Moving beyond elementary principles & bridling our tongues by Pastor Don
Hebrews 6:1-3 Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this we will do if God permits.
Paul probably wrote the book of Hebrews. He was believing we were going to go from where the ancient church was to the deeper, more mature things of God, but we still haven’t gone further. In these last days of the church, the church has functioned with an emphasis on the needs of individuals. We have done a shoddy job of communicating the Gospel. We have become a “Me” generation. There has been a spread of gifts and manipulations for administration. In the United States, if you preach prosperity, a feel good message, and emotional health you can pack a church. If you kiss the behinds of the parishioners, telling them what they want to hear, never focusing on tough topics, giving the feel-good Gospel message, only focus on topics that help people to look good and feel good about themselves, and teach how to get along with yourself, you can have a mega church, also called a seeker-friendly church, an emo- church. So often economic pressures cause pastors to focus this way.
What is being fed to the people doesn’t tell the complete truth. People want a feel good Gospel without a cost. They want to pick up their new car and follow Jesus. They don’t talk about pick up the cross.
We need to understand the fundamentals of the Gospel so we can move further towards God’s purpose. The message of the current church is constantly on ME, not what can I DO FOR THE KINGDOM OF GOD. Many bargain hunt in church the same way that we do in stores. Some think they can buy themselves into the good graces of God by what they donate. If I donate and do not know the message of salvation and the tenets of faith we have missed the mark. Our job is to give people a reason to die (to know that to be absent from the Body is to be present with the Lord), but the world only focuses on giving people a reason to live. God gives us something so valuable it is worth dying for. We are not going to be fulfilled by the things of the earth.
Hebrews 6:1 Therefore leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God,
The first principle is repentance for dead works and faith toward God. Dead works are fleshly works – I, Me, acts that may appear good on the outside, but are done without a heart for God. Dead formalism. For example, the scribes and pharisees questioned Jesus about why the disciples ate without the ceremonial handwashing and Jesus replied: Mark 7:6-7 He answered and said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: ‘ This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’
This occurs today, for many of the doctrines of Church denominations are man-made, without Biblical backing. Man-made doctrines have people dress a certain way to go to church. Pastor Don said in 90% of all churches there are three seats on the altar, one with a high back and two flanking it with lower backs. The Church has told us we are all brothers, equal under the Lord. But have someone enter the church and go and try to sit in one of those seats and they would be removed from that seat and told to sit somewhere else. The truth is, this three seat arrangement comes from a pagan practice that the highest pagan judge would sit in a high back chair flanked by his wife (or queen) and the prime minister. No one will come against this practice – even though it is a tradition of men. In our church all pastors, before they talk (including Pastor Don) sit within the congregation to worship God who is the only One accorded high honors. Then the Shekinah glory came out of the Temple (after the crucifixion), and the veil was split, the Shekinah glory came to all men. Pastor Don refuses to be called “reverend” because he does not want to be reverenced. He will allow people to call him pastor, teacher, etc, but not reverend. There is a lot of outward pomp, kissing of rings, etc. That does not mean the office of pastor or teacher is not to be respected, but it is the office that is respected, not the person. Is this a small thing? NO, not in the eyes of God. Ministers of the Gospel hide behind the authority of the Bible, but often the things they are promoting are not biblical, but are commandments of men. They put up a wall of separation.
Mark 7:8 For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men—the washing of pitchers and cups, and many other such things you do.”
Many people in the church do not even know the Ten Commandments. All the laws of our nation are based on the Ten Commandments, but most people do not know that. Great colleges and law schools were started as Bible colleges. Now they have long gone away from their roots, and we find ourselves just washing pitchers and cups in the tradition of men.
Mark 7:9-11 He said to them, “All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition. For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.’ But you say, ‘If a man says to his father or mother, “Whatever profit you might have received from me is Corban”—’ (that is, a gift to God),
The Ten Commandments tell us to honor our father and our mother. But in Jesus’ day children were to support their elderly parents. If a child did not want to support their parent, they could go to the temple and give the priest the amount of money they had put aside to support their parents and announce that this was “corban”. They gave the gift of that money to the temple and that absolved them from having to take care of their parents. The priests of those days did not tell the people this was not according to the commandments, they took that money and used it to line their coffers. But the Israelites were to make sure their inheritance covered their children to the third generation.
Mark 7:12-13 then you no longer let him do anything for his father or his mother, making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do.”
Hebrews 6:1-3Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this we will do if God permits.
The sinful acts such as corban are not considered “good” acts in God’s eyes. Nor are any of our acts that are done without a heart for God. Charity acts, such as giving money to someone you know will use the money to buy liquor, is not the heart of God. Giving just to get a tax write-off is not the heart of God. Giving so your works are noticed, giving for advancement, is not the heart of God.
James 3:9-10 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be.
James 3 talks about our tongue. The words we speak and what comes out of our mouth are also works. When we say certain things it sets into motion things in the Spiritual realm.
Mark 11:22-24 “Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. “I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”
If you look in the mirror and say how “ugly” you are, you shall have what you say. We need to begin to speak God’s truth about ourselves, who we are in Christ, because as we speak it, we will become what we say.
James 3:1 Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.
We will be judged for what we teach, and we need to do what we teach.
James 3:2 We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check.
This is a powerful principle. Our mouths have the ability to control our bodies. Months before Pastor Don began dieting, he started speaking words about health, willpower, diet, and permanent life change. The ability to do comes from the power to speak. If you speak it, you will do it, for the words we speak give us power to do. We can bridle our whole body by our mouths.
James 3:3-5 When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.
A little match can set a big fire. With our tongues it is the same thing. Whole wars have been started by one or two words.
James 1:21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.
The implanted word and sound doctrine helps us to grow fruitful. This statement from James reminded Pastor Don of the parable of the sowers. The word will not come back void. It needs to be planted in the right soil at the right time. Sometimes we give up too easy. We sow the word on rocky ground, and a year later brambles have grown over. Years later, finally the seed ends in fertile soil and grows. God prepares the heart to get the truth of His word, and then the person will be ready to receive it.
Pastor Don shared that, as a child, he was always told he too would be a pastor. Those words were rejected by Pastor Don who did not want to be a pastor. He went out and did his own thing, played in Harry Belafonte’s band, traveled, and lived a wild lifestyle, but one day those words grew, and now he is pastor of our church.
I am going to stop here because my husband needs the computer. I will continue this study tomorrow. I am also praying I get some time to get to your sites today and tomorrow. I have missed spending time with you.
Hoping your day is blessed
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