The Hindrance of Tradition

“Our weekly article in the Northport Gazette and the West Alabama Gazette”.

Watering the Tulips


“…Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition” - Matthew 15:6

The traditions of men are one of the greatest hindrances to true worship and true service. Though the veil was rent from top to bottom when Jesus died, we practically put it back up by tradition. The motions of worship often times become more important to us than anything else. It’s as though we think the motions are what make our worship accepted. This was the attitude of the Pharisees.
Do not misunderstand; there are things that are unscriptural going on all over the world in the name of Christianity today. This should not be. As followers of Jesus, our guidebook is the Bible. We are to strive to believe it and follow it. As students of the Word of God, we must ever endeavor to find out what God’s Word says about a doctrine and believe it. We must always be ready to do what God’s Word tells us to do. Only when we are faithful in believing and following God’s Word are we approaching maturity.
This is not, however, what I am referring to. Church buildings, pews, pulpits, pianos, hymnbooks, ties, dresses, suits and many other things were unknown to the early churches. Most of them met outside or in homes. Without doubt, most of them were poor and met dressed in common ordinary clothes. But, their heart was right. They assembled for the purpose of worshipping God. They congregated to hear God’s Word taught to them so they could do what they were called to do. None of the things I have listed here are wrong by any means. I’m certainly thankful to have a church building with an air conditioner as we approach spring. However, this church building (among other things) is not what makes our worship acceptable to God.
To these in our text, Jesus followed by saying, “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). The Pharisees had the motions down. In fact, they went even further than God’s commandments went just to make sure they were doing what God said. They had the motions right!! Yet, their worship was rejected. Why? Their worship was “in vain” because they were not approaching God in worship from the heart. It was merely external.
Children of God, are you approaching God in worship from the heart? Or, do you believe God accepts you just because you are going through the motions of religion? The proper motions of worship are grand as long as the heart is right. Without the heart in it, it is vanity! At best, it is modern day legalism. Let us make an effort to approach this next service with a worshipful heart!

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