Does Doctrine Matter? 2 John 1:9,10

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2 John 1:9-10  NKJV “Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. [10] If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him;”

If you drift through the modern American churches it will not take long to hear the echo of “…doctrine is not important, it just divides the church. Let’s unite and show God’s love!”

This new tolerance message proclaims all brothers are equal before God anyway, and it is pride that demands one group or denomination is right, condemning the others. Well, John makes it Biblical, true doctrine is supposed to divide [verse 10]! We are not talking about small issues that are not clearly defined in scripture, but the plain truth.

Our Lord has strong emotional feelings about wrong doctrine. Rev. 2:14-15 quotes Jesus as saying, “But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality. [15] Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.” [NKJV]

Since Jesus Christ hates wrong doctrine, he warns those believers who do not care about His doctrine to “Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth” [Rev. 2:16]. Doctrine is such an important issue with God He warns us He will fight us if we do not follow His teaching. It seems doctrine is important!

And since John makes it clear in our text that anyone who does not live out the doctrine of Christ is going to hell whether religious or not, believing and living out Christ’s teaching is significant and non-optional [verse 9].

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You would not know it from our modern churches. Barna research shows just 9% of the adults claiming to be born again have a biblical worldview. This falls to 7% of Protestants in general. This is based on the doctrine that absolute moral truth exists and founded in six core beliefs:

1/ the accuracy of Bible teaching,

2/ the sinless nature of the Lord Jesus,

3/ the literal existence of the devil,

4/ the all knowing and all-powerfulness of God,

5/ salvation by the mercy and grace of God alone,

6/ and the responsibility of each Christian to obey the great commission.

MC900441309This is further explored through pastoral leadership. Southern Baptist pastors are the most Biblical [71%], other Baptist churches were next [57%], then followed non-denominational protestant pastors [51%], charismatic and Pentecostal [44%], pastors of black churches [35%], leading mainline denominations [28%] and United Methodist [27%]. [Read the whole report, Only Half of Protestant Pastors Have a Biblical View,  online at Barna.org.]

The immoral choices and practices of the majority of church attendees is now clearly exposed!

Since the majority of pastors reject doctrinal truth they do not call people to repentance and obedience to God’s doctrinal standards. But the apostle Paul commands preachers to “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. [3] For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; [4] and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables” [2 Tim. 4:2-4 NKJV].

Since research shows less than 10% of adult church members want to live Biblical lives, pastors who rebuke and exhort their congregations to absolute truth and obedience are not going to be popular or have jobs.

As the majority of pastors preach false comfort and eternal life without obedience, people feel good about themselves. Rejecting the absolute commands of Christ and His Word, the congregations live their lives satisfying their own desires and feel comfortable and safe believing the fable that they are going to heaven too!

This always starts on false ideas and teaching and then is lived out in lifestyle.  This is seen in what is preached, but also in what is ignored! Does your pastor rebuke and exhort you on a regular basis? Or do you like [your own selfish desire] the quiet encouraging type? You realize if you demand positive not negative preaching at your church you ignore, deny, and contradict sound doctrine just as Paul prophesied would happen in our day.

For example, false doctrinal teaching about marriage, divorce, and sexual activity outside of marriage [one man and one woman] throw stumbling blocks and huge consequences before this nation. Broken homes permanently harm children emotionally and leave bitterness and frustration.

And then, the government pays out billions of dollars trying to support single moms and their children. And, billions more are spent on insurance and medical expenses for sexually transmitted diseases.

Not only that. Millions of babies are murdered through abortions. All this because people ignore God’s loving commands protecting and providing life in a better way.

Is doctrine important?

Doctrine is the Foundation of Life Change!

All scripture” is given to us by God to change our lifestyles after we are born again in Christ. The “apostles’ doctrine” [Acts 2:42] was based on Christ’s commands, not suggestions [Matthew 28:20].

One of the earliest documents of the church is a pass around work called “The Didache of the Apostles,” which is the Greek word for doctrine. Paul commanded all Christians to change, beginning with right doctrine, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind[Romans 12:2].

God’s Word supersedes all people’s opinions, judgments, and cultural practices. Popular or unpopular, God demands that His followers break from and live in contradiction to the whole world including the demands of politicians, government edicts, and cultural mandates. We are transformed by His Word! Time has not erased God’s unbending Word for mankind.

Paul spoke constantly about the importance of following God’s ancient, never failing Word. He proclaimed, “Exhort bondservants to be obedient to their own masters [authorities], to be well pleasing in all things, not answering back, [10] not pilfering, but showing all good fidelity, that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things.”

Even when Christians are caught under unfair and unjust situations we live differently. We still follow the doctrines of God. Christians who think their wages are too low do not sneak or pilfer items from their employers to make up the difference in what their pay should be. Instead, they trust the Lord to supply their needs and work hard for the company without complaining!

Then Paul continues, “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, [12] teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts [selfish desires], we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, [13] looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, [14] who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works. [15] Speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you.”

No matter what sexual revolution or cultural proclamations are trumpeted by the world, God still calls the shots and demands His unchanging Word stands. Ungodliness is the contradictory commands of the elite of this world. The gender roles are not changing, even when the media says it is. Morality has not changed even when Hollywood says it has. And remember this, wrong is not right because the president of the United States says it is.

We follow Christ’s doctrine. We live soberly and righteously by the direction of the Word of God. We do not bend or change by the orders of any man.

Paul reminds us to never forget or turn from God’s Word, but to show respect when we can to the world around us. “[3:1] Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, [2] to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men.”

And he also makes us remember we used to be just like them. They are not our enemies, even when they act like it. “[3] For we ourselves were also once [past not present] foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. [4] But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, [5] not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, [6] whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, [7] that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”

Christ’s doctrine orders us to consistently accomplish GOOD WORK and follow the commands He gives us in the New Testament. His doctrine is our guide, mandate, and marching orders! “[8] This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men” [Titus 2:9-3:8 NKJ].

So What Steps Should You Take to Please God?

First, if you are under the teaching of a pastor or church that is not teaching the whole absolute truth of God, leave! “If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him.”

But you say, “I like my church!” I know you are protesting because your friends and family are there. Or you might have already decided the Biblical church is boring, the music is dead, the pastor preaches too long, etc.

But you must repent! If you follow Jesus then obey His doctrines, not your opinions or the world’s demands. “Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them” [Romans 16:17]. God’s truth does not cause division. False teachers, churches, groups, and denominations who deviate from God’s Word create division. And offensive actions of sin and disobedience fracture the church into pieces.

Then, join a Biblical church and take responsibility. “…be careful to maintain good works.

The people of your city are going to hell! It is not what you like that matters, join a team of believers who are fulfilling God’s purposes and get busy.

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