How does The Holy Spirit work on your heart?

While talking with a denominational preacher about reaching the lost he said, “Some people just aren’t interested in spiritual things, they don’t study and don’t have many conversations about spiritual things. In these cases, all we can do is let the Holy Spirit work on their heart.”

This man would say that he doesn’t accept Calvinism, but he was vocalizing the false doctrine. To remind you of what Calvinism teaches allow me to summarize…

  • Total Depravity: All mankind is born into sin, including babies.
  • Unconditional Election: God picks and chooses who will be saved or lost and it’s unchangeable.
  • Limited Atonement: That God picks only a few individuals to be saved and all else will be lost and you can’t change it. Including babies.
  • Irresistible Grace: That if you’re among those being chosen to be saved, then you cannot prevent it nor resist it.
  • Perseverance of the Saints: Once God saves you (even if against your will) then you can never lose your salvation ever, no matter how sinful a life you lead or even if you change your belief.

Now this is my summary of their belief and if you asked a Calvinist, he will spin it so it sounds better, but the result will be the same; IT’S UNSCRIPTURAL. Another thing you might find is that there are denominations that accept all or part of the above. Belief (faith) comes from hearing the written word of God [John 20:30-31; Rom 10:17].

A partial belief is what this preacher had accepted. He rejects most of Calvinism, but his statement, that the Holy Spirit will work on a person’s heart even as they have no interest in spiritual things, no reading, nor studying with others from the bible, proves it.

HOW DOES THE HOLY SPIRIT CONVERT?

No Bible believer questions the fact the Holy Spirit saves sinners (John 3:5), the question is HOW? We only have 2 options a) direct operation of the Spirit or b) through the influence of a medium (the Gospel, Romans 1:16).

The Scriptures teach us that the Holy Spirit’s work, in the redemption of mankind, is the work of divine revelation. God originates, Christ procures, the Spirit reveals.

Review the chart on the next page to see HOW the Holy Spirit works to save sinners. What you will find is that people are converted through the Holy Spirit revealed word of God that utilized teaching, preaching or reading of the scriptures. Yes, the Holy Spirit does work on our hearts, but He does it through our diligent study of God’s divine word.

ILLUSTRATION: When a person says, “my spouse made a nourishing dinner,” who did it? Were they nourished by the spouse or the food? If a person and an instrument perform the same task, the person is working THROUGH the instrument.Thus, the Holy Spirit saves through the influence of the written word of God [John 3:5; 1Pet 1:22-23].

The Holy Spirit converts a person when they engage in seeking the Kingdom of God, Bible reading and a diligent study of God’s word, rightly divided. [Matt 6:33; 2Tim 2:15]

SPOTTING A FALSE TEACHING

 

 

 

 

It is absolutely clear, God has warned us over and over to beware of false teachers, false doctrine & perverted gospels.

But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you,” [2Peter 2:1]

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;” [1Timothy 4:1]

I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.” [Galatians 1:6-8]

This being said, the next question becomes, how do I spot a false teacher, teaching or doctrine? Below are three easy ways to distinguish a false teaching from the truth.

3 SIGNS OF A FALSE TEACHING

ONE: MAKING ASSERTIONS WITHOUT BIBLICAL EVIDENCE. No BOOK, CHAPTER or VERSE. A young man once told me that he knew his denomination to be true because he FELT it was. Another person told me that he knew his denomination was true (different from the other man’s) because he FELT it. Yet another said something similar, they FELT that God had led them to the truth. Each of these folks are in different denominations teaching different things about the same subjects.

Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.” [1Corinthians 1:10]

TWO: REDEFINING TERMS TO FIT THEIR NARRATIVE. Some false teachings just try to change a single word or the definition of that word. Satan added “not” to the command of God in Genesis 2:16-17. Today, folks are adding “not” to Mark 16:16. In another example, they change the definition of the word “for” in Acts 2:38, from “used as a function word to indicate purpose” to make it mean, “because.”

In another example, the word “baptism” in the original Greek language means, “to immerse.” Change agents have modified the definition to include “sprinkling or pouring.” If you can change the definitions you can change the doctrine, or so you think. Read the following verses and see if “for” means the same thing.

Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” [Acts 2:38]

For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” [Matthew 26:28]

Is Jesus saying in the second verse, stated BEFORE He shed His blood, that His blood is shed “because” sins have already been remitted? Certainly not! Keep the definitions true and you’ll read the truth.

THREE: THEIR ARGUMENT RELIES ON IGNORING OTHER BIBLE PASSAGES ON THE SAME SUBJECT THAT CONTRADICT THEIR POSITION. While it is true that salvation is by Grace [Eph 2:8-9], and that it’s by faith / belief [Acts 16:31], it IS NOT TRUE that we are saved by “faith alone.”

 

Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?  Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.” [James 2:21-24]

 

Recently, a person I had been studying with took some of the questions to their ‘pastor.’ They sought evidence from him for his assertions about ‘faith only’ & ‘once saved always saved.’ They questioned his ‘proof’ with the REST of the scriptures. He then said to this person that it would be better if they left this denomination. WHAT?! A false teaching or teacher may have a ‘proof text’ but it doesn’t stand in light of the whole counsel of God.

A truth teller will use the Bible for his teaching, will use the Biblical definitions of words (defining words by the meaning they had at the time of the writing) and will take the “whole counsel of God.”

The false teacher, will add to God’s word, take away from God’s word, or they will “wrest the scriptures” to find the meaning they want [2Peter 3:16], which are condemned in God’s word.

We here, in the church of Christ, strive to remain pure & true to God’s word. We seek to know God’s will in all matters great & small. We do it for the simple reason that we want to go to heaven. We hope you want that as well.

–Spencer

APATHEISM IS THE WORST

As you might can tell, the word ‘APATHEISM’ is a blending of the words ‘apathy’ & ‘theism / atheism’ meaning that one is unconcerned as to whether a deity exists or not. An APATHEIST doesn’t care if God exists and furthermore, has no interest in discussing it because the answer wouldn’t change anything about their lives and or behaviors.

Do you see why I say that it’s the worst? At least with the antagonists toward faith, there’s dialogue. The APATHEIST has zero interest whatsoever with talking about it. For them, any discussion about it is meaningless.

There’s more to this APATHEISM picture. It’s one thing to have zero interest in the existence of God, but this same APATHEISM shows up among believers of God regarding the issues that have created denominations. For many, the discussion about…

  • The one Body– Mat 16:18;
  • The one Holy Spirit – John 16:13; Eph 3:3-4
  • The one Hope – Eph 1:18
  • The one Calling– 2Thess 2:14
  • The one Lord – 1Cor 1:13;
  • The one Faith – Jude 1:3:
  • The one Baptism – Mark 16:16
  • The ONE GOD – Mal 2:10;

…are meaningless [Ephesians 4:4-6]. They’ll say something like, “we’re all in different ships heading to the same harbor.” After this they are saying by their APATHEISM, “the discussion is over, the theology is settled, the debate is over, the time for talking has passed. The experts have reached a consensus. Any other point of view in this day and age is hateful, divisive & judgmental. If you disagree, then you’re not welcome. It’s legalism, it’s pharisaical, it’s old fashioned, it’s outdated. You’re lost for believing such things, and I will only help you out of your lost state if you just listen, don’t ask any questions and totally agree with me and especially if you don’t ask me to show you any scriptures.”

You may think what is written above is mocking. I assure you it is not. Each of these statements have been outright stated or implied to me on a near daily basis. I once scheduled a study with 2 young men in white shirts from a particular denomination, for which they arrived late. They wanted to speak first. After they were done, I said, “I have a couple of questions for you.” After the first question (which they refused to answer) they had to leave or they would be late for their next appointment. The time for talking had passed.

Another time a fellow said, “I don’t want you to tell me that my beliefs are wrong.” Another once screamed at a colleague of mine, “YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE BAPTIZED TO BE SAVED!!!” On another occasion when I kindly asked a person if they wanted to see the only time “faith only” was used in the Bible they said, “nope.” By the way, it’s in James chapter 2 and it says, “Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.”

I find it amazing when folks approach me to tell me about their faith as if time had no meaning, but are suddenly out of time when I ask them a few questions. The debate is over, you’re a legalist.

Folks, eternity is much too long a time to spend it in regret of having not learned the truth about salvation & faithfulness. When Paul said, “But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant” he wasn’t authorizing that as a position of safety [1Cor 14:38]. Ignorance may be bliss in this life, but in the next one it’s misery. “And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:” [Acts 17:30]

PS: There is an authorized time when the time for talking has passed and it’s found in Mat 7:6; 15:14. When is the right time to be apatheistic? When you discover you’re talking with an APATHEIST. I’m never apathetic toward the lost who are willing to engage in discussion. It’s only when they tell me, “the debate is over, the time for talking has passed, Any other point of view in this day and age is hateful, divisive & judgmental. The theology is settled, the discussion is over…”

–Spencer

REPLACING THE GOSPEL

If you were to ask 100 secular people what the gospel is, you would likely get 100 answers. If you asked 100 religious people you may get 1,000. The reason I say this is because over the last 2,000 years (and particularly the last 100) mankind have been coming up with all sorts of gospels. Which are not other gospels, but a perversion of the one Gospel.

But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed” [Gal 1:8].

The recent past is nothing new, we can read about men replacing God’s word in the Bible and it was going on long before the 1st century. Turn in your Bible to 1 Kings 12:26-33 and you’ll see a story of one man changing the worship of God for his own purposes.

If this people go up to do sacrifice in the house of the LORD at Jerusalem, then shall the heart of this people turn again unto their lord, even unto Rehoboam king of Judah, and they shall kill me,” [v27]

In this story we can identify 5 steps in which Jeroboam was able to pervert the truth of God’s word so that he could have control over the population…

FIRST, he found counselors who would tell him what he wanted to hear [v28a, cr. 2Tim 4:3].

NEXT, they used a well known biblical story and altered it for their own purposes [v28b]. It was true that Aaron made some golden calves and said, “These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.” But this too was a perversion of the truth to control the people. This perversion would be easy if you kept people from reading the word for themselves and proving all things [1Thess 5:21].

THEN, he placed the two calves at biblically significant places, Bethel and Dan [v29. cf. Ge 28:19; Jg 18:29;].

AFTER THIS, he perverted the teachers of the people by replacing the authorized priests with teachers of his own choosing whom he could control, not being guided by God’s word. [cf. 3John 1:9]

LASTLY, he set up special days, again, like the feasts authorized by God with just a subtle change. “And Jeroboam ordained a feast in the eighth month, on the fifteenth day of the month, like unto the feast that is in Judah, and he offered upon the altar. So did he in Bethel, sacrificing unto the calves that he had made: and he placed in Bethel the priests of the high places which he had made” [v32 cf. Lev 23:33-34; Rom 14:5-6].

It didn’t take much to convince the people especially if they didn’t take the perversions of Jeroboam and compare it to God’s word. Sound familiar? We must be careful not to repeat the mistakes of the past in allowing the subtle trickery of error to creep into the church that Jesus Himself built. Paul warned the church;

That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive” [Eph 4:14].

WHAT IS THE GOSPEL? We find the answer in God’s word [1Cor 15:1-4], “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ DIED for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was BURIED, and that he ROSE AGAIN the third day according to the scriptures:” (emph. seb)

The Gospel is to be obeyed [2Thess 1:8; Heb 5:9] and is obeyed when a person HEARS, BELIEVES, REPENTS, CONFESSES and is BAPTIZED [Rom 6:3-4].

The record of history is clear, men have and continue to pervert the Good News of God drawing men away from obeying the truth [Gal 5:7; cr. 2Tim 3:1-7]. Don’t be one of them.

— Spencer

How Can You Tell if God is Talking to you?

 

 

 

 

If it’s in the Bible.

 

 

 

 

 

 

REFERENCES:

  • John 20:30-31 But these are WRITTEN, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God;
  • Acts 17:11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the SCRIPTURES daily, whether those things were so.
  • Romans 15:4 For whatsoever things were WRITTEN aforetime were written for our learning,
  • 1 Corinthians 10:11 Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are WRITTEN for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.
  • Ephesians 3:3-4 How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I WROTE afore in few words, Whereby, when ye READ, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)
  • 2 Timothy 3:16-17 All SCRIPTURE is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable…
  • 2 Peter 3:15 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath WRITTEN unto you;
  • 1 John 1:4 And these things WRITE we unto you, that your joy may be full.
  • 1 John 2:1  My little children, these things WRITE I unto you, that ye sin not.
  • 1 John 5:13 These things have I WRITTEN unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.
  • Jude 1:3 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to WRITE unto you of the common salvation,

But I’m Not Legalistic About it

Yes, another bulletin on the meaning of ‘LEGALISM’ because it’s the standard argument used by those who refuse to repent.

The discussion goes like this;

  • Believer: Jesus commands us to keep His commandments [Luke 6:46; Mat 7:21-29].
  • Non-Believer: Yeah, but I’m not LEGALISTIC about it.

End of discussion.

To understand their argument as to why they believe that God is giving them license to sin (if not fully, at least partially) let’s look at how the reasoning goes.

THE RATIONALE GOES LIKE THIS:

  • Since nobody’s perfect [1John 1:10],
  • And since God is full of grace & mercy [Heb 4:16],
  • Then God doesn’t expect us to be perfect, So, we don’t have to try. “I’m not going to be LEGALISTIC about it.”

That’s not very good bible study. Paul addressed a similar question in his time. In Romans 6:1 he answers a rhetorical question, “shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?” His answer, “certainly not!” This may be why we have thousands of denominations with a nearly equal number of doctrines about how to live. It’s like they’re saying that since there’s a little room to sin regarding salvation, then we can intentionally be mediocre. That’s fine for unimportant things like dieting or quilting, but not a very good way to handle salvation.

Is GRACE & MERCY license to sin willfully? That’s just another way of saying “I’m not legalistic about it.” God is full of GRACE & He is MERCIFUL, but that’s no license to sin. The accurate way to look at it is that He has provided GRACE & MERCY to an imperfect people. This is the right way to understand Ephesians 2:8-9 and 1John 1:7-10. God sent His Son as a sacrifice for a sinful people that didn’t deserve it [Rom 5:8-10]. We obey the Gospel upon recognition of our need for the atoning blood of Jesus [2Thess 1:8-9; Acts 2:38; Heb 5:9]. Obeying the gospel & keeping His commandments [Mat 28:18-20] is not being legalistic, it’s being faithful.

WHEN NOT TO BE LEGALISTIC

There are 2 chapters in the New Testament that are telling folks not to be legalistic. They are, Romans 14 & 1Cor 8. These are dealing with issues that are NOT MATTERS OF DOCTRINE but matters of OPINION. If that’s what you mean by ‘I’m not going to be legalistic about it’ then we both agree with God and His word. If, however, you aren’t going to be legalistic with the doctrine of Christ, then you’re going to find yourself fighting against God.

“But I’m Not Legalistic About it”

People who say they’re not legalistic about the doctrine of Christ would never say the same thing in other areas of their lives. Below are just a few examples of how ridiculous this sounds.

  • I’m a VEGAN, but I’m not legalistic about it.
  • I love my wife, but I’m not legalistic about it.
  • I always do my job at work, but I’m not legalistic about it.
  • I want a great brain surgeon, but I’m not legalistic about it.
  • I take insulin to keep from dying, but I’m not legalistic about it.
  • I stop at red lights, but I’m not legalistic about it.
  • I watch over my kids when they swim, but I’m not legalistic about it.
  • I’m a bank teller, but I’m not legalistic about it.
  • I’m a judge, but I’m not legalistic about it.
  • I practice food safety at the restaurant I work, but I’m not legalistic about it.
  • I work with the nuclear warheads at Pantex, but I’m not legalistic about it.

So you see, we all can understand that in matters of importance we must stand firm. “Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong.” [1Cor 16:13] Regarding the matters of style or opinion, don’t be legalistic about it, but with matters of the doctrine of Christ, be LEGALISTIC.

GONE WITH THE WIND

I’ve never heard of a ‘BOMB CYCLONE’ until last week. In case you missed it, the panhandle of Texas (along with other areas) experienced winds gusting over 75 mph. That kind of wind tosses a lot of things around and not a few people. Videos show roofs being blown off and semi-trucks toppling.

Let’s use this occasion of high winds to talk about the high winds of denominational doctrine. The Holy Spirit warns about this through Paul’s letter to the Ephesians:

“That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;” [Eph 4:14]

This is brilliant imagery, especially considering last week’s winds and the damage it caused. Upon examination of this verse we come to a few conclusions

  • There is a true doctrine. “Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.” [Titus 1:9; 2:1, 10; Heb 6:1; 2John 1:9]
  • The negative doctrines are from men. [cr doctrines of men; Rom 16:17; Col 2:22; 1Tim 1:3, 10; Heb 13:9; 2John 1:10; Rev 2:14, 15,24 and doctrines of devils 1Tim 4:1]
  • These men use sleight (tactic used in gambling)
  • These men use cunning craftiness (trickery). The same word describing Satan; “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” [2Cor 11:3]
  • These men use deceit (lies). It’s called error in 1John 4:6 “We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.”
  • These men are lying in wait, which is also said of thieves who hide in dark places to attack an innocent. [Proverbs 1:11]
  • The persons unable to distinguish between the doctrine of Christ and the doctrines of men are children, immature.
  • The doctrines of men are varied and often opposite of one another.
  • The child caught up in the wind is tossed and carried away by the false teaching. We’re expected to mature in spiritual understanding. “Brethren, be not children in understanding:” [1Cor 14:20a]

Paul continues this thought in chapter 5: “Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.” [Eph 5:6]. Just as the winds that tore through the panhandle, so too the winds of doctrine can tear through the church doing terrible damage. Unlike the physical damage of a wind, this is spiritual damage that tosses people into disobedience.

There is another way that wind is used for a SPIRITUAL WARNING, it’s our faith.

“But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.” [James 1:6]

James continues in this context and says that the one wavering in faith should not expect anything from God. Additionally, he calls the one with a wavering faith an unstable person. This smacks in the face of the admonition of the Christian to…

  • Stand Fast: “For now we live, if ye stand fast in the Lord.” [1Thess 3:8]
  • Stand perfect & complete: “…that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.” [Col 4:12]

It is my firm belief that the most damaging wind of doctrine is the utterly contemptible doctrine of ecumenism (the promoting of unity among denominations without unity of doctrine). An idea our Lord never promoted. He demands unity in His teaching. [1Cor 1:10]

New Testament Christianity

Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.” [Galatians 5:4]

This passage in Galatians is a warning for Christians that keeping any part of the Law of Moses will take you out of the grace of Christ. Some try to reinterpret it as a faith only passage. Not so. The followers of Christ are to be command keepers [Mat 7:21-23; Luke 6:46] of His New Covenant.

There is a reason why the churches of Christ do what they do (a Capella singing, simple worship, weekly observance of the Lord’s Supper). We recognize Christ as our Head [Col 1:18], He has all authority [Mat 28:18] and those that love Him will keep HIS commandments [John 14:15]. God the Father said this, “This is my beloved Son: hear him.” [Mark 9:7] This means that we listen to Jesus, not Moses, and especially not any man nor man made religion.

Jesus promised to build His church [Mat 16:18], and that this church [which is His kingdom Col 1:13] will begin within the lifetime of those that heard him [Mark 9:1]. On the first Pentecost after His resurrection, [Acts 2:1–47] the church began. No one spoke of it being in existence before that day, and thereafter it’s spoken of as being in existence.

The guiding rules of faith and practices are found in the covenant from Jesus, as delivered by the Holy Spirit [John 16:13; Eph 3:1-4] and not the Law of Moses from Mt. Sinai.

We need to pay attention to what The Holy Spirit reveals in the New Testament about the change from the Law of Moses to the Law of Christ.

• Hear Jesus, not Moses [Mat 17:5; Mark 9:7].
• Preach the gospel [Mat 28:18–20].
• The Word of Christ Judges [John 12:48].
• Dead to the Law of Moses [Romans 7:1–7].
• “Christ is the end of the law” [Romans 10:4].
• “Engraven in stones…done away” [2Cor 3:7–14].
• Broken down the wall [Eph 2:14].
• Nailing it to His cross [Col 2:14].
• A Priesthood change required a Law change [Hebrews 7:12; 9:11].
• He is the mediator of the new testament [Hebrews 9:16–17].
• He (Jesus) taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. [Hebrews 10:9].

No longer does man offer animals to atone for sin. “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.” [Heb 10:4] Jesus shed His blood “once for all” and has “sat down on the right hand of God.” [Heb 10:12]

No longer does man keep the Passover, abstain from certain foods nor keep certain days [Col 2:14-17]. No longer do we need a special group of priests, for those added to the church are now a ‘royal priesthood’ [1Pet 2:9]. This new Law of Christ doesn’t require it, and to revert to it is to sin against the One who shed His blood, ‘ye have fallen from Grace.’

In the New Testament, no longer do we burn incense, build temples (we are the temple Eph 2:21), dance or play instruments. Did God leave New Testament worship up for us to decide? No, God tells us what He wants, and we do it [Mat 28:20]. We are given unleavened bread, fruit of the vine, prayers, vocal singing, giving & teaching.

The Old Testament is for our learning, not for New Testament law. “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning,” [Rom 15:4]. We should read the Old Testament to learn about many things, some of which is how God communicates with and how He instructs man. However, to go back to the Law of Moses to bring forward any practice (musical instruments, clergy / laity, feasts) will remove you from the grace of Christ and obligate you to do it all. You will have fallen from Grace.

We here at the Franklin & Juniper church of Christ practice New Testament Christianity with the Bible as our creed book. We Welcome you to come find out what the Bible says.

PHARISAICAL

PHARISAICAL is defined as; practicing or advocating strict observance of external forms and ceremonies of religion or conduct without regard to the spirit; self-righteous; hypocritical. The term comes from the group called “Pharisees.”

The way it is most commonly used is when one person suggests a close adherence to the word of God in the Plan of Salvation, Worship and Godliness that others will claim that person is being PHARISAICAL. It’s a rebuke by someone who ISN’T closely following the Bible against the one who does.

Is that a fair use of the word? Does this usage follow with how the Pharisees were practicing Judaism? Let’s examine the Scriptures to see if this is so.

JESUS REBUKES THE PHARISEES

Matthew 23 is a great place to learn what Jesus felt about the Pharisees. The first 12 verses He describes their practices to the multitudes. He says:

  • Do what they say, not what they do. v3
  • They bind heavy burdens on others that they won’t do. v4
  • They do what they do to be seen by men. v5
  • They love the best seats & greetings. v6-7

After this, He then addresses them directly with a series of “WOE UNTO YOU” statements some of which are:

  • You shut up the kingdom of heaven against men and you don’t enter either. v13
  • For a pretense make long prayers. v14
  • Neglected the weightier matters of justice, mercy & faith. v23
  • You appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. v28

Upon examination of these verses and others, the conclusion you MUST come to is that the Pharisees were:

  • Ignoring the commands of God for their traditions.
  • Saying one thing correctly but not doing it. This is called hypocrisy.
  • When they did keep the commands of God, their heart wasn’t in it. Mat 23:23
  • They bound EXTRA commands on people that God never commanded.
  • Mat 7:21-23

“For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.” [Mark 7:8-9]

SO, WHAT IS PHARISAICAL REALLY?

To be ‘PHARISAICAL’ is to:

  • Not follow the commands of God
  • To create new commands not from God
  • To say that you’re following God but aren’t.
  • To hold to traditions rather than the commands of God.
  • To appear to be righteous but are actually disobedient.

If anyone in our modern times is ‘PHARISAICAL’ it’s most likely to be the denominational churches and not the Lord’s church. Can we be guilty of hypocrisy? Certainly, but to call someone who is keeping the commands of God with his whole heart, ‘PHARISAICAL,’ is to make a false accusation. It’s usually the one who ISN’T KEEPING GOD’S COMMANDS that calls another ‘PHARISAICAL.’ If you’re not following the commands of Christ, YOU ARE THE PHARISEE! It is NOT PHARISAICAL to want to keep the commands of God. [Col 3:17]

Rather than call each other names, let’s try this:

  • Let’s Keep the commands of Jesus – John 14:15
  • Let’s Do what Jesus says – Luke 6:46; Mat 7:21-29
  • Let’s Love God with our whole heart – Mat 22:37
  • Let’s Obey the Gospel – 2Thess 1:8; Mark 16:16

God wants us to be saved and to go to heaven. Let’s do that.

“You guys think you’re the only ones going to heaven.”

Has anyone ever challenged you with this statement after telling them to which church you belong? Did you know what to say?

Before we offer an answer to this accusation, we need to identify it for what it is; it’s an intellectually dishonest accusation based upon an unstudied position. It’s emotionally charged based on another similar question; “will God actually send good people to hell?”

Here’s another way of stating these charges; “do you mean to tell me that God is going to send people to hell who disregard His authority and choose not to follow the whole counsel of God?”

When stated this way, you can begin to see the answer to their claims.

For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. [Acts 20:27]

Most, if not all, attacks come from a position of partial understanding of God’s word. The real answer to most attacks should be “who has all authority, and how do we know what it is?” when faced with an emotionally charged criticism, I ask this question; “What does the bible say?

Jesus has “all authority” [Mat 28:18], and He alone has the right to determine under what conditions salvation is determined. He said that judgment will be based upon the standard of God’s word [John 12:48] and if this is true, are we to teach it accurately? Do any of us have the right to teach less or to add more to His word? Certainly not!

If the bible teaches that only those who have been added to the Lord’s church are saved [Acts 2:47], then to teach otherwise is to be a false teacher. To belong to a church not mentioned in the Bible is to disregard God’s word, the word upon which the determination of saved or lost is made.

The Lord’s church.
  • Jesus said; “I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” [Mat 16:18] He could have built 1,000 churchES, but He only promised to build ONE.
  • Jesus purchased ONE church; “… the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.” [Acts 20:28]
  • Jesus is the head of His church; “And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body,” [Eph 1:22-23]
  • Jesus will save His body; “…Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.” [Eph 5:23b]

How many bodies (churches) did He build, purchase, is the head of and is the savior of? We read about followers of Christ assembling in local congregations called ‘churches of Christ.’ [Rom 16:16] These are not different denominations teaching different doctrines. These are adherents to God’s word assembling as commanded in their home towns.

Some argue that there are many members of that one body in all the denominations. Can that even make sense? Don’t forget about the word that judges us in the last day. Denominations teach different things about salvation, sin, worship, faith, apostacy etc. Some teach & bind MORE than what the bible teaches on these subjects. Can we be a part of a denomination that adds to or takes away from God’s word and say you’re following the whole counsel of God? When we examine the scriptures, we find the expectation that the same thing be taught to every person. [1Cor 1:10-14]

For this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus, who is my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which be in Christ, as I teach every where in every church.” [1Cor 4:17]

A word of caution; not every person who attends a “church of Christ” belongs to Him. There are some who are in unrepented sin or practicing error. Revelation 2 & 3 also teaches that entire congregations have left their first love, hold the doctrine of Balaam, allow false teachers in, are spiritually dead, and are lukewarm. Jesus said to one congregation, “for I have not found thy works perfect before God.” [Rev 3:2]. They were not completely following God’s word!

If those who are in the Lord’s church are in jeopardy for not following His will, what makes you think He’s going to overlook denominational error?!