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July 15, 2012
Fourfold Responsibility to God
For this writer to attemptto write in a single short article, the sum of one’s responsibility to Jehovah God, would be foolish. However, one may summarize under four headings what those responsibilities are.
Responsibility to Fear God
Solomon wrote, “Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.” (Ecclesiastes 12:13). Peter said to Cornelius in Acts 10:34-35, “… Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.” To fear God is to respect God and His power. To fear God is to know God will punish those who do not keep His commandments; it is to know God will punish me, if I fail to keep His commandments. Most people in the religious world do not fear God. They look upon Him as only a merciful, loving, gracious Being, and because of this one-sided perspective of God, they fail to fear the consequences of unrighteousness. The apostle Paul wrote in his second letter to the Corinthians, “Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men … “ (2 Corinthians 5:11). Paul knew the severity of God and declared this as a reason to preach the gospel of Christ. Paul wanted to keep the souls of men from experiencing this severity. If we fear the consequences of not obeying God, we will earnestly endeavor to please Him.
Responsibility to Love God
Jesus said, “… Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind” (Matthew 22:37). Many in the religious world believe they love God. They walk the streets proclaiming, “I LOVE GOD!” They paste the testimony of their love on the bumpers of their automobiles. But do they really love God? What did Jesus mean when He said, “…with all thy heart, with all thy soul, and with all thy mind”? He meant a total love, a love that consumes us, uses up and wears us out in His service. Matthew 22:37 is a command. Those who truly love God are not “doing Him a favor”, but are obeying a command. Those who love God do so because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). God proved His love for us by giving His only begotten Son (John 3:16). Is simply saying, “I love God” sufficient? Would that be adequate between husbands and wives? I think not! We require some proof of this affection. God also requires proof of our love for Him. We demonstrate our love for our Savior by keeping His laws and obeying His commandments. John wrote, “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous” (1 John 5:3).
Responsibility to Obey God
We not only prove our love by our obedience, we have the responsibility of being obedient to Jehovah God. Solomon’s instructions were, “Fear God and keep his commandments”. Paul said of Christ Himself in Hebrews 5, verses 8 and 9, though Jesus was the Son of God, He learned obedience, and that His obedience was perfect. The apostle John wrote that Jesus demonstrated His love for His Father by His obedience (John 14:31). Christ is our example (1 Peter 2:21). We are expected to be obedient to God also! Our responsibility to obey God comes first, before all other commandments. God’s commands are never made void, or compelled to take second place behind the doctrines or commandments of men. Peter, when brought before the high priest for having violated his (man’s) law (”… Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? And, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us” Acts 5:28), answered, “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). Our duty remains the same. Our eternal life depends upon our attitude toward obeying God.
Responsibility to Worship
Part of our obedience to God requires us to worship Him. “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23-24). God expects us to worship Him. One cannot expect to receive his crown of righteousness while offering half-hearted worship, or even refusing to worship God.
Briefly, these are four responsibilities we have to God. Each one must search out diligently what we are to do under each of these subtitles and put them into our lives. Our soul is our most valuable possession. We should spend much time in seeing it is prepared for the judgment! It will be eternally saved if we fulfill these responsibilities. — R. David Brewer
Are We Too Casual With Our Worship Attire?
I once heard of a recently convertedformer “hippie” who was leading the congregation in his first public prayer. Much to the chagrin of the rest of the church, he began his prayer with, “Hey Daddio, what’s happening?” Most would agree that regardless of his recent conversion, the young man should have known to be reverent toward God.
Well we might empathize with those who were uncomfortable and embarrassed. However, I have observed while visiting with various congregations around the country something that is almost as disturbing. It is the casual approach to worship which is reflected in our manner of dress. Many are willing to arrive at the place of worship with an unkempt appearance. I have witnessed tee shirts, faded and torn denim jeans, unlaced tennis shoes, shorts, mini-skirts, and often shirts advertising rock bands, cults, suntan lotions, and booze. Some of this reflects only the casual attitude that many have toward worship and some of it is downright immodest and ungodly!
Casual is defined as: “Showing little interest; nonchalant: a casual manner; Without ceremony or formality; Suited for everyday wear or use; Not serious. (American Heritage Dictionary).
Our approach to God should reflect our reverence for Him. We should demonstrate respect, awe, and fear in His presence. Godly men of old were careful and respectful in such circumstances. Consider Isaiah (Isaiah 6:5ff). We are invited to “… come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16), but I doubt this invitation implies a right to approach God in a casual way. Many have treated our Father with much less respect than they would one of our elected officials, such as the President of the United States.
Might we learn from the Scriptures something about what the manner of our dress should reflect while worshipping? Under the Old Covenant, God required specific dress of those who would offer worship to God. “And thou shalt make holy garments for Aaron thy brother for glory and for beauty. . . that they may make Aaron’s garments to consecrate him, that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office … and they shall make holy garments for Aaron thy brother, and his sons, that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office.” (Exodus 28:2-4). “And thou shalt put upon Aaron the holy garments, and anoint him, and sanctify him; that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office.” (Exodus 40:13).
These garments were not only for glory and for beauty, but they were also to be clean and modest. “And thou shalt make them linen breeches to cover their nakedness; from the loins even unto the thighs they shall reach.” (Exodus 28:42) and, “ He shall put on the holy linen coat, and he shall have the linen breeches upon his flesh, and shall be girded with a linen girdle, and with the linen mitre shall he be attired: these are holy garments; therefore shall he wash his flesh in water, and so put them on.” (Leviticus 16:4). Although the lessons of Matthew 22:2-14 may not primarily focus on attire for worship, we might be wise to learn from the one who “had not on a wedding garment” when he came to the wedding!
I am aware of the old debater’s adage, “That which proves too much, proves nothing at all.” Therefore, be assured I do not wish to appear as one trying to prove that we should wear special robes as priestly garments today, or even that formal attire (suit, tie, handkerchief, gown, etc.) is necessary before acceptable worship can be made to God. However, I ask, “Should we approach our God dressed in a manner that shows little interest, is nonchalant, and suited only for everyday wear or use, and might even appear to demonstrate a measure of irreverence?” — R. David Brewer