Lesson 20 - The Way of God and the Way of Man

    Suggested Bible Reading: Mark Chapter 7-9 & Luke Chapter 18

    Did you ever wonder why there are so many religions and different churches around the world today? The simple answer is, because all of the religions and churches have different ideas about who God is, how to worship and please God, and how to get into heaven. The Bible is clear that there is only One True God, and the Bible clearly tells us who God is, how to worship Him and how to get to heaven. God is not confused, but many people on earth are very confused. God’s ways and man’s ways are very different indeed!

    The Religious Leaders Despise Jesus.

    The Bible says in Mark 7:1-5, “Then came together unto him the Pharisees, and certain of the scribes, which came from Jerusalem. And when they saw some of his disciples eat bread with defiled, that is to say, with unwashen, hands, they found fault. For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders....And many other things there be, which they have received to hold, as the washing of cups, and pots, brasen vessels, and of tables. Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands?”

    The Scribes and Pharisees were highly respected religious leaders of the people of Israel, when Jesus came to the earth. When a Pharisee gave money to the poor, he made sure that everyone was aware that he was going to give so they could watch him give the money. He liked to pray in public places so everyone could see him. Praying and giving money was not wrong, but the attitude of his heart was wrong. He was not doing these things to please God, but to show everybody else how spiritual he was. The Pharisees thought they were going to heaven, because they did so many good works for God. They prided themselves on doing all the outward things, such as washing their hands, pots, and tables before they ate. The Pharisees were hypocrites. They did not realize that God saw all the evil in their hearts.

    The Scribes and Pharisees added hundreds of their own rules to God's words. They taught that a person must follow these rules in order to be accepted by God. The Pharisees disapproved of Jesus' disciples because they did not do many of the things which the Pharisees said were necessary for a person to be accepted by God. Most of the religious leaders in the world today are just like the Pharisees. They claim to believe the Bible, but in reality they do NOT teach the Word of God. Instead, they teach their own church laws, and they do not approve of someone who actually believes and lives according to the Bible!

    How Do You Honor God?

    The Bible says in Mark 7:6-7, “He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” The Pharisees said many good things about God with their lips, but in their hearts, they did not love God nor obey his Word. They did not come to God agreeing with Him that they were sinners and trusting in his promises regarding the Savior. Today, there are still many people who teach their own ideas instead of God's Word. People are taught that if they follow these rules and do the things that their church teaches, then they will be accepted by God. God says that such teaching is useless. Those people say they are following and worshiping God, but truly they are not. Those who are trying to please God by keeping the church laws, will not be accepted by God!

    Trusting God or Trusting in Yourself?

    The Bible says in Luke 18:9-14, “And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” A parable is a story that teaches us about God and our relationship with him. The Pharisee went up to the temple to pray. He was a very proud man. He was trusting in his own goodness and the things which he did. He thought that he was good enough for God to accept him because of what he did. The Pharisee is like Cain who came to God in his own way. Just as God rejected Cain, God also rejected this Pharisee.

    This Pharisee is no different from the person today who relies on his own good works to save him. Many people today may think they will go to heaven because of what they do, such as live a good life, pray, go to church, be baptized, do not drink, do not smoke, or do not lie or steal. You may try to keep the laws of God and live a good life, but in order to get to heaven by keeping God’s law, you must keep it 100% perfectly, all of your life! That is impossible for anyone to do. The first time you sinned and broke one of God’s laws, you earned yourself a place in the lake of fire! God is true, and God says that all have sinned and there is nothing anyone can do by his own efforts to reunite himself with God.

    Publicans are tax collectors. They were hated by their own people. This tax collector did not try to hide his sin from God. He saw himself as God saw him. He agreed with God about his own sin. He knew that, if God did not send a Savior, he would spend all eternity being punished by God for his sins. However, he trusted in the Savior God promised to send. God had mercy on him, forgave him, and accepted him. He was like Abel who agreed with God and trusted him to be his Savior. The Pharisee would not admit that he was a guilty and helpless sinner who needed God's mercy, so his sins were not forgiven by God. God rejected him just as he had rejected unbelieving and rebellious Cain.

    Jesus Talks About His Coming Crucifixion.

    The Bible says in Mark 8:31, “And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.” Jesus clearly showed the people he was the Savior whom God had promised from the beginning. He had shown them by performing great miracles, but the majority of the people still did not believe him. He knew that Satan would use the Jewish leaders to kill him. Jesus also knew that although he would die and be buried, he would come out of the grave after three days and three nights. Jesus knew these things because he is God. Hundreds of years earlier, the prophets foretold many details of the life of Jesus. These include that he would suffer many things, he would be rejected by the Jewish leaders, he would be killed, and he would be raised from the dead.

    The Bible says in Mark 9:2-4, “And after six days Jesus taketh with him Peter, and James, and John, and leadeth them up into an high mountain apart by themselves: and he was transfigured before them. And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them. And there appeared unto them Elias with Moses: and they were talking with Jesus.” Jesus was a real man, but he also was God. This is the only time while Jesus was on earth that the "God part" of Jesus showed through his human body. His body usually hid the "God part" so he looked like an ordinary man. Moses and Elijah began to talk with Jesus. Elijah was a prophet who lived 850 years before Jesus came to earth. We know Moses died about 1,400 years before Jesus came to earth. They had been with God for hundreds of years in Heaven.

    God accepted them along with Abel, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and everyone else who had agreed with God that they were helpless sinners and trusted in God to send a Savior. God now allowed Elijah and Moses to come back to earth to talk to Jesus. Elijah and Moses also knew the promised Savior had to die. They knew about God's promises concerning the Savior and were talking to Jesus about his coming death. Heaven is a real place and it is God's home. Everyone who agrees with God and trusts Jesus, the Savior, will go to live with God in Heaven when they die.

    Study Questions

    1. Most of the churches in the world today are worshipping the One True God.
    2. The Pharisees thought they were going to because they did so many good . Do you think that they were really born again?
    3. Jesus condemned the Pharisees because they honored him with their , but their was far from God.
    4. If you try to keep the church laws…
    5. In order to get to heaven by keeping God’s law, you must keep it all of your life.
    6. Have you kept God’s laws 100% perfectly all of your life?
    7. According to God’s Word, should He send you to Heaven or Hell?
    8. God had mercy on the Publican because he with God about his sin, and he in the Savior as his only hope of being made right with God.
    9. Jesus knew that He was going to die, be buried, and resurrect again.
    10.Why did God accept Moses and Elijah into Heaven?

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