The title of the sermon tonight is "God's Word versus Vain Tradition." God's word versus vain tradition. In this passage, Jesus Christ is confronting the Jews and some of their traditions, things that they had added to the word of God, things that are nowhere to be found in the Old Testament and that in fact contradicted the teachings that were found in the Old Testament, and He tell these people that they've made the word of God of none effect through their tradition.
Now, look down at your Bible there in Verse 6, "He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do."
"And he said unto them," Verse number 9, "Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition," but the Verse 13, "Making the word of none effect, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye." Jump over if you would to Matthew, Chapter 15. Matthew Chapter 15 we'll find something similar. Matthew Chapter number 15. Now, the word tradition is used in the Bible thirteen times. Eleven of those times are negative, two of those times are positive. Now, what does the word tradition mean?
A tradition is simply something that is passed down. Now, we could pass down something good, that's why there are two positive mentions that tell, the Church of Thessalonica for example, to hold the traditions that they have been taught whether by words or our epistle. Whereas eleven times the tradition is bad, because often bad teachings are handed down that contradict the word of God. So it's not the tradition in it of itself is bad. There could be good traditions, but often they're bad, that's why eleven out of thirteen mentions are negative.
Look at Matthew 15:5, "But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition. You hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men."
Now let me give you an example of what it means to make the commandment of God of none effect. Flip over to Matthew 23 since you're right there in Matthew 15 anyway. What does it mean when Christ said you've made the commandment of God of no effect? He's saying that, basically, the commandment becomes void. It has zero effect. Now let me just tell you right upfront that the main religions I'm going to be preaching against tonight are Catholicism and the Orthodox Church, which are the same thing.
Roman Catholicism, East Orthodox, it's all the same thing, but look down at your Bible here in Matthew chapter 23, you'll find something that both of these religions are in major violations of. Both of these false religions, Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism, they both had set aside the word of God and are steeped in tradition. The word of God alone is not their final authority, it's the traditions of the church. We're the true church, we can do no wrong, and we don't want to see what the Bible says because we are part of the special only right church that can do no wrong.
Now, look what the Bible says in Matthew 23, these are commandments by the way. It says in verse 8, "But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ." So clearly in this passage, he's talking about some terms that religious leaders should not use. He's saying they should not be called rabbi, they shouldn't be called Father, and they shouldn't be called master. Now did he say in this passage don't call them a bishop?
Pastor: No he didn't say that, did he? That's a legitimate term. Did he say don't call them an elder? Did he say don't call them a pastor? Did he say don't call them a teacher? No, of course not, but he clearly says that these terms are off limits: rabbi, father, and master. Yet we have of course these Messianic Jews who will call their teachers rabbi, in violation of the Scripture, and then we'll have the Orthodox Church and the Catholic church who call the priest what? Father, and then they have the Patriarch, and the Pope, which are just other ways of saying father.
Jesus Christ very clearly said call no man father upon the Earth, for one is your father, which is Christ, in the context of not being called rabbi or master either. These are terms that are off limits, so what would a person say when you confront them with the Scripture who's a Catholic or an Orthodox believer? What is their response to this? I mean it's so cut and dried, it's right there isn't, but here's what they'll all say because I've had this conversation a hundred times. "Well, what about your earthly father? I mean what about your physical dad, don't you call him father?"
Now, what they're doing is making this command of none effect, of zero effect, because the way they interpret this is to say, "Well, since I call my physical father 'father,' I can call everybody father." That's how they interpret this. What have they done? They've taken their tradition of calling a man father in the church, and then they've made God's command here of none effect. Now here's my interpretation of this, as a Bible-believing Christian.
The reason I call my physical father my father is because he is my father. Physically, he's my dad, so I call him father, and the reason that I call God up in heaven my father is because he's spiritually is my father, but that guy in a dress and a funny hat that calls himself father, he isn't my father at all. He's not my spiritual father, he's not my physical father, and God said don't call him father, don't call him rabbi, don't call him master.
You see, my interpretation of this passage, which is what any person with just common sense would say, "Oh well, he's talking about not calling religious leaders father, or rabbi, or master." He's not saying, "Hey, if you're a slave, don't call that guy master." He is your master. He's not saying, "Oh, don't call your physical father father." Well, obviously, he's your physical father. You got to use a little common sense when reading the Bible.
Their interpretation on the other hand just makes of zero effect, because my question to the Orthodox Church tonight and my question to the Roman Catholics tonight, who is Jesus telling us not to call father then, or is it just of none effect for your tradition? I mean think about that, because their interpretation is that Jesus said, "Call no man your father. Just kidding. Call everybody father." I mean that's their interpretation in a nutshell. Okay, I hear kids from the congregation yelling out father. I don't know who they're calling father, right? Hopefully it's really their dad, but anyway, look at Galatians 1.
Go to Galatians 1 and I'm just going to show you some other Scriptures that warn us about how tradition is not always of God. We shouldn't always just follow everything that's been handed us as a tradition. These are just other negative mentions of tradition in the New Testament. Look at Galatians 1:13, "For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews' religion." Notice he's not saying in God's religion. He's saying in the Jews' religion. It's another religion. It's a false religion.
He says, "In the Jews' religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it." What religion was that? He was brought up a Pharisee, he makes that clear, at the feet of Gamaliel, who's one of the authors of the Jewish Talmud. He says in verse 14, "And profited in the Jews' religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers."
He's talking about how before he was saved, he was steeped in the traditions of the Jews' religion, he was zealous in that religion. He says, "I was an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ.”
What was Paul’s thought of his time be brought up in the Jews’ religion and studying the Pharisee way of worshipping God. He said, “I count it dung,” in comparison with knowing Christ. Now, flip over if you at the Colossians 2:6. Colossians chapter 2, that’s what Paul’s tradition that adds to the word of God, and nullifies the word of God, counts in the sight of God. Dung is what it counts.
Look at Colossians 2:6, “Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power.”
This is such a great passage because it’s saying, “You’re complete in Him, you don’t need anything else. He is everything that we need. Don’t let people ruin you,” he’s saying, “Don’t let people spoil you with a bunch of philosophy and vain deceit that is according to man’s tradition, as you’ve received Christ the Lord, so walk in Him.” I don’t know about you, but here’s how I received Christ the Lord. Somebody opened his book and showed me from the Bible how to be saved. That’s how I received Christ the Lord.
My mother by the bedside went through the Scriptures with me and showed me from this book how to be saved, and as I received Christ the Lord, that’s the same way I’m going to walk in Him by faith in this book. People opening this book and showing me what this book says. Me opening this book for myself and seeing what it says, and believing it, [inaudible 00:11:02], hearing, and hearing by the word of God. I didn’t get saved by the tradition of men. I didn’t received Christ because of some kind of a ritual, or some kind of a tradition that was passed down.
My mom didn’t say, “Well, you know what, in our family, we’ve been passing down the way of salvation and now you’re old enough son, I’m going to pass down to your our philosophy, our way of salvation.” No, she said, “Well, here’s what the Bible says. Here’s what the word of God says.” That’s how I’m going to walk in Christ. I don’t need someone else to come along and add doctrine that’s not found in this book. This is everything that I need. Now flip over to I Peter 1. I Peter 1, here’s another Scripture that uses the word tradition in the New Testament.
I Peter 1, the Bible reads in verse 18, “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” Notice the word that keeps coming up in all of these Scriptures about tradition, vain. Did you notice that? Over and over just vain, vain, vain. Vain means completely worthless, empty, without value. It’s just a waste of time. Not important, not valuable. No, it’s God’s word that will endure forever, but man’s traditions will come and go and fade as a leaf. Now 1 Thessalonians 5 ... You don’t have to turn there. Turn to 1 John, if you would, chapter 2.
1 Thessalonians 5:21 says, “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” Now prove means to test, so he’s saying test everything and hang on to that which is good, so all of us have received traditions. When we grew up in our family, there are certain traditions of how we live our lives, how we do things, the churches that we grew up in, if we grew up in church, had a certain way of doing things, they had various traditions, many of which were good, but the Bible commands us in every generation to stop and evaluate that which is handed to us, and not to just take it and just say, “Well, this is what the previous generation did, so let’s just keep doing the exact same thing.”
No, we need to stop and test it with the word of God, hold fast that which is good and discard that which is bad. We don’t need it and it’s the job of every generation to do that for them self, to study, to show thyself or prove them to God. Not just, “Well, as a group we’re approved.” No, study to show thyself approved unto God. [inaudible 00:13:46] not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. You see, many people are on their way to hell tonight because the fact they’ve never stopped to evaluate whether the religion that they were brought up with is even the right religion.
Hindus, Muslims, Buddhist say, “Oh, it’s just what I was born and raised.” They’re not stopping to evaluate. Catholics and Orthodox tonight, they’re on their way to hell tonight, because they haven’t stopped and said, “Wait a minute. Are these traditions even right? Do they match up with the word of God which never changes? They’ll sit there and say that their tradition never changes. Okay, maybe that’s even true and I’m going to get into that in a moment, but the one thing we know for sure doesn’t changes the word of God. This is what we ought to anchor our soul to and we need to prove everything according to this book to see if it measures up.
Now, those who are Orthodox and those who are Roman Catholic, they’re not able to back-up their beliefs from the Bible. If we were to just go toe-to-toe with these people with Bible in hand, we would basically just demolish all their doctrine, because it’s not based on the Bible, it’s based on tradition. We could show them Scripture after Scripture after Scripture that salvation is by faith alone, not through the Sacraments. We could show them Scripture after Scripture that would destroy their false belief system. Calling the priest father, and praying to Mary, and all these other stuff that’s totally unbiblical, but here’s what those who are Orthodox and Roman Catholic will fall back on when you try to show them, “Look, here is what the Bible says.”
Instead of talking about that, here is what they want to talk about, “Well, we’re the oldest church.” That’s kind of what they fall back on as, “Well, we have this unbroken tradition that goes all the way back to the early Christians and here’s what the early Christians did, so therefore because the early Christians did it, it must be right.” You Johnny-come-latelies in 2015, or 2016, you think you’re just going to read the Bible for yourself. “We’ve been worshipping the Lord the same way for 2000 years,” is what they’ll say to you. I’ve heard it so many times I can’t even count.
They’ll say, “Oh, for 1500 years everybody did this stuff, until Martin Luther came along.” I mean that’s what they really believe. They believe that everybody was a Catholic until Martin Luther came on. That they’re the one true church, and by the way, Orthodox even call them self Catholics, so there’s just everybody Catholic. There’s Orthodox and Roman Catholic, and then Martin Luther came along, but here’s the thing about Martin Luther. Even he said he’s Catholic. He’s like, “I didn’t leave them. They left me.” That’s what he said.
The bottom-line is that their way of backing up what they believe is not to rely solely on the word of God, but to say, “Well, we had this unbroken tradition. We’ve been worshipping the God the same way. We’re from the original true church. We have this unbroken lineage,” but here’s the reason why ... Well, before I get into the reason why that doesn’t make any sense. That we as Bible-believing Christians believe in what we believe solely on the authority of the Bible. This is our final authority in all matters of faith and practice, but really a better way of saying is that it’s our sole authority in all matters of faith and practice.
It’s not just the main thing, it’s everything. This is the boss right here. I’m not the boss, you’re not the boss. This is the boss, all right? Look at 1 John 2, and let me show you why we believe the Scripture is our sole authority. It says in 1 John 2:26, “These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you. But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.”
Now, when we read this first, what’s clear is that we really don’t need man to teach us anything. We can learn everything that God has for us with just the Bible and the Holy Spirit. That’s all we need. That anointing that we’ve received of Him, the Holy Ghost will teach us all things. Listen to what Jesus said about the Holy Spirit in John 16, “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come.” So according to the Bible, the Holy Spirit will guide is into all truth.
The Bible says here in 1 John 2, we don’t have need that any man teach us. The same anointing teaches us of all things and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it had taught us, we shall abide in him.” That’s what the Bible is saying here in 1 John 2. Now, the Orthodox or the Catholic will come along with their big stamp that says void, like they do with checks and saying void. They come to think about father, “Oh, you call your dad father. Void.” They’ll come along with this and say, “Well, Pastor Anderson, aren’t you teaching people? Make it void. Move on.”
They just throw out the Scripture because, “Well, we know God gave us teachers, therefore it’s void. Move on to the next thing,” but wait a minute, just because God gave us teachers, does that mean that we have need for man to teach us any doctrine? No, you see God gave us pastors and teachers, why? For the edification of the body of Christ, for the perfecting of the saints, why? Because we’re going to learn better with a teacher helping us than if we were on our own. Think about this.
When I was a kid, I taught myself how to play the piano. I did not have piano teacher, I did not have piano lessons. I taught myself for years how to play the piano when I was a little kid, then I got to be about nine or ten years old and I was able to finally get piano lessons, and then I was able to learn more, and I was able to learn faster. Why? Because when you have a teacher, you do better than when you’re by yourself, but is it impossible to learn on your own? I mean is there anything on the piano that would not be possible for me to figure out on my own or with a book of some kind.
“Oh, well, to get the real secrets, you got to have a teacher,” and some teacher, some guru is going to come to me, and whisper to my ear the piano secrets that have been kept since the foundation of the world. No, because I could teach myself how to play the piano, you could teach yourself how to play virtually any music. Just get a book, and fool around with it, figure it out. Even without a book, there are people who’ve taught themselves and become great musician, but is it easier with a teacher? Of course, someone guiding you. See it’s the same thing here.
What the Bible is saying here is that we don’t need man to teach us. Meaning that there is no doctrine that we can only get from man. Every doctrine can be gotten just with you, and the Holy Spirit, and this book, and if there is a doctrine that you need someone else for, it’s a false doctrine because all true doctrine comes from this book, and it’s all revealed by the Holy Spirit. Now, you say, “Well, I’m going to stay home from church then.” Well, then you’re disobeying God because he commanded us not to forsake the assembly, and he gave us pastors and teachers for a reason, not because we need them to learn because we can learn everything on our own.
No, because it will help us. It will edify us. It will perfect us. It will equip us for the work of the ministry better than being on our own. Two are better than one and when you get together in the church, you accomplish more than when you’re going solo. It’s just the fact. It’s not good for the man to be alone. We need to come together and work as a team in the local body, in the local church, so this is a really important Scripture. You ought to memorize this Scripture here in 1 John 2:27. I think this is one of the most important verses in the whole bible.
I mean it’s critical that we understand that God’s word and the Holy Spirit will teach us we don’t have to have man to interpret the Bible for us. There is one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus. The pastor does not act as a mediator, the Catholic priest dead sure does not act as a mediator, Mary does not act as a Mediatrix. No, there’s one mediator. It’s Jesus and we can go directly to the source right here and learn what we need. Now, go to 1 Corinthians 11. Actually, go to 2 Corinthians 2. I’ll just read for you 1 Corinthians 11.
Go to 2 Corinthians 2, because we’re going to see a lot from 2 Corinthians here. Now here is the problem with the logic of those that are Orthodox or those that are Roman Catholic, where they say, “Well, we have an unbroken tradition that goes all the way back to the early Christians, therefore, what we’re teaching is right. Not because the Bible says it’s right, but because we’ve carried these traditions and pass them down.”
The problem with that is, that even at the time of the apostles, there was already a lot of false Christianity out there. Having an unbroken tradition even if you could prove beyond any shadow of a doubt, “We have an unbroken tradition that goes all the way back to literally the 1st Century when the apostles were alive.” That still proves nothing, because there were false prophets and false teachers even back then. I’m going to show you that in the Bible. I’m going to prove that to you. That means nothing.
Now, first of all, these peoples’ tradition doesn’t go back quite that far any way, but even if it does go back to the 2nd Century, or the 3rd Century, or the 4th Century, meaningless, because even if it went back to the time of the apostles, it means nothing since there were liars and false teachers then, and that’s who’s tradition they’ve received. Now look down at your Bible in 2 Corinthians 2:17, “For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.”
That’s back in his day and saying there’s all kinds of people corrupting the word of God. These aren’t people just following a completely different religion of Paganism, or Buddhism, or Hindu. No, these people are corrupting the word of God. Now flip over to chapter 11. Chapter 11:3, it says, “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.”
Back then, he’s warning the Corinthians there are people preaching another Jesus, another gospel even back then. Another spirit that they’re receiving and we know that that’s a devil if it’s another spirit. It’s an unclean spirit. Look down at verse 13, “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.” That’s in his day already happening. He says, “And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.”
Look at verse 24, “Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep. In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren.” Right here he’s saying there are false brethren out there. People are pretending to be saved and they’re not. Look at Galatians 2, flip over to Galatians.
While you’re turning I’ll read to you from 1 Corinthians 11:8, “For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it. For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.” So did the heresy come later in the Protestant Reformation? Did the heresy come later in the 4th Century, 5th Century? Hundreds of years later people start breaking off. No, even in the days of the apostles, there were all kinds of people teaching all kinds of different things and many of them were teaching lies, even at that time.
Here is another very important Scripture to always keep in your mind, there’s nothing new under the sun. Is there anything where other maybe said, “See this is new?” and have been already of old time, which was before us? You have to understand that today, we look around and we see all these false gospels, and false Christ, we see all these different churches, and guess what? Back then it was the same thing. All kinds of false teachers and false gospels, that’s how it was back then. I’m showing you the proof and that’s how it is now. Okay, ask yourself this question. Are most people going to the right churches or the wrong churches?
Pastor: But back then, it was different. Most people went to the right church back then, right? No, there’s new thing under the sun. Back then, the false teachers heap to themselves ... The people heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears. They had itching ears then. Look, Paul told that to Timothy. He said, “The time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears.” He wasn’t just prophesizing the 21st Century. He was saying, “Even in you lifetime Timothy, there is going to come a time when people want to hear true doctrine.”
I mean even before Jesus came, a lot of the Israelites were telling the prophets to preach smooth things unto them. Joel Osteen was around in the days of Jeremiah the prophet, smooth things being preached. “There’s nothing new under the sun.” I mean if we were living in the time of Jeremiah the prophet, we could find the Rick Warren, and the Joel Osteen, and you’d find Steven Anderson. Some guy screaming about man’s tradition being a lie, and now we need to read the Bible. I mean you’re going to find the same things then that you’re going to find now. As it was then, so it is now.
People ate, and they drank, and they married, and they’re given in marriage. It’s life and to sit there and say, “Oh, well, we have a tradition that goes back to 200 and some A.D., or 100 and some A.D., or even the 1st Century,” is meaningless because there were more false teachers back then than true teachers. Just like now. Same thing. See, God’s word was corrupted in the first generation. He said there are many which corrupt the word of God. See, there were people preaching another Jesus.
When the people who walked and talked with Jesus were still alive, they were already preaching another Jesus, they were already preaching another gospel. It means nothing to prove that even if they could prove that, which they can’t, but look if you would at ... Where did I return?
Man: Verse 2.
Pastor: Have we read it yet? Galatians 2:4, “And that unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage. To whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you.” If we say the context of the book of Galatians, that bondage was salvation by works as opposed to salvation by faith. Well, that’s the exact bondage that the Orthodox and the Romans are [inaudible 00:29:47], both kinds of Catholics. They’re in that bondage of work salvation, and Paul said, “Yeah, there was a lot of that in my day, too. False brethren coming in.”
He said, “I didn’t even give place to it for an hour, because I wanted the truth of the gospel that continue.” Look at 1 Timothy 1. 1 Timothy 1, here’s a mountain of evidence of all the false doctrine that was being preached even in the first generation of Christianity. 1 Timothy 1:5, “5 Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling; Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm.”
Look at verse 19, “Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck: Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.” This one isn’t even in my note. This just popped into my head. Philippians 3, he says, “Be ye followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ. Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.”
He’s saying, “Look, I’m weeping when I think about how many people there are that want to lead you astray.” He said, “Follow us because there are so many people out there that are trying to lead you to a path of darkness.” We’ll go to 2 Timothy 1. Now, this one just takes the cake right here. 2 Timothy ... Who believes the Bible’s the word of God tonight?
Man: [crosstalk 00:31:32] Amen.
Pastor: Okay. Well, then, keep that in mind going in to this verse. What’s he talking about here? In 2 Timothy 1:15, “This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes.” What’s he saying? Obviously, I don’t believe he’s saying every human in Asia is turned away from him, but he’s saying all the preachers in Asia have turned away from him, and he names a few of the preachers. He says, “All they that are in Asia have turned away from me,” he said, “of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes.”
He’s naming some of these preachers that have turned away from him, but yet, today we’re told that the church that has its headquarters at that time that it was founded, in what? Byzantium, which is where? Asia, because Asia in the Bible is referring to Turkey, so here the apostle Paul says, “All they which are in Asia be turned away from me.” Where is the headquarters of the East Orthodox Church historically been? In the city that today is called Istanbul, which used to be called Constantinople, which before that was called Byzantium, which is in Asia. Paul is saying ... This is by the way written at the very end of his life.
2 Timothy, his final epistle where he says, “I’m about to be offered. The time of my departure’s at end, I’ve fought a good fight.” He says, “Well, at this point, at this [inaudible 00:32:57], all these preachers in Asia have turned away from me.” Okay, so basically, all these preachers in that geographic area, are already in his generation, they’re forsaking true doctrine to the point where he’s calling them out by name, and saying, “These guys are lying. I need to warn you about these people, Timothy. I need to warn you about it.” What’s he saying?
He’s saying that the people in the very geographic area that they got their tradition from, a bunch of them are turning away from him, and lying, and teaching false doctrine, because the East Orthodox Church, why is it even called Constantinople? It’s called Constantinople because of a guy named Constantine, who was a Roman Emperor, and this Roman Emperor Constantine, and I use to read about this a lot when I was a teenager, I really love ancient history so I read up a lot on the Roman Empire, and Constantine, and everything.
Constantine was a co-emperor in the Roman Empire around 300 AD around that period, so he’s a co-emperor, but he wants more power for himself, so he starts taking over other parts of the Roman Empire and he eventually comes to power over the whole Roman Empire. Now, when he comes to power, on the way to power, he goes up against another co-emperor. Okay, I forget the guy, Maximian or something like that.
He goes up against this other emperor and they fight this battle, but before the battle, he gets this vision where he sees a cross in the sky, and he hears a voice, “In this sign, conqueror,” so they all put that on their shields, these Roman pagans. They put that symbol of the cross, and people disagree about exactly what style of cross it was, but he puts this symbol on all their shields and they go to battle and they win, so then Constantine says, “Well, then, the Christian God is the powerful God. He’s a true God.” His dad has worshipped the sun god.
Constantius Chlorus had worshipped the sun god and was a monotheist, so he already kind of had that background from him, so then he extended tolerance to Christians throughout the realm and he basically turned around the policy of pagan Rome to where now Christians are tolerated, and accepted, and it’s even promoted, but he himself did not become a “Christian,” and I use the term Christian very loosely, until the very end of his life, because he’s surrounded himself with all these pony preachers. Now, around this time in the early 4th Century, a lot of the Christians, kind of the type of people we’re reading about in all these verses by the way.
All these false teachers, and liars, and false prophets. They started arguing about doctrine to the point where they were literally killing each other. Now does that sound like these are Bible-believing Christians? They’re killing each other over doctrine, but they started actually having violence and beating each other and killing each other. Constantine, he’s the Roman Emperor. He has not yet become a convert to Christianity, but he’s tolerant of it. He’s saying, “Well, the Christian God has power,” and yada, yada, yada, but he wants the Christian to get along, because that’s in his best interest as Emperor.
What he does is he brings all the “Christian” leaders together. He gets [inaudible 00:36:28], he gets all the famous preachers. He gets the Joel Osteen, Benny Hinn, Rick Warren. He brings in John Hagee, T.D. Jakes. Whoever is the TV type preachers of the day. He brings in all the popular preachers and he says, “Listen, you guys all have to agree on doctrine. No more fighting each other. No more killing each other. You guys need to get along and agree on this stuff,” so they all get together and agree at this ecumenical council, and they come out with a Nicene Creed of, “Hey, this is what we all believe as Christians,” and you know what? There’s just no dissent allowed like you just have to agree on this.
Subsequently, they would get together and have other councils where they would say, “We all have to agree on doctrine. We need to hammer this out and figure it out.” Think about getting a bunch of pony preachers together. You got a Catholic and an Orthodox, and you got the Pentecostals, and you get the Lutheran, and then even ... Let’s say I’m there, too. Let’s say they bring me in, “Hey, Pastor Steven Anderson, come on in.” Although, I’d never been invited to such thing, I would never go to such a thing.
Neither would any Bible-believing Christian, neither did any Bible-believing Christian, because they’re not going to get in bed with Caesar and say, “Yeah, let’s figure out what our doctrine is Caesar. Let’s all wear a toga, and get together, and figure out what we believe about the Bible,” because they already know what they believe about they believe about the Bible, [inaudible 00:37:51] compromising, because what’s the meeting about, compromise? Let’s all compromise. I’m not interested in compromising, thus sayeth the Lord. Case closed. Not interested in getting along with people who teach lies. You think Paul would have showed up at this?
No, he said, “I didn’t get placed by subjection of these people, not for an hour. “ Excuse me, I’m foaming at the mouth, and let me say this. I’ll bet you that meeting lasted more than hour, Paul couldn’t have made it through. When he listen to all these bunch of pagans in their dresses, and their pony doctrines, he will say, “I’m out of here. I’m going to go preach the gospel. I’m sick of this. I don’t need you guys, I’m independent,” but you see, they get together at these councils and they all agree on everything, where they’re basically getting together with a pagan, Roman Caesar, and figuring out what we’re all going to believe.
Constantine was very involved in this forming of the Roman Catholic Church, and then, hundred or so years later, a lot of them split off where they didn’t agree with what they’re deciding at the council and became the Oriental Orthodox, and then in 1054 AD, the rest of them broke off and became the East Orthodox, but it all goes back to that corrupt beginning of Constantine getting a bunch of false teachers together, getting all, “Let’s get all the Christians leaders together and we can all agree.” Well, here’s what happens when you mix the truth with lies, it’s all lies.
I mean think about it. If you got nine preachers together that were bad and one preacher that’s good, and said, “Let’s all agree on doctrine.” What are you going to end up with? Good doctrine? Pure doctrine? True right doctrine? By the way, it’s all political. That was Constantine’s motive: getting power, gaining power, retaining power. He was an ambitious person that shed all kinds of innocence, blazing, bloodthirsty warrior king in the spirit of Babylon, in the spirit of Persia, in the spirit of Alexander the Great, the Sodomite weirdo that he was, in the spirit of the Romans.
Conquest, kill, make everybody bow their knee to Rome and as much as iron crushes and breaks in pieces everywhere it goes. That’s what Daniel said the Roman Empire will be like. There is your Roman Catholic Church. Bunch of pony preachers getting together with a bloodthirsty, evil [inaudible 00:40:18]. “Oh, but he extended tolerance to Christians.” Great. You know what? That’s wonderful, but it wasn’t because of any altruistic motives on his part. It’s because he wants power, so he asked all his pony preachers that he heaps unto himself.
He says to them, “What do I have to do to get saved? What do I have to do to make it into heaven? What do I have to do to make my sins forgiven?” Now, instead of telling them what the Bible actually says, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” That’s not what they believed. They said, “Well, you’ll be baptized and that’ll wash your sins away, but then after that, you have to keep getting absolved, and you have to confess, and you have to go to the priest.” They’re Catholics. You got to go to the priest and you got to keep on doing this.
Here’s what he basically said. He said, “Well, I have to do a lot of sin as emperor. I mean I’m killing innocent people. I mean I’m doing all kinds of evil things every day, because I’m the Roman Emperor,” so he decided to wait. He said, “I’m going to wait until I’m in my deathbed and that’s when I’m going to get baptized, so he literally waited until a week before he died and he got baptized when he was on his deathbed. He’s sick and dying old man. He gets baptized, and then when he got finished being baptized, he wore all white after that. I’m serious. This is a true story.
He got baptized, then he just wore all white, and he just kind of tried not to do anything. Just don’t sin because he washed away everything, so let’s just see if we can glide in here without sinning. All right, that’s what he did. That’s true, so that’s when he converted to Christianity, right before he died, but this is the guy who’s presiding over all these meetings and all these councils to figure out doctrine, so we can all agree on our doctrine. I mean it’ll be like if we literally got with Obama.
We get together all the pony preachers of Phoenix, Arizona, and around America, and all the big name preachers, and we all get together and Obama says, “All right now. We all need to agree on doctrine now. No more fighting. You guys all need to get along, so we’re going to get ... “ I mean isn’t that just ridiculous, but it’s no more ridiculous than letting Constantine decide. This pagan, evil, murderous Roman Emperor, so that’s the origins of all these junk, the Catholic, the Orthodox, et cetera. Let’s keep going in the Scripture here. Where did we leave off? Where did I have you turn?
Pastor: Let’s agree here. We all have to agree Obama said.
Man: 2 Timothy.
Pastor: 2 Timothy 2, says in verse 16, “But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some,” so here, he’s warning about more false teachers, but look at the next phrase in verse 19, “Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure.” Well, what’s the foundation? The word of God.
The Bible says, “Whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock.” Listen, when you’re building on the word of God, you’re building on the rock. This is the foundation, not the shifting sense of what some emperor says or what all these false prophets when they get together and agree come up with. It’s not just Paul that warned about it. Look at 2 Peter 3. While you’re turning there, I’ll read for you from 3 John. Even John talks about how ponies have crept in.
3 John 9, “I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not. Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church,” so who’s in the church? Who’s in the church? A bunch of unsaved ponies. Who’s getting thrown out? The brethren, the real believers. Who’s being ignored? The apostle John. It’s not that all of the early Christians just all walked and locked step with Peter, and John, and Paul.
No, in Paul’s day, they’ve already turned from Paul and said, “Nope. No, we’re doing it our own way,” and are leading people down a dark path, leading them after another Jesus, leading them after another gospel. They’re saying to John, “You’re not welcome in this church, buddy.” He’s like, “I’m the disciple whom Jesus love. Hello. I leaned on his breast at the Last Supper.” He’s not welcome. Diotrephes’ receive of John not. Let this sync in and these are the spiritual progenitors of the Roman Catholic Church. These are the answer, “Oh, our tradition goes all the way back.”
I know, to Diotrephes. I know your tradition goes all the way back to Hymenaeus, to Phygellus, to Hermogenes, to Alexander, yet you go back to all the false prophets that were even, at the end of their lives, not even listening to the apostles and throwing them out of the church, because they’re a bunch of pagan, mystery Babylon worshippers that’s why. But the Bible says in 2 Timothy 3:16, “As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest,” wrest means twist, “as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.” So, we’re people twisting the Scripture back then?
Man: [crosstalk 00:45:58] Yeah.
Pastor: Yeah, they were. I mean I feel like I’m beating a dead horse here, but I just have pages and pages of all the false doctrine in the early church, “But oh, oh, oh, Pastor Anderson, you’re ignorant of church history. You need to read the Church Fathers. You need to read Polycarp. You need to read Clement of Rome. You need to read Origin. You need to read the Church Fathers.” No, I think I’ll just read the Bible. I think I’ll read God’s word. I’m not interested in these Church Fathers, because I don’t call any man father except Raymond Anderson in California and God the Father.
That’s who I call father, but I’m going to skip a lot of this for sake of time. I want to just talk about one more thing. Go to 1 Corinthians 11. 1 Corinthians 11, because one of these traditions that the Orthodox claim is that they know what Jesus look like, because they have these pictures of Jesus, right? This icons is what they call them in the Orthodox church. They have these icons of Jesus and they’re not just a representation for them. They literally believe that it’s what He look like. They’re not just saying, “Well, this just kind of represents Jesus.”
No, they’re saying this is what He look like, and of course, He is this white dude with a cute little goatee and long girly man hair. “But this is what He look like. We know this is what He look like, because this icon that we Have is a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy,” all the way back to the beginning, to the time of Christ. Where is that? I never read about any icons in the Bible. I never read about any pictures of ... I never read about the part where Jesus is posing for portraits. You know what I mean?
I don’t remember that part where He gets in a ship, and pushed off from the land, and all the painters come and draw icons of Him, but here’s what’s funny about that, is that the oldest Orthodox icon is from like 500 years after Christ lived. The oldest one ... So the oldest picture that they have is from 500 ... “Oh, our tradition goes all the way back to the beginning.” Okay, just to put it in perspective for you, 500 years ago, just think about what year that was? 1516. Now, do you think a lot’s happened since ... Can you talk intelligently about what was going on in this area in 1516?
I mean would anyone like to stand and tell us what was going on in this area in the year 1516 in Arizona. That was kind of a long time ago, right? 1516. That’s how far. So do you think that a picture that I drew today of someone who lived 500 years ago is going to be accurate? I mean it’s ridiculous, isn’t it? Well, yeah? Well, 2000 years late, we were only 500 years late with that picture, but here’s the thing, I’m not a single minute late because I’m not drawing pictures of Jesus. I get my picture of Jesus from this book and this book does not give a physical description of how He looked when He walked on this earth.
I’ll tell you one thing for sure, He didn’t have long hair, because look down at your Bible. Here’s the word of God, so you got tradition that showed this long-haired, white dude, white as snow, He looks like an Englishman or something, He’s so white. When in reality, Jesus was probably of an olive complexity. I don’t think He was Black [inaudible 00:49:48]. I don’t think he was Black or White, He’s probably Brown because He’s from that part of the world where people were Brown. Now, I know the Jews, they left the Palestine Brown and they came back White.
Okay, that’s why they don’t get along. That’s what the Palestinian said, “Well, they left Brown and they came back White,” because guess what? It’s not the same people that came back, so the point is that these bunch of White people over in Israel, these blond-haired, blue-eyed Hollywood actors that you think are Jews. Yeah, they’re Polish. They’re from Eastern Europe. They’re AShkenazis that are from Ashkenaz, which is of Japheth. Okay, but anyway, that’s another sermon that shall be preached in another time.
The thing about that is, that Jesus is not physically described walking this earth, because God didn’t want us to draw a picture of Him, because if it was too much of a physical description, then we’d want to draw a picture. Well, that’s why it’s not there, but what does the Bible say in 1 Corinthians 11:13, “Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered? Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him? But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.”
Some people will say, “Well, it’s just a shame, but that doesn’t mean it’s wrong,” but you know what? That’s foolishness and the thought of foolishness is sin, because that’s a stupid reasoning. If God tell you, “Hey, doesn’t nature itself teach you that if a man have long-hair, it’s a shame,” and they’ll be like, “But you didn’t say it was wrong. You didn’t say.” But here, I think He did say it was a sin.
Back up in the chapter and what does He say in verse number 3, “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God. Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head.” What’s the definition of having your head covered, according to verses 13 through 15? Having long hair, and who’s your head according to verse 3? Who’s the head of every man?
Christ, so if I pray or prophesy, if I pray or preach having long hair, I’m dishonoring Christ. Why should I have my head uncovered? That’s simple, because I’m made in the image of God the Bible says, so let me ask you this. If I’m told in 1 Corinthians 11, not to cover my head, look at verse 7, “For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God,” so because I’m an image of God I’m supposed to have short hair. I’m not supposed to have a long hair, but Jesus who’s God in the flesh had long hair? How do you get there? From tradition.
You don’t get a picture of Jesus from the word of God where he’s this long-haired girly man. You don’t get that from the Bible. You get that from vain tradition delivered unto you from your fathers. That’s where you get that doctrine, because it’s not in Scripture. Scripture says, “Shame for a man to have long hair, and that the head of Christ is God,” so if he prayed or prophesied having his head covered, meaning having long hair, he would have been dishonoring the father, and he said, “I do always those things would please Him.” Therefore, Jesus didn’t have long hair.
Now, show me the verse in the Bible where he had a long hair. It isn’t there. “Well, didn’t the Bible say Jesus had a long hair?” No. Nowhere did it say that. “Well, he’s a nazarite.” Really, why did He drink wine then? The nazarite can’t even touch a grape, let alone drink wine. The nazarite can’t touch a dead body. Jesus was a Nazarene. Big difference between Nazarene and nazarite. Nazarene means you’re from a town called Nazareth. Nazarite is a temporary vow that they would take where they weren’t supposed to cut their hair or eat grapes or whatever.
The bottom line is that, if the Bible’s our authority, we know that that icon of Jesus is a fraud, so here is what the question becomes. Who is that guy? I mean think about that. Just let that sync in for a minute. They got, “Oh, mwah, mwah, mwah.” It’s like, “Who are you kissing?” What strange random dude are you kissing, because there’s no way that guy is Jesus. Well, who is it? I mean when you sit there and then you look at the Catholic Jesus and He looks a different, but He looks similar. Right? The Roman Catholic Jesus, and then there’s the Mormon Jesus.
There’s this kind of different images of Jesus and it’s just these random dudes. I’ve even seen picture where they show a guy Cesare Borgia from around the time that the Catholic paintings originated, and he looks just like their Jesus, so it’s just some guy, some long-haired hippy that posed for the picture. Look, they’re worshipping some picture of some dude that’s not Jesus, that was painted 500 years after Jesus lived, but that’s where this road takes of you tradition.
Of course, they always have Jesus in a dress. What did the Bible say? Jesus twice condemned. Condemned, people. He said, “Woe unto you, scribes.” He said beware of the scribes which go in the long robes. He said, “Beware of the scribes which go in long clothing,” as he wears long clothing? Don’t have long hair. Don’t go in the long robe. Got the long robe. No. You say, “Well, Jesus wore a robe.” Yeah, but it wasn’t a long robe. The opposite of long is?
Pastor: So you know what that means he wore? Pants. I know this is radical doctrine, because when you wear a short robe, you better have a pair of pants on. I mean imagine this ... No, I mean ridiculous, but you know who wore a bunch of weird, funny dresses? Romans.
Pastor: Guys like Constantine. Yeah, those were dudes that went around in dresses, so of course, yeah, when they get all the Christians together and decide what Jesus is going to look like, they make him look like some faggoty dude in a dress, because the Caesars were a bunch of faggoty dudes in dresses. Hello? You say, “Well, I don’t like the word faggot.” You’re in the wrong church. The bottom line is this, we need to understand that Christ is all we need, and that the word right here, the word was made flesh and dwelt among us, and the Word of God, and the Holy Spirit of God are sufficient unto us for all things that we need all doctrine.
Anything outside of this book, like praying to Mary’s not on this book, icons aren’t in this book, emptying out a dustbuster all over the church, and lighting a bunch of candles, that’s not in this book. Therefore, we need to reject it out of hand. Prove all things with the Scripture, and hold fast only that which is good and profitable, and realize that there have always been false doctrines out there, and that the worst examples of apostate Christianity are the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church. Those are the biggest, false cults that have ever existed. “Oh, they’ve been around so long.”
Yeah, and they just gotten worst. They’ve been around long enough to just get worst and more rotten, and their word eats like a canker. Canker is like our modern word cancer. Rotten, corruption. I mean, look, the Pope now is saying stuff that even the pope a hundred years ago wouldn’t have said, because it just keeps getting more rotten, because they just never changed it out. Every generation needs to do an oil change on things. I mean the Catholic Church needs to do more like a diaper change, because of all the dung that they’ve gotten as vain tradition as Paul called it dung.
They need the washing of the water by word, and they need a generation that will stand up and prove all things. Praying to Mary, discard. It’s junk. This icon, we don’t know who this dude is. Throw it out. Calling this guy father? Throw that out, that doesn’t jive with Scripture. Salvation by works, throw it out. Losing your salvation, throw it out, and then, you know what you’d end up being? A Baptist. Let’s bow our heads and have word of prayer.
Father, thank you so much for the word, Lord, and thank you so much that we don’t have to rely on man, because man can lead us down the wrong path, Lord. Thank you so much for giving us the incorruptible seed, the infallible inert word of God, and Lord, thank you so much that we don’t need commentaries. We don’t need study Bibles. We don’t need people to interpret it for us, because the Holy Spirit will interpret it and guide us into all truth. Thank you for that unction that we have, that anointing that will guide us into all truth. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.