THE DIVINE PATTERN

 

Many times, small congregations like ours do not fully understand that there are many men and women the Lordís church abroad that want to change the way that we worship, and they want us to change our views on things that have been taught since the first century.

 

These change agents, as they are usually called, try to infect the thoughts of Christians with the idea that there is no divine pattern in the Bible and we have the right to change things to fit our culture or whatever we deem necessary to attract more people.

 

To reject the idea that God has given us a divine pattern to follow is to reject the Scriptures themselves because they clearly teach that we are to follow Godís Word. For example, Paul told Timothy:

 

2 Timothy 1:13 Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.

 

Thayer defines this word pattern as true and incorrupt doctrine, Paul says there is a divine pattern while the change agents say there is not. The writer of Hebrews quotes what God says to Moses in:

 

Hebrews 8:5 For He said, "See that you make all things according to the pattern shown you on the mountain."

 

The writer was using this to show that their was divine pattern that Moses had to follow and there is a divine pattern for us to follow under the new covenant. Notice what Paul tells the Christians at Rome:

 

Romans 6:17 But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered.18 And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.

 

This teaches us that there was a pattern of doctrine these Christians could obey that would make them saved. Therefore, there is a pattern for being saved. The Christians at Thessalonica were commanded in name of our Lord Jesus Christ to:

 

2 Thessalonians 3:6 ††withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which he received from us.

 

If there is no divine pattern and we are free to change the way we worship God and we are free to change our beliefs to fit our culture, then how could Paulís words be true? They couldnít, but they are true because the traditions he speaks of are not manmade, but God made, and God wants us to hold fast to His pattern. After all Jesus said:

 

Matthew 7:21 " Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.

 

How can we do the will of Father in heaven if we do not have a divine pattern to follow? We cannot. But, the careful Bible student can see from Scripture that we do have a divine pattern we can go to, and it is not lacking and there is no room for improvement on our part. As Paul said:

 

2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

 

Those who want to change the way we worship must rip these verses from their Bible because Paul has just taught us that we can be complete and thoroughly equipped for every good work. As Peter adds:

 

2 Peter 1:2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord,3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue

 

Everything we need to know about being pleasing to God and living a Christian life is provided to us through Godís Word. The word knowledge in our verse is not talking about a general knowledge, but a precise and correct knowledge, because Godís Word goes in-depth to teaches everything we need to know to be saved as John said:

 

John 20:30 And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book;31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.

 

Notice another warning from Paul:

 

Romans 16:17 Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them.18 For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple.

 

If there is not a divine pattern, how could we ever note anyone or accuse someone of being contrary to the doctrine which we learned? Paul says the reason someone would want to do things their way and change Godís divine pattern is for the their own belly.

 

Those who want to change things are always doing it for themselves for one reason or another. Some do it for financial gain, others do it because they are to prideful to admit their way is wrong, other do it to make themselves powerful. Of course, some try to make changes so they increase attendance because numbers are more important to them than Godís truth.

 

Peter tells us that Jesus left us a example to follow in:

 

1 Peter 2:21 For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps:

 

Jesus did not give us a perfect example of being obedient to the Fatherís will so that we could do what we want to. No, He wants us to follow His example by being obedient to the Divine will of God.

 

Students of the O.T. know that when God commanded Moses to build Him a tabernacle, He said:

 

Exodus 25:9 "According to all that I show you, that is, the pattern of the tabernacle and the pattern of all its furnishings, just so you shall make it.

 

Since God gave the children of Israel specific patterns to follow under the Old Covenant do really think that God would not give us a specific pattern to follow under the new covenant? Of course not. The reason we need such a pattern is because as Jeremiah said:

 

Jeremiah 10:23 O LORD, I know the way of man is not in himself; It is not in man who walks to direct his own steps.

 

All of these verses teach us that God has given us a divine pattern to follow, and He expects us to follow that pattern. The Word of God will not fail us and it will never go away as Jesus said:

 

Matthew 24:35 "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.

 

We are specifically taught not add to it or take away from it in following verses:

 

1 Corinthians 4:6 Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively transferred to myself and Apollos for your sakes, that you may learn in us not to think beyond what is written,

 

Deuteronomy 12:32 "Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it.

 

Galatians 1:8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.

 

Revelation 22:18 For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book;19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

 

It does not matter whether you look at the O.T. the N.T., God does not want man messing with His Word. We have no right change Godís message, and if we, do we will face the consequences. We need to teach these change agents that we will be judged by the divine pattern found in our Bibles. As:

 

John 12:48 "He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him -- the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day.

 

2 Thessalonians 1:7 when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels,8 in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.9 These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power,

 

There is nothing difficult about understanding the verses we have been looking at. Those who love the Lord should never allow change agents to muddy up all these clear passages that show we have a divine pattern we are to follow. The change agents have to pursued Christians into believing that Godís Word does not exclude whatever manmade teaching they are trying to push, which is why it is so important that we never lose site of knowing Godís Word. If we know what it says, and the elders of a congregation are well versed in the Bible, as per their qualifications, then the change agents do not stand a chance.

 

Another area the change agents use to attack the Word of God is to say that the Bible is silent on certain matters, whatever it may be, therefore we can do it or not do it. Many use this argument on using musical instruments in the worship service because there is not a passage that specifically says do not use musical instruments. But this idea is flawed and show disrespect for the silence of the Scriptures.

 

In order for us to see that we must respect the silence of the Scriptures, we could look at our passage in:

 

1 Corinthians 4:6 Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively transferred to myself and Apollos for your sakes, that you may learn in us not to think beyond what is written,

 

Or we could look at the verses that tells us not to add to or take away from the Bible. These verses alone teach that we should respect the silence of the Scriptures and it certainly reasonable for us to understand that if the Bible had to specifically mention every single thing that we cannot do, then we could easily do all kinds of things based on that logic. As one preacher said:

 

If it were the case that anything not expressly forbidden in the New Testament is permissible in the Christian religion, then we could not only use pianos to accompany our singing but beads to aid our prayers, crucifixes to focus our devotion, and hashish (Purified resinous extract of the hemp plant; used as a hallucinogen) to enhance our sensitivity. We could also initiate an organizational network similar to that which has been protested so strongly in Catholicism or begin financing church projects with bingo games (where legal) on Tuesday evenings. Not one of these things is explicitly forbidden in the New Testament, and no one who denies the legitimacy of the authority principle as outlined above can consistently argue against any of them.

 

When we really think about it, ignoring the silence of the Scriptures would open the door to just about anything you would want to do. Letís look at a few examples that show when God commands something, He excludes everything else.

 

In the O.T., God was very specific about what kind of fire He wanted the priest to use to burn incense. It was to come from the alter of sacrifice in the court outside the tabernacle. As:

 

Leviticus 16:12 "Then he shall take a censer full of burning coals of fire from the altar before the LORD,

 

Now notice:

 

Leviticus 10:1 Then Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it, put incense on it, and offered profane fire before the LORD, which He had not commanded them.2 So fire went out from the LORD and devoured them, and they died before the LORD.

 

God did not specifically say they could not use a different fire because He did not have to. When He said the fire was to come from that alter, He excluded everything else and Nadab and Abihu found out that the silence of Scripture must be respected.

 

Another example comes from when David ordered the Ark of the covenant to be carried to Jerusalem. It was placed on an ox cart, which was being driven by those were not Levites, but when the ox stumbled the ark was about to fall so Uzzah reached out to steady it and he was struck dead by God (1 Chr. 13:6-10). David was shocked by this and he stopped the procession to find out why God did it. Well, we find out later that he realized that the ark had not transported correctly because he says:

 

1 Chronicles 15:2 Then David said, "No one may carry the ark of God but the Levites, for the LORD has chosen them to carry the ark of God and to minister before Him forever."

 

1 Chronicles 15:12 He said to them, "You are the heads of the fathers' houses of the Levites; sanctify yourselves, you and your brethren, that you may bring up the ark of the LORD God of Israel to the place I have prepared for it.13 "For because you did not do it the first time, the LORD our God broke out against us, because we did not consult Him about the proper order."14 So the priests and the Levites sanctified themselves to bring up the ark of the LORD God of Israel.15 And the children of the Levites bore the ark of God on their shoulders, by its poles, as Moses had commanded according to the word of the LORD.

 

There was nothing in the Scripture specifically forbidding the ark from being transported on a cart, but when God had commanded earlier

 

Exodus 25:14 "You shall put the poles into the rings on the sides of the ark, that the ark may be carried by them.

 

This command excluded the ark being transported on a cart or any other way because when God commands something He excludes everything else without specifically listing ways that it cannot be done. Not only was the ark transported wrong, it was not transported by Levites.

 

Now letís move to the NT.

 

In Hebrew 8:4, we learn that Jesus could not be a priest while he was on the earth. The reason is because He was not from the tribe of Levi, but of the tribe of Judah.

 

Hebrews 7:14 For it is evident that our Lord arose from Judah, of which tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning priesthood.

 

Moses was silent about men from Judah being able to serve the priesthood, but Moses did not have to mention the tribe of Judah and the priesthood because they were exclude along with every other tribe, when God said:

 

Exodus 28:1"Now take Aaron your brother, and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel, that he may minister to Me as priest

 

There are many other examples we could use to show that the silence of Scriptures matter, but one of the most powerful ways to show it is by using the Lordís Supper because the Lordís Supper, for the most part it held as being sacred even to the change agents. If you ask them if would be ok to substitute the fruit of the vine with kool-aid or some other drink and to change the bread to meat or something other than bread, they would say no you cannot do that. But when you ask them why not, then they will forced to say that you must respect the silence of the Scriptures because Godís does not specifically say that you cannot use some other drink or food as a substitute. If the change agents want to use the silence of Scriptures to push their agenda, then they have to agree that the Lordís Supper can be altered. But they wont do that because they can understand that when God said use unleavened bread and the fruit of the vine that He excluded everything else.

 

Of course, this is no different when it comes to the use of musical instruments because God commands us to sing Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16. When He commanded us to sing, He excluded everything else including using musical instruments. If the silence of Scriptures can apply to the Lord Supper, it must apply to the use of musical instruments or anything else has God commanded because we must respect what God has commanded and not try add things to what He has said.

 

So, as the old saying goes let us speak where the Bible speaks and let us be silent where the Bible is silent. I hope that we never have to deal with change agents in our congregations, but even if they come, if we will prepare ourselves by being well versed in the divine pattern found in our Bibles, the change agents will not stand a chance.

 

Adapted in part from John Waddey Sacred Principles on which we Stand.