What is Truth?, Pt. 4

Scripture: Matthew 15:1-9, Galatians 1:14
This broadcast looks at truth and tradition. While there are good traditions, there are some traditions that may be contradictory to the word of God. What does the Bible say about truth and tradition?
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Announcer: It's time now for Bible Talk. Join Gary Gibbs and John Bradshaw as they open the Bible to deepen our understanding of God's word.

John Bradshaw: Hi there and welcome to Bible Talk, where we talk about the Bible and how the Bible affects us today. I'm John Bradshaw.

Gary Gibbs: And I'm Gary Gibbs, and we're going to be talking today about truth and tradition. John, there are lot of traditions that we follow today in the Christian Church and in our society that have no relationship whatsoever to do with the Bible and Bible truth.

John: Now, we wouldn't want to start by saying that we think all traditions are bad, because they're not, are they?

Gary: No, they're not. The Bible gives us traditions that we should follow that are good, but there are some traditions. In fact, many traditions that have been accepted in the Christian Church that have nothing to do with the Bible. In fact, they're actually contradictory to what the Bible teaches.

John: Now, some traditions I like a lot. You can tell by the way I sound, I'm not a native of the United States, but I quickly learned to love Thanksgiving. Just a tradition, God never comes under it. It's not in the Bible, but it's a great tradition all right.

Gary: It's a good, wholesome tradition, but it is based on biblical principles of giving thanks to God.

John: Sure is.

Gary: And there were thanksgiving feast in the scripture.

John: All right, now, what about white weddings?

Gary: White weddings.

John: White weddings, what's the tradition?

Gary: White weddings would be wearing white. The lady wears white.

John: Yes, sure, yes. You know, I'm talking about weddings for white folks.

Gary: Not at all.

John: No, that's the white wedding.

Gary: That's a nice tradition, but I'll tell you, when Sheryl and I, my wife and I were married, I quickly learned when a woman asks you what your opinion is for the ceremony, the wedding ceremony, you just say, "Yes, dear."

John: That's all you do.

Gary: And I learned that, there was one thing I asked her. I said, "There's a tradition that I don't like and that is the veil over the face of the woman."

John: No, kidding. You weren't big on it.

Gary: And I thought I'm one guy in big trouble if I end up marrying the wrong lady. What I told Sheryl Ann, I said, "Your face is so beautiful and it's so radiant and this is your day. I want to see your radiant face come down the aisle. If you want a big flowing veil down, that's fine. Just don't cover your pretty face."

John: Oh, man, you've got a future in a diplomatic world, that kind of thing.

Gary: She gave me that so we started a new tradition there. So no, white weddings, veils, those are traditions that you can adopt however you want to. There's nothing sacred about how they're done.

John: True, but in Christianity, we find a lot of practices that are carried out that are traditional without reference to the word of God and may even be contradictory to the word of God. Now, we're going to start by saying this, we're not trying to slaughter anybody's sacred cow here today. But lately on this program, we've been talking about truth, the need to find and follow the truth because truth reveals who God is. Jesus is embodied in the truth. Truth is the pathway to God. You can't be casual about what you believe in God. Certainly, he doesn't want you to be mistaken about important things. Many traditions though, we see in Christianity that don't have any basis in the Bible may be contradictory to the Bible and therefore, outside the word of almighty God.

Gary: And Jesus brings this whole issue up. You'll find this in Matthew 15. Jesus comes to the Scribes and the Pharisees and the Pharisees say to Jesus, "Why do your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders for they wash not their hands when they eat bread?"

John: Now, hygiene is good and Jesus agreed with that, but this was a ritualistic way of washing their hands and support.

Gary: That's right. There's a very special to wash it to ceremonially cleanse them. Jesus' answer is, "Why do you transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?" He said, "Listen, you have taken your traditions and they actually caused people to transgress God's commandment and he gives an example. He says, for example. God commanded, honor your father and mother, but you say that you can get around this and I'm just going to kind of to explain this. You can get around this by what the Bible calls Corbin. And that is by saying, "This property is dedicated to God upon my death. Therefore, I have to take care of my parents today in their old age."

John: Yes, that's pretty lousy, isn't it?

Gary: Yes, they weren't honoring their father and mother. And so, this was the tradition that the elders had set up based on their selfishness to get around honoring your father and mother.

John: Now, friend, we're going to ask you today as you listen to this program, to do a little searching of your own Christian experience and ask yourself.

Gary: Inventory too.

John: Ask yourself, am I being as biblical as I can be, as biblical as God wants me to be, or are there some things I'm incorporating into my Christian experience that really have no basis in the word of God and off we go. Let me touch on one. It's not the biggest one out there, but I always kind of sigh a little bit when it gets to Halloween time. And all these churches are having Halloween get-ups and Halloween bodies. And they say, "We love the lord Jesus and God bless you." And so, Halloween, come to church and dress up like the devil and go around scaring people.

Now, man, this is a tradition that I just cannot imagine Jesus when he was a child painting himself up, dressing like a devil or a witch and running around the neighborhood. Can you imagine that?

Gary: No, not at all.

John: I don't imagine that Jesus is that happy with his own children glorifying Satan. Yes, I'm not going to go to the long old history of Halloween. But look, when you take your pretty little princess and you paint her up to look like the wicked witch of the west and you say, "Dear, that's just so beautiful," somehow she is not reflecting God in doing that.

Gary: What about dressing up though in biblical characters or some Disney character? Something good, John.

John: Yes, but the whole pretext of Halloween is evil, celebrating death and the dead and evil spirits and spiritualism. You can dress up as Mickey Mouse if you want to, but it doesn't change the fact you're getting into something crooked.

Gary: Yes, but here's what people are going to say, "But not in our society. In our society, it's just a fun night for kids to go out and get candy and just have a good time. You're talking about something that happened centuries ago. That's not what it is today." That's what people are going to say.

John: I'm talking about anchoring what you do in the Bible. What do you do in a mindless tradition? Anything biblical about it? No. Does the spirit of it support or transgress the spirit of the Bible? It transgresses the spirit of the Bible. The whole thing smells. It's hard for a Christian to be associated with. They're contaminated by the dirt that is Halloween.

Gary: Now, another thing I thin...

John: I hope you understand what I'm saying here.

Gary: No, I totally agree with you, but I know our listeners are going to be disagreeing with you. Bible Talk, I want to voice some of those opinions. But I think another thing, a mistake that we make when we look at truth versus traditions is that we shorten everything within our own time frame.

John: Yes, we do.

Gary: You will say, "Here's how I look at it within my 40 to 80 years of experience. This is how I look at it. Now, we forget that God looks at it for when it began. Let's take this topic of Halloween. And so, it doesn't mean, that to me today. It doesn't matter what it means to me today. God looks at it and he's got a memory just as sharp today as be able to remember something that happened 3,000 ago like it happened a second ago. How does God view it? Did God's view of these things change over time and I'd like to suggest, no, they haven't.

John: I want to just remind you that at the end of our program, we are going to make an offer to you that we hope you'll pick up on. Call our number, email us. We got a free study offer for you at the end of the program that you really going to enjoy. It'll help you in your study of the Bible. Now, something else I want to just mention here Gary. You're talking about, how does God look at it? This whole business of fortune telling and palm reading and consulting these mediums and so forth, a growing number of people find that to be just OK. And they may say, "Today, it's OK." You go back to God's time and God was commanding these people to be put to death or commanding that these people be put to death.

Let's look at things how God looks at things as far as we can understand from the Bible because otherwise, you're just making Christianity to suit yourself. You're writing your own rules. You might as well stop calling yourself a Christian and call yourself a Barbie or a Marion or whatever your name is.

Gary: And that's where we have to get back to the Bible and that's what Jesus told the Pharisees to do there in Matthew 15. He said, "Why do you transgress the commandments of God by your tradition?" We need to go back to what God commanded in the Bible. One commandment that I believe that we transgressed every week by our tradition is the day in which we worship. The Bible says very clearly that the seventh day is the day that we're to worship him?

John: Yes, but that was like a Jewish thing. That was the day, and that was the Jews. We've got a new Christian Sabbath now.

Gary: And that is the tradition. The problem is that's not in the Bible. Nowhere in the Bible, nowhere in the New Testament are you going to find a change from Saturday, the Saturday Sabbath to a Sunday. That happened post Biblical era and that happened when the church compromising with paganism.

John: So every week, we go to church on Sunday, but Gary, it's got to be OK. I'm not saying, we, that is, those who go to church on Sunday because the people that go to church on Sunday, they love the Lord and they pray and God is working in their lives and blessing them.

Gary: I have no question of that, but the issue is, is what they're doing according to the Bible? I have to ask myself that question in the traditions that I follow.

John: True.

Gary: But we all have to do that, but collectively, Christianity worship mostly on Sunday. That's the day they hold sacred. And now, so we can't go to church on Sunday. I've been to church on Sunday, but don't neglect the Sabbath.

John: Yes, that's a commandment of God. Sunday, no matter how you cut it, that's the tradition of men. I've never met anybody who's been able to come to me and say, "Now, this verse here, listen, if you can't find a verse here or a verse there then, there's nothing supporting this thing. There's no foundation. We got no business monkeying with something that isn't God's expressed will." Now, I don't want to be unkind. Many sincere, God-loving, God-fearing Christians perhaps just don't understand this thing. But when you do understand it, you realize there's something was given by God, something as a tradition. So, do we follow God's truth or do we follow the tradition?

Gary: That becomes the issue. Look at what happened in New Testament era with the Jews. The Jews had to make a decision if they accepted Jesus. Jesus actually did away with all their traditions. He just pulled the rug out from underneath in so many different ways.

John: True.

Gary: Even some traditions that God established like the ceremonial law.

John: The feast days.

Gary: The feast days and the sacrifices. There are a lot of people often confused with the ten commandment law and they're two separate things. Jesus did away with those things because he became the fulfillment of it. Here you have the apostle Paul who was raised in these traditions. Galatians 1:14 he says, he was zealous of the traditions of his fathers. But when he met Jesus, he discovered that he needed to follow the teachings of Christ and not these other traditions of his fathers. We have to do the same thing today, but it becomes the emotional issue. We have an emotional attachment to these traditions. I think about how I grew up with how we celebrate birthdays, very special time.

John: True.

Gary: I've got emotional attachment to that. There's nothing wrong with that. The Bible doesn't condemn that.

John: No, let's make that real clear because otherwise, someone's going to think you're coming from out of left field and you don't like birthdays.

Gary: No.

John: There's nothing wrong with birthdays.

Gary: Nothing at all. My point here is we get emotionally attached to these traditions. And you could do that with worship traditions too.

John: Absolutely and that's says to me now, are you willing to stand for the word of God or what is your buying price? I'm not ready to pay the cost of giving up my heart-felt traditions. I'm not prepared. I'll give my life to Jesus, but I'm sure I'm not giving up that tradition. I'm not going to give up that emotional attachment. There's a little contradiction there, isn't there?

Gary: There is and we have to reckon this, John. We are going to be led by God to give up some old traditions whatever they may be that contradict the word of God and we all have them because the Bible says in John 16 Jesus is going to send the spirit into our lives and he's going to guide us into all truth.

John: Correct.

Gary: And truth and tradition stand opposed to each other. So we all have these traditions that God is going to lead us out of, to truth. And we have to ask ourselves, are we willing and are we ready to give up whatever tradition that may be, to follow truth?

John: Good question and that's the question that everybody got to answer in a variety of ways. You come to Christ a sinner and the first question is, "Are you willing to accept Jesus? Are you prepared to pay the price of repenting of your sins?"

Gary: And I've had people tell me, "No, I'm not ready to do that. I don't want to be with Christians. I don't want to be going to church every week. I don't want to give up my partying on Saturday nights. Those are traditions that they have and they're not ready to give it up."

John: Yes, men shall not live by, what does the Bible say now?

Gary: Bread alone.

John: But by what?

Gary: Every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.

John: What I challenge you today, don't be one of these some words that proceed or any word that proceeds. Let's pray that God would give us a heart to live by every word that proceeds from out of the mouth of God. Thank you for joining us again. We look forward to seeing you next time here on Bible Talk.

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