Temple Baptist Church - 3-20-2011
A. As I drove through our city while going to church Wednesday night, I noticed the churches that had a cross with purple cloth draped over them. This signaled the beginning of Lent (40 days of penitence leading up to Easter Sunday). They were Baptist, Methodist, and Episcopal churches. I know that many other churches in our city have those same crosses in their front lawns.
B. I want us to have a good understanding of just what “Lent” means.
Lent in the Christian tradition, is the period of the liturgical year from Ash Wednesday to Easter. The traditional purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer — through prayer, repentance, almsgiving, penance, and self-denial — for the annual commemoration during Holy Week of the Death and Resurrection of Jesus, which recalls the events linked to the Passion of Christ and culminates in Easter, the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. According to the Canonical gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, Jesus spent forty days fasting in the desert before the beginning of his public ministry, where he endured temptation by Satan. Thus, Lent is described as being forty days long, though different denominations calculate the forty days differently. This practice is common to much of Christendom, being celebrated by Catholics, Lutherans, Methodists, Presbyterians, and Anglicans. Lent is increasingly being observed by other denominations as well, even such groups that have historically ignored Lent, such as Baptists and Mennonites.
In many countries, the last day before Lent (called Mardi Gras, Shrove Tuesday, Carnival, or Fasching) has become a last fling before the solemnity of Lent. For centuries, it was customary to fast by abstaining from meat during Lent, which is why some people call the festival Carnival, which is Latin for farewell to meat.
Roughly speaking, the western Church consists of Protestants, Catholics, and Anglicans. The Eastern Church consists of the Eastern Orthodox churches, the Oriental Orthodox churches, and the eastern-rite churches affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church.
C. I stand amazed that so-called Baptist churches are involved. We do not do penance for our sins because our sins were paid for at Calvary and without the shedding of blood there is no remission. Sin can only be paid for by the precious blood of Christ.
D. I finally saw a sign in front of the Episcopal (Anglican in origin) that I enjoyed. It said that March 8 was “Shrove Tuesday” and “all you can eat pancakes” were going to be served (at a price I am sure). It is also called “Fat Tuesday!” It does not mean that you can “get fat” but rather that “fat” and sweets are on the menu because they are curtailed during Lent. I did love the part of the sign that spoke of all you can eat pancakes though. IHOP, Look out! A cup or two of sinful coffee would go with well with pancakes.
Shrove Tuesday (also known as Pancake Day, Pancake Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, and Mardi Gras) is a term used in English-speaking countries, especially the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Philippines, and parts of the United States for the day preceding Ash Wednesday, the first day of the season of fasting and prayer called Lent.
The word shrove is related to the English verb to shrive, which means to obtain absolution for one's sins by way of confession and doing penance. During the week before Lent, sometimes called Shrovetide in English, Christians were expected to go to confession in preparation for the penitential season of turning to God. Shrove Tuesday was the last day before the beginning of Lent on Ash Wednesday, and noted in histories dating back to 1000 AD. The popular celebratory aspect of the day had developed long before the Protestant Reformation, and was associated with releasing high spirits before the somber season of Lent. It is analogous to the continuing Carnival tradition associated with Mardi Gras (and its various names in different countries) that continued separately in European Catholic countries. In the United States, the term Shrove Tuesday is less widely known outside of people who observe the liturgical traditions of the Episcopal, Lutheran, Methodist, and Catholic churches. Because of the increase in many immigrant populations and traditions since the 19th century, and the rise of highly publicized festivals, Mardi Gras has become more familiar as the designation for that day. In the United Kingdom and many other countries, the day is often known as Pancake Day. Making and eating such foods was considered a last feast with ingredients such as sugar, fat and eggs, whose consumption was traditionally restricted during the ritual fasting associated with Lent.
E. I love to have a little fun but, on a serious note, I want to deal with an unusual subject tonight. “A See Food Diet!” Believe it or not, it is a serious subject!
Because It Involves The Correction Of False Doctrine!
1. The False Doctrine Taught By Roman Catholicism
a. Forbidding of Meat - 1 Timothy 4:1-3 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; (2) Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; (3) Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. (In public school, as a child, I remember having fish on the menu every Friday. I did not understand why other than the fact that we had Catholic children in our classes.
b. Penitence and Lent – Hebrews 9:7-10 But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people: (8) The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing: (9) Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience; (10) Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.
2. The False Doctrine Taught By Some Independent Baptist
a. False Doctrine Taught In Bible Colleges – While finishing up my schooling, I was required to take a course on Dietary Law. The text book was written by an independent Baptist preacher and was full of doctrinal, biblical ignorance! I actually laughed out loud at the verses of scripture that the author took and twisted to make his point.
1) There was doctrinal error concerning the relevance of Old Testament Dietary Law and the age of Grace. Clean vs. Unclean animals and our day. The Author claimed that the unclean animals under the Law were still unclean in the Church Age. Acts 10:9-15 On the morrow, as they went on their journey, and drew nigh unto the city, Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour: (10) And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance, (11) And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth: (12) Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. (13) And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat. (14) But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean. (15) And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common. (The Lord, speaking to a saved Jew, said that these animals were cleansed! The interpretation was to the cleansing of the animals and the application was to the Gentiles.)
2) There was doctrinal error concerning “every creature of God” and what that phrase meant. 1 Timothy 4:4-5 For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: (5) For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer. (His statement was that only clean animals were creatures of God. “Every creature of God” means exactly what it says, not what he interpreted it to so. Every creature that God made is clean if it is sanctified by prayer. If you can bless it, you can eat it!)
b. False Doctrine Taught In Pulpits!
1) I have heard some great men of God preach that certain foods were sinful to eat. That coffee and tea were sinful to drink. Romans 14:17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. (Anything eaten or drank in excess can be harmful but to call these things sinful in themselves is biblical ignorance. We hear about Halleluiah Diets, etc. and—as a rule—these can be traced back to the same sources and pulpits. It does not bother me if you ear Barley Green or straw! You can graze with the cows if you like and I think that is wonderful. If it is healthy for you then it is the way to go. A Halleluiah Diet for me is the buffet at Golden Corral!)
2) Prior to the flood, there were no meat eaters! After Noah came out of the Ark, God gave him dietary privileges. Genesis 9:1-4 And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth. (2) And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered. (3) Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things. (4) But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat. (If it moved, you could eat it! The Dietary Law was given to the Jews under the Law! We are not under Dietary Law. We are under Grace and if you can bless it, you can eat it!)
Because It Involves The Liberty Of The Believer
1. There Needs To Be Teaching In Diet - Romans 14:14-17 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. (15) But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died. (16) Let not then your good be evil spoken of: (17) For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
2. There Needs To Be Thanksgiving In Diet – 1 Timothy 4:3-5 Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. (4) For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: (5) For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.
3. There Needs To Be Temperance In Diet - 1 Corinthians 9:25 And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.
4. There Needs To Be Thoughtfulness In Diet - Romans 14:15-16 But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died. (16) Let not then your good be evil spoken of:
Ecclesiastes 2:24-26 There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour. This also I saw, that it was from the hand of God. (25) For who can eat, or who else can hasten hereunto, more than I? (26) For God giveth to a man that is good in his sight wisdom, and knowledge, and joy: but to the sinner he giveth travail, to gather and to heap up, that he may give to him that is good before God. This also is vanity and vexation of spirit.