It’s Not Rule Books—It’s Jesus!

GodReflection: It’s Jesus Friday

garyguarujaIt seems appropriate to begin this post with a quotation I came across this past week from A. W. Tozer’s classic book published in 1948, The Pursuit of God.

Rulebook1“. . . we Christians are in real danger of losing God amid the wonders of His Word. We have almost forgotten that God is a Person and, as such, can be cultivated as any person can.”

By the time Jesus walked the earth religious leaders knew the rules. They not only knew the 613 commandments of God—their count—but they also knew man’s rules to keep God’s rules.

They were so adept at keeping their own rules to obey God’s rules that their actions caused them to miss God.

The Gospels chronicle the continual battle the religious had with Jesus. The Holy Son of God frequently exposed their commitment to the rules rather than to God the Father.

rulebook5Acts 15 records what is arguably the most important meeting ever held by the church. At stake was the question of the necessity for non-Jews to keep the Law of Moses—commands of God—in order to follow Jesus.

At stake was the question, “Is Jesus enough?”

The dilemma is set before the apostles, the elders, Barnabas, and the Jerusalem church for resolution.

Peter declares, “Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe.

God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. He did not discriminate between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith.

Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of Gentiles a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors have been able to bear?

No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.”

With Jesus indwelling the body of believers through the Holy Spirit the ruling was reached by the Jerusalem church, the apostles, the elders, and Barnabas.

James spoke up:

“Brothers,” he said, “listen to me.

Simon has described to us how God first intervened to choose a people for his name from the Gentiles . . . It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God.”

Here is what I think.

As one who wants to follow Jesus I want to have my antenna extended to act in harmony with the story of Scripture and refrain from making my own rules greater than the core of Jesus’ gospel.

rulebook10His message was always the same. When the rule is used to trump human need by blocking the heart of God, then the rule is wrongly used.

Far too many times, I’ve limited my participation within the fullness of God’s vision by running plays and teaching plays from a rule book God did not write.

I didn’t realize it at the time but most of the plays were designed to keep “Gentiles” out of my definition of gospel and church.

Even today, I wonder how many plays I run from my rule book that might block others from easy recognition of God’s heart.

I should always be grateful for His act in chapter 15 of the Acts of the Apostle. God declared void the rule book written by us sinners.

I don’t want to be in danger of missing God by searching the wonders of His Word to compile a rule book that misses the wonder of Revealer God and the Son He has made known.

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells – A GodReflection on It’s not Rule books, It’s Jesus.

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