Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Tradition or God's Word?

I was reading Matthew 23 earlier and it really got me thinking about how much the Church of Jesus Christ has moved away from the foundation of the Lord, apostles, and prophets and has instead places its roots on man's ideas and traditions (Mark 7:1-13), therefore also ignoring the warnings of the apostles (Colossians 2:8). Matthew 23 reads like the prophecies of judgment from the Old Testament, and like those prophecies, they were ended with a call to repentance. The desire of God is that we live in Him and He in us. God has chosen us to be a holy priesthood and has viewed us as His treasure. We have neglected true love of God (obedience and faith) and love of our neighbors. Jesus taught us that these are the greatest commandments and that on these commandments, the Law and the Prophets were hung (Matthew 22:35-40).

I firmly believe that the modern day, Laodicean Church (Revelation 3:14-22), is typed out by the Pharisees. The term Pharisee means "separatist" or "separated". While Jesus and the Pharisees believed in similar things (Jesus's teachings have frequently been compared to that of the great Rabbi Hillel, who was revered for his humble disciples), they were still very different. A great part of the Gospels is Jesus debating and shutting the mouths of the Pharisees, Sadducees, and scribes. The 1st century Pharisees were not only criticized by the Messiah Jesus, but also by later Jewish commentators. Despite this, the sect of the Pharisees is the root of Orthodox Judaism.

The big hangup of the Pharisees was not only hypocrisy and legalism, but equating tradition with the Word of God. As you can read in Mark 7, some of these traditions even contradicted the Word of God. These traditions included a ban on carrying a thing from your home (like a plate of food) to a public place on the Sabbath, which is a tradition still kept in modern-day Orthodox Judaism.

Many Christians in this time period add to the Word of God burdens that were never laid on us in the first place, misapply Bible verses to certain doctrines or conduct, or they put Scripture in a position below tradition (or in an equal position, as stated before). King David, a man after God's own heart, said in Psalms 119:127-128 (NASB), "Therefore I love Your commandments. Above gold, yes, above fine gold. Therefore I esteem right all Your precepts concerning everything, I hate every false way."

This is how we should view God's Word. God's Word is the the standard by which we judge all things. By the Scriptures we can judge spirits to figure out their source, doctrine, and conduct. In Isaiah 28:9-10 (NASB) the prophet said, "To whom would He teach knowledge. And to whom would He interpret the message? Those just weaned from milk? Those just taken from the breast? For He says, 'Order on order, order on order. Line on line, line on line, a little here, a little there.'"

I think it's about time that we let God's Word take its proper place. The Apostle Paul said in II Timothy 3:16-17, "For all scripture which from the Spirit is written, is profitable for doctrine, and for rebuke, and for correction, and for instruction which is in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect unto every good work, and completed."

False teaching comes from one of two sources: Satan and his demons, or from the sinful heart of mankind. Jeremiah wrote (Jeremiah 17:9), "The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it?" Jesus spoke more about the heart of man in Matthew 15:19-20: "He said to them, Do you also not yet understand? Know you not that whatsoever entereth the mouth, goeth into the belly, and from thence in purification it is cast without ? But whatsoever from the mouth shall come forth, from the heart cometh forth, and this [it is that] contaminates a child of man. For from the heart proceed evil thoughts, adultery, murder, fornication, robbery, false witness, blasphemy. These are they which defile a man..." Jesus also told us that by these fruits of the heart, you can recognize false prophets (and by extension, false teachings and teachers) in Matthew 7:15-20.

Let me close with some quotes from the Apostle Paul:

"For if you are dead with the Meshiha from the principles of the world, why as if you lived in the world are you judged? as that you are not to touch, nor to taste, nor to handle? For these are of perishable use, and are ordinances and doctrines of men; and appear to have in them a reason of wisdom, with the look of humility and the fear of Aloha, (as) not sparing the body, (yet) not in that which is (really) of value, but in those (things) whose use pertains to the flesh."- Colossians 2:20-23

"But the Spirit distinctly saith, that in the last times some will remove from the faith, and will go after deceiving spirits, and after doctrines of demons. These, with a false appearance, will deceive, speaking a lie, and seared in their conscience, and prohibiting to marry, and abstaining from meats, which Aloha created to be used with thanksgiving by them who believe and know the truth; because every creature of Aloha is good, and nothing to be abominated, if with thanksgiving it be received; for it is sanctified by the word of Aloha, and by prayer. These if thou shalt teach thy brethren, a good minister wilt thou be of Jeshu Meshiha, while thou wilt be enlarged with words of faith and of the good doctrine which thou hast learned. But from the foolish stories of old women abstain; and exercise thy soul in righteousness."- I Timothy 4:1-7

Scripture quotations taken from:
Old Testament: New American Standard Bible
New Testament: Etheridge's Translation of the Peshitta New Testament

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