In moral things there is nothing big or small; there are no “major things” or “minor things”.
Who am I to say what parts of God’s truth is important or not important? Are we above God? For me to judge it, it means that I am weighing it in reference to myself. But I am not the beginning and end of all God’s ways. The head covering on a woman while praying or prophesying is not essential for her eternal destiny, but it is necessary for the angels’ sake, 1 Corinthians 11:10.
If truth is revealed it is necessary. It may not be necessary for my eternal salvation, but it is necessary to be like Christ. If it is put before us, it is for us to enjoy, to change us and to be obeyed. “Obedience is better than sacrifice; attention than the fat of rams”, 1 Samuel 15:22-23. God values obedience more than the outward sacrifices and religious ceremonies; He values reverence of Him, and keeping His word more than the most ardent religious observances.
The above verses also contain the warning words:
“For rebellion is as the sin of divination,
And self-will is as iniquity and idolatry”.
Bibles with the Lord’s words marked in red
Does that imply that the words of others are less important? When the Lord has used another as His messenger, and inspired their words, be it prophet, apostle or other spokesperson, those words carry the same authority as His own words. “He that receives you receives me; and he that receives me, receives Him that sent me,” Matthew 10:40.
Details in Scripture
Even apparently small things are important. The Holy Spirit does not use padding in the Scriptures. They are not just stories. Even one word in a sentence can send a message. In 2 Timothy 4: 20, Paul writes “…but Trophimus I left behind in Miletus sick”. A person may say: We would not have lost anything if “sick” had been omitted. I say that it is a critical word. It indicates that the apostle did not heal fellow workmen. Take this together with his words to Timothy (1 Tim. 5:23), “use a little wine on account of thy stomach and thy frequent illnesses”. Mark those words “frequent illnesses”. Think about the other apostles, and you find that they never healed one another; nor did the Lord heal anyone that He called into His service. What instruction is bound up in that one word!
Another verse that may seem trivial: 1Timothy 4:13, “The cloak which I left behind me in Troas at Carpus’s, bring when thou comest, and the books, especially the parchments”. In the 1800s, F.H. Newman - a man with infidel inclinations and brother to Cardinal Newman - was speaking with a godly brother about the New Testament. He referred to that verse and stated that we should not have lost much if it had been omitted. The brother retorted: “I should have lost something, for it was exactly that verse which alone saved me from selling my little library. No! Every word, depend on it, is from the Spirit and for eternal service”.
Ephesus and Thessalonica
To the young church in 1 Thessalonians 1:3, Paul writes: “remembering unceasingly your work of faith, and labour of love, and enduring constancy of hope, of our Lord Jesus Christ, before our God and Father”.
At Ephesus, in Revelation 2:2, John writes: “I know thy works, and thy labour, and thine endurance, etc.” Sadly it seemed that the inward vitality had gone - works without faith, labour without love and endurance without hope. The great elements – faith, hope and love – were missing.
Days of Noah and Lot
Have you noticed the Lord's words regarding the days of Noah and the days of Lot?
When He refers to the conduct in Lot's time, He omits "they married".
Reference Isaiah 3:8-12. In verse 9:
"The look of their face doth witness against them, and they declare their sin as
Sodom: they hide it not. Woe unto their soul! for they have brought evil upon
themselves. Then verse 12, "As for my people, children are their oppressors, and
women rule over them."
These three types of conduct go together: Sodomy, both children and women out
of their ordained role. This is current in the 21st century.
Doing our Duty
When we think that we have done worthy things, we are told to say to ourselves: "We are unprofitable bondmen, we have done what it was our duty to do", Luke 17:10. Do not to allow any good works to become self-satisfaction, as it did with Job.
Feeling Down, or Burdened?
It is right to feel sorrows, personal or otherwise; it is right to feel the ruin of Christendom – I wish that more would mourn over the confusion, before God. Is it according to His mind that there should be hundreds of sects or denominations in the Christian profession? But do not stay “down”.
When down, think of positives. See the example of Jesus in Mathew 11. The cities where the Lord had done great works of power, Capernaum, Bethsaida, etc. had rejected Him and were a source of grief. But He did not stay in grief. He was able to say, straight away, “I praise thee Father, Lord of heaven and earth…”
How to handle acclaim
In success, think beyond it, to what is more needed, to what is lacking, to what is beyond that moment. When the Lord entered Jerusalem on the colt – to the acclaim of the crowd – He immediately thought beyond the moment to the judgment coming upon Jerusalem.
You and I would have thought of ourselves, and “enjoyed” the attention.
Serving those who refuse the message
Question: The Lord knows what is going to happen, then why does He spend time with people? E.g. Israel, Jesus knew He would be rejected, but He went from village to village until He had covered the entire land of Israel.
Answer: They were all given the opportunity to hear Him. No-one will have any excuse for not believing on Him.
He is completely fair. None will be able to say otherwise.
I have used this principle myself. I had to terminate an employee because he proved unequal to the task. I knew that he would not come up the the needed standard and that he had to go, but I sent him to a further training course and gave him time. When I finally told him that he had to look for another job, I asked if he had been treated fairly. His answer: Very fairly.
Divisions among believers
Divisions among brethren are regarded seriously by God. So much so that it seems that He does not allow corporate healing until Christ will take matters up finally and all true believers will be together. We see this with Israel (the ten tribes) and Judah (the two tribes, Judah and Benjamin). “This thing I from me” was the divine answer when Rehoboam king of Judah asked if he should go against Israel to force unity. God allowed it, because division was already there and He intended to discipline them all. “All Israel shall be saved” Romans 11? means that a remnant from all twelve tribes will be brought through the tribulation and into their earthly inheritance, Canaan, as opposed to only those we know as Jews now. These are from Judah and Benjamin. He will unite them when He comes in glory – see Zechariah.
Various churches may in fact unite, but it does not mean that the Lord supports it. There are attempts to bring Anglicans, Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches together. It may happen one day, but it will be at the expense of truth; it will be a massive compromise, and will not have the Lord’s support.
MM 14 March 2009