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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Sound Doctrine

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

Sound – To be well, uncorrupt, wholesome.

If there is sound doctrine then of necessity everything that does not match sound doctrine is unsound doctrine. It is bad doctrine, corrupt and dangerous to the souls of men. This is a topic that is of utmost importance in our day. The ecumenical spirit abounds. We are encouraged to set aside our differences and just come together as one “body” in Christ. This itself is the doctrine of devils. For in such an arrangement truth suffers. It loses its ability to distinguish itself in the midst of false teaching. It is robbed of its authority to identify and rebuke error. It is compromised on the altar of unity and love.

We are continually challenged that unity and love are the most important aspects of Christianity. Those who do not know their Bibles can readily embrace this fuzzy, romantic, shallow theology. But for those of us who read our Bibles, study our Bibles, and believe our Bibles we know that true love does not compromise truth for anyone, and true unity is only achieved in the context of truth. The ecumenical spirit is the spirit of compromise. It is the spirit that forbids us to exercise discernment. It is the spirit that condemns us for pointing out error and false teaching. It is the spirit that chastises us as unloving for refusing to join hands with false Christianity, not to mention Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, etc. . . !

On this point the Bible is clear. Eph 4:5 - One Lord, one faith, one baptism, . . . .

There is only one faith. There is only one body of doctrine that is after godliness. Any teaching that does not align with this faith is false and worthy of censor.

Galatians 1:6-9 - I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.

There are not two gospels. There is only one. The term “another gospel” is not an appropriate designation. If any teaching does not match the gospel of scripture it is to be pronounced accursed. In fact not only is the message to be counted accursed but so is the messenger. God help us to be true to the Bible on this account.

According to the Bible our primary commitment is to be to the truth. Genuine unity is only possible as people embrace the truth. Genuine love for others will preclude us from departing from the truth for their sake. In a day of tolerance, relativity, and when truth is subjective and a matter of personal opinion the need for those who will speak the truth in love is more necessary than ever.

Instead of dealing with any particular truth as I have done on other occasions I want to simply remind us of the importance of truth and the value that God places on it and how we are encouraged to embrace it and depart from and expose error. The clarion call of truth must not be diminished in these dark days but rather crescendo so that at the final stanza it will be declared with fortissimo.

The Bible gives abundant encouragement to believe, sustain, defend, and proclaim sound doctrine.

Tit 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.

2 Tim 1:13 - Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.

Jude 1:3 - 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.

2Tim 2:2 - And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.

Tit 2:7 - In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity,

2Pe 1:12 - Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth.

2 Tim 4:7 - I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:

1 Tim 6:20 - O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called:

1 Tim 4:6 - 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 hast attained.

1Tim 4:13 - Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.

1 Tim 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.

1 Tim 5:17 - Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.

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 Joh 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.

Joh 14:6 - Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

Joh 14:17 - Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

Joh 15:26 - But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:

Joh 16:13 - Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

Joh 17:17 - Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

2 Co 13:8 - For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth.

Eph 4:21 - If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus:

1Tim 2:4 - Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

2 Tim 2:15 - Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

Tit 1:1- Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness;

2 Joh 1:4 - I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father.

3 Joh 1:4 - I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.

3 Joh 1:8 - We therefore ought to receive such, that we might be fellowhelpers to the truth.

It is inconceivable that in the face of so many Scriptures that people would pretend that doctrine is unimportant. Doctrine divides. It divides truth from error. It divides light from darkness. It divides that which is holy from that which is unholy. It divides that which is genuine from that which is false. God help the people that quit making the distinction! When they do so they have abandoned their heritage and their God!

We are told don’t make an issue out of baptism, the Lord’s Supper, which Bible, eternal security of the believer, the charismatic movement, method of church government, the way of salvation, ecclesiastical and personal separation, etc, etc. . . . How can we not??!! The Bible speaks to all of these things! We have a solemn obligation to search, study, and saturate ourselves with the Scripture so that we can know the mind of God on these issues. Having discerned his mind, we are to tenaciously hold to that which we have concluded! To say it does not matter is arrogance and a travesty of the worst degree! If God speaks it does matter and he has spoken about all of these issues and numerous other issues as well. God having spoken it does matter!

The Bible gives abundant warning against false doctrine.

Romans 16:17 - Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.

Romans 1:25 - Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

Eph. 4:14 - 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;

Ac 20:30 - Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.

2 Co 11:3 - But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

Ga 3:1 - O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?

Col 2:8 - Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

1Tim 4:7 - But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness.

2Tim 3:13 - But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.

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;

2 Pet 2:1,2 - But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.

1 Joh 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.

1 Tim 1:3 - As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine,

2 Joh 1:7 - For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.

1 Tim 1:5,6 - Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling;

We are warned at every turn to be on guard against false doctrine, heresy! We are warned about being deceived. All of these verses should prohibit those who know and love the truth from joining hands with those who have embraced error. The very fact that so many are willing to come together is a clear indication that they are exercising no Biblical discernment and often times the reason is because they can’t, for the Spirit of truth does not dwell within and consequently they have not been guided into all truth.

Many who talk about Jesus have in fact abandoned the Jesus of the Bible. That is the Jesus who alone is the way to the Father. The Jesus who does not need baptism or any other work to save the soul, but whose blood atonement alone is sufficient for the repentant, believing sinner! It is the Jesus of the Bible who has suffered once in the end of the world to put away sin and after he had made one sacrifice for sins forever sat down as the right hand of the Father. Anyone who adds anything to this is guilty of heresy of the darkest hue. Anyone who claims to believe this and then joins hands in prayer and evangelistic campaigns with those that don’t are guilty of high treason!

They claim we only disagree on minor points. This can only be true if how a man gets to heaven is a minor point. And I would contend that if this is a minor point then there are no major points! There is a doctrine that saves and provides eternal life and a doctrine that damns and ensures eternal vengeance being poured out on the brow of the religious sinner. I for one cannot join hands with those who embrace the latter and act as though it does not matter! The fact is nothing matters more!

The Bible clearly denounces false teachers.

Tit 1:10,11 - For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake.

2 Joh 1:10,11 - If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.

Ac 20:29 - For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.

2 Cor 11:13-15 - For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.

1 Tim 6:3-5 - 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; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.

2 Tim 3:13 - But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.

2 Pet 2:1,2 - But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.

Gal 2:4 - And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage:

Php 3:2,3 - Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision. For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.

Jude 1:4 - For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

Jude 1:10-13 - But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves. Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core. These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.

Unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, grievous wolves, false apostles, deceitful workers, ministers of Satan, proud, knowing nothing, corrupt minds, destitute of truth, evil men, seducers, false prophets, false teachers, false brethren, dogs, evil workers, ungodly men, brute beasts, clouds without water, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots, raging waves of the sea, wandering stars.

I am afraid most people do not have the “stomach” for Bible terminology in relation to those who embrace, hold to, and promote false doctrine. We live in a day when we are encouraged to call them brethren! How foreign is this to the New Testament?! The lines are blurred, Satan rejoices, hell is enlarged, truth is trampled in the street, and God is betrayed!

We need to consider the view of the great apostle to the Gentiles when it came to the treatment of error.

Galatians 2:4,5 - And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage: To whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you.

Paul did not give place to error for even an hour! Why? Because he understood what was at stake. That the truth of the gospel might remain with you. Baptist who join hands in their ministerial alliances with those that baptize babies, those who believe in baptismal regeneration, that speaking in tongues is an evidence of salvation, and that you can lose you salvation are a disgrace to the name and should abandon it at the first opportunity, for they have abandoned it in practice. They contaminate their hands by holding hands with those who are polluted with false doctrine!

Acts 15:1,2 - And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved. When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question.

Obviously the way a man gets to heaven was not a minor point with the Apostle Paul. In fact when they sought to add works to salvation there was no small dissension and disputation with them. The ecumenical crowd of today would not appreciate the Apostle Paul! Nevertheless for those who know and love the truth we hope to emulate the Apostle Paul in this area and if we are a disruptive element in the push of the ecumenical spirit then so be it and let the heathen rage!

Our commitment is to speak the things that become sound doctrine and may it ever be so!
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