Summary: Beware of the doctrines of man.
Last week we spoke about the church, the power that Christ gave to the church and the foundation of a true Christian church. Today I want us to examine this topic a little further. Today we will not be talking about the church itself, but we will be talking about the different doctrines that exist in this world. Before we begin I want us all to know the meaning of this word that causes such great controversy, we are talking about the word "doctrine." According to the Spanish dictionary, the word "doctrine" is defined as: " Opinion or group of opinions by an author, school or sect. Preaching or speech. A group of political, social or religious ideas that unite a group. Group of Christian dogmas." Keeping this definition in mind let’s now examine the Word of God to see what Christ tells us about doctrines.
Matthew 16:5-12 - And when his disciples were come to the other side, they had forgotten to take bread. 6 Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. 7 And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have taken no bread. 8 Which when Jesus perceived, he said unto them, O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread? 9 Do ye not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? 10 Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? 11 How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees? 12 Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.
To have a better understanding of what is happening here in these verses, we will have to learn a little bit of history. During His ministry here on earth, Jesus was challenged by the pharisees and the sadducees numerous times. When we read and study the Word of God we find that He was criticized because He would eat at the same table as sinners, He was accused of breaking the Sabbath, and on occasions they demanded that He give them signs. It is for these same reasons that Jesus warns His disciples about the doctrines. It is for these same reason that He speak to us today with such a strong warning. I tell you that it is not only a strong warning, but one that should be in our thoughts at all times. All we have to do is look around us to realize that in this world that we live in, there are numerous religions, that there exists numerous doctrines. But this simple word is the word that separates us from religion.
I am sure that by now many of you are asking yourself, "how does this warning apply to us today? Since there are no pharisees or sadducees here, correct? But I tell you that there is a great number of pharisees and sadducees living out there, I tell you that there are so many and we encounter them so often that we don’t even notice them any more. There are so many people out there that can be classified as pharisees or sadducees because our enemy does not rest while trying to separate us from God, he does not rest in his attempts to lock us up within the fiery walls of hell. But what does it mean to be a pharisee or sadducee? Let’s take a close look at that and see if we can spot any out there today.
First let’s examine the pharisees. The pharisees believed in a personal God and believed in the scriptures as the Word of God, the problem was that they would add things (Luke 6:2). They would add rules and regulations, rituals and ceremonies, thereby imposing restrictions on the people. This led them to committing two great errors. The first one was that they were leading the people to believe that with a good behavior and through rituals they would be accepted by God. The second mistake was that they were leading the people to a religion of social respect, an external religion. In other words, if a person was well respected socially and would do all things correctly, then that person was judged as being acceptable to God. But I tell you that they were nothing more than hypocrites because they would profess one thing, but would do something completely different. They would do things not for the glory of God, but rather to obtain recognition. They simply used religion as a means of obtaining wealth (Matthew 23:1-10).