Religious Reformation PDF Print E-mail
Written by Kris Brewer   
Friday, 22 October 2010 19:46

Recently, we have been studying the Minor Prophets in our Adult Bible study on Sunday mornings. We recently started a study of the prophet Micah. As I was preparing to teach this lesson, I came upon a quote by Homer Hailey in his commentary on the Minor Prophets. He was commenting on the nature of the people during the time of Micah, and how they were not what they should have been, even though they had some pretty good kings (such as Jotham and Hezekiah). Hailey's analysis on the matter was this:

 

"Micah seems not to have been very deeply impressed with these reforms. Religion had become a matter of form with the people; ceremonial observances were thought to meet all religious requirements. The reform was not from the deep recesses of the heart. There was widespread misapprehension that as long as the external acts of worship were scrupulously performed the people were entitled to the divine favor and protection."

Homer Hailey, A Commentary on the Minor Prophets, (Religious Supply, 2000), 189.

 

 

Hailey's observation is one that could probably be made for many people today! Religion has certainly become a matter of form for many people, with some type of ceremonial observance being more important than being truly obedient to God. To a greater extent (at least in the denominational world) we can see those ceremonial observances being things that are completely foreign to the word of God. There have been additions made to the instructions left to us by God, which many believe must be accepted just because they are offered to Him. In reality, we need to understand that these "ceremonies" are not going to save our souls and they are not going to force God to accept our worship or service.

 

To hit a bit closer to home, I believe that many in the Lord's church have expressed the same kind of idea as the children of Israel in Micah's day. They have determined that the ceremonial action of taking the Lord's Supper is essentially the sole determinant of their faithfulness before God! I have seen professed Christians rush in to a church building at the moment that they knew the Lord's Supper would be offered, partake of it, and then rush out (completely ignoring the rest of the assembly, and their responsibilities to worship in other ways). They had determined that, on the whole, the things they had planned were of more importance than worshiping the the Lord, but they felt obligated to partake of the Lord's Supper! They obviously believed that the fulfillment of that "ceremonial observance" allowed them to meet all of their "religious requirements."

 

While partaking of the Lord's Supper is indeed a very important responsibility of the modern church, we should never get to the point that we think of such practices as some kind of a ceremonial marker to faithfulness. Faithful Christians will partake of the Lord's Supper, but partaking of the Lord's Supper is not what makes one a faithful Christian! There are buildings full of people who will take the Lord's Supper, but are not faithful to God's word! We need to make sure that we are not only doing what we ought (fulfilling the practices that are required) but that we are doing them for the right reasons! If we offer our sacrifice for the wrong reasons, then we are no better off than the children of Israel who offered their burnt offerings, but then turned around and served the false gods as well.

 

God is no way required, or obligated to accept our worship. Only when we present to Him what He has asked for will he accept it. We must not succumb to the idea that we can present to God whatever makes us feel good, whatever we desire for our own selfish ambitions, and He will accept it without question. He has revealed His mind for one reason: So that we will know what to do, and how to do it. This is the only way that we can be pleasing to Him!

 

So, if we are going to be "religious reformers," directing men today back to the practices and teachings of the New Testament church, we must dedicate ourselves to true reform. We must make changes in the "deep recesses of the heart," committing ourselves to God on every level. Just going through the motions is not going to cut it! It is our obligation to seek out the will of God, and put all that He requires into practice. Do not fool yourself into believing that there is a simple checklist that identifies you as being faithful. There is an obligation to live a life for God, not just perform a few repetitive tasks! See Romans 12:1-2.

Last Updated on Friday, 22 October 2010 19:52
 

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This is the personal page of Kris Brewer, who currently works with the Gallatin Valley church of Christ in Bozeman, Montana.

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