Last year I wrote a blog post “CAN WE BIND AND REBUKE SATAN? WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY?” My answer was that that nowhere in the Bible are Christians ever given the power or authority to bind or rebuke Satan.
Yes Jesus gave the apostles authority to bind and loose things on earth.
Matthew 16:18-19 (NKJV)18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.19 And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven."
Matthew 18:18 (NKJV)18 Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.
Yes the church is built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets.
Ephesians 2:19-22 (NKJV)19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone,21 in whom the whole building, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord,22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.
This authority obviously didn’t include the binding of Satan. There is no example in the Bible of a binding of Satan or a demon. The proof of that is that Satan is still loose.
Ephesians 2:1-3 (NKJV)1 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins,2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience,3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. (Bold mine)
He will not be bound until Christ’s thousand year reign.
Revelation 20:1-3, 7-10 (NKJV)1 Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.2 He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years;3 and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while. 7 Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison8 and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea.9 They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them.10 The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
Since I wrote that post I have continued to hear Christians actually trying to talk to Satan and his demons, or as one of my minister friends say his minions, and rebuke them. I’m talking about people that are looked up to as leaders, televangelists, bishops, major Christian authors. Since I kept hearing about us being authorized and urged to rebuke Satan (“the devil”) to stop illness, financial uncertainty, depression, unruly children, etc., I thought that maybe I missed something, maybe I was wrong, maybe I ought to take another look. I did, and this post is what I found.
The Bible Says Resist, Not Rebuke
The first thing that was and is apparent is that Satan was created by God, and unlike God, is not omnipresent. He can only be in one place at a time. Yes, he does have thousand maybe millions of demons at his command but he can only be in one place at a time. Of course, he has a countless number demons at his disposal and they are everywhere. So let’s first acknowledge that it is unlikely that Satan himself is harassing, possessing, or doing anything you you.
Rebuke is defined as “expressing sharp disapproval or criticism of (someone) because of their behavior or actions.” On the other hand to resist is to “take a complete stand against” or a “contrary position” and “refusing to be moved.”
However it’s not our place to condemn Satan. He already stands condemned before the Lord.
Colossians 1:12-13 (NKJV)12 giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light.13 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, (Bold mine)
Colossians 2:15 (NKJV)15 Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it. (Bold mine)
Ephesians 1:20-21 (NKJV)20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places,21 far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. (Bold mine)
It’s the Lord who rebukes Satan.
Zechariah 3:2 (NKJV)2 And the LORD said to Satan, "The LORD rebuke you, Satan! The LORD who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?" (Bold mine)
Jude 1:9 (NKJV) Yet Michael the archangel, in contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, "The Lord rebuke you!" (Bold mine)
When we believers are attacked by Satan or his demons we should focus on Jesus, because Jesus has already taken care of them.
Hebrews 2:14-15 (NKJV) 14 Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil,15 and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
Hebrews 12:2 (NKJV) looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
As Christians, we’re aware that Satan, and his demon subjects are real. No we can’t see them but they are real and they are constantly working against us.
Ephesians 6:12 (NKJV)12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
1 Peter 5:8-9 (NKJV)8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.9 Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. (Bold mine)
God has given us armor with which we can resist and even counter attack.
Ephesians 6:13-17 (NKJV)13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness,15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace;16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; (Bold mine)
We counter attack with the Word of God which is our sword.
That’s the sword that Jesus used when He resisted Satan and Satan fled.
Matthew 4:1-11 (NKJV)1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.2 And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. 3 Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, "If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread."4 But He answered and said, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.' "5 Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple,6 and said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: 'He shall give His angels charge over you,' and, 'In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.' "7 Jesus said to him, "It is written again, 'You shall not tempt the LORD your God.' "8 Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory.9 And he said to Him, "All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me."10 Then Jesus said to him, "Away with you, Satan! For it is written, 'You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.' "11 Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him. (Bold mine)
There’s no reason to rebuke Satan. There’s no reason to rebuke Satan. If we resist the Lord promises us that he will flee.
James 4:6-7 (NKJV)6 But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: "God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble."7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
"When praises go up blessings come down"
This is the title of a popular worship songs. It sounds like something that would be in the Book of Proverbs, or the Psalms, but surprise it's not in the Bible. Some people have thought that it’s origin is from Psalm 67 which calls God’s people to praise Him and for Him to bless them.
Psalm 67:1-7 (NKJV)1 God be merciful to us and bless us, And cause His face to shine upon us. Selah2 That Your way may be known on earth, Your salvation among all nations.3 Let the peoples praise You, O God; Let all the peoples praise You.4 Oh, let the nations be glad and sing for joy! For You shall judge the people righteously, And govern the nations on earth. Selah5 Let the peoples praise You, O God; Let all the peoples praise You.6 Then the earth shall yield her increase; God, our own God, shall bless us.7 God shall bless us, And all the ends of the earth shall fear Him.
The dictionary definition of praise is the expression of approval or admiration for someone or something.
There are seven Hebrew words translated to the English word praise:
There are three Greek words translated praise in the New Testament
All ten of these words contain the idea of giving thanks and honor to one who is worthy of praise.
The phrase, “when the praises go up the blessings come down”, sounds as if it's a transaction where when I do this, God, now you do that. In the case of our praises of and to God it presupposes that all I have to do is praise Him and He has to bless me because that’s the transaction. What if I rob somebody and then praise God, what if I lie on someone and it causes them harm and then I praise God, will He bless me? That’s not what the Bible says.
God can’t be manipulated into blessing by praise! Praise is empty, and useless if it doesn’t come from the heart. Empty praise isn’t true praise. That’s really what it means when it says that we worship God in spirit and in truth.
John 4:23-24 (NKJV)23 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth."
Nowhere in the Bible does anyone praise God with the intention of being blessed because of their praise. The instances of people praising God isn’t to get anything from Him, but they praise Him for what He had already done for them. They don’t send praises up to be blessed then send them up because they have already been blessed. Their praise and ours should not be a tool to get but thanksgiving for what He has done. In other words don’t praise to get blessed because you are already blessed.
Obedience Brings Blessing
We aren’t blessed because be praise we are blessed because we are obedient.
Joshua 1:8 (NKJV)8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.
Psalm 24:1-5 (NKJV) 1 The earth is the LORD'S, and all its fullness, The world and those who dwell therein.2 For He has founded it upon the seas, And established it upon the waters.3 Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD? Or who may stand in His holy place?4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart, Who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, Nor sworn deceitfully.5 He shall receive blessing from the LORD, And righteousness from the God of his salvation.
It’s pretty simple. We will be successful when you do what the Bible says and obey what it teaches.
Proverbs 10:6-7 (NKJV)6 Blessings are on the head of the righteous, But violence covers the mouth of the wicked.7 The memory of the righteous is blessed, But the name of the wicked will rot.
Here are some examples of blessings;
Genesis 22:18 (NKJV)18 In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice."
Deuteronomy 4:39-40 (NKJV)39 Therefore know this day, and consider it in your heart, that the LORD Himself is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other.40 You shall therefore keep His statutes and His commandments which I command you today, that it may go well with you and with your children after you, and that you may prolong your days in the land which the LORD your God is giving you for all time."
Proverbs 3:1-6 (NKJV)1 My son, do not forget my law, But let your heart keep my commands;2 For length of days and long life And peace they will add to you.3 Let not mercy and truth forsake you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart,4 And so find favor and high esteem In the sight of God and man.5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding;6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.
Proverbs 16:7 (NKJV)7 When a man's ways please the LORD, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.
John 14:23-24 (NKJV)23 Jesus answered and said to him, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.24 He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father's who sent Me.
Matthew 6:33-34 (NKJV)33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
You can count on God’s blessings that obedience brings.
Hebrews 11:1-6 (NKJV)1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.2 For by it the elders obtained a good testimony.3 By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.4 By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks.5 By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, "and was not found, because God had taken him"; for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God.6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
No “when the praise go up the blessings come down” is not in the Bible and there is no promise in the Bible that blessings come from praise. However, there are promises of blessings coming from obedience. The saying should be “when obedience goes up, the blessings come down”. That’s not in the bible either but it really happens.
Praise is not a tool to “get”. It is our response of gratitude for what God has already given.!
READ MY PRAISE BLOG SERIES =======> HERE!
Many of us often wander around with no idea which way we should go. We often struggle with what is the right thing to do in certain situations. At those times Christians and non-Christians fall back on a saying that many people think is in the Bible; “let your conscience be your guide”. It sounds good doesn’t it but no, it’s not in the Bible.
Some of you older folk may have heard it first from Jiminy Cricket in the Disney movie, Pinocchio. Jiminy Cricket sang this to Pinocchio; “Take the strait and narrow path; and if you start to slide -give a little whistle, give a little whistle and always let your conscience be your guide.”
The saying didn’t originate with Jiminy Cricket it really originated as an Islamic saying 1,300 years ago. “Caliph Umas Ibn Al-khattab was the father of one of Muhammad's wives and was the third Muslim Caliph. After conquering Jerusalem, he was returning to Medina where he prayed and gave a message at Jabiah. One of the things Al-Khattab said was: -’And speak the truth. Do not hesitate to say what you consider to be the truth. Say what you feel. Let your conscience be your guide’”
It is true that every person is born with a conscience that tells you the difference between right and wrong.
Proverbs 20:27 (NKJV)27 The spirit of a man is the lamp of the LORD, Searching all the inner depths of his heart.
No one had to tell Adam and Eve that they had sinned.
Genesis 3:7-8 (NKJV)7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.8 And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.
No one had to tell Cain that he had done wrong when he killed Abel.
Genesis 4:9 (NKJV)9 Then the LORD said to Cain, "Where is Abel your brother?" He said, "I do not know. Am I my brother's keeper?"
The word conscience comes from two Latin words, “con”, which means “with” and “science” which means, “to know”. The Greek word translated “conscience” is “suneidesis”, which means, “to know together.” This has the idea of “knowing with ourselves” or “knowing within ourselves.” When it comes to moral decisions, it means to “understand internally”.
“Let your conscience be your guide” is a well-known expression, but not necessarily good advice. When you rely on your conscience to guide moral decisions it’s reliability is dependent on the principles that guide your conscience. If those principles are those of today where the belief is that there is really no right or wrong, “no black or white only shades of gray” then your conscience will set you up for moral failure. On the other hand if your conscience is programmed with God’s word (the Bible), and yielded to the Holy Spirit only then you can depend on it.
God Never Intended For Your Conscience To Guide You
Your conscience judges your actions and decisions, it doesn’t set the standard for them. Your conscience either accuses or excuses sin, it is not a guide to truth.
Romans 2:14-15 (NKJV)14 for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves,15 who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them)
Your conscience can be good.
Hebrews 13:18 (NKJV)18 Pray for us; for we are confident that we have a good conscience, in all things desiring to live honorably.
2 Timothy 1:3 (NKJV)3 I thank God, whom I serve with a pure conscience, as my forefathers did, as without ceasing I remember you in my prayers night and day,
Or your conscience can be guilty, corrupt, and weak.
Hebrews 10:22 (NKJV)22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.
1 Timothy 4:1-2 (NKJV)1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons,2 speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron,
You feel guilty at first but the more you sin the less guilty you feel. If this continues a day may come when you believe that what you’re doing is fine.
The Perfect Guide
Since our conscience is filled with principles from a society where “everything goes” it needs to be cleaned. There is great conflict between those principles and God’s purpose for your conscience which is to serve as a check between right and wrong. God works through the conscience to make you aware of sin. When you go against the check mechanism of your conscience you will develop a “guilty conscience”. The check that God has placed in you causes you to now struggle. The only thing that will end that struggle and then cleanse your “guilty conscience” is a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Hebrews 9:14 (NKJV)14 how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
As faulty as the conscience may be, it is sometimes a good nagging voice that approves or disapproves what you are contemplating doing. You should listen to the voice, but not give it the final say. That belongs to God and God’s Word. -Let Your Conscience Be your Guide? Not Exactly
Once cleansed then look to the Bible, God’s word, not your conscience to guide you.
Psalm 119:9-11 (NKJV)9 How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word.10 With my whole heart I have sought You; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments!11 Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You!
God’s word is consistent and that consistency is the standard by which your conscience can cause you to make good moral decisions.
God’s Word always points to Jesus and He becomes your standard for right and wrong. Moral decisions will no longer be dependent on your conscience because it is unreliable. You don’t decide what is right or wrong on how you feel because feelings are unreliable. God’s Word will guide you in understanding what is right and wrong.
When you become a Christian and allow Jesus Christ to become Lord of you life the Holy Spirit also dwells in the believer and if you are filled and allow Him He leads you in all decisions.
John 16:13 (NKJV) However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.
Only God’s Word is the only consistent standard by which we can live and by which your consciences can make a good judgment. No "let your conscience be your guide" is not in the Bible but the Bible does tell us that it, the Holy Spirit, and Jesus are infallible guides. Follow them and you will never go wrong.
There is a debate that has gone on in the Christian Church for centuries. Should Christians worship on Saturday (“The Sabbath”) or Sunday? I’ve always gone to church for worship on Sunday. Others gather for worship on Saturday. I write 3 different blogs and quite often I am admonished, sometimes severely by believers, for not keeping the Sabbath (Saturday). I’ve been told that I’m disobeying God and His Commandments and I’m going to be punished for worshipping on Sunday. Another thing that I hear is “did God change His mind about keeping the Sabbath holy?” I’ve been told, and after some study believe, that the day that we worship God is not mandated. What is mandated is that we should love the Lord with our heart, soul, mind, and strength.
Mark 12:28-30 (NKJV)28 Then one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, perceiving that He had answered them well, asked Him, "Which is the first commandment of all?"29 Jesus answered him, "The first of all the commandments is: 'Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one.30 And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.' This is the first commandment.
The word "Sabbath" comes from the Hebrew word “Shabath”, which literally means "rest" or "cessation."
After He completed His six days of creation God rested on the seventh day and set it apart as holy. He then required man to rest on the seventh day.
Genesis 2:3 (NKJV) Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.
Exodus 20:8-11 (NKJV)8 "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work,10 but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates.11 For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.
Those who worship on the Sabbath say that Jesus Christ never changed the Sabbath from the seventh day to the first day of the week. They are absolutely right. The commandments to observe the Sabbath was given specifically to the Jews and Jesus, an observant Jew who was under the Mosaic Law, kept the Sabbath.
Exodus 31:17 (NKJV)17 It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever; for in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed.' "
However they sometimes forget what Jesus said about the Sabbath including the fact that He is Lord of the Sabbath.
Mark 2:27-28 (NKJV)27 And He said to them, "The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.28 Therefore the Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath."
The Sabbath regulations were part of God’s covenant with Israel which the Bible and Christians call the Old Covenant. All of the rules, regulations, and commandments, while expected to be followed were meant to lead Israel to Jesus Christ which was the final sacrifice to end the Old Covenant.
Hebrews 10:1-4 (NKJV) For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshipers, once purified, would have had no more consciousness of sins. But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins.
Hebrews 7:18-19 (NKJV) For on the one hand there is an annulling of the former commandment because of its weakness and unprofitableness, for the law made nothing perfect; on the other hand, there is the bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God.
Hebrews 8:7, 13 (NKJV) 7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. 13 In that He says, “A new covenant ,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.
The Law required keeping the Sabbath as part of the overall moral, legal, and sacrificial system by which the Jewish people satisfied God’s requirements for behavior, government, and forgiveness of sins. The Sabbath was part of the Law in that sense. If a person didn’t keep the Sabbath they were in sin and quite often punished.
Exodus 31:14-15 (NKJV) You shall keep the Sabbath, therefore, for it is holy to you. Everyone who profanes it shall surely be put to death; for whoever does any work on it, that person shall be cut off from among his people. Work shall be done for six days, but the seventh is the Sabbath of rest, holy to the Lord . Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death.
But with Jesus’ atonement, we no longer are required to keep the Law as a means for our justification.
Galatians 2:15-16 (NKJV) We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.
The requirements of the Law were fulfilled in Christ. We now have rest from the Law.
Matthew 5:17-20 (NKJV) “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.
Romans 7:4-6 (NKJV) Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another—to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God. For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death. But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.
Even if Christians worship on Saturday, the Sabbath, which is their choice.and there is no condemnation for it, they aren’t really “keeping the Sabbath.” To “keep the Sabbath” as it was required in the Old Testament would involve compliance with stringent regulations.
Exodus 16:23 (NKJV)23 Then he said to them, "This is what the LORD has said: 'Tomorrow is a Sabbath rest, a holy Sabbath to the LORD. Bake what you will bake today, and boil what you will boil; and lay up for yourselves all that remains, to be kept until morning.' "
Exodus 35:3 (NKJV)3 You shall kindle no fire throughout your dwellings on the Sabbath day."
Leviticus 23:32 (NKJV)32 It shall be to you a sabbath of solemn rest, and you shall afflict your souls; on the ninth day of the month at evening, from evening to evening, you shall celebrate your sabbath."
Jeremiah 17:21 (NKJV)21 Thus says the LORD: "Take heed to yourselves, and bear no burden on the Sabbath day, nor bring it in by the gates of Jerusalem;
The early Christians did worship on the Sabbath, and other days of the week. It would be natural for them to do so, because most of them were Jews and they continued to associate with their Jewish brothers.
When Paul traveled from synagogue to synagogue he often preached on the Sabbath. He had to in order to meet with God fearing people. If Gentiles wanted to know more about the God of the Jews and His Son Jesus they had to go where they met which was at the synagogue on the Sabbath. Scripture shows however that the first day of the week, not the seventh ( Sabbath), was the primary day of worship in the Apostolic church.
Acts 20:7-12 (NKJV) Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight. There were many lamps in the upper room where they were gathered together. And in a window sat a certain young man named Eutychus, who was sinking into a deep sleep. He was overcome by sleep; and as Paul continued speaking, he fell down from the third story and was taken up dead. But Paul went down, fell on him, and embracing him said, “Do not trouble yourselves, for his life is in him.” Now when he had come up, had broken bread and eaten, and talked a long while, even till daybreak, he departed. And they brought the young man in alive, and they were not a little comforted.
The missionaries gathered with the believers at Torah on the first day of the week to preach and celebrate the Lord’s Supper This is the earliest clear reference to the Christian practice of observing Sunday as a day of worship. - The Wycliffe Bible Commentary
I Corinthians 16:1-2 (NKJV) Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given orders to the churches of Galatia, so you must do also: On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come.
These two passages indicate that three important things happened on the first day of the week (Sunday), the Lord’s Supper (Communion), preaching, and giving.
Why Do Most Christians Worship On Sunday?
John 20:1 (NKJV) Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb.
Revelation 1:10-11 (NKJV) I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet, saying, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last,” and, “What you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia: to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamos, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.”
Acts 2:1-4 (NKJV)When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
According to the Law, Pentecost came on the first day of the week.
Leviticus 23:15-16 (NKJV) ‘And you shall count for yourselves from the day after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering: seven Sabbaths shall be completed. Count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath; then you shall offer a new grain offering to the Lord .
This same first day of the week Peter delivered the first sermon of the church and the first converts were added, and the first believers baptised.
Acts 2:14, 41 (NKJV) 14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words. 41 Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.
From the start, the church in Jerusalem met every day in the temple courts and gathered to break bread together in private homes.
Acts 2:46-47 (NKJV) So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.
Sunday worship is not commanded in the Bible. The point in all is that we are not to limit our worship to any particular day of the week. Let's look at what the
Romans 14:5-6 (NKJV)5 One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord;[a] and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it. He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he who does not eat, to the Lord he does not eat, and gives God thanks.
These verses suggest that there is personal freedom regarding the observance of holy day.
Colossians 2:16-17 (NKJV)16 So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, 17 which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.
Paul instructs the believers in Colosse not to judge or allow anyone to be their judge regarding Sabbath days.
Galatians 4:8-10 (NKJV) 8 But then, indeed, when you did not know God, you served those which by nature are not gods. 9 But now after you have known God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in bondage? 10 You observe days and months and seasons and years.
Here Paul is concerned because Christians are turning back like slaves to legalistic observances of "special" days.
As we see the Bible doesn’t require that we worship on Saturday or Sunday, for that matter. We have the freedom to worship on the day that we believe we should. No one should judge us in regard to the day we keep. We are free in Christ and not under law.
Romans 6:14 (NKJV) 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
John 1:17 (NKJV) For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
Believers have every right to worship on Saturday or Sunday and they should if they are convinced that is the right thing to do. However, if anyone says to worship on Saturday or Sunday over the other day as a sign of "true" Christianity or "true" redemption, then that is wrong.
Romans 14:10-13 (NKJV) But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written: “ As I live, says the Lord , Every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall confess to God.” So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way.
Your salvation is not tied to the day you choose to worship. Here is all that it takes for you to become saved and a child of God with all the benefits and blessings that come with it.
Romans 10:9-10 (NKJV) that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
John 3:14-16 (NKJV) And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
Romans 10:13 (NKJV) For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
This is what determines salvation not the way that you worship.
This is a departure from my typical post but I attended an event this past weekend and I want to share what I learned about a great way to show the love of God to a child that can impact them for the rest of their lives.
The event took place on Saturday October 1st. Since it’s now October and I know that many of you are already thinking about Christmas. I have a friend that has already sent out invitations to her annual Christmas Eve party. That same friend is already listening to Christmas Music on her Iphone and Ipad. Stores already have Christmas displays up and many are seasonal staff. You are probably trying to figure out what to get your children and grandchildren (if they haven’t already told you), and you are already stressing about what to get your spouse, our special friend, not to mention those gifts for the relatives, to people in the office, on and on and on.
There’s something about Christmas that causes people to want to give to those less fortunate than themselves. There are toy drives like “Toys for Tots”, churches have toy drives, non-secular organizations have toy drives, churches and other organizations have events where they give food, clothes, toys, and other things to those who need them. All of these things are good and something that I believe God is pleased. What many, if not most, of these activities miss however is the real reason that we celebrate Christmas. The real reason is that Jesus Christ the Son of God was born and through Him all mankind, has the opportunity to have a personal relationship with God and be with Him forever. That’s the real reason we celebrate Christmas.
Operation Christmas Child
The event that I attended was that of an organization that brings joy to children who would not otherwise experience the joy of receiving gifts on Christmas. I’m talking about children in third world countries, and in places in those countries that are almost impossible to get to. Children who along with their families have difficulty in scraping out in even meager existence. In some places neither the children or their parents have even heard of Jesus, some even still worship idols.
That organization is Operation Christmas Child a project of Samaritan’s Purse. Samaritan's Purse is an international relief organization headed by Franklin Graham it’s President. Operation Christmas Child gives gift to children in third world countries and they do it in a unique way. The provide a shoe box, yes the kind of box you get when you buy a pair of shoes, full of gifts for children 2-14. The shoe boxes include things like toys, school supplies, and, non-liquid hygiene items They are also given a booklet “The Greatest Gift”. After they get their shoe boxes the children are invited to participate in “The Greatest Journey”, a 12-lesson discipleship program. Participation is completely voluntary, in fact it’s not even mentioned until after the show boxes are distributed.
Many of these children have never received a gift of any kind. At the event I watched a video of a young man who is a former member of Parliament in Grenada, and now a pastor who received a shoebox when he was a young boy. The fact that somebody who didn’t know him loved him so much that they sent this shoebox made such an impact that he attributes it to his desire to help his country but becoming a member of Parliament. The relationship that He developed with Jesus as a result of His salvation through “The Greatest Journey” program has caused him to resign from Parliament and become a pastor. All this from a shoebox from Operation Christmas Child.
There was a young man at the event for somewhere in Central America, I don’t remember the country, who was a shoebox recipient. He like the young man in the video was “blown away” that someone loved him who didn’t know him. In the shoebox that he received 14 years ago there was a Toy Story Woody pull string toy. He still has that toy and showed it to us at the event. There are countless stories of children blessed by the love of those who fill shoeboxes with gifts. Since 1993 Operation Christmas Child has provided 124 million shoeboxes. From the beginning of the Greatest Journey program more than 7.4 million children worldwide have enrolled and 3.3 million have accepted Christ as their Savior. As they say at Operation Christmas Child “That’s the power of a simple gift”.
If you want to bring joy to a young boy or girl who may not get anything for Christmas, or this year for that matter, and at the same time give them the opportunity to know Jesus Christ, who is the “Greatest Gift” filling a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child is an excellent way. Churches throughout the United States participate in various ways, so I’m sure there’s one near you no matter where you are in the country.The national collection period for the shoeboxes is November 14-21, 2016. To locate drop off locations for your shoeboxes go the the Operation Christmas Child website HERE.
Your Shoebox Of Love
To participate all you have to do is get an empty shoebox and fill it with things for a boy or girl 2-14. Here are some suggestions:
For other suggestions visit the Operation Christmas Child website
It costs Operation Chirstmas Child $7 to ship each shoebox anywhere in the world so with your shoebox also give them a donation of $7 for shipping.
Here are some places to get some shoebox gifts, supermarkets, discount stores like the 99 cents store or dollar store, Target, Walmart, when you visit a hotel ask the manager for those small hygiene items. You’ll be surprised at what people might do if you tell someone that you’re collecting things to help make children who would not otherwise have a Merry Christmas, to have one.
This year’s goal is 11 million shoeboxes for children around the world. Just think of that 11 million children who would not otherwise get anything for Christmas and you’ll be helping to spread the gospel through “The Greatest Gift” booklet and “The Greatest Journey” program. You’ll be doing your part in accomplishing the last thing that Jesus said to His disciples just before ascending back to His Father in heaven.
Matthew 28:19-20 (NKJV)19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen.
“That’s the power of a simple gift”.
The Bible may be the most revered book in America, but it's also one of the most misquoted. Politicians, motivational speakers, coaches - all types of people - quote what they believe are passages from the Bible that are not there. For example at a news conference after he was fired as coach of the Chicago Bears Mike Ditka, in tears, said, “Scripture tells you that all things shall pass.” Surprise Mike that is not in the Bible.
The phrase “this too shall pass” is most likely a proverb from around 1200AD. The proverb means that all material conditions, whether good or bad, are transient. This proverb has the ability to make the happy person sad and the sad person happy because of the realization that both the 'best and worst of times' will soon pass.
The legend of the quote finds its roots in the court of a powerful eastern Persian ruler who called his wise men to him, and asked them for one quote that would be accurate at all times and in all situations. The wise men consulted with one another, and came up with the answer ..."this too, shall pass". - Peter Baskerville What is the origin of the phrase this too shall pass
The ruler was so impressed by the quote that he had it inscribed in a ring.
The quote was popular in the first half of the 19th century particularly with the English poet Edward Fitzgerald and was later used in a speech by Abraham Lincoln, in his address to the Wisconsin State Agricultural Society in 1859.
The closest thing to it in the Bible to “this too shall pass” may be ;
2 Corinthians 4:17-18 (NKJV)17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
This too shall pass is something we say to make ourselves feel better when we are going through difficult times. It could be sickness, financial difficulties, relationship problems, work related stress, any number of unpleasant things.
Troubles Are Opportunities
The Bible reminds us that tough times actually produce endurance, character, and a strong hope of salvation, because we know that God loves us.
Romans 5:1-5 (NKJV)1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.3 And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance;4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope.5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
James 1:2-4 (NKJV)2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials,
3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. .
However, when difficult times come it’s hard to keep focus even on God. At those times we need to remind ourselves that whatever is going on is only temporary.
Psalm 34:19 (NKJV)19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the LORD delivers him out of them all.
Each Time…... Really?
What about the believer who dies of cancer without being healed; what about the believer who has financial difficulty after losing a job; what about David whose family was a catastrophe; what about Paul who was martyred; what about Peter who it is said was crucified upside down; what about you and me; what about Jesus?
Jesus was crucified so when was He delivered from all His troubles? He was not delivered until after His death. Jesus’ deliverance came when God raised Him and welcomed Him back to be with Him in heaven.
Our troubles may be sickness, loss of material things, friends, dishonor, and persecution. At times we don’t think that we will be able to bare them. But the Lord will give us the strength to handle them if we let Him.
1 Corinthians 10:13 (NKJV)13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.
He gives us the strength to do it all through Christ.
Philippians 4:11-13 (NKJV)11 Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content:12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Yes the Lord does deliver the righteous from all their troubles but, like Jesus, that complete deliverance may not happen until we are with Him.
2 Corinthians 5:6-8 (NKJV)6 So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord.7 For we walk by faith, not by sight.8 We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.
Yes, Things Will Pass...Eventually
Things will eventually pass just maybe not how or when we want it, but they shall pass.
Revelation 21:1-4 (KJV)1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
In my own past when I was dealing with an issue and God had given me a solution that I didn’t like I just wouldn’t do anything. Instead I said “this too shall pass” rather than obey. I would just sit back and say “I’m still waiting on God He’ll take care of it” or, “God promised” and I would find some real scripture that fit the solution that I wanted and I would just sit back and wait doing nothing. Yes, things did eventually pass but often much later than they would have had I obeyed and some of the passing wasn’t pretty, Sometimes the passing was very ugly.
No, “this too shall pass” is not in the Bible but, everything, the good, the bad, and the ugly will all pass. God is the only constant. He and His love are the only things that will never pass. Only God is forever and we are called to place our trust in Him because He will never leave or forsake us.
Deuteronomy 31:6 (NKJV)6 Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you."
I’ll end with the lyrics of a song by Yolanda Adams
“This Too Shall Pass”
In the middle of the turbulence surrounding you
These trying times that are so hard to endure
In the middle of what seems to be your darkest hour
Hold fast your heart and be assured
This too shall pass
Like every night that's come before it
He'll never give you more than you can bear
This too shall pass
So in this thought be comforted
It's in His Hands
This too shall pass
The Father knows the tears you cry before they fall
He feels your pain, His heart and yours are one
The Father knows that sorrow's heavy chains are strong
But with His strength, you'll overcome
This too shall pass
Like every night that's come before it
He'll never give you more than you can bear
This too shall pass
So in this thought be comforted
It's in His Hands
This too shall pass
So set your eyes upon the mountain
And lift your hands up to the sky
And let His arms of love surround you
And take you to the other side
This too shall pass
Like every night that's come before it
He'll never give you more than you can bear
This too shall pass
So in this thought be comforted
It's in His Hands
This too shall pass
Donald Jacobs is an ordained minister with the spiritual gift of teaching. He is the Associate Pastor of a non-denominational church in Los Angeles, CA.