Monday, January 27, 2014


Last Wednesday I blogged about our weekly church schedule. I need to clarify that those services are pretty much traditional times, and are not reflected across denominations or geographic regions. They are, however, ones I’ve attended from the 1950’s to present – Sunday School, Sunday morning and evening, Wednesday evening services. Missing today is a Southern Baptist Training Union of my youth – not found in those churches today. Traditions are subject to change.

Tradition was part of Sunday’s sermon, too:

Then came together unto him the Pharisees, and certain of the scribes, which came from Jerusalem. And when they saw some of his disciples eat bread with defiled, that is to say, with unwashen, hands, they found fault. For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders. (Mark 7:1-3 KJV)

There is no indication those who came from Jerusalem to Galilee did so because of a positive interest in Jesus and His teaching. As usual, they were prepared to seek out error and complain. Their only complaint came down to tradition. And, the complaint wasn’t pointed at Jesus.

Make it current – suppose someone complains about my not attending a Sunday evening service. It may be expected, but it’s not sinful to miss a service. Though we've been told to gather (Hebrews 10:25), and the disciples did on the first day of the week, specific services are not listed in the Bible. It is not simply tradition that brings me to church – it comes from the my heart to learn, worship and honor our Lord.

He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. (Mark 7:6 KJV)

If I attend solely to earn good points with God, that’s not going to work:

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9 KJV)

No one can attend enough church services to get a ticket to heaven. However, those services are a great place to learn about God, His word, His son and our reason for existence. Yep – there are several verses that are specific about why we’re here. Nope – you’ll have to find them on your own (or keep reading ‘cause I’ve posted them before and will probably post them again within the next three or four years!)

And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. (Mark 7:9 KJV)

It is so much easier to do this for selfish reasons – to be lauded for appearing religious, to be noticed and praised – than to comply with God’s commandments:

Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, 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. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (Matthew 22:36-40 KJV)

That’s much harder, isn’t it? Well, it is for me.  First part sounds easier than the second, but “with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind”? I don’t even get that accomplished though I would like to. That second, “as thyself”? Yet, that’s what I want to do. Especially since I know that tradition without loving God with all my heart creates problems:

Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye. (Mark 7:13 KJV)

My prayer is to never make the word of God of none effect – through empty traditions, selfish errors, sins of commission or omission! May what I do, say or write praise Him, direct attention to Him and be within His will for my life. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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