Back to Sound Doctrine
What are we Christians learning? What are we Christians teaching? Worldly doctrine cannot be Christian doctrine. Let us get back to sound Christian doctrine
My key verse:
Do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines. For it is good that the heart be established by grace, not with foods which have not profited those who have been occupied with them. – Hebrews 13:9 NKJV
Notice that in our key verse that the writer of Hebrews says, “do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines.” The key word in this scripture, and the key word in my thought for today’s sermon is ‘doctrine’. Doctrine, or doctrina in Latin, means teaching/learning. So a better way to read this verse is, “do not be carried about with various and strange teachings.” Let’s focus on what is being taught and learned. What are we, Christians, learning today? What are we, Christians, teaching?
When you take a look at Christian doctrine: our doctrine should firstly be of Jesus Christ, His life, His death, His resurrection, and all of the things that He taught. Jesus commanded (Matthews 28:20), “teach them (that is all nations) to observe (that is keep) all things whatsoever I have commanded you.” What does this command means? This is part of the Great Commission, and this task was one that was given directly to the disciples, and also given to all of us who would one day become born again believers. For us to share what Jesus taught, since we are unable to hear and see Him in person, we must pick up our bibles and turn to scripture.
This leads me directly to our next form of doctrine – scripture. Scripture, you should know, is not simply man’s sayings or even man’s teachings; you have likely seen me say this before, but I must repeat this often so that it is clear. Scripture was given to man through the inspiration of God. Paul says (2 Timothy 3:16), “all scripture is given by inspiration of God.” Paul then goes on to say in the same verse that scripture is profitable for doctrine (teaching).
In other words, the Apostle Paul is saying that scripture must be the truth because the scriptures came from the Lord. God is a lot of things, but the one thing God is not is a liar – God does not lie. People question the men that wrote the Bible, but those men wrote the Bible through the inspiration of the Lord. When you question scripture, you’re not questioning the men that wrote the scriptures, you’re questioning God. Scripture, since it came from the Lord, is truth – this is why we say our doctrine is sound.
Sound: that means that it is truthful, solid, and reliable. We know that our doctrine is sound because it came from the Lord, not man. You can question man, but you cannot question what God says – He Is not lying to you. We should teach and preach the doctrine that God has given because that doctrine is indeed the truth, not personal opinion, hypothesis, or theory from man.
Today’s teaching is all over the place. There are so many various doctrines in our world today, and many people seem to follow after and keep these doctrines. These are all worldly doctrines, and they may certainly be good doctrines for how to live in the world, but these worldly doctrines do us born again believers no good; this may sound familiar if you listened to or read last week’s sermon. We have allowed worldly doctrine to influence us, and we therefore have allowed worldly doctrine to influence and pollute (or defile) the Church. As I said in last week’s sermon, all of us who are born again believers should be carried about with the Spirit, not carried about with these worldly doctrines.
Doctrine of the news: we get hung up about what we see and hear in the news, and we allow that to then influence us spiritually. We cannot be so carried about with what we hear others doing! Doctrine of social media: we get carried away with the teachings of what social media teaches – I feel sorry for you if you get carried about with social media doctrine. Social media doctrine is so full of bitterness, anger, and rage. You have people sharing doctrine on relationships, and they have never been in a good relationship! Doctrine of the internet: you have to be careful about the doctrine of the internet! There Is a saying, “don’t believe everything you see on the internet”. There are so many doctrines in the world today, and it is very easy to get carried about with the worldly doctrine, but let us remember our key verse (Hebrews 13:9) – do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines.
Dangers of following various/strange doctrines
You may ask yourself, why? Why shouldn’t I be carried about with various and strange doctrines? There is a great danger in being carried about with various and strange doctrines – we must take a look at this. Firstly, the strange and various doctrines of the world can only satisfy worldly needs. As we learned last week, we are new creatures, born again believers! If you try to feed yourself, satisfy yourself, with things of the world, you will never end up satisfying yourself. You see, you will end up going hungry because you’re not eating properly! You should be looking to eat of spiritual things, not things of the world. Our key verse makes mention of meats that do not profit: “It is good that the heart be established by grace, not with foods which have not profited those who have been occupied with them.” These doctrines will do you no good – they will not help you!
Most importantly, these worldly doctrines will move you away from the Lord. Anything that moves you away from God is no good. Consider the things that the worldly doctrine teaches, how many of those things are on the Lord? The world does not recognize the Lord, so why would worldly doctrine focus on and teach about the Lord? No good thing can come from being moved away from God.
We actually see this happen in the Bible; God’s chosen people, the children of Israel, turned away from the Lord and moved away from God at a time before Babylon conquered and captured the Israelis. The pre-exiled Israelites had began to neglect the Law (the ways of God) and eventually had completely moved away from the Law – the results of doing this was not good. The Lord’s presence that once filled the temple eventually left the temple due to the Israelites rebellion. Eventually Jerusalem was destroyed and the Israelites were led away to Babylon, all because they had turned away from the Lord’s doctrine. Is this what awaits those who turned from the Lord’s doctrine today?
It is bad when you become unrecognizable. What do I mean by saying that? Christians have gotten so carried away with unsound doctrine that I can hardly recognize the one that confesses to being a Christian from the one that live is living in sin – this is no good. There is no reason that the sinner should know more about our doctrine than a Christian, but that is actually starting to become more the case. The sinner is calling the Christian a hypocrite today because the Christian has lost his/her way! The sinner is starting to point at the fruit that Christians are bearing and starting to say, “I thought you were a Christian” – this should not be.
I should be able to recognize that you are a Christian just like you should be able to recognize that I’m a Christian. Jesus said (Matthew 7:17-18), “a good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.” What kind of fruit do you bear? That’s a whole other sermon, that I am certain I have preached once before. That said, sound doctrine shouldn’t yield bad fruit! Let me say this again, sound doctrine will not produce bad fruit!
Revival in sound doctrine
We need to return to sound doctrine. I am calling for a revival in teaching and preaching sound doctrine. I was teaching a young man recently about how we as Christians should not dictate to others but should persuade and reason with others. He then asked me, “Why do you believe that?” My response to him was to take a look at Jesus’ ministry, and to then turn to the book of Acts to look at how the Apostle Paul ministered. I told him, “that is sound doctrine and according to the scripture.”
You see, we, Christians, have gotten away from teaching sound doctrine according to Jesus Christ and according to the scripture. Men and women have began standing behind podiums and teaching their own personal opinions instead of teaching the word of God. We then begin to wonder, why can’t we get people to come to church. We continue to wonder, why don’t young people go to church? People want to hear the word of God and not the opinions of overly righteous people sitting on their high horse!
You see, I believe the word of God can still draw the non-believer to Him. During the days of both Ezra and Nehemiah, Ezra took the Law to a people who had never heard it before; these Israelites had never heard the Law before but they listened to Ezra from morning to midday; then they came back to learn some more the next day! I know that the sound doctrine of God can do the same today! The younger generations want to know the purpose, not opinion, they want the facts and the truth – we need to get back to the truth!
Let us get back to singing some of those old hymns that sing about Christ and that blessed assurance we have in Him! Let us get back to teaching and preaching scripture. Not only that, but let us get back to actually keeping the scripture – living by what we go about preaching. Let us get back to teaching and preaching about the ways of Jesus, and living in the way that Christ lived! In order to learn how to do math properly, we had to be taught how to do it properly. In order to write properly we had to be taught how to do so. For us to be proper Christians, living like Christ, we must learn how to do so from sound doctrine.