Christianity Today 10

Matthew 7:13 “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. 14 “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it. 15 “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.

Proverbs 14:12 There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.

Jeremiah 7:4 “Do not trust in deceptive words, saying, ‘This is the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD.’ 14:14 Then the LORD said to me, “The prophets are prophesying falsehood in My name. I have neither sent them nor commanded them nor spoken to them; they are prophesying to you a false vision, divination, futility and the deception of their own minds. 23:26 “How long? Is there anything in the hearts of the prophets who prophesy falsehood, even these prophets of the deception of their own heart,

Colossians 2:8 See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.

Mat 15:6 And by this you invalidated the word of God for the sake of your tradition.7 “You hypocrites, rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you: 8 ‘THIS PEOPLE HONORS ME WITH THEIR LIPS, BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR AWAY FROM ME. 9 ‘BUT IN VAIN DO THEY WORSHIP ME, TEACHING AS DOCTRINES THE PRECEPTS OF MEN.'” 10 After Jesus called the crowd to Him, He said to them, “Hear and understand. 11 “It is not what enters into the mouth that defiles the man, but what proceeds out of the mouth, this defiles the man.” 12 Then the disciples came and said to Him, “Do You know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this statement?”

The words of the Scriptures above should awaken people to the possibility that they may not be converted. If salvation is indeed a rare thing, then people should begin to take notice of their own cold hearts and be awakened to their own dire need. People are taken captive by many things in the way of religion. We can be taken captive by systems of doctrine that are really nothing more than a religious philosophy. We can be taken captive by things that are nothing more than the deception of the devil though they are very religious. We can be taken captive by a religion that is really nothing more than the traditions of men. Our religion can also be built on nothing but the elementary principles of the world. We can also be quite deceived by our religion when it seems to be built on Christ, but instead is built on a false Christ.

We must always keep it in our minds and hearts that true Christianity has many counterfeits. There are many religions and idols that have been accepted into the professing churches and many are deceived by them. There are many human traditions that have been accepted and the Scriptures are set aside in order to follow those human traditions. Human traditions can pass into the professing church by the use of the Scriptures, though quite apart from the true meaning of the Scriptures. The passage above from Colossians shows us that the traditions of men are not according to Christ. But again, they can use the name of Christ and they can have many teachings and traditions about Christ, but that is quite another issue than having teaching that is according to the true Christ.

There are many sermons and Bible lessons that appear to be centered upon Christ because the teacher says a lot about a Christ, but Christ Himself and who He really is must be the true center of sermons and lessons. There are many sermons and Bible lessons that do not show the helplessness and inability of men, so in fact they are not centered upon Christ. Until man is emptied of himself there will be no true Christ-centeredness. A sermon or a lesson can be according to a creed or a confession but still be empty of a true Christ-centeredness. We can believe true things about Christ because we are supposed to believe them, but that is not the same thing as having those things taught to us by Christ Himself and our belief in them is because He has taught these things to the heart.

It is not enough to simply believe that things are true, but we must believe them from a heart that is taught by Christ and believe them from a heart that loves Christ and sees that truth in Christ. The great truths of Christianity are not simply propositions we think are true in our brains, because that is another way we would believe in a way that is not according to Christ. A true belief that is according to Christ is a belief of the whole person in a truth about Christ that comes from Christ in a Christ-centered way. It is one thing to believe a true statement because of reasons that do not come from Christ and are not centered in Christ, but it is quite another to have Christ Himself teach us in the heart because He is the life of that soul. A truth taught by Christ is not just a belief of the head, but it is the belief that flows from a heart that is conformed to that truth as it is in Christ. The professing church seems to be satisfied with teaching people things that an unregenerate but religious heart can believe.

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