DIVERS AND STRANGE DOCTRINES
Hebrews 13:9 Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein.
To get a full understanding of the lesson text, it is necessary to understand the preceding verse, which says: Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever. The spiritual leaders, referred to in verse 7, are the apostles, and other inspired disciples of Christ, who preached unto you the word of God - those that laid the foundation for the Christian dispensation through the body of Christ, His church. It was these chosen messengers of God that preached the gospel message of salvation, made available to the world through blood of Jesus Christ. It is their teaching, their faith, and their steadfastness that we are told to remember, respect, emulate, and follow in our lives as Christians.
To truly teach Jesus Christ as the Savior of the world, one must demonstrate His unchangeable nature. Jesus told of His eternal nature as having no beginning or ending. To the Jews that questioned Him, He told them that He existed before their father Abraham (See John 8:56-58). It was revealed to the apostle, John, that Jesus was Him which is, and which was, and which is to come (Rev. 1:4). By revelation Jesus said I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending (Rev. 1:8). It was in this revelation that the apostle, John, saw Jesus, and fell at His feet as dead. Notice how John was comforted and given assurance of the deity of Jesus. John wrote the He (Jesus) laid His right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive forevermore (Rev. 1:17-18). Indeed, Jesus Christ (is) the same yesterday, and today, and forever.
Here is our lesson. As Jesus is eternal and forever unchangeable, so is His gospel message of eternal salvation. The same message delivered on the Day of Pentecost, is the same message that is to be taught, believed, and obeyed today, and on every tomorrow in which the sun rises and sets. The plan of salvation devised in the mind of God from the beginning of time, is the same plan of salvation He offers to mankind today. The age in which the gospel of Christ is preached does not give rise to a different messages. Various messages of salvation are not offered to different ages, nationalities, or classes of people. Jesus Christ, and His message of salvation, have not changed in the past, nor will they be changed in future times.
However, the lesson text warns us of a problem that has existed, and will also exist forever: Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. Different doctrines - doctrines that were unknown, and foreign, to that which was spoken by the apostles on the Day of Pentecost can, if allowed to, carry a Christian away from the truth found in God's word. Paul warned the church at Ephesus that men would arise from their number speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them (Acts 20:30). The church at Corinth was warned of deceitful workers. Paul said they would profess to be messengers of Christ and ministers of righteousness. But instead they would, under the influence of Satan, pervert the gospel message of salvation (See 2 Cor. 11:12-15). The churches of Galatia were told that there was no other gospel than that taught by Jesus and His inspired disciples (See Gal. 1:7-8). Also, to the church at Ephesus, Paul wrote that they henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive (Eph. 4:14). They were warned even further that they must let no man deceive you with vain words (Eph. 5:6a). And finally, to further emphasize the importance of remaining faithful to the word of God, the apostle John tells all Christians to believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world (1 John 4:1).
That which was revealed on the Day of Pentecost, is the gospel message that God wants us to believe and obey today. It is as unchangeable as our Lord and Savior:Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever. The heart of every Christian is to steadfastly cling to the truths found in the word of God. The doctrines of men are transient, having no eternal benefit, just as the food we eat and the water we drink sustains us only from day to day. Even sacrifices offered during previous dispensations could not, forever, reconcile one to God. Divers and strange doctrines originate in the minds of men - they are changed by every whim of their imagination; they were different yesterday, are different today, will be different tomorrow, and forevermore. They are not profitable! Be not carried about by them!