Shifting Behaviors and Beliefs in the Church — Matthew 15

The Apostle Paul emphasized the importance of honoring parents when he wrote in Ephesians 6:2, 3: “Honor your father and mother” — which is the first commandment with a promise — “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” Many years ago, an elderly Christian once told me that he had lived well into old age because he had obeyed this commandment.

From Matthew 15:1-9, we see how some people who want to live immorally will sometimes change their beliefs, teach unbiblical beliefs about God, and disobey God’s laws by creating human laws and traditions. Some wealthy scribes and Pharisees loved their money more than God or parents; so, they changed the truth about God to make God seem to accept their immoral attitude. They taught that people could be acceptable to God and save money by giving offerings at the Temple instead of caring for their parents. They taught that if someone pledged to give to the Temple treasury, then their selfish unacceptable behavior would not be condemned by God.

But Jesus condemned this self-centeredness by saying to them in Matthew 15:8, 9: “'These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.” We know their hearts were far from God because they thought and taught that God would approve their changing the truth about Him and His Law, a law of love that required believers to care for the needy. As long as they gave offerings at the Temple, they believed they would not suffer the judgment of God for their false beliefs and immoral behavior.

Do you think similar practices and teachings are in the church today? What might these be? Do you think some who want to justify their immoral behavior and the behavior of others will sometimes change their beliefs about God, about Jesus, about what Jesus taught, and teach others to agree and believe the same? What might Jesus say today about the worship of those whose teachings are mere human rules and carefully crafted loopholes in the Law of God? Share your ideas on the forum!

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May God continue to bless your Bible study and teaching and encourage you by His Word and Spirit!

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Teaching the Truth in Love for the Love of God’s Word and His people,
L.G.
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