Seeking Sound Doctrine

Joshua West

“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.  Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard. Their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. 

In them he has set a tent for the sun, which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber, and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy.  Its rising is from the end of the heavens, and its circuit to the end of them, and there is nothing hidden from its heat.

The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple;  the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.” Psalm 19:1-7 (ESV) 

Psalm 19 praises God’s law, the Torah, while also noting that his creation reveals his glory. By extension, the Word of God is valuable and perfect in every possible way, and it is the Spirit of God living in the follower of Jesus that not only opens their eyes to this, but also empowers them to walk it out. 

Anyone who tries to make you question the established Word of the sovereign Lord is from the evil one. The devil has been doing this since the very beginning. When God created the first man, Adam, he blessed him and created a lush and beautiful garden for him to live in. 

God told him that it was all for Adam to govern and enjoy. God told him that he could eat from any of the trees in the garden except for the one that was in the middle of the garden. God warned him that if he ate from this tree that he would surely die. 

The Devil’s Tactics
“Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. 

He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?”  And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” 

But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 

So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. 

Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.” Genesis 3:1-7 (ESV)  

The devil in the form of a serpent came to Eve and got her to question God’s Word (“Did God really say”?). He got her to question God’s Word by questioning his intentions and his goodness. She ate the forbidden fruit and convinced her husband to as well. Because of this, sin and death were brought into the world. The devil's tactics are still at work today. 

God’s Word is established and what he says is iron clad and will always come to pass. The decrees of God in Scripture are reliable, unchanging, unfailing and authoritative. Anything or anyone that tries to make you question the integrity of God’s Word is of the devil, plain and simple. 

It doesn’t matter if they have a Christian television show, if they write books, if they are famous, if they are your family or your dearest friend—if they try to undermine the authority of, bring doubt to or question the reliability of the Scripture, they are being used by the evil one, even if they don’t realize it. 

We are at the point where much of our culture is Christian in name only. One thing that separates true Christians from false converts is love of the truth. God is truth and because of this his Word is truth. 

The Lawless One
As we move closer to the end this will be more prevalent and out in the open. Eventually a figure called the lawless one will appear and he will come with power and signs and false wonders and will deceive many—many who will think that they are saved but they will not be, because they didn’t love the truth. 

“Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders,  and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved.” 2 Thessalonians 2:8-10 (NASB) 

Those who love the truth will be saved because those who love the truth also love Jesus. If you claim to love Jesus but do not love and cherish his saving Word, then you might be one of those deceived. This Scripture should be enough to make you realize that signs and wonders are not necessarily an indication of what is true and from God, but the Word of truth is. People who are obsessed with signs and wonders are easily deceived, but those who love truth will not be.  

Doctrine: God’s Righteous Decrees
Our culture, even much of American church culture, hates the word “doctrine.” I’ve heard people say things like “I don’t care about doctrine, but I love Jesus.” On closer examination, this is absurd. That would be like telling your wife that you love her, but you don’t care about what she has to say or calling yourself a law-abiding citizen as you're robbing a bank. Sinful unregenerate hearts don’t love the truth, but they still want to feel like they are alright with God. 

So, to validate their compromise they need people pretending to be pastors to tell them what they want to hear. Sound doctrine divides! It divides sheep from goats, true disciples from false converts, those who love truth from those who love sin. Doctrine comes from the righteous decrees of the Lord, the commandments of the Lord, which are given to us in the Word of the Lord.  

“I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom:  preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 

For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.  As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” 2 Timothy 4:1-5 (ESV) 

Preach the Word
When the apostle Paul was in prison awaiting execution, he wrote what is probably the last epistle he ever penned, 2 Timothy. This was a letter to his son in the faith Timothy whom he loved. 

In some of the final words of his life Paul urged Timothy above all else to preach the Word! He didn’t say be relevant and preach to peoples felt needs or try not to offend anyone so the church will grow. He tells Timothy “preach the word.” Preach the Word of God, he says, in season and when it’s out of season, which means when it's well received and when it's not, when it's popular and when it's not.  

The job of a truth-loving biblical preacher is to preach the Word and use it to correct, rebuke and encourage as disciples the men and women that God has entrusted to your care. It’s so important because you won’t be the only kind of preacher. There will also be preachers who don’t biblically rebuke or correct. Instead they only encourage people as they preach them toward destruction. 

These preachers will be raised up by the masses who are on the broad road that leads to destruction and who hate the truth and reject sound doctrine. So, they surround themselves with false teachers who say what their itching ears want to hear. Both parties are filling a need for the other. The false convert needs someone to validate their compromise, their sin, their greed and rebellious heart. The false teacher is looking for fools that will enrich them, empower them and validate their heresy. 

Both parties lie to each other and soothe each other's seared and calloused consciences and validate each other’s deception as truth. The true biblical preacher will be hated by them because he loves the truth and boldly speaks the truth. 

“They hate him who reproves in the gate, and they abhor him who speaks the truth.” Amos 5:10 (ESV) 

Sound doctrine is the truth and is exclusively revealed to us in the Word of God. Those who love God love his Word. And those say they love God but despise any part of his word are liars. 

The sound doctrine of God’s Word reveals Jesus to us, shows us the way to be saved, tells us how to live as Christians, how to properly worship, reveals to us the promises of God—to the believer for salvation and the promise of destruction to those who do not belong to the Lord.

In Christ,

Pastor Joshua

Joshua West is a pastor, evangelist, and author. He is also director of the World Challenge Pastors Network.


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