This Month's Promise

“I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants.”

- (Isaiah 44: 3)

Read: Matthew 15: 1-9


“...You nullify the Word of God for the sake of your tradition.” (Matthew 15: 6)

We have in these verses a conversation between our Lord Jesus and certain Scribes and Pharisees. Jesus charged these people as hypocrites because firstly they attached great importance to mere outward things in religion. The Pharisees brought an accusation against the disciples that they did not wash their hands before eating. They did not observe the rule of mere human authority which some Jew had invented! Unhappily, we see much of the Spirit of Pharisees in the present day among thousands of professing Christians. Secondly the Pharisees attempted to add something to the Word of God. Whenever a man attempts additions to the Scripture, he is likely to end with valuing his own additions above Scripture itself. Let us remember that no tradition or man-made institution in religion can ever excuse the neglect of spiritual duties or disobedience to any commandment of God’s Word. We learn from these verses that the religious worship which God desires, is the worship of the heart. We find our Lord establishing this by quoting from Isaiah, “These people honor me with their lips but their hearts are far from me.” The heart is the principal thing by which we can have a true relationship with God and our souls. What is the predominant thing we need in order to be Christians? A new heart! What is the sacrifice God asks us to bring to Him? A broken and a contrite heart. What is genuine obedience? To obey from heart. What is saving faith? To believe with the heart. Where must Christ dwell? In our hearts by faith. What is the chief request that God makes to everyone? “My child, give me your heart.”

Dear friends, let us make a honest self-inquiry as to the state of our own hearts. Let us realize that all formal worship whether in public or private, is utterly in vain, so long as our hearts are far from our Lord Jesus. The bended knee, the bowed head, the loud amen, the daily reading of the Scripture, the regular attendance at the Lord’s Table, are useless and unprofitable, so long as our affections are nailed to sin, or pleasure or money or the world. The Lord wants us to love Him above everything else. He asks us, “Do you truly love me more than these?” Would our reply be, “Yes Lord, I do”?

PRAYER: Dear Lord, how sad to see that the spirit of the Pharisees exalt manmade rituals above God’s Word is still prevalent in the Church, even after two thousand years! Let me watch against it. Let me not neglect You but help me to truly love and give You my first love always. Amen.