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Christian Beliefs, Teachings, Doctrines, Christian Living, Christian Ethics
Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them
is like a [wise] man which built a house, and digged deep, and laid the foundations on a rock:
and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it:
for it was founded upon a rock (Luke 6:47-48)
Let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.
For other foundation can no man lay that is laid, which is Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 3:10b-11)
If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do? (Psalm 11:3)
Doctrine: Either or Both?
Edited extracts from the book
by Dusty Peterson & Elizabeth McDonald,
Alpha - the Unofficial Guide: Church, (2003), Part Four, Chapter 22
What Does Biblical Love Really Mean?
Is this a strange question to ask? What we mean is: does our modern, western idea of love line up with God's view of love as shown by His actions in the Bible? If not, then we need to get back in line with our Heavenly Father.
We all know so well the scriptures that speak of God loving the world so much that He put aside His glory and came to earth to die for us:
A Christian's first love is for the Lord Who died for us:
We love God by obeying Him:
And by fearing Him:
We love, and are committed to the glory of, the Lord's Holy name. The Lord is jealous for His Name (Ezekiel 39:25), and we are justified in His Name (1 Corinthians 6:11), so we love His Name and seek its honour:
The Psalmist said:
God's Word, the Bible, is the Truth. We love the Truth because it honours His Word even more highly than His Name; and we are saved through the Truth. If we love God's Word we will want to obey God's Word. In order to obey God's Word we need to know His Word - its teachings or doctrines:
If the Lord's Name is being profaned, if His Honour is being threatened by any false teaching, then we will desire to address it. It is unloving to our first love, the Lord Jesus, not to stand up for His Truth and expose the spirit behind false doctrines and those who promote them.
But if we don't know, or if we disregard, doctrine as being unimportant or unnecessary, then we can't heed the many Biblical warnings to beware false teachers/prophets and false doctrine, because we will have no grounds on which to know they are false.
Neither will we be able to obey the Scriptural injunctions to test the spirits, because with what will we test them, if not with (sound) doctrine? Yes, we can ask the Holy Spirit to show us if something is true or false, but He wrote the Scriptures and will expect us to read and apply what He has already written therein (i.e. He expects us to know the true in order to detect the counterfeit), for the confirming of any lack of peace we may have in our spirit that something is wrong with what a teacher is teaching or a prophet is prophesying.
We love God's People, His Bride. The Lord Jesus Christ said:
If anyone is leading the Lord's Bride astray, even from within, it is hard not to imagine the Bridegroom's anger and indignation. And He expects us to be equally angry.
Paul - on several occasions - found it necessary to address false doctrine:
And Jude, also, said it was "needful" for him to write to the brethren to exhort them to "earnestly contend for the faith" against "ungodly men" who would pervert the truth and lead them astray (Jude 1:3-4).
All of these men - and of course Christ Himself - loved the brethren.
Thus, if we see and of God's People being led away from the truth into false doctrine, is it really incompatible with love to attempt to warn them of what the Word says about false apostles and false teachers and false prophets?
And if a brother is deceived into believing false teaching or false prophecies and we see them heading down that dead-end, does love demand that we leave him in his error? Would we not want him to warn us if we were misled into believing unbiblical doctrine?
Does loving our brother mean never rebuking or confronting his false thinking/doctrine? The Lord rebuked Peter (Matthew 16:23), as also did Paul (Galatians 2:11-14).
Does loving our brother mean never distancing one's self from him if he won't heed warnings to obey the Word - for his own sake? Paul taught the church at Thessalonica to do this very thing (2 Thessalonians 3:6-16).
But how can we address error if we have no care for doctrine?
We must understand that the Christian life is not just a pleasant pastime, or a game; it is a deadly spiritual war against an extremely powerful and cunning foe. Yes, Christ defeated the enemy on the cross, but Satan has not yet been sent to his place (Matthew 25:41b; Revelation 20:10). For the time being, God allows him a certain freedom, and it is vital that we not forget this. We in the West often treat the Church like a social club - but its true purpose is infinitely more serious. Teaching, and adhering to, sound doctrine is a fundamental component of the believer's walk. We cannot deal negligently with such a responsibility.
So in this way are we to love the brethren - even being prepared to lay down our lives for them.
In addition to the well-known scriptures given at the start of this article, and to gain a truly biblical view of love - as well as a biblical idea of God's priorities - we do need to consider the following:
Some folk may say that these examples are all in the Old Testament; and it is true that we are currently enjoying the "year of favour", but the point about the Lord's character still stands and is hopefully made here. God does not change:
God was love in the Old Testament days too.
And in the New Testament? Remember, that when Ananias and Sapphira tried to lie - just once - to the Holy Spirit, God destroyed them both very swiftly. Note that the effect of God's swift judgement upon them was that "multitudes" of believers were "added to the Lord" (Acts 5:1-11). (See also Acts 12:21-24 - where Herod was killed by God for not giving God the glory when he received praise.)
The Bible also prophesies that the Lord will not deal lightly with either unbelievers or apostasy when He returns:
Do we still have a treacly view of love? Love is not a fuzzy or sentimental feeling. It does not tolerate compromise, and it does not equal truth (or unity either) outside of sound biblical doctrine. We are not biblically loving the brethren by being slack about doctrine or error or false ways for the sake of so-called love. Love is not compatible with ignoring false beliefs or teachings amongst those in our fellowships.
Rather, true, biblical, godly love fears the Lord God, obeys His commands, seeks the spiritual welfare and maturity of each other, and promotes and protects purity of doctrine - all achieved through adhering to the Word of God:
Hence, Paul's encouragement that each believer, by:
Thus saith the LORD,