DOCTRINE IS GOOD 9-7-97am/pm 3-16-14AM
"Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding. For I give you good doctrine, forsake ye not my law." Proverbs 4:1‑2
We have come to the place today where in many churches sound doctrine is no longer important. There was a time when hard and fast lines were drawn between people and denominations on the basis of their particular doctrinal views and those lines were not crossed.
The popular thing today has been to replace concern for sound doctrine, which is commonly viewed as a boring endeavor, with something more appealing to our lazy flesh. In some places it is worldly sounding music with limp lyrics and amateur skits instead hymns of the faith and strong preaching. In many circles it doesn't matter what you believe doctrinally, as long as you have "a personal relationship with Jesus Christ." If you believe in Jesus you’re a-okay!
We need to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, but to emphasize this at the expense of correct doctrine makes for a immature relationship. A viable relationship with Jesus Christ must be based upon the teachings of Scripture.
This is an age when popular ministers of mega churches, or heads of denominations are telling us that doctrine is not important and that it doesn't so much matter what we believe so long as we are sincere.
However, doctrine IS important to God and it DOES make a difference what we believe. Consider 2 John 9, "Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, bath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he bath both the Father and the Son". This does not sound like he is advocating a "doctrineless" Christianity. Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Hindus, Moslems are sincere, but sincerely wrong. Sincerity does not make ones beliefs true.
This thing of "we're all working for or going to the same place anyway, we just have different routes to get there" is shameful. It's like me being headed for Cincinnati and passing a friend on the highway going the opposite direction. I give him a call on the cell phone to ask him where he's headed. He says, Cincinnati. I say, I hate to tell you this, but Cincinnati=s the other way. He replies, Oh well, it doesn't matter, we're both aiming for the same place anyway." You can't both end up at the same place if you're headed in opposite directions on the wrong road. Prov 16:25There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”
When praying for His disciples in John 17:1 Jesus prayed, "Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth." The Word of God is absolute truth, meaning that it is free from imperfection, it's perfect. The Word of God is the standard by which all that is called truth is to be measured.
I. There is an ever increading need for Proclaiming Bible Doctrine from our Independent Baptist Pulpits.
The Lord Jesus was interested in doctrine during his three year ministry on earth and said much about it. He preached and taught doctrine. After His "Sermon on the Mount" in Matthew 5, 6, and 7, the Bible says, "And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine." In Matt 22:33 we read, "And when the multitude heard this, they were astonished (Gr. amazed) at his doctrine (Gr. instruction)." On yet another occasion in Mark 1:22 we read, "And they were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes." Mark 4:2 says, "And he taught them many things by parables, and said unto them in his doctrine, Hearken….."
Preaching doctrine is giving out Biblical instructions to our church members. Paul preached doctrine and encouraged others to do the same. He told Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:2 to, "Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine." Notice it doesn’t say do “skits” or use “religious dance.” The preaching may be hard with reproof and the doctrine may be strong with zeal, but we are told to do it.
Titus was also exhortation to proclaim sound doctrine. In Titus 2:1 Paul said, "But speak thou the things which become sound (Gr.mns. uncorrupt, safe, wholesome) doctrine." This innately means the preaching of foolish stuff that doesn’t edify the church or that is not designed to be safe and wholesome to the hearers, has NO place in church. Like my wife often says when hearing preachers on TV, “I wish he’d quit the nonsense and foolishness and just stick to preaching the Bible!”
II. There is also a GREAT need for LAZY church MEMBERS to Understand the Doctrines of the Faith of their church which is the pillar and ground of the truth. (1 Tim 3:15)
Peter tells us why it is important to have a good understanding of doctrine. He wrote in 1 Peter 3:15, "But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear."
Concerning Biblical truth, every believer needs to defend intelligently, with the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God (Eph 6.17), why he is a believer
The church edifies him with the truth which should enable believers who attend faithfully to satisfy the sincere inquirer that the Bible is indeed a revelation from God and as there is NO OTHER source which claims to be that, the Bible then is ones only hope to know there is a Savior from our sins, and a place of eternal bliss once this life is over.
However, the average church member across this nation knows very little about the faith he professes. Most people simply cannot tell you why they believe what they believe. In fact, many cannot even tell you what they believe, and the really sad thing is, it is getting worse, not better.
Here’s the manner in which we are to defend our Biblical position. It is to be done "with meekness and fear." Meekness does not mean that we are to be apprehensive and restrained or that we are to be afraid when people ask us what we believe and why. It means that we are to have a humble spirit in answering. We must not appear self righteous, obnoxious, overbearing, arrogant or mean‑spirited when defending our Baptist Bible doctrine.
We must not appear to waver or question our defense of the Gospel or appear apologetic for it, but be dogmatic and stand firm when our dogmatism is sincere. Any of us who are passionate about a matter should be dogmatic in defending it.
The formula for learning and then teaching doctrine in Isaiah 28:9‑10, is "precept upon precept, line upon line, here a little, and there a little." Those of us who proclaim doctrine must take into account the level of maturity of our hearers. If we fail to do this, the babes in Christ can be weighed down by the complicated process of establishing a solid Biblical doctrinal foundation which they can stand on and eventually defend.
III. Maintaining Doctrine is yet another need that must be addressed.
In 1 Timothy 4, Paul stresses the importance of maintaining right doctrine. In his words to young Timothy, Paul warned, "Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy: having their conscience seared with a hot iron;" (vs1‑2).
He also wrote, "If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine whereunto thou host attained" (1Timothy 4:6).
Paul closes out first Timothy chapter 4 with some sound advice to all those responsible for maintaining sound doctrine ‑"Till I come, give attendance…. to doctrine. Neglect not the gift that is in thee ….. meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save (Gr. deliver, protect) thyself, and them that hear thee" (1 Tim 4:13-16).
IV. There is a need for us Baptists to start Living the Doctrine we profess to believe. This is perhaps our greatest shortcoming in 2014. Are we even trying to live up to the divine standards? Does our doctrinal belief system keep us faithful to our church? Tithing our income? Witnessing? Serving? Growing? If not, we either need to get saved, or we need REVIVAL. Which is it?
You see if our doctrine has not changed our lives for the better, it probably hasn’t changed our destiny either. The practical worth of any doctrine shows its value only IF it is seen in our words, actions and hopes.
For example, consider the doctrine concerning the return of the Lord for the rapture of His saints. This doctrine ought to be one of the greatest incentives to righteous and godly living in this present evil world. It ought to compel us to be doing everything we can to reach the lost before Jesus calls us home. The problem for many is that this is merely a doctrine of the head and not their heart. When the doctrine of the imminent return of Christ becomes imbedded in our hearts, it will effectively change our lives for the better.
By nature, doctrine is Divisive. The apostles were accused in Acts 5 of filling Jerusalem with their doctrine. In this instance, doctrine proved to be very divisive. When it comes right down to it, it was doctrine that divided Christ and the religious leaders of His day. Para church groups don't hold to much doctrine because it is divisive. There is no way that they would be able to bring all the denominations together if they adhered to strict principles concerning Biblical doctrine. People will say, "Well I don't want to get hung up on doctrine."
However, holding to some kind of doctrine is unavoidable. The doctrine that teaches that doctrine is not important is a doctrine in itself; the same as a non-denomination church is actually a denomination!
When we preach that there is one body, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God as Paul did in Ephesians 4, we're going to be divisive. When we quote the words of Jesus found in John 14:6 where He said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me", we're going to be divisive.
When we preach that the Bible is the perfect, pure, inerrant, infallible, unchanging Word of God preserved in the King James version, we're going to be divisive. When we preach that the Lord's Supper is a local church ordinance to be observed by the members of that local church only, we're going to be divisive.
Doctrine is not only divisive, but is also Definitive. Our doctrine defines us and our core beliefs. The Bible speaks of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. The Bible speaks of the "doctrines of men." Paul mentions the "doctrines of devils." The Bible speaks of the "apostles' doctrine." Paul also mentions the "doctrine of God." In Hebrews we find the "doctrine of Christ." There's the "doctrine of Balaam" mentioned in the book of Revelation as well as "the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes."
The Bible speaks of "His" doctrine, speaking of the Lord Jesus Christ. In reality however, Jesus Himself said in John 7:16, "My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me."
Our doctrine defines us as either Liberal or Conservative; Catholic, Protestant, Baptist; Modernist, Fundamentalist; Charismatic and the list continues of the labels that men will pin on us because of our doctrine.
Doctrine can also be considered as Regenerative.
Romans 6:17 says, "But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered unto you. " The Romans had been saved and set free from the bondage of sin by the preaching of doctrine of the Gospel. So what does this say about those who refuse to preach doctrine on Sunday morning?
Titus 1:9 teaches us that by nature, doctrine is intended to be Persuasive. Paul wrote, "Holding fast the faithful word as he bath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers."
Two methods of persuasion are mentioned here. The first is exhortation. This is when people know the truth, but need some encouragement to follow it.
The second method is to convince. This is a stronger word which means to "confute" or “to overwhelm by the strength of argument." This was exactly what Paul did, Acts 17:2 And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned (Gr. to say thoroughly, discuss in argument or exhortation) with them out of the scriptures.”
With the rise of groups outside of the local church it is obvious that doctrine has been relegated to a position of non-importance. However, parachurch groups are not the cause of neglected doctrine, they are the result.
Paul said 1 Timothy 4:16, "Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee." Had pastors and teachers just a few decades ago followed Paul's advise, they could have saved themselves, and their churches from becoming involved in unscriptural organizations, splits, factions. If we are grounded in the doctrines of the local church, it will not be tempting to become involved in ecumenical practices.
There are several reasons why Bible doctrine is neglected in many churches today.
1. Some neglect doctrine because they view it as Intimidating. Afraid of how it will change them.
2. Some view it as Irrelevant. It doesn=t fit todays problems so many centuries after the fact.
3. While others view it as being Insensitive towards those of other "faiths." Dogmatic doctrinal positions make other denominations with differing doctrines feel threatened and call us bigoted. But that=s why the Jews killed Jesus!
But right doctrine is INVALUABLE if we aim to please the Lord. The diligent searching of Bible truth for our personal growth in the knowledge of God’s word needs to be a part of our practical goals.
The foolishness of neglecting doctrine can be illustrated by choosing a doctor. Which would you pick, one who never had any use for a medical school, or one who was guided by collective effective medical practices? One who wanted to experiment on you, or one who treated you with experience? Which brain surgeon do you want opening up your head, the one who decides what he=ll do once he gets in there, or one who knows what to do before he begins?
What's going to happen at the end of life when it comes time to take the final test. Will Jesus be able to say Athou hast been faithful over a few things...@ Will he view our church as Awithout spot or wrinkle?@
We are foolish to ignore the instructions of the Bible. We will be judged accordingly and we can lose rewards because we were not faithful and responsible in following it. John 12:48 He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.”
God's word does restrict our behavior, but it also gives us cover from future judgment. We achieve maturity in the faith only when Jesus doctrine is in control.
The parent of a kid who brings home a failing report card knows one thing for sure, the kid is not cheating! The one final judgment seat of Jesus Christ will determine if we cheated on life=s greatest test of faith and obedience.
In closing listen to some Biblical admonitions about doctrine: (2 Tim 3:10) "But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience,"
(2 Tim 3:16) "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:" (2 Tim 4:2) "Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine." (2 Tim 4:3) "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;"
(Titus 1:9) "Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers." (Titus 2:1) "But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine:" (Titus 2:7) "In all things showing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine showing uncorruptness, gravity (depth), sincerity," (Titus 2:10) "Not purloining, but showing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things."
(Heb 6:1) "Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,"
I find in the teachings of Jesus many things Ahard to be understood.@ I say, even his parables are sometimes deep enough to be often grossly misinterpreted.
The Bible isn=t always an easy book to follow. It is profound, but beautiful, deep but challenging, eloquent but often simple. And it builds us up, once we allow it to tear us down, it creates life in us, once we allow it to destroy our hiding places, it guides us along once we admit that we have lost our way.
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Revelation 11:17 "Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned."
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