Volume 11, Number 1, July-August 2007
Falling Away from the
by Sandy Kile
I’ve heard more excuses lately for not meeting on the Sabbath and for groups splitting up than you can shake a stick at. Some are splitting over doctrine, but quite often things so petty and silly it’s practically unbelievable! Like song books or even single words in songs! Some are starting to keep the Sabbath whenever they want, however they want—or not hosting Sabbath Services for troubling reasons that compel me to speak.
“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away,” (2Tim 3:1-5).
It dawned on me the other day that these verses are not only about people outside the church, but about US! I never thought so until recently.
Read the following examples of excuses of people not meeting on the Sabbath, of people pleasing themselves, doing what they please, as they please, and not pleasing God.
Remark: “It doesn’t feel like the Sabbath to me if I host Sabbath Services. It’s too much work.”
Answer: It’s not about how you feel, it’s about obeying the command that the Sabbath is a holy convocation (Lev. 23 & Heb. ). Did the priests of old, say “I’m not slaughtering those bulls today. It’s too much work?” Godward.org states, “Jesus referred to the law wherein the priests would work on the Sabbath and are blameless” (Num. 28:9). Okay, that settles that, but what about this next excuse?
Remark: “It’s too expensive to host Sabbath Services.”
Answer: This seems like a manufactured excuse when, instead of potluck, you have a catered meal fit for a wedding party. Church is not supposed to be about the food anyway. And a lot of the excuses seem to be about food. Food has become, not an enhancement, but the focal point, and a stumbling block.
Remark: “I have to make sure I have a full meal prepared for Sabbath in case someone doesn’t bring something.”
Answer: Forget the food, eat before you leave home, have the service and fellowship, go home and eat. Simple. Sabbath services, in too many cases have become little more than social events that revolve around eating.
Let’s Examine Ourselves
The answers to all three excuses are the most hard-hitting in the Contemporary English Version:
“Some people have gotten out of the habit of meeting for worship, but we must not do that. We should keep on encouraging one another, especially since you know that the day of the Lord’s coming is getting closer” (Heb ).
“Obeying God is always for our good and is part of how we show love to God,” states Don Haney (1) (Duet. -13). In other words, it’s our responsibility to obey God. I don’t see much responsibility in the Church these days, I see irresponsibility.
The Holy Days have been attacked with this “Do Your Own Thing Virus” as well, as in the following example: “We keep the Passover as the spirit moves us with whatever we have, including pop and pretzels. That’s not wrong, is it?” they ask. Answer: Yes, it is.
For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body (1Cor. ).
For many live as enemies of the cross of Christ; I have often told you of them, and now I tell you even with tears. Their end is destruction; their god is the belly; and their glory is in their shame; their minds are set on earthly things (Phil -19).
I doubt very much, if any, of this is of God. The Sabbath (and Holy Days) are intended as signs between ourselves and God (Ex. 31:13). By not meeting on these days, we are taking down our signs! Could it be that this is what was meant when Christ said, “Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8).
And what about another sign? Love. Where is it? This is another sign that’s hard to find anymore. First, perhaps we need to be reminded what love is!
A new commandment I give unto you. That ye love one another, as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another,” (John -35).
Squabbling over song books, making up excuses to not meet together, and generally making a mockery of the commitment we once had is not love! “We don’t have to agree with each other on every point of doctrine to love one another,” says Brian Knowles (2). It is possible to disagree without being disagreeable. We can agree to disagree and remain friends. We can grow up, and quit focusing on food, and picking at every little thing. If not, God may take us to the wood shed for a thrashing, and you can bet it’s not going to be as comfortable as if we disciplined ourselves.
“We need to really consider,” continues Don Haney, “Do we come off as arrogant or humble? This latest tragic satanic attack [referring to the shooting in the Living Church of God], ought to encourage us to examine ourselves and to really be humble, and not to at all exalt ourselves!” We wouldn’t do that would we?
Deceitfulness of Sin
Apparently, we would. We are taking down our signs, hiding our lights under bushel baskets, burying our heads in the sand, and saying we are just fine: “... Thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked [spiritually unclothed]...” (Rev. 3:17). We need to be reminded of the deceitfulness of sin. In the tape/CD entitled, “The Passover Mystery,” Duane Nicol (3) does just that. He says “if nothing has changed in us, we have fallen into [sin’s] trap,” and are experiencing the deceitfulness of sin. If we have adjusted to our sins, done things without thinking about them, we are still carnal. It’s also carnal to think we are doing just fine, when it is obvious to everyone but ourselves that we aren’t. “Take care, brothers and sisters, that none of you may have an evil, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” so that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin” (Heb 3:12-13, NRSV).
The theme of Ron Dart’s (4) recent CEM letter was also about sin being alive and well, and finding a comfy home in the church: “In something as small as Paul’s ‘a little leaven leavens the whole lump’, we are reminded that we are accountable for maintaining the integrity of the church. And if we don’t, the whole church can be corrupted by a very small matter tolerated over a long period of time.” He offered a taped sermon on the subject, “The Church Accountable,” delivered four years ago at Pentecost. He warns, however, “...be aware, this sermon will pinch more than a little. It will pinch you and your church.”
We all ought to be “pinched,” as Ron
Dart put it, “more than a little” by the following. Kenneth Westby (5) says,
“A.M. Rosenthal of the New York Times writes, ‘The shocking untold story of
our times is that more Christians have died this century simply for being
Christians than in the first nineteen centuries after the birth of Christ.’”
While we in comfortable, relatively safe America let our candles flicker out,
other Christians in China, Sudan, Mauritania, Pakistan, North Korea, Saudi
Arabia, Vietnam, Egypt, Nigeria, Cuba, Laos and Uzbekistan are being
persecuted. Westby says
distant brethren faithfully and bravely suffer, the Church of: “God Is Too
Much Trouble” is in danger of falling away from the
Hopefully, we still have time to do that. &
(1) Haney, Don, “A Wake Up Call to a House in Mourning”, (godward.org)
(2) Knowles, Brian, “On Being a Christian in Troubled Times”, (godward.org)
(3) Nicol, Duane, “The Passover Mystery”,
(4) Dart, Ron, CEM letter,
(5) Westby, Kenneth, “ACD newsletter”, “Keeping Watch”, (godward.org)
(6) World Net Daily, “Claim:
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