Sound Doctrine

Written a few years ago.

  • Deuteronomy 32:1 Give ear, O ye heavens, and I will speak; and hear, O earth, the words of my mouth.
  • 2 My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distill as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass:

We live in a society today that stresses unity. The preaching of unity has also entered into the church for the sake of getting along to get along and not have different denominations warring and fighting. It is kind of nice in one way because we Pentecostals are accepted by the mainstream denominations now and are no longer considered to be outcasts from the wrong side of the tracks like we once were.

Except for a few fundamental churches, we are now accepted by most other faiths including Roman Catholics.  It is really great to at last be accepted by the main stream and part of the crowd.  No longer are we considered weird and strange. 

Well, is this good or bad?

We hear of the Promise Keepers, Evangelicals and Catholics together, peace plans and the some ecumenical movements going on it today's world to unite churches and cause us to do more things together and hopefully to love one another. By the way, even the World Council of Churches has opened their arms to the Pentecostals.

Perhaps they see the large exit of people from mainline denominations flocking to the Pentecostal/Charismatic mega churches and they see also the tithes and offerings going with it. Who knows?  We don't know why all the sudden we are embraced when we were once spoken evil against almost constantly. One only has to search old newspapers around the time of the Azusa Street Revival to see how we were viewed at that time.

Well again, I ask the question is this new love one another, accept one another good or bad? Is this leading up to a worldwide religion with a new world leader that we in the past have been taught is the Anti-Christ or is this the fulfillment of what Jesus desired when we asked us to be one as He and His Father were one?

Sometimes we see new things coming into our churches that our leaders in the past would have thrown out before it could enter the doors. To us who grew up in the old ways, it can get mighty confusing at times. Which church leaders do we follow after; the old ones or the new ones that are bringing so much change it is hard to understand or accept especially in the light of the scriptures where Jesus said over and over again, "Take heed that no man deceive you."  "Many shall come in my name, saying I'm am Christ and shall deceive many."  Some, He said would attempt to deceive the very elect. 

Scary stuff when we see stuff coming into the churches our church elders use to say was sin. 

Actually we never have to be confused about these things if we search the scriptures and refuse to forsake sound doctrine. If we listen to the Lord and search His word, His doctrine shall drop like rain upon a thirsty soul seeking Him for direction.

In Proverbs 4 we read:

  • Proverbs 4:1 Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding.
  • 2 For I give you good doctrine, forsake ye not my law.
  • 3 For I was my father's son, tender and only beloved in the sight of my mother.
  • 4 He taught me also, and said unto me, Let thine heart retain my words: keep my commandments, and live.
  • 5 Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth.
  • 6 Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee: love her, and she shall keep thee.

Then in Isaiah we read:

  • Isaiah 28:9 Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts.
  • 10 For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:
  • 11 For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people.
  • 12 To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear.

I'm so thankful God provided us with a written word to guide our steps in the right direction.

  • John 8:31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
  • 32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

How do we know what the truth is?

Jesus said that if we continue in His word, we are His disciples and we shall know the truth. The word is available now to all of us. It is sold in every bookstore and it is in all libraries across the country. We are not only to read the word but to continue in the word, thereby becoming knowledgeable of the word and the truth.

Jesus also said:

  • John 7:16 Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.
  • 17 If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.

Doing the Lord's will is another way to know of the doctrine whether it be of God, or whether He (speaking of Jesus) is speaking of himself. In our day we can understand this to mean if we do the Lord's will, we shall also know whether someone who is speaking is speaking the word of God or the word of himself. How do we know the will of God? By studying His word and continuing it that same word.

Jesus said His sheep shall know His voice. Sheep follow their master and they do not know the voice of a stranger. We only have one master and that is the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the true head of the church. He is the one with the authority over the church.

  • Act 2:41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.
  • 42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

The early church under the leadership of the apostles received the word that was preached to them and many were added to the kingdom of God and then they continued in the apostle's doctrine and fellowship, praying always and doing the will of God. They had true unity of spirit and of truth.

God gave us two helps after Jesus left the disciples to go back with His Father. One helper was the Holy Spirit that abides within us to teach, to guide, and to convict, to correct and to cause true biblical unity build upon sound doctrine. The other helper was the written word. The Holy Spirit will not contradict the written word. He will not add to it or take away from it.

God also gives us helpers that can teach, instruct, exhort but those helpers have to be first filled with the spirit of God and give full attention to the written word of God. We must continue in the sound doctrine of God's word in order to have true unity.

Any other kind of unity that causes us to go along to get along glossing over sound doctrine and replacing it with a watered down doctrine that brings no correction, conviction of sin or true born again salvation in order not to offend, is a false unity. Any unity that embraces the world around us, adopts worldly methods to draw crowds and makes us more acceptable to the world around us is a false unity. It is impossible to be accepted by God and accepted by the world at the same time. We have to choose one or the other.

  • Romans 6:16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?
  • 17 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 you.
  • 18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.
  • 19 I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.
  • 20 For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.
  • 21 What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death.
  • 22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.
  • 23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

We will end up going to the same place that the one we follow is going. If we follow Satan we will go where he is going. If we follow Christ, we will go where He is. That is the simple gospel. It can't get any plainer than that. Follow Christ.

Following Christ will also be following and living by the doctrine that He taught. Jesus said that if anyone love Him they will keep His words and His Father will love Him and come to abide within Him. If we love Him we will keep His commandments. If we love Him, we will abide in Him and keep His words. Jesus said that anyone that loves Him not, keeps not His sayings. So which kind of person are we going to be? Let us follow Christ not man or not men (woman) who say they represent Christ but are rejecting the doctrine of Christ. Sound doctrine goes along with the true gospel of Jesus Christ. They cannot be separated.

When we speak out against things we see coming into our churches that seem to be contrary to the sound doctrine of the word, some accuse us of being nit pickers, trouble makers and those that cause division. So let us read the words about divisions.

  • Romans 16:17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.
  • 18 For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.

Yes the bible warns against the trouble makers that cause division but notice it says the divisions and offenses are contrary to sound doctrine. There are two ways to cause division. One way is to try to add to the doctrine of truth by making commandments that God did not make, cover and hide the true salvation message by rituals, commandments of men, ordinances, rules and regulations that substitute the gospel of Jesus Christ with another gospel that does not save.

Another way to cause division is to water down the gospel, mix with the world and seek to gain large crowds. It is the ones that forsake sound doctrine that are causing the division not the ones fighting to contend for the faith once delivered to the saints.

Sometimes if we don't go along to get along and do things that appeal to the youth for instance, we may be accused of despising the youth. I will read that passage:

  • 1Timothy 4:12 Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.
  • 13 Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.
  • 14 Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.
  • 15 Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.
  • 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.

Let us not quote verse 12 and leave off verse 13 to 16. Concerning the youth, we are to be an example in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith and in purity. Does this say we are to do all the things they want to do and bring things in the church that appeal to the youth even though it is contrary to sound doctrine? NO.

We are to give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. We are to continue in them in order to not only save ourselves but the youth that will hear us as well.

This doesn't say that we are to bring in fun and games, rock music and foolishness in order to entertain or attract the youth. This says the very opposite. Being an example in word, in conversation (How we talk as well as how we live), in charity (Godly love), in faith and purity.

  • 1Timothy 6:3 If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness;
  • 4 He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings.
  • 5 Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.
  • 6 But godliness with contentment is great gain.

Godliness is part of the sound doctrine taught in the word. Godliness is the very opposite of what some may be bringing into the churches under the banner of unity. We cannot forsake the doctrine of Christ and please the world around us at the same time. Let us not copycat other churches, let us seek the guidance of the teacher, (The Holy Spirit) and the written word of God.

I heard a few weeks ago, of someone who found fault with a local church. This person who wasn't even considered to be what we would call a born again Christian, was offended because she thought that particular church had forsaken the right way and was into a lot of foolishness. She used the word sacrilegious. Sacrilegious means to misuse sacred things in an ungodly manner or not having respect for God or His holiness.

It seems a shame when someone who isn't even one who regularly attends a congregation of believers, begins to point out faults in a church that is supposed to stand for holy living and respect for God. If we are going to be criticized as a biblical full gospel church, let's at least be criticized for doing good instead of doing evil.

  • 1Peter 4:14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the Spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.
  • 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men's matters.
  • 16 Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.
  • 17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
  • 18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?

Let's not let our unsaved neighbors see us doing things that bring reproach upon the gospel we represent by being a busybody, gossiping, criticizing one another unjustly, warring, fighting, living contrary to the sound doctrine of the word or using our believer's meetings for a lot of stupid nonsense. Let our speech be always with grace seasoned with salt so that we are ready to be able to lead people to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. We have to be careful that the things we do does not cover up, water down or distract from the gospel of Jesus Christ and sound doctrine.

  • 2Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
  • 17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

My heart rejoices to see how God provides so much help from the written word.

  • 2Timothy 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.

Think about verse 3:16 of 2 Timothy. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God. Doctrine, correction, instruction. What a blessing to receive this.

  • Titus 2:1 But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine:

We not only read it but speak it.

  • Titus 2:10 Not purloining, but showing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things.
  • 11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
  • 12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
  • 13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ;

Abiding in the God's word and living by it means we have both the Father and the Son abiding within us.

  • 2John 1:9 Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.

Let us be careful about following after every fad, gimmick and thing that comes down the church pike in the name of winning souls. The Holy Spirit is the only one that can win a soul to Christ. If someone thinks up a method and claims it will bring people to Christ, we do not have to blindly follow them; we too have the Holy Spirit. Let's wait on Him to bring that witness to our spirit that what they are doing and bringing in the church is of God. If our spirit does not bear witness, it is okay not to go along with everything that comes along until our spirit does bear witness.

The Holy Spirit is the one to bring true unity. We do not have to be afraid to search the scriptures, wait for the Holy Spirit to bear witness and ask questions.

We do not want to settle for a false unity that goes along to get along. If Martin Luther had not have complained about church leadership and the things going on in the church of that day, there would never have been any Protestant movement unless someone else paved the way.

If John Wesley had not have preached holiness and a changed life after true conversion, we might still be in a dead Protestant religion that has no power.

It is okay to question church leadership if church leadership is starting to stray from the sound doctrine of the word of God. Martin Luther did, John Huss, John Wycliffe, William Tyndale, Richard Spurling, and even Jesus Christ preached against errant religious leadership that existed in their day.

Now we have people saying, "Touch not mine anointed and do my prophets no harm" if we dare question things in the church that appear to be a little ungodly.

Search those scriptures also for those words are in reference to King David refusing to touch God's anointed who was King Saul even though King Saul was backslidden. He refused to lay a hand upon Saul and harm him physically but David did confront Saul because of his sin. He stood up to Saul when he thought Saul was in the wrong.

Let us not misuse the scriptures and think we must go along with ungodly leadership whether it is secular leadership or church leadership. If leadership goes wrong we must keep following Christ and following sound doctrine.

Yet I will close this message with the words I heard Colin Carter preach once: "Have discernment but with the heart of God."

While we must stand for the truth and contend for the faith once delivered to the saints, we still must love one another using gentleness and kindness, not evil speaking when dealing with error. We must not use the precious word of God as a club to nitpick and find fault with trivial things that is not worth fusing about. At the same time we must not get away from seeking and trusting the Holy Spirit to teach us and bear witness to all truth. We must trust in His leadership above all leadership.

Remember to trust in His leadership does not mean that we trust in someone else's claim to being led by the spirit. Let's wait for God to bring that witness to our spirit before following a new fad or gimmick. If the spirit does not bear witness, then we don't have to give support to any new thing that comes along.

That doesn't mean we badmouth and despise the ones bringing in the new things but we can ask questions, pray and speak out when we think something may be a mistake yet in the spirit of meekness and love, not "Holier than thou." There is a right way and a wrong way to show disagreement.

Balance is badly needed and a return to trusting in the leadership of the Holy Spirit. That is why God sent Him when Jesus returned to the Father. Let"s wait for the true unity of spirit and of truth and not settle for a false unity that pretends to love and go along to get along. Wait on the Lord and He will direct our paths. -Dorna Chambers

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