Paul continues his crusade to help people to understand the freedom they now have since Jesus fulfilled the law. New converts then and now are not compelled to travel to Jerusalem and make sacrifices each year nor are we expected to meet any requirements of the law. We are required to love the Lord, our God, with all our heart, strength, mind and body. If we do this, we will see changes in our lifestyle. Not because of some written laws but because the love of God constrains us. We respond to the love of God. It is His love for us that keeps us.
2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.–Hebrews 12:2 (NASB)
6 For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.—Philippians 1:6 (NASB)
Our focus is not to be on requiring others to take communion as often as we do or if they worship more reverently or loudly than we do (I could go on but you get the picture). We should be focused on making disciples that obey Jesus because they love Him, not in making clones that worship and/or serve like we do.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
God appointed Aaron, the brother of Moses, to be the first high priest of the Jewish nation. After Moses followed God’s instructions in anointing Aaron and his sons, Aaron was then able to offer the prescribed sacrifices to God, Everything offered had to be without blemish or the sacrifice was not acceptable. These were offered on the altar and when they were offered properly, God would accept them as a sweet smelling sacrifice and forgive the sins of the people. Aaron understood the weakness of the people and their inability to refrain from disobedience. He suffered from the same weakness. (Read Exodus 32 for that story). So he could have empathy and compassion on the people as he offered the sacrifices for both his and their sins. This was a temporary fix that God allowed until a true sacrifice could be given.There is no remission of sin without the shedding of blood, Since sin came into the world through the disobedience of the first man, Adam, complete permanent remission of sin would have to wait on the sacrifice of a perfect man, Jesus Christ.
In the Old Testament, God established certain traditions and feasts for His people to observe at specific times of the year. He had very specific rules as to how the sacrifices were to be prepared and offered. These things were shadows of the sacrificial work of Jesus in the New Testament. But as time went by, the ruling religious class added thousand of rules to what God had given. These additional rules are why Jesus rebuked the Sadducees and the Pharisees. They laid too heavy a burden on the people. Jesus fulfilled the law and many of the prophecies of the Old Testament. We are no longer required to observe all the feasts and traditions. Jesus gave us a very simple plan of salvation. But, just as corruption came into the old law because of prideful humans, it has crept into the plan that Jesus gave us. False prophets have arisen and they go about preaching all kinds of requirements that Jesus does not place on us. Study and meditate on the Scriptures daily so that you are not taken captive by such drivel. The path is narrow and the way is straight, stay on the true path guided by God’s Holy Spirit.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
God does not accept false worship. You know, the kind of worship where you are watching the clock and waiting for it to strike high noon. Just as he was upset with the Israelites about performing sacrifices only for tradition’s sake, He doesn’t like halfhearted worship. He wants our full attention and He deserves it. God inhabits the praises of His people. But not that shallow stuff. 3 songs, prayer, collection, sermon, prayer and we are good for the week. Not so, my brothers and sisters. God has something to say to us, give Him your time and your full attention. He is looking at your heart. Have you falsely accused? Have you caused someone else to have to carry a part of your load? Have you encouraged anyone today? Have you given any charitable donations or worked in a local ministry to feed or clothe the poor and needy? If not, then God does not consider that you have worshiped Him properly. Humble yourself before the Lord and ask Him to show you where he needs you to work in His kingdom. Practice this and you will look forward to meeting with the Lord anytime, anywhere. Then the joy of your salvation will be restored.
We are foreigners and aliens here on earth this is not our home. We are citizens of heaven. God has chosen to leave us here for a while to be ambassadors for Christ.
20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. — 2 Cor. 5:20 NIV
An ambassador is a person who has been sent from his home country to a foreign country as an official representative. God has chosen each of us, individually and specifically, to represent Him while we are here. A really good ambassador always speaks highly of his home country and its leader(s). In other words, he heaps praise upon them. He does everything in his power to try to get visitors to come to his country. That is our job. We want to get people to do more than visit our country (Heaven), we want them to stay for eternity. We do that by praising God continuously and telling others about the amazing love and grace of our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. We show them what a wonderful thing it is to accept Christ by our praise, prayers and our walk. Jesus went about doing good and that is our example. We need to share with others and that takes time and effort. God is extremely pleased when we sacrifice our time and resources to honor Him. Investing our time and resources into harvesting a soul for Jesus is a high profit endeavor. The blessings will start here and the rewards will continue into eternity. There is no other investment that will pay those kind of high dividends for eternity. Practice being a good ambassador for Christ. The rewards are out of this world!
12 And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.– Rev. 22:12 KJV
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
13 It was nearly time for the Jewish Passover celebration, so Jesus went to Jerusalem.14 In the Temple area he saw merchants selling cattle, sheep, and doves for sacrifices; he also saw dealers at tables exchanging foreign money. 15 Jesus made a whip from some ropes and chased them all out of the Temple. He drove out the sheep and cattle, scattered the money changers’ coins over the floor, and turned over their tables. 16 Then, going over to the people who sold doves, he told them, “Get these things out of here. Stop turning my Father’s house into a marketplace!” 17 Then his disciples remembered this prophecy from the Scriptures: “Passion for God’s house will consume me.”—John 2:13-17 (NLT)
Jesus celebrated the Passover according to Jewish law, because He had not yet been crucified as the “Lamb that takes away all sin”. Jesus was a great reformer, cleansing the temple of the illicit trade business was one of the first acts of His reformation. These people who were selling these animals in the temple were making a mockery of the sacrificial rites. According to the law, the animals were killed outside at the door of the Temple. (See Leviticus: 1-3). Parts of the animals would make the Temple area unclean. This disrespect for His Father’s house was what angered Jesus and caused His immediate reaction. Where is our passion level on keeping the “temple of God” pure? Do we cast down every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God? Are we filled with righteous indignation when we see others being mistreated? What does God expect of us? 8 He has told you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justice, to love kindness,
And to walk humbly with your God?—Micah 6:8 (NASB)
22 But Samuel replied, “What is more pleasing to the Lord: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams.
23 Rebellion is as sinful as witchcraft, and stubbornness as bad as worshiping idols. So because you have rejected the command of the Lord, he has rejected you as king.”—1 Samuel 15:22-23 (NLT)
When our plans go awry or when we are having a bad day, do we stop and consider that perhaps what we are doing in not pleasing to the Lord? Maybe our failures have more to do with our reasons for doing something than we want to believe. Saul was doing a “good” thing, but because he didn’t complete it as God had instructed, it was not a “God” thing. We start down the Godly path but then we see something that the flesh desires and we hang on to that instead of God. That “thing” or “person” becomes our “god” because we desired it or them more than we desired God. When this happens we are guilty of rebellion and stubbornness. Just as this led Saul to worship idols later in his life, so will our rebellion lead us into idol worship. We would deny that we have idols in our lives, but most every home is full of the signs and symbols of who our “gods” really are.