2408 Bennett Dr Darlington, SC 29532 USA
April One, 2016
Dear Obedient Children,
When the nation of Israel was on their way from Egypt to Canaan and came to Sinai the LORD began to speak to them amidst the thunder, lighting, trumpets, smoke and fire. Israel was so afraid they asked the Lord to speak to Moses and he will speak to the people. The nation responded “All that the Lord says we will do.” God agreed and gave the declaration of the law for His people Israel, communicating His legal framework known as the Law of Moses.
So Israel put themselves under the law which, as a conditional covenant of works, meant if they obeyed, God would prosper them, if they did not obey the judgment of God would fall on them. The Jewish rabbis account a total of 613 commands given to Moses for the Children of Israel. 348 negative and 365 positive, known as The Law. We know the “10 Commandments best.” Though never given to any other people but Israel, these ten stand as a revelation of the nature and character of the Lord Jehovah.
The church as a whole has wrestled with the place of The Law in the conscience and behavior of believers. Some denominations enforce the Law of Moses on all it members. Some churches offer the ten as suggestions without any culpability. On the other side of the great divide are believers who boast they are “not under law, but under grace” and are free to live as they like without constrains of law of any kind including the 10 commandments.
From the voice of the most liberal church we might anticipate that the NT and the epistles particularly do not contain any laws for the believer’s observance. From the most conservative we should expect that since they tenaciously hold to the ten there could not be any NT commands that might supersede the ten of the old covenant.
We all might enter into discussion about the viability of the Law of Moses on the church today. We might vacillate from the “not under the law” folks to the rigid laws of the OT like keeping the Sabbath etc. Where do we come down on the arguments swirling around the Christian community today in relation to commandments and obedience?
From the Epistles we gain a starting point that is still a battle ground after all these centuries. The first Epistle in our NT begins and ends with a foundational description of the initial step of obedience to a command. Paul in Romans begins his doctrinal dissertation on Salvation with the need for “obedience to the faith” in 1:5, and ends his epistle with the same salvo “The obedience of faith…” 16:26. So the command went out into all the world and came to the Philippian jailer. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved…” Acts 16:31. Here is a command as well as an invitation!
Therefore the journey of the Christian’s pilgrimage begins with obedience to the command for salvation. Obedience is necessary. This pattern is bolstered by the reminder of Paul in another place that reads “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord so walk in Him. “ Col 2:6. Of course we accept that the primary emphasis of our walk is our faith in Christ Jesus. But the twin importance is the “obedience of faith” that brought us into Christ! So is this obedience to the Law of Moses as some teach or obedience to another law made known to us as members of the church.
Any perusal of the epistles of the NT exposes the fact that they do not give us any kind of organized stipulation of law comparable to the Exodus and Levitical accounts for the nation of Israel. But we are met by a general summary of law in many places beginning with the “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus…” Rom 8:2“the law of faith...” “the law of her husband…” “the law of God…” “Law of Christ…”. In addition we might hear the tone of the epistles and add the “law of love” “law of the Lord…” “the law of the heart…” etc.
So where do we find the laws related to the walk of the believer. A detailed investigation of the epistles turns up about 719 commands given by God through the authors of these NT letters. Some are specific to the author and the recipients of each letter but many are intended for all believers. It is Peter that reminds us that we are to be “as obedient children…” I Peter 1:14. James reiterates the need of obedience by writing that “Faith without works is dead...” The works are the results of obedience.
What needs to be considered is the motive for obedience. Under the Law of Moses it was: obedience will result in blessing. Under the law of grace it is because I have been so blessed and loved by God I will obey with joy and pleasure as evidence of my appreciation for all He has done for me.
Must we not then be diligent to know the commands of the Lord to the church that relate to every area of our life? What are some of the prominent ones? Pray without ceasing, Study to show yourselves approved, Remember me, Go into all the world, Give an answer, Meditate on these things, Grow in grace, Be holy, Don’t forsake the church, give thanks, bless, give, walk, run, and a host of others.
So are we obedient children and delighted to obey our Father because it pleases Him? Our obedience is not to earn His love and acceptance but because we are accepted in Christ and are loved unconditionally. What glorious impetus to be obedient children.
The life of Paul is played out because he could say “I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision.” Acts 26:19. May the “vision” of our blessed Savior blaze before the eyes of our understanding to produce obedience commensurate with the perception of His death, resurrection, ascension, present session as our advocate and His promised return for us as His blood bought family? May He “Fill all my vision…”?
Our family continues in the faith grounded and settled, not moving away from obedience that delights the Lord. Wes and Laurie’s situation remains unchanged. Dan and Rosana are still are in the Chick-fil-A restaurant business in CA, Roy is teaching at Emmaus Bible College. He and Tracey face a move this summer from Conway, SC to Dubuque, IA. The Lord oversees our good health with a clean bill for me after my annual physical. We continue to have many invitations for ministry. And the Lord fulfills daily His promise to supply our needs. Thank you so very much for your prayers and concern for the commission the Lord has placed before us day by day.
With that perception moving us we seek to be obedient servants whose ears have been pierced out of love for our Master. To that end we want to be pleasing to the One who called and commissioned us to be His obedient servants. Our present and prospective service is listed below as usual. Your prayers are appreciated for the ministry and usefulness of the Word on those who hear. May the Word preached be mixed with faith resulting in obedient children as a result of our
Serving the Greatest Master,
Fred and Jenny
April 3 - Southside Bible, Jacksonville, FL.
10, 17, 24 - Faith Bible, Raleigh, NC
May - Shirley Heights Gospel, Nassau, Bahamas