And He said to them, “Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: ‘This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far away from Me. But in vain do they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.’ Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men.” He was also saying to them, “You are experts at setting aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition. For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’ and ‘He who speaks evil of father or mother, is to be put to death’; but you say, ‘If a man says to his father or his mother, whatever I have that would help you is Corban (that is to say, given to God),’ you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or his mother; thus invalidating the word of God by your tradition which you have handed down; and you do many things such as that. Mark 7:6-13
Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to …. things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ. Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize …. and not holding fast to the head, from whom the entire body, being supplied and held together by the joints and ligaments, grows with a growth which is from God … why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees …. in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men? These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion. Colossians 2:16A, 17-18A, 19, 20B, 22B-23A
Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” Matthew 4:19
Today's thoughts from today's verses:
When this indictment: “Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men” is Christ’s assessment of some who profess to be followers of God, you can be sure they are not ones who are truly seeking a lifestyle of living fully for God. Helping our people truly live fully for God is the goal of our church. When someone embraces and pursues this for their life, it means that they are letting God be at the center of their existence instead of themselves. God calls such people His worshippers. It is a lifestyle that revolves around knowing God’s presence, following His ways, and joining Him in His kingdom work. Expressions of worship in personal quiet times with God or corporate times together with other worshipers is the overflow of being a true worshiper. In a spirit of hospitality true worshipers let go of personal preferences and put first the needs of those who come seeking and are ready for a “turning to God” experience. An environment of vital worship continues to be a significant part of the unexpected surprise people experience when they join us on Sunday mornings and it has much to do with the reality that our people are ones who more and more are living a lifestyle of worship that powerfully overflows into and impacts our expressions of worship in our corporate times together.
In addition, true worshipers desire to reach those who need to be reached. How do we fish for people and how do we reach the sheep who have gone astray? Like Jesus, we must make reaching the lost our reason for being here and accordingly we must live redemptively by heeding Paul’s admonition to “Let your speech always be seasoned with grace (Colossians 4:6).” Our lives and the message of truth we share must be flavored with grace. If you were to sit back and listen carefully to all that is said by those who address us each Sunday morning from the platform, you will find that truth is consistently flavored with grace. This is particularly true of our pastor’s messages week after week. Truth presented faithfully and graciously is a fitting description of how our pastor has wonderfully communicated God’s word over the years. And this has been a significant and fitting part of the unexpected surprise people experience when they join us on Sunday mornings.
Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:
Lord, I thank you for your grace in my life and the life of our church. Keep our hearts tender toward you so that we are always in step with who you are and what you are doing. Keep us from holding on to anything but you and the true commission you have given to us. I pray this for your people everywhere. Amen!
Posted on Thu, April 30, 2020
by Ken Hart