Saturday, January 24, 2015

"But who do you say that I am?"

The Word for today:
2 Timothy 1
Yesterday, we looked at “doctrine” in general. Today we conclude with the specifics of sound biblical doctrine.

Paul thought sound doctrine was of ultimate importance.
He warns Timothy, repeatedly, that he must insist upon true doctrine. In 1 and 2 Timothy, the word “doctrine” appears 11 times. (1)
He warns Titus just as emphatically. In the three short chapters of the letter to Titus, “doctrine” shows up four times.
Jesus warned the disciples to beware “the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” When they didn’t understand his figure of speech, he told them, plainly, that he was talking about doctrine:
Then they understood that He did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees. (Matthew 16:12)
In Matthew 13:33, in a one-sentence parable (which some commentators believe to be the key verse of Matthew, which is the key book of the Bible) Jesus illustrated how false doctrine would work its way into his kingdom:
Another parable He spoke to them: "The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened." (Matthew 13:33)
(Leaven in the Bible is a principle of evil. Unleavened bread can be seen as the Word of God, which is food for the child of God. When the woman in Matthew 13 mixed in leaven--unsound doctrine--then it makes the Bible palatable to the natural man. The true Word of God--unleavened bread--is unpalatable to the natural man.)
So what is sound doctrine?
Because Jesus is the issue (he’s the question and the answer) in the universe, crucial doctrine has to do, of course, with him:
"But who do you say that I am?" (Matthew 16:15)
There is interpretive leeway in many biblical matters, but doctrine concerning the person (who he is) and work (what he has done) of Jesus Christ cannot be trifled with or compromised or watered down. Most good churches, somewhere on their websites, will list a statement of their doctrine. Boiled down to their essence, they look like this:
The person of Jesus Christ:
He is God, the eternal Son of the eternal Father. He divested Himself of heaven's glory, to become like one of us--born of woman, born under the law--so that he could take my place on a cross that I had earned. Seed of the woman, Son of Man, Son of Abraham, Son of Promise, Son of David, Son of a virgin named Mary, he was baptized in identification with us as we are baptized in identification with Him. Coming up out of the water, driven by the Spirit, he withstood temptation by wielding the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, against the devil in the wilderness. In the power of the Holy Spirit he lived a sinless life.
The work of Jesus Christ:
He personified the grace and truth of God. He performed miracles, the Creator with the means to direct his creation to his chosen ends. He set his face like flint for Jerusalem, where he died at the hands of secular government and organized religion for the sins of the world, then rose from the dead in accordance with--and fulfillment of--scripture. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead. Of the increase of his kingdom and peace there will be no end.
That’s who He is, and upon this Rock we make our stand. We give no ground. We take no prisoners.
(1) word count taken from the New King James Version

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