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I just did a study recently on the perceptions of church going believers on miracles and I was surprised to note that over 42% percent of the respondents did not believe that Satan can perform miracles while 40% believed that he can. 18% were not sure. The findings of this study revealed that many Christians do not understand proper biblical teachings about the nature and works of Satan. Scripture clearly reveals that Satan masquerades as an angel of light (2Cor 11:14) and does counterfeit miracles with the object of deceiving the believers (Matt. 24:24). We are also warned in 1 John 4:1-6 about false prophets and their nature. There are several Bible books and passages that deal in doctrine and some of the books that stand out on doctrinal teachings include John the Gospel, 1 John, Romans, Hebrews, 1 Corinthians, Colossians and 1 & 2 Thessalonians and Philippians. If believers do not receive correct biblical doctrine, they will be easily mislead with the result that they will be tossed about by any kind of teachings and may be lost to counterfeit religion (Eph.4:14). Scripture is the yardstick for proper instruction in truth and righteousness. Any extra biblical or heretic teaching is to be rejected. It is the responsibility of the church and every believer to ensure that sound doctrine is taught to new converts and disciples so that their spiritual foundation is secure. There is no short cut to this.
Why is sound doctrine so important? Simply, it is the difference between night and day, sin and righteousness, life and death! Romans 6:17,18, " But God be thanked, that you were the servants of sin, but you have obeyed from the heart that (sound) form of 'doctrine' which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, you became the servants of righteousness."
False teaching comes in many forms and is the rule in some churches and a cancer in others. Many churches preach the gospel and the truth of Gods word, but then they go to far and add their own doctrines of men, the traditions of the church, and the commandments of men. These things are hard to detect because they sound good, but they are not from the bible and are from satan to divide churches and keep us from sound doctrine. On the one hand we have wolves come into the church teaching that the bible is not relevent on absolutes anymore. We hear things like, "Sex is not wrong outside of marriage, just be sure to use protection. If you cannot get along with your mate and you have found someone else, go ahead and get a divorce and marry the other person," and many other doctrines that the blble clearly teaches are sin. Then we take license the other way and add things to Gods word that God never intended that we should have to obey. This was the sin of the Pharisees that believed that they could make themselves righteous by obeying extra biblical laws and rules. They trusted in their own righteous works and believed that they could make themselves righteous enough to go to heaven by obedience to their own laws that they made up. Today we call it legalism and it is rampant in all of our so called fundamental churches. They add all kinds of extra biblical rules and those that do not follow the rules are held in contempt. They all have one thing in common and that anyone who does not obey their rules are just out of the will of God. I am only going to mention drinking alcohol, as it does have some teaching in the bible. Almost all fundamental churches say that drinking any alcohol is sin even though the bible does not teach total abstinence from alcohol. It has become a tradition of the church and a doctrine of men, and we have changed the truth of God for a lie. These doctrines of men sneak in to the church unaware and continue to grow. Jesus told his disciples to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees. Once we start adding our own doctrines to the bible even with things that sound good, there is no end and we corrupt Gods word with our own made up doctrines of men over time. Sound teaching becomes blurred. Instead of preaching the things the bible says are clearly sin, we make up our own laws and add them to Gods word. It puts people in bondage and leads others to hell believing that following these extra doctrines is what saves them. The other thing is twisting scripture to establish what we already believe inorder to make it what we believe. If we believe something is a sin that is not taught in the bible we go through and look for verses to back up our own doctrine. We need to stick to sound bible teaching and leave what the bible does not say just that. But somehow we just cannot believe that there is any gray area at all and we have to make everything black or white. Jesus told the Pharisees in Mathew 15:7-9. Ye hypocrites, well did Isaiah prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth near me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. Almost every fundamental church of the Pharisees in America have some extra biblcal rules they go by as a test of whether you are in the body of Christ. Then if you are not obeying their rules and doctrines of their church it somehow makes them greater in the Kingdom. It leads to spiritual pride and selfrighteousness. We are better than those other churches as we don't allow that in our church. I know the Lord will bless us for our supperior sanctity. Everything gets brought down to our own man made laws and rules. Instead of following Jesus we are following rules. We are no longer doing things because we love God and people, we just follow rules that we think will commend us to God. It really is walking in the flesh instead of walking in the spirit.
Sound doctrine is important as our very salvation depends on it. For instance, if we do not believe in the death and resurrection of our Savior Jesus and do not partake in the sacraments that are his flesh and blood, then as Jesus put it himself "you have no life in you". The whole crux of the gospel/good news is that by believing and being baptised into his name we have the hope of a certain future with him.
You can never drink too much water. Water is the fuel God gave us to run on. Drink as much water as you can to be heathy. Interesting and sounds logical, but medical studies show you CAN drink too much water. I gave this simple example for just that, simplicity. You really must overload on water to hit the dangerous amounts, but it can happen. There will be many who argue, because it does take so much to be harmful, but it can happen. So whose opinion is correct? A dear brother in the Lord said this at a get together a few years ago, "when we are discussing the Bible, especially with those not saved; the minute we say, 'Well, I believe' we have lost credibility and opened the discussion to opinion". THIS is why the Bible, and with it sound doctrine gained from the study and prayers for comprehension by us and those who have come before us, is so important. We can have no opinions on the Truth given by and from God. He didn't give us the Bible to figure out! We make the Word difficult to understand because of our sin nature. God's direction to Adam and Eve was very simple, direct, and beyond any question of why. If you eat of it you will surely die, not may, not can, WILL. Still they questioned, and then instead of just accepting the truth, admitting their guilt, Adam blames God and Eve for his sin. Eve blames the serpent. The Holy, Inerrant, Living & Breathing Inspird Word of God, given to us through men for our good nature, is all and the only doctrine we need. Men have been trying to refute and/or find error in God's Word, well since the beginning. They can't, because this is the Word of God. There is nothing man has ever done that has improved or was better than what God has given us. God also doesn't need us to defend Him. Some make the mistake of thinking that, but what He calls us to is to stand firm in the Truth of His Word given to us. The Bible and it's doctrine defends itself. The error and debate comes when we pick and choose parts of it to "defend" our doctrine, one that makes us feel good. The truth within the Bible must be understood by prayer, open hearted study, balancing word for word, verse for verse, scripture for scripture. It is The Only Sound Doctrine. Again our issues today are not new or genuine. In study of the well known shepherds of Christ who came before us, they dealt with the attacks of confusion, relativism and errancy; yet God's message, the Bible, has survived and remained the same and constant. Which other doctrine can, should, would or could be attached to it, carrying the same absoluteness? Hebrews 13:8 " Jesus is the same, yesterday, today and forever". You see, the Bible in it's core message and education for us, is the biography of Christ. As stated in John 1:1-5 "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines through the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it". The Bible is symbolized as our Sword, divining the Truth. We must use it, not to defend, but to educate and enlighten those to the only Truth, the only Doctrine, Christ Jesus.
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