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Addition & Subtraction

When your parents tell you to do something, they expect you to do it. If they ask you to mow the lawn, they expect you to get out the lawn mower, and cut only the grass. What if you decided to mow down all of your mother’s flowers instead? Or what if you decided to burn the grass on the lawn instead of mowing it? What if you chose not to mow at all? Would your parents be happy with you? No, because when your parents tell you what to do, they expect you to do it—without any additions or subtractions.

In the same way, God has told us to do certain things in our worship. Christians are told to sing, pray, teach, give, and take the Lord’s Supper. However, what if we add things to the worship, or take something away from the worship? Will God be happy with us? Some churches add instrumental music to their singing, and others take away the Lord’s Supper. What does God think about these actions?

Throughout the Bible, God has commanded His people not to take away from or add to anything that He commanded. “Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it” (Deuteronomy 12:32; also read Deuteronomy 4:2). God has specific commands that He wants His people to keep—without anything being added. Concerning the book of Revelation, the apostle John wrote: “For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book” (Revelation 22:18-19).

When we worship God, we must be careful to do exactly as He has commanded us, not adding or subtracting from anything God has said. When we follow God’s commands without any additions or subtractions, we show our love for Him. Jesus said in John 14:15, “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” Let us try to show love to God and Christ by keeping their commands—all of them—without adding to or subtracting from them.


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