The road to Zion is filled with all manner of hindrances and stumbling blocks. Observe and you will witness seekers of truth precariously venturing, and stumbling into road blocks, IED’s, and even sinkholes along The Way. These dangers have been planted by insidious fellows throughout the timeline of humanity. My dear prophetic friend, the responsibility rests on us to do as Isaiah, John the Baptist, Jesus and many others whom the Lord has called. Raise the “voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’”
The purpose of this post is to illuminate who and what is causing these breaches in The Way. Our duty as discerners is to do more than circumvent the dangers. It’s time to rally a construction crew who are willing to fulfill Isaiah 40:4, “Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain.” The three obstructions that must be removed are false doctrines, doctrines of demons, and the traditions of men.
heterodidaskaleo – another or different doctrine that deviates from the truth
1 Timothy 6:3– “If anyone teaches false doctrines and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to godly teaching, he is conceited and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions and constant friction between men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.”
False doctrine = the lusts of unrenewed flesh tainting the delivery of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Peter writes of these false shepherds, “For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of sinful human nature, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error,” 2 Peter 2:18. False doctrine may deliver any of the following results, according to the Galatians 5:17-21 litmus test for the operations of flesh.
- Teaching that disdains the moving of the Spirit, or the gifts of the Spirit.
- A ministry that is “called” to police the body of Christ.
- A doctrine that is powerless to deliver its followers from darkness.
- Uncleanness, perversion, and lust that goes unchallenged outside of the pulpit.
- A strong spirit of ungodly control. (Order is necessary, however, domination stifles.)
- Manipulation is abundant.
- Strife and competition abounds.
- There’s a fixation on material wealth.
- The gospel is used as a means to accrue wealth.
- Such a ministry is more concerned with setting themselves apart from the Body of Christ, rather than benefiting the Body.
When men and women refuse to surrender areas of unrenewed flesh, the doctrines they teach will become an amalgamation of spirit and flesh. Such doctrine discourages seekers of Truth from continuing down the path.
The Doctrines of Demons
didaskalia daimonion – the teaching or precepts of evil spirits or messengers of satan
1 Timothy 4:1-4 “The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving.”
In the words of Jesus, hypocrite = pharisee. If demonic doctrines come through hypocrites, they are taught through satan’s ambassadors to the church – the pharisees. We would expect demonic doctrine from Oprah and her new age henchmen, or L. Ron Hubbard and his followers. But would we expect it in and among our own ranks?
Paul describes the conscience of the hypocrite as seared or branded as a slave. Unfaithful to the law, themselves, they possess the undeniable mental state of a slave to the sins they abhor. This soulish brand of shame serves to stir up their angst against the very same sins in other’s lives. Graceless consciousness of sin will drive a soul to ascetically strive for divine approval.
The pharisee pursues righteousness through the arm of flesh. Thinking dominated by the flesh, invites demonic interaction. Bottom line? When we exchange the goodness of Jehovah M’Kaddesh for an algorithm of sin management, satan steps in to fill the spiritual vacuum.
The doctrines of demons (as taught by a pharisee) will be marked by the following:
- A denial of the power of God’s kindness. (Romans 2:4)
- Inflicting inordinate or excessive (extra-biblical) regulations on adherents.
- Undermining the goodness of the Lord who gives us all things to freely enjoy. (1 Timothy 6:17, Deut 26:11)
- Dehumanizes followers by denying them the right to enjoy the pleasures that God has scripturally sanctioned.
- Denies that Jesus can transform a soul by the indwelling of His Spirit. Change is forced through external regulations.
- Paints God as an impersonal deity who demands blind obedience, rather than a personal God who walks alongside us as a teacher and Father.
- Portrays God as more pleased with self-denial than humble thankfulness. (Psalm 51)
Undue emphasis on the flesh only bolsters its desires. Demons understand this propensity well. Pharisees and their followers are sin’s greatest unlikely proponents. Deep-seeded sins generally lurk under a camouflage of piety. Look to avoid the shame-branding of the conscience by these Spiritless perfectionists.
The Traditions of Men
didaskalia entalma anthrōpos – the precepts and commandments of fallen and weak mankind (apart from Spirit)
Mark 7:6-8 He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.’ You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men.”
Tradition can both preserve and preempt sound biblical doctrine. I am rather fond of many traditions of the church, which have served to protect, reinforce and enrich the faith. As Jesus clearly noted, however, there exists harmful traditions that undermine the knowledge of God. Some purporting to know what He desires, have ingnorantly implement mandatory practices that have caused the cessation of true worship.
Jesus put it this way in Matthew 15:16 GWT, “Because of your traditions you have destroyed the authority of God’s word.” Churches that exalt the tradition of men above the Word possess no power to demonstrate the authority of God’s word. Rather than fulfilling the Mark 16 commission to create disciples of Christ, they “travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are,” Matthew 23:15.
The traditions of men will produce the following fruit (based on Matthew 23 and Mark 16):
- Creates a stiff-necked people who are set in their ways, rather than open to progression and the move of the Spirit.
- Tends to the micro-management of insignificant things.
- Places great importance on outward demonstration, and powerless to affect the inner man of the heart.
- Creates division. Those who fail to observe these traditions are shunned or not deemed worthy of fellowship.
- A spirit of error enters to reinforce the importance of dead works.
- Titles and positions of hierarchy are important and coveted.
- The authority of the believer is suppressed.
- Signs, wonders and miracles are replaced with vain proofs of “faith”.
- Portions of the Word that challenge these traditions are ignored or distorted.
These impediments in The Way will be called out. If we do not reform, those entering the path will either defect or rise up to clear the path. It’s time we move. In the words of Jesus, “I tell you the truth, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you,” Matthew 21:31.