There were many times when the religious leaders back in the time of the King wanted the Lord Jesus to follow certain customs and traditions in order to please the Lord God. Here is one such occasion: One day some Pharisees and teachers of religious law arrived from Jerusalem to see Jesus. They noticed that some of his disciples failed to follow the Jewish ritual of hand washing before eating. (The Jews, especially the Pharisees, do not eat until they have poured water over their cupped hands, as required by their ancient traditions. Similarly, they don’t eat anything from the market until they immerse their hands in water. This is but one of many traditions they have clung to—such as their ceremonial washing of cups, pitchers, and kettles.)
So the Pharisees and teachers of religious law asked him, “Why don’t your disciples follow our age-old tradition? They eat without first performing the hand-washing ceremony.” All of those bells and whistles were in support of their denomination and their religious organization. It had nothing to do with the inner man. Now, take notice of what the Lord said concerning their traditions and customs: Then Jesus told them, “A prophet is honored everywhere except in his own hometown and among his relatives and his own family.” And because of their unbelief, he couldn’t do any miracles among them except to place his hands on a few sick people and heal them. And he was amazed at their unbelief.
Then Jesus went from village to village, teaching the people. And he called his twelve disciples together and began sending them out two by two, giving them authority to cast out evil spirits. He told them to take nothing for their journey except a walking stick—no food, no traveler’s bag, no money. He allowed them to wear sandals but not to take a change of clothes.
“Wherever you go,” he said, “stay in the same house until you leave town. But if any place refuses to welcome you or listen to you, shake its dust from your feet as you leave to show that you have abandoned those people to their fate.”
So the disciples went out, telling everyone they met to repent of their sins and turn to God. And they cast out many demons and healed many sick people, anointing them with olive oil. Kingdom living isn't about traditions or customs. It is not about attending some religious institution on Sundays or Wednesday nights. It is about living His Word through the Governor (Holy Spirit). The Holy Spirit is the only channel that you should have to qualify you as citizens of the Kingdom. Those of you who have the Holy Spirit are no longer a slave to those bad habits that once enslaved you. The ambassador Paul had this same situation with the believers in Corinth. He had to make them aware that it wasn't the exterior that the King was concerned with but the interior. The topic was circumcision. Each of you should continue to live in whatever situation the Lord has placed you, and remain as you were when God first called you. This is my rule for all the churches. For instance, a man who was circumcised before he became a believer should not try to reverse it. And the man who was uncircumcised when he became a believer should not be circumcised now. For it makes no difference whether or not a man has been circumcised. The important thing is to keep God’s commandments.
Yes, each of you should remain as you were when God called you. Are you a slave? Don’t let that worry you—but if you get a chance to be free, take it. And remember, if you were a slave when the Lord called you, you are now free in the Lord. And if you were free when the Lord called you, you are now a slave of Christ. God paid a high price for you, so don’t be enslaved by the world. Each of you, dear brothers and sisters, should remain as you were when God first called you.
Note what ambassador Paul stated here: For it makes no difference whether or not a man has been circumcised. The important thing is to keep God’s commandments. All religion enslaves the people in some way; but the Spirit of the living God sets us free. Read the Lord Jesus' words here: “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave of sin. A slave is not a permanent member of the family, but a son is part of the family forever. So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free." Once you fully embrace His Word you will become free to live according to His Word. You need no customs or traditions as a channel to control how you worship and serve the King; just obeying His Word.
If you have truly know the freedom that you have in Christ, why would you ever hand over your freedom to any one or anything ever again?
Remember, your greatest asset is your faith in the Word of the living God.
Mark 7:1-5 I Corinthians 7:17-24 Mark 6:4-13 John 8:34-36
all NLT except where noted
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