“The baptism of John—where was it from? From heaven or from men?” And they reasoned among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ He will say to us, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’” (Matthew 21:25, NKJV)
When differences arise over how we understand and apply the Scriptures on matters of moral living and religious duty, some people say, “What difference does it make? As long as you are sincere, you will be fine.” But, minimizing the disagreement and its effects does not remove the difference. Nor does making sincerity the standard of acceptability solve the problem. But, making such statements does reveal a mindset that Christians must not have and hold. In today’s passage, Jesus said there are only two possible sources of authority in soul-effecting matters: heaven or men. When heaven speaks, it makes a great difference over what men have to say (Galatians 1:10). This is why we must have Bible authority for all we say and do. Otherwise, we are acting upon no authority greater than ourselves, and, by doing so, violate heaven’s authority (Colossians 3:17). Jesus Christ has the authority to command, to save, to bless and to condemn (Matthew 28:18; John 5:19-23; 17:1-2). You will find His authority in His word, and nowhere else (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
16 Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you. They make you worthless; They speak a vision of their own heart, not from the mouth of the Lord. 17 They continually say to those who despise Me, ‘The Lord has said, “You shall have peace”’; And to everyone who walks according to the dictates of his own heart, they say, ‘No evil shall come upon you.’” (Jeremiah 23:16–17, NKJV)
The false prophets in Jerusalem during the life of Jeremiah sound much like the false preachers today, who tell people such things as, “Let your conscience be your guide,” and, “join the church of your choice,” and, “God will accept every person who has a sincere heart” (that was the very falsehood for which God punished His people, verse 17). Living “according to the dictates of his own heart” brings a person under God’s wrath, not God’s approval and pleasure. Such worthless teaching made the people spiritually worthless (verse 16). When Jeremiah opposed these false prophets, they tried to have him killed (Jeremiah 26:4-14). A person who tells you God’s truth is not your enemy; don’t make him out to be one (Galatians 4:16). Speaking God’s truth has never been popular. But, we must speak truth, attempt to save souls and please God. We dare not speak error to please men, for by doing so, we lose our souls, and they remain lost, too (Galatians 1:10; 4:16; 1 Timothy 4:16).
19 But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, that I also may be encouraged when I know your state. 20 For I have no one like-minded, who will sincerely care for your state. 21 For all seek their own, not the things which are of Christ Jesus. 22 But you know his proven character, that as a son with his father he served with me in the gospel. 23 Therefore I hope to send him at once, as soon as I see how it goes with me.” (Philippians 2:19–23, NKJV)
Is there someone in your life on whom you know you can depend; A friend, a sibling, a fellow-Christian? All you have to do is call, and they are there in a heartbeat to help you. They share your values, your goals and your faith. Their character has been proven reliable by deeds of the past; you do not doubt they are genuine. They are an asset in accomplishing the task before you. Such a man was Timothy. Paul trusted him; he was trustworthy, honest and sincere. Paul knew Timothy would get the job done. Be a Timothy to others. Show yourself to be genuine in your concern for others. Be willing and ready to serve them. Be dependable, trustworthy and honest. By doing so you equip yourself to become a servant of proven character in the kingdom.
29 Jesus answered and said to them, “You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God. 30 For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels of God in heaven. 31 But concerning the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God, saying, 32 ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.” (Matthew 22:29–32, NKJV)
Many people believe it really does not matter what you believe about God as long as you are sincere. It is apparent from today’s verse that Jesus did not think this way. Why then, should we? If you wear His name (Christian), shouldn’t you think like He thinks and teach like He teaches? Jesus said the Sadducees (who said there was no resurrection, Matt. 22:23) were “mistaken” (“wrong”, ESV; “in error”, NIV) because they did not know the Scriptures nor God’s power. How could that be true if it didn’t matter what the Sadducees believed (as long as they were sincere)? You must know the Scriptures precisely because it does make a difference what you believe. Be sure what you believe is in God’s Scriptures by examining them every day (Acts 17:11). If it is not in the Scriptures, then abandon it and believe the truth. Because it matters.