Deuteronomy 12: Lessons for Spirit-Led Worship

Worship the Lord with all your heart and soul1

Introduction: Chapter 12 begins a 24-chapter discussion of different specific laws of the Torah. The specific laws were meant to help interpret the Ten Commandments. Because the First Commandment and the Second Commandment both pertain to worship, Moses begins his discussion of the specific laws with rules to govern how and where to practice your worship. Throughout the book, Moses repeatedly stresses the importance of obedience. Yet, Moses reveals that obedience alone is not enough to be in God’s presence. There must also be faith and worship. We study the details of the sacrifices for worship because every believer is to make “spiritual sacrifices” to Christ: “you also . . . are . . . to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (1 Pet. 2:5). Moses gives seven principles for Spirit-led worship. In each principle, you can find a “spiritual sacrifice” to offer to Christ. First, true worship requires that you avoid compromising with the world. Moses repeats a claim that he made in chapter seven that the Jews needed to “smash” the idols around them. If the Jews allowed false idols to remain, their worship would be corrupted. This also violates the First and Second Commandments. Today, believers cannot smash evil business enterprises around them. Yet, they can exert their power through prayer, righteous living, and the ballot box. Second, true worship requires that you avoid compromising God’s Word. Third, true worship requires that you respect the places where God’s Spirit is present. This is any gathering of two or more in God’s name. Fourth, true worship requires that you keep your life in communion with Christ. Fifth, true worship requires that you seek fellowship with God. Sixth, true worship requires that you not be ensnared by the idols of the flesh. When you pursue after the idols of the flesh, you place yourself in communion with demons. Finally, true worship requires that you not add or take away from God’s Word.

1. Spirit-Led Worship Does not Compromise with the World. Dt. 12:1-3.

  • Be obedient to God’s Word. Before discussing the rules for worship, Moses begins with a familiar call to obedience: “These are the statutes and the judgments which you shall carefully observe in the land which the Lord, the God of your fathers, has given you to possess as long as you live on the earth.” (Dt. 12:1). God could not use the Jews as His “avengers” of justice until they were obedient and restored to righteousness (Rom. 13:1-4). Despite their best intentions, every believer will break God’s Law (Ro. 3:20). Thus, every believer needs to hear Moses’ repeated calls to obedience. Jesus is the “I AM” who gave Moses the Ten Commandments (Jo. 8:58; Ex. 3:14). When you openly sin, you need to be reminded that you are showing neither love nor appreciation for what Jesus did for you. “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” (Jo. 14:15, 21; 15:10; 1 Jo. 5:3; 2 Jo. 1:6). When you are not obedient, you must stop and repent so that God can also use you as an agent for change. If you confess and repent of “unrighteousness,” He is faithful to forgive you (1 Jo. 1:9; Jo. 15:3; 1 Cor. 6:11). You must then renew your mind and commit to being obedient (Rom. 12:1-2). Is there any open sin in your life that you have not repented of? Are you asking God to renew your mind daily so that He can use you?

Let your worship be evidenced through your Spirit-led obedience2

  • Tolerating evil will corrupt your worship of God. Because the Jews (like most believers) were weak in their faith, God called upon them to “destroy” all of the pagan idols and influences in the Promised Land that might corrupt their worship. Among other things, he singled out the “Asherah”, which were wood poles related to the Canaanite worship of their fertility goddess Asherah, the consort of their god Ba'al: “You shall utterly destroy all the places where the nations whom you shall dispossess serve their gods, on the high mountains and on the hills and under every green tree. You shall tear down their altars and smash their sacred pillars and burn their Asherim with fire, and you shall cut down the engraved images of their gods and obliterate their name from that place.” (Dt. 12:1-3). This was the third time that Moses gave this commandment: “But thus you shall do to them: you shall tear down their altars, and smash their sacred pillars, and hew down their Asherim, and burn their graven images with fire.” (Dt. 7:5). “But rather, you are to tear down their altars and smash their sacred pillars and cut down their Asherim.” (Ex. 34:13). Later, King Manasseh adopted some of the local Canaanite religious practices by placing an Asherah pole in the Temple (2 Kgs. 21:7). He was ensnared by pagan idols of the flesh. The merger of contradictory religious practices is called “syncretism.” Today, there are countless fake fertility idols that people turn to as they lust after the flesh. These include racy television shows, movies, magazines, and websites. These also include pornography, prostitution, and an “adult” industry that exists in nearly every major city. Like the Jews, Christians must also avoid accommodating these idols of the flesh in their lives. Have you accommodated any of these idols of the flesh into your life? If so, repent of these things and let the Holy Spirit renew your mind. “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Ro. 12:2). If you do not repent, God might hand you over to your vices and allow you to become addicted to them (Ro. 1:21-25).

  • God also meant for you to be salt and light in this world. Like the Jews, you were also meant to be God’s salt and His instrument against sin in the world around you: “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.” (Matt. 5:13). There are three meanings to Jesus’ words. First, salt was a preservative in that time to keep meat from rotting. Without our prayers and our actions to keep society pure, it will rot in its sins. Second, salt is a symbol of judgment. Lot’s wife was turned into salt (Gen. 19:26). Salt was also scattered on destroyed cities to destroy crops (Dt. 29:23; Jdgs. 9:45; Ps. 137:34; Jer. 17:5-6; 48:9; Zeph. 2:9). Unless the Church acts through prayer and politics to root out sin in our society, our society will face God’s judgment. If God repeatedly judged Israel, the West should not feel immune. Third, salt (or judgment) is an important ingredient in our life (grain) offering (Lev. 2:13). We are not to take personal vengeance against others (Rom. 12:19). We are to always be kind and love those who are enemies of the Gospel (Matt. 5:44; Rom. 12:20). Yet, through prayer and politics, the Church can and should be an agent for change. “For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing;” (Rom. 13:4). Are you actively praying for the world around you? Have you made your voice heard on the questions of morality in public discourse?

2. Spirit-Led Worship Does Not Compromise the Word of God. Dt. 12:4-9.

  • Treat the Word of God with respect. Moses was also clear that the Jews could not “smash” or disrespect the things of God: “You shall not act like this toward the Lord your God.” (Dt. 12:4). Based upon this law, many rabbis taught over the centuries that the Jews could not erase or deface God’s name in any printed form. Orthodox Jews believe that it is a violation of the Third Commandment against taking the Lord’s name in vain if printed text with God’s name is thrown away. Today, Orthodox Jews tolerate God’s name being deleted in electronic form but not in any printed document. Jesus was the Word of God that became flesh (Jo. 1:1, 14). A believer should also treat the Word of God as holy: “Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be Your name . . .” (Matt. 6:9). To “hallow” a thing is to make it holy or to set it apart as being worthy of absolute devotion. Alternatively, to “hallow” the name of God is to regard Him with complete devotion and loving admiration. If you were to compare the time spent reading things of the flesh with the Word of God, where are you spending most of your time?

  • God’s Law does not give you the freedom to worship Him however you want to. God also did not give the Jews the freedom to worship Him anyway they wanted. He repeatedly warned against embracing “relativism,” which exists when each person decides what was right or wrong based upon their individual sense of morality: “But you shall seek the Lord at the place which the Lord your God will choose from all your tribes, to establish His name there for His dwelling, and there you shall come. There you shall bring your burnt offerings, your sacrifices, your tithes, the contribution of your hand, your votive offerings, your freewill offerings, and the firstborn of your herd and of your flock. There also you and your households shall eat before the Lord your God, and rejoice in all your undertakings in which the Lord your God has blessed you. You shall not do at all what we are doing here today, every man doing whatever is right in his own eyes; for you have not as yet come to the resting place and the inheritance which the Lord your God is giving you.” (Dt. 12:5-9). God’s command was later repeated in the book of Judges: “In those days there was no king in Israel, every man did what was right in his own eyes.” (Jdgs. 17:6; 21:25). Today, the warning against relativism is never more relevant. The West has embraced a libertarian view of morality. Unless your actions cause physical harm to another person, Westerns are increasingly less concerned about public or private acts of immorality. Are you picking and choosing which portions of the Word that you are following? Are you obedient to all of God’s laws, or just the ones you agree with?

3. Spirit-Led Worship Respects the Places of Worship Where the Spirit Resides. Dt. 12:10-14.

  • God appoints specific places where His Holy Spirit resides. After warning against compromising with the world or compromising the Word, Moses warned against compromising how the Jews were worshiping Him. To ensure conformity in the laws for forgiving sin and other important matters, He required that the Jews worship Him at an appointed place: “When you cross the Jordan and live in the land which the Lord your God is giving you to inherit, and He gives you rest from all your enemies around you so that you live in security, 11 then it shall come about that the place in which the Lord your God will choose for His name to dwell, there you shall bring all that I command you: your burnt offerings and your sacrifices, your tithes and the contribution of your hand, and all your choice votive offerings which you will vow to the Lord. 12 And you shall rejoice before the Lord your God, you and your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, and the Levite who is within your gates, since he has no portion or inheritance with you. 13 Be careful that you do not offer your burnt offerings in every cultic place you see, 14 but in the place which the Lord chooses in one of your tribes, there you shall offer your burnt offerings, and there you shall do all that I command you.” (Dt. 12:10-14). God does not mention the appointed place for worship because it has changed over time. While in the wilderness, the appointed place for worship was in God’s Tabernacle because His holy presence or His Shekinah glory was there (Ex. 40:35). Yet, after the Philistines captured the ark, “The glory is departed from Israel.” (1 Sam. 4:22). His Shekinah glory later entered Israel’s first Temple after Solomon dedicated it during the Feast of Tabernacles (2 Chron. 5:3; 7:1-4; 1 Kings 8; Ezra 3:1-4). It was also later prophesied that the Shekinah glory would return with the Messiah (Ez. 43:1-5). While Jesus was on Earth, He fulfilled this prophecy by becoming the dwelling place of God’s glory and the place for our worship. Jesus then gave His glory to us: “The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one;” (Jo. 17:22). Today, God’s Holy Spirit dwells within us (1 Cor. 3:16; 6:19; 2 Cor. 6:16; Eph. 2:22; Heb. 3:6; Rom. 13:14; 2 Tim. 1:14). Whenever two or more are gathered in His name, His presence is there: “For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.” (Matt. 18:20). The appointed place of worship today is not a “place” but a “gathering”. It is any place where you congregate with two or more believers to pray in Jesus’ name. A believer must therefore not forsake the fellowship of other believers. “not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” (Heb. 10:25). Are you regularly going to church? Are you also making yourself accountable and growing in a small group? Are you keeping the temple of the Holy Spirit holy by renewing your mind and staying pure? (Rom. 12:1-2; Jam. 1:27).

  • The special future role for the Temple Mount. Although the Bible is clear that God’s Shekinah glory has moved at different times to different places, there is one place where it will return to. That is the Temple Mount in Israel. God made a promise that His eyes would forever be placed on the Temple Mount: “The LORD said to him, ‘I have heard your prayer and your supplication, which you have made before Me; I have consecrated this house which you have built by putting My name there forever, and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually.”’ (1 Kgs. 9:3; 2 Chr. 33:7). On the ninth day of the fifth month in 70 A.D, a day which later became known as the “fast of Av” (“Tisha B’Av”) (Zech. 7:3), the Romans burned the Temple. Centuries later, the Muslims built the Dome El Rock on the grounds of the Temple Mount. In the future, the devil plans to occupy a temple that will one day be rebuilt and declare himself god (2 Thess. 2:1-3; Matt. 24:15). That will mark the beginning of the Great Tribulation on Earth. After Jesus returns, God’s Shekinah glory will again be present on a rebuilt Temple (Micah 4:1-8; Zech. 14:3-9). In heaven, we will see the Shekinah glory of God the Father and Jesus Christ without a veil (1 Jo. 3:2). We “will see His face. . . [and] the Light of God (“Shekinah glory”) will illumine them forever and ever.” (Rev. 22:5). In 1947, after almost 2,000 years in exile, Israel became a country. It now controls the land surrounding the Temple Mount, and there are groups actively seeking to rebuild the Temple. Thus, it is safe to assume that we are living in the end times. Are you living your life as if the Lord could return at any moment?

4. Spirit-Led Worship Seeks Out Communion with Christ. Dt. 12:15-16, 23-25.

  • Honor Christ’s sacrifice for you by staying in communion with Him. In describing the rules for worship and sacrifice, Moses stated that those who were ceremonially unclean could eat their meat outside the Temple. Yet, he twice repeated God’s rule that a believer could not eat the blood of any sacrificed animal: “However, you may slaughter and eat meat within any of your gates, whatever you desire, according to the blessing of the Lord your God which He has given you; the unclean and the clean may eat of it, as of the gazelle and the deer. 16 Only you shall not eat the blood; you are to pour it out on the ground like water.” (Dt. 12:15-16). “Only be sure not to eat the blood, for the blood is the life, and you shall not eat the life with the flesh. 24 You shall not eat it; you shall pour it out on the ground like water. 25 You shall not eat it, so that it may be well with you and your sons after you, for you will be doing what is right in the sight of the Lord.” (Dt. 12:23-25). Throughout the Old Testament, God prohibited the people from drinking the blood of any animal (e.g., Gen. 9:3-4; Lev. 7:26-27; 17:10). In the New Testament, He twice restated this rule when listing the rules for the Old Testament that still apply after Christ’s death (Acts 15:19-20, 28-29). The life of the animal is in its blood (Lev. 17:11; Heb. 9:22). The blood was offered as a vicarious substitute for the penalty of death. The blood of Christ is the only symbolic blood that we are still allowed to drink (Jo. 6:53-56). We drink His symbolic blood because we remember that our sins were transferred to Him through His blood (1 Cor. 11:25). In handing the cup to the disciples, Jesus said: “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.” (Mk. 14:24). Someone who drinks the symbolic blood of Christ without believing in what He did brings damnation onto that person (Heb. 10:29). Does your life offering to God honor the blood sacrificed for you? If you are in open sin or rebellion towards God, how much appreciation do you have for the sacrifice that Christ made for you at the cross?

Honor Jesus’ sacrifice for you at the cross3

5. Spirit-Led Worship Seeks the Peace and Fellowship that Christ Offers. Dt. 12:17-22, 26-27.

  • Find Fellowship and the Peace of Christ by Opening the Door to Your Heart to Him. (Dt. 12:17-18(a), 26-27). Moses also reminded the Jews that their worship should not just be limited to formal worship on the Sabbaths and on the Holy Days. They were encouraged to eat a voluntary peace or Shalom offering on non-holy days to maintain their fellowship with God: “You are not allowed to eat within your gates the tithe of your grain or new wine or oil, or the firstborn of your herd or flock, or any of your votive offerings which you vow, or your freewill offerings, or the contribution of your hand. 18 But you shall eat them before the Lord your God in the place which the Lord your God will choose, you and your son and daughter, and your male and female servants, and the Levite who is within your gates;” (Dt. 12:17-18(a)). “Only your holy things which you may have and your votive offerings, you shall take and go to the place which the Lord chooses. 27 And you shall offer your burnt offerings, the flesh and the blood, on the altar of the Lord your God; and the blood of your sacrifices shall be poured out on the altar of the Lord your God, and you shall eat the flesh.” (Dt. 12:26-27). The Shalom sacrifice was the only sacrifice that could be partially eaten with God (Lev. 3:9; 7:15; 22:30; Dt. 15:20). It symbolizes a believer who was in peaceful fellowship with God. It is not a temporary condition. It instead is a state of being. This offering was also the only offering that was voluntary. It symbolized a higher walk with God. Christ also offered to believers that they could enjoy spiritual intimacy with Him, symbolized by dining together with Him, like the Shalom offering: “'Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.” (Rev. 3:20). Christ offered this so that we could find both fellowship and peace through Him (Jo. 16:33). We must make a daily remembrance that our peace is only available because of what Christ did for us: “For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, . . .” (Eph. 2:13-15). “[W]e have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,” (Rom. 5:1). Only through Christ will we find the “peace that surpasses all understanding.” (Phil 4:7). Sadly, many believers have been led to believe that being saved is the end-all-be-all of being a Christian. But it is only the first step in a person’s walk with Christ. If you want true peace and fellowship with God, you must accept Jesus’ knock on the door of your heart. Are you opening your heart to Christ to allow Him to keep you in full fellowship and to give you peace?

  • Make your life offering filled with joy. Another part of keeping your life offering in communion with Christ is to be a joyful witness: “and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God in all your undertakings.” (Dt. 12:18(b)). When you are worshiping with the body united in love, your joy will be complete: “Make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.” (Phil. 2:2). Is your life offering filled with joy? If not, are you worshiping in unison with the Church?

  • Tithe to support the full-time workers in God’s church. Being in communion with Christ also requires that you help the other members within the Body, including those in full time ministry. In verse 17 above, Moses explained that the Jews were not eat their “tithes” or the firstborn of their flock. Giving ten percent of the wealth that God had given was a mandatory requirement in the Old Testament (e,g., Nu. 18:21-28; Dt. 14:22-28; 2 Chr. 31:12). In verse 19, Moses explained one of the reasons for this rule: “Be careful that you do not forsake the Levite as long as you live in your land.” (Dt. 12:19). Your wealth also comes from God (Jam. 1:17). Are you cheerfully giving back at least ten percent of His money to help support those in full time ministry who are spreading the Gospel?

  • Give thanks for when God “enlarges your borders” and provides for you. Moses also reminded the Jews of their many blessings when explaining the purpose of their worship. God would “extend the borders” of Israel. He would also bless them with food for them to enjoy everywhere they went: “When the Lord your God extends your border as He has promised you, and you say, ‘I will eat meat,’ because you desire to eat meat, then you may eat meat, whatever you desire. 21 If the place which the Lord your God chooses to put His name is too far from you, then you may slaughter of your herd and flock which the Lord has given you, as I have commanded you; and you may eat within your gates whatever you desire. 22 Just as a gazelle or a deer is eaten, so you will eat it; the unclean and the clean alike may eat of it.” (Dt. 12:20-22). The Jews could not violate the Kosher laws that pertained to eating unclean animals (Lev. 11). Yet, provided they saved their firstborn for God, they could rejoice because they were free to eat other animals normally used for sacrifices. The Jews could give thanks because God would provide for them wherever they were. Unless you are thankful for your blessings, you are not engaged in true worship. “Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good . . He has redeemed from the hand of the adversary . . Let them also offer sacrifices of thanksgiving, and tell of His works with joyful singing.” (Ps. 107:1, 2, 22). “I love the Lord because He hears My voice and my supplications . . . To you I shall offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and call upon the name of the Lord, I shall pay my vows to the Lord.” (Ps. 116: 1, 17-18). “Your vows are binding upon me, O God; I will render thank offerings to You. For you have delivered my soul from death.” (Ps. 56:12-13; 116:8). Jesus has promised to provide all the food, water, clothes, and shelter that you will ever need. If you seek Him first, He will provide all that you need: “But seek first the kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matt. 6:33). If you are lacking, are you seeking Jesus? Are you thankful for the times that God has “enlarged your borders” and provided for all the things that you need?

6. Spirit-Led Worship Avoids the False Idols of the Flesh. Dt. 12:28-31.

  • God’s commandment for your obedience was meant for your protection. As he had done many times before, Moses then called the Jews to obedience: “Be careful to listen to all these words which I command you, so that it may be well with you and your sons after you forever, for you will be doing what is good and right in the sight of the Lord your God.” (Dt. 12:28). You too must always guard your mind. If God tells you not to do something, it is in your best interest not to do it. If you think back to your old life in the flesh, was there any evil thing that brought you long-term joy?

  • If you fail to protect your mind, the devil will ensnare you. Moses warned the Jews against worshiping idols because he knew that it would ensnare them: “When the Lord your God cuts off before you the nations which you are going in to dispossess, and you dispossess them and dwell in their land, 30 beware that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, ‘How do these nations serve their gods, that I also may do likewise?’ 31 You shall not behave thus toward the Lord your God, for every abominable act which the Lord hates they have done for their gods; for they even burn their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods.” (Dt. 12:29-31). “The graven images of their gods you are to burn with fire; you shall not covet the silver or the gold that is on them, nor take it for yourselves, or you will be snared by it, for it is an abomination to the Lord your God. You shall not bring an abomination into your house, and like it come under the ban; you shall utterly detest it and you shall utterly abhor it, for it is something banned.” (Dt. 7:25-26). In Numbers, God also told the Jews to drive out the Canaanites and to “destroy all their figured stones and destroy all their molten images and demolish all their high places.” (Nu. 33:52). He also warned them that the Canaanites would become a snare to them if they tried to live with them: “But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, then it shall come about that those whom you let remain of them will become as pricks in your eyes and as thorns in your side.” (Nu. 33:55; Ex. 23:23-33; Dt. 7:1-6; 12:29). Our God is “a jealous God.” (Ex. 20:3-6). He took great efforts to free the Jews. He did not free them from enslavement to Egyptian vices only to see them become enslaved to Canaanite vices. The same lesson applies to us. Is there sin that you are tolerating in your life? Today, tolerance is promoted as a virtue, even if it is contrary to what the Bible defines as right and wrong. If a nation accepts lifestyles that are contrary to God’s laws, God may hand it over to its addictions and vices: “Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.” (Ro. 1:24-5). Are you praying to the Spirit to break the spirits of rebellion that have taken root in the Western world?

  • Idolatry puts a believer in communion with demons. If you pursue any idol of the flesh, you put yourself in communion with demonic forces: “What do I mean then? That a thing sacrificed to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? No, but I say that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and not to God; and I do not want you to become sharers in demons.” (1 Cor. 10:19-20). If you seek after drugs, alcohol, gambling, pornography, or other things of the flesh, you are putting yourself in communion with demons. God will never leave or forsake you (Heb. 13:5; Dt. 31:6). Yet, He may not stop you if you choose to listen to the demons over the Holy Spirit. Ask yourself what you desire most in life. If your answer is something material or of the flesh, repent of your desires. Ask God to control your thoughts and actions (Ro. 12:2).

7. Spirit-Led Worship Does Not Add to or Take Away from God’s Word. Dt. 12:32.

  • Be faithful to God’s Word as it is written, not as you want it to be written. Finally, Moses warns that true worship requires that you worship as instructed in the Bible. Believers are not free to add or take away from God’s Word: “Whatever I command you, you shall be careful to do; you shall not add to nor take away from it.” (Dt. 12:32). This was not the first time that God gave this warning: “You shall not add to the word which I am commanding you, nor take away from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.” (Dt. 4:2). Nor was this the last time that God gave this warning. God will not tolerate anyone who changes, adds to, or takes away from His Word (Dt. 4:12:32; Prov. 30:6; Gal. 3:15). In case any believer feels freed from this law, John repeats this commandment in the book of Revelation (Rev. 22:18-19). Jesus also warned that those who annul the commandments or teach others not to follow them will be called “least” in heaven: “Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 5:19). Adding to God’s Word can lead to legalism and oppressive and needless rules that only “quench the Spirit” (1 Thess. 5:19). Or, it leads to false doctrines, cults, or false religions (2 Pet. 2:1-3). We should turn down anyone who claims that their prophet received an “extra” gospel. We should also test any revelation that is not in the Word (1 Thess. 5:21).

  • Ignoring the wisdom of the Old Testament is no different than deleting it. Today, it is more common for people to ignore the Old Testament because Jesus fulfilled the penalty for breaking the Law. Yet, God is clear that the fulfilled Law is still profitable for training believers to be righteous. “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;” (2 Tim. 3:16). Because all Scripture is profitable for training up in righteousness, we should avoid picking and choosing only those portions of Scripture that we agree with. Pastors and priests should also avoid the sin of omission by neglecting to teach the wisdom of the Law. When we pick and choose verses, we seek to create a god that will serve our desires. Thomas Jefferson, for example, is famous for having cut out the miracles from his Bible because he did not believe in them. We should also act with caution when we are told to ignore something in the Old Testament. For example, before telling someone that they can ignore the sacrificial laws of the Torah, we should look at how we can fulfill them through “spiritual sacrifices” directed toward Christ (1 Pet. 2:5). Are you selectively choosing parts of the Bible that you will follow?