Come to Understanding

They also that erred in spirit shall come to understanding,

and they that murmured shall learn doctrine. ó Isaiah 29:24

So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense,

and caused them to understand the reading. ó Nehemiah 8:8

June 14, 2012

Volume 11 Number 12

Let No Man Glory in Men

Paulís first letter to the Corinthians was to those that comprised the congregation (church) of God. These were those that were "sanctified in the Messiah Yahshua" (Jesus Christ) and, consequently, were called "saints." He also directed his letter to us, "all that in every place call upon the name of Yahshua the Messiah our Lord:"

2 Unto the congregation of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in the Messiah Yahshua, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Yahshua the Messiah our Lord, both theirs and ours: -1 Corinthians 1

Therefore, it was particularly disheartening for Paul to learn that many of the "saints" were identifying themselves with the names of men. While some said they were of the title of the Messiah (Christ), many others claimed to be of Paul, of Apollos, or of Cephas (Peter). This practice was causing "contentions" (strife and debate) among them:

11 For it has been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.

12 Now this I say, that every one of you said, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of the Messiah. -1 Corinthians 1

Each apparently followed the man that he thought was right. This process of naming themselves after the men they follow is called "denominating." The word "denominate," which comes from Latin, means to give a name to a collection of individuals in order to assign them to a certain class. Those individuals that have been "denominated" with a name or title are called a "denomination" (see Andrew Findlater, ed, Chambersís Etymological Dictionary of the English Language, London: W. & R. Chambers, 1882, p. 118).

While each of the men that the various people of Corinth followed may have been sincerely teaching what they thought to be the truth, there were some marked differences among them in some of their teachings. Apollos, for example, had previously only been teaching the baptism of John for repentance, rather than the baptism in the name of Yahshua and the power of the Holy Ghost (see Acts 18:24-25, 19:1-6). Paul and Cephas (Peter) had a major dispute over whether believing Gentiles should also be required to keep the Jewish traditions of the law (see Galatians 2:11).

Many of the "saints" of Corinth were apparently trusting in each of these men, even though they were not all teaching the same thing. In doing so, the Corinthians were ignoring the word of Yahweh:

8 It is better to trust in Yahweh than to put confidence in man. -Psalms 118

Yahweh declared Himself as their King:

15 I am Yahweh, your Holy One, the creator of Israel, your King. -Isaiah 43

As the King of Israel, Yahweh spoke to them through prophets and exercised judgement through judges. Nevertheless, Israel rejected Him as their King. In doing so, each man did that which seemed right to him:

25 In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes. -Judges 21

Trusting in ourselves, or in any other man, instead of in Yahweh ultimately leads to disappointment:

5 Thus says Yahweh; Cursed be the man that trusts in man, and makes flesh his arm, and whose heart departs from Yahweh. -Jeremiah 17

Nevertheless, Israel insisted on trusting in a man. Instead obeying Yahweh as their King, they wanted an earthly king, like the other nations had, to rule over them. As the prophet Samuel grew old, and his sons had become corrupt, Israel demanded that he find them an earthly king:

5 And said to him, Behold, you are old, and your sons walk not in your ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.

6 But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto Yahweh.

7 And Yahweh said to Samuel, Listen to the voice of the people in all that they say to you: for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them. -1 Samuel 8

As a result, Israel had three kings. Each of them showed that he was just a man, revealing his own sinful humanity. Saul rejected Yahwehís word (1 Samuel 15:19-23), David committed prideful sins (2 Samuel 11:3-4, 15-21; 24:1), and Solomon fell into abominable religious practices that included the worship of idols as gods and goddesses (1 Kings 11: 5-8).

Of these three kings of Israel, only David humbly repented and pleaded with Yahweh to forgive him for his sins:

1 Have mercy upon me, O God, according to your loving kindness: according to the multitude of your tender mercies blot out my transgressions.

2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. -Psalms 51

As a result of his humble repentance, Davidís heart was called "perfect" with Yahweh (see 1 Kings 15:3). Even as David was seeking to do the will of Yahweh with a "perfect heart," Israel rejected him. Deceived by flattering words, Davidís rebellious son, Absalom, "stole" their hearts:

5 And it was so, that when any man came near to him to do him obeisance, he put forth his hand, and took him, and kissed him.

6 And on this manner did Absalom to all Israel that came to the king for judgment: so Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel. -2 Samuel 15

Fully deceived by appearances and by smooth sounding words, their hearts were completely turned away from David and toward Absalom:

13 And there came a messenger to David, saying, The hearts of the men of Israel are after Absalom. -2 Samuel 15

We risk such deception when we seek after a man, instead of after Yahweh. Yahshua warns:

4 And Yahshua answered and said to them, Take heed that no man deceives you.

5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am the Messiah; and shall deceive many. -Matthew 24

Successful deceivers, who are really the servants of Satan, will persuade great numbers of people to follow them because they will appear as ministers of righteousness:

13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of the Messiah.

14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.

15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also are transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works. -2 Corinthians 11

Their success will be through the use of the same technique that Absalom used to deceive Israel into following him, rather than David. They will use flatteries. Rather than teaching sound doctrine, they say that which sounds good to the ears. Paul warns:

3 For the time will come when 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. -2 Timothy 4

Unfortunately, many who know the truth will be turned away from it. They will accept the pleasant-sounding teachings of man, instead of the sound doctrine of the Word of God, which publishes the name of Yahweh. His Word reminds us that He alone is the Rock upon which our salvation rests:

1 Give ear, O you heavens, and I will speak; and hear, O earth, the words of my mouth.

2 My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distill as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass:

3 Because I will publish the name of Yahweh: ascribe you greatness unto our God.

4 He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he. -Deuteronomy 32

It is His name that is given to Yahshua, who, as the mystery of godliness, is God revealed in the flesh:

16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached to the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory. -1 Timothy 3

Therefore, when we proclaim His name, we know that He is the Rock and that He is exalted:

46 Yahweh lives; and blessed be my rock; and let the God of my salvation be exalted. -Psalms 18

According to the prophecy, Yahshua came in the name of Yahweh:

26 Blessed is he that comes in the name of Yahweh: we have blessed you out of the house of Yahweh. -Psalms 118

Consequently, His name is above every name:

9 Therefore God also has highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:

10 That at the name of Yahshua every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;

11 And that every tongue should confess that Yahshua the Messiah is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. -Philippians 2

All glory belongs to God, through Yahshua the Messiah:

21 Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours;

22 Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours;

23 And you are the Messiahís; and the Messiah is Godís. -1 Corinthians 3

 

 

 

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