Man-Made Titles Used Today that are Condemned by Scripture

PriestsWe live in a world where people often seek titles for various reasons.  Sometimes the reasons might be for recognition, status, or control; though these may not always be motivating factors.

When it comes to Christ’s teachings on the subject matter of titles as they relate to his church we need to determine from scripture what he desires.  Let’s take a look at the following passage taken from Matthew 23: 8-10 (NKJV): “But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers. 9Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. 10Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ.

The context of the passage above pertains to Christ speaking to a crowd regarding the hypocritical religious leaders (scribes & pharisees) of the day who used their positions for wrong reasons.  For example, Matthew 23: 5-7 states:  5“But they do all their deeds to be noticed by men; for they broaden their phylacteries and lengthen the tassels of their garments. 6“They love the place of honor at banquets and the chief seats in the synagogues, 7and respectful greetings in the market places, and being called Rabbi by men.

In contrast to the practices of the scribes and pharisees, Christ advised his followers not to be called by titles shown in the example above.  The reason why Christ advised his followers not to take accept these titles is for the purpose of equality among all of Christ’s followers.  In fact, no one is greater than anyone in Christ’s church; he being the head.  Unfortunately, many denominational churches are in disobedience to Christ’s clear instructions here; ascribing higher value and titles to certain individuals.

Of course, there are specific roles taken when members of the church assemble.  However, taking a specific role, function or job within the church is not the same as being a titled.  For example, when you say “John Smith, a deacon of the church”  it is different than saying “Deacon John Smith”.

The title “Reverend” is used in many denominational churches as well.  However, Psalms 111:9 (KJV) states:  “He sent redemption unto his people: he hath commanded his covenant for ever: holy and reverend is his name.”  This is clearly a title that should reference God.  No man should be honored in this way on earth as God will honor all of his servants in heaven.

The truth of the matter is that Christ is the only head of the church and mediator between God and man: (I Timothy 2:5).  People who serve in various functions of the church are simply that: “servants.” They provide assistance in the congregational assembly and in preaching God’s word.  We are all equal in the eyes of God.

 

 

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Why Did Jesus Not Want to be Touched” After His Resurrection?

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John 20:17 (King James Version) states: “Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.”

To put this scripture in the proper context we will need to read the entire passage.  In summary, Christ was resurrected and Mary Magdalene was the first of his followers to see him.

The Greek word for “touch” in this passage of scripture is: “haptomai” which means “to adhere to” “fasten” or “to cling.” Speculation of the passage might suggest that Mary Magdalene was holding on to Christ or clinging to him (as suggested by many translations) as if to prevent him for leaving.  The statement “for I am not yet ascended to my Father” suggests that he wasn’t planning to leave right away to go to the Father and there may be additional opportunities for which she could see him before his final departure.

Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit; Is It Possible Today?

despair-513529_640Many Christians who come across either Matthew 12:31-32 or Mark 3:28-30 have great concern as to whether or not they have committed some offense for which they cannot obtain forgiveness.  This concern may keep some up at night even!

To understand this unpardonable sin let’s  first take a look at Matthew 12:20-32:   20 And He came home, and the crowd gathered again, to such an extent that they could not even eat a meal. 21When His own people heard of this, they went out to take custody of Him; for they were saying, “He has lost His senses.” 22The scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and “He casts out the demons by the ruler of the demons.” 23And He called them to Himself and began speaking to them in parables, “How can Satan cast out Satan? 24“If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25“If a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. 26“If Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but he is finished! 27But no one can enter the strong man’s house and plunder his property unless he first binds the strong man, and then he will plunder his house.

28“Truly I say to you, all sins shall be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they utter; 29but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”— 30because they were saying, “He has an unclean spirit.”

For the sake of keeping this blog short we will not post the entire text which starts back at verse 1 of Matthew 12, so I encourage you to read the entire chapter.  To summarize what happened leading up to Matthew 12:20, Jesus demonstrated his authority over nature through healings and his authority over the spiritual world through the casting out of demons.

In verse 22 we find the Scribes accusing Christ of casting out demons by the power of Satan.  This is after they witnessed all that he could do, which no one else had done since the beginning.  In other words, it doesn’t get any better than having the Son of God on earth performing miracles for all to see.

While rejection of Christ would certainly lead to eternal damnation it is not rejecting him that is being referenced here.  It is the act of attributing the true manifestation of the Holy Spirit’s power to Satan.  The only way this sin could be possible was during 2 occasions:

  • During Christ’s 3-year mission on earth (30-33 AD)
  • During the Age of the apostles (approximately 33-100 AD)

While God is capable of performing miracles today, the miraculous age of supernatural power being demonstrated for the purpose of kick-starting the Church (God’s Kingdom on earth) has ceased and died out with the Apostolic Age (see I Corinthians 13:8-13).

We also see the reason why Jesus said that the sin was unpardonable in verse 30 of Matthew 12: “because they were saying, “He has an unclean spirit.”  Because we are not actually capable of seeing Christ perform these miracles in the context of Matthew 12, we must conclude that this is not a sin that is committable today.

Should I Recite “The Lord’s Prayer” When I pray?

praying-hands“The Lord’s Prayer”, which is referenced in the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke is, often recited by many people who consider themselves to be spiritually minded.  Let’s reference Matthew 6:9-13 (NASB) for this discussion:

9 “Pray, then, in this way:
‘Our Father who is in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.

10  Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.

11  Give us this day our daily bread.

12  And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.

13  And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’]”

Once again, as we’ve attempted to do in other blogs, we will use the very passage of scripture being referenced for proper context.  Verse 9 offers direction here.  The statement: “Pray, then, in this way” is another way of saying “here is an example”, or “here are things to consider when you pray.”  If we use Christ as an example throughout the gospels we realize that he only referenced what we know as “The Lord’s Prayer” on one occasion which was a teaching moment.

Just examining the structure of Christ’s example we see that we should always acknowledge and praise God first and foremost, who is the provider of our sustenance (verses 9 & 10); make our petition or request known (11-13) and ask for forgiveness (verse 12) not expecting it if we aren’t willing to extend forgiveness to others.