Updated: Feb 20
Word Alive! © 2023 Winter Series Living and Thriving Again! Concord Baptist Church of Boston in Milton Conley Hughes, Jr., Senior Pastor
Tuesday, 14 Feb. 2023, Lesson/ Chapter 2, Part 1
Thom S. Rainer, Anatomy Of A Revived Church, 2020
Quiet Time: Thom S.Rainer, Lesson/Chapter 2 (pp. 29-41)
Overcoming Trapping Traditions – There are meaningful and enduring traditions that are given to us in the Scriptures, which sustain and attest to our great faith. However, there are some traditions which were created by us, to accommodate certain needs at a given era or season in the life of the church. While the traditions or practices we receive from the Scriptures, especially those given to us by Christ; and commanded by Him, to the apostles, are necessary; many traditions which are embraced by local Christian churches were never intended to be sustained forever. Many of these traditions are centered around emotional attachments, and long-held personal preferences. While many traditions served a useful purpose at a given time; a sign of Christian maturity and spiritual growth, is attained by moving beyond some of the traditions which accommodate personal, social, and emotional needs. Our spiritual needs always require a deeper more intentional faith experience and journey. Jesus spoke to this issue, when He admonished some religious people for allowing their traditions to ignore the principles in the Word of God. The traditions were not God inspired, but human contrived. (Read, Matthew 15:6b-9, NLT). These words of Jesus are as forceful in Mark’s account as well. (Read, Mark 7:8-9, NLT). Jesus was warning us, not to become trapped in traditions that cancel our ability to read, understand, and add value to our Christian lives through God’s word. In Anatomy Of A Revived Church, author Thom S. Rainer says: “Traditions are not inherently evil. When traditions become a fixation or obsession, they often become issues of idolatry. They become more important than sharing the gospel message, reaching people, serving the community, and making changes to make a difference.” Dr. Rainer was addressing the church; yet, we all should be challenged by his credible assessment. We must avoid becoming so preoccupied with activities that accommodate our emotional needs, that we ignore our basic need to mature in the faith. The scripture says we must make sure that “everything we do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ.” (See, 2 Peter 4:11b, NLT). People-inspired traditions often are passed down to successive generations with inherent flaws. Jesus addressed this when he was approached by a group of Jews, who were influenced by a long-held tradition about Moses. Jesus corrected them, and directed their attention to Him as Messiah. (Read, John 6:31-32, NLT). As Christians we must seek God’s word for discernment, so that we can become un-trapped by traditions that prevent spiritual maturity.
Overcoming Trapping Traditions, Part 2 – Author and Pastor, Thom Rainer, says there are always “emotional connections” to the traditions we embrace within our churches. Our feelings are often tethered to what we do. How we engage in what is familiar to us is important. It should be noted again, all traditions are not bad or non-beneficial. There are traditions, which are done consistent with Biblical truth; and they help build up the body of believers. Jesus was aware of, and concerned with, those traditions that contravened His teachings and the Scripture. Jesus encountered such a situation when He addressed the woman in the town of Sychar in Samaria. She steadfastly defended the place where her people worshiped, without understanding the true meaning of worship. The strong ties the townspeople had to the place where they worshiped, were more “cultural” and “generational” than God-centered. (Read, John 4:20-21; 23, NLT). The Samaritans (and some Jews as can be inferenced from Jesus), were more tethered to where they worshiped, than in a sincere worship of God. After the Resurrection and departure of Jesus to His high priestly ministry with the Father; the apostles grappled with some undesirable emergent traditions in the early Christian Church. The Apostle Paul addressed the Christians in Corinth, because they had developed a tradition to coincide with the Lord’s Supper, which created chaos and ill-feelings. Paul urged the church to stop the practice of having feasts (church dinners) before the Communion Service. The practice perpetuated favoritism, neglect, and division (Read, I Corinthians 11:17b-18;20-22, NLT). Paul instructed the church to abandon the tradition, in favor of gaining a deeper meaning of Christ’s death and Resurrection. He then explained the necessary practice of the Lord’s Supper. Paul wanted to save the Corinthian Christians from being trapped by their emerging tradition. (Read I Corinthians 11:17b-18; 20-22, NLT; Also, See I Cor. 11:23-31, NLT).
________________________KEY IDEA ________________________
What We Believe!
“All tradition is not bad; but any tradition that doe not accord with Scripture; and prohibits spiritual maturity, is not good.
We must avoid being trapped in a tradition that resists change.
Giving up emotional attachments isn’t easy; but it’s necessary.
Matthew 15:6b-9, NLT
“… And so you cancel the word of God for the sake of your tradition. You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he said, “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts were far from me. Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.”
Mark 7:8-9; 13, NLT
“For you ignore God’s law and substitute your own tradition.” Then He said, “You skillfully sidestep in order to hold on to your own tradition…And so you cancel the word of God in order to hand down your own tradition. And this is only one example of many others.”
Mark 7:14-15, NLT
“Then Jesus called the crowd to come and hear. “All of you listen,” He said, “and try to understand. It is not what goes into your body that defiles you; you are defiled by what comes from your heart.”
John 6:31-33, NLT
“After all, our ancestors ate manna while they journeyed through the wilderness. The Scriptures say, ‘Moses gave them bread from heaven to eat.’ Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, Moses didn’t give you bread from heaven. My Father did. And now He offers you the true bread from heaven. The true bread of God is the One who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
John 4:20-21; 23, NLT
“So tell me, why is it that you Jews insist that Jerusalem is the only place of worship, while we Samaritans claim it’s here at Mt. Gerizim, where our ancestors worshiped?” Jesus replied, “Believe me, dear woman, the time is coming when it will no longer matter whether you worship the Father on this mountain or in Jerusalem.” ... “But the time is coming – indeed it’s here now - when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who worship Him in that way.”
I Cor. 11:17b-18; 20-22, NLT
“For it sounds as if more harm than good is done when you meet together. First, I hear that there are divisions among you when you meet as a church, and to some extent I believe it…” “When you meet together you are not really interested in the Lord’s Supper. For some of you hurry to eat your own meal without sharing with others. As a result some go hungry, while others get drunk. What? Don’t you have your own homes for eating and drinking? Or do you want to disgrace God’s church and shame the poor? What am I supposed to say? Do you want me to praise you? Well, I certainly will not praise you for this.”.
I Cor. 11:33-34a, NLT
“So, my dear brothers and sisters, when you gather for The Lord’s Supper, wait for each other. If you are really hungry, eat at home so you won’t bring judgment upon yourself when you meet together…”