Archive for February, 2007

The Importance of the Gospel and Doctrine

Monday, February 26th, 2007

The Importance of the Gospel

Let us look at some verses of Scripture about the importance of the gospel.

Romans 1:16 — For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

How do we get salvation? By obeying the Gospel, for the Gospel is the “power of God unto salvation.” If we want healing, we need the healing power of God. If we want salvation, we need the power of God to salvation. God could have chosen anyway He wanted to save mankind, and He chose the gospel!

II Thessalonians 1:7-10 — and to give rest with us to you who are troubled, at the revealing of the Lord Jesus from Heaven with the angels of His power, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God and who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He shall come to be glorified in His saints and to be admired in all those who believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that Day.

Many people begin to attend church to escape the wrath of God. However, this passage lets us know the we must know God and obey the gospel to avoid His wrath.

Some people believe that the gospel was just for the apostles’ time, but verse 10 shows that the same gospel the apostles taught is the gospel that is going to be believed in the last days.

According to the Bible, the Gospel of Christ is indispensable to our Christian life.

The Importance of Doctrine

The word doctrine comes from the Greek word didaskalia, which means “instruction” or “teaching.” it does not mean “opinion,” as some believe. Doctrine is extremely important in our Christian walk with God, as the following verses of Scripture show.

II Timothy 3:14-16 — But continue in the things that you have learned and have been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from a babe you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness

Some people may say, “I don’t have to change because the Bible tells me to continue in the things I have learned.” But if we understand the Bible, we realize the Paul is telling Timothy to continue in what Timothy has learned. God is no respecter of persons, so it only makes sense that we should also continue in what the Paul apostle Paul taught Timothy. (see II Timothy 3:10.)

I Timothy 4:13-16 — Until I come, attend to reading, to exhortation, to teaching. Do not neglect the gift in you, which was given you by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the body of elders. Meditate on these things; be in these things in order that your improvement may appear to all. Hold on to yourself and to the doctrine; continue in them, for doing this you shall both save yourself and those who hear you.

Remember that this entire book is a letter from the apostle Paul to Timothy. In this passage Paul clearly tells Timothy to give attendance to doctrine. He also tells them that doctrine will save him (Timothy) and those who will hear him.

Romans 6:17-18 — But thanks be to our God that you were the slaves of sin, but you have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. Then being made free from sin, you became the slaves of righteousness.

This book is a letter from the apostle Paul to the Romans. In it he explains that they were made free from sin because they obeyed the doctrine that the apostles delivered to them. Once again, God is no respecter of persons, so we need to obey that same doctrine.

II Timothy 4:2-3 — preach the Word, be instant in season and out of season, reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine. For a time will be when they will not endure sound doctrine, but they will heap up teachers to themselves according to their own lusts, tickling the ear.

The apostle Paul prophesies of a time when men will not endure sound (complete for whole) doctrine. Instead, they will hire a preacher who will “tickle their ears,” or preach what they want to hear.

We should be careful not to follow a preacher just because he sounds good or tells us what we want to hear. Instead, we should look for one who teaches sound apostolic doctrine.

Additional Scriptures on the Word

Here are some additional verses of Scripture about the Word with points we must understand in order to be successful in our walk with God.

II Peter 1:20-21 — knowing this first, that no prophecy of the Scripture came into being of its own private interpretation. For prophecy was not borne at any time by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke being borne along by the Holy Spirit.

We’ve all heard people say, “I have my interpretation, and you have yours.” But the Bible says that the Scriptures are of no private interpretation. The Bible means what it says!

II Peter 3:15-17 — And think of the long-suffering of our Lord as salvation (as our beloved brother Paul also has written to you according to the wisdom given to him as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which the unlearned and unstable pervert, as also they do the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction). Therefore, beloved, knowing beforehand, beware lest being led away with the error of the lawless, you fall from your own steadfastness.

The apostle Peter points out that the apostle Paul wrote letters “according to the wisdom given unto him.” He is letting us know that there are things in the Bible that take wisdom to understand, so it is possible to twist the scriptures to our own destruction.

If we find something in the Bible we do not understand, we should keep obeying what we do understand and wait for a fuller understanding of the rest. We should not let the deeper things make us fall from our steadfastness.

The Importance of the Word

Monday, February 19th, 2007

To fully understand the Bible, it is necessary to know a few basic facts about it. First let us look at the four divisions of the New Testament:

I. The Four Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John

These biographies of Jesus Christ were written by four witnesses of Jesus’ ministry. They record the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The four writers recorded some of the same happenings, but they recorded many that are individual to each book as well.

II. Acts (Actions of the Apostles)

The history of the early churches recorded in the book of Acts — events leading up to the day of Pentecost, the outpouring of the Holy Ghost, the first preached message of the church age and several examples of churches being established.

III. The Epistles

The books of Romans through Jude are letters written by the apostles and other leaders to churches and people who had already received the salvation experience. They explain how to grow in God, they warn of false prophets and they discuss the resolution of problems in the church.

IV. Revelation

This is a book of prophecy written in symbolic form. For example, in one place a pale horse represents death; in another, a woman represents a false church. This book is hard to understand without first studying the rest of the Bible. A new convert would be advised to begin Bible study with the book of Acts or one of the Gospels.

The Importance of the Word

In order please God, we must obey His word. We can only obey the Word of God if we have first studied it so that we know what it says, because the Word of God is of utmost importance.

Matthew 15:8-9 — This people draws near to Me with their mouth, and honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. But in vain they worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

People in today’s society boldly proclaim that they will worship God anyway they see fit and God will have to accept whatever worship they give him. So it was in the days of Jesus, and here we find His response to this attitude. “in vain” means literally “to no effect”.

In the days of Adam, Cain tried to worship God in a way other than offering a blood sacrifice, which God specified, and his offering was rejected (Genesis 4:1-7). It was true in the time of Jesus, and it is still true today: we must worship God in the manner He specifies.

John 17:17-20 — Sanctify them through Your truth. Your Word is truth. As You have sent Me into the world, even so I have sent them into the world. And I sanctify Myself for their sakes, so that they also might be sanctified in truth. And I do not pray for these alone, but for those also who shall believe on Me through their word

Here Jesus specifies that we are to believe on Him through the apostles’ words. Where do we find their words? In the Bible.

In a confusing world where everyone preaches something different, how do we know what the truth is? God’s word is truth!

I Peter 1:22-25 — Purifying your souls in the obedience of the truth through the Spirit to unfeigned love of the brothers, love one another fervently out of a pure heart, having been born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, through the living Word of God, and abiding forever. For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of men as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, and its flower falls out, but the Word of the Lord endures forever. And this is the Word preached as gospel to you.

We find in this passage of scripture that we purify our souls by obeying the truth, and we are born again by the Word. The Word, preached to us by the Gospel, shows us how to be born again.

John 4:23-24 —  But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such to worship Him. God is a spirit, and they who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth.

To be a true worshiper of God, we must worship Him both in Spirit and in truth. As we have seen, God’s Word is truth (John 17:17). Along with the true teachings of the Bible, we must also have the Spirit. Likewise, we must not settle for just having the Spirit; we need to have the true teachings of the Word.