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Rudiments Of The World :

Touch Not, Taste Not, Handle Not

November 02, 2008

We are not authorized to add to, or take away from, the word of God Almighty. Why, then, do many of our preachers, teachers, and members make up a lot of hard rules to follow? In Christ, there is not a strict list of do's and don'ts--that is, no letter of the law of God. Instead, we are to worship God in spirit and in truth. God is a spirit, we are told. We need to fix our minds and hearts firmly on things above!

Bernie Parsons

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Rudiments Of The World—

Touch Not, Taste Not, Handle Not


By Bernie Parsons


Presented to Globe church of Christ on 11-02-2008


 Colossians 2:13: “And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;

14: Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;

15: And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.

16: Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:

17: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.

18: Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind,

19: And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God.

20: Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances,

21: (Touch not; taste not; handle not;

22: Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men?

23: Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.”


Paul was writing to a primarily Gentile church, at Colosse, who had been dead—that is, cut off—to God, but are now alive in Christ. The death of Jesus removed the Law of Moses, which came to be observed in the letter, but not in the spirit.


Romans 2:29: “But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.”


Romans 7:6: “But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.”


2 Corinthians 3:6: “Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.”


As Christians, it is important that we not get bogged down in rules and regulations. Jesus died on the cross to take away such a law. It is replaced by spirituality and righteousness.


John 4:23: “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.

24: God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.”


We are to keep our bodies under control, as Paul wrote:


1 Corinthians 9:27: “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.”


However, when we proudly brag about how we are able to restrain from ordinary things of the flesh—that is, things that are not violating the spirit of service to God—we have missed the mark. Such things are for show, and are not spiritual.


Colossians 3:1: “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.

2: Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.”


Our mind should not be on the flesh, but on heaven, and getting there. When we set up rules that say, “Touch not, taste not, handle not”, we are fleshly minded, not spiritually minded.


People with a legalistic mind set are like the Pharisees, whom Jesus condemned for their attitudes and propensity for making up rules and rituals, which they then tried to force the regular folks to follow. This is not godly, and Jesus was plain about that.


Matthew 23:2: “Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat:

3: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.

4: For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.

5: But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments,

6: And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues,

7: And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.”


He issued this curse, or woe, upon those hypocrites.


Matthew 23:13: “But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.”


He continued with a series of such pronouncements of woes for their religious errors. We don’t want to find ourselves in that same class by issuing rules that God has not issued.


Job:27:8: “For what is the hope of the hypocrite, though he hath gained, when God taketh away his soul?”


Matthew 15:1: “Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying,

2: Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread.

3: But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?

4: For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death.

5: But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me;

6: 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.

7: Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying,

8: This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.

9: But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.”


When we make up rules and rituals, we undermine the authority of God.


Jeremiah 23:25: “I have heard what the prophets said, that prophesy lies in my name, saying, I have dreamed, I have dreamed.

26: How long shall this be in the heart of the prophets that prophesy lies?  yea, they are prophets of the deceit of their own heart;

27: Which think to cause my people to forget my name by their dreams which they tell every man to his neighbour, as their fathers have forgotten my name for Baal.

28: The prophet that hath a dream, let him tell a dream; and he that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully.  What is the chaff to the wheat?  saith the LORD.

29: Is not my word like as a fire?  saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?

30: Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, saith the LORD, that steal my words every one from his neighbour.

31: Behold, I am against the prophets, saith the LORD, that use their tongues, and say, He saith.

32: Behold, I am against them that prophesy false dreams, saith the LORD, and do tell them, and cause my people to err by their lies, and by their lightness; yet I sent them not, nor commanded them: therefore they shall not profit this people at all, saith the LORD.

33: And when this people, or the prophet, or a priest, shall ask thee, saying, What is the burden of the LORD?  thou shalt then say unto them, What burden?  I will even forsake you, saith the LORD.

34: And as for the prophet, and the priest, and the people, that shall say, The burden of the LORD, I will even punish that man and his house.

35: Thus shall ye say every one to his neighbour, and every one to his brother, What hath the LORD answered?  and, What hath the LORD spoken?

36: And the burden of the LORD shall ye mention no more: for every man's word shall be his burden; for ye have perverted the words of the living God, of the LORD of hosts our God.

37: Thus shalt thou say to the prophet, What hath the LORD answered thee?  and, What hath the LORD spoken?

38: But since ye say, The burden of the LORD; therefore thus saith the LORD; Because ye say this word, The burden of the LORD, and I have sent unto you, saying, Ye shall not say, The burden of the LORD;

39: Therefore, behold, I, even I, will utterly forget you, and I will forsake you, and the city that I gave you and your fathers, and cast you out of my presence:

40: And I will bring an everlasting reproach upon you, and a perpetual shame, which shall not be forgotten.”


Many men want to be teachers and preachers of the word of God. We need to be careful when we proclaim, “The Lord said” or “God wants you to”, and such like.


Deuteronomy 4:2: “Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.”


Deuteronomy 12:32: “What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.”


Because of this, James warns that not everyone needs to be a master, or teacher.


James 3:1: “My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.

2: For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.”


Not everyone is qualified to teach. Not everyone studies enough to understand what God is telling us to do. Many make up fleshly rules that they bind on others, saying that this is what God wants, or has commanded. We must be careful about what is being taught.


Some teachers and preachers are sheep, not shepherds. These are dangerous. It becomes a matter of the blind leading the blind.


Luke 6:39: “And he spake a parable unto them, Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch?” 




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