Thursday, August 20, 2009

Sound Doctrine

Sound Doctrine

2 Timothy 1:12-14

2 Timothy 1:12-14 - 12 For this reason I also suffer these things, but (A)I am not ashamed; for I know (B)whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to (C)guard what I have entrusted to Him until (D)that day. 13 (E)Retain the (F)standard of (G)sound words (H)which you have heard from me, in the (I)faith and love which are in (J)Christ Jesus. 14 Guard, through the Holy Spirit who (K)dwells in us, the (L)treasure which has been entrusted to you.

If we, as believers in Jesus Christ are going to resist the tendency to be absorbed into the fads and fashions of worldly thought. We need to emphasize, not downplay, what makes Christianity unique. And in order to do that effectively, we need to have a better grasp of how worldly thought is threatening sound doctrine in the church.

Matthew 7:13-14 – 13 "(K)Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 14 "For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.

One name by which salvation is obtained… one truth, we have it… we have to proclaim it with authority!

We must be able to look at the millions of Christian books and teachings from churches and all these TV pastors and such and hold what they are putting out there up to what God’s word says and then determine what is true teaching and what is false. If you just listen to it and decide its value based on whether you like what it says or not then you won’t always be able to distinguish between true and false doctrine. Doctrine by the way is just a word we use to mean Biblical principles.

A true child in the faith will adhere to sound doctrine. Jesus said to the Pharisees, “He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God”. John 8:42-47 – 42 Jesus said to them, "If God were your Father, (BL)you would love Me, (BM)for I proceeded forth and have come from God, for I have (BN)not even come on My own initiative, but (BO)He sent Me. 43 "Why do you not understand (BP)what I am saying? It is because you cannot (BQ)hear My word. 44 "(BR)You are of (BS)your father the devil, and (BT)you want to do the desires of your father (BU)He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because (BV)there is no truth in him Whenever he speaks a lie, he (BW)speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 "But because (BX)I speak the truth, you do not believe Me. 46 "Which one of you convicts Me of sin? If (BY)I speak truth, why do you not believe Me? 47 "(BZ)He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God."

Jesus tells them that the reason they don’t accept the truth that He is the Savior is because they are consumed with their own sinful desires for the easy life they have had thus far. The early church devoted itself to the apostles’ teaching. Acts 2:42 – 42 They were (A)continually devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to (B)the breaking of bread and (C)to prayer. The problem was that while the early church was devoting themselves to this pursuit of God they were being plagued by loads of false teachers. Timothy was a teacher of sound doctrine. What he preached could be trusted because he was relying solely on God’s word for the truth and answers.

Timothy had the courage to speak the truth, standing on God’s word alone. We call that Sola Scriptura. It is a Latin term that means ‘by God’s word alone’. Those who make an impact for the cause of Christ must have the courage of their convictions. Any dead fish can float downstream; it takes a live one to fight the current. Strong conviction comes from spiritual maturity and knowledge of the Word, and is an essential element in any effective ministry. Without knowledge of the truth we are easily influenced in any direction the wind blows unable to defend our faith.

So let’s see if we can get into this and what I am praying for today is that you would get a hunger for sound teaching and courage to stand up for truth in a subjective world. That you would feel a burden this morning to take the Gospel into the four corners of the world and proclaim the Good News, love them and meet their needs. My desire is to see you decide to ‘contend for the faith’. Jude 3 says this – 3 (A)Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our (B)common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you (C)contend earnestly for (D)the faith which was once for all (E)handed down to (F)the saints.

He’s asking them to gird up their loins and wage war against false teachings of any kind. False religions, cults, churches with bad emergent philosophy, war against the prosperity gospel. Instead of compromising in the interest of making everyone happy.

2 Timothy 1:12 - 12 For this reason I also suffer these things, but (A)I am not ashamed; For what reason does Paul suffer? He suffered because of the testimony of Jesus Christ. Have you ever had to say something to someone that you knew would cause them to be angry? Something true that you knew would bring a flood of reactions from the folks hearing it? This is the WORD OF GOD we are talking about here folks and it is worthy of defending and it is worthy of suffering for. If we don’t have a passion for the Word of God then it speaks volumes of how deep our love for God actually is.

Paul says when you become a Christian that you will most definitely encounter problems and tough times, he says there… I suffer for the gospel but I am NOT ashamed. Yet the Bible also says in John 10:10 that Jesus came that we may have life abundant.

How do we reconcile that? How do we reconcile those two seemingly contradictory statements? If Jesus said we would suffer for His name, and Paul WAS suffering for His name, but Jesus came to give us an abundant life… How does that work?

Well if we know that there are no contradictions in scripture. Which there aren’t. Then there can only be one way to put them together. And that reconciliation is found in the meaning of the word abundant in this context. The meaning is full. Full of what? Experiences of all kinds… good, bad, indifferent. You may say, well sure but can’t we also include the pleasures of this world as a part of the full life God has for us? The answer is most definitely NO.

Any thing that God chooses to allow us to have on this Earth that are worldly things… wealth, fame, etc… they are more accurately described as blessings. Not as a part of an abundant life full of experiences. Material things are nice but I promise you that material possessions were NOT what Jesus had in mind in John 10:10 when He said 10 "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they (A)may have life, and have it abundantly.”

The abundant life that this shepherd has come to give (v. 10) is something far beyond anything ever before available. Those in the story cannot even begin to grasp what he is talking about. The abundant life we will receive… is eternal life. On this earth we will have life full of experiences of all kinds… good bad and otherwise… but Jesus came to purchase for us a truly abundant life that we can only imagine and it is an abundant life in Glory in the presence of the Father.

Its so plain, so obvious church. Biblical teaching, sound doctrine. God’s hatred towards sin. Repent and Believe in Christ! One way to Heaven and that’s through Jesus. Why then do we see more and more so called preachers and churches teaching things that simply aren’t Biblical facts?

Well the Bible gives us that answer as well. 2 Timothy 4:3-4 – 3 For (A)the time will come when they will not endure (B)sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, 4 and (C)will turn away their ears from the truth and (D)will turn aside to myths. Paul is giving us a warning here that when we do begin to engage the culture and proclaim the Gospel, we are going to encounter resistance. Why are people unwilling to endure sound teaching? It is because they love sin. God’s word confronts sin and it rebukes sin, and people in love with sinful lifestyles will not tolerate it.

Paul says that those types of folks don’t go to church to hear Godly teaching. They go to be entertained and to be made to feel better about themselves. In fact he says that they want to have their ears tickled. That’s a funny way of stating it isn’t it? It means that they want salvation without repentance. They want the pastor to make them feel good about themselves. They want God, but only on their terms. Everyone wants to go to heaven… everyone wants to go to heaven… but most don’t want God to be there when they arrive.

People won’t endure it, Paul is suffering for it… Next question, that’s the why he was suffering. The next question is, how did he hang on through all of that? Where did his joy and courage come from to stand up through all of that?

Second half of verse 12. 2 Timothy 1:12 – 12 for I know (B)whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to (C)guard what I have entrusted to Him until (D)that day. Paul says he can endure because he KNOWS in whom he has believed. It is a statement of absolute certainty. The certainty of Paul’s intimate, saving knowledge lets us know that something happened to him in the past, something amazing, and something life changing and that event, namely his salvation, has continuing results. He’s saved! He’s been changed by the power of the Holy Spirit and the joy of the Lord… the joy of His salvation and eternity gives him strength to get through ANYTHING!

A true salvation experience produces continuing work in your life and Paul is trusting with all this hope and absolute certainty that God will protect the eternal destination of his soul. His life was given to God fully. He lived with this boldness because of the revealed truth about God’s power and faithfulness. Romans 8:38-39 - 38 For I am convinced that neither (U)death, nor life, nor (V)angels, nor principalities, nor (W)things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from (X)the love of God, which is (Y)in Christ Jesus our Lord.

In verse 12 of our text Paul then says that he knows whom he has believed and that HE, Jesus Christ, is able to guard that eternal destination and future until ‘that day’. Whatever that day is, Death. Second Coming, whatever brings the end of this mortal life on this earth. The Day of Judgment where the believer stands before God and receives his reward.

I KNOW in whom I have believed and have been persuaded by the power of the Holy Spirit that HE and HE alone is able to keep me and protect that which I have entrusted to Him until that day that He makes my faith into sight. Until that day that I enter into His presence and can stand before Him having been made righteous by His SON!

2 Timothy 1:13 (E)Retain the (F)standard of (G)sound words (H)which you have heard from me, in the (I)faith and love which are in (J)Christ Jesus. 14 Guard, through the Holy Spirit who (K)dwells in us, the (L)treasure which has been entrusted to you. We stay devoted because the Word of God can bring wisdom and life. Retain the standard of sound words. I meet so many these days who have what the Bible calls a form of godliness but deny its power. What I mean is that by and large those calling themselves Christians are abandoning the truth of the Scriptures. They are trying to rewrite the position that the Bible takes against abortion, homosexuality, pagan god worship… They feel that they have to in order to remain relevant and in order to reach the lost.

Listen folks, the most dangerous move we can make as a body of believers is decide that before we can be effective in our evangelism we must change the Bible. It is perfect, it is Holy and it is inspired. Listen to this… This, I think, is God’s Word to us in this day and age. When we are asking the question about what to do when others are abandoning the teachings of the Bible…

2 Timothy 3:14-17 – 14 You, however,[[[These are the bad things others are doing BUT… you do this]]] (A)continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, 15 and that (B)from childhood you have known (C)the sacred writings which are able to (D)give you the wisdom that leads to (E)salvation through faith which is in (F)Christ Jesus. 16 (G)All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 so that (H)the man of God may be adequate, (I)equipped for every good work.

You, however, continue in the things you have learned. The Christians then fought against the same heresies and bad teachings that we fight against today, the heresies don’t change… different generations just place a different label on them. God lets us know that we don’t need to abandon the Word but instead we need to stand tall on its authority. Paul says the Bible is Good. Good for what? Good for teaching, reproof, we don’t like that part… because reproof and rebuke convict us to make changes. And we don’t like to make changes. Correction and training in righteousness! But we stay strong because our faith says, ‘God said it, that settles it.’ He is enough. His word will not return void (Isaiah 55:10). Stay strong in God’s word. Hold on to His promises of faith and love that are found in Him.

So… we are to take this faith and do what? 2 Timothy 1:1414 Guard, through the Holy Spirit who (K)dwells in us, the (L)treasure which has been entrusted to you. Guard the treasure! The treasure! Guard the truth of God in your heart more than you would guard something of monetary value in your home. And we can only guard this truth with the help of the Holy Spirit who gives us the ability to discern between good teaching and bad teaching to judge between true and false doctrine. So many people are misled by the false teachers of the day and all the silly stuff out there because they are trusting in that preacher or author for truth. The teaching here is to devote yourself to sound, Bible study so much so that you treasure your Salvation and you treasure the truth of God’s Word. All of it!

And you have to folks, you have to treasure the word of God and elevate HIM daily speak about Him at work and at home and at school… I know it can be hard to be devoted to God. I understand that. So much subjective secular truth out there. People telling you that it is ok for you but don’t push it on someone else… NO! There is absolute truth and it is found in God’s Word!!!!

John 14:6 – 6 Jesus said to him, "I am (A)the way, and (B)the truth, and (C)the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. – Jesus said. I AM THE WAY, THE TRUTH, THE LIFE! See those definite articles there. I am THE WAY, not a way… not a truth among many, not a life. But THE LIFE! And then He says definitively that NO ONE comes to the Father but… by… HIM! This eliminates all other world religion systems of any kind.

And we cannot allow ourselves to get into this subjective mess. We’ll become a people with an open mind. Contrary to popular belief an open mind is not a good thing. Having an open and compassionate heart is a great thing. Having a discerning mind is a good thing. Your mind shouldn’t be open to anything and everything that drifts in and out and around you. You have a door and a lock on your car, your home… Because there are certain things you want to keep in and certain things you want to keep out! Treat your mind with more caution.

We must resolve to stand on the authority of the literal Word of God. We must take an offensive stance against the culture and proclaim the Glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ on every street, in every town, in every nation… Not sit back defensively waiting for someone to take a shot… but move forward…