Bless the Lord, O my soul,   
And all that is within me,   
bless His holy name.   
Bless the Lord, O my soul,   
And forget none of His benefits.   
- Psalms 103:1-2   
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Is It Written?

In God's word He tells us what to do, what not to do and also provides us with examples on a lot of issues.  One thing is for sure, He gave us all we need pertaining to life and Godliness (2 Peter 1:3).  So, if we can't find it in His word, we don't need it and it is not of faith.  And if it is not of faith, it is sin (Romans 14:23).

            More often God gives us commands of what He wants us to do through His word.  As Donnie reminded us Sunday, when God gives us instruction, many times that is all we are given; how we are to do something.  The Bible is not an exhaustive collection of everything we are not to do.  When all we have is a command on a subject, then that is what we are to do in order to be pleasing to God.  We are not allowed to add to or take away from what God commands simply because It does not say we can't.  God tells us to sing, so we sing only.  God tells us what to do on the first day of the week when we come together so we do that, EVERY first day of the week.

            In some instances God also gave us command of what not to do.  Sometimes the "do nots" are commands that stand alone but sometime they are associated with contrasting commands of what to do.  These are easier for many to accept because they further eliminate things that are not commanded to do.  For example, in our relationships God tells us what we must do, love one another.  He further warns us what not to do, mistreat one another and many other different offenses.  When we harmonize, we can see that love is not an option. No where does it say we only have to treat someone with love if they treat us the way we think they should.  God gives us no way out of loving one another and we can't create one.  Feeling we have the right to treat others as we deem appropriate is adding to God's word.  We can't allow ourself an excuse that is not written.  When there is a command to do something along with a command of what not to do, this makes it easier for many.

            God also gives us examples.  Examples of good and bad Christians, masters, servants, leaders, kings, husbands, wives and on and on. These examples show us both his word in action and how we fail to obey.  We see what God approved of and what He disapproved of through these examples and they help clarify many aspects that we may otherwise have questions about.

            Most all of the religious world agrees that on many subjects God gives us instruction and they do not disagree that it is the safest and most acceptable option; however, when God's way is not preferred, they simply add to, take away or alter things to suit what they desire and enter into the world of the unwritten.  They base this on the fact there is no command restricting them.  This way of thinking renders all God's instruction to the interpretation of man and thus we have divisions.  You see, we don't usually disagree on what is written, we disagree on what is not written.  This now afflicts the church and is why we see the Church following the same paths that the world around us is taking.  We can't let the world pull us into the realm of the unwritten.

            The falling away by the Church is most prevalent in the acts of worship, church structure, women's roles and marriage.  Therefore, we find the universal church falling into spiritual illness along with the world.  The church is being pulled into worldly worship, gays in the church, husband and wife ministers, women elders and states of marriage not defined or found in God's word just to mention a few.  Things that there are no commands for, no examples of and many that are commanded against.

            We can rest assured that if we are doing what God tells us to do, not doing what God tells us not to do, following closely the examples He recorded for us and staying away from the unwritten, we are going to be found acceptable in his sight.  We must purpose in our hearts that our generation will guard against this falling into the world and leave the church healthier than when we came into it for the next generation.  We are trusted with Christ's bride and must keep it spotless and pure.

- Marc Hopkins