• WHY DO WE NEED A PATTERN?
• As members of the Lord’s body, we are often asked this because we
demand authority for all that we do.
• “Why do we need a pattern for what we do?”
• This is a very common question in the religious world today.
• Considering how the gospel has been watered down in so many places, it
is a very good question.
• So tonight, we are going to answer that question.
• Even among brethren, there are some who are teaching what is described
as the “No pattern” theory of interpretation.
• It is espoused in various forms, typically to the degree that one wants
to act outside of the pattern we do have in the Bible.
• Often these arguments are based upon the silence of scripture.
• We will not deal specifically with this tonight, though much of what we
say in this lesson applies to that doctrine.
• The Bible speaks of patterns
• The word pattern is a word that means, “a model of behavior as an
example to be imitated or to be avoided.”
• The word pattern where the Bible is concerned is similar to a pattern
in anything – such as making a dress, or a blueprint for a building, or
an instruction manual for assembling something.
• Philippians 3:17 – join in following my example... as you have us
for a pattern. Paul addressed that his example was worthy of following.
• 2 Timothy 1:13 – Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you
have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.
• Titus 2:7, speaking to young men and their example he says, “in
all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing
integrity, reverence, incorruptibility,”
• Hebrews 8:5, “who serve the copy and shadow of the heavenly things,
as Moses was divinely instructed when he was about to make the tabernacle. For
He said, “See that you make all things according to the pattern shown you
on the mountain.”
• Romans 6:17 – obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine
• 1 Corinthians 10:6, 11 – these things became our examples for us
to follow and learn from – examples of rejection of God by Israel in the
wilderness. Paul is saying to follow these examples.
• Hebrews 9:24 – Christ has entered into heaven itself, not the physical
holy place which is a copy of the true.
• NOTE: In the last three examples the words of emphasis, “form”,
“example” and “copy” are all the same Greek word as “pattern”
in the previous verses.
• In this, we can see that to God, the pattern is important.
• Those who refuse to acknowledge that God has given us a pattern to be
followed reject God’s own instructions.
• Examples of patterns in scripture
• God’s plan of redemption is a pattern – that pattern actually
explains why He was so specific in some things such as building the tabernacle
• Noah was given a pattern – Genesis 6:14, 22
• Moses was given a pattern – Exodus 25:9-10, 40, Acts 7:44, Heb.
• Solomon was given a pattern – 1 Chronicles 28:11-12, 19 –
these verses show that even the temple had a pattern given from God.
• Nadab and Abihu had a pattern that they failed to follow – Leviticus
• There are other examples that demonstrate the danger of rejecting God’s
• So is it any different today if we fail to follow the pattern God gave
• A note about these examples: We may not understand exactly why God specified
what He did, but He did!
• And we dare not question Him or His motives (Isaiah 55:8-9).
• Also consider Romans 9:20-21 – which basically says, Who are we
to question God?
• What if we didn’t need a pattern?
• How far are you willing to take that?
• It certainly would make it easier to do what we want to do.
• There would be no rules or restrictions to limit us on what we can do.
• A.k.a – anything goes.
• Who determines what is a must?
• And if you call for a pattern to be followed, are you not binding things
that God did not bind?
• Is it one who believes in the Bible?
• If so, haven’t you established some sort of pattern?
• Is it one who believes in Jesus?
• If so, haven’t you established a pattern?
• Do you really believe that God doesn’t care what you believe?
• Does He approve of the division in His name?
• Our study on denominationalism shows that God is not pleased with the
division that is present.
• Are you willing to risk your eternity that it doesn’t matter?
• Philippians 3:1 - For me to write these things for you it is your safeguard.
• What about Matthew 7:21-27?
• Does it not suggest that God has a particular set of rules to be obeyed?
• Proverbs 16:2 There is a way that leads to destruction. This is the way
that seems right to an individual. In other words, what makes ME feel comfortable.
• Also it is not enough to simply say you know Him.
• What about Titus 1:16 “they profess to know Him, but their deeds
• See also Luke 6:46, “Why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord’
and do not the things which I say?”
• What about John 12:48? Jesus said the words He has spoken will judge us
in the last day.
• If there is no pattern that matters, what will we be judged by?
• What about 1 Corinthians 1:10? Let there be no divisions among you.
• The admonition is that we speak the same thing.
• Does that not have to do with a pattern?
• What about 1 Corinthians 11:1? “Imitate me, as I also imitate Christ.”
• Again, does Christ give us a pattern to follow?
• (Consider 1 Timothy 1:16) Jesus was the example of faithfulness for all
those who would believe in Him.
• If there is a pattern, WHERE do we find that pattern?
• What about 1 Corinthians 4:6? Paul instructs these brethren that what
he wrote was so that they would learn not to think (or go) beyond what is written!
• This is a passage that teaches boundaries
• (see also 2 John 9-11) The one who does not bring the teaching of Christ
does not have God.
• NOTE: Silence is NOT permission to do what you want – when God has
• A later lesson will discuss the doctrine of silence.
• What about 1 Corinthians 14:33?
• If God is not the author of confusion, then why is there so much religious
• Is it because what He said really doesn’t matter?
• That is a rhetorical question that does not need an answer.
• These are just a few verses that call for us to understand what the will
of the Lord is (Ephesians 5:17).
• That understanding gives us direction, a pattern, if you will.
• Many other examples and patterns could be added to these.
• In fact, if you followed the instructions found in the Bible, you would
have the perfect pattern to live by.
• As we can see, God has given us a pattern and we NEED to follow it.
• Without a pattern, the Bible is NOT a guide for us to follow (2 Timothy
3:16-17, 2 Peter 1:3), but simply a book of philosophy that we put beside everything
• The real issue is that in matters that we (or others) don’t want
to be held accountable, we (or they) dismiss the pattern of scripture.
• That is a VERY dangerous road to go down.
By Carey Scott from an outline by Thomas Thornhill
Return to the Sermon
Home / Bible
studies / Bible Survey / Special Studies / General
Articles / Non-Bible Articles /
Sermons / Sermon
Outlines / Links / Questions and Answers / What Saith
The Scriptures /Daily Devotional / Correspondence
Courses / What is the Church of Christ /
Book: Christian Growth / Website Policy / E-mail / About Me