Wednesday, May 19, 2010

What Doctrine Does...

There’s little doubt, in the life of a Christian, doctrine should be important and handled carefully. Last week at Heartland Church, I had the opportunity to teach about one of Heartland Church’s key doctrines, the Doctrine of the Kingdom of God and this week, I will take on another.

As I get older, basic Christian doctrine is getting more and more important to me, and as it does, it’s becoming more important to me for all the reasons that I didn’t think it would.

As a younger man, I was of the opinion that only those who have a heart after God become interested in developing Godly doctrine. That is to say, “good doctrine follows a Godly pursuit.” If a new Christian wants to develop Godly doctrine, he can’t and won’t have a desire to develop this until he really recognizes and develops a sacred, holy and reverent view of God

But here’s the truth: the word “doctrine” in scripture is translated as “teaching” and interestingly enough, Romans 10:17 states, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

Let’s reverse that scripture to understand it better. The Word of God enhances your ability to hear and hearing enhances your faith ability. As a result, the Word of God enhances your desire to love God more and trust his ways!

That means this: Godly hearts don’t develop good doctrine; good doctrine develops Godly hearts.

Take John 8:31-32 for instance: “Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

In 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12 we read, “And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

This scripture speaks of someone who went down a path of unrighteousness BECAUSE they didn’t love the truth; the truth being the Word of God. By not loving the truth, good doctrine was impossible to develop and without that good doctrine, that good teaching…it was impossible to develop a Godly heart.

Here’s my two cents for the day:

I think we put WAY too much emphasis on trying to motivate people to love God. We argue with them, we try to come up with creative ways to inspire them, we try leaving them alone and letting them learn the hard way. Tough love. Free love. Crazy love.
I’m of the opinion that Godliness comes out of a life of good teaching, both being modeled and by the scriptures.

I heard a sports radio host talking the other day about how everything in our life is incentive based and we don’t do anything anymore unless there is a reward/incentive attached to it and our churches operate in much of the same way.

“If you do this, then God will do this.”

This puts the emphasis on you to act a certain way with an expectation that God should do something.

Isn’t that exactly the opposite of what Bible teaches? God did something and because He did something, he has an expectation for us to act in a certain way (devotion, worship and giving glory).

That’s why the on-going dialogue that I am experiencing within myself has been difficult. “Dusty, what if there appears to be no incentive? Will you still follow God’s precepts?”

Let’s stop dangling carrots in front of fellow Christians to entice them to follow Jesus. Following Jesus isn’t a daily Easter egg hunt where you just find goodies at every turn. Following Jesus requires sacrificial living that brings about confrontation, suffering and difficulty.

II Timothy 3:12 says “All who desire to live a Godly live will be persecuted.

You don’t always find the most eggs. You don’t always get the job. You don’t always receive the earthly award. Following Jesus according to sound doctrine is much more about obedience because God is God, than it is about anything else.

As we continue down the path of sound doctrine, let’s study to show ourselves approved because the Holy Spirit is calling us to absolute devotion for the glory of the Father.

Nothing more and nothing less.