Wholesome Doctrine of Jesus

1 Timothy 6:3   (KJV)   3 If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness

We’re enjoying our lives as believers. That’s natural for people who’ve been richly given all things we need for our enjoyment. But we’re not without struggles. We have a very undesirable division going on in the beautiful body of Christ. The Lord Jesus prayed that 1 Timothy 6.3 - Wholesome Teaching of Jesuswe as the church be one as He and the Father are one. We’re still far from that reality. The issues and teachings dividing the church are disputable—non-essentials—as often referred to.

There are dangerous teachings though creeping in the church. I’m a personal witness to this. It’s rampant and it’s ongoing. The Scriptures teach us that the wholesome words of our Lord Jesus are in accordance with godliness—our Lord’s doctrine upholds godly living. But I’ve heard messages talking down on preaching about morality and good deeds. In trying to affirm the doctrine of grace—grace which we love and appreciate tremendously—they have condemned the wholesome doctrine of our Lord Jesus—godly living.

We teach godliness; other teachers consent not. Sadly, a lot of opposition comes from fellow Christian teachers. Truth is: it’s possible for believers to stray and follow Satan (1 Timothy 5:15). That’s why we’re encouraged to fight the good fight for the true faith, to hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called us… (see 1 Timothy 6:12). We don’t downplay God’s warnings: “Such people claim they know God, but they deny him by the way they live. They are detestable and disobedient, worthless for doing anything good” (Titus 1:16).

God’s Word is replete with such examples of our Lord’s wholesome doctrine of godliness. Here’s just another example—just a short segment: “12 And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God, 13 while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed. 14 He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds” (Titus 2:12-14). This is our doctrine as people under grace. We don’t regret it; we don’t abhor it; we love it.

 

God’s Word: Fire and Hammer

Jeremiah 23:29   (KJV)   29 Is not my word like as a fire? saith the Lord; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?

God’s Word is indestructible. Anyone who fights against it finds themselves in a losing battle. Anyone who tries to destroy it will themselves be destroyed. It is an inextinguishable fire. Try putting it out and you’ll find yourself devoured by it.

Jeremiah 23.29 - God's Word - Fire and HammerIt’s utterly useless and absolutely foolish to kick against a consuming fire and a pounding hammer. True believers highly value God’s Word. We understand its power and eternality. The grass withers; the flowers wilt, heavens and earth will pass away, but God’s Word—to the smallest dot—will remain.

Our lives are changed by it. It’s a consuming fire that burns the filth and dirt from our lives. It’s a burning passion that we can’t keep silent about. Through us, the fire spreads, touching and purifying lives and changing situations.

Numerous thoughts and opinions beat on God’s Word. Anti-Scriptural practices are hastily increasing. Godless, lawless, and evil ways are promoted and promulgated. But we’re here. We may be few, but we’re the faithful few. We pray for others; we do our best for them to enjoy wonders of living in the truth instead of against it. The open-minded and honest seekers recognize the fire and its power. Wisely, they choose to enjoy it, its benefits and blessings. Then there are those who stubbornly live in denial of or rebellion to the power of God’s Word; they choose to believe ideas and opinions that tickle their ears and support their chosen ways and lifestyles.

When the sounds of the consuming fire and the pounding hammer has stopped, the chaffs and rocks of the world’s philosophies and wisdom will be found completely burned and shattered, and the hammer of God’s Word will be left complete and whole, unscathed—so are those who live under its power.

Dealing with Disputable Matters

Titus 3:9   (KJV)   But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain.

This is as straightforward as straightforward could be: we have to avoid foolish or ill-informed questions or discussions, foolish and proud discussions about genealogies or spiritual pedigrees, contentions and/or quarrels and/or dissentions and/or fights, even Titus 3.9 - Dealing with Disputable Matterswhen we’re dealing with the Law or God’s Word. Why should we avoid them? Why not get involved with these seemingly helpful discussions? It’s because they are unprofitable, useless, they’re a waste of our time, energy, and effort.

Aren’t all questions and discussions about God’s Word beneficial? The answer is obvious. We’re to avoid discussions that are foolish, disputable, and controversial. We avoid discussing teachings that lead to quarrels and fights. These are argumentable teachings that may be very clear in the Bible but the most well-meaning and most well-intentioned of us interpret very differently from each other.

“In essential teachings, we have unity; in non-essentials, we have liberty; in all things, we have charity—we have love.” There are essential teachings in the Scriptures; they are clear, absolute truths we don’t compromise. We teach them, spread them, discuss them, propagate them, and defend them. Then there are the disputable ones. We study them; we unbiasedly interpret what they teach. We believe what we humbly understand about them—with full conviction and persuasion. In dealing with those who believe otherwise; we keep our beliefs between ourselves and God. Why, I’d we’d rather talk to our brothers and sisters about those cardinal, non-negotiable teachings and practices that unite us, and lead us to loving each other deeper rather than those argumentable interpretations that lead to heartaches, quarreling, and even sin.

If any of you find a better and more Scriptural approach regarding disputable teachings or interpretations, I beseech you to educate me. Our hearts are after the Lord; He is the Truth; there’s no problem for us waving a white flag, bowing our hearts, and bending our knees to the authority of the Truth. Otherwise, let’s keep loving each other, united, and teaching the essential things of the Kingdom: righteousness, love, truth…

Faith Gaps

1 Thessalonians 3:10   (KJV)   10 Night and day praying exceedingly that we might see your face, and might perfect that which is lacking in your faith?

We desire to effectively and efficiently disciple our brothers and sisters in Jesus.  We want to do the best we can to help each other grow in our walk.  And spending time with each other is essential to this.  Discipleship somehow works better when our disciples see 1 Thessalonians 3.10 - Gaps in Faithus and are able to not only read and hear about what we teach, but see how we exemplify our teachings. They see how our beliefs transform us from glory to glory.

We all still need to grow.  Each one still has this “gaps in faith” that are slowly filled through continuous learning of the Word.  God has provided us each other.  God is an omniscient Father desiring to teach us, instruct us, lead us and guide us.  He left us with the written Word and sent us His Holy Spirit as more than sufficient helps in this.  He wants us to live the best life we can live—one that’s fruitful, growing, and powerful,

We need divine guidance.  Forks in the road are everywhere; convincing voices abound; it’s very easy to stray from the straight and narrow.  We humbly admit: as long as we’re on earth, even to the best of our abilities, we’ll continue having blind spots—gaps in faith.  It’s just right that we first and foremost humble ourselves and receive faithful instructions from those our loving Father provide as our disciplers.  Then freely we give what we freely receive. As we’re helped decrease our faith gaps, we help others to do the same.  Altogether we grow in our doctrine and practice.  Deceptions come, hardships hit, but we remain straight and strong.

 

The Father and the Son

John 14:9   (KJV)   Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father?

Because of His amazing love and intense desire to have a loving relationship with us, our great God revealed Himself in the best and most personal way so far; He did this by sending His beloved Son—our precious Lord Jesus. Through our dear Jesus, God—His john-14-9-the-father-and-the-sonwonderful being, His astonishing ways, and His awesome power is now understood inestimably more. Yes, there were and are other ways God reveals Himself. We who genuinely seek for truth, we see that incontrovertible proofs of God’s reality abound; they’re all around us.

The greatest and the clearest of all these undeniable evidences is our Lord Jesus. He is the exact and perfect representation of our Father—so close that seeing Jesus is seeing the Father. Of course, here lies many of the reasonable questions and dangerous misunderstandings, confusions, and even doubts and disbeliefs. But I humbly caution: our lack of understanding about the truth isn’t the same as non-existence of truth. And my earnest encouragement: our trivial differences ought to not trump our much needed love for each other.

Remember: it’s by our clear and unpretentious love for each other as His children that we are known by the unbelieving world as our Lord Jesus’ true disciples, not necessarily because of our uniformity in understanding all the great truths about our infinite God. Here’s my humble understanding about the relationship of our heavenly Father and His dear Son—our Lord Jesus. The Father and the Son are two different entities: the Father doesn’t transform into the Son; the Son doesn’t transform into the Father. The Father is a spirit, and the Son is the fullness of the Godhead bodily—that is, the Father lives in Him. The Father is in the Son, the Son is in the Father. Clearly, they’re two different entities, but it’s no problem seeing them as one.

Allow me just to echo and express a joyful and reverent praise: “Holy, Holy, Holy, LORD God Almighty—God in three ‘Persons’—blessed Trinity.”

Hidden from the “Wise”

matthew-11-25-26-hidden-from-the-wise

Matthew 11:25   (KJV)   25 At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.

The ways of Lord surprise us many times. How can we be thankful when people don’t understand, when people don’t believe? Why would God hide indispensable truths to some; isn’t it best if everyone believes? If it was up to us, we would rather have everyone convinced as we are. But our Lord knows the futility of feeding pearls to swine, and He warns of the worse condition of those who understand and still obstinately refuse to believe.

The world considers many of the unbelieving world as wise; sadly, many of the intellectually gifted are blinded by the same gift. Many of them have bloated minds but malnourished hearts.  We pray for them so they would see that even in their wisest state, their wisdom still fails pathetically short when compared to God’s wisdom. Remember, the highest heights of our wisdom only touch the lowest lows of God’s foolishness.

God’s inscrutable and often unpredictable approaches to situations result in our grateful praises to Him. Repeatedly, He surprises us with ways and strategies that cause us to be even more awed when we see how successfully and wonderfully things turn out. And as always, as difficult as they may be to understand in the beginning, God always does things for His children’s best. Even in the area of understanding and wisdom, what others fail to see, we see; when others disbelieve, we believe; when others can’t see convincing proofs, we see enough and we’re convinced. We see black and white as black and white; we also see gray as gray. We have God’s essential revelations covered, and we graciously agree to disagree in areas where we as brothers and sisters differ. God has deep secrets, but we are humbly satisfied with life-changing and life-guiding truths that He graciously shares to us.

One Body

John 17:23   (KJV)   23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

The Father and the Son share such inexplicable oneness that to see the Son is to see the Father. They are perfect in their unity and intimacy: The Father is in the Son; The Father and the Son aJohn 17.23 - One Bodyre one. Amazingly, that same relationship the Father has with the Son is the same relationship the Son has with us—His children, His church. As the Father is in the Son, so is the Son in us. As the Father and the Son have perfect oneness, so does the Son and the church.

One of the clearly expressed purposes of all the oneness they share is so that we as His disciples may also have perfect oneness. We ought to neither undermine nor diminish the importance of our unity; it’s a high call to the church; it’s a prayer that flows from the heart of our precious Lord Jesus Himself. It’s a prayer still so far from being achieved. Sadly, many of our churches march to the drumbeat of personal, or pastoral, or denominational pride. Many leaders are more engaged in lifting the banner of their unique personal interpretations of the Word and their denominational distinctives rather than pursuing the loving unity brought about by our common core beliefs—cardinal doctrines we share altogether as one body.

Many Christians faithfully labor—spending a lot of time, energy, and effort presenting the Lord Jesus to the world. And that’s admirable and praiseworthy. But they also negate the efficacy of their efforts because of the very obvious disunity that they create. This ought to stop. Our earnest prayer is that our Lord’s prayer for unity be answered. We on our part work to be an answer to His prayer. He has revealed a Kingdom key that will open the doors of people’s eyes so that they will see the authenticity of Jesus as the Messiah sent and loved by the Father, that we’re truly experiencing God’s love in and among us. That’s why we highly value our oneness. That’s why we passionately pursue the unity of our Lord’s church.