This specific reminder clues us into the Sabbath’s central role in the culmination of eschatological prophecy.  The Sabbath command is the predominant issue about which every human being that is living just before Jesus’ second advent will make a decision. That Sabbath decision is directly related to the acceptance or rejection of its observance in response to divine instruction.  According to prophecy there will be only two camps: (1) Those who keep the commandments of God, including the fourth, and have the faith of Jesus (Revelation 12:17), and (2) Those who worship the beast and his image and receive his mark (Revelation 14:9-11).  There is no middle ground. As Jesus says: “He who is not with Me is against Me” (Matthew 12:30).

it’s not a “law” thing, but a “love” thing

Through the prophecies of Daniel 7 God revealed His foreknowledge of the attempted change of His law with Daniel’s vision depicting an attack on God’s people and His law.  The attacking power, represented by a little horn, brings about the great apostasy within the Christian church.  Arising from the fourth beast and becoming a major persecuting power after the fall of Rome, the little horn attempts to “change [God’s] times and laws” (Daniel 7:25, KJV).

The Lord, however, declares, “Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples” (Isaiah 8:16).  The seal of God’s law is found in God’s fourth commandment.  This commandment, distinct from the other nine, brings to view the three necessary components of a seal: (1) name: the Lord, your God; (2) title: Creator; and (3) territory: heavens, earth, seas, and all that is in them.  Additionally, in this commandment our Creator claims our reverence and worship.  With the attempted change of God’s law, inclusive of the Sabbath, the enemies of God seek to remove God’s seal from His law.  Yet the disciples of Christ are called upon to restore the fourth commandment by exalting the Sabbath to its rightful position as the Creator’s memorial and sign of His authority just prior to the Second Advent.

As prophecies are being fulfilled every day, “wars and rumors of wars, . . . famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places” (Matthew 24:6-8), which clearly point to Jesus’ second advent, let us take heed to God’s eschatological call in Revelation 14:7: “Fear God and give glory to Him,” for the hour of His judgment has come, and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water.”  The Sabbath must be restored to its rightful position as a memorial to the Creator’s power and the sign of His authority.  Let us not forget the promised blessing of eternal life when obeying God’s commandments (Revelation 22:14), and be reminded, it’s not a “law” thing, but a “love” thing, for it was Jesus who said, “If ye love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15). 

Rogue “Righteousness”

Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Sunday February 22, 2015
Based Upon Acts 24

Affairs of conscience have always been at risk in the hands of civil authorities and the overzealous religious. When will we recognize God can vindicate Himself?

I’m not naïve. I do realize that not all matters purported to be of faith should be excused by civil society as some spiritual “diplomatic immunity.” There are times when fringe groups do things that endanger the lives of others or in some way impact the larger society in ways that are a detriment, which even God would condemn. Yet, world history and prophetic prediction both attest to the danger of allowing civil authorities to meddle in the affairs of conscience. Concerning the first four commandments, we must be free to exercise our right to worship, or not, according to conscience. Concerning the last six commandments, just and sensible, laws should be drafted and enforced to benefit the larger society.

Interestingly, Paul is being shuttled from place-to-place, judge-to-judge, under heavy guard because religious zealots who think they know everything want to execute him due to his beliefs. Notice I used the word, “beliefs.” That of which Paul spoke concerning his beliefs, had zero potential as a public safety risk or upset of just government. He simply shared that Jesus was Messiah, and the he looked forward to the resurrection. Why in the world were the religious so-called authorities so bent out of shape?

If we don’t learn much else from this fiasco, we must recognize that, whether for good or for ill, history has a history of repeating itself. I could cite countless examples where civil governments have attempted to compel conscience and the negative consequences of such. Here are a few: Did not Nebuchadnezzar attempt to compel (false) worship, and when three Hebrew boys refused, did he not cast them alive into a fiery furnace? Did not king Darius allow his advisors to swindle him into enacting a law to compel everyone to worship him as a god? Was not Daniel caught in the dragnet when he was discovered praying to the God of heaven, and then thrown in to a den of hungry lions? Were not so-called religious people allowed to employ the rack, stake, and many other unmentionable atrocities to compel assent to certain dogma during a savage 1,260 year massacre including time in the Dark Ages (Daniel 7:25; Revelation 13:5-7). Does not prophecy predict that civil authority will be (mis)used to govern matters of conscience right before Jesus returns (Revelation 13:15-18)?

Yet, history also records that the Almighty is able to vindicate His name and honor in these situations. The three Hebrew boys received a blessed visit from the Son of God who nullified the flames. Daniel came forth from the den of lions completely unscathed. Those faithful ones whose early lives were taken because of their faith in God, will soon receive a crown of life. And, those who refuse to receive the Mark of the Beast in the closing moments of earth’s history, will be sealed and, by God’s grace, soon receive the reward for which Jesus paid with His life on Calvary. It’s cool to examine the details of Paul’s journey, but it is imperative that we not simply gather facts. We must dig deeply, in the power and mind of the Spirit, in order to make application for our day. I believe we have done just that today.

Dale Brown and Truth

Atlanta-based, Caribbean born Dale Brown and Truth deliver a remarkable and eclectic sounding gospel.

The Power of Habit

Don’t ever underestimate the heart of a champion!” Coach Rudy Tomjanovich proclaimed after his Houston Rockets team overcame near-impossible odds to win the 1994-1995 NBA championship.Rudy Tomjanovich After previously winning the title in the 1993-1994 season, the Rockets entered the playoffs the next season as the sixth seed out of eight in the Western Conference. There were no buzzer-beating shots or close games, but the Rockets simply kept playing hard and eventually won their second championship. The Rockets refused to lose—it’s that simple.
Champions come in all shapes and sizes, but the heart of a champion will always look the same. I believe that a champion’s heart is made from a drop of courage, an ounce of inspiration, and a dash of determination. It’s one thing to win, but it’s something completely different to be known for winning. Somehow champions find ways to overcome the odds because they have made a habit of winning.
I recently read a book that discusses habits. The book talks about how the brain tries to form routines—habits—so that it can conserve energy. For instance, every Sabbath morning many Seventh-day Adventists have formed the habit of going to church. It’s been so instilled in our brains that it can feel strange if you aren’t in church that day. As for champions, they have formed the habit of winning. They automatically do all the small things that need to be done in order to win. Whether it’s diving on the floor for a loose ball, making an unbelievable catch, or hitting a home run, champions find a way to win because that’s what they’re used to doing. That’s not to say that champions never lose; it simply means that they win more times than the average person.
The Bible is full of wisdom and guidance, and the more time we devote to reading and studying its pages, the more natural and helpful it will become to our lives. It will soon be a habit that goes a long way toward building a character that pleases God. Sure, our ultimate motivation to devote time to studying God’s Word is to know its Author better. Yet if we begin the habit of reading the Bible and following its wisdom, good things will happen in our hearts. We might even become champions for God.

by David Robinson

Reprinted from Charles Mills, Eyes of the Crocodile (Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 2000).


Seen In a New Light

Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Thursday, February 19, 2015
Based Upon Acts 21

Paul’s encounter with Christ turned him and everything else around.

Yes, it’s true! The same wretched Saul of Tarsus, who became the devoted apostle of Christ, Paul, has come full circle. He, who once imprisoned believers, has himself become a prisoner in honor of that same Jesus who set him free.

Paul’s story reads like a wonderfully written novel, except it’s all true. Here’s a man who was as zealous for his cause as a man could be. He was convinced beyond doubt that Jews who defected from Jewry and embraced the message of Christ must be punished, and that it was his job to make sure they understood the dire ramifications of such heresy. After all, they were bringing the honor of Moses into question. But now, after having a startling encounter with Christ, he realizes that it was Christ’s honor that Moses defended. He recognized that it was Christ who spoke to father Abraham on Mount Moriah, to spare his promised son, Isaac. It was Christ who spoke from the burning bush at the beginning of Moses’ ministry. It was Christ on Mount Sinai who wrote the Ten Commandment Law on those sapphire tablets. Christ was the Pillar of Cloud by day, and Flame of Fire by night, leading the children of Israel out of Egyptian captivity. He was their Rock and Water in the desert. Therefore, it was in His honor that the now transformed Paul would be bound, imprisoned, and possibly killed as Agabus prophesied. His loved ones would weep at the prospect of this horrible fate, but he would rejoice for the privilege of living, or dying, for his Lord.

As he was violently dragged from the Jewish temple by religious zealots to be murdered, the town was in such an uproar that the authorities were called in to see what was going on. They even had to carry him away from the mob while things got sorted out. Then he asked for permission to address the crowd of murderers, zealots, and oblivious onlookers. What does a man, who is about to die for Christ’s sake, say in the moments before his execution? We will examine this question tomorrow as we highlight Acts chapter 22. Whatever he says, you better believe it will be life changing.

“Let The Church Say Amen”

Andrae’ Crouch’s Mission, Journey and Legacy

Andrae’ Crouch, long hailed as the father of modern gospel music, left a dazzling legacy that future generations of writers, arrangers and composers will doubtless strain to match.

For more than 50 years, Crouch stamped his footprints on every dimension of traditional and contemporary gospel music. Credited with “revolutionizing the sound of contemporary Christian music,” he was among the first few Blacks to “cross over” into mainstream markets and rack up a plethora of record, album and CD sales.

Crouch, only the third gospel artist awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, won eight Grammy and four GMA Dove Awards, performed for royalty in several countries, at New York City’s Carnegie Hall, the Hollywood Bowl, on The Tonight Show and in 73 nations.

With his unique ability to photograph life’s sojourn through spiritual lenses, Crouch wrote an astounding catalog of sacred songs, many of them shouts of triumph and deliverance from pain, poverty and rejection. His triumphal recordings include “Soon and Very Soon,” “My Tribute,” “Mighty Wind,” “Can’t Nobody Do Me Like Jesus”, while “The Blood,” Through It All,” “Let The Church Say Amen,” “Alleluia” and “Bless The Lord, O My Soul” evoke the silence of spiritual contemplation.

Mesmerized by “My Tribute’s” universal appeal, famous artists by the score joined the peers who preceded them in covering it. At least 600 ultimately did so. Elvis Presley and Paul Simon, recorded Crouch’s songs. As an arranger, Crouch brought new light and life to songs recorded by Madonna, Elton John and Rick Astley. Other beneficiaries of his genius were Diana Ross and master writer, arranger and composer Quincy Jones.

Among Crouch’s film credits, “Once Upon A Forest,” “The Lion King” and “Free Wily” drew rave reviews, along with his soaring score, “Maybe God’s Trying To Tell You Something,” that gave “The Color Purple” its electrifying crescendo.

Crouch’s journey in song and ministry began in early childhood, when, besieged by “dyslexia, stuttering and bullying,” according to a biographical sketch, he “found comfort in memorizing Biblical stories that provide the assurance of God’s guarantee to liberate” the suffering. At age seven, singing in the Sunshine Band of Los Angeles’ Emmanuel Church Of God In Christ, he stunned adults by adding melodies to Scriptures stored in his memory.

Not long afterward, his father, Benjamin J. Crouch, arrived at the Macedonia Church of God in Christ, a small congregation in Val Verdes, California and discovered that the church had no minister or musicians. Discouraged by the daunting task of building membership without music, the elder Crouch, in a prayer, pledged “to stay and pastor this church if you (God), will give my son the gift of music.” “The Lord directed me to lay hands on my son,” he said, “so that the anointing of God would be upon him to play the piano.” Two weeks later, he wrote, “Andrae’ began playing the piano.”

At 14, his son wrote “The Blood,” but, despairing that “it wasn’t good enough,” he threw the paper on which he wrote the song into a trashcan. His twin sister, Sandra, however, perceived otherwise. She pulled it out of the trash and told her brother: “this is a good song.” The Blood, Crouch’s first hit single, was the first milestone in his journey toward international acclaim.

Civil Rights leader and minister Jesse Jackson, at Crouch’s January 21 funeral at Los Angeles’ West Angeles Cathedral, praised his quiet and courageous leadership. “He fought hard, not just to change people, but to change our society. Andrae’ was not just a local or national singer, he was a transformative and historic figure who eclipsed his time and changed its course.”

Gospel Music Experts Respect the Crouch Legacy

To bring the source and inspiration for Crouch’s genius into sharper focus, Message contacted five nationally respected leaders: Dr. Margaret Doroux, the highly regarded writer/arranger and composer, Dr. Michael L. McFrazier, Associate Provost and Associate Vice-President of Prairie View A & M University, who is also an authority in African American culture, Charles M. Blake, Presiding Bishop of the Church of God In Christ, Xavier Thompson, President of the Baptist Ministers Conference of Greater Los Angeles and John Phillips, 92, believed to be the world’s oldest gospel music announcer.

God-given abilities

Blake, after pondering the source of Crouch’s inspiration, replied, “God gave Andrae’ the insights he communicated through his music. These insights were gifts given by God, so Andrae’ was already a skilled musician when I met him, although he was only 11 or 12. He didn’t learn these gifts, because they can’t be taught. Nor are they something that can be explained. God gave them to him to communicate through his music,” the bishop said quietly.

Accessible Music

Doroux, who penned “Give Me A Clean Heart,” “If It Had Not Been For The Lord On My Side,” “He Decided To Die” and a plethora of other moving favorites, said Crouch’s writing was grounded in keen sensitivity, the basis for what she described as “his Sunday morning church songs.”

“He knew his songs had to have a church sound so church choirs could sing them. So they were always geared to the church and didn’t have to be performed, they only needed a choir, an organ and a piano. None of them needed drums, guitars or background singers. Andrae’ always asked (young writers), ‘can my grandmother sing your songs?'”

Most church pianists and organists could not read music, Doroux said, “but when they heard Crouch’s songs they were able to play them. In the back country of Louisiana, she said, “choirs were always able to sing them because they weren’t catchy, could be sung slow or fast and didn’t need instrumentation or a rhythm section.”

Man in the Mirror

McFrazier, who served Houston’s Church Without Walls as Minister of Music for 15 years, spoke to the source of Crouch’s inspiration and his gratitude for it. “Andrae’ devoted his time to cultivating his gifts. We all have gifts and are called to identify and develop them to a level of maturity to bless us and the Creator who made us.

“Andrae’ was totally focused on his gift,” McFrazier continued. “A lot of things America says represent the ideal life did not interest him, so he didn’t seek to acquire them. When you give yourself to the gifting, the other areas of your life take a back seat. Andrae’ was devoted to teaching, promoting and writing the music of God, which he used to touch the core of the human spirit, which is the moral high ground, that which is right.

“Oh yes,” McFrazier predicted, “his music will definitely live on because it is integral to worship for all churches, religious gatherings and among people who don’t even know the name Andrae’ Crouch. His music contained so many, many variations, what he was able to do with it, that it will live on, forever and ever.

McFrazier cited the Crouch song “My Tribute” as an example. “It’s used in periods of jubilation, celebration, sorrow, hurt and pain and for so many different events: weddings, grand openings and as a tribute to loved ones who’ve gone on.

“With “Man in the Mirror,” Michael Jackson’s hit song, Andrae’ was saying that we should look at ourselves before pointing at someone else or holding others accountable. That is an example of what set him apart, trying to move gospel outward, beyond the walls of the church and what takes place inside its walls. He knew that Christ was not confined to a church, but went to the people.”

Spiritual Relationship Is Key 

First and foremost, said Thompson, “the guiding force behind Andrae’s music was a personal, venerable and vibrant relationship with his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. His message, through song, was birthed out of a personal experience and the observation of world occurrences. When these streams are merged into one river, we have the message and the mastery of Andrae’ Crouch.” Phillips, the KTYM Radio gospel announcer who said he has played “the music of Andrae’ Crouch since the 1960s and will continue to do so,” pointed to God as the inspiration “to get up and do something good.”

Rousing the Drowsy

Sleeping saints are at risk.

Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Based Upon Acts 20

I must admit, my crazy schedule has me on the grind working at a frenetic pace. By the time I get to the end of the workweek, sometimes all I want to do is sleep. The Bible says that we should labor for six days, and rest on the seventh, right? Well, I’m sure the rest on the seventh day is far more than sleeping.

Last Sabbath, I was a member of a panel that discussed the parable of the 10 virgins of Matthew 25. Remarkably, there was somewhat of a disagreement on whether their natural slumber, due to their weariness during the bridegroom’s delay was quite fine or a bad thing. I was one of the few who believed it was uncategorically a bad thing. Yes, becoming weary is natural. Yes, rest is necessary. Yes, they all slumbered and slept. However, in the context of awaiting our Lord, we are implored to be sober, vigilant, watchful, alert, and awake. One cannot be any of those things and be asleep too. For in a time that we think not, the Lord will come. The Bible says, “And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.” (Romans 13:11–12). It also says, “Behold, I am going to come like a thief! Blessed (happy, to be envied) is he who stays awake (alert) and who guards his clothes, so that he may not be naked and [have the shame of being] seen exposed!” (Revelation 16:15, AMP). Once the cleansing of God’s people, including those who find faith in Him during the 11th hour, is complete, He that shall come, will come, and not tarry.

What if brother Paul were preaching such a message, well into the night the fateful Sunday referenced in our theme chapter? What if the state of the people was such that, a quick-bite message of only a few minutes would not cut through the slumber of the church at that time. What if, as the clear message of repentance and preparation for the coming King was just about to reach its climax and, in weariness, you fell asleep? And what if, instead of your head nodding, like it often happens in church, you were seated on a windowsill and you fell out of the window on a couple of story drop to your death? That would be tragic, wouldn’t it? Well, as we can see in the story, that is exactly what happened to Eutychus.

Now it’s time to wrap this story up and apply it to our times. Many, many people are in such a state, that we are not capable of enduring strong doctrine. Some recite little palliating ditties like, “Stop preaching doctrine! Preach Christ!” But, is not doctrine a Bible teaching by which we must all live for instruction in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16)? Some say of their Christian fellowship, “It’s not a religion. It’s a lifestyle.” But, did not James say that there is pure and undefiled religion that is about serving and helping those who cannot help themselves (James 1:27)? The point is that far too many of us who profess to be awaiting our Lord’s return use the natural impediments of the flesh to excuse slackness. And to make matters worse, if there is no immediate consequence, some of us take it to mean that we are doing just fine.

I thank God for His mercy, friends. God understands our weaknesses and has made provisions to deliver us from them. Eutychus may have simply been sleepy, but his story really helps to keep things in perspective. In patriarchal fashion, Paul took up the young man and raised him from the dead. In mercy, God gave him another opportunity to live life to the fullest. Much in the same way, our God is raising sleeping saints today. He has dear ones mounted upon the proverbial walls of Zion to blow the trumpets, making the call, “Behold, the bridegroom cometh!” Jesus will soon be done cleansing those who have faith in Him, and getting them all arrayed in white in preparation for His arrival. This is our chance to join the final movement to embrace and share the message of Christ and soon enjoy the grand culmination of His blessed work of salvation. Wake up, and don’t sleep!

Dead Wrong

Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Monday, February 16, 2015
Based Upon Acts 18

Have you ever experienced people who always need to be right, even when they are dead wrong?

There are people who seem to say the opposite of what you say, just to be anti. And many times these unreasonable people disagree with no evidence to support their cherished points of view. This is horribly annoying, at worst, when it comes to the mundane, but what if there were spiritual implications? My question today is, “Is your need to be ‘right’ greater than your need to be ‘righteous’”?

Ironically, Paul, who once was a part of the so-called religious elite among the Jews, seemed to have overwhelming numbers of deep discussions regarding Jesus and the Law of Moses. Following the resurrection of Christ and the numerous accounts of His power and miraculous ascension, having taken the keys of hell, death, and the grave from Satan, there were still elite Jews who refused to believe. They were bent on being purveyors of the Law, but so rigid that the Holy Spirit could not even convince them of their error. They simply would not see that the Law of Moses pointed to Christ. They were in agreement. Their fastidious opposition to the truth of Christ, was no mere annoyance without foundation. It was their undoing. Their pride and abject refusal to accept the hundreds of prophetic proofs of Jesus’ messiahship, placed them firmly outside of God’s ability to deliver them from sin. Some were so headstrong, that even the Holy Spirit could not penetrate since love cannot overrule volition. Pride is antithetical to faith.


Pride is antithetical to faith.

I met a young man at the bus stop one day. He was there with his pregnant girlfriend. They were quarreling about all sorts of nonsense. He asked my opinion because, as he said, he likes to listen to what older people have to say. I congratulated him for respecting maturity, but I asked him why he was disrespectful of his younger girlfriend’s views. He happened to be smoking a cigarette. I asked if a child at three years of age told him that smoking was bad for his health, whether he would accept the fact from someone so young. Pensively, he responded, “You are right, sir.” The point is, humility says that we should be willing to listen to wise counsel, no matter from where the counsel comes. Holding on to our own views at all costs, despite principled evidence to the contrary, could be even more detrimental to our spiritual health than the cigarette was to this young man’s physical health.

Will you join me for a spiritual gut check today? Will you ask the Lord to help you to always cherish a listening ear and a humble heart? Your life just might depend on it

Source And Legacy Of Understanding

Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Sunday, February 15, 2015
Based Upon Acts 17

What is the basis of your belief system? Is it based upon historically held thoughts? Is it what your grandparents passed on? Do community organizers in your area inform your worldview? How about television preachers? Are they your source of understanding?

I come from a body of believers who, as of June 2013 recorded almost 18 million members, worldwide. We believe in the Bible as our only rule and guide to life. We embrace the blessing of salvation through Christ alone, the loving care of God the Father, and the ministry of the Holy Spirit in each of our lives. There are many truths we hold dearly in these last days that knit us together in unity such as: Jesus, who is well acquainted with the feelings of our infirmities, ever lives in a most holy ministry to cleanse us from all unrighteousness, and to seal us in that state before He comes. We believe that our deceased loved ones are resting in the grave, awaiting the resurrection, and not floating around, disembodied either in torment, or having to watch the events of earth unfold as they are supposed to be in paradise. We believe that Jesus is able to keep us from falling, no matter how many years we cherished our darling sins, once we live in submission to Him. We look forward to the day that we, with the faithful ones of them, will hear the blast of Jesus’ trumpet, and we will be caught up to meet Him in the air. We believe that our Father has preserved a special appointment on the seventh day of every week for us to come aside and culminate all of our worship experiences from the week, on the only day He has called holy, as a sign of His power to deliver all who trust Him, from sin. We believe that one day the enemy of us all will ultimately be destroyed, with all of his sympathizers, and sin will never show its ugly head again. We believe that God will finally have the satisfaction of welcoming countless people who rest their faith in Him, from every nation, kindred, tongue, and people into His presence, nevermore to depart. I could go on-and-on about the precious truths we love, but why do so many of us believe?

Our theme chapter highlights a small group of Bereans who distinguished themselves in Christian history for one reason—they did not center their beliefs upon the words of people. They heard the teachings of God from the apostles, and searched the Scriptures to see whether those things were so. They were only satisfied when they knew that the foundation of their hope was Christ in His Holy Word. That is our lesson for today. No matter how your legacy of understanding has been passed on to you, always revel in the privilege you have to search the Scriptures for yourself in the power of the Holy Spirit, and hold fast to that which is found there, and steadfastly refuse that which is not. In this we find safety and assurance as we await our Master’s return.