Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Important Truth for Me to Know & Teach My Grandsons

I grew up in an area of the country where there were churches on almost every corner, the streets were tree-lined and the time seemed – by today’s standards – like a much more simple time. My family and I went to church every Sunday – as did most of the families I knew. The church I went to was filled with wonderful, kind people, but while the people were wonderful and kind and God’s Word was taught, so was a “brand” of heresy which we did not see as heresy then . . . and far to often do not see it as such today.

 Before I clarify about this particular “brand” of heresy, let’s take a minute to look up the definition of the word “heresy”. Dictionary.com defines it as –
1.     Any opinion of doctrine at variance with the orthodox or accepted doctrine, especially of a church or religious system.
2.    The maintaining of such an opinion or doctrine.

And, let’s take a look at a few verses which defines this as well; in both Deuteronomy 4:2 and 12:32 we are cautioned, even warned, not to add to or take away from God’s Word and in 1 Corinthians 4:6 Paul tells how he is careful to follow God’s Word and then cautions, and eve warns, us; “not to go beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up in favor of one against another.

I’m sure we all agree if we take away from God’s Word, this is heresy – going against the accepted doctrine. But, how often do we “add to”, or “go beyond” what God’s Word says? How often do we add our own rules and “do-not's” to how we live; and expect others to do the same? How often do we maintain these “opinions or doctrines” and make following God about keeping the “rules”? When we do these things, it is also heresy.

This is more commonly known as legalism, and the church I grew up in, and even some I attended as an adult, taught a form of legalism. It is not what God’s Word teaches us and is not how Jesus lived on this earth. Yes, when God’s Word tells us a do or do not, we must do or do not. For example, Jesus told us the two greatest commands were for us to love God with our all and to love others as we love ourselves. Throughout Scripture things such as being selfish, unkind, unfaithful, drunk or abusive are things which God has clearly commanded us to not be or do. Likewise, He calls upon us to be people who are loving, gentle, kind, generous, peaceful and who are quick to forgive.

But, when we add to the things God has clearly commanded us to do or not to do, then we are adding to Scripture; and most of the time this leads to us being “puffed up”, as Paul warned us about in 1 Corinthians.

So, why am I writing about this today? This past Sunday the pastor at my church taught about this from Romans 14. He said we may not judge others. Period. He is correct and I want my grandsons to grow up to be people who hold firmly to God’s Word, but who are not judgmental people who are burdened or enslaved by “added” rules of people – even well-meaning people.

Galatians 5:1 has long been one of my favorite verses – in it Paul says; “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Obeying God’s Word brings freedom, trying to follow the rules of people puts us in a, “yoke of slavery”. I want my grandsons to follow God and His Word with joy and freedom and Sunday’s message reminded me how important it is to help them grow up to know the difference.

If you would like to hear my pastor’s sermon from Sunday, you’ll find it at this link – it is well worth taking the time to listen to it. 

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