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Necessary Things

“For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things.”  Acts 15:28 

If I were to make a list of unnecessary necessities, how many items would be on it?  A brief look inside many ladies’ purses would reveal a lot about what the women folk think is necessary, like a cell phone; Chapstick; Kleenex, keys, perfume, eyeglasses, nail clippers, nail file, compact, drivers’ license, credit cards, McDonald’s or Wendy’s coupons, a pen and a notebook.  Many men carry a few things like a cell phone, pocket knife, a set of keys and credit cards.  If a person was lost in the wilderness, however, many things thought necessary would be totally useless. You might think you would be ok if you only had your cell phone.  After twenty-four hours and no place to recharge it, forget it.  (Here’s where that pocket knife might come in handy!)  The list of necessary things would change.  It would be back to the real basics of life: food, water, protection from the elements, protection from predators, plus a compass.   It’s strange how much we complicate our lives with stuff that hurts us rather than helps us.  We anoint the accessories, secure the superfluous and fall for the fluff, but, somehow, we manage to overlook the actual things we need.  

After Pentecost, a huge debate raged over whether the Gentiles should be included in the church.  Racism, bigotry and prejudice fueled the fire between Jewish and non-Jewish converts.  A church conference was called to settle the dispute.  Finally, the church leaders ruled that the Gentiles should only observe some “necessary things” which turn out to be differences between the Jewish religion and Gentile practices, not the requirements of salvation.  Yet, the idea of necessary things rings true. 

Salvation is a necessity! An old song says, “Above all else, I must be saved!” Twenty-two major groupings of religion exist in the world.  Christianity is only one grouping.  Under the umbrella of Christianity, you have hundreds of denominations, sectarian beliefs, branches and divisions.  Some hardly believe anything; others live in communes or caves.  Some have compromised away whatever truth they had: others have isolated themselves and dropped out of circulation because of fear.  The point is that we cannot trust our eternal salvation to man and his potpourri of beliefs.  

Search the Scriptures for necessary things.  You will find everything you need to know.  Faith“But without faith it is impossible to please God.”  Hebrews 11: 6.  Gospel. The death, burial and resurrection of Jesus is the gospel of your salvation. 1 Corinthians 15:1-4.  Holiness“Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.”  Hebrews 12: 14.   Belief in the deity of Christ.  “I said therefore unto you, that you shall die in your sins: for if you do not believe that I am he, you will die in your sins.” John 8: 24.  

In an eyedrop of sarcasm, Dr. W. E. Deming said, “It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory.”  Of course, if you do want to survive, you must change.  You have to change from the superficial to the comprehensive; from the easy and convenient to the tough and complex; from the popular to the proper. An old saint once told me, “Serving God hard is easy, but serving God easy is hard!” That’s a rewrite of the words of Jesus.  He said, “He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.” Matthew 10:39. Just know that the most important things are also the best things! 

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