Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Gospel Is Our Doctrine

Doctrine can sometimes be taken the wrong way and given a negative connotation. Doctrine is not bad at all! Without correct doctrine, it is impossible for someone to grow in Christ. But, this post is to examine the message we preach and the means though which this message is preached. The message we are to preach is the simplistic Gospel-- nothing else.

Doctrine is the Gospel of Christ. The Gospel is love. EVERYTHING hinges on God's love for His people. Without His love, we COULD NOT walk sanctified, righteous, or Holy. To ignore the love God has for His people would be a travesty in the most enormous proportions. Examine John 3:16. For through God's LOVE, Christ died. No greater LOVE is this that someone would lay down his life for his friend. **It is not the idea doctrine (in and of itself) that saves us, but rather our following in His path and believing in His name and repenting of our ways which led to death. The Gospel, in essence, is simple. Christ in us, the HOPE of glory. It is not-- true doctrine in us the hope of glory. Not to take away from the vitality of true doctrine though. It is important to have true doctrine and that doctrine is the Gospel and its saving power through the Holy Spirit. But, once again, our job is not to fix others' bad doctrine. Only to live as Christ.

Where did we get off in thinking that WE have to correct the mistakes of others and somehow enlighten them as to their horrible errors in biblical methodology, theology, and interpretation. It would be like if we had the cure for cancer. We would be giving that cure to everyone who had cancer. We would no longer be examining cancer and its effects on the human body whilst people slowly died from it. Absurd! But, in essence, that is what we are doing when we harp on people with wrong doctrine. Preach the cure-- CHRIST. Stop re-diagnosing people and start letting God do the healing through the Power of the Holy Spirit! Praise Him! We are to preach the Gospel, and if someone does not take what we are preaching, we MOVE on-- not linger around and hope that our arguing will save them, because it won't. Our goal should not be to correct others in bad doctrine, but, as the last chapter of 1st Peter says, live by example! We should do our talking by the way we live. People followed Jesus for His words, but more importantly, they followed Him for the miracles and signs and wonders that followed Him and His love for others. He spoke and LIVED Truth pertaining to Life and Godliness. If all we do is sit around in an underground system that does not go OUT and preach the Gospel for ourselves, we are deceived. If we believe that it is our duty to correct and fix immorality and sin, we are mistaken. If we believe that we have to always correct bad theology, we are sadly mistaken.

Our JOB as Christians, is to live like Christ, love Him and Love others. If all we do is discuss proper theology, doctrine, and the Biblical methodology on how to run the Church, and we do not go OUT into the world, we are nothing more than lazy, un-caring, and un-loving. We must wake up and realize our goal in this life is to reflect the LOVE of Christ. Through His love and Grace, people have the ABILITY and PRIVILEGE to come to know Him. Our goal should be Kingdom minded, not doctrinally minded. Knowledge puffs up, and God resists the proud and His hand will not be defiled in a temple that refuses to surrender their everything to Him.

Doctrine is simple: love God, and Love others. Do not try to over-complicate things. Beware of over-complicating, because then the message is skewed, and the effectiveness of the Gospel is lost and God does not work. If there is no freedom, there is no Spirit of God. Where is the freedom? Where is the Hope? Where is our love for others? Where is OUR preaching of the Gospel?
In Paul's letters to the Churches in Corinth, Ephesus, and Philippi-- the Gospel is the underlying theme in everything. Paul did point out errors in the Corinthian church and he addressed problems that they seemed to be having. As I have said before, doctrine is not something we slide under the carpet. But, if we are so zealous for doctrine, it has become our idol. Everything good can be turned bad (that is simply Human Nature). As Romans 1 talks about, they worshiped the creature rather than the creator. It would be like if we worshipped a tree. "Well, God made this tree!" We miss the point. We are called to worship the creator, not the products he creates. We must return to WHO we Love and WHY we love Him. We do not love others because of correct doctrine! That is absurd! We love others because Christ FIRST loved us! We posses correct doctrine because of the love of Christ!

The Gospel is Love. Through love, Christ died to save ALL of mankind from sin and its hold on every human being. My question is this: if it is not love, then WHAT is it? If my job as a Christian is to correct those in error, then I don't want any part of this thing called Christianity. A harsh, but true statement. God has installed a love in me for Him, and through that love, I want to see others transformed through the Cross-- not to see others' doctrines fixed. Transformation occurs at the reality of the cross, not the reality of unbiblical doctrine. What is our goal anyways? WHY did Christ die? Why was the last thing Jesus spoke "Go into all the world and preach the Gospel?" The reasons for the aforementioned questions are these: to see others come to Him and live a life unhindered by sin and for His name to get glory. That is all. Through the reality of the Cross, true doctrine will come (with the help of brothers and sisters in Christ). Doctrine literally means in the Greek, to teach or a teaching. Doctrine is the Gospel-- repentance and remission of sins through the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ.

"Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them." Roman 16:17.

Paul addresses those with bad doctrine and what does he say? AVOID THEM. Not track them down and debate with them. Why does he beseech this? Because arguing doctrine has NEVER produced fruit unto righteousness? What is the point? Your waisting meaningful time that could be spent somewhere else preaching the reality of the Gospel to a man of peace.Doctrine is the true Gospel of Christ.

"Then He said to them, "Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, "and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem." Luke 24:46-47.

That is what Christ commanded the disciples to preach. Repentance and remission of sins should be preached. There is indeed a focus on doctrine in the Church of God, but the focus was simple.

"But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or [if] you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted-- you may well put up with it!" 2 Corinthians 11:3-4.

The simplicity that is in Christ! What a statement! The simplicity is not to be over analyzed into a doctrine that is not the Gospel of Christ. Paul warned to beware of the over-complication of the Gospel. When the focus shifts from the essence of the Gospel, it becomes a false one. When the Church becomes all about structure, performance, and theology, it loses everything it has been given power to accomplish (and we wonder why there is division in the Church today). The Gospel is the doctrine of the Church. That is it.

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