Summary: Should we allow culture dictate how we interpret God's Word? While most Christians would resoundingly say NO, culture often dictates what and how we read the Bible.
God’s Word is Truth!
Online Sermon: http://www.mckeesfamily.com/?page_id=3567
Blessed are those who believe so strongly in God’s word being true that they are not only willing to meditate day and night on His statues but are also willing to become living sacrifices by walking in accordance with its precepts! Last week we put the Bible through rigorous tests and learned that due to its multiple sources, textual agreement, eye witness testimony and predictive accuracy; one can safely conclude that God’s love letter is “absolutely” true. And yet living an age when people no longer put up with sound doctrine (2 Timothy 4:3-4), pastors and teachers of God’s word are finding that more and more Christians are “ignoring” or “tearing out” sections of Scripture! It seems like any verse that either points to the way a person lives as being sinful or “counter-cultural” has become too vile for some Christian’s spiritual diets! The first part of this sermon is going to answer the question: are Christians to obey every single command that God has given them?, and the second part of the sermon is going to discuss the dangers of allowing the culture to influence our interpretation of God’s word.
Obeying Every Single Command?
Illustration. For this sermon I asked for an adult to volunteer for a skit (thankfully many in congregation love to participate in illustrations). I brought to the church a mattress, quilts and a pillow. The volunteer was given a night gown to wear, a hat and were instructed to crawl into bed. I was dressed up with a wig, beard and a cane to signify an “older,” “wise” father (I am not really that wise but am working on it!). The person in the bed was instructed that while they were an adult, taking the lowly position of a child was a great honor (Matthew 18:3-5) for in their “no holds back” questioning of God’s word they will find the truth! I also took several helium balloons. I instructed my wilful volunteer that to sound like a child he/she must inhale some helium before asking advice from me, the older, “wise” father! I added this part to the sermon to keep the attention of the children present whom were under the age of 11. The goal of this skit is to ask questions from the perspective of an innocent child that most adults are thinking about but are to afraid to ask! While the children might not understand all the answers given, I hope the adults will be convicted enough to continue this crucial conversation at home!
Question 1: Does God want me to obey every single command in the Bible?
Son, that is a good but difficult question to answer. Let me first start by saying that there are many commands in the Bible, especially the Old Testament, that you are not asked to obey. We as born-again believers are no longer under the Older Mosaic Covenant and as such are not bound to obey the “letter” of its laws. In his letter to the church of Rome Paul wrote that since no one could follow the law in its entirety, the law only points out a person’s sin whose wages is death. (Romans 6:23). Christ bore the punishment for our sins upon the cross (Isaiah 53) so that we might be forgiven and need not to offer any more sacrifices (Hebrews 10:18). Christ fulfilled the Old Testament law and ushered in a new stage in God’s plan of salvation which was based not on works but on faith in a risen Savior! Those choose to put themselves back under the Mosaic Law are “foolish” for to do so would mean that Christ’s death meant nothing (Galatians 3:1)!
Question 2: Does this mean that I don’t have to obey any of the Old Testament laws?
My child, at the council of Jerusalem, it was decided that the only things Christians should obey from the Old Testament is to “abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood” (Acts 15:20). The moment Peter was commanded in his vision to get up kill and eat four-footed animals, as well as birds and reptiles that were according to the Old Testament “unclean,” (Acts 10:15) meant that the dietary laws were no longer to be obeyed. This means that eating rabbits, pigs, bears, boars or catfish, shark, swordfish, crab, lobster, and shrimp is no longer forbidden by the Bible. Also at this council it was decided that while physical circumcision was no longer required (1 Corinthians 7:19-20), Christians were to have their hearts circumcised by the Spirit (Galatians 2:29) and as such would no longer see the commands as burdensome but instruction on holy living (1 John 5:2).
Question 3: Does this mean that out of the roughly 613 commands of the Old Testament there are only four that a Christian must follow?