“Good Doctrine Matters” September 12

 

Good Doctrine Matters - Good doctrine ... there I said it ... the "D" word. It seems like, in many churches, we're afraid of the word and of calling other biblical concepts by their traditional or biblical names. I understand the value of making preaching and teaching relevant. But have we gone to such lengths to avoid using biblical terminology that we're at risk of producing a generation of biblical illiterates?Good doctrine … there I said it … the “D” word. It seems like, in many churches, we’re afraid of the word and of calling other biblical concepts by their traditional or biblical names. I understand the value of making preaching and teaching relevant. But have we gone to such lengths to avoid using biblical terminology that we’re at risk of producing a generation of biblical illiterates?

According to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, doctrine is, “a set of ideas or beliefs that are taught or believed to be true.” Biblical doctrine is made up of the ideas and beliefs that the Bible teaches to be true. It’s the Bible carefully studied and understood.

Good doctrine matters because what we believe about God, His sovereignty, and His dealings with those He loves, determines how we’ll respond to the tests and trials of life among other things. It also determines whether or not we witness, how we interact with others, especially our spouses and children, and whether or not we have peace at the end of our lives. Good doctrine matters more than we know.

 

Today’s Readings:
Isaiah 15 & 16
Psalm 106.24-31
Proverbs 25.8-10
2 Corinthians 4.1-18

 

Good doctrine matters!

 

2 Corinthians 4.1-18:

Good Doctrine Concerning Tests & Trials

 

One area where good doctrine is vitally important concerns the tests and trials we experience in life. Look at what Paul had to say about his own:

Verses 1, 7-10:

1 Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart:

7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. 8 We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed— 10 always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.

Many today come to God with a “what can He do for me” attitude. That attitude is fed by the popular “health and prosperity doctrine.” It’s a doctrine with great appeal, but it has a nasty downside.

What if you believe God will give you whatever you desire if you just have enough faith?

What if you believe God always wants His children healed physically, guarantees that our children will grow up to serve Him, and gives us freedom from all hardship?

Then … what if … God doesn’t make you rich or heal your body? What if your child gets sick? What if you continue to struggle financially? What if your husband doesn’t get saved or come back home or never changes? What if the man of your dreams doesn’t appear? What if you suffer physically? What if your children rebel?  Continue reading

December 1 “The party’s over: handwriting on the wall” + LINKUP

handwriting on the wallHandwriting on the wall: Can you imagine the scene at the company Christmas party if a disjointed man’s hand suddenly appeared and began to write on the wall? That was the scene at Belshazzar’s bash! God was letting him know “the party was over”!

Today’s Readings:
Daniel 5 & 6
Psalm 136.10-26
Proverbs 29.12-13
2 Peter 2.1-22

 

Daniel 5 & 6:

The handwriting on the wall: the party’s over!

Every chapter of Daniel is packed with excitement greater than any action movie. Can you imagine the scene at your company Christmas party if a disjointed man’s hand suddenly appeared and began to write on the wall? That was the scene at Belshazzar’s bash!

Belshazzar had thrown a huge party for his lords, wives, and concubines? (Ladies, how would you like it if your husband brought a few of his mistresses to his next party?)

Besides the drunkenness and immorality, he had the arrogance to bring out the temple instruments and drink from them. God used this party with all these people present to let Belshazzar know that the party was over!

He thought he was safe inside his castle and his city walls and was free to live any way he pleased. History tells us that very night his kingdom fell to the Medes and Persians and Belshazzar was killed.

Sadly, that is much like it will be when Jesus comes back. People will be eating and drinking and living life as they please.

And it is already happening on an individual level every day just like the parable Jesus told in Luke 12:

16 Then He spoke a parable to them, saying. “The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. 17 And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’ 18 So he said, ‘I will do this. I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.”’ 20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’
21 “So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”

Riches can be a huge trap which keeps people from seeking God, and causes them to think they can handle anything. Like Belshazzar it can lead them to believe they are protected from the consequences of their actions. So can man-centered education that causes us to think we are smarter and more enlightened than others.

Today our society has taken it a step further. In our arrogance we have begun to demand protection from consequences for every kind of sinful behavior. We demand our right to live any way we choose as if making something legal or intimidating people into silence will somehow protect us from the judgment of a Holy God.

But just as it was in Belshazzar’s life, the hand writing is on the wall. Romans 6.23 says, “The wages of sin is death …” But for those who repent and turn to God, “… the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus.” Continue reading

November 25 “Faithful with the basics of the Christian faith”

Cross pictureHave you been faithful to learn the basics of the Christian faith? And are you faithful to obey those truths? Growing involves both coming to know God and His Word better and obeying what we do know.

Today’s Readings:
Ezekiel 41 & 42
Psalm 133.1-3
Proverbs 29.6
1 Peter 1.1-25

 

Ezekiel 41 & 42:

Faithful with the basics

Matthew Henry in his Complete Commentary on the Bible, says about chapter 41, “After the prophet had observed the courts, he was brought to the temple. If we attend to instructions in the plainer parts of religion, and profit by them, we shall be led further into an acquaintance with the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven.”

My paraphrase—if we are faithful to learn the basics of the Christian faith, God will take us deeper into the wonders of His Word.

Many of you read through the Bible for the second or third time (some of you many more times) this year. Did you find that you saw things you didn’t see before? Every time I read God’s Word I see new and exciting truths.

But notice that second sentence in Henry’s comment, “If we attend to instruction … and profit by them …” If we are not applying what we already know, it is unlikely we will grow and understand more!

12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. 13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. 14 But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (Heb. 5.12-14).

 

I want that solid food and more of it, how about you?

Continue reading

October 24 “Good doctrine matters in hard times”

depression prayer hard timesIf you’ve been taught “there’s a miracle in your mouth;” that God wants you rich; that if you have enough faith or enough hands laid on you, you’ll be healed; or that your problem is a demon of lust, alcohol, or pornography … and it doesn’t happen, where does that leave you?

 

 

Today’s Readings:
Jeremiah 33 & 34
Psalm 119.57-64
Proverbs 27.21
1 Timothy 3.1-16

 

Jeremiah 33 & 34:

Call to Me, and I will answer …

Chapter 33.3 says, “‘Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’”

What an incredible invitation from our Mighty God! The only reason not to pray is because we don’t take Him at His Word.

 

Psalm 119.57-64:

Obedience, godly friends, and a hunger for truth

I love this psalm. It is rich in wisdom and truth and this passage is no exception. Verses 60-64:

60 I made haste, and did not delay
To keep Your commandments.

Do you obey the Lord, quickly, or do you hem and haw and try to find some loop-hole?

61 The cords of the wicked have bound me,
But I have not forgotten Your law.

Are you willing to live for Christ no matter what the cost?

62 At midnight I will rise to give thanks to You,
Because of Your righteous judgments.
63 I am a companion of all who fear You,
And of those who keep Your precepts.

With whom do you hang out?

64 The earth, O LORD, is full of Your mercy;
Teach me Your statutes.

Are you hungry to know God more and better every day through a better understanding of the Scriptures? Continue reading

September 29 “The superficial doctrine of prosperity and happiness” & LINKUP

walk away, back viewSadly, many who buy into the superficial doctrine of prosperity and happiness, will walk away from God at some point when it doesn’t deliver. Sadder still, the reality of God’s love and care for His children and the work of grace through salvation are so much greater and more wonderful than they can imagine!

Today’s Readings:
Isaiah 49 & 50
Psalm 112.1-4
Proverbs 26.13-15
Ephesians 1.1-23

 

Isaiah 49 & 50:

The coming Messiah

These two chapters continue to talk about the (then) coming Messiah. He would be a man—a human being—born of a woman (49.1) and a light not just to the Jews but to the Gentiles, as well (49.6). Though there would be a time of separation from the nation of Israel, He would not divorce her (50.1). He would suffer torment at the time of His first advent (50.6-7).

There is an invitation to all who are in darkness to come and trust in the name of the Lord (50.10), as well as, a warning that manmade religion will not work (50.11). We can do nothing to save ourselves; all our attempts at being good enough or finding our own way to God (“you who kindle a fire”) are futile.

Men and women have been trying to find their own way to God since the tower of Babel and, probably, even before then. But there is only one Way. Continue reading

September 12 “Good doctrine matters!”

truth, torn paper

Good doctrine matters because what we believe about God, His sovereignty, and His dealings with those He loves determines how we’ll respond to the tests and trials of life.

Today’s Readings:
Isaiah 15 & 16
Psalm 106.24-31
Proverbs 25.8-10
2 Corinthians 4.1-18

Isaiah 15 & 16:

Judgment against gentile nations

Isaiah not only warned God’s people of coming judgment, but he also warned of His judgment against other nations.

Moab was a nation that descended from Abraham’s nephew Lot through incest with his daughter. This prophecy warned of the destruction of their land and resources, as well as, coming military defeat.

more, greed, discontentPsalm 106.24-31:

Despising God’s blessings

Verses 24-25, “Then they despised the pleasant land; they did not believe His word, but complained in their tents …”

These verses contrast believing God’s word with a lack of contentment (they despised the pleasant land—God’s blessing) and complaining. We’re faced with the same choice. Are we going to be thankful or discontent? Are we going to trust God and enjoy His blessings or are we going to be constantly wanting more? Continue reading

July 30 “The dangerous spiral of sin”

imagesCAC72NT4 A lack of willingness to accept and believe the truth can start an individual or a society as a whole on a downward spiral of sin. But sadly, it’s not a lack of truth, rather a suppressing of the truth, not that most people don’t know the truth, but because they just don’t want to hear it.

Today’s Readings:
Nehemiah 12 & 13
Psalm 89.30-37
Proverbs 22.3-4
Romans 1.1-32

Well, here we are finishing up the book of Nehemiah. Do you realize we have finished well over half of the Old Testament, 16 books in total and a good portion of Psalms and Proverbs? We’ve finished the four gospels and the book of Acts, the historical books of the New Testament.

Now we are starting the Epistles of Paul in the New Testament, beginning with the book of Romans and tomorrow we’ll start the book of Esther in the Old Testament. It’s exciting to see the progress we’re making.

Romans, Bible If you have gotten behind, jump back in here with Romans. It’s an incredible book with so much to teach us, as does all the Bible. 2 Timothy 3.16-17 says:

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

Well, on to the word … Continue reading

March 3 “When sorrow is turned to joy”

Are you going through some difficulty? Are the things of this world pressing in? Do you feel like God isn’t even listening? Meditate on today’s reading in Psalms, joy will come!

joy

Today’s Readings:
Numbers 3 & 4
Psalm 30.1-7
Proverbs 10.30-32
Mark 8.1-21

Numbers 3 & 4:

Redeemed

I guess there’s no doubt as to why this book is called “Numbers”! It can be hard reading some of these sections. This is one reason why it’s good to read through the Old and New Testaments, Psalms and Proverbs simultaneously, as we are, so you don’t get bogged down.

Even so, we need to remember that “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction and for training in righteousness” (2 Tim. 3.16). All of God’s Word is written for His divine purposes and we should read it with an open heart, asking God to reveal Himself to us. Continue reading