By Noel Chartier
"Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables." (2 Timothy 4:2-4)
Greetings and welcome to "According to the Scriptures" . We have produced this Web Page with intentions to express the above exhortation by the Apostle Paul. We will use this article to give a brief introduction as to our purpose and what we feel to be our calling in the ministry of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Our first and foremost objective is to glorify our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Secondly, it is to see precious souls saved, and set free from "the snare of the devil" (2 Timothy 2:24-26). Thirdly, to set forth sound doctrine in these last days.
The above passage declares, "Preach the Word" . For those who are yet lost, we must understand that "by grace are ye saved through faith" (Eph. 2:8) and that "faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:17).
From these few passages we can see the vital importance of preaching the Word of God, for the salvation of souls comes solely by grace through faith, and this saving faith comes by hearing the Word of God. Paul then asked, "how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher" (Romans 10:14)? And thus it is written, "it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe" (1 Cor. 1:21).
The exhortation to "Preach the Word" is not only for the man in the pulpit, but for you and me. Most unbelievers will not "go to church", therefore the commission to believers is "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15). As well, the Lord Jesus said, "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you" (Mt. 28:19-20). Teaching them "all things" that He commanded obviously involves telling others in turn to go out and teach all nations, and so on, and so on.
Now teaching is basically doctrine, which is developed from the Scriptures as we read in 2 Timothy 3:16, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine". Likewise, reproof, rebuke, and exhortation, is to be "with all long-suffering and doctrine" .
We believe that today, the Scripture is fulfilled which says "they will not endure sound doctrine", and are in effect "turning away their ears from the truth". Nevertheless, this does not negate our responsibility to preach the Word. We believe that we are living in the latter times in which Paul said, "some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils" (1 Tim. 4:1). Days which are described as "perilous times" (2 Tim. 3:1). They are "departing from the faith" to which Jude said "ye should earnestly contend for" (Jude 3). "Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip" (Heb. 2:1). We should not be lax concerning the things which we have heard but we should give the more earnest heed, lest we too get swept away in the sea of apostasy.
Tragically, today is a day when the attitude among many is that doctrine divides, and therefore we ought not to be too concerned with doctrine but rather look to "other things" which unify. Contrary to this the Lord said himself that He would bring division (Luke 12:51-53), and in fact He did (John 7:43, 9:16, 10:19), as did His apostles (Acts 14:4, 23:6-8), and never is this said to be a bad thing.
When Christ spoke, many "were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one that had authority" (Mk. 1:22, 27), and for this reason some sought to destroy him (Mk. 11:18). When Jesus taught in the temple "the Jews marveled, saying How knoweth this man letters, having never learned? [And] Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God" (John 7:15-17). Inevitably, there will be those who hate the light and those who will do his will (John 3:18-21), and these will be divided. But the latter shall know the doctrine whether it be of God.
Christ also gave warning to his disciples against false doctrine, that there would be those who would teach for doctrine the "commandments of men" (Mt. 15:9). He said, "Take heed and beware of the leaven [doctrine] of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees" (Mt. 16:6, 12). We are told, "Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ" (Col. 2:8). We are told "Be not carried about with diverse and strange doctrine" (Heb. 13:9).
Another attitude that is prominent today is a theory that love is to unite regardless of doctrine, that we might show the world how good we can hold together despite our doctrinal differences. But this philosophy of the world is contrary to the Scriptures. "Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them" (Romans 16:17, See also: 2 Thes. 3:6, 14-15, 1 Tim. 6:3-5; 2 Tim. 3:1-5). In fact this is what we are warned to watch out for (2 Tim. 4:2-4, 5).
Yet we hear a loud cry, "How then might we minister to them lest we enter in among them?", and this indeed is a hard question, but the Lord says, "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts" (Isaiah 55:8-9). The Lord says, "There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death" (Prov. 16:25). The Lord's answer is not integration, or infiltration, but separation. We just need to obey His word, we need to "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil" (Prov. 3:5-7).
This is not an easy path to follow, but Christ said, "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me" (Luke 9:23). In fact Christ said, "whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple" (Luke 14:27). One gentleman has said, "The gift of eternal life is free, but it will cost you everything." You may loose alleged friends, you may become an outcast and despised of many, but after all, did Christ promise us a bed of roses? No! He said, "in the world ye shall have tribulation" (John 16:33). He said, "If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also" (John 15:18-20). Jesus said, "I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world" (John 17:14). And again, "ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake" (Mt. 24:9). In fact the Lord said, "Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you" (Luke 6:26)!
If we are true to the Lord, and Hold forth the Word of Life, it is most certain that we will find enemies. "Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution" (2 Timothy 3:12). It is not a popularity contest to walk with the Lord, but do you love Him? Jesus said, "If a man love me, he will keep my words" (John 14:23). Do you love the truth? Jesus Christ is "The Truth" (John 14:6). "Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach" (Heb. 13:13).
While it may be true that doctrine divides, it is also the basis of true unity among believers. Doctrine is either true or false, and just as light and darkness cannot mix, so it is that truth and error cannot mix without corrupting the whole (1 Cor. 5:6, 15:33). However Paul beseeches the Christian that he might endeavor to "keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" (Eph. 4:3). But what does this mean? Paul also speaks of the "unity of the faith" (Eph. 4:13). These two are inseparable. There can be no real spiritual unity without doctrinal unity, and vise versa. Jesus said "the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life" (John 6:63).
Therefore, Biblical unity is impossible apart from the one true and settled faith as taught by Jesus Christ and His Apostles. It is not a unity which ignores doctrinal differences for the sake of an enlarged fellowship, and if unity is at the expense of truth, it cannot be of the Spirit. The unity which comes by the Spirit is encompassed in the truth as He is the "Spirit of truth" (John 14:17; 16:13). We must therefore "speak the truth in love" (Eph. 4:15).
Doctrine not only unifies believers, but is for the "perfecting [maturing] of the saints" . "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. 4:14). There are many deceivers who have entered into the world, and as the winds of doctrine blow, we ever need to be pressing into the Word of God that we might be firmly established in the Apostles doctrine.
The prophet Isaiah asked the question, "Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts" (Isaiah 28:9). Paul wrote to the Hebrews "For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For everyone that useth milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age [mature], even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil" (Heb. 5:12-14).
There are in the world today many true Christians who have been saved for many years and are yet on the bottle, they have never moved on to strong meat. This is a tragedy. It is not the Lords will that the Christian remain a baby, but that he "grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 3:18). Paul told the Colossians, "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom" (Col. 3:16). Paul told young Timothy, "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" (2 Tim. 2:15). Study should be a labour of love for the Christian, not to be approved by men, but of God, that we might not be ashamed. Now the Scriptures need to be rightly divided, but unless one study, under the guidance of the indwelling Holy Spirit, you might well be wrongly dividing the word truth. We could talk much about rightly or wrongly dividing the truth, but we would rather exhort you to study, for "the heart of the righteous studieth to answer" (Prov. 15:28).
In writing the Corinthians Paul told them, "Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and judgment" (1 Cor. 1:10). But yet he had to tell them, "And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men" (1 Cor. 3:1-3)? The Corinthians were yet babes in Christ, yet Paul counted them as "brethren". They were carnal and not joined together in the same mind and judgment, which led to envying, divisions and strife.
Paul exhorted the Philippians, "let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ . . . that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel" (Philip. 1:27). He told the Romans, "That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Romans 15:6). And again, "Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind" (Philippians 2:2).
In Paul's farewell to the Corinthians he said, "Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you" (2 Cor. 13:11). In the early church we do see that they were of one mind and one accord, (Acts 1:14, 2:1, 46, 4:24, 5:12, 8:6, 15:25) and this indeed is the will of the Lord. "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore" (Psalm 133).
When dealing with doctrine as earlier stated, it will be found either true or false. How might we know if a doctrine is true or false? The Bible says to "try the spirits whether they are of God" ( 1 John 4:1). We are simply to test the spirits. Christ said, "the words that I speak to you, they are spirit" (John 6:63). My friends, Jesus Christ is "The Truth" (John 14:6), and His words are spirit. He is the "Word of God" (John 1:1, 1John 1:1; 5:7, Rev. 19:13), and He has given us his Word, the Holy Scriptures, which "holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost" (2 Peter 1:21). These holy men were the apostles and prophets (Eph. 2:20), and the apostle John could say, "We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us [apostles]; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth and the spirit of error" (1 John 4:6). God "can not lie" (Titus 1:2), and the "Scriptures cannot be broken" (John 10:35), and "no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation" (1 Peter 1:20), so if the doctrine in question is not in harmony with the whole prophetic program, or does not line up with the apostles doctrine, it may very well be false doctrine.
In the early church the believers "Continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship" (Acts 2:42). Today there is cause to wonder if there is that same steadfastness among the brethren. Even in Paul's day he felt it needful to remind Timothy, "Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee" (1 Tim. 4:16). He told Timothy to "Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus" (2 Tim. 1:13). In fact he told Timothy to charge others "that they teach no other doctrine" (1 Tim. 1:3). His plea to Timothy was thus, "O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust . . . Which some professing have erred concerning the faith" (1 Tim. 6:20-21). Paul regarded his doctrine as a sacred trust, a trust that was to be passed on to faithful men. "And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also" (2 Tim. 2:2). Sound Doctrine was to be guarded, defended, kept, earnestly contended for, held fast, continued steadfastly, taught, and committed to others who could do the same.
There was much concern about false doctrine and teaching in the church to which Paul gave constant warning. To the elders of the church at Ephesus he declared, "Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up" (Eph. 20:28-32). Paul foreknew of the apostasy to come, therefore he "ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears" telling them to "take heed" and to "watch" and "remember" .
Peter also had this concern. "But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of" (2 Peter 2:1-2). Paul told the Thessalonians of a time in which God would send a strong delusion upon the people because "they believed not the truth" nor would "they received . . . the love of the truth" (2 Thes. 2:9-12). They would neither believe it nor receive it. Yet to the Thessalonians he could say, "But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle" (2 Thes. 2:13-15).
It was Paul's desire that all be strong in the Lord and mature, therefore he spent three years with the Ephesians to declare to them the whole counsel of God, the word of His grace, which was able build them up. This is our desire at "According to the Scriptures" that the man of God be mature, built up in the faith, steadfast in sound doctrine, that we might exhort one another to the study of the Scriptures, that we might know Him the more, that we might all speak the "things which become sound doctrine" (Titus 2:1), that we may be found "in doctrine shewing uncorruptness" (Titus 2:7), "adorning the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things" (Titus 2:10), consenting to "wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness" (1 Tim. 6:3). That in doing so "thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee" (1 Tim 4:16).
The only true unity within biblical Christianity is that within the body of Christ. When we repent of our sins and receive Christ as Saviour, we become one in Christ. Unity within his body subsists in His Truth, and with those members whose wills are bent in obedience to His truth. To lay aside the truth and compromise doctrine or the faith as to not offend others for the sake of unity, will most assuredly result, rather, in one offending God.
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