Monday, May 14, 2007

True Unity is In Christ and of Love

True Unity is In Christ and of Love

"I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me." John 17:23

I am amazed at others sometimes… (Not really) when they push “doctrines” as a point of unity. Jesus was clear that it is not in doctrine we are brought to complete unity in but it is in Him and Him alone.

False teachers write much about the importance of “doctrine” yet miss that the Pharisees had “perfect doctrine and missed the very Messiah that had come to save them. They continued to try to do things in their own strength and not rest in the finished works of Jesus.

Doctrine has its importance and I know no one that argues that we need no doctrine. Yet, the very foundation of the Christian Life is Jesus Christ Himself… and that because God first Loved us, then we now can Love God… (1 John 4:19)

Love is the first precious stone we build on the foundation of Jesus. It is love that obedience then can flow… and love that the true doctrines of Christ… and HIS doctrines of Grace (not to be confused with some that use the same words “doctrines of grace” who preach a form of Grace yet denies the fullness of Grace).

If we put trust in doctrines and our own belief, we then are not trusting in Jesus Christ.

Now, what do I do with verses that teach “doctrine” is important?

1 Timothy 1: 9 -11 states:

“We also know that law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for adulterers and perverts, for slave traders and liars and perjurers--and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine that conforms to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.”

Sound doctrine is as I already stated, is founded first and only on Jesus Christ and God’s love for us. In that having been loved we respond in love and in that love walk in Christ Jesus. This is “sound doctrine”.

1 Timothy 4 gives a warning that some will teach false doctrines. Here are some of the things they will do:

1. abandon the faith
2. follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.
3. forbid people to marry
4. order them to abstain from certain foods

If you notice their emphasis is on works… and that is because they first abandoned the faith.
We are saved by Grace through Faith… in that we are also sustained by that same Grace through faith. From start to finish, it is Jesus who works salvation in and through us. Men will leave the Faith and go back to religious works. They will follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons, they will forbid some to marry, which I see can be that these false teachers place “rules” and “doctrines” that forbid people to do certain things… in that they negate the freedom that come in Christ to serve Him freely. The same with abstaining from certain foods.

Paul tells Timothy to watch his doctrine closely as he is to be weary of abandoning the Faith and going back to his own works.

Paul continues in Timothy chapter 6:3-5 to speak more about those who teach against “sound doctrine”

“If anyone teaches false doctrines and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, he is conceited and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions and constant friction between men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.”

So here are more signs of those who teach false doctrine:

1. They do not agree with “sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ”
2. They are conceited and understand nothing
3. They have an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about “words”.
4. they love to cause envy
5. They love to cause strife
6. they love malicious talk
7. they hold evil suspicions
8. they love constant friction between men of corrupt mind
9. they have robbed the truth
10. they think that Godliness is a means to financial gain

Though some of these points are pretty self explanatory, I thin that the last few are very interesting. These people love to cause strife and to keep it going… they hate peace… they love to stoke the fires of controversy to keep their own empires going. I am not meaning to be harsh as I have fallen into this enough myself and can see it… though it does creep up and get me sometimes.
These men also have robbed the truth. They preach “Grace” yet do not practice it… in that they have abandoned truth faith that come from Grace. They walk proudly in their doctrines and not in humility in Christ.

I heard a comment the other day that was rather funny… and sadly true. “We all will get to heaven with bad doctrine, but no one gets to heaven without Jesus Christ.” I think that as something to consider as we look at our own “pet” doctrines and then hole others up to our own personal standards.

Titus 2:1 states:

“You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine.”

In that we must seek out that pure doctrine that flows from God by His Love and then fills us with the Power of The Holy Spirit to love others. As we love God and Love one another… even our enemies as God did with us… we then are walking in sound doctrine based on Faith and not of works or vain imaginations.