How should a local church be governed?

This is my proposal for an update to our church’s doctrinal statement about the local church:

We believe that Jesus is the ultimate Head of the Church (Col. 1:12) and that the local church is to be led by qualified pastors/elders/overseers (1 Tim. 3:1-7; 1 Pet. 5:1-4) and cared for by qualified deacons (Acts 6:1-7; 1 Tim. 3:8-13). We also believe that the local church should be self-governed (Matt. 18:15-17; Acts 6:5; 15:22) and free from the interference of any external hierarchy or organization. We believe that it can be good for local churches to cooperate with each other (Acts 15; Rom. 15:26) but that every church is the sole judge of the measure and method of its cooperation. On all matters of membership, policy, government, discipline, or benevolence, the will of the local church is final.

Serve the Lord with gladness

While studying Psalm 100 for Sunday morning, I came across these thoughts about serving the Lord with gladness.

“But in Hebrew as in English, service is indivisible; it is a word which leaves no gap or choice between worship and work. (We find this confirmed, incidentally, in practice, in that praise and prayer go stale in isolation, and activity goes sterile.)” –Derek Kidner

His point is that serving the Lord with gladness is the only way it properly works. If we are trying to serve the Lord without joy, it will become a tedious activity. But if we try to find joy apart from serving the Lord, we will find emptiness. By God’s design, we must mingle joyfulness and action to truly serve the Lord.

In other words, “We enter God’s temple not because of duty but because we love him; remembering all his goodness to us, we enter his presence with praise and pleasure.” –W. A. Shelton.

Psalm 100

Who, what, when, where, why? Do you remember learning that in school? That string of questions was designed to help you to understand an article, book, or something that happened. That same string of questions can be helpful in understanding what a Bible passage is saying. This came to mind recently as I was reading Psalm 100.

As we read through the psalm, we will try to answer five of these questions.

  1. Who does this psalm address?

    Your first reaction might be that this psalm is for God’s people. While that is true, notice what the first verse says.

    a. All lands (1)

    This joyful shout is not supposed to be limited to just the Israelites. It is something that should come from people all over the earth. When they come to know the Lord and recognize His goodness, they will shout along with believers in every nation.

    “There is a time coming when the entire world will be able to sing, ‘Joy to the world, the Lord is come!'” (McGee 822). In fact, the Book of Revelation tells us of a time when a group from every tribe and language praises the Lord.

    Revelation 7:9-10 – “After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!’”

    Question: How is it that these people from various backgrounds learned to praise the Lord? The answer is found in the second people group mentioned in this psalm.

    b. His people (3b)

    The people who best sing God’s praises are those who are His people. Before you think that this psalm is only directed toward the Israelites, think again. Were Adam and Eve Israelites? How about Noah, Abraham, and Job? While the Israelites are God’s special people, being an Israelite did not guarantee that they would be His people. His people are made up of all those who truly believe and serve Him in every generation.

    Remember the earlier question: How is it that these people from various backgrounds learned to praise the Lord? The people of the earth can only praise the Lord if they hear about Him and choose to love and serve Him.

    Romans 10:14-15 – “How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!’”

    This is why we need to take the good news of Jesus Christ to the many people in the world. When people near and far hear and believe, they, too, will join us in being God’s people. And then they will do what this psalm calls us to do.

  2. What does this psalm call us to do?

    a. Shout (1)

    When you watch a football game and your team scores, what do you do? We, typically, raise our arm in the air and shout. When the Ohio State University football team scored their first touchdown yesterday, there was a bit of shouting in our living room. We do that to show how happy we are.

    While I do not want our church to become a “shouting” church, I would like us to express our joyfulness in our singing, in our conversations, and in our reaction to what we read in the Bible. This is what the psalmist calls us to do.

    b. Serve (2a)

    Along with a joyful shout, we are called to serve the Lord. I think that the order is important. It is easier to serve someone you are excited about. For example, it would be difficult to serve someone that you do not like. But if you love that person, it is easier to want to serve him.

    How do we serve the Lord? I think that service begins with “present[ing our] bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service” (Rom. 12:1). Then with the right attitude, we should choose to do the things that He has commanded us.

    c. Sing (2b)

    Singing is one of those things that the Lord enjoys and that we also enjoy. When we sing, we express the feelings of our hearts in melody and sometimes harmony. Think of some of the songs that you enjoy singing to the Lord: “Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me”, “Come Christians join to sing, Alleluia, Amen,” and “O rejoice in the Lord, He makes no mistake.” God wants us to enter His presence with singing as an indication that we recognize His goodness and Who He is.

    d. Know (3)

    Verse three calls us to “know” something about God. What do you know about God? As you read through the Bible, you quickly learn that God is not some grandfatherly figure sitting on a cloud. He is God Almighty. He is the One who created us; we didn’t do that. And we see that He is in charge; we are just the sheep in His pasture.

    When we recognize Who God is, we will have a completely different mindset about Him and about ourselves. We will no longer seek to run our lives. We will let Him be in charge. He is God and we are not.

    e. Be thankful (4).

    Thankfulness is something that comes from recognizing what someone has done for us. When your boss gives you a bonus, when your wife fixes a meal, when the mechanic figures out the problem with your vehicle, how do you respond? The right response is thankfulness.

    When is the last time you thanked God for what He had done in your life? If you have trouble thinking of something to be thankful for, start with the basics. Thank God for saving you from your sin. Thank Him for Jesus. Thank him for giving you food to eat and a place to sleep. When you start thanking God for things, you will begin to see How good He has been to you in every area of your life.

    Why do some Christians bow their head and thank God for their food? This is a recognition of God’s provision. And thankfulness in this area leads to thankfulness in other and all areas. God is good. Thank Him for that.

  3. Where should we do these things?

    The psalm covers three locations for our praise and thanksgiving.

    a. in all the earth (1)

    Remember how verse one called on people from all parts of the world to shout joyfully to the Lord? This gives us the idea that these actions (shouting, serving, singing, knowing, and being thankful) should not be limited to a specific location. These are not limited to ancient Israel or to the United States. These are things that should be done everywhere.

    Psalm 40:3 – He has put a new song in my mouth—Praise to our God; many will see it and fear, and will trust in the Lord.

    When we are joyfully serving the Lord or thanking Him for what He has done, it makes a difference in the lives of others. When a college football player praises God for giving Him the ability to play well, it is an example to the whole world. I always like to see that.

    b. in His presence (2)

    The next place to do these things is in God’s presence. What exactly does this mean? When the Israelites saw the cloudy pillar over the tabernacle, it was an indication that God was with them. But is God only present when we can see something physical? No, He is with us no matter where we go. This is revealed in the Old and New Testaments.

    Psalm 139:7 – “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?
    Matthew 28:20 – “…and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

    The Lord is always with His people. But let me ask you a question. In what location do you feel closest to God’s presence? Isn’t it when you are in a quiet place, away from the pressures of the world, that you feel closest to the Lord? The time that you take each day to read the Bible and to pray, this is where you are least distracted and most aware of God’s presence.

    c. in His courts (4)

    The final answer to where is in His courts. I think this best refers to when we are in God’s house. The Israelites would think of the tabernacle or temple. Christians think of being in the church building. This is where we collectively sing, praise, and express our thankfulness to God.

    Do you realize how your singing and thankfulness are a blessing to God? He enjoys hearing your praise. But so do other believers. As we sing the hymns and talk about God’s goodness, we are encouraged and reminded that things aren’t quite as bad as we had thought.

  4. How?

    An old preacher related this: “Someone told me the other day that he attended the services of one of the great churches of the past and had never witnessed a place that was so dead. Do you know what the problem was? People were not coming to church with praise in their hearts. They did not come to the service with thanksgiving in their hearts to God” (McGee 822).

    How does God want us to sing to, praise, and serve Him? There are at least three ways found in this psalm.

    a. with joy and gladness (1, 2)

    In verse one, we are called to shout joyfully to the Lord and in verse two to serve with gladness. The dictionary defines joy as “a feeling of great pleasure and happiness” (Oxford). If you are full of joy, that joy will eventually bubble out and be seen by others. How will it be seen?

    You may know the hymn, “Jesus Loves Even Me.” The words go like this:

    I am so glad that our Father in heav’n
    Tells of His love in the Book He has giv’n
    Wonderful things in the Bible I see
    This is the dearest, that Jesus loves me.
    I am so glad that Jesus loves me
    Jesus loves me, Jesus loves me
    I am so glad that Jesus loves me
    Jesus loves even me.


    Those words were written by someone who was filled with joy. But when we sing this song, how would you know if the singer was joyful. If there was a thoughtful smile on my face, you might gather that I was joyful. But if there was no expression on my face, you might wonder.

    b. with thankfulness (4)

    In verse four, we are told to “enter His gates with thanksgiving.” This should be understood as an attitude of gratefulness. When we are thankful/grateful, we are recognizing what God had done for us.

    In Luke 17:11-19, we read about ten men who had leprosy. When they asked Jesus to have mercy on them, Jesus healed them. But only one of these men, a Samaritan, returned to thank the Lord for healing him of his terrible disease. Jesus noted this and asked why only one of the ten returned to thank Him.

    How often does the Lord think this of us? He has done so much for us and yet we fail to thank Him for what he has done.

  5. Why?

    The final question to ask is probably the most important. Why should we be joyful? Why should we sing, shout, praise, and thank the Lord?

    a. His goodness (5)

    God is good. And it is a good thing that He is. If God were evil, we would not last long. But he is good and cares about us. Jesus told His disciples about God’s goodness by comparing our heavenly Father to our earthly fathers.

    Matthew 7:9-11 – “Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!

    God is good and has shown His kindness to His people over the years. This ought to motivate us to sing, serve, and thank Him on a regular basis.

    b. His mercy (5)

    God is not merely a good Father; He is also merciful. Mercy has been described as not giving us what we deserve. What do we deserve? According to God, our sin is so bad from His perspective that without His intervention we would die and spent eternity in the Lake of Fire.

    Romans 6:23 – “…the wages of sin is death.”
    Revelation 20:15 – “And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.”


    How often we forget we forget our sinfulness and God’s mercy. But when we remember our sinfulness and God’s mercy, this ought to lead us to sing with joy and to serve Him with thankfulness.

    c. His truth (5)

    The final reason for thanking God is His enduring truth. In recent political news, people have redefined what a woman is so that transgender people can be included. It is an example of the changing ideas put out by the world. God is not like that. The truth He has given us in the Bible does not change every generation. It remains the same.

    The truth in the Bible that encouraged David, Isaiah, John the Baptist, Peter, and Paul have not changed. The truth about Jesus that changed the lives of the Philippian jailer, Martin Luther, and Andy Rupert is still true today. God’s truth doesn’t change according to the whims of each generation. And because of that, we can trust that God will continue to keep His promises and use His truth to change lives today.

Conclusion

I hope that you are encouraged by what we have seen in Psalm 100 today. As mentioned before, I am not hoping that someone will start shouting in our services or running around the auditorium. But I hope that what we have seen in this psalm will bring joy and thankfulness to your heart. I hope that you will have a fresh perspective about serving the Lord. And I hope that your joyfulness will spill over into your daily conversations with others.

Bibliography

Kidner, Derek, Psalms 73-150, Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1975, pp. 355-57.

Shelton, W. A., “PSALMS LXXIII-CL” in The Abington Bible Commentary, USA: the Abington Press, 1929, p. 572.

McGee, J. Vernon, Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee, Vol. II, Joshua through Psalms, Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982, pp. 821-23.

Ross, Allen P., “Psalms” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary Old Testament, USA: SP Publications, 1989, pp. 865-66.

Doctrinal Statement: Justification

Tonight, we look at the third section of our church doctrinal statement that deals with salvation. The proposed statement provides a summary statement, a definition, the means by which it is obtained, and the results of justification according to the Bible.

We believe that, because Jesus bore the punishment for our sins (Isa. 53:10-11), everyone who believes in Him is justified (legally declared to be righteous) by God (Rom. 8:33). This justification is secured by faith (Rom. 4:1-5) and not by obeying the Old Testament Law (Acts 13:39). The results of justification include having peace with God (Rom. 5:1), being saved from God’s wrath (Rom. 5:9) and receiving the sure hope of eternal life (Titus 3:7).

Philippians 2:5-11

Isn’t it about time that people recognize all that I do for this company? Shouldn’t the boss tell others what a good worker I am? Shouldn’t I be the first one who gets awarded at the next meeting? These thoughts, though not exactly what you would say, may have gone through your mind. We proud people want to be recognized for our character, effort, and personality. But is this how a Christian should think?

As you may recall, Paul was addressing some unwritten needs within the Philippian church. Perhaps he had heard reports of how certain people were filled with pride and were wanting to be recognized by others. Or maybe there were some who were unwilling to do menial tasks because of their position in the community or church. These bad attitudes needed to be addressed.

In the first part of the chapter (2:1-4), Paul reminded them that if they had been consoled, comforted, brought into fellowship with, and pitied by the Lord, then they should be like-minded with other Christians, should be humble, and should be caring about others. But if those arguments were not enough, he pointed them to the example of the Lord Jesus. And as you see his mindset, you will have no excuse to be proud.

  1. Jesus lowered himself (6-7).

    When George Bush was president, I heard that he and his wife would help out the poor people in their community. Imagine a president lowering himself to work with people who couldn’t care for themselves. That was a good example. But Jesus is an even better example.

    a. He didn’t let his deity keep him from acting (6).

    He was in the form of God.

    “This word (trans. ‘form’ in the KJV and NASB) stresses the inner essence or reality of that with which it is associated… . Christ Jesus, Paul said, is of the very essence (morphe) of God… . The Savior’s claim to deity infuriated the Jewish leaders (John 5:18) and caused them to accuse Him of blasphemy (John 10:33)” (Lightner 654).

    He didn’t grasp at His deity.

    In the KJV and NKJV, the translation refers to robbery. “This is, I confess, a rather stilted translation” (McGee 301). The idea is not that Jesus thought that being equal to God was a robbery. The Greek wording means, not something to be grasped at or held onto.

    “Though possessing full deity (John 1:14; Col. 2:9), Christ did not consider His equality with God (Phil. 2:6) as something to be grasped or held onto” (Lightner 654). In other words, He did not demand to be treated with all the honor and glory He deserved when faced with the task given Him. And he did not use His deity as a means to his own ends.

    Think about that. Jesus, who is God, and who deserves all the honor and glory we can give Him, didn’t let that hold Him back from doing what needed to be done.

    b. He left his reputation to become a man (7).

    He emptied Himself.

    “The words [made Himself of no reputation] are, literally, ‘He emptied Himself.’ ‘Emptied,’ from the Greek kenoo, points to the divesting of His self-interests, but not of His deity” (Lightner 654).

    “The word does not mean He emptied Himself of His deity, but rather He emptied Himself of the display of His deity for personal gain. … to use what He had to His own advantage” (R&R 550).

    In other words, Jesus did not let His position as God keep Him from accomplishing what needed to be done. He emptied Himself of any desire to remain in heaven, receiving glory, and being revered as God. He did this because we needed Him.

    He became a servant.

    “‘The very nature of a servant’ certainly points to His lowly and humble position, His willingness to obey the Father, and serve others” (Lightner 654).

    Just think that Jesus was a carpenter who worked on people’s houses and furniture. He was someone who served others and yet He was still God who deserved to be served Himself.

    He became a man.

    “‘Likeness’ suggests similarity but difference. Though His humanity was genuine, He was different from all other humans in that He was sinless (Heb. 4:15)” (Lightner 654) and divine.

    APPLIC. If Jesus willingly lowered Himself from such a place of honor, shouldn’t we be willing to do the same?
  2. Jesus humbled himself (8).

    Jesus not only lowered Himself in reputation, but he also humbled Himself. He did this in two ways.

    a. He humbled Himself by becoming a man.

    “Some have wrongly taught that the phrase, being found in appearance as a man (Phil. 2:8), means that He only looked human. But this contradicts verse 7. ‘Appearance; is the Greek schemati, meaning an outer appearance which may be temporary. This contrasts with morphe (‘very nature’) in verses 6 and 7, which speaks of an outer appearance that reveals permanent inner quality” (Lightner 654).

    Although Jesus has always been God, He temporarily became a man.

    ILLUS. J. Vernon McGee gives the example of him having trouble with ants. The ants came into his house and stole sugar from the sugar bowl. He could not convince them to stop their sugar runs, so he had to kill them. He thought that if only he could become an ant and talk to them. Becoming an ant would be quite the humbling of a man.

    Jesus’ becoming a man was a big step down. But He was willing to do this and even more.

    b. He humbled himself enough to die.

    Jesus’ humility is seen not only in His becoming human, but also in His willingness to die the terrible death on the cross. We often talk about His death, but we don’t understand how terrible it was. “It was the most cruel and despicable form of death… . This form of capital punishment was limited to non-Romans and the worst criminals” (Lightner 654). He humbled Himself to endure this for us.

    APPLIC. The great pain that Jesus experienced was for us and not deserved by Him. If Jesus was willing to humble Himself to such an extent, shouldn’t we be willing to do so?

  3. Jesus was exalted (9-11).

    Prince Charles has been the next in line to the throne for many years. And when his mother, Queen Elizabeth, died, he was exalted to be king. This was a step that happened because of his position in the family. But in the case of Jesus, it was different. He was already God but had humbled Himself. What was God the Father’s response to this?

    a. He was highly exalted.

    How was Jesus highly exalted?

    “The exaltation refers to His resurrection, ascension, and glorification at the Father’s right hand (Acts 2:33; Heb. 1:3)” (Lightner 654).

    b. He was given an exalted name.

    What does giving Him a name signify?

    “His ‘name’ is not merely a title; it refers to His person and to His position of dignity and honor” (Lightner 654). After all that Jesus did, is there any doubt that he deserves all the honor we can give Him and more?

    Who will bow before Jesus?

    “The extent of Christ’s sovereign authority is delineated in the three-fold phrase, in heaven and on earth and under the earth. No intelligent being—whether angels and saints in heaven; people living on the earth; or Satan, demons, and the unsaved in hell—in all of God’s universe will escape. All will bow either willingly or they will be made to do so” (Lightner 654).

    What will they confess?

    “One day all will be made to acknowledge that Jesus Christ is all He claimed to be—very God of very God. Unfortunately, for many it will be too late for the salvation of their souls” (Lightner 654-55).

    And this confession will bring glory to God for all that has been accomplished.

    APPLIC. If God the Father honored the humility of Jesus, and if He is greatly glorified by honoring Jesus, do you think He will be pleased by our following Jesus’ example?

Conclusion

What is the point of these verses? The point is that we should have the same mindset that Jesus did. Since He did not demand to be held in high esteem, we should not. Since He humbled himself, we should do the same. And since God the Father exalted Him for doing so, we know that this is what pleases God.

Don’t let your desire for reputation or recognition control the way that you think and act. When we are full of pride and expect that people honor us, we are not acting like followers of Christ.

Bibliography

Lightner, Robert P., “Philippians,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary, Old Testament, USA: SP Publications, 1983, p. 653-55.

McGee, J. Vernon, Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee, Vol. V, Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1983, pp. 301-06.

Rienecker, Fritz, and Cleon Rogers, Linguistic Key to the Greek New Testament, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1976, p. 549-51.

Exodus 37

As you may know, our oldest son will be getting married soon. He already has a place for them to live, but I imagine that his wife-to-be has given him some input as to how the place should be decorated. If it were up to him, he might decorate with hubcaps, board games, and books. But I am pretty sure that his future wife might have some different ideas. And if he is a wise son, he should probably go along with her ideas… if he wants to have a happy relationship.

In Exodus 37, we read about Bezalel and Aholiab building several pieces of furniture for inside the tabernacle. While the tabernacle would not have anyone living in it, it was the physical place where God’s presence and glory would be. The Lord had given specific instructions about these things and was expecting his instructions to be carried out. These builders would be wise to do their work as God commanded… if they wanted to have a good relationship with the Lord.

As we go through the chapter, we will look at only four pieces of furniture. Because this could seem as exciting as reading a blueprint, let’s make things a little more interesting. As we look at each item, we will attempt to answer three questions: (1) How was it made? (2) What was it for? (3) Where else is it mentioned in the Bible? By doing so, we may get a better understanding of what God is saying in this chapter.

One other note about this chapter. Note that the priests would be the only ones who saw the interior of the tabernacle on a regular basis. While the people may have seen the items being carried, they were usually covered up. So everything written in this chapter would have revealed to the common Israelite what God wanted, what they had given their offerings for, and what it looked like inside this holy tabernacle dedicated to the worship of the one, true God.

  1. Making the Ark of the Covenant (Ex. 37:1-9)

    a. How was it made?

    The Ark was made of acacia wood. “From a practical standpoint, acacia trees would have been one of the only types of trees growing in the wilderness regions traveled by Israel. In addition, acacia wood is dense and extremely strong, making it a great option for any type of wooden construction” (Gotquestions).

    Its dimensions were 2.5 cubits/3.75 ft long, 1.5 cubits/2.25 ft wide, and 1.5 cubits/2.25 ft tall. During a recent stay in New Stanton PA, my hotel room had a desk/table whose top had similar measurements. If you can find a large cardboard box, you might try to make a similarly shaped box to get a better idea of the size.

    The box-shaped ark was covered with gold and carried with acacia wood poles which were overlaid with gold. These poles went through golden rings which were attached to the sides of the ark. But the most interesting part of the ark was the mercy seat. This appears to be a lid that fit over the top of the ark. It was overlaid with gold and had two golden cherubim at either end, facing each other. Their golden wings stretched forward and covered the top.

    b. What was it for?

    The ark of the covenant had several purposes. First, the ark contained the stone tablets on which the Lord had written His laws. These were a reminder of the covenant between God and Israel. Later, the ark also contained a bowl of manna and Aaron’s rod that budded. Second, the ark and the mercy seat were the sign of God’s mercy towards the nation’s sins.

    “The term ‘mercy seat’ comes from a Hebrew word meaning ‘to cover, placate, appease, cleanse, cancel or make atonement for.’ It was here that the high priest, only once a year (Leviticus 16), entered the Holy of Holies where the Ark was kept and atoned for his sins and the sins of the Israelites. The priest sprinkled blood of a sacrificed animal onto the Mercy Seat to appease the wrath and anger of God for past sins committed. This was the only place in the world where this atonement could take place” (GotQuestions).

    Thankfully, we no longer have to sacrifice animals or rely on a high priest to do these things because Jesus offered His own blood once for all to atone for our sins. Now all those who put their faith in what He did, will be forgiven by God forever. See Hebrews 9:23-28 for an explanation of these things.

    c. Where else is it mentioned?

    It would appear that the ark of the covenant had one other purpose. That would be to signify the presence of God. In Joshua 6, the Lord sent Joshua to march around the city of Jericho before the walls fell flat. Joshua commanded the priests to carry the ark of the covenant with them along with seven priests blowing rams’ horns. We all know how that turned out. On the seventh day, the walls fell flat and Jericho was defeated.

    The same idea was tried during Eli’s time, but things turned out differently. Eli’s sons were wicked and so were the people. When the Philistines threatened to attack, the army had Eli’s son carry the ark of the covenant to the battle for moral support (see 1 Sam. 4). Thinking that the box would guarantee success, they marched into battle with confidence but were soundly defeated. They learned that God was not bound to a box. Instead, He binds himself to those who believe and obey Him.

  2. Making the Showbread Table (Ex. 37:10-16)

    a. How was it made?

    Its dimensions were 2 cubits/3 feet long, 1 cubit/1.5 ft wide, and 1.5 cubits/2.25 ft high. So, this was not a very large box. But it was plated with gold and had rings built into the sides to be carried by gold covered poles. But notice something else. This was a table, so the box had legs underneath it. On top of the table, there were golden dishes, cups, bowls, and pitchers.

    b. What was it for?

    This table was used to hold the showbread. The showbread were 12 loaves of bread which were “arranged in two piles of six loaves … covered with frankincense, and … served as a memorial food offering to the Lord” (GotQuestions). It appears that this bread was set in the first part of the tabernacle every Sabbath day (Lev. 24:8-9) and was only to be eaten by the priests. Perhaps this is why there were also dishes, bowls, and pitchers on the table.

    c. Where else is it mentioned?

    The most famous mention of the table of showbread is found in 1 Samuel 21:1-6. There we find David fleeing from Saul. When he arrived in Nob, he asked Abimelech the priest for bread to take with him. The only bread available was the showbread which had recently been replaced with fresh bread. Although this was not technically allowed, the priest let him have it because it was the only food available at the time. In Mark 2:23-28, Jesus validated David’s use of the bread because of the need of the moment.

  3. Making the Golden Lampstand (Ex. 37:17-24)

    a. How was it made?

    The Lampstand was made of a whole talent of beaten gold. According to biblestudy.org, a talent was “75 U.S. pounds.” At the current rate of $1,769.40 per ounce, this lamp would be valued at $2,123,280. That is a lot of gold! It had a central shaft with six branches coming out of its sides. As you read the description of the bowls, blossoms, and knobs, it may be difficult to understand what it looked like. However, the arch of Titus in Rome has a carving depicting the Lampstand being carried away when Jerusalem was conquered. The Lampstand had a central shaft with three U-shaped arms that all reach the same height as the central shaft. This may have been what it looked like.

    b. What was it for?

    The simple answer is that the lampstand was used to lighten the interior of the tabernacle. If you have ever been in a room with no windows or lights, you know that it is very difficult to see. “The top of the shaft and of each branch was to be made like an open almond flower; each flower held an oil lamp (Exodus 25:32, 37)” (GotQuestions). When each oil lamp was lighted, there would be enough light for the priests to do their priestly duties.

    c. Where else is it mentioned?

    The golden lampstand is not mentioned elsewhere in Scripture except where its use and care are explained. However, when Solomon’s temple was built, the building was much bigger and required more light. Because of this, he built five lampstands on either side of the room (1 Kings 7:48-50).

  4. Making the Altar of Incense (Ex. 37:25-29)

    a. How was it made?

    The Altar of Incense was also made of acacia wood. Its dimensions were 1 cubit/1.5 ft long, 1 cubit/1.5 ft wide, and 2 cubits/3 ft tall and it had horns on it (probably on the corners). The entire box, including the horns, was covered with gold. The top had a molding around the edge. Two rings on each side were used to carry it with acacia poles covered with gold. The Incense used on this Altar was made according to the specifications listed earlier.

    b. What was it for?

    According to Exodus 30, the altar of incense was to be placed in front of the veil that covered the ark of the covenant. Every morning and at twilight, Aaron was to burn incense on it as a perpetual incense before the Lord. Apparently, the Lord wanted this sweet smell in the tabernacle for Himself and for the priests.

    c. Where else is it mentioned?

    The incense and altar of incense are mentioned in the sad story of Aaron’s two sons, Nadab and Abihu. In Leviticus 10, we find that these two priests decided to offer their own incense instead of that which God had commanded. The result was that God judged their disobedience with fire from heaven. Their deaths showed that the Lord was to be regarded as holy in all that he commanded—even the type of incense he had prescribed.

    APPLIC. This is an important lesson for us as well. The Lord is holy and should be treated as such. He is not interested in us doing things our own way when He has given us specific instructions as to what He requires. He is to be obeyed because He is the Lord God Almighty. With that in mind, we should carefully consider what the Lord says and how He wants His work to be done. Only then will our service be pleasing to Him.

Conclusion

Do you remember the time before smart phones and television when the newspaper or travelogues were the only way to learn what things were like in other areas of the world? During the late 1800’s, Jules Verne wrote novels about different parts of the world to explain different customs, climates, and people. Those who read his writings learned something they would not otherwise have known.

If you are wondering why the Lord put this chapter in the Bible, you are probably not alone. You may look at this “dry” chapter and wonder why Christians should stop and read it. When you have those thoughts, think first of why the Israelites needed to know these things. They had given of their own wealth so that the tabernacle could be built. This chapter shows that their offerings were put to good use—just as God had commanded.

While the dimensions and uses of each item may not hold much meaning for Christians today, we can see several things in this chapter. First, God is holy and should be revered as such. When the Israelites brought their best to make each part of the tabernacle, they were showing their reverence for the great God who had rescued them from slavery in Egypt. Christians can have this same reverence for the God who rescued them from slavery to sin. He is still holy and deserves our reverence.

Second, God is precise and should be served the way He desires. When Bezalel and Aholiab made each part of the tabernacle, they followed God’s commands to the smallest details. Christians should consider what God has said in the New Testament and carefully follow it. This is not to say that we should be so concerned with detail that we miss the main idea. But how often do we overlook what God commands and do precisely what we want Him to mean instead of following what He actually says?

Bibliography

Many of the commentaries were unhelpful for this chapter as they treated it as a repeat of things covered in earlier chapters or made unsubstantiated allegories for the furniture of the temple. George Bush took several pages to explain the difference between gold plating and gilding but did not come to a conclusion as to which process was used.

Bush, George, Exodus Vol. 2, Minneapolis: James & Klock, 1852, reprint 1976, pp. 275-79.

Hannah, John D., “Exodus” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary, Old Testament, USA: SP Publications, 1989, p. 160-61.

McGee, J. Vernon, Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee, Vol. I, Genesis through Deuteronomy, Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1981, pp. 313-14.

“What is the Ark of the Covenant?” as viewed at https://printer.gotquestions.net/GeneratePF?articleId=1994 on 11/12/2022.

“What is the significance of acacia wood in the Bible?” as viewed at https://printer.gotquestions.net/GeneratePF?articleId=5446 on 11/12/2022.

“What is the significance of the lampstand in the Bible?” as viewed at https://printer.gotquestions.net/GeneratePF?articleId=6134 on 11/12/2022.

“What was the bread of the Presence (Exodus 25:30)?” as viewed at https://printer.gotquestions.net/GeneratePF?articleId=5576 on 11/12/2022.

Doctrinal Statement: The New Birth

What does the new birth have to do with a person’s relationship to God? You are probably familiar with what Jesus said to religious Nicodemus: “You must be born again.” Despite this man’s reputation as a Bible teacher, Jesus said that he still needed to be born again spiritually. This applies to everyone because we are all born sinners. All of us need to be born again. But what exactly does that mean?

In the paragraph below, I have revised a portion of our church’s doctrinal statement about the new birth. As you read through the statement, be careful to read each Bible passage in the parentheses.

We believe (1) that in order to be saved a sinner must be born again (John 1:12-13; 3:3-8), (2) that a believer becomes a new creation in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17; 2 Pet. 1:4), (3) that this is instantaneous and not a process (Acts 16:31), (4) that in the new birth the one dead in sin is made spiritually alive (Eph. 2:1-5; Col. 2:13), (5) that the new birth is not a result of someone’s ancestry, will, or good works (John 1:13; Eph. 2:8-10), but wholly and solely by the power of the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5) in connection with divine truth (Rom. 10:17), and (6) that the evidence of the new birth is seen in a believer’s repentance (Acts 3:19), faith (1 John 5:1), and new life (Gal. 5:22-23).

If you read each Bible reference, you know that being born again/experiencing the new birth is necessary for someone to be changed by God. No matter how hard you try, you (a sinner) cannot give birth to yourself spiritually. You can’t give yourself spiritual life; this must come from God. However, when God brings you to repentance (a change of mind about your sin against God) and faith in Jesus (He died in your place to pay for our sins), the immediate result is the new birth (being made alive spiritually to God).

Have you been born again?

Philippians 2

My dad was a computer programmer for Columbus Auto Parts. On Saturdays, we would visit him and play text games on the expensive company computers. Later, when I was in junior high school, our family acquired a personal computer called the Timex-Sinclair ZX80. At the time, it was incredible to have a computer in our home. It couldn’t do much because it had 1k of memory; not 1 GB or 1 MB but 1k of memory. That little computer could only remember 10 lines of Basic code. But I do remember typing in a few lines of code that would accomplish simple tasks. One of the Basic lines was an IF THEN clause. IF someone typed in the letter Y for yes, THEN the computer would respond with “You are a wonderful person.” But IF someone typed N for no, THEN the computer would respond with “I will visit you in jail” or whatever funny thing we wanted it to say.

The same is true in the English language. The words if and then are used in a sentence to show that IF something is true, THEN this will be the result. For instance, IF you stick your finger in the electrical socket, THEN you will receive a jolt. The IF is asking whether something is true while the THEN is showing what will happen because of the IF. The Bible also contains some of these if then sentences. One of them is found in Philippians 2:1-4. There we are presented with two thoughts. In verse one, we are asked to consider IF several things are true. THEN, in verses 2-4, we are encouraged to act a certain way because of those truths.

  1. IF you have experienced these things… (1)

    In the Christian life, we have experienced many things. In this verse, we are asked to consider IF certain things are true, and if we have experienced them. As we examine these things, you will quickly see that Paul is not “iffy” about any of them. It is assumed that all of these IF statements are true. So what are these assumptions?

    a. Is there any consolation in Christ?

    παράκλησις – “encouragement, exhortation, comfort, consolation” (BAGD 618)

    The same word for consolation is used by Jesus to describe the coming Holy Spirit. He is the Comforter, the One who would comfort us. How would the Holy Spirit do that? He would encourage, exhort, comfort, and console us. But in this context, Paul is asking whether there was any encouragement found in Christ. Is there? When you think of all that the early Christians had to face, the answer would certainly be yes. Knowing Jesus made all the difference in their lives. No matter how bad things got, they still had Him.

    Think about that for yourself. Is there any encouragement found in Jesus? Yes, we are encouraged by His example in the gospels, by His substitutionary death for us on the cross, by His resurrection from the dead and promise to raise us. There is great encouragement in Christ!

    b. Is there any comfort of love?

    When someone is grieving the loss of a loved one, what do they need? They need to be consoled. When someone loses his job, what does he need. He needs someone to alleviate his bad situation.

    παραμύθιον – “encouragement, esp. as consolation, means of consolation, alleviation” (BAGD 620)

    The word used here means consolation. Where does the best kind of consolation come from? It comes from God’s love. We know that He loves us because the Bible says so many times.

    John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world…”
    John 16:27 – “the Father Himself loves you…”
    Rom. 5:8 – “God demonstrates His love toward us…”
    Rom. 8:39 – Nothing “shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
    2 Cor. 13:11 – “the God of love and peace will be with you.”
    Eph. 2:4 – “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us…”
    2 Thess. 2:16 – “our God and Father, who has loved us…”
    1 John 4:7 – “for love is of God”
    1 John 4:8 – “God is love.”
    1 John 4:10 – “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”

    Do you believe that God loves you? If you were to think about your own failings and past sins, you might be tempted to doubt God’s love. But after reading through all of those verses about God’s love, can you still doubt His love? God’s love is what gives us the consolation we need when we are down.

    c. Is there any fellowship of the Spirit?

    κοινωνία – “association, communion, fellowship, close relationship… sharing in something” (BAGD 438-39)

    Fellowship is a word which we don’t always understand completely. We have used it to identify a meal which follows a morning service. But is that what fellowship means? Yes and no. Fellowship is a common bond, close relationship, or association that Christians have. You may have heard of the Ohio Bible Fellowship which is a group made up of Christian pastors and churches that associate together because of common beliefs and practices.

    But where does this fellowship come from? It comes from the Holy Spirit. In this morning’s Sunday School lesson, we looked at 1 Corinthians 6:19-20. There we learned that every believer is the temple of the Holy Spirit. He lives within each of us. As He works in our hearts, he develops the same characteristics in our lives so that when we meet another Christian, we often have a good relationship because we are part of the same family and have the same working in our hearts.

    d. Is there any affection and mercy?

    σπλάγχνα – “inward parts, entrails… fig., of the seat of the emotions, in our usage heart… of the feeling itself love, affection” (BAGD 763)

    When talking about the seat of the emotions, Americans think of the heart. But Greek people thought about their intestines. It sounds weird at first, but when you don’t feel good, you often clutch your belly not your heart. So, it makes sense.

    Paul is asking here is there is any emotional attachment to the Lord because of what he did for us? And has the Holy Spirit been developing love in our lives? Yes, He has been doing that. Our emotions are affected by the love of God for us.

    οἰκτιρμοί – “pity, mercy, compassion” (BAGD 561)

    When we think of mercy, we think of someone who has pity on those who are suffering. It is a compassionate response to those who are in a bad spot. This is what God did for us. “When we were still sinners” God showed His pity for us by sending His Son to die in our place. This kind of pity is beyond what most would expect. But with God, everything is at a higher level.

  2. … THEN act this way (2-4).

    IF all of those things were true, THEN the Christians in Philippi were supposed to respond appropriately. In verses two, Paul exhorts them to fulfill his joy. This is another way of saying, “Make me joyful.” In other words, IF these believers were to do what Paul said, it would bring him joy. So what would bring him joy?

    “The terms the apostle used reveal an underlying problem in the church at Philippi. The situation Paul addressed evidently was prompted by self-centeredness among certain Christians” (Lightner 653).

    What would bring Paul joy is a change in the way the Christians were treating each other. Instead of being opinionated, proud, and self-centered, he wanted them to change their mindset to match the example of our Lord.

    a. Be like-minded (2).

    Paul wanted them to be “like-minded, have the same love, be one in spirit, and be one in purpose” (Lightner 653). Apparently, there was something dividing the Christians at Philippi. Perhaps one had a different idea about how things should be done. There have been times when the color of the new carpet has caused a church split. Why does this happen? It happens because the people are not like-minded. They are not focused on the same things.

    What is it that will bind a church together? Do we all have to vote for the same candidates? Do we all have to root for the Cleveland Browns? No, we will have differences on things like that, but there ought to be a uniformity of thinking, love, and purpose. We ought to have the same desire to see people saved. We ought to have the same love for others. We ought to be focused on glorifying God.

    Let us be careful that we don’t become divided by things that don’t really matter. And instead, let’s be unified together on the things that really do matter. Paul takes this a step further in verse 3.

    b. Be humble (3).

    What Paul says here, under the inspiration of the Spirit, is that strife and selfishness will always cause problems in the church. “I would say that most of the difficulties in the church today are not due to doctrinal differences. They are due to strife and envy” (McGee 300). When we become so focused on what we want, this will always lead to fighting and disagreements. I have heard that some deacons’ meetings (at other churches) have erupted into fist fights. Yikes!

    Instead of fighting about what we want, Paul tells us to be humble, lowly in our thinking. When we do this, we will think of others better than ourselves. It is the idea of considering that our opinion or desires are not as important as others. We don’t have to have our way. So, let us think less of ourselves and think about others. “This will go far toward removing disharmony (Homer A. Kent)” (Lightner 653).

    c. Care for others (4).

    We are not to neglect our own needs. We have to look at our own needs. In fact, if we don’t take care of our families, we are worse than an unbeliever. But often taking care of ourselves is what becomes our focus. We think so much about ourselves, that we neglect those who are needy around us.

    “‘Others’ is the key to this passage” (McGee 301). “Instead of concentrating on self, each believer should be concerned for the interests of others” (Lightner 653). Along with our needs, we should think about the needs of the others in our church. If I have a need, it may be that someone else also has that need. If I struggle with something, perhaps there is someone else struggling with that same thing.

    Rom. 12:10 – “Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another”

    This is at times a difficult thing. We are so consumed with our budget, our health, our happiness, that we neglect the ones that are part of our spiritual family.

Conclusion

The Philippians church is not the only church that has these struggles. Although we may not be struggling with disharmony or strife at the moment, it could easily happen if we don’t take heed to what the Bible tells us here. Let’s take a moment and think about how we are doing. Start with the example of God who consoles, loves, unites, and has mercy on us. Then follow His example by being like-minded, humble, and focused on others.

Bibliography

Bauer, Walter, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, Chicago: The University of Chicago, 1979.

Lightner, Robert P., “Philippians,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary, Old Testament, USA: SP Publications, 1983, p. 652-53.

McGee, J. Vernon, Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee, Vol. V, Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1983, pp. 300-01.

Rienecker, Fritz, and Cleon Rogers, Linguistic Key to the Greek New Testament, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1976, p. 549.

Exodus 36

I recently saw an ad for a plastic model of a car engine. The model included about 1000 pieces that had to be fitted together in the correct order to make the engine turn and work as intended. That would be an interesting project, but if you have ever worked on something like that, you probably know that following the instructions is very important. Forget one part or try to connect it at the wrong time and you will have a big problem.

In today’s message from Exodus 36, we will see something similar. The time had come for the Israelites to put together the tabernacle along with its furnishings and garments for the priests. This would be the nation’s center for worshiping the Lord and would need to be put together right in order to please Him. As we look through the chapter, we will see the governing principles, the wonderful problem, and the specific process for putting everything together.

  1. The governing principles (1-2)

    If I had thought about it last week, I could have included verse 1 with chapter 35. However, if I had, we would have missed some wonderful thoughts that are found in verse 1. Notice the governing principles found in this verse.

    a. The Lord gifted these people with the abilities to do the work.

    “Every member of the crew, which was probably a large number of folk, was engaged in the building of the tabernacle with the wisdom and understanding God has given them” (McGee 311). The workers were not inherently gifted by birth, training, or experience, although those things may have been helpful. Ultimately, it was God who had given them the abilities they needed to do the work.

    This is something we should remember when we start taking pride in our abilities and talents. Do you remember what Paul said about this? “It is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13). You would not have accomplished anything if the Lord not been protecting, strengthening, enabling, training, and establishing you. So, keep that in mind and give God the glory when you are successful. He is the one who gave you your abilities.

    b. The Lord expected them to do it as He had commanded.

    This second principle is one that is very important. When the Lord gave Moses instructions about how to build the tabernacle, He wasn’t ambiguous about what He wanted to be done. He didn’t just give people a pile of materials and then let them do what they thought best. He had specific ideas about the way it should be constructed. They were to do “according to all that the LORD has commanded.”

    We ought to live by this same principle. God, in His infinite wisdom, has a plan which He wants us to carry out. He tells us how to live, how to evangelize, and how to be in the world but not of it. When we try to do things differently than what God prescribes, we end up with mixed results. When we give up holiness to accomplish group worship, we lose something. When we incorporate worldly methods into our evangelism, we end up with something that is not good. Does this mixture of good and evil please the Lord? No, he would be displeased because we would be disobeying one command to obey another.

    APPLIC. We must remember both of these principles. First, it is the Lord who has given us the talents we have. We are nothing more than what God has made us to be. Secondly, these talents are to be used as He instructs. We must follow God’s instructions if we want to be pleasing to Him.

  2. The wonderful problem (3-7)

    Moses called the gifted people to begin the work. Bezalel, Aholiab, and other gifted people answered the call and began to use the donated materials to build God’s tabernacle.

    a. The artisans received the items offered by God’s people (3).

    At that point, a certain amount of materials had been donated for the work. The workers gathered what had been given and used it where each was needed. Gold was used in some areas while cloth and yarn were used elsewhere. And the pile of materials was not depleted because volunteers kept donating more materials as they worked.

    b. The artisans told Moses there was too much (4-5).

    Something interesting happened as they worked. Although they were using materials and completing assignments, the pile of materials kept growing. After taking inventory of the situation, someone told Moses that they had too much material to work with. It was “much more than enough.” Just how much was given? If you would like an idea of how much material was given, “an inventory of materials is included in 38:21-31” (Hannah 160).

    Moses had to stop the offerings due to too much stuff. “This is really amazing in the light of the fact that these people were fresh out of slavery. They had never owned anything before and now that they had riches you would think they would not be so willing to give it away. But they gave liberally, joyfully, and enthusiastically to their God” (McGee 312). This was a sign that these givers loved the Lord more than their wealth.

    That must have been a thrilling situation for Moses. Having dealt with the golden calf incident, he may have been wondering how the people would respond when asked to give for the true God’s worship? Was there anyone who loved the Lord? Would anyone give? And then he saw the answer to these questions… they gave more than enough. What a great situation! But now it was time to put everything together. How would things turn out?

  3. The specific process (8-38)

    You may recall that the Lord had previously given instructions on how the structure of the tabernacle was to be put together along with the furniture and priestly outfits (Ex. 26). With those instructions in hand, the rest of the chapter describes how the workmen followed those instructions and put everything together.

    a. The inner curtains were put together (8-13).

    The workers made ten curtains which were woven from fine linen and colorful thread. Each curtain measured 28 cubits (42 feet) in length and 4 cubits (6 feet) in width. If you are wondering why the curtains were only 6 feet wide, it may be that this was the width of the loom used to weave the curtains.

    Once the beautiful weaving was completed, two large pieces were made by attaching five of the curtains together. The end of each curtain had 50 loops of blue yarn by which they were attached to the other curtain. The loops were connected by 50 golden clasps. I know that it would have looked better, but this makes me think of hanging a shower curtain by those shower rings.

    Now the big question: Which end of the curtains was attached? To this point, we are not told if the short end (6 feet) or the long end (42 feet) of the curtain was attached. The answer is found in verse 13. These curtains were put together to create “one tabernacle.” Think of what a tent looks like. It has two “curtains” attached to make a two-sided tent. The tabernacle was a two-sided tent with each side made up of five 42′ x 6′ sections. When the five were connected, they made one 42′ x 30′ side of the tent. Perhaps a picture would be helpful.

    b. The outer covering was put together (14-19).

    On top of the linen tabernacle was built another tent made to protect the interior from the elements. This covering was slightly larger than the linen one. It was made of 11 curtains which each measured 30 cubits (45 feet) in length and 4 cubits (6 feet in width). Five of these were coupled together with 50 loops of yarn and bronze clasps. When coupled together, one side measured 45′ x 30 feet and the other was 45′ x 36′. This was covered with water shedding animal pelts (see footnote in Bibliography). The exact nature of the skins is not something we are sure of, but they were used to protect the interior of the tabernacle from the weather.

    c. The wood structure was put together (20-34).

    The interior of the tabernacle had a rectangular, wooden wall structure. The walls were made from acacia wood overlaid with gold. These boards measured 10 cubits (15 ft) long by 1.5 cubits (2.25 feet) wide. They were each held together by two tenons (like tongue and groove) and were placed in silver sockets on the ground. There were 20 boards on the south, 20 boards for the north, and 6 boards for the west side. All of these boards were held together by long wooden bars which attached to the wall by rings.

    Which way were these boards mounted? I think that it would make most sense if they were mounted vertically in each silver socket. This would mean that each long side measured 45 feet (2.25′ x 20) by 15 feet tall. This would match the length of the previously mentioned curtains.

    d. The veil and screen were put together (35-38).

    The first separating curtain mentioned is the veil. “The tabernacle has an inner veil that separated the main tabernacle into two compartments; the smaller compartment was called the Holy of Holies and the larger compartment was called the Holy Place” (McGee 312). This beautiful veil was made of blue, purple, and scarlet thread and had a pattern that looked like cherubim. This was mounted to a framework made of four gold-plated, acacia wood pillars.

    The second separating curtain was the screen that covered the entrance to the tabernacle. This was made from blue, purple, and scarlet thread and fine-woven linen. This screen was held up by five pillars with golden parts and bronze sockets.

Conclusion

Whew! That last part must have left some of us swimming in numbers and measurements. But you must admit that these measurements give us a detailed understanding of what the tabernacle looked like. It must have been a beautiful structure to see, and a beautiful place to worship the Lord.

What do we take from this chapter?

We have seen that (1) the Lord gifted the workers with the ability to build the tabernacle just as He required, (2) the people willingly donated more than enough materials to complete the project, and (3) the workers built the tabernacle just as God intended. God told them what to do and they did it.

One commentator summarized this chapter, by saying that “the whole mass of Scripture consists chiefly of two corresponding groups… precept and example; on the one hand the directions as to what we are to do to fulfill the divine will, and on the other, the example of those who have actually fulfilled it” (Bush 274).

While we are not called to build a tabernacle today, we do have New Testament commands which the Lord expects us to carry out. What are these precepts? We ought to love on another. We ought to study the Scriptures for ourselves. We ought to meet with God’s people on a regular basis. We ought to praise the Lord. We ought to pray. We ought to speak the gospel of Jesus to others. There are many others, but you get the point. God has given us precepts to live by. The question now is this: Are we doing what He has commanded?

Bibliography

Bush, George, Exodus Vol. 2, Minneapolis: James & Klock, 1852, reprint 1976, pp. 271-75.

Hannah, John D., “Exodus” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary, Old Testament, USA: SP Publications, 1989, p. 160.

McGee, J. Vernon, Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee, Vol. I, Genesis through Deuteronomy, Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1981, pp. 311-12.

“The Tabernacle and Court” as viewed at https://www.esv.org/resources/esv-global-study-bible/illustration-02-tabernacle/ on 11/5/22.

“What translation philosophies have caused such a wide variation in the translation of tachash skins?” as viewed at https://hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/218/what-translation-philosophies-have-caused-such-a-wide-variation-in-the-translati on 11/5/22.

This is an interesting explanation of what the skins actually were. “Badgers, porpoises, sea cows, and seals are all unclean animals. In order to get the skin of any of these animals you would obviously have to kill it first. However, touching the carcass of an unclean animal is specifically called a sin and required a trespass offering… It doesn’t make much sense that God would command His people not to touch the carcasses of unclean animals, while at the same time requiring skins of unclean animals for the outer covering of the Tabernacle which itself was constructed as the means for atoning for sins. This is perhaps in part why some of the more modern Bible translations such as the English Standard Version (ESV) and Good News Translation (GNT) tend to go with “goatskins” or “fine leather,” respectively, in addition to the Egyptian word for leather…”

“What was the tabernacle of Moses?”, as viewed at https://printer.gotquestions.net/GeneratePF?articleId=2545 on 11/5/22.

Doctrinal Statement: Understanding Salvation

We have been working through our church’s doctrinal statement this year. While God’s truth in the Bible has not changed, the way it is presented can be clarified so that we can understand it better. With that in mind, here is a proposed amendment to the doctrinal section about God’s salvation.

“We believe that God is holy (1 Pet. 1:16) and people are inherently sinful (Rom. 3:10-12, 23). Because of that, we are enemies of God and are unable to have a right relationship with God on our own (Isa. 59:2). We believe that God is just (Deut. 32:4) and will punish our sin against Him with death and eventually the eternal lake of fire (Rev. 20:11-15). However, we believe that God is love (1 John 4:16) and has provided a way for sinful people to be forgiven (Eph. 1:7) and reconciled to Himself (Rom. 5:10). He accomplished this by sending His Son, Jesus, to die in our place (Isa. 53:5; 2 Cor. 5:21). Jesus became a man, lived a perfect life, willingly died on the cross for our sins, was buried, and rose again the third day (1 Cor. 15:3-5). We believe that God always keeps His promises and that all who repent of their sins and place their faith in Jesus (Acts 20:21) will be forgiven by God (Col. 1:14), saved from the coming judgment (John 3:16), and be given a new spiritual life in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17).”