Wrong Teaching and Useless Worship

 

Are you on the narrow path (Matt 7;13-14)? Are you doing God’s will? Many today think they are on that narrow path but every Sunday they continue breaking God’s commands so they can follow the traditions of men. This is fully explained in  THE MAIN Believer Gathering Must be a Believer Gathering

CEV Mar 7;5 The Pharisees and teachers asked Jesus, “Why don’t your disciples obey what our ancestors taught us to do? Why do they eat without washing their hands?” 6 Jesus replied: You are nothing but show-offs! The prophet Isaiah was right when he wrote that God had said, “All of you praise me with your words, but you never really think about me. 7 It is useless for you to worship me, when you teach rules made up by humans.” 8 You disobey God’s commands in order to obey what humans have taught. 9 You are good at rejecting God’s commands so that you can follow your own teachings! 10 Didn’t Moses command you to respect your father and mother? Didn’t he tell you to put to death all who curse their parents? [See also Matt 15;10-20]

[[AMP Mar 7;7] Worship is ‘In vain (fruitlessly and without profit) when doctrines of men are mixed in with the Commands of the Lord.”]

This verse has terrible consequences for today’s Churches. When we teach rules made up by humans, when we distort the simple Biblical call, when we fall from the pure example of the early church following tradition instead of biblical command, our worship becomes useless, without fruit and without profit. I think this verse is closely related.

Ancient Paths

NLT Jer 18; 15 But my people are not so reliable, for they have deserted me;

they burn incense to worthless idols. They have stumbled off the ancient highways and walk in muddy paths. 16 Therefore, their land will become desolate, a monument to their stupidity. All who pass by will be astonished and will shake their heads in amazement. 17 I will scatter my people before their enemies as the east wind scatters dust. And in all their trouble I will turn my back on them and refuse to notice their distress.”

This verse was talking about Jews, but I think it applies equally well to us. We have stumbled far off the ancient highways. We have made church into something very different than Paul established. We have ignored his example and his teaching. We have filled our worship services with ritual program and Greek homilies, and abandoned the participatory Holy Spirit led biblical example. We have replaced Holy Spirit with human wisdom, ritual, and program. We have re-established the old testament model of a paid priesthood, and abandoned Paul’s example, of the tentmaker priest. We have ignored the call to servant leadership and promoted the slave to Kingship . We have abandoned the Priesthood of believers in favor of degreed Preachers, men that have resorted to the extortion of tithing, rather than rely on the providence of God (see  Pastor’s Pay )

Paul tells us that his preaching does not sound wise.

NLT 1 Cor 1;18 The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God. 19 As the Scriptures say,

I will destroy the wisdom of the wise

and discard the intelligence of the intelligent.”

20 So where does this leave the philosophers, the scholars, and the world’s brilliant debaters? God has made the wisdom of this world look foolish. 21 Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe. 22 It is foolish to the Jews, who ask for signs from heaven. And it is foolish to the Greeks, who seek human wisdom. 23 So when we preach that Christ was crucified, the Jews are offended and the Gentiles say it’s all nonsense. 24 But to those called by God to salvation, both Jews and Gentiles, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 This foolish plan of God is wiser than the wisest of human plans, and God’s weakness is stronger than the greatest of human strength.

Verse 21 promises that those relying on the human wisdom of the Greek Homily will never know him. Only those following the foolish preaching of Paul will truly be able to help people to know God. God spells out this plan. We may not like it but we still need to cooperate with it. The following verse reinforces this point, and even explains why God set things up this way.

NLT 1 Cor 2;1 When I first came to you, dear brothers and sisters,[a] I didn’t use lofty words and impressive wisdom to tell you God’s secret plan. 2 For I decided that while I was with you I would forget everything except Jesus Christ, the one who was crucified. 3 I came to you in weakness—timid and trembling. 4 And my message and my preaching were very plain. Rather than using clever and persuasive speeches, I relied only on the power of the Holy Spirit. 5 I did this so you would trust not in human wisdom but in the power of God. 6 Yet when I am among mature believers, I do speak with words of wisdom, but not the kind of wisdom that belongs to this world or to the rulers of this world, who are soon forgotten. 7 No, the wisdom we speak of is the mystery of God—his plan that was previously hidden, even though he made it for our ultimate glory before the world began. 8 But the rulers of this world have not understood it; if they had, they would not have crucified our glorious Lord. 9 That is what the Scriptures mean when they say,

No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” 10 But it was to us that God revealed these things by his Spirit. For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God’s deep secrets. 11 No one can know a person’s thoughts except that person’s own spirit, and no one can know God’s thoughts except God’s own Spirit. 12 And we have received God’s Spirit (not the world’s spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us. 13 When we tell you these things, we do not use words that come from human wisdom. Instead, we speak words given to us by the Spirit, using the Spirit’s words to explain spiritual truths.[f] 14 But people who aren’t spiritual[g] can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can’t understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means. 15 Those who are spiritual can evaluate all things, but they themselves cannot be evaluated by others. 16 For, “Who can know the Lord’s thoughts? Who knows enough to teach him?” But we understand these things, for we have the mind of Christ.

We see it again Paul’s preaching was plain, not relying on persuasion but on the Power of the Holy Spirit. Back in vs 3 we find the reason Paul used plain preaching. He did this so that the trust (the faith) of his listeners would not be in human wisdom, but rooted in the power of God.

CEV 2 Thess 2;14 God used our preaching as his way of inviting you to share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 15 My friends, that’s why you must remain faithful and follow closely what we taught you in person and by our letters. 16 God our Father loves us. He is kind and has given us eternal comfort and a wonderful hope. We pray that our Lord Jesus Christ and God our Father 17 will encourage you and help you always to do and say the right thing.

We must remain faithful and closely follow Paul’s teachings for God to really use it. If our preaching is off the mark, if we are filling stuff in with human wisdom, or teaching wrong doctrines our worship will be fruitless and God can not use us. When we preach the simple invitation of the Bible, God uses that. When we dilute it with Human wisdom, fancy speech, it is no longer God’s pure invitation, and God can not use it. However pure our motives, It is still our invitation, tarnished with the wisdom of men, impure, unusable. Remember back in 1 Cor 1;21 (above) ‘Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe.’ Wise preaching tells us more and more about God, but this verse declares it is can not help listeners to know him. Only the foolish sounding simple preaching exampled by Paul, preaching inspired by the Holy Spirit can helps people to know God.

Let’s take a two of Paul’s sermons Acts. Act 17;16-34 & Act 13;13-41

Paul Preaches in Athens’

NLT Act 17;16-34 (510 words)

16 While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was deeply troubled by all the idols he saw everywhere in the city. 17 He went to the synagogue to reason with the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles, and he spoke daily in the public square to all who happened to be there. 18 He also had a debate with some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers. When he told them about Jesus and his resurrection, they said, “What’s this babbler trying to say with these strange ideas he’s picked up?” Others said, “He seems to be preaching about some foreign gods.” 19 Then they took him to the high council of the city. “Come and tell us about this new teaching,” they said. 20 “You are saying some rather strange things, and we want to know what it’s all about.” 21 (It should be explained that all the Athenians as well as the foreigners in Athens seemed to spend all their time discussing the latest ideas.) 22 So Paul, standing before the council, addressed them as follows: “Men of Athens, I notice that you are very religious in every way, 23 for as I was walking along I saw your many shrines. And one of your altars had this inscription on it: ‘To an Unknown God.’ This God, whom you worship without knowing, is the one I’m telling you about. 24 “He is the God who made the world and everything in it. Since he is Lord of heaven and earth, he doesn’t live in man-made temples, 25 and human hands can’t serve his needs—for he has no needs. He himself gives life and breath to everything, and he satisfies every need. 26 From one man he created all the nations throughout the whole earth. He decided beforehand when they should rise and fall, and he determined their boundaries. 27 “His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him—though he is not far from any one of us. 28 For in him we live and move and exist. As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’ 29 And since this is true, we shouldn’t think of God as an idol designed by craftsmen from gold or silver or stone. 30 “God overlooked people’s ignorance about these things in earlier times, but now he commands everyone everywhere to repent of their sins and turn to him. 31 For he has set a day for judging the world with justice by the man he has appointed, and he proved to everyone who this is by raising him from the dead.” 32 When they heard Paul speak about the resurrection of the dead, some laughed in contempt, but others said, “We want to hear more about this later.” 33 That ended Paul’s discussion with them, 34 but some joined him and became believers. Among them were Dionysius, a member of the council, a woman named Damaris, and others with them.

‘Paul Preaches in Antioch of Pisidia’

NLT Act 13;13-41 (780 words)

13 Paul and his companions then left Paphos by ship for Pamphylia, landing at the port town of Perga. There John Mark left them and returned to Jerusalem. 14 But Paul and Barnabas traveled inland to Antioch of Pisidia. On the Sabbath they went to the synagogue for the services. 15 After the usual readings from the books of Moses and the prophets, those in charge of the service sent them this message: “Brothers, if you have any word of encouragement for the people, come and give it.” 16 So Paul stood, lifted his hand to quiet them, and started speaking. “Men of Israel,” he said, “and you God-fearing Gentiles, listen to me. 17 “The God of this nation of Israel chose our ancestors and made them multiply and grow strong during their stay in Egypt. Then with a powerful arm he led them out of their slavery. 18 He put up with them through forty years of wandering in the wilderness. 19 Then he destroyed seven nations in Canaan and gave their land to Israel as an inheritance. 20 All this took about 450 years. “After that, God gave them judges to rule until the time of Samuel the prophet. 21 Then the people begged for a king, and God gave them Saul son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, who reigned for forty years. 22 But God removed Saul and replaced him with David, a man about whom God said, ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart. He will do everything I want him to do.’ 23 “And it is one of King David’s descendants, Jesus, who is God’s promised Savior of Israel! 24 Before he came, John the Baptist preached that all the people of Israel needed to repent of their sins and turn to God and be baptized. 25 As John was finishing his ministry he asked, ‘Do you think I am the Messiah? No, I am not! But he is coming soon—and I’m not even worthy to be his slave and untie the sandals on his feet.’ 26 “Brothers—you sons of Abraham, and also you God-fearing Gentiles—this message of salvation has been sent to us! 27 The people in Jerusalem and their leaders did not recognize Jesus as the one the prophets had spoken about. Instead, they condemned him, and in doing this they fulfilled the prophets’ words that are read every Sabbath. 28 They found no legal reason to execute him, but they asked Pilate to have him killed anyway. 29 “When they had done all that the prophecies said about him, they took him down from the cross and placed him in a tomb. 30 But God raised him from the dead! 31 And over a period of many days he appeared to those who had gone with him from Galilee to Jerusalem. They are now his witnesses to the people of Israel. 32 “And now we are here to bring you this Good News. The promise was made to our ancestors, 33 and God has now fulfilled it for us, their descendants, by raising Jesus. This is what the second psalm says about Jesus: ‘You are my Son. Today I have become your Father. ‘ 34 For God had promised to raise him from the dead, not leaving him to rot in the grave. He said, ‘I will give you the sacred blessings I promised to David.’ 35 Another psalm explains it more fully: ‘You will not allow your Holy One to rot in the grave.’ 36 This is not a reference to David, for after David had done the will of God in his own generation, he died and was buried with his ancestors, and his body decayed. 37 No, it was a reference to someone else—someone whom God raised and whose body did not decay. 38 “Brothers, listen! We are here to proclaim that through this man Jesus there is forgiveness for your sins. 39 Everyone who believes in him is declared right with God—something the law of Moses could never do. 40 Be careful! Don’t let the prophets’ words apply to you. For they said, 41 ‘Look, you mockers, be amazed and die! For I am doing something in your own day, something you wouldn’t believe even if someone told you about it.’ ” 42 As Paul and Barnabas left the synagogue that day, the people begged them to speak about these things again the next week. 43 Many Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, and the two men urged them to continue to rely on the grace of God.

Even Stephen’s Sermon in Acts 7 is only a little over 1400 words. Compare that with the average sermon we hear today (in 20 to 40 minutes) of about 4,000-7,000 words. No wonder we only have time for one speaker, but 1 Cor 14;29 clearly requires 2 or 3 Preachers (Prophet/Teachers) at each gathering.

Amp 1 Cor 14;29; So let two or three prophets speak [those inspired to preach of teach] while the rest pay attention and weigh and discern what is said.

Dear God,

Please give us the desire, the wisdom, and the direction to return to your Commands, In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

Glenn

 

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