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An Acceptable Practice? Part 1

An Acceptable Practice? - Part 1
The Law of Hermeneutics

...But if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. 1 Timothy 3:15 (NKJV)

There are many churches with many religious beliefs in our world -  each one participates in practices of worship - many of which I do not understand or agree with.

I say that I do not understand them because I see no place in scripture where we, as a church or as an individual Christian are instructed to do the various things that those who attend are being taught to do.  

I say that I do not agree with them because I can see in some cases where certain practices were performed in the Old Testament but they were clearly done away with by Jesus Christ Himself when he came in the form of a man, and in His own words, instructed us in a New Covenant - a new way (Matt. 26:28).

Q:    How can we know as Christian believers when something practiced in church is of God, or of man?

I believe we can find our answers within the Bible.  We can do this by using a rule to guide us it is called, "The Laws of Hermeneutics," which is, "What we accept for common Church Practice."

Using the law of Hermeneutics we can safely say that we can accept something for general church practice:

1.    If it was taught by Jesus in His earthly ministry.
2.    If we can see that it was practiced as recorded within the Book of Acts.
3.    If we can see that it was plainly taught within the Epistles - the letters written by the Apostles in the New Testament.  

We can see hundreds upon hundreds of examples within Scripture of acceptable church practice.  Two of the most known examples are that of The Lord's Supper (Communion), and Water Baptism (outward profession of faith being demonstrated publicly).  Let's take a look at these to see how this law of Hermeneutics works.

First of all we can read about the Lord's Supper in the Book of Luke 22:17-20.  We then see it being performed within the Book of Acts.

And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved. Acts 2:42, 46-47 (NKJV)

We can then see this breaking of bread in remembrance of what Jesus did on the cross being taught in 1 Corinthians 11.

For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, "Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me."  In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me."  For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death till He comes. 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 (NKJV)

So, the Lord's Supper was taught by Jesus, practiced by believers as recorded in the Book of Acts, and finally it was taught in the Epistles.  So the Lord's Supper, or Communion as it is commonly known is generally practiced within the church.  

Water baptism is another practice widely accepted and performed within the church, although there are different beliefs associated with it.  Still, we can see it being taught by Jesus (Matt. 28:19); practiced in the Book of Acts (Acts 2:38; 8:38; 19:5), and we see it being taught in the Book of Romans, chapter 6.

I want to encourage you to think about this rule the next time you see something being done in church, or hear of something being done in another religion.  After carefully studying the scripture, you will easily find false practices made up for a "religion" by man. In Part II, I will show you an example of a "bad practice", utilizing this rule.

STUDY QUESTION: What is the Law of Hermeneutics?

PERSONAL INVENTORY: Have you personally witnessed a practice in a church that doesn't line up when utilizing the Law of Hermeneutics?

APPLICATION: If something doesn't feel right, pray about it, and apply this rule to see if it is something that Jesus requested us to do.  Chances are, it is just another thing that man has made to be more religious, and has nothing to do with what God wants us to do.

Father, thank You for a clear understanding of what You want from us in the practices or our worship within our lives.  May You continue to guide me in all understanding of Your Word.  Help me to spot the forgery of man in his effort to be more religious.  May my worship be in genuine love towards You, and may it be in a righteous Spirit-led manner.  In Jesus' name, amen..

Be Blessed, Pastor Scott

Copyright ©2017 by Pastor Scott Wright.
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Bible text from the New King James Version is not to be reproduced in copies or otherwise by any means except as permitted in writing by Thomas Nelson, Inc., Attn: Bible Rights and Permissions, P.O. Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214-1000