Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | September 4, 2018

‘BUT IN VAIN DO THEY WORSHIP ME, TEACHING AS DOCTRINES THE PRECEPTS OF MEN.’

Today’s devotion comes from Mark 7:1-8.  Here is a link to this Scripture – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+7&version=NASB

I quote only the following verses.

“And He said to them, “Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written:

‘THIS PEOPLE HONORS ME WITH THEIR LIPS,
BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR AWAY FROM ME.
‘BUT IN VAIN DO THEY WORSHIP ME,
TEACHING AS DOCTRINES THE PRECEPTS OF MEN.’”  Mark 7:6-7.

———————-

Today’s Scripture teaches that there are those who worship God in vain by their doctrine (also known as teachings) of men.  “BUT IN VAIN DO THEY WORSHIP ME, TEACHING AS DOCTRINES THE PRECEPTS OF MEN.’”  Verse 7 and Matthew 15:9.

Scripture emphasizes the importance of truth.

“But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth;  for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers.  God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”  John 4:23-24.

Not any kind of worship will suffice, but “worship in spirit and truth”.

“Brethren, my heart’s desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation.  For I testify about them that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge.  For not knowing about God’s righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God.  For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.”  Romans 11:1-4.

Not any kind of zeal will suffice, but zeal “in accordance with knowledge”, or in other words, in accordance with truth.

“But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth.” 2 Thessalonians 2:13.

Not any kind of faith will suffice, but “faith in the truth”.

There are those who “did not receive the love of truth so as to be saved”.  2 Thessalonians 2:10-13.

Not any kind of love will suffice, but “the love of truth”.

Many churches portray doctrine as unnecessary, divisive, or worse.  They simply rest on their claim that they believe the Bible and teach it.

But, doctrine is simply teachings.  Therefore, doctrine cannot be avoided unless a preacher or teacher just quotes Scripture without making any summary or other comment which just does not happen.

So, doctrine can not be avoided.  We can only have true doctrine or false doctrine.

True doctrine accurately summarizes Scripture.  False doctrine does not accurately summarize Scripture.

True doctrine teaches that salvation is a work of God alone.  False doctrine teaches that salvation is dependent at least partially on the work of man or the will of man. 

Reformed Doctrine is true doctrine.  Reformed Doctrine accurately summarizes Scripture and teaches that salvation is a work of God alone, by grace alone, and that God handles all the points of salvation from “Unconditional Election” through “Limited Atonement” through “Irresistible Grace” through “Preservation of the Saints”, the “U”, “L”, “I”, and “P” of “TULIP”, the Five Points of Calvinism, the Reformed Doctrine of Salvation.    This true doctrine of salvation is more fully taught in the Reformed Confession called Canons of Dordt.

In addition to the Canons of Dordt, the other major Reformed Creeds forming true doctrine are Belgic Confession, Heidelberg Catechism, and Westminster Larger Confession.  They are all organized and easily readable.  In the right margin column, there are links to these major Reformed Creeds and also a link to a web site titled “Daily Confessions” which contains a daily dose of Reformed Creeds.

Conclusion

Scripture emphasizes the importance of truth.  Calling something worship is not enough.  Zeal is not enough.  Claiming Jesus as your Lord is not enough.  Even doing miracles, so to speak, is not enough.  Those who teach or believe in doctrines based on the ideas of man worship God in vain.  Those who worship God must worship God in truth.

Scripture exhorts us to seek for wisdom as one would seek for silver or hidden treasure.  “If you seek her as silver And search for her as for hidden treasures;  Then you will discern the fear of the LORD And discover the knowledge of God.”  Proverbs 2:4-5.

Likewise, Jesus compares the kingdom of heaven to a hidden treasure.

“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again;  and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.”  Matthew 13:44-46.

If we are to seek wisdom and the kingdom of heaven as one would search for hidden treasure with all of our heart, then how much more should we seek the one true doctrine of salvation with all of our heart!!!

“And someone said to Him, “Lord, are there just a few who are being saved?”  And He said to them, “Strive to enter through the narrow door;  for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.”  Luke 13:23-24.

And yet, other doctrine teaches that it is sufficient for one to obtain salvation if one just seeks to enter the kingdom of God through their own way and their own beliefs and by their own works or their own will.  This is the broad way referenced in the following Scripture.  “Enter through the narrow gate;  for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it.”  Matthew 7:13.

But, Reformed Doctrine is the narrow way that teaches that “Salvation belongs to the Lord”.  Psalm 3:8.  God saves according to His purpose, according to His choice, not because of works nor even the will of man.  “For He says to Moses, “I WILL HAVE MERCY ON WHOM I HAVE MERCY, AND I WILL HAVE COMPASSION ON WHOM I HAVE COMPASSION.”  So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.” Romans 9:15-16.

“But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written, “LET HIM WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD.”  1 Corinthians 1:30-31.

“… How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!”  Psalm 2:12.


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