Is It From Heaven, or Is It From Men?
Date: April 20, 2016
Speaker: Bro. Robert L. Holt
Scripture: Mark 11:27-33
All religious practices come from 1 or 2 sources: Heaven or men. It is important to understand the source of your religious practices since only those things which God ordained are acceptable to Him.
Jesus has been given all authority in Heaven and in earth (Matthew 28:18-20). As such, His commands are clearly from Heaven. Jesus delegated the spreading of His message to His apostles. They serve as His ambassadors.
John 14:26 - But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
John 16:12-14 - 12 I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. 13 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 shew you things to come. 14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.
The Holy Spirit kept their memories of Christ's instructions fresh so that they would be able to accurately teach others. The faith that was delivered to them was delivered once for all. There have been no divinely authorized additions to God's Word.
If a religious practice can be found to have come directly from Jesus or His apostles, then it is from Heaven.
Today, many people simply follow the majority. If you followed the majority in Noah's day, then you would have drowned in the flood. If you followed the majority in Moses' day, then you would have perished in the wilderness.
Some rely on what their parents taught them. Your parents may mean well, but if their teaching does not fit with the teachings of Christ, then it is not from Heaven. Yes, we must honor our parents (Ephesians 6:1-3), but not at the expense of obeying God (Luke 14:26).
Be careful, also, about leaning solely on what the preacher says. Paul taught that we are to study to show ourselves approved unto God (2 Timothy 2:15). Respect the preacher, but do your own studying as well. What a preacher preaches is only good if it come from God rather than creeds and traditions of men.
Things that are not from Heaven:
Infant baptism, for example, is from men. Baptism is for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38). Babies have no sin. Also, you must confess faith in Christ before baptism (Acts 8:36-38), which is something babies cannot do.
Denominationalism is not from Heaven. Christ established only one church, which is the bride of Christ (2 Corinthians 11:2-3). Christ only has one bride.
Homosexuality is from men. God ordained the relationship between husband and wife (Ephesians 5:26-33). Though the world may accept it, the church cannot because it is not from Heaven.
Extra creeds in the church are not necessary. If they say more than Christ and His apostles, then they are clearly not from Heaven. If they restate what is already in the scriptures, then they are redundant and therefore unnecessary.
Some live by the belief of "let your conscience be your guide." Your own conscience, however, without the guidance of the Holy Spirit, is faulty and will lead you astray (Jeremiah 17:9). We are cautioned against leaning on our own understanding rather than on God's commands (Proverbs 3:5-7).
How does one become a member of Christ's church?
Hear the Gospel (Romans 10:17, Acts 15:7)
Believe the Gospel (Acts 8:35-37)
Repent of Your Sins (Acts 3:18-19)
Confess Faith in Christ (Romans 10:10)
Be Baptized for the Remission of Sins (1 Peter 3:21)
Some people will tell you that baptism is not necessary and that you can simply join the church of your choice. But that is not according to Christ's teachings. God adds you to the church when you obey the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Some do what feels right to themselves, but we are warned against such behavior (Jeremiah 10:23, Proverbs 14:12).
Some use the Old Testament to justify modern practices, but the Old Testament was limited and designed to be in place for a limited time until the work of Christ was complete. Christ established a new covenant once He fulfilled the old covenant. Now we have the new covenant by which to live. The Old Testament is obsolete. It is still useful, however, for us to learn about God and to learn from the mistakes that people have made in the past.
We must be united in our worship to the Lord. Christ prayed to the Father that His people would be united (John 17:19-23). Paul urged the church with the same message of unity. He urged the church to be united in devotion to the truth and to Christ (1 Corinthians 1:10-15). The apostles also taught against divisions as they received this teaching from Christ (1 Corinthians 3:1-23).