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Secrets of the Tabernacle Unlocked
ACTING THE PART
Ye are witnesses, and God also, how holily and justly and unblameably we behaved ourselves among you that believe: (1Thes 2:10)
For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you; (2Thes 3:7)
But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. (1Tim 3:15)
Acting can be seen in two different ways. First, acting is behaving. Behaving can be a matter of being ourself, if our self is inclined to be what is appropriate for the occasion. If our nature is to do what is inappropriate, or intended to convince someone we are other than we truly are, then acting is being a hypocrite, a phony.
Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. (1Cor 1:10)
We're expected to say the same thing as everyone else in whatever gathering we find ourself. If we say anything other than the words expected by those around us, we're looked upon as something short of acceptable.
Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you. (2Cor 13:11)
Paul is instructing the church to be something, whether they feel like being that way or not.
Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you. (Heb 13:17)
The Bible is a manual of instructions for us human beings who wish to please God, and who desire to function properly in this confusing world.
Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. (Mat 7:13-14)
Whereas Paul tells us to act like everyone else, Jesus says that if we behave ourself the same way most people behave, it will lead to destruction.
And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and unto magistrates, and powers, take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say: (Luke 12:11)
Jesus goes so far as to say we're not to be a part of what we're doing or saying. He says we should just be a body through which the Holy Spirit can work.
But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? (Mat 15:3)
For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders. (Mark 7:3)
And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. (Mark 7:9)
For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say. (Luke 12:12)
How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only? (John 5:44)
Paul said to do what everyone else is doing. I suspect he means to do what others are doing, if they are all doing what God says we're to do. Most people, those in churches as well as those in secular organizations, follow some form of traditions. The traditions they follow might be those they recently made up, but they still are expected to be followed. Jesus had to contend with those who were insistent on following man-made traditions, even when they conflicted with the laws of God which they claimed to be following.
Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple. (Rom 16:17-18)
Here's where we run into a problem. The Pharisees of Jesus' day were doing just what is called for here. They saw Jesus as one who was preaching lies, causing division, and turning people away from the laws that Moses gave them. How can we know the difference?
Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. (1Cor 3:18)
When we walk into a church, any church, we will be told that that church preaches the truth, and only the truth. They will tell us that we are a fool if we accept what some other church tells us. They will warn us against being deceived by false doctrine.
What are we to do then, to insure hearing the truth, and avoid being a fool?
For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel; (Col 1:5)
Of course any church worth its salt will tell us that the truth is in the Bible. But then, that's part of the problem. All churches claim to be following the Bible, and they will say that other churches are not following the Bible. Of course we might say that the way to find the truth is to read the Bible ourself. However, I find that few people read the Bible for what it says, but rather they read into it what they've been told it says (if they bother to actually read the Bible at all.)
Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, (1Cor 6:9)
We're told in the Bible that those who do not obey the laws of God, especially the Ten Commandments, will not be allowed into Heaven. However, I hear in some of the churches that this rule doesn't apply to those who have been baptized and attend the right church.
We're told that truth is in the Bible, yet those who tell us to read the Bible to gain the truth, also tell us that what we read in the Bible does not apply to us.
The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it. And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail. (Luke 16:16-17)
I haven't checked the newspaper yet today, but as far as I know, heaven and earth are still in operation. Wouldn't that mean then that the law is still in effect?
Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 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. 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. (Mat 5:17-19)
For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. (Rev 22:18-19)
It seems to me that there's a lot of teaching that either takes away from the Scriptures, or adds to it. Yet it appears to me that everyone who sits in the pew of any particular church fully accepts what they hear, and teaches what they hear, in spite of the fact that the Bible clearly teaches otherwise of what is being taught.
Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you. (Deut 4:2)
What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it. (Deut 12:32)
I find it interesting how Jesus had to contend with people who fully claimed to follow the laws of Moses, yet have somehow missed this little piece of Scripture. Those people of God of olden times seem to have had the same problem as those of us living in the latter days.
Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. (1John 3:7)
If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain. (James 1:26)
But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. (James 1:22)
But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. (2Tim 3:13)
In the world we try to find in ourself the person we want to be (or should be), often represented by some media personalty, and we act like we are that person. We walk like that person, dress like that person, and talk like that person. This is a part of growing up, which is supported and assisted by the media. Our life is an act, as we attempt to discover who we really are, of if we truly are. In the churches it's the same way, so it seems. Everyone puts on their plastic, Sunday go-to-meeting face, and acts in a way that seems appropriate for the church they attend. Then when church is over, they take off their plastic mask, and once again become the person of the world they are at heart.
We're careful to keep from having anyone deceive us, to turn us aside. But we don't need anyone to deceive us, we're perfectly capable of deceiving ourself. And while we're deceiving ourself, we're also convincing ourself that we are the only one with truth, and the only one sincerely honest with the world.
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