Copyright 1994 - 2018 Bill's Bible Basics
Authored By :
Published On :
October 13, 1997
Last Updated :
March 6, 2012
Wise Men Or Men Of Scant Education, John The Baptist, Isaiah And Malachi Prophesy Concerning John, God Knows His Men, God Chooses Weak Despised People And Social Outcasts, Doctrines And Traditions Of Scribes And Pharisees, Guidance Of The Holy Spirit Is All We Need, Profundity Of God's Word, Purged Of The Old Leaven And The Old Wine, New Wine Can't Be Put In Old Bottles, Apostle Paul: Pharisee Of The Pharisees, Transformed And Renewed In Our Minds, Dump The Doctrinal Junk And Forsake All, The Only Credentials You Need Are God's Word, Here Am I Send Me, Faithful In The Least, Preach The Gospel, Conclusion
As we concluded in part two, while the world -- including the world of organized religion -- places much emphasis on obtaining an education, and accumulating an impressive list of credentials, from the evidence that we find in the Bible, it seems that God enjoys going to the opposite extreme. In other words, He seems to prefer choosing men who possess scant education. Such may have been the case with John the Baptist. While some people viewed him as a wild, crazy man of the wilderness who ate locusts and wild honey, the truth of the matter -- as I explain in such series as "Elijah: Where Are the True Prophets?" -- is that John the Baptist was the prophesied messenger who preceded and announced the arrival of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. As the Prophets Isaiah and Malachi wrote:
"The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it."
Isaiah 40:3-5, KJV
"Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts."
Malachi 3:1, KJV
If there is any doubt in your mind that the previous verses are referring to John the Baptist, then please consider how even Jesus referred back to the Old Testament prophecies in order to let people know that John was indeed the Messenger for whom they had been waiting:
"For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight."
Matthew 3:3, KJV
"But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet. For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force. For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come."
Matthew 11:9-14, KJV
Obviously, God certainly knows how to choose His men; even if the religious hierarchy of the day -- the Sanhedrin -- was expecting someone quite different. No doubt the Scribes and the Pharisees were expecting the Messenger to arise from within their own ranks; that is, a man of respectability and thoroughly educated in the Torah and and the Prophets. John most certainly did not meet their expectations any more than Jesus met their expectations as the anticipated Messiah. In fact, that is one of the reasons why they murdered Jesus. He was viewed as an impostor and a false messiah by the blind religionists of the day who were unable to recognize Him for who He is. Following are some verses which clearly reveal God's propensity for choosing men of scant education:
"And the Jews marvelled, saying, How knoweth this man letters, having never learned?"
John 7:15, KJV
"Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus."
Acts 4:13, KJV
"For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence."
1 Corinthians 1:26-29, KJV
"And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God."
1 Corinthians 2:4-5, KJV
"Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ."
Colossians 2:8, KJV
Not only does God seem to prefer to choose men who have not been polluted and corrupted by the knowledge of the world, but He also tends to choose societal outcasts who are often despised and rejected by the rest of the world. He chooses the weak things, the foolish things, the nobodies, and the little people to do His Work in order that His Power and His Greatness might be made manifest. This way, when something good happens, He alone receives all of the glory and all of the credit. Here are a few additional verses for your consideration:
"Being defamed, we intreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day."
1 Corinthians 4:13, KJV
"And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. I am become a fool in glorying; ye have compelled me: for I ought to have been commended of you: for in nothing am I behind the very chiefest apostles, though I be nothing."
2 Corinthians 12:9-11, KJV
"Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you."
John 15:16, KJV
So to reiterate, God chooses who He will, and His criteria are very different from the criteria of the world, and even different from that of some modern religionists who boast of their seminary degrees and their impressive credentials, and who love the praises of men. They may impress other men, and they may impress some of the sheep, but they certainly don't seem to impress God very much. In fact, as we have seen, He even has a difficult time using such men, because they are so filled with their own ways, their own ideas and their own doctrines, just like the Scribes and the Pharisees of old. Consider what Jesus had to say regarding the doctrines and traditions of the Jewish Elders:
"In the mean time, when there were gathered together an innumerable multitude of people, insomuch that they trode one upon another, he began to say unto his disciples first of all, Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy."
Luke 12:1, KJV
"Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have taken no bread. Which when Jesus perceived, he said unto them, O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread? Do ye not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees? Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees."
Matthew 16:6-12, KJV
"Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying, Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread. But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death. But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition."
Matthew 15:1-6, KJV
"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. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death: But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free. And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother; Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye."
Mark 7:6-13, KJV
It should be clear to you by now that what is most important to the Lord is not that we are full of the wisdom of men, or that we have received years of theological training and are brainwashed with the doctrines and traditions of men, but rather that we have open minds and hearts, and are filled with God's Holy Spirit; because if we have the Lord's Spirit, then we have everything that we need in order to be effective witnesses for Him. The Lord can -- and will -- teach each one of us directly from His Word, precisely as He has done with me for many years now. He will give us revelations from His Word which will astound and amaze us, and we will wonder why we never saw it before. God's Ways -- and His Word -- are just that profound, as we see by the following verses:
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts."
Isaiah 55:8-9, KJV
"Which doeth great things past finding out; yea, and wonders without number."
Job 9:10, KJV
"O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!"
Romans 11:33, KJV
"Then said he unto them, Therefore every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old."
Matthew 13:52, KJV
As I mentioned earlier, all of this wisdom of men with their particular seminary doctrines and church traditions can be a hindrance which inhibits our being used by the Lord. Before God -- by His Holy Spirit -- can teach us the Truth of His Word, He has to throw out all of the junk which has cluttered our minds and poisoned our spirits for so many years. He has to purge us of the old leaven and the old wine, in order to make room for the new. As we learn in the Gospels, that was precisely the problem with the Jewish religious hierarchy of the First Century. They were so full of the old leaven and the old wine -- their doctrines and traditions -- that they were unable to accept the new wine which Jesus offered to them. Thus Jesus said of them the following:
"No man putteth a piece of new cloth unto an old garment, for that which is put in to fill it up taketh from the garment, and the rent is made worse. Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved."
Matthew 9:16-17, KJV
As a former Pharisee himself who had been brought up under strict adherence to the Mosaic Law, and who had in fact been mentored by Gamaliel, the Apostle Paul -- who viewed himself as a Pharisee of the Pharisees -- knew exactly what he was talking about when he wrote that we need to have our minds transformed and renewed, and that we have to put on the mind of Christ. Why? Because Paul also had to reach a point in his life where he viewed everything that he had experienced and learned as a Pharisee, as dung, compared to the new life that he was given in Christ. Consider the following verses:
"Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,"
Philippians 3:4-8, KJV
"And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."
Romans 12:2, KJV
"For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ."
1 Corinthians 2:16, KJV
The same still holds true today. As long as we are unwilling to dump -- and totally forsake -- all of the doctrinal junk and poisonous garbage which has been pumped into our brains over the years by the world, and by our particular church or organization, the Lord may never be able to use us as much or as effectively as He would like, and He may never be able to reveal to us the Truth of His Word. Why? Because until we are willing to forsake these things, we will continue to see everything through filtered glasses with a particular bias; that is, a doctrinal bias. When we come to Jesus, we need to forsake all, as we see by this verse:
"So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple"
Luke 14:33, KJV
Forsaking physical things is easy. It is forsaking things that are in our minds and hearts that is the most difficult.
In conclusion, if someone approaches you and questions your right to preach the Gospel, my counsel to you would be this: Just say "Here are my credentials", and then share with them some of the verses which you find in this series. Tell them that you can go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature, because the Lord has chosen you, taught you and sent you by the Power and Anointing of His Spirit. That is the only Authority and Permission that you really need. You don't need a theological degree from a seminary; and you most certainly don't need a set of impressive credentials. The only credentials that you need are found right there in your Bible. As the Prophet Isaiah said to the Lord:
"Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me."
Isaiah 6:8, KJV
Now, if they don't like your Scriptural response, then don't worry about, and don't waste your valuable time arguing with them, because it will get you nowhere. And please remember that you are in good company, because many of God's faithful messengers before you were also rejected by the world, and by the religionists. As the Scriptures clearly inform us, our job is simply to remain faithful to the tasks which God has given us to do, as we see by these verses:
"Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?"
Matthew 24:45, KJV
"His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord."
Matthew 25:21, KJV
"He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man's, who shall give you that which is your own?"
Luke 16:10-12, KJV
"And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities."
Luke 19:17, KJV
"Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful."
1 Corinthians 4:2, KJV
As far as everything else is concerned, just trust the Lord, and leave it in His hands. Don't worry about what people may think of you, or what they may say about you. You will never be able to please them all, or win their support anyway, so why even waste your time trying? Just be obedient and preach the Gospel, as the Apostle Paul admonishes us to do in the following verse:
"Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine."
2 Timothy 4:2, KJV
You already have all of the credentials that you need, so will you now get to work? With these thoughts I will bring another series to a close. I trust that it has been a blessing and an inspiration in your life.
If you have been blessed by this series, I encourage you to share its URL link with all of your online friends. Also, if you have an account with Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Tumblr, etc, I would very much appreciate if you would take the time to click on the corresponding link that is found on this page. Thanks so much, and may God bless you!