It is quite discouraging at times to observe those who profess Christ as Lord not give Him the honor which He so rightly deserves.
That is to say that albeit they honor Him with their lips but their hearts are far from Him. That they may have began with Him but they did not abide (menō - to stay) with Him.
This is why many will say to Him Lord, Lord and He will say unto them, I never knew you, depart from me you workers of iniquity.
What was this iniquity? Not hearing and doing His sayings!
Jesus is Lord!
To hear the gospel of our Lord preached and taught today one would never know upon whom our faith is founded. To watch "Christian believers" interact with the world and with each other one would have to wonder which Jesus they are following. The Jesus of the bible or the Jesus created from the doctrines of men!
Brothers and sisters in Christ, we do not need any man or woman to teach us the truth because we have the indwelling Holy Spirit who teaches us all things, guides us unto all truth, testifies (martureō - be a witness) of Christ, and brings to mind all of the things He has said (Joh 14:26).
But just as our hearts can be far from the Father, and or the Son, our hearts can be likewise far from the Holy Spirit!
Just as the word of God was rejected in the days of old it is rejected today and just as pride and arrogance made their eyes dull of seeing, their ears dull of hearing, and their minds dull of understanding, likewise there are many who's hearts have waxed cold and have drawn away from God.
They have turned to their own perceptions and understanding and received other doctrines which are not of Christ.
It is for this reason that every one of us would do well to remember from where we have fallen, repent, do the first works and return to our first love (Rev 2:1). We must always consider that we might be in error and keep our hearts and minds open to the knowledge and wisdom of God which comes unto us from His other children lest we suffer the fate of Pharaoh and the Pharisees.
There is only one Way, one Truth, one Life, one Light, and one Lord, and we should always be seeking Him with all of our hearts for without Him we can do nothing that is pleasing to our Father!
Pride Comes Before The Fall
If there is anything that will bring even the most devout disciple of Christ down that thing is being prideful. Within the old testament scriptures the Lord (Jesus) calls these a stiff-necked (dense, tough or severe) people. Within the new testament we are told:
(Act 7:51) Ye stiff-necked (sklērotrachēlos - hard naped, that is, (figuratively) obstinate) and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.
(Act 7:52) Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers:
(Act 7:53) Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it.
(Act 7:54) When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth.
Does this sound familiar to you?
Do you know of, or are you yourself, one of these people?
Do you receive correction with humility or are you stiff-necked and get defensive about correction?
Brothers and sisters none of us know the whole truth and to believe that we do is pure pride, arrogance and a lack of humility. Only God is all knowing and He has set aside, that is to say that He has appointed and anointed certain members of the body of Christ for the purpose of edification. There is ALWAYS someone within the body who knows something that we do not. There is ALWAYS someone who is more matured in knowledge and wisdom than we are.
And there is absolutely no shame in admitting that truth and receiving correction and edification to the end of possessing the truth. Real shame comes from a lack of humility and an unwillingness to consider that we might be in error so that we might receive a word of truth!
The Doctrines of Christ
In the time of our Lord the Pharisees, scribes and lawyers thought that they possessed the truth and were very dogmatic about it. They believed that they were righteous. Yet Jesus proclaimed that He came ONLY for the lost sheep of the house of Israel and His rebuke was ALWAYS directed toward these stiff-necked people.
In fact our Lord clearly stated:
(Mat 5:20) For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.
So this "man" Jesus of Nazareth proceeds to instruct the keepers, teachers and administrators of the law. He goes on to tell them that they are in error and instruct them in the truth. But these men, in their pride and arrogance, received not the words of the Lord God. They believed that His was a new doctrine, even heresy, and they rejected the truth of what Jesus was speaking just as their fathers before them rejected the word of God as given by His holy prophets.
It has often been said by preachers and teachers of the word that there are no contradictions within scriptures. This is a doctrine of man not of God.
What does our Lord have to say about this question of contradiction?
(Luk 5:36) And he spake also a parable unto them; No man putteth a piece of a new garment upon an old; if otherwise, then both the new maketh a rent, and the piece that was taken out of the new agreeth not with the old.
(Luk 5:37) And no man putteth new wine into old bottles; else the new wine will burst the bottles, and be spilled, and the bottles shall perish.
(Luk 5:38) But new wine must be put into new bottles; and both are preserved.
(Luk 5:39) No man also having drunk old wine straightway desireth new: for he saith, The old is better.
Jesus is clearly stating that there is an old and a new and that the new does not agree with the old. He goes even further to say that mixing the old with the new damages the new because they do not agree and that people do not receive the new because they believe the old is better.
In Matthew chapter 5 Jesus takes this idea before the multitudes and illustrates it by taking that which was said "in old time" and fulfilling it, making it replete, leveling it up, with that which He is now saying unto them (but I say unto thee)!
In Matthew chapter 23 Jesus rebukes the Pharisees for their teachings and actions.
Jesus was proclaiming to the people that they were wrong in their understanding and that His words were truth. He also gave harsh rebuke to the Pharisees because they too were in error and instructing the people in error.
The doctrines and teachings of our Lord Christ Jesus take precedence over all other doctrines and teachings and the same weight should be given to the apostolic teachings because they were likewise anointed with the Holy Spirit and only taught the doctrines of Christ!
Do We Truly Honor Christ?
(Joh 5:39) Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.
(Joh 5:40) And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.
(Joh 5:41) I receive not honour from men.
(Joh 5:42) But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you.
To understand what Jesus is saying here we must keep in mind that when He uses the word "scriptures" He is making reference to the old testament writings (scriptures - graphē - a document, a holy Writ) for the new testament had yet been written.
Jesus is proclaiming that the people are looking for eternal life within the old testament writings which bear record or bear witness of Him and now that He is here, now that the prophecies about Him are being fulfilled right in front of their very eyes, they will not come to Him, they refuse to honor Him, because they do not truly have the love of God within them.
(Joh 8:12) Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
(Joh 8:13) The Pharisees therefore said unto him, Thou bearest record of thyself; thy record is not true.
(Joh 8:14) Jesus answered and said unto them, Though I bear record of myself, yet my record is true: for I know whence I came, and whither I go; but ye cannot tell whence I come, and whither I go.
(Joh 8:15) Ye judge after the flesh; I judge no man.
(Joh 8:16) And yet if I judge, my judgment is true: for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me.
(Joh 8:17) It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true.
(Joh 8:18) I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me.
(Joh 8:19) Then said they unto him, Where is thy Father? Jesus answered, Ye neither know me, nor my Father: if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also.
This is a truly profound proclamation made here buy our Lord!
How many of us do indeed tend to judge after the flesh? How many of us make judgments based on what our natural eyes see, our natural ears hear, and our natural understanding tells us? How many of us interpret the word of God without rightly dividing it? How many of us judge the word of God based in the letter rather than the Spirit of The Word? How many of us truly honor the teachings of our Lord and His disciples above all other doctrines?
The Snare of The Enemy
The snare of the enemy is to cause us to think more highly of ourselves than we aught. To cause us to believe and trust in our own wisdom. To become haughty and puffed up in our wisdom and that which we have mentally put together.
Yet our Lord prayed to the Father:
(Mat 11:25) At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.
(Mat 11:26) Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight.
(Mat 11:27) All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.
(Mat 11:28) Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
(Mat 11:29) Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
(Mat 11:30) For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
When we take the yoke of our Lord upon us in meekness and humility we know we are being led by Him. Subsequently we can find rest in our souls. In other words we can put our minds at ease that we are learning the truth. That our Father God is revealing things to us, as His children (babes) that is being hidden from the "wise and prudent".
You see brothers and sisters we all need to empty ourselves of ourselves so that Christ can fill us. The problem is that many of us are too full of ourselves for Him to fill us. We allow our pride and sense of self to inhibit Christ from truly leading us and subsequently we do not function as a unified body we function as individuals and that does not honor the Father, the Son, nor the Holy Spirit.
(Rom 12:10) Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another;
(Rom 12:11) Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;
(Rom 12:12) Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;
(Rom 12:13) Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.
(Rom 12:14) Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.
(Rom 12:15) Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.
(Rom 12:16) Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.
This is how we truly honor our Lord!
No Honor From Men