Tradition or Scripture
Tradition or Scripture
Today’s lesson is focused on asking the question of why you believe what you believe. By the end I hope that each one reading, no matter what your emotions are, will ask yourself that question and be willing to really seek out the answer. Do you believe what you believe because someone you love and trust taught that to you as tradition? Or do you believe what you believe because it is based upon GOD’S Word and you know where to find it? Are you willing to change your traditions if they are wrong, or are you more interested in being right, then following God’s way? Why do you believe what you believe?
Handout: Tradition or Scripture
Think about your favorite holiday, one of mine happens to be the American holiday of Thanksgiving. To me, there’s nothing like gathering around the table at Thanksgiving with family and having a meal and being together. For the past several years my family and I meet at my brother in law and sister’s home, and we will have a wonderful meal together and spend that evening just talking and having fun. It is so warm and wonderful being with my family during that time. Millions of people celebrate this holiday. There are traditions passed down from generation to generation, one such is that we prepare a Turkey for the main course of the meal, and for dessert there are different options but there is always a pumpkin pie! It’s a wonderful tradition. However, there are some people who don’t follow that specific tradition. They either make their own or have different ones passed down from their families. Is either of the ways to give thanks or to celebrate thanksgiving wrong? No. They are just different. Would I look at another family who may choose to have a pot roast instead of turkey, and apple pie instead of pumpkin and condemn them saying they are not really giving thanks to GOD unless they do what my family does? No! If some families chose to go out to a restaurant instead of preparing the meal themselves, would we look at them and condemn them and say that they are doing it wrong??? No! It’s just a different way for them.
Sometimes in this Christian walk, some people can be so embedded in their traditions, that they mistake it for Scripture. It is hard to get them to see what GODS Word really means. People can get upset, angry and even quit coming to church because they think their traditional way of worship or dress or church is how it is supposed to be and if you do something different they get upset! They begin to condemn others for worshiping in a way or serving GOD in a way that is different than how they do it. That becomes sin.
As I pondered on this, it made me start really thinking about the disciples and the Apostle Paul and what they went through trying to get these traditional Jews converted to Christianity, as well as the Gentiles! They risked their very lives. Here I am worried that someone will get mad at my teaching this knowing how strongly some people are attached to their own traditions. How ashamed I began to feel at being afraid when these men in Bible days, were in danger of being killed and many times were beaten and thrown into prison for this very reason!
The Pharisees were so stuck to their traditions, they ignored the miracles around them, they ignored the scriptures, all the cared about was what they had been taught by their families and nothing else mattered! They were angered when someone came in telling them something different. So angry they were willing to murder these men of GOD.
Please don’t judge these Pharisees to harshly yet, because a lot of Christians today do the exact same thing. Are you a modern day Pharisee? Do you get angry with your brothers and sisters if they don’t follow the traditional ways of worship? Do you condemn them in your heart or shun them in your heart because they worship differently than you do? Think about that for a moment, you may not even realize you have been doing it!
Jesus said in Matthew 5:22, whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment.
This week a dear lady told me that she went to worship at a new church, and was stopped at the door and asked to leave because she wasn’t wearing what they thought she should wear, she was covered up but her outfit was not the traditional attire for that church. That was so sad to me. How that must break Our Father’s heart, Brothers and Sisters in Christ treating one another in that manner. What if she had been a lost person? What message would that have given her about Christians and Church? Why are be behaving and believing the way we do? Is it because it’s GODS word, or is it just our traditions?
Are Traditions sin? No! If it does not go against GOD’S WORD, traditions can be wonderful things. It’s wonderful to gather around the Christmas tree in December and see the children open their gifts and to celebrate the Birth of Our LORD. Traditions sometimes are what help to make us who we are. Tradition becomes wrong, when we mistake them and man made ideas for GODS Word. They become sin when we begin to condemn and hinder others because they do not follow our way of thinking. Should I get angry and tell someone they are wrong and it’s not GODS will if they choose not to celebrate Christmas the way my family does? No.
Luke 6:37 “Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:”
There are many traditions in today’s Christian world that are simply not Biblical. The traditions are not a sin in themselves, but the problem begins when we believe in them so much that we start to condemn other Christians if they choose not to follow that specific tradition. When we neglect to look in GOD’S Word to see if it’s just tradition or if it’s Scriptural, just simply believing it we begin to be closed of to other cultures, and way so f worship. That is very unfortunate and it’s a trick from Satan to get people to fight within the church! We have to stop.
There was a wonderful man of GOD some years ago that would not allow his wife to wear boots! The winter was harsh at times and the snow cold on her feet but he would not allow it, he said that boots were a man’s garment. He had taken the scripture in Deuteronomy 22 verse 5 that states in the law that a woman must not wear a man’s garment or a man should not wear a woman’s garment. He failed to rightly divide that verse which was stating that men should be men, and women should be women, not try to change their gender and look the other way. I always wondered why he allowed her to wear a coat, men wear coats too! Finally, after his eyes were opened to the fact that this belief he had was only his own ideas, not scriptural, he stopped that nonsense and his wife’s feet were much warmer in the boots! Was he a bad man? No, quiet the opposite, in fact he was a wonderful man of God, that I respected very much, but he was just wrong in his thinking. Human beings can be very wrong and not even realize it. That is why it is so very important to get in GOD’S WORD, not just reading it but studying it, and praying for wisdom and understanding and rightly dividing the scriptures.
Beloved this isn’t just a new problem in the world today, this was going on back in Jesus’ day as well and it is addressed in the book of Mark.
In the book of Mark, chapter 7 we find a situation where the Pharisees were upset that the disciples were not following their religious traditions. Jesus had plenty to say about their questions.
Go when you have time and read Mark chapter 7. Basically what happened was this...
Some Pharisees and teachers of religious law arrived from Jerusalem to see Jesus one day. They noticed that some of his disciples failed to follow the Jewish ritual of hand washing before eating. (The Jews, especially the Pharisees, do not eat until they have poured water over their cupped hands, (as required by their ancient traditions. Similarly, they don’t eat anything from the market until they immerse their hands in water. This is but one of many traditions they have clung to—such as their ceremonial washing of cups, pitchers, and kettles.)
So the Pharisees and teachers of religious law asked JESUS, “Why don’t your disciples follow our age-old tradition? They eat without first performing the hand-washing ceremony.”
Jesus replied, “You hypocrites! Esaias (Isaiah) was right when he prophesied about you,
Mark 7:6-7 “6He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. 7Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.”
Jesus was clearly upset by this and righteously so saying,
These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship is in vain, because they teach man-made ideas as commands from God. For you ignore God’s law and substitute your own tradition, and so you cancel the word of God in order to hand down your own tradition. And this is only one example among many others.
Matthew 10:16 “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.
Jesus told us that for a reason! He knew how we could be tricked and fall into things and our attention be taken by things that don’t matter and turned away from what really does matter.
Why are we spending time worrying about what someone else is wearing in the house of GOD, if they are covered? Why are we spending half the service condemning them in our hearts instead of focusing on worshiping The LORD? Why is that such an issue? It’s ignorance on our parts to do such and we fall right into satan’s trap.
Remember when Samuel went to the house of Jesse to find the man that GOD had chosen to be King of Israel? Here is what GOD said to Samuel.
1 Samuel 16:7 “But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for [the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.”
John 7:24 “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.”
Beloved, in every country in the world, Christians are going to have different kinds of worship music, simply because our cultures are different. We are going to have different kinds of dressing, because our cultures are different. There are going to be diverse ways of worshiping The LORD. Does GOD accept one over the other? No, He accepts Praise from all those who are praising Him with their hearts! He knows our hearts and if we are truly worshiping Him and meditating upon HIM when we listen. It is not up to us to choose that for everyone else, that is between them and GOD.
Psalms 111:1 “Praise ye the LORD. I will praise the LORD with my wholeheart, in the assembly of the upright, and in the congregation.”
No matter how we serve the LORD, we MUST make certain that it goes along with HIS WORD, and we MUST stop condemning others if they serve HIM in a different way than we do. Everyone is different. We have to stop trying to cram Almighty, All Powerful GOD into our tiny little boxes! Yes, I understand that we must stand for something, or fall for anything. I get that, but why not STAND for TRUTH and GOD’S Word instead of our own way of thinking?
Proverbs 3:7 “Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.”
The man or woman that we may condemn in our hearts or out loud, for worshipping differently than we do, they may be the VERY person GOD was planning to use to reach your children or grandchildren’s hearts so that they would believe and be saved! They may be the very one that GOD was sending to minister to someone’s need but here we may be condemning them and treating them badly because they don’t line up with our traditions and work of the Holy Spirit would be hindered Oh we must be careful what you say about others and be careful not to condemn! LORD help us!
There are many traditions that I could name, and originally I had them listed in the lesson, but the more I prayed the more GOD showed me that maybe instead of focusing on those specific issues, they should be left open for HIM to deal with each heart as HE would see fit about those traditions. I might leave something out. It’s better for GOD to convict the heart about the specifics.
Romans 14:19 “Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.”
What my prayer is, the desire of my heart is that each of you open your hearts to the Holy Spirit and think about the things you believe, and to ask yourselves do I believe this because it’s GOD’S Word, or because it’s a traditional way of believing. If it is tradition, it isn’t wrong as long as it does not go against GOD’S Word, but love The LORD enough and love your fellow brothers and sisters enough to not condemn them if they worship in a different way than you choose to, if they dress a different way, if they sing a different kind of song etc, because there are many different ways to praise The LORD!
If you hear someone get up in the pulpit and teach something, make sure it is backed up by GOD’S Word, write it down, go home and look in the scriptures for yourselves, because you and I will stand before GOD for what we believe and what we teach others. Know why you believe what you believe and be able to back it up with The Bible.
Seek GOD with all your heart and learn of HIM. Love one another and be careful not to judge or condemn another person because you don’t know what they may be going through or why they are in the place that they are at. May the grace of God keep your minds and hearts focused always upon Jesus Christ.
I pray for wisdom for you all, as well as for myself that we open our hearts and understand. This lesson is about getting people to wake up and stop living by tradition and start living by the actual Word of God. It is about getting Christians to actually know the difference between Scripture and man made ideas and traditions. It’s about knowing what you believe and why. Being able to back your beliefs up by GOD’S Word!
It’s not GOD’S will that we just follow what we have been taught without seeking HIS Word to see if it’s truth or not.
1 John 4:1 “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.”
Dear Ones, I come to you in the love of JESUS CHRIST, wanting so much for you to have that deep relationship with The LORD every day of the week not just on Sunday. Wanting you to understand the scriptures and understand true worship. Time is running out and we have to stop spending time on things that do not matter, and falling into that trap of satan that takes our focus off what is really important, and that is giving GOD praise and knowing HIM intimately! Some of us have been saved for 20 years and are still on the milk of God’s word not understanding the very basics when we should be on the meat and great teachers for the ones who are newly saved! God help us!
Hebrews 5:12 “For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.”
We must start knowing why we believe the way we believe and be able to back up our ways with GOD’S word. We have to stop expecting GOD to be on our side…and instead change our hearts to be on HIS side! It’s not about us…it’s about JESUS CHRIST! We must worship GOD in Spirit and in truth every day not just Sunday. It’s about Relationship with HIM…We must not have a form of Godliness but deny HIS Real Power.
2 Timothy 3:5 “ Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.”
I challenge you to ask yourself if you really want to know truth and know GOD on a deeper level? Then pray and ask yourself, is what I believe backed up by God’s Word? Am I mistaking tradition for Scripture?” Folks when we follow our own traditions instead of GODS Word, when we lean on our own understanding and our own wisdom and ideas, we are simply trying to change truth around and make GOD into something we are more comfortable with, we are creating idols and we are hindering others.
I am responsible for what I teach and when GOD puts something on my heart, I must follow. I will stand before God for everything I say and for the things I fail to say. I could say to myself, well this is not a big deal, I will just keep quiet about it, but GOD has called me to be a teacher of HIS Word and it is my desire to help you grow in HIM and how can a tree grow unless a seed is planted? How can you and I grow in the word if we do not get deep into it and instead only believe the traditions we are told? I want every child of GOD to have a deeper understanding of HIS word and know that the things we worry about sometimes are not important…It’s about JESUS! It is my prayer that you all have an open heart and I urge you, don’t just take my word for it, get in the scriptures and find out if what I have said is truth. KNOW WHAT YOU BELIEVE…Why do you believe what you believe?
You are all in my prayers…please pray for me. GOD Bless You All :O)
Dear Righteous Heavenly…
Father I come to You today, in awe of who You are. You are Almighty, You are All Powerful and there is none like You. Father, I want with all my heart to do Your will. I know that Your favor and Your love is better than life. I ask You to help me always seek You in everything I believe and understand that I am only human and I can be wrong at times. Dearest Father, help us loose the bands of tradition and condemnation and stop trying to place you in a box. Help me to get in Your Word and believe what YOU have said. I humbly ask for Wisdom, to understand and rightly divide Your Word so that I can have deeper intimacy with You and teach others the way You would have me to. Help me to speak and write Your words not mine. Thank You for Your love, Your great Mercy and grace. I love You and I Praise You with all my heart. In Jesus name I pray. Amen
April 10, 2011