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Thursday, August 25 2011
The Way To Salvation: Step 2
Before we begin our Holy Bible study of The Second of The Ten Commandments, a review of why Christians should actually follow Jesus Christ. The only people who don't find the Truth of God's Word "uplifting" are those who presume to have made themselves higher than the Truth of God's Word ("1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth" John 1:14 KJV):
Salvation is only found directly and personally through Jesus Christ, not any mere man. Christ's true servants teach people to follow Jesus Christ, not to follow any man, or any man's "church." Unity comes from humbly following our LORD and Savior Jesus Christ. Division comes from following men (1:12 Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. 1:13 Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul? 1 Corinthians 1:12-13 KJV).
"14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14:6 KJV)
Jesus Christ is the only Head of the true Christian Church. The only "headquarters" of Christ's Church is where Christ resides.
"1:18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence." (Colossians 1:18 KJV)
Jesus Christ plainly said that obedience to God's Law is required for salvation.
"5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 5:18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. 5:19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 5:20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 5:17-20 KJV)
"If ye love Me, keep My Commandments"
When He said, "14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments" (John 14:15 KJV), why did Jesus Christ say "My" Commandments? Answer: Because it was Jesus Christ Who delivered them (the Commandments), after He delivered them (the people) in the Exodus - out of a world where people follow men, into a world where people follow Christ (see The King's Dedication). When those people rejected His Commandments, Christ rejected them.
"10:1 Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; 10:2 And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; 10:3 And did all eat the same spiritual meat; 10:4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.
The Second Commandment:
"20:4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: 20:5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; 20:6 And showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments." (Exodus 20:4-6 KJV)
Violation of the Second Commandment takes two general forms. First, it involves the worship of false gods by means of religious statues or pictures. Second, it involves the worship of the True God by means of religious statues or pictures.
The first form of idolatry is rendered obviously wrong by The First Commandment which makes plain not to worship false gods. The First Commandment covers the false-god aspect of the Second Commandment (see The Way To Salvation: Step 1).
The second form of idolatry should also be seen as obviously wrong to anyone with a Holy Bible, and who reads it (see Holy Bible Reading Plan), and who reads it with an attitude of truly obeying God and serving our LORD and Savior (see Friends Of Jesus), but millions of people who merely claim to be Christians (see Antichristians) defy God by having religious statues or pictures in their churches or homes. The True God is not a picture or a statue, and as the Holy Scriptures plainly state, by God's own Word, the True God is not to be worshiped or prayed to by the use of statues or pictures. It is a blasphemous insult to Almighty God to portray Him in such a lowly and grossly-inaccurate way!
Imagine, if when someone wanted to talk to you, they made themselves a hollow, lifeless plaster doll, that they said represented you, brought it into your presence and instead of talking to you directly, they talked to the lifeless plaster doll, as if it were you, all the while ignoring the real you who was right there with them. Would you think someone who did that was very foolish? Would you be offended by someone who "sees you" as a plaster dummy? And if, after your telling them that you don't like them doing that, and emphatically telling them not to do it, they kept doing it anyway, would you become angry with them? By His own words, it makes God very angry too. You aren't a dummy (unless, you keep any religious statues or images that you happen to have after you know better), and God isn't a dummy either.
The same holds true for using statues or images to worship or pray to the dead saints of the past (just as it's wrong to worship or pray to the living saints of the present - see What Is A Saint?). Only God is to be prayed to or worshiped (see also What Would Mary Really Say About Idolatry?). All of the saints of the past were merely people the same as anyone today, and all of the dead saints of the past cannot hear anything, or do anything, for anyone because they are dead at the moment. Dead does not mean "alive and dead," dead means dead (see What Happens When You Die?). If they were not dead, if the dead were already alive, there would be no need for a future resurrection of the dead (see Resurrections).
What does the Holy Bible warn about the use of statues and pictures for worship? God will shame and condemn those who use statues or images for worship:
"44:8 Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any. 44:9 They that make a graven image are all of them vanity; and their delectable things shall not profit; and they are their own witnesses; they see not, nor know; that they may be ashamed. 44:10 Who hath formed a god, or molten a graven image that is profitable for nothing? 44:11 Behold, all his fellows shall be ashamed: and the workmen, they are of men: let them all be gathered together, let them stand up; yet they shall fear, and they shall be ashamed together." (Isaiah 44:8-11 KJV)
God is not made of wood, plastic, or cement. God is not to be represented by wood, plastic, or cement:
"17:29 Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device. 17:30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: 17:31 Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world [see Moriah: Separating The Wheat From The Chaff] in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead." (Acts 17:29-31 KJV)
Fact Finder: Who may actually be portrayed in the traditional "Jesus" religious pictures that people have in their homes or web sites?
This Day In History, August 25
325: The Council Of Nicaea ended with the adoption of the Nicene Creed, establishing the Roman Catholic doctrine of the Trinity (listen to our Sermon Constantine's Papacy).
1560: Protestantism was formally adopted at the First General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. The Scottish Parliament had already instituted a Calvinist confession of faith, declaring that the pope no longer had jurisdiction over Scotland.
1580: Spanish forces under the Duke of Alva fought the Portuguese at the Battle of Alcantara.
1609: Galileo demonstrated his newly-invented telescope to the Roman church authorities. His correct scientific discoveries (e.g. that the earth orbits the sun, not the sun orbits the earth; see also Do You Observe Christ's Sabbath Or Babylon's Sun Day?) nearly got him condemned for heresy.
1635: A hurricane hit Plymouth colony.
1718: The city of New Orleans, Louisiana, was founded and named in honor of the Duke of Orleans of France.
1758: The Prussian army defeated the invading Russians at the Battle of Zorndorf.
1825: Uruguay declared its independence from Spain.
1830: A revolt broke out in the French-speaking provinces of the Netherlands, against union into Belgium.
1943: During the Second World War (listen to our Sermon The European World Wars), Louis Mountbatten of Britain was appointed Supreme Allied Commander in Southeast Asia.
1944: During the Second World War, Paris was liberated from German occupation by Free French Forces under General Jacques LeClerc.
1978: The Church of Rome's "Shroud of Turin," which is incorrectly (see Shroud Of Turin: A Miraculous Fake?) believed by some to be the burial cloth of Jesus Christ, went on public display for the first time in over 40 years.
1995: A rare fireball, caused by a large meteor, passed over southern Ontario and was accidentally filmed by a CITY-TV crew in Toronto.