Matthew chapter number 15. The part of the chapter that I wanted to focus on is there at the beginning of the chapter where the bible reads in verse number 1, "Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying, Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread. But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death. But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free.
Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition. Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men."
What I want to preach about tonight is the subject of our preferences versus our convictions, the difference between preferences and convictions. What the pharisees were guilty of here is teaching for doctrines the commandments of men, man made traditions. In the book of Mark, he goes into more detail about the rules that they had. Washing of pots and washing of cups and many such like things that they observed and they are teaching the commandments of men as if they were a biblical doctrine when really they are man made rules. This particular rule was that the disciples, according to verse 2, were not washing their hands when they ate bread.
Now I believe that washing your hands before you eat bread is probably a good thing to do but should we teach that as an article of the faith and say, "You're in sin because you ate without washing your hands." No, because that's not clearly taught in the bible. The bible teaches principles about sanitation and we might have a personal rule for ourselves or a rule for our family that says, "We wash our hands before we eat bread in this house," but to teach that as being the commandment of God is false, and today, there are a lot of people who have trouble differentiating between their own personal beliefs, their own personal rules that they have for themselves and for their family, which I'm calling their preferences, and they mix those up with biblical convictions, things that are clearly taught in the bible. Now go if you would to Jeremiah chapter 35.
Jeremiah chapter 35 is another example, but this is a positive example, so in Matthew chapter 15, we have a negative example where the pharisees are being rebuked by God for their tradition being put forth as a doctrine of the bible. In Jeremiah chapter 35, we have a positive example of someone who has extra rules or preferences that are not in the bible that they observe and that they teach their family to observe.
Look down if you would at Jeremiah 35, this is a really interesting chapter. The bible reads in verse 1, "The word which came unto Jeremiah from the Lord in the days of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, saying, Go unto the house of the Rechabites, and speak unto them, and bring them into the house of the Lord, into one of the chambers, and give them wine to drink. Then I took Jaazaniah the son of Jeremiah, the son of Habaziniah, and his brethren, and all his sons, and the whole house of the Rechabites; And I brought them into the house of the Lord, into the chamber of the sons of Hanan, the son of Igdaliah, a man of God, which was by the chamber of the princes, which was above the chamber of Maaseiah the son of Shallum, the keeper of the door: And I set before the sons of the house of the Rechabites pots full of wine, and cups, and I said unto them, Drink ye wine.
And they said, We will drink no wine: for Jonadab the son of Rechab our father commanded us, saying, Ye shall drink no wine, neither ye, nor your sons for ever: Neither shall ye build house, nor sow seed, nor plant vineyard, nor have any: but all your days ye shall dwell in tents; that ye may live many days in the land where ye be strangers. Thus have we obeyed the voice of Jonadab the son of Rechab our father in all that he hath charged us, to drink no wine all our days, we, our wives, our sons, nor our daughters; Nor to build houses for us to dwell in: neither have we vineyard, nor field, nor seed: But we have dwelt in tents, and have obeyed, and done according to all that Jonadab our father commanded us."
Now here's an example of a family where Jonadab the son of Rechab commanded them and said, "You're not going to drink any wine." This is not referring to an alcoholic beverage. By the context here, it's clear. He's saying, "I don't want you to plant vineyards, I don't want you to own a vineyard," he's saying, "I don't even want you to drink grape juice." Now you say, "Well why would he say that?" What's the next thing that he said? That he didn't want them to live in houses. He didn't want them to be farmers in general, he wanted them to dwell in tents and to deal with cattle and livestock and sheep and things of that nature.
Now this is not a biblical commandment. This guy is not standing up and saying, "Hey, the bible says it's wrong to drink grape juice. Hey, the bible says it's wrong to live in a house. The bible says that it's wrong to be a farmer," and he's not trying to impose that on other people, he's saying that he wants his family to stay in a certain family business and to not go into anything else, and the reason for that is obviously just the lifestyle of someone who lives in tents and deals with cattle is totally different than the lifestyle of those who dwell in the city or have farms and things like that, and Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob dealt with cattle, lived in tents, that was their lifestyle. He wanted to have that tradition, and so that's what they did.
Now there's nothing wrong with that. There's nothing wrong with the person coming up with rules and standards for their own life or for their family, but where it becomes wrong is when you start to impose that on other people as a doctrine of the bible when it isn't. We can make rules and standards and preferences for our self and our families and even base them on the principles of God's word, but unless there's a clear scripture stating that something is wrong, we can't really impose that on someone else or we'll be guilty of the pharisees saying of teaching for the doctrines, the commandments of men. Now let's keep reading the story here.
Verse 11. "But it came to pass, when Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon came up into the land, that we said, Come, and let us go to Jerusalem for fear of the army of the Chaldeans, and for fear of the army of the Syrians: so we dwell at Jerusalem." Now look at this. When there's a war going on and there are troops marching through the field where their tent is set up and where they have their cattle set up, do they just say, "Well, no, we'll just have to stay in these tents, do or die. That's what Jonadab said." No. At that point, they go into Jerusalem and they say, "Normally, we dwell in tents. We don't drink wine, we don't do this stuff, but because it's a time of war, that's why we're dwelling at Jerusalem." What I want to point out about that is that preferences are not a do or die type of a thing whereas biblical conviction ought to be.
If we have a biblical conviction where the bible says this is wrong, then we should stand firm on that biblical conviction no matter what the circumstances, whereas preferences sometimes can be bent and so forth depending on the situation, and so in this situation, they're dwelling into houses in Jerusalem because of the fact that there's a war going on and it just makes sense, I'm just using common sense about it, but when it comes to the word of God, we're not supposed to compromise the word of God, so this is a preference, not a conviction. Let's keep reading.
The bible says in verse 12, "Then came the word of the Lord unto Jeremiah, saying, Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Go and tell the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, Will ye not receive instruction to hearken to my words? saith the Lord. The words of Jonadab the son of Rechab, that he commanded his sons not to drink wine, are performed; for unto this day they drink none, but obey their father's commandment: notwithstanding I have spoken unto you, rising early and speaking; but ye hearkened not unto me." It's saying, "Look, these people are obeying their dad even when he gives them an extra biblical commandment to his preference. They're obeying him because they love him, because they honor him, because they respect him. They want to do that which is pleasing."
He's saying, "Why won't you obey me? His descendants obey him. I'm God," he's saying. "Why won't you obey my commandments?" He says, "You've not hearkened unto me." Look at verse 15. "I have sent also unto you all my servants the prophets, rising up early and sending them, saying, Return ye now every man from his evil way, and amend your doings, and go not after other gods to serve them, and ye shall dwell in the land which I have given to you and to your fathers: but ye have not inclined your ear, nor hearkened unto me. Because the sons of Jonadab the son of Rechab have performed the commandment of their father, which he commanded them; but this people hath not hearkened unto me:
Therefore thus saith the Lord God of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will bring upon Judah and upon all the inhabitants of Jerusalem all the evil that I have pronounced against them: because I have spoken unto them, but they have not heard; and I have called unto them, but they have not answered. And Jeremiah said unto the house of the Rechabites, Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Because ye have obeyed the commandment of Jonadab your father, and kept all his precepts, and done according unto all that he hath commanded you: Therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Jonadab the son of Rechab shall not want a man to stand before me for ever."
God gives them this powerful promise in verse 19 because God liked the fact that they obeyed their father, that they honored their father. He liked that. They could have just said, "Well, we don't have to obey our dad anymore. This isn't biblical. What's he know?" But because they did obey and respect to them, God liked that and God gave them some special promises and God gave them special blessings. In a time when a lot of other people around them were being cursed, they were being blessed, so this is a positive example and the reason I showed you that is that I don't want you to get the idea that preferences are bad or that extra biblical rules are bad. They're not bad.
It's okay to have rules that go beyond what the bible teaches. It's okay to make your own rules for yourself and even for your family. We all make rules for our children that are not in the bible. They're just rules for our house and the bible says, "Children, obey your parents in the lord for this is right," and so the children that are living in our homes, it becomes like unto the word of God when the parents commandeth in the home because of the fact that the bible commands to obey the parents, so it becomes a sin if the parents said not to do it.
For example, in my house when I was growing up, my mom had a rule, we were only allowed to have 4 cookies in one sitting. We can never go beyond 4 cookies. That was the maximum number of cookies, 4. Now here's the thing. It's not a sin to eat 5 cookies, is it? But you know what? When I was a kid in my house, it would've been a sin for me to eat 5 cookies. Forgive me, I sinned some of the time. I'll admit it right now. I'm human and I went beyond the 4 cookie rule from time to time, but most of the time, I obeyed the 4 cookie rule honestly, and when I disobeyed it, I was wrong to have disobeyed it, okay?
Most of the time, I counted out my 4 cookies like a good little boy and went and ate them. That was the rule and it becomes a sin to eat the fifth cookie when mom says no to the fifth cookie. Then you are disobeying God by eating 5 cookies because the bible says, "Children, obey your parents in the lord for this is right," so preferences are not bad. They can often be good. Even the pharisees' preference was a pretty good preference to wash your hands before you eat, but where it becomes sin is when you're teaching it as the word of God, forcing other people to get on board with your preference or judging other people when they don't have the same rules. Now there are many things in the bible that are very clear, that do need to be preached unto all men, that are not just restricted to Me or my family, but then there are other things that are rules that I have just for myself and my family.
Now let me give you some examples of this, and there are a lot of examples and you could probably think of a lot more examples than what I'm going to come up with tonight, but I'm just going to give you some examples just to show you what I'm talking about, okay? For example, when it comes to the subject of women wearing makeup, I know I'm getting on a real touchy subject here, okay? There are people out there that think that women shouldn't wear makeup and then there are people out there that believe that it's perfectly fine for women to wear makeup, and then there are all kinds of opinions about how much makeup that they wear, because some people would look at the way a lot of women wore their makeup and say, "Wow, you look like a hooker with that much," just like with extreme makeup, right?
I know that this is a real touchy subject and I'm getting in a lot of trouble even talking about it, but here's the thing about that, though. The bible does not ever explicitly prohibit makeup. The bible never says "Don't wear makeup." Here's the thing. I do not allow my wife to wear makeup, so go ahead and get angry, get it out of your system. I don't allow my wife to wear makeup, I don't allow my daughters to wear makeup, and they will never wear makeup as long as they're living in my house, and you know what? That is my right as the head of my home to make my rules for my family, and if you say, "That isn't right," now you're judging me and you're not right, now you're trying to come tell me how to run my house that God put me in charge of.
No, I have the right to make that decision for my family and to say, "Look, I don't like it." It's my preference against it, I don't think it's right. Now I would even look at the bible and say, "Hey, Jezebel painted her face. Put that in your pipe and smoke it," but the bottomline is I'm not going to sit there and say that someone's wrong who wears makeup because of the fact that it's not a biblical issue where the bible says not to do it and I believe that it'd be wrong to get up and say, "Hey, it's a sin to wear makeup" because that'd be me adding to the word of God.
That would be me taking my preference and teaching it as the doctrines of God and imposing it upon other people. Do you see what I'm saying? That's a good example, right? Something where, "Okay, I'm choosing to go stricter than what the bible says," but you know what? In my house, it would be a sin for my wife to defy me and put on makeup or for my children to defy me then put on makeup because of the fact that that's my rule in my house. Who agrees with me? Who has the same rule in your house? See. I'm not alone, okay? Now there are plenty of people, though, but here's the thing. There are plenty of people who disagree with me. I'm pretty sure that my good friend, Pastor Jimenez disagrees with me on that, but it doesn't even matter because it's not a biblical issue. Do you see the difference between preferences and convictions?
I'll take it a step further. Not only should I not impose my view on other people on an issue like this that's a preference, I should also not look down on them or despise them in my heart and think to myself, "Well, they're not as spiritual as I am because they don't have the same rule that I have," okay? Look if you would at Romans 14 and I'll show you that in scripture, because this is a biblical concept that I'm showing you where Jesus is teaching the pharisees, "Look, washing your hands is great but you're going too far when you're going to call people out as sinning for not washing their hands because there's no place in the bible that says thou shall wash your hands before you eat bread. There's nothing that clearly teaches that."
Same thing with the Rechabites where they had some extra rules, except the difference is they were doing it right by observing it themselves and not imposing it upon other people, and again, preferences are things that sometimes might get compromised whereas convictions shouldn't ever be compromised. For example, what if my wife were disfigured or something and had to cover up something that was just a disfigurement or something, then it's like, "Okay, there's an exception to that" in my mind because that's my preference, I can bend it, but we don't bend God's word, okay? You know what I mean?
In Romans chapter 14, he talks about this issue of people having different rules that they go by and different things that they observed, and it gives us another great example when we look at it. Look at verse number 5. "One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks. For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's.
For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living. But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God. Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother's way." The bible talks here about one man esteeming one day above another and another esteeming everyday alike, and what's God saying here? Neither one is wrong.
It's okay to just esteem everyday alike, so if someone got angry at me and said, "How dare you do XY and Z activity on a Sunday. It's the Lord's day, it's Sunday. You shouldn't be working" or "You shouldn't be playing sports" or "You shouldn't be doing this or that or the other." Here's the thing about that. I choose to esteem everyday alike and the bible teaches that I am perfectly okay esteeming everyday alike, not really caring about holidays or what day of the week it is and esteeming them all alike. That's what the bible says. Whereas another person might choose to set apart Sunday as being a day where they say, "Hey, we're not going to allow any sports or playing." Some people have feelings like that where we're not going to do any work or anything like that, sort of like a New Testament version of the Sabbath or something.
Some people feel that way. I don't but I am perfectly right to not feel that way according to the scripture and if you choose to set aside Sunday as a special day, you are perfectly right and we should not judge one another on things that the bible does not command one way or the other, so there are certain things that are clearly taught in the bible and other things that are preferences, okay? Now look what he says next in verse 14. "I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean," so if we think that something is wrong, even if it's not wrong but if we think it's wrong and then we do it anyway, the bible is teaching that it's sin for us to sin against our own conscience.
The bible says, as we continue here, "But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died. Let not then your good be evil spoken of: For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men. Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another. For meat destroy not the work of God. All things indeed are pure; but it is evil for that man who eateth with offence. It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.
Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth.And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin," so if we are doubtful and thinking, "Yeah, this is probably wrong" but then we do it anyway, it's a sin unto us even if it wasn't a sin before. If we think it's wrong, it's wrong for us. That's what the bible says, so we should only do things that we believe to be right, and if we doubt that, then "When in doubt, throw it out" is what the bible's saying here. Now in this scripture, he talks about sinning against your own conscience and he talks about the fact that if you esteem it to be unclean, it's unclean, but notice at the end of verse 22, it says, "Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth."
Here's where modern Christianity has missed the boat on this teaching. Here's where the Neo-evangelicals have got it wrong. They basically teach that nothing is a sin unless you think it's a sin. Now that is wrong. If God says it's a sin, it's a sin whether you think so or not. This is talking about additional things. Additional to the "Thou shall not's" of the bible. "Hey," but you hear these Christians today say things like, "You know what? Maybe that's wrong for you, but God hadn't spoken to me about that. I don't think it's wrong, therefore it's not wrong for me because I'm free in Christ," but it will be something where the bible says no. You'll show somebody point blank, this is what the bible says, and they just say, "Well, I have peace about doing it."
That's silly. That's like saying, "I can steal because to me, stealing is not wrong." Sort of like that rabbi in marching design, "If you don't steal, you're bad. If you steal, you're one of us." That's what he said. That's not even out of context. That's what he said. "If we decide that stealing is okay, then stealing is okay, it's a society," but that's really foolish, but in reality, there are 2 types of sin. Everybody listening? 2 types of sins. Number 1, everything that God said not to do, if you do it, you're sinning. Whether you know that or not, whether you read that or not, whether the holy spirit convicted you about that or not, if God said it's wrong and you do it, you're sinning. Period.
Then there's a second type of sin. Doing stuff that you think is wrong whether God said it's wrong or not. If you eat it with offense, then you are sinning or if your parents have a rule and you do it anyway, you're sinning, so it's 2 classes of sins, but see, the Neo-evangelicals just want to throw out the word of God and his commandments and just say, "Oh, it's only what you decide is wrong." Look, I've heard this taught. You'll show them in the bible just point blank, things in the bible about, for example, it's a shame for a man to have long hair. "You know what? That's just your preference."
No, that's not a preference. The bible says that if you pray or prophesy, having your head covered, and it defines that as long hair in 1 Corinthians 11, that you're dishonoring Christ. Read the passage, so that's not a ... That's something that the bible actually commands, and you'll show them that passage, they'll just say, "Well, I just have peace about it." Yeah, but God said no, or they have peace about divorcing their spouse, "And the holy spirit is fine with it." No. The bible says no. God hateth putting away. There are all kinds of things where you try to show the New-evangelicals that fornication's wrong. "Well, we love each other and we peace about it."
No, you don't have peace about it. You're wrong. The bible says no to that, and by the way, drinking alcohol is not a preference, it's a conviction. The bible says no to drinking alcohol. I've done whole sermons on that. "Well, it's just your preference. This Bud's for you." No, wrong. Drinking is a sin, period, and I'm not going to re-preach that whole sermon I've preached multiple where I proved that from the bible. We're talking about things that the bible's not clear on. Days of the week, holidays, things of that nature, women wearing makeup is a good example, but when it comes to holidays, for example, there are people who think it's wrong to celebrate Christmas and Easter. There are people that think it's wrong to celebrate your own birthday, to have a birthday party.
There are people out there who think that us having doughnuts before the service next Sunday morning in honor of the birthdays is wrong. Now here's the thing about that. If they think it's wrong, then they shouldn't do it, and I'm not going to hate them for not doing it. If somebody says, "Hey, I don't celebrate Christmas." I always just say, "Well, that's your opinion. Don't celebrate Christmas then. You don't have to celebrate Christmas and I'm not even going to sit here and try to talk you into celebrating Christmas. I don't even care whether or not you celebrate Christmas. That's your business," but you know what I've noticed about people who don't celebrate Christmas? About 99% of the time, they're on a crusade to get the whole world to stop celebrating Christmas. Have you ever noticed that?
Even though the bible's saying, "Hey, one man esteemeth one day above another at his preference and another doesn't. One guy celebrates the birth of Christ, another doesn't," and look, all this, "Oh, it's Pagan and stuff," I've already debunked that in whole sermons. A lot of that is based on disinformation and I'm not going to go into all that either. I don't have time to go into all these subjects in this sermon, but that's not really the point of the sermon. The point is just to kind of throw out examples even if I don't have time. Each of these examples could be a whole sermon, folks, but I'm just throwing out these examples just to help you get the biblical concept here that there's a preference and there's a conviction.
There's no place in the bible that says, "Don't celebrate Christmas." "Thou shall not celebrate Christmas. Thou shall not celebrate Easter." You'll never find anything like that. Therefore, when people start cramming that down your throat, it becomes them teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. Whereas many other things in the bible are explicitly stated, "Don't do this," so that's another example when it comes to holidays and pretty much any holiday. Birthdays, if you celebrate them, great. If you don't celebrate them, great. It doesn't matter and we should all be fully persuaded in our own mind and there's nothing wrong with someone being too strict. Now if you look at someone and you think, "Well, that person's too strict." That might be the case but it's really none of your business. Maybe they just want to be strict and they have every right to be strict.
Some people are very strict on themselves and some people have a strictly ran household, but we all have the liberty to choose how to run our own home and we don't have the right to force our preferences and our style of doing things, our way of doing things on other people, okay? Here's another example too. When it comes the way that we live our lives in regard to health and wellness. Now I have real strong opinions. Did you hear that last word I just said? Opinions. I have some really strong opinions about health and fitness, about eating and so forth, but we have to understand where to draw the line between our preference and our conviction, and that's one of the specific things that he brings up in this passage is food.
There are people out there who eat all kinds of junk food, and then there are people who eat whole foods but they eat conventional, they don't do organic, and then there are other people who go all the way organic or partially organic and there's a whole spectrum of the way that people eat. Now let me just tell you where I'm at personally. I eat organic and I eat about 90% organic. I pretty much eat as much organic as I possibly can. The food in our house is organic but I'm not just such a stickler about it that I can't drive through In and Out Burger every once in a while, all right? It's sanctified by John 3:16 on the bottom of the cup, amen? I'm just saying that I'm not that much of a stickler about it, but look, I do eat a very healthy diet.
I would say that there comes a point where your diet probably is clearly sin, when you're just eating the worst junk all the time with no regard. That's similar to like smoking a cigarette at that point when you're just defiling the temple and completely thrashing it, so I'm not saying just say anything goes, but here's the thing. You can't sit there and preach a doctrine that we must eat organic or that we must juice carrots and do all this health food and just go to some overboard ... Look, we can preach a biblical principle that says, "Hey, take care of your body," but you can't sit there and condemn people for, "I'm looking at the fast food cups around the ... I'm judging you brother."
The point is that's a preference, okay? I have really strong opinions about ... And look, I don't think anyone should, but you know what? Some people try to go the other way and impose on me that I must eat conventional food. I've had people condemn me repeatedly and say, "Oh yeah, you buy all that expensive organic food, you must be rich or something, you're fleecing the flock because you're eating organic food." Yeah, but here's the thing. I don't believe that God demands me to eat junk and I believe that the conventional food is total junk and it's filled with pesticides and poisons.
I don't think it's like I have to eat poison in order to just be poor enough to make people happy or something, so Look, if I believe that this food is harmful to my body, all the GMO's and all these preservatives and all of this junk ingredient, high fructose corn syrup, if I think that stuff's harmful to my body and harmful to my family's body, I should have the right to buy clean, healthy food for my family if that's what I believe is the best thing for my family and I believe that's what God wants me ... I believe that that's the will of God for my life.
That's what I believe, but somebody else might say, "Well, you're just wasting money and I'm going to drink tap water and bottoms up on the fluoridated water and high fructose corn syrup is one of the food groups and whatever," you know what? That's their prerogative and I'm not going to sit there and impose on them my style of healthy eating. Plus, different people have different opinions about healthy eating. Even though I think I eat really healthy, somebody else might say, "Well, no, because you're eating too much dairy or too much meat or too much grain" because there's so many different, the grain free and the paleo and the vegan and the whatever, all the different views of what healthy eating even means, but aren't those all preferences? Are those really biblical convictions? The shouldn't be imposed on others.
Also, there are certain things about medical care, like for example, people vaccinating or not vaccinating, people who go to the hospital to give birth or do a home birth, and look, these are our preferences, not convictions, and honestly, we don't want to become this thing where basically, it's like a cult or something where everybody has to live the exact same lifestyle. Everybody's got to have a beard, everybody's got to dress the same, everybody's got to go with the same style of home birth, everybody's got to eat the same type of foods and everything or you're not part of the church, you're not a full member. I'm going to shoot you all these things. That would be wrong. It's a preference.
If somebody comes to our church and they want to give birth at a hospital and they think that hospital birth is the way to go, then more power to them and they shouldn't be judged or derided or disdained for doing that. Now here's the thing. I disagree. I believe in home birth, I believe in a midwife. I believe in not vaccinating, I'm against vaccinating, okay? Here's the thing. I'm not going to sit there and just jump all over people or condemn them because they have a different style, because even some of the hardcore anti vaccine people will still vaccinate for tuberculosis for example, where they'll ban that preference. "I'm totally against all vaccines, well except tuberculosis," or not tuberculosis. Which one is it, Zsuzsa?
I'm sorry, Tetanus, not tuberculosis. They'll say, "Well, the tetanus shot, I mean come on. Nothing else but the tetanus." Now look, that shows that people are willing to bend their preferences, aren't they, right? Because it's just a preference. Now look, I'm not against you if you get the tetanus shot. I don't get the tetanus shots. I don't think that they're worth it, but that's just my opinion and it's not a conviction, it's not a doctrine of God, so we need to be careful that we understand where to draw the line with that. Home birth is another one that is not a biblical doctrine where you've got to do it this way and that way. Now go to 1 Timothy chapter 2, and let me just, while I'm on the subject of natural health, let me just caution you about something.
A lot of people misunderstand my preferences or my beliefs on natural health. I believe in natural health meaning that I don't vaccinate, I don't eat conventional food, I strive to eat as much organic, non-GMO food as possible, and also we don't just go to the doctor at the drop of a hat and just get as much antibiotics in our system as we can, we try to do with a lot of home remedies and we'll make some lemon juice and ginger and raw honey, and we're doing colloidal silver and we're doing aroma therapy with essential oils, okay? We're doing alternative medicine, stuff that the doctor would mock and laugh at but stuff that works, that we believe in, that we find to be effective.
We find much of the health industry to be just a big pharma scam to make billions of dollars, and anything that's plant based, they don't want to talk about it because they can't make any money off a plant, especially one that grows by itself. They have to sit there and make a synthetic chemical and charge ... But that's my belief, that's my opinion, that's my preference, that's not a biblical doctrine, and so you shouldn't be strong arming people in the church or pressuring them to do it your way. "Woah, what's wrong with you? This is Faithful Word, get with the program," and look, if you look at our church, we have a whole bunch of pregnant ladies, we have a whole bunch of babies being born, and my wife keeps statistics of it by the way, did you know that?
She keeps statistics of how many babies are born, how many are born at home, how many are born at the hospital, how many of them are born by C-section, and the statistics show that the way we do it works and that it's good. The way that most people on our church go about things seems to be working pretty well, but that's not to say that it's wrong for other people to do it different. That's okay and we shouldn't even ... I'm not even saying don't impose it on them. We shouldn't even think less of them in our heart. Let people live their own lives.
It's like we live in this society where we feel like we have to have an opinion about everything that other people do because watch so many TV shows or talk shows where they're getting into other people's reality show and, "Well, this person should've done this ..." We neeed to be careful that that doesn't just carry over to where we're just a busybody in other men's matters, mind their own business on things that are preferences.
Now all that to say this. The reason that we practice natural health is not because of a spiritual reason, it's just because we think that it's better for our bodies, but a lot of people misunderstand this and they think we're like these Pentecostal types that are saying like, "Oh, well as long as you have faith in God, you're not going to get sick and nothing's going to go wrong." That teaching is out there, isn't it? In the Charismatic Movement. It's called "The Health and Wealth Gospel," the prosperity preaching that says, "Oh, you'll be healthy and you just trust in God and you never need to take medicine," and people are running up to the altar and throwing their pills on the altar and all this stuff. We don't believe in that. I don't believe in that. I don't preach that, I don't believe that.
Tell that to Job when he's covered in boils from head to toe, and he was the greatest man on the whole planet. God said there's none like him in all the earth that feareth God and escheweth evil, yet he's covered in disease. Boils all over his skin. Just get a disease because you've done wrong? No. God causes all kinds of people and allows all kinds of people to become sick for all kinds of reasons. For example, there's a man who was born blind for the glory of God in the book of John. He said, "Neither has this man sinned, neither of his parents sinned." He's blind for the glory of God. All throughout the bible, there are people who have physical afflictions like that, so I don't want people to misunderstand me and think that I'm saying, "Oh yeah, we don't need vaccines and doctors because we believe that God's going to just protect us from ever getting sick or ever getting injured."
We don't believe in that doctrine. We believe in the natural stuff because we just think it's more effective. Does everybody understand the difference there? Now there's a verse that's often misunderstood, misused and misapplied. Did I have you turn to 1 Timothy chapter 2? It's relevant to talk about stuff like this because we have 3 babies born last week, one born this week. Who's pregnant here tonight? Put up your hand. It's half the building. No, I'm just kidding. A lot of ladies are pregnant tonight. These issues are something we need to think about, but the bible says in 1 Timothy chapter 2:15, "Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety."
There are a lot of people who misunderstand this verse and twist this verse saying, "Oh, everything's going to go right during your birth. As long as you continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety, you're going to be saved in childbirth, like you're not going to die in childbirth." That is false. That is not what this is saying. That is ridiculous, okay? For example, there are women in the bible who died giving birth that were godly women. This is not a biblical teaching that they're teaching. This is not what it's saying because get the context. Look at the verse right before it, okay? You got to get the context, folks. "And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety."
Now keep your finger there in 1 Timothy 2. Go to 1 Timothy 5 for even more context within the same book. 1 Timothy chapter 5 verse 13. "And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not. I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully. For some are already turned aside after Satan." Now according to 1 Timothy 5:14 here, what is it that these women are being saved from by bearing children? If they bear children, they're not going to turn aside after Satan. He's saying that when they're idle, what does "Idle" mean? You're not doing anything. You have nothing to do.
He's saying when you have nothing to do, they become a tattler, a busybody, they speak things which they ought not, and many have even turned aside after Satan, but he says his will is that they marry, bear children, and guide the house give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully. For some are already turned aside after Satan. This is the remedy. Childbearing. Why? Because when you're childbearing, you're not idle. It's a lot of work, it's a full time job. It keeps them busy doing something good and godly, so what is it, back to 1 Timothy 2, what is it they're being saved from by childbearing? From turning aside after Satan, and what does the bible say in 1 Timothy chapter 2? It brings up Satan. It's the same context. It says in 1 Timothy chapter 2 verse 14, "Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression."
Who is she deceived by in the Garden of Eden? Satan. "Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety," meaning it's not enough just to have kids, you have kids and you continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety, that's how you avoid these pitfalls of the devil that he has for you, to ruin your life, by having kids and living a godly life. It's pretty clear once you look at the context in chapter 2 and then compare it with the context over in chapter 5.
This is totally just out of context, just taking a verse and making it say whatever you want to just sit there and say, "Oh, this means she's going to survive the birth if she's godly and teaching like a health and wealth gospel with that." False, and you know why that's important? It's because a lot women, they basically don't take care of themselves, don't do what they need to do to have a healthy pregnancy, they just say, "I'm just not going to get any prenatal care, I'm not going to take any vitamins, I'm not going to eat a healthy diet, I'm not even going to worry about it because God's already promised me a perfect outcome, and in fact, I'm not going to have a doctor or midwife or anything, I'm just going to at home, just give birth totally unassisted and just trust God with the results," but here's the thing about that. That's not biblical.
Now look, I'm not going to impose my preference on you of whether to take vitamins or where to get your care or who to talk to or what to do. That's up to you but if you're going to sit there and go around saying that God's just for sure going to protect you because you're godly, you sound like a Pentecostal and that's not what we teach here or believe here. If you want to believe that, go ahead and believe that, and I'm not mad at you. If you're here tonight and you say, "Well, that is what I believe. I'm not going to see any midwife, I'm not going to see any doctor and I'm going to just not worry about any supplements, I'm not going to worry about making sure I get enough protein, I'm just going to eat whatever and just let the chips fall where they may and when it's time to push, I'm just going to push and see what happens and just whatever."
Go ahead and I'm not going to stop you and I'm going to pray for you and I hope it turns out great for you, but I just want it to be known that that's not what I believe or teach, and also, I want it to be known that I don't believe that that's the biblical philosophy because the bible talks about the prudent man foreseeing the evil and hiding himself, but the wicked pass on and are punished, and you know what? You have to use wisdom and knowledge and understanding. Proverbs tells us to seek godly counsel and to increase learning. If you want to have a natural home birth, great, but you should increase learning. You should attain wise counsels, and the women in the bible use midwives, so why'd they do that? Why didn't they just trust God? Here's the thing about it.
Let's say you did want to have an unassisted home birth, which I don't recommend, but let's say you did want to have a non-assisted home birth, you know what? If you're smart, you would really educate yourself and like become your own midwife. You'd have to really know what you're doing because there are a lot of dangers and you'd want to become an expert and read and study if you're going to self medicate or just self deliver the baby, fine, but here's the thing. I don't recommend that. I don't even recommend that at all. I don't want to do it. I don't want to like deliver my wife's baby with nobody else there helping, but here's the thing.
In a pinch, I could probably do it just because I've been there 8 times, but especially like it's your first baby and you haven't even read up on it, you don't even have a plan, you don't even have a birth kit, you don't even know what you're doing and you're just going to just "Trust God," that's like somebody saying, "Well, I'm just going to trust God to provide for me" and then you don't go to work. We're supposed to do everything that we can and then trust God to do the rest. We're not just supposed to just walk through a war zone with no armor on, with no body armor, with no helmet, no gear, just walk in our underwear through a war zone and say, "God's going to protect me. None of these bullets can harm me." That's almost like when the devil tells Jesus to throw himself off a building, "Because God's going to protect you."
You say, "Well, you're imposing your view of home birth." No, I'm not. You do what you want but I have a preference and I'm telling you what my preference is and I'm telling you that 1 Timothy 2 is being misapplied by people who use it to teach that nothings going to go wrong, and then women have a problem in their childbirth and then what are you thinking? You're like, "Well, she didn't continue in faith and charity. She lacked holiness. She lacked sobriety, if you know what I mean." It isn't right, friend. I'm running out of time so let me just go through some other examples of ... The bible teaches that men are supposed to have short hair and women are supposed to have long hair. That's a case closed. That's open shut, crystal clear, there's a whole half a chapter on it on 1 Corinthians 11, but here's where preferences would come in. How short, how long? That's a preference at that point.
Conviction is men have short hair, women have long hair, but there are people out there who think that if you ever cut your hair as a woman, you're not right with God, like you have to let it go to the floor no matter how bad the ends split. You got to go below the waist with it. You got to go all the way down to your ankles, and look, for women that have real dark hair, it works out great, but for those that have lighter hair, it splits, okay? Here's the thing. I think long hair is great. I think it looks cool. It's a great preference. Great, but when you start saying that women are in sin because it's shoulder length, it's long if it's shoulder length in my opinion. Good night.
Then the same thing with short hair on men. There are some people that might have a preference of saying, "Hey, you can't even let your hair touch your ears." That was the rule in Los Angeles, California in the 1960's when my dad was in public school. Can't touch the ears, can't the touch the collar, but that's a preference. There's nothing wrong with your hair touching your ears, folks. I'm going to make it touch right now. I can barely kind of make it touch, all right? We all know what long hair is and we all know what short hair is, but to sit there and say it's got to be to your ankles or to sit there and tell a man he's got to have a crew cut or a flat top or he's not right with God, that's where you're stepping in to preferences at that point.
Clothing. I believe that the bible clearly teaches and it's a conviction, not a preference, that we should wear clothing that covers our thighs. I think that that's clear in the bible. I don't have time to teach on it and show but I believe that that's crystal clear, but then there are other people who take it further than that and say, "You've got to wear it down to the ankles, both on men and women." They'll say men have to wear pants to the ankles or women have to wear skirts to the ankles, whereas all the bible talks about is covering your thighs, so I believe it's okay to wear shorts as a man as long as they go to your knees and I believe that it's okay to wear a knee length skirt, but other people will say, "Hey, mid calf" or "Hey, ankle length." I'm not saying that having a mid calf or an ankle length standard is bad. It can even be good, but it's your preference.
Look. If you make a rule in your house, men, and you say, "Well, my daughters are wearing mid calf skirts or ankle length skirts. No knee length skirts in my house." Dad, you have that right and I will back you up, and if your daughter came whining to me and said, "Would you tell my dad that the bible says it's okay for a knee length skirt?" I'm going to say, "Shut up and go obey your parents and the lord for this is right," and your dad has every right to have that rule. That's his rule. Does everybody see the difference? The difference is whether you're imposing it on other people or not or whether it's for you and your family. Now you can impose anything you want obviously on your children and men can have rules for their wives. That is allowed, but not just on other people that you don't have any authority over. That's taking it too far.
Also, the colossal difference between conviction and a preference is that one of them is clearly stated in the bible, the other one is not as clear in the bible and it becomes a preference at that point. The exact length of the skirt or the length of the pants, the bible only spells out covering the thighs at that point. Issues of jewelry. What jewelry is acceptable, okay? Whether or not earrings or a nose ring. Look, people have different views on that and people have their beliefs on that, but again, you can't just impose your no jewelry rule on people. Here's the thing, though. The bible does make it very clear that expensive clothing is wrong. He commands women not to be wearing costly array. Gold, silver, pearls, costly array. He said they should be modest apparel, meaning not dressing like a wealthy person.
That's what the bible says, so you are wrong if you're going to wear Italian suits that costs thousands of dollars, if you're going to go around in dresses that cost just ridiculous amounts of money, and if you're going to go around with all this super expensive, flashy jewelry and clothing, I'll say right now, that's a sin. That's a conviction, that's not a preference. The bible says no to that in 1 Timothy 2 and 1 Peter 3. It's sin. That's why I don't wear expensive clothes, I don't allow my wife and children to wear super ... I'm talking about real immodest expensive clothing. It's wrong. Not a preference, a conviction, but for example, I'm wearing a suit and tie right now. Is that a preference or a conviction? Preference.
Does the bible say, "You must wear a shirt and tie. You must wear a suit and tie." No. This is preference, but I will say this. You'll never see me get up here and be preaching in Sunday morning in a T-shirt or in a Hawaiian shirt, but look, it's not a conviction, it's a preference. What's the other thing? You bend it. Like if I'm in the Philippines or in Hawaii or something, when in Hawaii, you might put on Hawaiian shirt, but here's the thing. When you're United States of America, I have a preference. I believe that I should be dressed nice and looking serious and for people to realize that I'm in my best, my Sunday best. I believe in that, because if I went to go and meetup with some important official or if I went to some important ceremony, I'd be in a suit and tie.
This is the most important ceremony on the planet so I'm wearing my best, but I'm not going to sit there and impose that on somebody, and look. If somebody doesn't even own a suit and tie, they might be wearing their best right now. It's none of your business to judge them and to worry about what they're wearing because they may be in their best right now, and this suit costs $10. I buy my suits at the thrift store, so I don't believe in flashy clothes. "Well, it's not tailored perfectly." Yeah, well I just try to find the one where the guy died and he was about my size. That's what I strive after, okay? Sometimes, you even find a little money in the pocket that he left there. Inherit. The wealth of the sinner is laid out for the just.
That's a preference, suit and tie is a preference, but here's the thing. I teach all the guys that we train here to go out and start churches, the guys that were being trained to pastor, I explain to them why they should dress this way and why they should wear a tie, and whenever you see the churches where they ditched the shirt and tie, a lot of other things start changing too real fast. Why? Because the way that we dress really affects our mentality and the way that we think and the way that we act. Have you ever noticed that when people dress nice, they act nicer, and then when people put on really slovenly clothes, they tend to kind of lounge and veg, and there's a time and a place for that, but that's a preference.
Another preference would be about breastfeeding. Some women breastfeed with a blanket covering it, other people don't, and look, that's a preference. You can't just sit there and impose on someone else to put a blanket over their head while they're eating in Phoenix, Arizona in the summer time, okay? My wife and I, we don't practice that. I don't believe that and I did a whole sermon on that. I think it even has breastfeeding in the title if you wanted to go back and listen to that sermon where I went through the bible and showed what I believe the bible teaches about that. Look, my wife and I have walked through Costco before where she just lifted up her shirt and just ... Put the baby on right here and walked through Costco like this, feeding the baby, I believe it's perfectly fine.
You have a preference about covering up? Great. Let not her that covereth judge here that covereth not and let not her that covereth not judge her that covereth and say, "You got to stop covering. Dry out the breast and give suck unto your young one. Why are you suffocating that baby?" Look, it's funny, when I came out and talked about that, and look, you should listen to this sermon because I went into a lot more detail, I don't have time, but when I went through that sermon and explained it, I explained about all the negatives of covering because it seems like, "Why not? Just better safe than sorry," except that it messes with your breastfeeding and it costs a lot of problems.
A lot of people wrote to my wife and said, "Oh, you're so wrong because I breastfed all my kids and I cover it up all the time" because some people even cover at home. They're covering like just all the time, just I guess because God is looking or something, but anyway, the point is basically, my wife got a message saying, "Well, I breastfed all my kids and I covered up and everybody turned out fine," but then you look at all the ages of their kids and they were having kids like every 11 months. Every 11 months, a baby is being born. That's because you're covering. Because of the fact that breastfeeding will space your kids out further to give your body a rest.
My kids are all 2 years apart approximately and we didn't use and birth control and yet they're all 2 years apart just through what's called "Lactational Amenorrhea," but here's the thing, you can't rely on Lactation Amenorrhea when you're only feeding your kid for a couple of minutes, and guess what? When they got a blanket over their head, they only want to eat for a couple of minutes, usually, whereas when they don't have a blanket on their head, they can kind of look around, kind of smell the roses while they're eating, then they suckle longer and it has health benefits and yada, yada, yada, I'm not going to re-preach that and I'm not going to go to all the scriptures that I talked about, but again, those are preferences.
I have preferences also. I have preferences in my home, I have preferences in my personal life, but also I have preferences about our church. Now here's something that's not a preference. King James only. That's a conviction. It doesn't bend. It's a conviction. It's clear. You say, "Where does the bible say KJV?" Can somebody give me something to drink, please? You say, "Where does the bible say KJV?" What the bible says is not to add to or take from God's word when there's new bibles coming out there that are adding to and taking from, well I'd point you to those verses. That's a whole sermon in and of itself, but the bottomline is there are certain things and certain rules that we have at our church that are preferences.
Now these preferences aren't just out of left field, just like there's a reason to wash your hands before you eat bread, so there's a logic behind the preferences, but they're just that, they're preferences. For example, our church does not have special music, and when I say "Special music," I'm talking about musical performances. If you go to 99% of churches, they will have a musical performance virtually every service. Sometimes, even 3 musical performances. Who knows what I'm talking about? You walk into 99% of churches and there's someone getting up to sing a solo, there are duets, there are trios, there are quartets, there are choirs, ensembles, instrumentals, all these things. We do not have special music. We do not have a choir, and let me tell you something. As long as I'm the pastor here, we will never have special music.
Now here's the thing. You say, "Well, what in the world?" Because here's why. I've seen way too much star search baptist in my life. Way too much American Idol baptist church where people are getting up here and it's all about hamming it up and it's all about bringing glory to themselves, and I'm sick of it. Not only that but I like to be a participant, not a spectator. The bible says in the midst of the congregation, "I will sing praise unto thee," not "I'll listen to praise from thee." I think that everybody should participate. I like everybody participate, but here's the thing. Is special music a sin? No. Is it a conviction? No. It's a preference, but it's a preference that makes sense because whenever the worldly music comes in, it always comes in through the special music, not through the hymnal, right?
When all the worldly, sensual, bedroom voice and making love to the microphone stuff comes in, it comes in in the special music, folks, it doesn't come in the hymnal, and there's so much just junk out there and there's just so many people with so much pride who want to perform that I don't believe that it has any place on our service, but here's the thing. There are other churches that are just like ours that are independent, fundamental, soul winning that believe all the same doctrine we believe, that have all the same convictions that we have that have a choir, that have special music, that have duets and solos, and here's the thing. That's fine. Great. No problem. Because it's a preference, not a conviction, but we have the right here to have rules and standards that we impose on ourselves.
As the guy who's leading the church and running the music program, I want congregational singing and I say no to special music. I don't like it and it opens the door to a lot of junk in my opinion, and you know what? Honestly, it bores the heck out of me at any of these churches where they have special music. Who gets bored during the special music? I don't want to sit back and watch a bunch of special music. I want to participate. I want to grab a hymnal and sing along. In fact, if I go to a church where special music is being performed, if I know the song, I start singing along from my chair, and people look at me when I do that, but anyway, but there are people who literally would say, "Did you know that pastor so and so has got a choir? I wonder what pastor Anderson would think about that."
You know what I think about that? I don't, because it's none of my business, because I don't care, because it's just a preference. It's just the way that I ... Look. We choose to do things a certain way, other people choose to do things another way, but look, there are some things that we don't bend on. Things that are in the bible where the bible says no. We don't budge, we don't bend. Other things, we might choose to go a little stricter than the bible. You know what? By having no special music, we're going a little stricter than the bible because we're adding our own rule, but you know what? There's nothing wrong. Tell Rechab that there's something wrong with that. Tell Jonadab. No, God gave them blessings.
God said, "Don't eat the tree of the knowledge of good and evil," and then it was taken a step further from "We're not even supposed to look at it, we're not even supposed to touch it." Do you think that would have been bad if they would have that rule amongst Adam and Eve? Let's not even look at it or touch it? "You're so legalist. Why are you adding all these rules? You just said not to eat it. We could still touch it. You didn't say we couldn't lick it ... We can look at it." Wouldn't it just be smarter just to stay away from it? Can you really condemn somebody for just wanting ...
Look, you know and I know, there's a whole bunch of sensual self glorifying music going on in a lot of churches, and I'm not talking about independent fundamental baptist churches necessarily, although some of that does creep in, but you know that if you go to these big liberal mega churches, it's a bunch of people performing for their own glory, it's got nothing to do with worshiping the lord and you know it. Maybe I just want to stay far away from that. Do you blame me? Maybe men just want to have their daughters in a little bit longer of a skirt just because it makes them feel more comfortable in the day that we're living in. Do you blame them?
Look, the bible doesn't say "Thou shall not wear pink shirts," but in 2016, with all the queers and homos, it's probably just smarter just to not wear a pink shirt as a man, but that's a preference, right? That's a preference, that's not a conviction, so maybe if you say, "Would you ever wear pink, pastor Anderson?" Look, if I were in India and I went to a wedding in India where everybody is sitting Indian style with a pink turban on their head because it's a wedding, because they wear pink turbans to weddings in India, maybe I'd put on a pink turban. I don't know. I've never been in that situation, I'm probably never going to set foot in India in my whole life, I'm probably never going to have to be faced with a guy at the door saying, "Put this on." I'm like, "I don't know, do I put it on?" Nobody tag me in this on Facebook, all right?" You know what I mean?
It's like "Tag rejected. I would like this removed from Facebook," because you bend the preferences, right? But some of these preferences make a lot of sense, like not wearing a pink shirt makes a lot of sense, right? Washing your hands before you eat makes sense too, but we need to learn the difference between a conviction and a preference. Let's bow our heads and have a word of prayer.
Father, we thank you so much, lord, for you word, and lord, thank you for the hundreds and hundreds of commandments that you've put in the bible that are for our benefit, they're for our edification, they're for our profit. Lord, help us also to be smart, lord, and help us to make extra rules that are not in the bible for ourselves and our family, just to protect ourselves and just to live a godly life. Just smart things, wise things like not talking at the dinner table maybe or washing our hands or 4 cookies or whatever the rule, lord, but God help us to know the difference between a preference and a conviction, and help us not to judge others based on our own man made rules, and in Jesus' name we pray, amen.