“This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. (9) But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Matthew 15:8-9)
There is an old cliché I sometimes hear people say, “Fake it till you make it.” What a hypocritical statement this is. Jesus reproved the religious leaders of His day (the Scribes and Pharisees) because they were teaching another doctrine, their own, and not the commandments of God.
The Scribes and Pharisees were not teaching the full counsel of God; and because of this, the people worshipped in vain; the heart was not where the mouth was. It is so easy for us to worship God with our mouth, without having our heart in agreement with it.
In the Book of Isaiah, God reproved Israel for this very thing. They were just going through the motions. Listen to what God had to say about their worship:
(Isaiah 1:11-13) “To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the LORD: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats. (12) When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts? (13) Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting.”
We can plainly see the rebuke God gave toward Israel. Their heart was not in their worship. (Read Isaiah 1:10-17.)
Jesus, in His conversation with the woman of Samaria about how to worship, says: “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24).
In verse 9 of Matthew 15, we see that this vain worship was a product of the spiritual leaders teaching the commandments of men and not of God. If you who are reading this message are a spiritual leader, “What are you teaching?”
Paul, in his letter to the Galatians’ church, was appalled by the fact that the church of Galatia was removed from the Gospel and Grace of Christ unto another gospel. The Gospel of Jesus Christ in Paul’s day was being perverted, just as it is today. Our society, our churches, and our religious leaders have gotten so far from truth, that when we do hear truth, we reject it. Why is this? It is because we have a form of godliness and not the real deal. It is because we are like those in 2 Timothy 4:3-4, “…they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; (4) And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”
Paul was so adamant against those who preached anything other than the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, that he made this statement twice:
(Galatians 1:8-9) “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you (the Gospel of Jesus Christ), let him be accursed. (9) As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received (the Gospel of Jesus Christ), let him be accursed.”
Now that is strong language. God hates hypocrisy. We must have our hearts coincide with our mouths when it comes to our service to God.
Are you going through the motions dear friend?