More Lessons to Learn
March 22, 2021
And He sent away the multitude, got into the boat, and came to the region of Magdala (Matthew 15:39).
We are looking at some of the lessons Jesus taught His disciples in ministering to Gentiles. These are important for Christians today to learn in that same ministry to our pluralistic culture. We started with 3 lessons yesterday. We will continue with a few more today.
Lesson 4: Not everyone will receive the Gospel. We need to expect that. Christians who believe their witness will always result in a profession of faith set themselves up for frustration and disappointment. Some people will be adamant about refusing the Gospel. “It’s foolishness. It’s too narrow-minded. It’s a crutch, etc.” The danger for us is to water down the Gospel, sugar-coat or soft-soap it in order to put another notch on our evangelism belt. Jesus gave people the truth whether they wanted to receive it or not.
Lesson 5: Beware those who change the Word of God. Adding to, or taking away from the Gospel is the work of Satan. The Pharisees added their traditions to their ‘faith’. They manipulated the Word of God to accommodate their religion. So did the Samaritans. So do many ‘Christian’ religions today. Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations - “Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle,” which all concern things which perish with the using - according to the commandments and doctrines of men? These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh (Colossians 2:20-23).
Lesson 6: Hypocrisy must be detected and dealt with. Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: “These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men” (Matthew 15:7-9). It may pain the Christian and the church to expose and deal with spiritual hypocrisy, and it may make the offender mad, but the wounds of the faithful are a blessing (Proverbs 27:6). It is honoring to God that we should protect His people from the lies of Satan.
Lesson 7: Worship is a holy encounter with God. It is not a man-made ritual. God searches the heart in worship and pays little attention to the lips. Nothing is acceptable to Him but true faith, genuine love, and sincere obedience.
“Lord Jesus, may all of our efforts in evangelism, discipleship, worship, and ministry be true to Your Word to the end that people are brought to faith, encouraged in the faith, and service through their faith to Your glory and honor and the enlarging of Your Kingdom here. Amen.”