Monday, February 22, 2016

Judgment Must Begin in the House of God

The Apostle Peter wrote in his first epistle:  "judgment must begin at the house of God" (4:17).  We can talk about what is going on in the world, but the world is not responsible like the church is, which is why judgment begins there first.  The church can't expect the world to change, if it won't change.

What does God expect?  God expects everything that He said to do.  If God expects everything He said to do, then He would especially expect it of the church.  The standard has always been to do everything that God said to to do.
Exodus 15:26, "keep all his statutes"
Exodus 23:22, "if thou shalt indeed obey his voice, and do all that I speak; then I will be an enemy unto thine enemies, and an adversary unto thine adversaries"
Exodus 31:11, "according to all that I have commanded thee shall they do."
Leviticus 10:11, "teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the LORD hath spoken unto them"
Leviticus 19:37, "observe all my statutes, and all my judgments, and do them: I am the LORD"
Leviticus 20:22, "keep all my statutes, and all my judgments, and do them: that the land, whither I bring you to dwell therein, spue you not out"
Leviticus 26:14, "do all these commandments" and 26:16, "do all my commandments"
Numbers 15:22, "observe all these commandments, which the LORD hath spoken unto Moses,
Numbers 15:39, "remember all the commandments of the LORD, and do them," and 15:40, "remember, and do all my commandments, and be holy unto your God"
Deuteronomy 5:29, "fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever!" 5:31, "all the commandments, and the statutes, and the judgments . . . do them" and 5:33, "Ye shall walk in all the ways which the LORD your God hath commanded you"
Deuteronomy 6:2, "fear the LORD thy God, to keep all his statutes and his commandments, which I command thee, thou, and thy son, and thy son's son, all the days of thy life" and 6:24, "the LORD commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the LORD our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as it is at this day" and 6:25, "observe to do all these commandments before the LORD our God, as he hath commanded us"
Deuteronomy 8:1, "All the commandments which I command thee this day shall ye observe to do, that ye may live"
Deuteronomy 11:8, "keep all the commandments which I command you this day, that ye may be strong" and 11:22, "diligently keep all these commandments which I command you, to do them" and 11:32, "observe to do all the statutes and judgments which I set before you this day"
Deuteronomy 12:14, "do all that I command thee"
Deuteronomy 15:5, "carefully hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all these commandments which I command thee this day"
Deuteronomy 17:19, "keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them"
Deuteronomy 19:9, "keep all these commandments to do them, which I command thee this day"
Deuteronomy 26:18, "keep all his commandments"
Deuteronomy 27:1, "Keep all the commandments which I command you this day"
Deuteronomy 28:1, "hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day" and 28:15, "hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes" and 28:58, "do all the words of this law that are written in this book"
Deuteronomy 29:29, "do all the words of this law"
Deuteronomy 30:8, "obey the voice of the LORD, and do all his commandments"
Deuteronomy 31:5, "do unto them according unto all the commandments which I have commanded you" and 31:12, "do all the words of this law"
Deuteronomy 32:46, "command your children to observe to do, all the words of this law"
1 Kings 6:12, "keep all my commandments to walk in them"
1 Kings 8:58, "incline our hearts unto him, to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments"
1 Kings 9:4, "do according to all that I have commanded thee"
1 Kings 11:38, "hearken unto all that I command thee"
2 Kings 17:13, "Turn ye from your evil ways, and keep my commandments and my statutes, according to all the law which I commanded your fathers"
1 Chronicles 28:8, "keep and seek for all the commandments of the LORD your God"
1 Chronicles 29:19, "do all these things"
2 Chronicles 33:8, "take heed to do all that I have commanded them, according to the whole law and the statutes and the ordinances"
Nehemiah 10:29, "observe and do all the commandments of the LORD our Lord, and his judgments and his statutes"
Psalm 119:6, "Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments"
Ezekiel 18:21, "keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die"
Luke 1:6, "they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless"
Even if you didn't read all of the above portions of verses of scripture, you know that this is the message of God's Word.  These are just ones that use the word "all" in them.  Many, many others teach to do what God says, implying that it means everything.  Related verses communicate the same expectations.
Genesis 31:16, "whatsoever God hath said unto thee, do"
Deuteronomy 8:3, "man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live" -- Jesus repeated this in Matthew 4:4.
These might look like what Jesus gave in His Great Commission in Matthew 28:20, "Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world."

At the beginning of His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said (Matthew 5:17-19):
17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. 19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
God still expects men to do everything that He said to do.  It is said of the person who led the eight surviving people onto the ark, while the other eight billion perished:
Genesis 6:22, "Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he."
Genesis 7:5, "And Noah did according unto all that the LORD commanded him."
There were certain high points in the nation Israel.
Leviticus 8:36, "So Aaron and his sons did all things which the LORD commanded by the hand of Moses."
Numbers 1:54, And the children of Israel did according to all that the LORD commanded Moses, so did they.
Numbers 2:34, "And the children of Israel did according to all that the LORD commanded Moses"
Joshua 22:2, "And said unto them, Ye have kept all that Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, and have obeyed my voice in all that I commanded you"
John 8:29 characterizes the life Jesus lived on earth, according to Him:
And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.
Everything Jesus did pleased God the Father.  We know later that this is how Jesus sanctified Himself (John 17:17-19).  Jesus set Himself apart by doing everything that His Father wanted Him to do.  That is the righteousness that He lived.

What I'm expressing to you that is very obvious in the Word of God is no longer the standard of a vast majority of churches in the world, including in the United States.  Even very conservative churches expect their people to keep only the essentials or what they say is important, which is a shrinking list. They do not strive to keep everything God said.

Someone might say, "Aren't we saved by grace though?  We don't have to keep everything He said, do we?"  The new covenant is not about transgressing what God commanded.  No, God gave the new covenant as a means of keeping what God said.  What man could not do on His own under the law, he can by the grace of God and His indwelling Spirit.

Very, very few churches expect their people to obey everything God says in His Word.  Disobedient brethren are very seldom held accountable for disobedience to Scripture.  Churches and their leaders build unity around ignoring large swaths of the Bible.   They won't even deal with it.  They get together based upon a minimization of doctrine in order to hold together a coalition.

If churches do not expect themselves to obey God's Word, how can they expect the world to do that? How can the church judge the world for what it does or doesn't do, when the church itself won't do what God said?  Judgment must begin in the house of God.

I'm going to continue soon in the series I started last week (now two parts).  However, this week on Wednesday, Lord-willing, I will continue this post by giving examples of how churches, even so-called conservative ones today, don't care about everything that God said.


Kent Brandenburg said...

Nobody thinks this is talking about anybody. Are we convinced that people think everything God says is important? I don't think so. Churches are built on making unpopular things unimportant. They are important to God, but deemed non-essentials. This is everywhere in evangelicalism and fundamentalism.

I'm naming names on Wednesday.

Pastor Tom said...

Church discipline is no longer practiced in the vast majority of churches because it would interfere with their people building program. I am one of the fortunate one's in that I belong to a church that still hold's all our members accountable. Having gone through a church discipline a few years back it is a heart wrenching but necessary doctrine.

Jonathan Speer said...

Great article! (I've been thoroughly enjoying all of your recent series, but haven't had much of a chance to comment lately.)

Our pastor began a series on families and friendships in the church last night with and introductory message which he entitled "Embrace the Tension." His remarks were in regards to the tension that is caused by the gap between God's standard, as it is set forth in scripture, and the reality we tend to live and practice as imperfect. (He didn't teach that we should like that there is a gap.)

He demonstrated from scripture and some current events how folks tend to want to relieve the tension caused by disobedience by doing one of two things: 1. Redefine the standard or 2. Abandon the standard. Instead, we should embrace the tension as a source of conviction from God that helps us to identify areas where we are disobedient and to identify the mark we should be pressing toward.

Sadly, I see redefinition and abandonment of God's truth as two prevailing responses to sound doctrine in many churches, not just as a problem among the unsaved.

Bobby Mitchell said...

Amen to the article. Disunity is acceptable in churches today. It is considered normal. According to the Bible, though, it is abnormal. When Paul saw it in Corinth, for instance, he rebuked it and lovingly, but strongly, demanded they get unified. Ditto for Philippi and Ephesus. A church should strive to be one in Purpose, Plan, and Practice and just as unified as the Godhead is. Yes, we are all growing, repenting, etc. but carrying on as if a group of people with all different beliefs and practices is ok with the Lord is opposite of Scripture.


"Very, very few churches expect their people to obey everything God says in His Word. "

Hello brothers,
I have an honest question. How do you reconcile the above quote with Peter's statement in Acts 15:10?

We meet in our home with 3 other homeschooling families, practice head covering and sing songs a cappella so I'm not asking the above for license.


Kent Brandenburg said...

Thanks for all the positive comments.


I don't understand what you are asking.


Good AM Bro.,
Are we to obey the Law of Moses? Just the Moral?, then that is not "everything God says in His Word." It also seems like the Jerusalem elders' letter response was not only talking about ceremonial (i.e abstain from fornication.)

Kent Brandenburg said...

Hi John,

I don't want to go off on this as a subject, but it is worth considering though, so I'm fine with that. Do you have a verse that says, "We don't have to obey everything"? Or, "We have to obey some"? Not everything was written to everyone. Paul said, "Drink no more water," to Timothy. I still drink water. That doesn't mean I don't keep the spirit of what Paul wrote Timothy. We are literally keeping it all by keeping the spirit. That includes physically keeping the entire moral law. The ceremonial is fulfilled in Christ, so we keep that by receiving Him. I've written about this here or perhaps at jackhammer. I've preached on it. It isn't the point of the post if you read the entire post, taking it as a whole.

Do you think we aren't keeping the whole law if we don't offer animal sacrifices, or do you we practice that by receiving Jesus Christ?


Hi sir,
Thanks for the reply.
No sir, there is no verse in the Bible that says we don't have obey everything or just obey some.

I don't think we should offer animal sacrifice to keep the whole law.

I, with Peter, don't think we can or ever will keep the whole law. Yes, receiving Jesus who was the only one to ever obey everything God said is the only way.

My only small point is that it smacks of sinless perfectionism. How are we doing obey Loving God with all out heart, mind, soul and strength? How are we doing at being quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to wrath?

Kent Brandenburg said...


If sin is the transgression of the law, are you saying we have liberty to sin? We sin, but we confess it and have an advocate with the father. That's not perfectionism.


No sir, we don't have liberty to sin. I mentioned that above.
I guess I am addressing the gulf between expectations and reality.