Follow the Instructions

I love building things, but I hate following instructions. So, I often end up with extra pieces … or find I’ve skipped a step, so I have to take half the thing apart and rebuild it … or the “completed” project just does not work. I end up having to look at the directions anyway to see where I went wrong. It was like that when the Israelites were building the Tabernacle and it’s like that today when God is using us to build our families, our small groups, or his church. He told Moses,

“They must follow exactly all the instructions I have given you.”
– Exodus 31:11

It was not enough that God called and gifted specific people to build his Tabernacle, they were to do it exactly the way he had instructed them. It’s the same today. He calls us and He gifts us to carry out His instructions for His church.

God did not provide detailed instructions in the New Testament for building his church as he did for the construction of the Tabernacle or Temple in the Old Testament. Or maybe he has, but the instructions are different.

The New Testament church is about relationships, not structures. God now resides in the hearts of his people, not in buildings. God now provides grace-based guidelines rather than legalistic regulations. Therefore his instructions today are relational in nature. They are about how to be in relationship with him and one another.

Yes, we still need to follow God’s instructions, and when we don’t, his church does not work very well. There are “extra pieces” that don’t seem to fit. We have to constantly go back and try to fix things that are not working. Or the church just does not seem to work at all. So we finally go back and see what the instructions say:

  • Love one another
  • Carry each others’ burdens
  • Serve one another
  • Confess your sins to one another and pray for one another
  • Honor one another above yourselves
  • Submit to one another
  • Teach and admonish one another
  • Bear with one another
  • Encourage one another

Imagine if we followed exactly these instructions the Lord has given us!

Author: Michael Mack

Michael Mack has been involved in small group ministry as a pastor, writer, trainer, and speaker for more than 25 years. He founded in 1995 and started Small Group Leadership in 2012. He became the 12th editor of Christian Standard magazine in 2017 and continues to speak in churches about small groups, discipleship, and leadership. He lives in Pewee Valley, Kentucky (just outside Louisville), with his wife Heidi. They have four young adult children. Michael enjoys mountain and road biking with a group of friends. See the "About Michael Mack" page under About Us for more about him.

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