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What kind of religion would you make up if you were going to make one up? What sort of observances and special days would you include? What manner of worship would you think best? It is interesting to think about. No doubt we would come up with something quite different from the religion God has actually given to us in Christ. God has good reasons, no doubt, for every aspect of the work and worship He has required -- but we may not always understand God's rationale for setting things up as He has. There might be instances where we think things should be done differently, places where we would add, subtract, or modify something in the Lord's plan. We might include some "good ideas" that the Lord seems to have overlooked.
In fact, it has not been uncommon in the religious world for people to do just that. And the religious observance of Christmas is a good example. Most folks simply assume that even though God has said nothing about it, it surely must be acceptable because it seems like such a good idea to us. How could God possibly object to a thing that we think is so praiseworthy? Who could object to a special day to remember the birth of Christ?
Yet, however much it may go against our opinions, the truth is this: it is presumptuous to make up special religious observances which God has not commanded. Whether the question is Christmas or anything else, we have no way of knowing whether God approves of it except by His written word, the Scriptures. If the Scriptures are silent about a thing, the only safe conclusion we can draw is that it is no part of what God wants us to be doing in worship to Him. It is God's prerogative, not ours, to let us know what pleases Him. We must be content with what He has revealed.
This week is a delightful week. It is a wonderful holiday season when families enjoy the good things of togetherness. But this week, let's take the opportunity to think about the error that is committed when we turn such an occasion into a religious observance. Let's teach our children that the Bible is to be our guide in the matter of "special days."
Monday: Colossians 3:15-17
Key Idea: In all aspects of our obedience, we must respect the Lord's authority.
Questions for Family Growth: In practical terms, what does the word "authority" mean? What does it mean for the "word of Christ [to] dwell in [us] richly"? What does it mean to do all that we do "in the name of the Lord Jesus"?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 18:22.
Tuesday: Leviticus 10:1-20
Key Idea: It displeases God when we presumptuously do things we have not been commanded.
Questions for Family Growth: What kind of fire did Nadab and Abihu offer before the Lord? What was wrong with it, according to the last part of v.1? What happened to them as a result? What is the lesson or application for us today?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 18:23.
Wednesday: 1 Kings 12:25-33
Key Idea: We must not devise in our hearts our own way of worshiping God.
Questions for Family Growth: What were some of the things that Jeroboam did that were wrong when he became king? What does v.33 say about how he came up with the date for his feast? What was wrong with that?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 18:24.
Thursday: 2 Timothy 3:14-17
Key Idea: The Scriptures teach us completely what God wants.
Questions for Family Growth: How long had Timothy known the Scriptures? In v.16, what does the word "inspiration" (NKJV) mean? What is God's word "profitable" for? What does God's word "equip" us for? How can we be "complete"?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 19:1.
Friday: Revelation 1:9-11
Key Idea: The Lord's Day is the special day designated for us to remember the Lord.
Questions for Family Growth: What happened to John on "the Lord's Day"? What day of the week is the Lord's Day? What special things happened on that day in the New Testament? What are we to do on the Lord's Day today? How do we know what God wants us to do on this day?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 19:2.