|Volume 22 Number 11 November 2020||
Martha Lynn Rushmore
In Acts 20:7, “Upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them until midnight.” Paul made sure he was with brethren to worship his God and commune with the church and remember the death of our Lord Jesus Christ.
In Hebrews 10:25, we are told not to forsake the assembling of ourselves for worship. We have been told by our government not to meet in crowds larger than a certain number (the specified number varies with local and current circumstances regarding the pandemic). We are told to obey the laws of our land if they do not go against the Word of God (Romans 13:1-2). What can we do to worship our God? We can and should meet in our homes with our families during this time of lockdown. There are many congregations airing their Sunday morning services. There are also 5-minute devotionals, lessons for Sunday evening and Wednesday night services. We have no excuse for not worshipping our God. Also, we can do our own services and have one of the men teach a lesson during our services in the home.
As we have been going through this lockdown because of the Covid-19, have we worshipped our God? Yes, we cannot meet with the brethren, but we can provide the communion items for our family to worship and commune with our God in remembrance of our Lord giving His life on the cross for our sins. We can sing (Ephesians 5:19), pray (2 Thessalonians 1:11), observe communion (1 Corinthians 11:23-26) and listen to a lesson (as they are all over Facebook and YouTube (1 Timothy 4:2). For giving, we can mail our contributions to respective local congregations. What can we do about communion? We can make our own unleavened bread or buy some Matzo crackers. Grape juice can be purchased at any grocery store. Some congregations are providing the communion elements to their members if they come to the church building to pick them up. This is also a good time to give of our means to whomever is handing out the communion for our Sunday worship (1 Corinthians 16:1-2).
There are some of our brethren who use Zoom so they can worship with certain brothers and sisters. I guess the biggest drawback with this is they cannot hear one another sing. They sing, pray, commune and have a lesson presented by one of the men.
We are not forsaking the assembly as some would have us think, but instead, we are making the effort to assemble as best we can under daunting circumstances. [Early Christians often faced formidable challenges and adapted as necessary to worship God. ~ Louis Rushmore, Editor.] If we are worshipping our God and remembering our Lord’s sacrifice for us on the Lord’s day, we are obeying our Lord to worship in spirit and in truth (John 4:24).
This worship period can be a very special time for building up our family relationships. It can and should bring us closer to one another and to our Savior and Father above.
Pure Religion: Bridling the Tongue
If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain. Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world. (James 1:26-27)
Pure religion requires bridling the tongue as well as helping the needy. We see in the verse above that “if any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain” (James 1:26).
There should be no time our speech is not controlled with grace and salt. “Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man” (Colossians 4:6). This kind of speech will not necessarily please the world, but God is pleased with such speech.
Our speech should never include anything that would be a shame to Christ. “…Sound speech that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you” (Titus 2:8).
It takes a heavy bridle to stop speech that the world loves. “Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks” (Ephesians 5:4).
The speech we have should be building in the heart of those who hear. “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers” (Ephesians 4:29).
We should never scorn or blaspheme any man. “…To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men” (Titus 3:2).
We should never speak so as to damage any brother. “Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge” (James 4:11).
We are instructed to lay these things aside. “Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings” (1 Peter 2:1).
The fear of the Lord refrains (bridles) the tongue so that it speaks no evil. “For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile” (1 Peter 3:10).
The Lord knows how to punish chiefly the ones who speak evil of dignities.
But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, self-willed, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities: Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord. But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption. (2 Peter 2:10-12)
We are to bridle our tongues when it comes to officials.
Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities. Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee. But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves. (Jude 8-10)
Without a doubt, we need to consider the admonition of Solomon when he said, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof” (Proverbs 18:21).