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Scripture Reading:  Mark 7:1-13

 Hold the Traditions



1.  Traditions give a sense of stability & security to people.  We all have them!

2.  Religious traditions:  Some are good & some are bad.  Bible distinguishes.

3.  Tradition (paradosis):  “A handing down or on” (Vine); “giving up, giving over…the act of giving up…the surrender of cities…a giving over which is done by word of mouth or in writing, i.e. tradition by instruction, narrative, precept,….objectively, that which is delivered, the substance of a teaching”  (Thayer).

4.  Two sources of religious traditions:  Men & God.

   a.  Those originating with & perpetuated by man are to be rejected as binding & spiritually profitable – Col. 2:8, 20-23.

   b.  Those originating with & perpetuated by God are to be received as binding & spiritually profitable – 1 Cor. 11:2; 2 Ths. 2:15; 3:6.

   c.  We must be able to tell the difference!



   A.  Excite Much Religious Zeal - Gal. 1:14.

      1.  Example:  “Purple Ribbon” program.

      2.  To such an extent that people keep them & reject God’s commandments! – Mk. 7:9 (cf. Rom. 10:2-3)

   B.  They Are Often Regarded as Equal to the Will of God – Mk. 7:1-8.

      1.  cf. Jewish washings - Received to hold - Didn’t displace God’s law - Added to it. (7:2 – Found fault with disciples of Jesus because they did not keep the tradition!)

      2.  cf. Catholic Church - “Her (RCC) supreme rule of faith ever has been & ever will be the Scriptures together with sacred tradition.”  (Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation, Vatican II Council; “Divine Revelation,” 20)

      3.  cf. Instrumental music in worship - Doesn’t remove, but is placed along side singing (Eph. 5:19).  Addition!

      4.  Christmas – Started by Liberius, Bishop of Rome (354 AD).

      5.  Social gospel – Adds a new work & philosophy to the church!

      6.  Mk. 7:6-7 – Vain, hypocritical & sinful – Gal. 1:6-9; 2 Jno. 9.

   C.  They Invalidate (Make Void) the Word of God Mk. 7:9-13.

      1.  Corban - Ex. of holding fast traditions & rejecting God’s will!

      2.  Sprinkling for baptism (Col. 2:12).

      3.  Denominationalism - cf. Eph. 4:4; Jno. 17:21.

      4.  Mardi Gras & Lent – Rom. 13:13-14 (Gal. 5:21).

   D.  They Spoil One’s FaithCol. 2:8.

      1.  Human philosophies & religions (Humanism, evolution; Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism; Catholicism, Protestantism; Premillennialism, Calvinism, etc.).

      2.  Col. 2:6-7 - Be rooted & strengthened in Christ to avoid such corruption.


II.   APOSTOLIC TRADITIONSActs 2:42 (instructions).

   A.  The Apostles’ Doctrine:  The Word of God – 2 Ths. 2:15 (1 Ths. 2:13).

      -Examples:  Gospel, 1 Cor. 15:3; Lord’s Supper, 1 Cor. 11:23; Commands of God, 2 Pet. 2:21.

   B.  How Were Apostolic Traditions Delivered to People?  (Jude 3)

      1.  Received by apostles from the Lord – 1 Cor. 11:23 (15:3); (Revelation, Gal. 1:11-12).

      2.  Delivered through teaching (inspiration) (1 Cor. 11:2; 2 Ths. 2:15).

         a.  By word – cf. 2 Tim. 2:2 (1 Ths. 2:13).

         b.  By writing – cf. 2 Ths. 2:15.

   C.  What is Our Responsibility Toward the Apostolic Traditions?

      1.  Hold fast2 Ths. 2:15:  “To lay hold of, take, seize, to hold fast, not to discard or let go; to keep carefully & faithfully” (Thayer, 359).

      2.  Walk in them2 Ths. 3:6 (cf. 1 Cor. 11:2:  “keep”).



   A.  By Being People of the Book!

      1.  When Bible is ignored/minimized by lack of use, etc. - Human traditions will arise!  (Hos. 4:6)

         -Illustration:  William Poteet wrote in The Pentecostal Minister how in 1903 the Russian Czar noticed a sentry posted for no apparent reason on the Kremlin grounds. Upon inquiry, he discovered that in 1776 Catherine the Great found there the first flower of spring.  “Post a sentry here,” she commanded, “so that no one tramples that flower under foot!” Some traditions die hard.  (Leadership, Summer, 1989, p. 43; from

      2.  2 Tim. 2:15 - Protection obtained by diligent study & use.

      3.  Jude 3 - Contend for the faith:  Essential to prevent perversion of it.

   B.  By Not Thinking of Men More Highly Than We Ought - 1 Cor. 4:6.

      1.  “...the ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written….” (KJV)

      2.  Prominent preachers, close friends, parents & family:  Apostolic traditions must prevail above all these considerations!

   C.  By Continuing to Hold Fast the Apostolic Traditions – cf. Col. 2:6-8.

      1.  Grow in the faith.

      2.  Respect God’s truth as our only & final authority in serving Him!



1.  Some traditions are harmless.

2.  But, when they either add to, take from or replace God’s holy, apostolic traditions (NT), they must be rejected, opposed & guarded against.