Doctrine matters. The dire need for sound Biblical teaching. The Bible is an absolute authority. We are called to receive and stand fast for these vital truths.
1 Timothy 4:1
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.
2 Timothy 4:2-4
(2) Preach THE WORD; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort WITH ALL LONGSUFFERING AND DOCTRINE.
(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;
(4) And THEY SHALL TURN AWAY THEIR EARS FROM THE TRUTH, and shall be TURNED UNTO FABLES.
The Bible speaks much about DOCTRINE.
God says that in the latter times there will be DOCTRINES of DEVILS. Diabolical teachings.
It is a time when people will not endure SOUND DOCTRINE.
We desperately need GOOD, SOUND DOCTRINE.
Our Lord forewarns of A TIME OF…
- FALLING AWAY
- Great DECEPTION
And this will be THE HALLMARK of THE LAST DAYS, THE LATTER TIMES.
APOSTASY means a REBELLION, a DEFIANCE of an established SYSTEM or AUTHORITY, a BREACH OF FAITH.
It means GOING ASTRAY from the true teachings of the Bible.
In the Bible we are warned that true church will have to guard against WOLVES…
- False PROPHETS and TEACHERS
- False TEACHING
- A False GOSPEL
We are WARNED about…
- Damnable heresies
- Dangerous, unbiblical teachings.
We ought to TAKE HEED of these WARNINGS.
The Word tells of a spirit of TRUTH and a spirit of ERROR…
1 John 4:1
Beloved, BELIEVE NOT EVERY SPIRIT, but TRY THE SPIRITS whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
These are dangerous days in which we live. We need to search out and find BIBLICAL Christianity.
We must search out the Bible for the truth… As did the Bereans…
These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that THEY RECEIVED THE WORD with ALL READINESS OF MIND, and SEARCHED THE SCRIPTURES DAILY, whether those things were so.
It is vital for us that we TEST EVERYTHING by SOUND DOCTRINE.
1 Thessalonians 5:21
PROVE all things; HOLD FAST that which is GOOD.
Fact is, there are TWO KINDS OF DOCTRINE.
SOUND DOCTRINE or SICK DOCTRINE.
SOUND DOCTRINE means WHOLESOME, HEALTHY DOCTRINE. It is THE OPPOSITE of UNHEALTHY, or SICK DOCTRINE.
It is important that we learn how to DISTINGUISH between the two – how to DISCERN between FALSE doctrine and TRUE.
We need to DISCERN THE DIFFERENCE Between SOUND doctrine and SICK doctrine.
Many these days are sadly BIBLICALLY ILLITERATE and they are easy prey to false teachers and teaching.
The church has been dumbed down for too long. DOCTRINE has been long neglected.
And so we see FALSE TEACHERS running rampant. Many of the popular TV preachers today, who are making merchandise of people, just as the Bible said would happen, in 2 Peter 2:3.
The antidote for the SICK CHURCH is SOUND DOCTRINE.
It boils down to a need for the WORD OF GOD
- We need the Word to DISCERN
- We need the Word for NOURISHMENT
- We need the Word to bring true FREEDOM.
Ye shall KNOW THE TRUTH, and THE TRUTH SHALL MAKE YOU FREE.
We are called to OBEY the BIBLE.
Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye CONTINUE in MY WORD, then are ye my disciples indeed.
This is where the question needs to start…
THE BIBLE. Our ONE TRUE SOURCE OF AUTHORITY is THE SCRIPTURES…
Our AUTHORITY is not set by…
- The changing views of what people might think is a good idea…
- Not what is popular at the time
- Not what people want
- Not what the Pope says
We know WHAT IS TRUE
BY SEARCHING THE SCRIPTURES.
There are FALSE SOURCES OF AUTHORITY…
- Human PHILOSOPHY
- Human TRADITION
- Human FEELINGS and EMOTIONS
- Human REASONING
Such things are INCONSISTENT and CHANGEABLE. We need to watch out for false teachings and false teachers.
2 Peter 2:1 says,
…there shall be false teachers among you…
AS A CHURCH we want to stand FOR SOME THINGS.
We have GOD’S SOURCE OF AUTHORITY.
We stand for THE BOOK, God’s Holy Word, faithfully translated for us in the King James Bible. We believe EVERY WORD OF GOD IS PURE.
THE BIBLE shows us what’s RIGHT and WRONG, what’s FALSE and what’s TRUE.
THE BIBLE is our PERFECT, PURE, INFALLIBLE STANDARD for JUDGING things and DISCERNING TRUTH from ERROR.
As a church we stand FOR CHRIST and His blessed soul saving GOSPEL of eternal salvation.
We stand for EVERY SOUND DOCTRINE that is TAUGHT in GOD’S HOLY WORD.
We stand FOR THE NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH that was founded by Christ and established by the Apostles, and we are a part of it.
We stand for THE PREACHING OF THE GOSPEL to the ends of the earth, the baptism and discipleship of the saved, and the establishment of sound churches.
We stand for a church where there is A SPIRIT OF REVERENCE AND GODLINESS IN THE WORSHIP AND ADORATION OF OUR LORD.
We stand WITH OTHER MEN OF GOD throughout the world WHO LOVE GOD’S WORD and who are STANDING IN ITS DEFENCE IN THESE EVIL TIMES.
We stand for TRUE CHRISTIAN HOMES with SWEET GODLY WIVES and CARING, PROVIDING HUSBANDS.
We need to be men and women of THE WORD. Men and women of the WORD who STAND FOR some things.
We now have THE PERFECT REVELATION. That which was in part have been done away.
Sadly many have erred in following after supposed visions and so-called special revelations, and special truths, such as those of Muhammad, and Joseph Smith, and Ellen G. White and Kenneth Copeland and the faith prosperity preachers, men and women. For all their talk of visions and new revelations they are truly the blind leading the blind.
We don’t need some latter day apostles and prophets, imposters, charlatans and frauds. It is through the LENS of the BIBLE that we can see the truth clearly.
This is OUR AUTHORITY. What we need is God’s Word and strong teaching. Hard preaching. Faithful faith building ministry.
We need sound doctrine, healthy doctrine, correct doctrine.
An important principle is SEPARATION.
And we can illustrate this by thinking of the church as being THE BREAD. A batch of dough, of bread. And false doctrine speaks of LEAVEN or yeast.
We don’t want to FRATERNISE with the enemy, and be guilty of TREASON. It is clear that the Bible requires SEPARATION from ERROR.
1 Corinthians 5:6 tells how a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump… Purge out therefore the old leaven.
The Bible speaks of the leaven of sin, and the leaven of error. It is just a little bit some would say. Paul says PURGE IT OUT. DON’T TOLERATE IT.
TRUTH is more important than UNITY.
SEPARATION is not CONTRARY to, but is CONSISTENT with CHRISTIAN LOVE.
Some people these days want to tune into fanciful stories of people’s dreams and visions yet they are ignorant of Biblical truths. People would rather tune into extra-biblical revelation than into the more sure word of prophecy. No wonder we are in so much trouble.
In many quarters manmade feel good philosophies and schemes have replaced diligent Bible study.
And people try and justify this. It’s as if there is nothing ‘black and white’. As if there’s nothing we can STAND FOR any more.
Nobody cares any more about what is true. You might even get called judgmental if you dare to speak up, and challenge things.
But DAVID said, ‘Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I HATE EVERY FALSE WAY’ (Psalm 119:128). That was quite strong. David was very black and white here.
ISAIAH said, ‘To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them’ (Isaiah 8:20). Isaiah was quite black and white in what he said.
Our Lord Jesus Himself saw things as black and white, right and wrong. There was no mistaking this. Also with the bold men, Peter, James, and Jude, they were black and white. They made a distinction between right and wrong, a clear cut discernment of truth and error.
Nowadays, A SPIRIT OF COMPROMISE has overtaken the church. Some say we have to just blend together with all kinds of churches and para church movements, for us to grow a church. Just follow the crowd. Most churches just go with the flow.
BUT there is a real danger of just DRIFTING ALONG, just as a boat floating peacefully down towards the rapids while its passengers sleepily enjoy the ride.
Church growth gurus are teaching pastors and churches to just embrace contemporary culture and styles. Churches become some kind of hodgepodge smorgasbord of whatever people fancy at the time, rather than sound gospel preaching and teaching so people will grow strong in their faith. Churches all over the world are falling like dominoes to this trend.
It’s just not cool and trendy these days to follow the Biblical mandate that says to earnestly contend for the faith and separate from error.
I say, enough’s enough.
In a day of compromise, it’s about time we stood for something.
AS A CHURCH we want to stand FOR SOME THINGS. We STAND FOR what is godly and true.
We are meant to be BREAD, unleavened bread. The LEAVEN has to be removed.
Paul tells how FALSE DOCTRINE SPREADS LIKE A CANCER, in 2 Timothy 2:16-18, breeding UNGODLINESS. It ACTS LIKE GANGRENE.
Gangrene is ‘a disease by which any part of the body suffering from inflammation becomes so corrupted that, unless a remedy be seasonably applied, the evil continually spreads, attacks other parts, and at last eats away the bones’.
It CANNOT be TOLERATED. Like CANCER in a human body. We MUST CUT IT OUT.
For us to have real, genuine revival, we must have A PURGING OUT of IMPURITY.
TRUE REVIVAL comes only when the church through the Spirit of God returns to the study of God’s Word. This is God’s will for us to be solid, and grounded, and to grow in our faith…
(14) That we 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;
(15) But speaking the truth in love, may GROW UP INTO HIM IN ALL THINGS, which is the head, even Christ.
Another important principle is PURITY.
God is BUILDING HIS CHURCH…
And the church is pictured as THE BRIDE of Christ.
It is God’s design that His church be…
- A PURE CHURCH
- A glorious church
- A pure, spotless bride.
We must let go of spiritual compromise.
We must guard the PURITY of God’s church.
False teaching must be EXPOSED and CONDEMNED.
When FALSE DOCTRINE is TOLERATED, then TRUTH is TRAMPLED in the streets.
The prophets stedfastly condemned false doctrine. Our Lord condemned the false doctrine of the Scribes and Pharisees in the strongest language. Paul said of those who brought any other gospel, “let him be accursed.”
We stand for the glory of God when we condemn doctrines that deny God and His salvation. We love God when we hate false doctrine. The apostles of the Lord exhorted the church to separate from those who do not receive sound doctrine, to discipline and reject heretics, and to not to receive into her fellowship anyone who does not receive the truth.
We must be on guard and protect this pure bride, lest she lose her purity.
As God’s people, as preachers we are called to be on guard against the danger of a distorted message.
Many will want to distort the Gospel message, to…
- Please men
Yet God’s word is PURE.
Many ADULTERATE it today.
We read that some in Paul’s day sought to CORRUPT the Word of God.
They will DISTORT it and TWIST it.
We are called to BOLDNESS in proclaiming the Word of God.
This is ABSOLUTE TRUTH and we can be ABSOLUTELY CONFIDENT in its message.
We are NOT ASHAMED of the Gospel message (Romans 1:16; 2 Timothy 1:8).
FALSE TEACHING occurs when truth, at least in part, is missing.
I pray that we will be a truly Christ-exalting, biblically-sound, spiritually-healthy, properly-discipled, discipline-practicing, well-trained church for the glory of Christ and the blessing of souls.
That we would have genuine zeal for a forthright defense of the faith. That we would be militant for the truth, for truth and against error. Committed to living in biblical discipleship.
We must PROTECT THE CHURCH… From…
God’s church is described as ‘THE PILLAR AND GROUND OF THE TRUTH’.
We want to be a church that stands faithful, teaching and preaching God’s unchanging truth.
God is CALLING OUT A PEOPLE FOR HIS NAME.
Men and women of keen spiritual discernment and who are committed not to compromise
Men and women…
Who don’t look back and don’t quit.
THE BATTLE. The Battle that we are engaged in.
AS A CHURCH we want to stand AGAINST SOME THINGS. It’s a BATTLE.
A BATTLE for TRUTH.
The battle lines have been drawn.
The battle is being waged on many fronts.
It has been said that there are what boils down to SIX MAJOR KINDS OF HERESIES in the Bible.
- Heresies about REVELATION – teachings that DISTORT, DENY, OR ADD TO SCRIPTURE in a way that leads people to destruction; FALSE CLAIMS TO APOSTOLIC OR PROPHETIC AUTHORITY. EXTRA-BIBLICAL REVELATION.
- Heresies about GOD — teachings that PROMOTE FALSE GODS OR IDOLATROUS DISTORTIONS OF THE TRUE GOD.
- Heresies about CHRIST — DENIALS OF HIS UNIQUE LORDSHIP, HIS GENUINE HUMANITY, HIS TRUE IDENTITY.
- Heresies about SALVATION — TEACHING LEGALISM OR LICENTIOUSNESS; DENYING THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST’S DEATH AND RESURRECTION; and so forth.
- Heresies about the CHURCH – DELIBERATE ATTEMPTS TO LEAD PEOPLE AWAY FROM THE FELLOWSHIP OF TRUE CHRISTIANS; UTTER REJECTION OF THE CHURCH.
- Heresies about the FUTURE – FALSE PREDICTIONS FOR WHICH DIVINE AUTHORITY IS CLAIMED; CLAIMS THAT CHRIST’S RETURN HAS TAKEN PLACE; AND THE LIKE.
The Word calls us to CONTENTION.
The Word demands that we CONTEND EARNESTLY – FOR the faith and – contend AGAINST error.
Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that YE SHOULD EARNESTLY CONTEND FOR THE FAITH which was once delivered unto the saints.
It is A SPIRITUAL BATTLE. The devil is bent on destroying the church through compromising her doctrinal foundation. Through all the history of church thousands of valiant men of God have fought great spiritual battles to maintain sound doctrine. Thousands have suffered and died for the cause of sound doctrine. We must continue in that great spiritual battle as churches unto the end of time. We fight for the glory of God. God Himself is our help and strength.
God’s people are called to A FIGHT for THE TRUTH. To a MILITANCY for the truth.
You are called to this fight.
This may be costly for you.
You may be mocked, labelled, and rejected.
THE FAITH is UNDER ATTACK.
And we are called to CONTEND for it.
We cannot TOLERATE FALSE DOCTRINE.
ERROR needs to be EXPOSED and REJECTED.
This is a spiritual conflict we are battling in.
1 John 4:6 tells of the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.
What is behind false religions, false teachers, false churches, false bibles, false doctrine is a sprit.
We should be diametrically opposed to falsehood in all its forms. Because it is the work of the spirit of error.
False doctrines are demonically driven.
False movements, such as the Pentecostal movement have behind them the spirit of error, and need to be rejected. They have been wrong from the outset. The spirit of error is behind them.
The Lord Jesus hates LUKEWARM CHRISTIANITY (Revelation 3:15-16). It makes Him violently sick.
SICK DOCTRINE makes the church sick and it makes God sick.
How we desperately need sound doctrine in this day!
We need to…
- Call out HERESY
- EXPOSE it, and
- SHUN it!
THE SIGNS are all around us.
We see that sound doctrine and Bible preaching has been REPLACED wholesale, with entertainment, fables, and showmanship. And a shallow gospel which is really no gospel at all. No wonder people fall prey to deceptions that abound in so called holy laughter and bizarre signs and wonders.
The cool preachers are saying that doctrine doesn’t matter. It’s a s if doctrine is a dirty word. It’s unloving, judgmental.
There’s a whole lot of talk about UNITY. People say, let’s all forget about our differences and just get together in some mishmash of faiths.
There is a blending and a push for a GLOBAL ECUMENICAL MOVEMENT. A one world church. YET ANOTHER SIGN OF THE END OF DAYS. The walls of separation are falling down. As many cosy up to the church of Rome. Yet walls are for safety. A city without walls is exposed and endangered. Separation is a divinely-ordained wall of spiritual protection against apostasy and the world.
Spurgeon said, ‘To pursue UNION at THE EXPENSE OF TRUTH is TREASON to the Lord Jesus.’
What we are witnessing is TREASON. People get shot for that in time of war. TREASON is the crime of betraying one’s country, especially by attempting to kill or overthrow the sovereign or government.
It’s as if we have joined hands with the devil and given up the fight. Indeed, we are FIGHTING AGAINST GOD.
As a preacher I am not here to meet your need, but to proclaim to you the ‘whole counsel of God’.
We’ve talked about the BIBLE, the lens through which we are to see the truth.
We’ve seen that we are engaged aggressively in a BATTLE for Truth; it is a spiritual conflict, a warfare against the spirit of error, in all its guises.
We see that the church is BREAD a lump, a batch of dough, and must be guarded against leaven through separation.
We see that the church is the BRIDE of Christ, intended to be pure and glorious.
We have started with the BIBLE, and I want to finish on that same note.
SOUND DOCTRINE will make us A STRONG Bible-believing, Bible-preaching CHURCH…
- Doctrine and true Christian living are linked
- Christian living is based on sound doctrine.
The church must stand upon THE UNCHANGEABLE FOUNDATION of the doctrine of Scripture.
We are called on to EXERCISE DISCERNMENT (1 Cor. 5:9-13; 14:29; 1 John 4:1). And the means for this is the BIBLE.
How do we discern TRUTH from ERROR?
SOUND DOCTRINE from UNSOUND DOCTRINE?
It is critical that we exercise discernment, so we can grow spiritually by prayer, fellowship with other Christians, and join in ministry to other Christians and to the lost, as well as doctrinal study… That we can grow in knowledge of the Bible, so we can better discern truth from error.
HOW are we to judge the truth or falsehood of a doctrine?
A preacher of old (Spurgeon) said that you can test it simply like this:
‘DOES IT GLORIFY GOD?’
If it be so it is TRUE.
‘DOES IT EXALT MAN?’
Then it must be FALSE.
There is a RIGHT JUDGMENT and a WRONG JUDGMENT.
Many verses command us to JUDGE RIGHTEOUS JUDGMENT (Luke 12:57; John 7:24; 1 Cor. 2:15).
There is RIGHTEOUS, RIGHTFUL JUDGMENT.
We are to judge preaching (1 Cor. 14:29), sin in the churches (1 Cor. 5:3), issues in the churches (1 Cor. 6:5), sin in our own lives (1 Cor. 11:31), false teachers (Mat. 7:15; Rom. 16:17), and spirits (1 John 4:1), etc.
How are we to DISCERN?
- THE BIBLE ALONE is our guide.
- Scripture has THE FINAL WORD for us.
We are called to…
- STUDY the Bible
- MEMORISE the Bible
- GROUND ourselves in sound doctrine
DOCTRINE IS IMPORTANT
True Christianity is BASED ON SOUND DOCTRINE.
What we believe should be ACCURATE, BIBLICAL.
When we check out teachers we must ask, do they regard the Bible as the absolutely infallible, unerring Word of God? Do they regard the Bible as the final authority in religious matters, or do they look to something else (their leaders, a modern prophet, another book, etc.) as an indispensable authority by which the Bible is interpreted?
True Christianity is KNOWING AND BELIEVING, CONFESSING AND LIVING BY THE TRUE DOCTRINE OF GOD.
When we test something we will want to ask, does the teaching line up with the teaching of AUTHENTIC, HISTORIC CHRISTIANITY? Or is it a comparatively LATTER DAY REVELATION?
Does it line up with ABSOLUTE BIBLICAL AUTHORITY?
God’s word alone is our source, not the words of men (2 Timothy 3:14-17; 2 Peter 1:19-21).
SOUND DOCTRINE is the truth of God…
About Christian living
Sound doctrine glorifies God, His truth and His salvation.
The zeal and devotion with which the church regards doctrine, reveals its love and devotion to the glory of God.
The church of Jesus Christ is called upon to maintain sound doctrine.
Sound doctrine can be known only through careful and diligent study of the Scriptures.
The Scriptures are clear and plain. They can be understood by every Spirit-filled child of God.
Compare Scripture with Scripture, through the careful consideration of the meaning of words and phrases in Scripture, and by the serious study of the great and central concepts of Scripture.
We need to know the meaning of great biblical truths as regeneration, justification, reconciliation, sanctification, etc.
Every believer needs to be equipped with sound doctrine for his own personal spiritual welfare as a Christian and for his calling as member of the church.
To be doctrinally ignorant is spiritually dangerous.
It leaves us open to the attacks of the devil and of evil men.
Doctrine can be rightly known only through the Spirit of God and in living communion with God.
As the church maintains sound doctrine she must walk in the Spirit and be filled with the Spirit. We have not yet rightly understood the doctrine of God until we understand this doctrine to be the personal and living, blessed truth of the God of our salvation.
The doctrine of God revealed in the Scriptures must fill the heart of the child of God and not only his mind.
Sound Doctrine prompts us to rejoice in, hope in, and glory in the wonderful and blessed God of our salvation.
Sound doctrine is maintained in the church of Jesus Christ through the faithful preaching of the Word. That preaching must teach God’s people sound doctrine.
God’s people need to be built up by the teaching of sound doctrine into maturity in the faith.
We learn doctrine through the preaching of the Word when we listen carefully and earnestly to the preaching of the Word.