Dear Terrace Shores Church Family,
Just a quick addition to this week’s update. These are divisive days, and Governor Evers’ face mask mandate yesterday is bearing that out. For those who follow Jesus, the Word of God is our authority. In light of that, I’d like to print a couple of Scriptures for us to ponder.
Romans 13:1-5 – “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. 4 For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.”
-Agree or Disagree with the governing authorities, they have been put there by God, and Christians are called to obey. We can voice our opinions (hopefully with kindness, motivated by the love of Christ), but God’s Word is clear on this. The only exception to this is when the governing authorities would mandate that we do something disobedient to God’s Word. In that case, Scripture is also clear. In Acts 5, the Jewish leaders commanded the disciples to cease telling others about the good news of Jesus. Read what happened…
Acts 5:29 “Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than men!”
So it seems clear from Scripture that we are to obey governing authorities as long as they do not command us to disobey God. When they are commanding that we disobey God, we must obey God, who is the higher authority. Having noted this, the face mask order is not commanding us to disobey God. We can still worship the Lord. So we will continue to worship as a church family at our 8 am service following the face mask mandate (with it’s various allowable exceptions). But weather permitting, we will also worship the Lord at our 10 am outdoor service, which allows space for distancing, but does not mandate wearing a face mask.
In the early church, eating certain foods became a divisive issue. People held strongly to differing positions, and it caused strife in the Body of Christ. Different personalities, different backgrounds, and the information we receive as our authority affects our beliefs. But as we noted earlier, something we all have in common as followers of Christ, is the Word of God as our authority. May God give us wisdom to understand His message, and apply it in these confusing days. Please allow me to list a few more verses from Romans, that give us some guidance in dealing with those who differ with us.
–Romans 14:3-4 “The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them. 4 Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand.”
–Romans 14:10 “You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat.”
–Romans 14:19 “Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.”
Bless you dear friend, as you walk with the Lord. He is in control and we can rest in that, as we seek to be faithful to Him, to love Him, and to love others in His name. My heart and door are always open to you.
Grace and Peace,