Thursday, October 31, 2013

Worldly Standards -vs- Biblical Principles

All this, said David, the Lord made me understand in writing by His hand upon me, even all the works of this pattern. (1 Chronicles 28:19)

When we take up residency in the Kingdom of God we must learn the patterns and principles of Kingdom living. It is similar to learning the lifestyle of a new country to which we have immigrated.

The Bible is the written record of the patterns and principles by which the Kingdom of God operates. In order to follow these patterns and principles, we must understand their importance and know that this is not a mix and match package deal.  It is one way or the other.  Jesus told the disciples:

 He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.  Matthew 12:30

According to the standards of the world:

A pattern is an original or model of something created for the purpose of imitation. It is something designed to be copied or imitated. For example, clothing is created from patterns. A dress pattern is placed on material and the material cut according to the pattern. Many dresses can be created from the same pattern and they will all be identical because they came from the same pattern.

A principle is a truth, method, or rule adopted as the basis for action or conduct. It is a general truth composed of other subordinate truths. "Subordinate" truths are related to the general truth. For example, a basic principle of the constitution of the United States of America provides for freedom of expression. The subordinate truths include the rights to write and speak freely, conduct lawful assemblies, express beliefs, etc.

However, in order to imbrace kingdom living, we must understand from a biblical perspective:

A Biblical pattern is a spiritual model or example given in Scripture for purposes of imitation. For example, the life of Jesus Christ is given as a pattern or model which believers are to follow.

A Biblical principle is a spiritual truth taught in Scripture. Such principles often incorporate additional subordinate principles which apply to many different situations. For example, one biblical principle taught by Jesus is "Give and ye shall receive." Its subordinate truths apply to giving money, material goods, friendship, etc. In each of these, spiritual benefits are received as a result of the act of giving.

The passage below stresses the importance of patterns and principles. God established specific patterns for the nation of Israel to follow which included spiritual patterns of conduct as well as material patterns for their places of worship.

And he said unto me, Son of man, the place of my throne, and the place of the soles of my feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel for ever, and my holy name, shall the house of Israel no more defile, neither they, nor their kings, by their whoredom, nor by the carcases of their kings in their high places.

In their setting of their threshold by my thresholds, and their post by my posts, and the wall between me and them, they have even defiled my holy name by their abominations that they have committed: wherefore I have consumed them in mine anger. Now let them put away their whoredom, and the carcases of their kings, far from me, and I will dwell in the midst of them forever.

Thou son of man, shew the house to the house of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities: and let them measure the pattern. And if they be ashamed of all that they have done, shew them the form of the house, and the fashion thereof, and the goings out thereof, and the comings in thereof, and all the forms thereof, and all the ordinances thereof, and all the forms thereof, and all the laws thereof: and write it in their sight, that they may keep the whole form thereof, and all the ordinances thereof, and do them.

This is the law of the house; Upon the top of the mountain the whole limit thereof round about shall be most holy. Behold, this is the law of the house. Ezekiel 43:7-12   

But Israel set up their own patterns. This is what God means when He says they have "set up their thresholds by my thresholds" and "their posts by my posts." Because Israel created their own patterns, they erected a wall of separation between them and God which stopped the flow of God's power. It prevented their worship and service from being acceptable to Him.

The prophet Ezekiel told the people to look at God's pattern and measure the pattern of their lives accordingly:

Thou son of man, shew the house to the house of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities; and let them measure the pattern.  (Ezekiel 43:10)

When people set up their own patterns of conduct, their own denominational, religious, or cultural rules, they set up a false standard of measurement. They begin to teach as Biblical doctrine things that are nothing but commandments of men.

Jesus said of such people: But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. (Matthew 15:9)

It is important to understand Biblical patterns and principles because otherwise your worship of God can be in vain.

There are many worldly standards of measurement. There are different patterns for worldly conduct and success which men pattern themselves after. Men measure themselves by other men instead of by God's standard. The Apostle Paul wrote:  

For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. (2 Corinthians 10:12)

When Moses was given instructions for building the tabernacle, he was cautioned to do everything according to the pattern given by God:  

According to all that I shew thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it...

And look that thou make them after their pattern, which was shewed thee in the mount.
 (Exodus 25:9, 40)

Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount. (Hebrews 8:5)

King David was careful to follow God's pattern when he planned for the construction of the temple:

All this, said David, the Lord made me understand in writing by His hand upon me, even all the works of this pattern. (I Chronicles 28:19)

These men were careful to follow the pattern of God in the physical world. How much more careful we should be to follow the spiritual patterns and principles found in the Bible.

Jesus was the great example by which believers are to pattern their lives:  

For I (Jesus) have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. (John 13:15)

The lives of men and women of God are recorded in the Bible as patterns for us to follow:  

Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. (I Corinthians 10:6)

Now all these things happened unto them for examples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. (I Corinthians 10:11)

The record of the nations in the Bible provide positive examples for other nations to follow and negative examples to avoid:

And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly. (II Peter 2:6)

Christian leaders are to be examples to their followers:  

Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. (I Peter 5:2-3)

The Apostle Paul wrote:  

Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. (Philippians 3:17)

Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us. (II Thessalonians 3:9)

Believers are to be spiritual patterns themselves. They are to provide a positive spiritual example for others to follow:

Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. (I Timothy 4:12)

If we are to provide a positive spiritual pattern for others, then we must understand and incorporate Biblical principles into our life.

So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia.  (I Thessalonians 1:7)

In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, (Titus 2:7)

Apostle Paul refers to the "first principles of the oracles of God." 

For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.  Hebrews 5:12

 He then goes on to list these principles:

Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this will we do , if God permit. Hebrews 6:1-3

These patterns and principles differ from worldly standards and from the patterns and principles of the kingdoms of this world.   Believers are to fully embrace the patterns and principles of the Kingdom of God.

(Biblical Studies)



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