THE LIVING WORD PROGRAM
Program Air Date – 8-5-12
LESSON TITLE: “THE COMMANDMENTS OF MEN!”
In Psalm 139 we read, “I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” God certainly has made us as the crowning glory and wonder of all of His creation!
What a privilege we have this morning to join together in the study of God’s Living Word. We are happy you have chosen to be with us today and are excited about this opportunity we have together to glorify our creator. May we each do our part to make this time acceptable in His sight and according to His Will. Now, let’s approach our Father’s throne in prayer.
Well, today is the day when we will tape songs for this program at the Kansas Expressway Church of Christ building, here in Springfield. We will begin at 2:00 p.m., so please join us this afternoon if you are able. Hope to see you there.
It’s now time to start our praise through song. Think for a moment about the hope you have through Jesus Christ. Isn’t it great to have the assurance which we do from God? Won’t you then join in the first song of the morning, as we sing together, “Blessed Assurance!”
(SONG # 1)
How often do we take time to realize how gloriously and wondrously God has made us? I really love the way Paul put it in Romans 6:13, when he said, “And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.” There you have it we are created by God to be instruments of righteousness.
But why are we to be righteous and what does it really mean. Don’t you think this is what Moses had in mind in Genesis 1:26, when he recorded God as saying, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness.” We are to be righteous because we are made by God and created in His image! I also believe this is what John was talking about in 1 John 3:7. There he said, “Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous.” Again confirming that we are to be righteous, just as God is!
So what then are we talking about when we say we are to be righteous? Well, obviously we know that God is good and does not evil. We also know that God is righteous, which is the opposite of unrighteousness. So when we say we are to be righteous as God, we know that this means we must put away all unrighteousness or sin! In 1 John 5:17, John again says, “all unrighteousness is sin,” and then in the next verse he goes on to say, “whoever is born of God does not sin.” You see, sin and unrighteousness have no part in the one who is striving to follow and be like God.
Finally, I am reminded of the beautiful verses in Matthew spoken by our Lord, when He described us as, “Lights in this world,” or “cities on a hill.” As Christians we are truly to be Christ-like, allowing the world to see God in us through all that we do and say. Therefore, when we are imitating God and doing His Will, we illuminate before this world as His faithful Children. Then the world can truly see that we are made in His likeness, created in His image!
Today we will begin a new series of study which is entitled, “Teaching As Doctrines The Commandments Of Men!” Our specific topic this morning will focus on “The Commandments of Men!” So stay with us and in a few minutes I will return with this study from God’s Word. Now it’s time to join in our second hymn of the morning, the name of the song, “Buried With Christ.”
(SONG # 2)
By Ray Sullins
In Matthew 15:9, Jesus said, “‘and in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’” This morning we begin a new series of study that I’m very excited about because as I look around the world, and I know as you look around the world and in fact on every street corner find a different religion, it’s quite confusing. And the problem is as many of these religions actually say that one religion is as good as another and what you teach is just as good as what I teach and what I teach is just as good as what you teach. Certainly, this is not at all what the Bible teaches in fact the Bible here is dealing with this very problem in the day of Jesus and Jesus was addressing his own people as he says here that they were, “Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.” Not the commandments of God as they should have been but the commandments of men and we are going to come back to that story in just a moment.
However, I’d like to first of all in our discussion this morning break down that verse just a little bit before we go on with the other things of this morning. We see there the idea that it says they were “Teaching as doctrines”. What is this word doctrine? When we think about what the Bible says there are several places in the Old and New Testaments that we see this idea of doctrines or the doctrine of God being clarified. One that I’d like to start with this morning is found over in the book of 1Timothy 1:10, here we find that Timothy is actually being told by Paul through the Holy Spirit that there are things that are against God. And he mentions there in verse 10 for instance he says that those who are fornicators or sodomites or even kidnappers or perjurers or any such like thing, but guess what he goes on to say in the latter part of verse 10, he says, “…any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine.” Boy, that sounds quite interesting because when we think of sound doctrine then, sound doctrine deals with those things that are of God and the teachings of God and the commandments of God and therefore righteousness, holiness, purity, and so on. These sinful things were considered as that which was contrary to sound doctrine.
So how do I know what doctrine is? Well, I need to find out from God because those things of God evidently are the doctrine of God and those things that are contrary to God are contrary to the sound doctrine of God. But we don’t have to guess because again the Bible gives us the answer over in the book of 2Timothy 3, and the very, very familiar verse there that tells us about scripture being from God in fact there in verse 16 it says, “All Scripture…” not some but “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God…” Guess what it then says? “…and is profitable…” Well you mean the scripture is profitable? Well, certainly the Scripture is profitable it’s from God. How much of it? All of it. And what area is it profitable in? The very first area that the Holy Spirit confirms here, through again Paul to Timothy, is he says, “…is profitable for doctrine.” He goes on to say reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness but here he first says that the word of God, all scripture contains all the doctrine that we need. That tells me I don’t need to go to man, I don’t need to know what you think or what you feel, and you don’t need to know what I think or feel, or what I like, or what feels good to me because the doctrine of God is contained in the book of God and that which is sound doctrine is based on the doctrine of God almighty himself.
Now as we begin to think again about what Jesus said earlier in our discussion there in Matthew 15, I’d actually like to prepuce that by looking at John. And there in the book of John it’s always so significant to me how that Christ as he was on this Earth always gave proper credit for all those things that he said and did to the one who was deserving. Jesus never said, I do these things by my own authority or I say these things by my own authority or my own doctrine. But I want you to notice with me there in John 7:16, what it is that Jesus responds with when he is actually talking to some Jews concerning some of the things of the Old Law. There in verse 16, he says this, “Jesus answered and said to them, ‘My doctrine is not Mine, but his who sent Me.” What was Jesus all about? The Father’s will. You mean the things that Jesus said were from the Father? Certainly, they were. You mean the things that Jesus did were from the Father? Yes, certainly, they were. You mean the doctrine of Jesus was the same as the doctrine of the Father? Yes! And what does that tell us? It tells us that we don’t have a right to go by our own authority or our own doctrine or that I might have the doctrine of Ray and that it is contrary or that it clashes with the doctrine of the Father or the Son. If it was good enough for Jesus as God in the flesh to be one with His Father in doctrine it ought to be good enough for us, as those who are the children of God, to be one in doctrine with God.
The sound doctrine revealed to us and delivered to us in His word by which therefore we have what? Authority and in that same text John 7:17, He actually goes on to clarify the fact that what He spoke was not of His own authority. You have no authority as a child of God, nor do I. I have no authority as a child of God except it be from and through God and His word. God gives doctrine, God is God, and He is the only judge. Therefore, those things that I say and speak better not be by my own authority or thoughts, or feelings, or doctrine, but those things which are of God. And that is exactly why we then see Paul once again led by the Holy Spirit telling Timothy to beware and to warn others about those that might mislead them on things not according to what? Sound doctrine. In fact you might recall with me there in 2Timothy 4, when Paul is giving him the charge to be the preacher of God that needs to be consistent and instant in season and out of season. He then goes on there in verse 3 to say this, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine.” Well, what’s sound doctrine? The word of God, we have already seen that. Where do we learn sound doctrine? The Bible itself. And so the time will come when they will not what, endure the Bible, the word of God found in the Bible, and why is that so? “…but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers.” Teachers to say the things they want to hear. Does that sound familiar in the religious world today? Those that have risen up or built up preachers or men of God supposedly, individuals who lead churches who say one thing but yet the doctrine of Christ is quite different in fact it is all together the opposite. How sad it is when man chooses to base his salvation on what men say and the doctrine of men rather than the doctrine and commandments of God.
So that other part of the statement that we began with this morning, therefore Jesus said, “‘and in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’” Well, if God doesn’t want us to teach as doctrine the commandments of men what does he want us to teach as doctrine? The commandments of God and that’s why we read there in the New Testament, “If you love me…” John 14:15, “…keep My commandments” Jesus said. Did Jesus give commandments? Certainly he did! If he was the one who gave the will from the Father, the Father had always given commandments from the very beginning, and Jesus was speaking by not his own authority, not his own words, but the words of the Father. The Father through the Son gave commandments, through the Holy Spirit we find commandments and therefore throughout the New Testament we read about the commandments of Jesus, the Law of Christ, and those things that we are required to follow if we are what? If we are faithful children in the sight of God. No wonder then, even when we get to the very last book of the Bible, the book of Revelation as is recorded there one of the latest if not the last book that would have ever been written, guess what John reveals according to the Revelation of Jesus concerning commandments. Even in the very last chapter verse 14 he says, “Blesses are those who do his commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life…” Why do we need to keep the commandments of God? We are commanded to keep those commandments they are his doctrine, they are of God, they are from God, and they are alone according to his will.
So, now let’s go back to our main story that we began with this morning and understand what it was that Jesus was dealing with here in this context. You might notice with me earlier in that same text, that is again Matthew 15, Jesus is actually dealing with some Jews. In fact it specifically tells us in verse 1 that he is talking with scribes and Pharisees. So these were not ignorant or unlearned Jews these were Scribes which would have been teachers or students of the Law, men who worked, handled, or dealt with the Law and Pharisees which also most likely would have been leaders amongst the Pharisees that had come there. When they came to Jesus they are already working on how to trick him and one thing they ask is quite interesting and that is found in verse 2, “‘Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread.’” Well, interestingly enough notice that they are asking a question on tradition, why don’t your apostles do what we do traditionally? They aren’t even dealing with doctrine they are saying that they ought to be doing what is our tradition. Now that is again significant because Jesus then turns around and asks them a question in verse 3, that I was bringing up a moment ago, “He answered and said to them, ‘Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition?’” Well, you know on one hand you say, how come you don’t do what we have always done? And if that’s not a commandment of God it is not a requirement, it may not be that big of a deal right? But Jesus turns around and says well why do you transgress the commandment of God for tradition? That’s the setting. That’s the setting of what is really revealed then later in the text. He always really clarifies himself so there in verse 4 he says in what areas that they are neglecting the commandment of God. For instance he says in verse 4, “‘For God commanded, saying, ‘Honor your father and your mother; and he who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.’ But you say, ‘Whoever says to his father or mother, “What ever profit you might have received from me is a gift to God.” Then he need not honor his father or mother.’’” Now notice Jesus’ conclusion, “‘…thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition.’” Well, we don’t do it like that anymore? That’s not the way the culture is anymore, things have changed! Have you ever heard that? Have you had your friends or religious friends or even leaders tell you that things are just different. It’s quite interesting that Jesus here is talking about the commandments of God that actually were before and superseded these traditions of men that now the men were allowing to take president over the things of God. And then Jesus turns around and says, you know this is the same problem Isaiah had and if you go back there actually into the Old Testament in the book of Isaiah you are going to find very quickly that Isaiah had the same problem with Israel in his day. In Isaiah 29, there is a lot of great information and I would encourage you later this morning if not even after the program to read it but he mentions there several things about the blindness and the disobedience of Israel. How they were like blind leading the blind and how they were looking into their own desires and their own wants. But then I want you to notice what he says there in verse 13, “Therefore the lord said; ‘Inasmuch as these people draw near with their mouths and honor Me with their lips, but have removed their hearts far from Me.’” How have they done that? The end of the verse says, “‘and their fear toward Me is taught by the commandment of men.’” You see what they had begun to focus on, the things of man. You men this isn’t just something in Jesus’ day? No it wasn’t. It wasn’t just something happening back in Isaiah’s day either, Isaiah dealt with it, the prophets dealt with it, Jesus dealt with it, and man has always wanted to be his own god, his own king, and his own leader. He has always wanted to be like the other nations; he has always wanted to overrule what God says although God alone is righteous and has given us his doctrine. But what have we learned? When we choose that which is contrary to sound doctrine we are not of God and we are not true followers of God.
So what do we end up doing often in the religious world? We have those in verse 8 who He says draw near to Him with their mouth and are praising in a way and they are saying things about God in a way with their mouth but their hearts are far from Him. You see they are going through the motion; they are only doing what they want to do or what they like to do, or what’s about their pleasures not God’s will. Then in verse 8 he adds this not only are they one who have drawn near with their mouth and used their lips but verse 9 their worship is vain for they have chosen the doctrines and commandments of men as that which should be taught over even those things which are of God almighty. Now this is kind of going to set as really a preparation lesson for all those that will come over the next several months and what we actually want to do is we want to go to a lot of doctrines of men and consider what it is that man says these wonder phrases that men say that really are contrary to the doctrine of God, yet so many religions stand firm on them. They proclaim them to be truth and doctrine when really the Bible says something that is quite different.
So our desire as always on this program will be to go to God’s word and to dig into God’s word and to make sure that what we are studying and what we are learning about is all about God. We are going to challenge you to think beyond what you have always believed. We are going to challenge you to do what God says, why? There is only one who can offer salvation to you and it’s not your church, it’s not any man of this world, or any man of the world before us, it is only God himself who offers salvation. His doctrine is found in the Bible and if you follow that doctrine God has promised you not only blessings today but blessings eternally. Won’t you give your best to God?
(SONG # 3 - “Faith Is The Victory!”)
Let me thank you again for choosing to be with us today for the Living Word program. I hope and trust, that together we have all benefited from this service to our Lord. Let me also invite you to join us every Lord’s Day morning at 7:30 as we give this time to our Creator.
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So let me ask, is the doctrine of God enough for you? How sad it is that so many in our day choose the ways of man rather than God. Who will you choose to follow for eternal life?