Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Are You Settled In Doctrine?
Charles Spurgeon wrote these words, “I am persuaded that the use of a good catechism in all our families will be a great safeguard against the increasing errors of the times … those who use it in their families or classes must labor to explain the sense, but the words should be carefully learned by heart.”
Thomas Watson said, “It is the duty of Christians to be settled in the doctrine of faith.”
It is easy to see from biblical writers and from the apostles that they desired that believer’s be grounded and settled in their faith and in Christian doctrine. For example:
Peter - “And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” (1Pe 5:10 ESV)
Jude - “wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars, for which the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever.” (Jude 1:13 ESV)
Jude did not want his readers to be like the false teachers who were like shooting stars or meteors falling through space, but to be like the stars that are fixed in their place. To many Christians are all over the board.
Aristotle made this comment about these false teachers being likened to wandering stars:
“They do leap up and down, and wander into several parts of the heaven; and being dry exhalations, not made of that pure celestial matter as the fixed stars are, they often fall to earth.”
The principle that we so clearly see is that since these false teachers are not settled or grounded in Christian doctrine, they will at various times, just like falling stars, change opinions and doctrines. Why? They are unsettled and ungrounded in what they believe.
Paul wrote - “so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.” (Eph 4:14 ESV)
Paul compares unsettled or ungrounded believers to children. We all know how fickle and easily distracted children are. They think one thing this minute and in the next minute they are thinking something different. Children are easily misled because they haven’t matured in their thinking. So unsettled, ungrounded Christians are like children. I don’t think there is any doubt as to how important it is that we as believers, for our own good and for God’s glory, be settled and grounded in Christian doctrine.
The Purpose of Preaching the Word
Why do we preach the Word of God? The answer is quite simple actually: The aim, the purpose, the goal of teaching and preaching is to ground each and every believer in the doctrines of our Christian faith.
For the last several years there has been this belief and fear that doctrine is somewhat evil, that doctrine divides rather than unifies, that doctrine is unnecessary to the purpose of God and Christ. This idea has become a banner, a rallying point for those who first do not understand biblical doctrine. Believers fail to see how important doctrine is. And I am talking about biblical doctrine, not man made, nor denominational preferences or opinions.
Listen to Paul as he writes to the Christian church at Ephesus: "And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; (why Paul, why did God give pastors and teachers?) For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: (Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ: 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;" (Eph 4:11-14)
When you hear a bible text explained it is for the purpose of further grounding you in the Christian faith. Do you avail yourself of this purpose? Do you allow the word to complete its work?
Why do you sit and listen to a sermon? The end result of the passage exegetically explained and accurately applied is to further your understanding of God, His Word, His will, His character, His nature, and His plan. Preaching and teaching is the most important thing a church can do.
Jeremiah knew this – he saw the word of God like a hammer. (Jer 23:29). Every blow of the hammer is to fasten the nails of the building, right? Every true word taught is to fasten you more to Christ.
The purpose of preaching the word is to enlighten you and to establish you and keep you in the right way. If you are not settled, established, and grounded then you are not responding to the end result of the teaching and preaching of the word of God.
Posted by Gregg Metcalf at 1:01 AM