A Diet of Distinction (Part 3)

August 25, 2016 at 2:40 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

In Part One, we considered God’s dietary laws under the Old Testament and their fulfillment/abolition under the New Testament. In Part Two I tried to expound upon some of the reasons for the Old Covenant prohibition against eating unclean animals, and to apply, not the letter of the Law, but the principles, to God’s people today. God’s people were/are to be:

A. Clean Cut, meaning they were to be separate from their pagan neighbors in their devotion to the One True God, and in how they lived their daily lives, including what they ate. (Leviticus 11:44; II Corinthians 6:14-18). They were/are to be:

1. Distinct in calling and conduct (I Corinthians 10:31)
2. Distinct in conscience (Psalm 139:7-12)
3. Distinct in creeds (Deuteronomy 6:4-9)
4. Distinct in communication (Colossians 3:8; Proverbs 14:9)

Now we will see that God’s people were/are to have a:

B. Clean Consistency

When it came to quadrupeds, the clean animals were animals that met two criteria:

Whatsoever parteth the hoof, and is clovenfooted, and cheweth the cud, among the beasts, that shall ye eat.

Leviticus 11:3

They had to have both: a cloven hoof and a multi-chambered stomach. Some animals had one or the other, and these would be unclean. For example, the camel:

Nevertheless these shall ye not eat of them that chew the cud, or of them that divide the hoof: as the camel, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you.

Leviticus 11:4

This is a picture of some Christians. They “chew the cud.” They enjoy chewing and stewing on the Word of God. They love to learn Scripture and Bible doctrine. But there is a problem with their “hooves” – their feet – the way they walk. It doesn’t match up to what they are learning. They are hearers but not doers.

But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

James 1:22

They are ever learning but never coming to a knowledge of the truth.

Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

II Timothy 3:4-7

For in truth doctrine is never divorced from duty. We study Scripture in order to know God, and when we meet God, He tells us to “go.”

There is an opposite example, too, though: the pig.

And the swine, though he divide the hoof, and be clovenfooted, yet he cheweth not the cud; he is unclean to you.

Leviticus 11:7

He appears to be okay in his walk, but he’s not really clean. Some church people are like this, too. They appear to be walking with God, but they don’t want to be equipped. They don’t want to invest the time or the patience to hear what is truly pleasing to God. They think they will stay busy and please God their own way. Don’t get too busy – or think you’re too advanced – to humble yourself under the preaching and the teaching of the Word of God.

A true pig has a pig-like nature. He can never stop wallowing on his own filth. He needs to be changed from a pig to a man by the miraculous power of God.

A Diet of Distinction (Part Two)

July 27, 2016 at 1:46 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

In Part One we saw that the Old Testament dietary laws are no longer binding on New Testament Christians (Acts 10:9-16). They were perfectly kept, and, in a sense, fulfilled in Christ (Colossians 2:16- 22). Only the Old Testament moral laws, reiterated as the Law of Christ, are considered binding under the New Covenant.

One of the purposes of the Old Covenant dietary laws was that God wanted His people to be “holy.” The Hebrew word translated as “holy” in the Bible has a connotation of “cutting” (setting apart from other people) and “culling” (setting apart unto a dedicated purpose). God’s people are supposed to be “cut off” from sin, and “cut out of” this world’s system. God has always wanted His people to be distinct and different.

For I am the LORD your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy: neither shall ye defile yourselves with any manner of creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

Leviticus 11:44

The Jewish people were commanded to be unmingled with the world – not trapped in the sins associated with unbelievers. They were to be associated with the Lord’s name, not in name only, but in behavior and in every area of life. This was important partly in order to prevent His people from being influenced into moral sin, and partly to maintain the purity of the bloodline of the coming Messiah. The promised redeemer would have to be a descendant of Abraham in order to fulfill God’s promises.

New Testament Christians know that the Messiah has already come, but the principle concerning the danger of sinful influences still applies:

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

II Corinthians 6:14-18

An Old Testament Israelite could not eat with or stay in the home of a Canaanite because of the unclean foods and other unclean practices, so it would be very difficult to form relationships that would lead to intermarriages and procreation.

It would affect the witness and testimony of God’s people if they became intertwined in the lifestyle of pagan people groups.

A. God’s people should be distinct in their calling and conduct.

Our calling is to glorify God. Therefore our conduct – the way we behave – must bring glory to Him.

Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.

I Corinthians 10:31

God’s Old Testament people were supposed to conduct themselves in a way that let people know they truly believed that their God was real. We must do the same, but we can’t do that without being different from unbelievers, and without speaking His name and being identified openly with Him.

B. God’s people should be distinct in their conscience.

We need to have an awareness of God watching us in the smallest details of our lives.

Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.

Psalm 139:7-12

We must also have an awareness of God loving us and being willing and able to help us please Him in every detail of our lives.

C. God’s people should be distinct their creeds.

We need to be able to articulate what we believe, and why we believe it. We need to be ready to cite Scripture to back it up.

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

D. God’s people should be distinct in their communication.

We should not use unclean language.

But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.

Colossians 3:8

We should not jest about sin.

Fools make a mock at sin: but among the righteous there is favour.

Proverbs 14:9

We should not use God’s name in vain, and we should not use imprecise language which undermines sound theology, such as saying we are “proud” or “lucky.”

Next time, in Part Three, we will see how God’s dietary laws teach us to have a clean consistency.

A Diet of Distinction (Part One)

July 13, 2016 at 2:43 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

And the LORD spake unto Moses and to Aaron, saying unto them, Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, These are the beasts which ye shall eat among all the beasts that are on the earth. Whatsoever parteth the hoof, and is clovenfooted, and cheweth the cud, among the beasts, that shall ye eat. Nevertheless these shall ye not eat of them that chew the cud, or of them that divide the hoof: as the camel, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you. And the coney, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you. And the hare, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you. And the swine, though he divide the hoof, and be clovenfooted, yet he cheweth not the cud; he is unclean to you. Of their flesh shall ye not eat, and their carcase shall ye not touch; they are unclean to you.

Leviticus 11:1-8

Although the Old Testament law is in the Bible, and although it was given by God, not all of the Old Testament law is binding upon Christians today. A misunderstanding of the relevance, context, and application of Old Testament law breeds common claims of inconsistency among Bible skeptics, but we understand that there were different categories of law under the Mosaic Covenant.

Some of the laws were moral laws, such as the Ten Commandments. These laws are written upon the conscience of every human being, and they have applied at all times in all places for all people.

Some of the laws were ceremonial laws. These dealt with the Aaronic or Levitical priesthood and Tabernacle (later Temple) worship.

Some of the laws were civil laws. These were casuistic, or case law principles and precepts for governing relationships between people. They were “if, then” type laws.

Some of the laws were dietary laws. They promoted cleanliness and practical holiness, but they are no longer binding under the New Covenant.

On the morrow, as they went on their journey, and drew nigh unto the city, Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour: And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance, And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending upon him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth: Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat. But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean. And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common. This was done thrice: and the vessel was received up again into heaven.

Acts 10:9-16

The ceremonial and sacrificial and dietary laws of the Old Covenant pointed to Christ and were fulfilled in Him.

Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ. Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God. Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, (Touch not; taste not; handle not; Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men?

Colossians 2:16-22

Only the moral laws are considered binding under the New Covenant. The law of Christ is the law of love. True love never encourages, condones, or tolerates immorality, much less celebrates it.

However, the dietary laws, and the reasons for them, have much to teach us even to this day. These laws protected God’s people from uncleanness. They commanded purity. To some extent they were laws promoting good health and hygiene, but, more importantly, with so many laws stressing what not to eat, what not to touch, where not to go, what not to wear, God’s people would have a constant awareness of the ubiquity of sin.

If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.

Genesis 4:7

In a fallen world, we need to be reminded of sin’s constant presence. In fact, as New Testament Christians, it would be good if we were even more conscious of, and afraid of, sin than the Old Testament Israelites were.

Furthermore, regardless of the “science” or the “common sense” behind the Old Testament dietary and hygiene laws, they were to be obeyed because “God said so,” and, for the Jewish people before the time when Christ fulfilled and did away with the ceremonial and dietary laws, it was sin for the people to break them.

In Part Two we will look at the role that the Israelites’ special diet played in God’s requirement for them to be “holy.”

Returning to Holiness

October 29, 2013 at 1:18 pm | Posted in Ezra | 3 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

God made Artaxerxes grant Ezra great authority.

I make a decree, that all they of the people of Israel, and [of] his priests and Levites, in my realm, which are minded of their own freewill to go up to Jerusalem, go with thee.

Ezra 7:13

The first group of returning exiles, under Zerubbabel, was 50,000. Ezra’s group was 1500 men, plus women and children. The success of a ministry is not numbers. It’s the work of God being accomplished. It’s the lives of people being changed. Most of all, though, it’s the Word of God being obeyed.

God even forced Artaxerxes to fund the mission.

And to carry the silver and gold, which the king and his counsellors have freely offered unto the God of Israel, whose habitation is in Jerusalem,

Ezra 7:15

And I, even I Artaxerxes the king, do make a decree to all the treasurers which are beyond the river, that whatsoever Ezra the priest, the scribe of the law of the God of heaven, shall require of you, it be done speedily,

Ezra 7:21

Ezra recruited exiles. Let’s not forget to reach out to exiled believers, as well as lost folks. Once these recruits got together, they did not rush out on their own. They humbled themselves and prayed.

Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river of Ahava, that we might afflict ourselves before our God, to seek of him a right way for us, and for our little ones, and for all our substance.

Ezra 8:21

Like Abraham’s servant when he went to find Isaac’s bride, they understood the importance of seeking God’s favor, and God was with them.

They arrived.

Then we departed from the river of Ahava on the twelfth [day] of the first month, to go unto Jerusalem: and the hand of our God was upon us, and he delivered us from the hand of the enemy, and of such as lay in wait by the way.

Ezra 8:31

They gave an accounting.

By number and by weight of every one: and all the weight was written at that time.

Ezra 8:34

They worshiped.

Also the children of those that had been carried away, which were come out of the captivity, offered burnt offerings unto the God of Israel, twelve bullocks for all Israel, ninety and six rams, seventy and seven lambs, twelve he goats for a sin offering: all this was a burnt offering unto the LORD.

Ezra 8:35

There was no lamenting for the “good old days” like in Ezra 3:12.

They obtained clearance from the civil authorities.

And they delivered the king’s commissions unto the king’s lieutenants, and to the governors on this side the river: and they furthered the people, and the house of God.
Ezra 8:36

In Chapter 9 we see a major problem with the people as they returned from exile. They were used to living an unholy life.

For I am the LORD your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy: neither shall ye defile yourselves with any manner of creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. For I am the LORD that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.

Leviticus 11:44-45

Speak unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say unto them, Ye shall be holy: for I the LORD your God am holy.

Leviticus 19:2

Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy: for I am the LORD your God.

Leviticus 20:7

And ye shall be holy unto me: for I the LORD am holy, and have severed you from other people, that ye should be mine.

Leviticus 20:26

Thou shalt sanctify him therefore; for he offereth the bread of thy God: he shall be holy unto thee: for I the LORD, which sanctify you, am holy.

Leviticus 21:8

But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

I Peter 1:15-16

Why should Christians live a holy life? I can give you many reasons, but the main reason is: because God has commanded it. At least eight times in Scripture Gods says, “Be holy, for I am holy.” And he is primarily talking to believers. Believers should not look, think, talk, and act like the sinful world, because sinful things and sinful ways are not holy, and God says, “Be ye holy.”

Sacrificially Submitting Surrendered Sanctified Service

July 11, 2011 at 10:59 am | Posted in A Little Alliteration, Romans | 18 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

Romans 12:1

“Beseeching” is a passionate appeal. “Brethren” are other believers. “Presenting” is a daily process. Christians are supposed to be “living” sacrifices. We are supposed to be “holy.”

Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

I Peter 1:16

For I am the LORD that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.

Leviticus 11:45

Being living sacrifices who are holy and acceptable to God is our “reasonable” service. All Christians have the capability of doing it and doing it cheerfully.

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Romans 12:2

The world wants you to be “conformed.” It wants you to be molded in the shape of everyone else who does not obey Christ. The world will put the squeeze on you and change your shape, but it does not have the power to make you grow. “Transforming” is from within. The Word of God has the power to renew us and make us grow. We must read it and heed it each day. Christians have the exciting opportunity to “prove” God’s good and perfect will. If you are truly a Christian nothing should stop you from being right in the center of God’s will.

We need to think of our bodies as living sacrifices before we begin each day. Consider your feet, legs, stomach, heart, arms, hands, neck, mouth, tongue – your whole physical body – to be surrendered to the service of Christ.

As an example, our natural tendency is to wake up in the morning and start thinking about what we will eat that day – what we’re going to put into our mouths. What we probably need to think about instead is what is going to come out of our mouths that day.

I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.

Proverbs 8:17

Have you surrendered your ears and eyes to the Lord today – to hear what He wants you to hear, and to see what He wants you to see? The surrender of my body and the renewal of my mind are daily requirements.

The same principle applies to the “Body” of Christ as a whole.

For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.

Romans 12:4-5

Our love for one another needs to be open, authentic, submissive, and renewed daily.

Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.

Romans 12:9


Entries and comments feeds.