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Do you really have sound doctrine?

We have just seen why it is crucially important to have sound doctrine. The next important truth that we have to internalize is that we typically don’t have sound doctrine. To think that sound doctrine is obvious to you and comes naturally to you is to be arrogant and deceived.

Jesus often spoke things that the Pharisees could not understand.

Jn 10:4-6 "When he puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. A stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers." This figure of speech Jesus spoke to them, but they did not understand what those things were which He had been saying to them.

Now you might think that it is the atheists and the people who belong to other religions and people who belong to Christian cults who don’t understand what Jesus says. That is quite true.

But what about the evangelical Christian? Why assume that you and I have sound doctrine? After all, even the people of God in Old Testament times didn’t have sound doctrine.

Jer 8:7 "Even the stork in the sky knows her seasons; and the turtledove and the swift and the thrush observe the time of their migration; but My people do not know the ordinance of the LORD.

Is 1:3 "An ox knows its owner, and a donkey its master’s manger, but Israel does not know, My people do not understand."

Jer 4:22 "For My people are foolish, they know Me not; they are stupid children and have no understanding. They are shrewd to do evil, but to do good they do not know."

1 Cor 15:34 Become sober-minded as you ought, and stop sinning; for some have no knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame.

People who do not have an understanding of God know how to get away with evil, but they do not know how to do good.

In the above verses, ‘My people’ suggests that even the church has few who know God.

Foolishness is equated to lacking the knowledge of God. Stupidity is equated to lacking an understanding of God.

Mic 4:12 "But they do not know the thoughts of the LORD, and they do not understand His purpose; for He has gathered them like sheaves to the threshing floor.

We must not be like people who do not know the thoughts of the Lord or like those who do not understand His purpose. We must know His thoughts and understand his purpose.

Okay, so we’ve seen that the people of God generally don’t have sound doctrine. But what about the teachers? Can we assume that they have sound doctrine? Consider the following verses.

Jn 3:10 Jesus answered and said to him, "Are you the teacher of Israel and do not understand these things?

Nicodemus, a Pharisee, was a teacher of Israel, but he didn’t understand relatively simple things.

Lk 11:52 "Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge; you yourselves did not enter, and you hindered those who were entering."

The lawyers – those who were considered experts in the Law – also didn’t truly understand the very Law that they were supposed to teach. The Law pointed to Jesus but they didn’t recognize Jesus even though He was right in front of them!

Paul experienced the same thing! He found that there were people who preached very confidently but didn’t really understand what they were talking about. Imagine that!

1 Tm 1:7 wanting to be teachers of the Law, even though they do not understand either what they are saying or the matters about which they make confident assertions.

You see, it is possible to be regarded as a very talented teacher and yet not understand the fundamentals of God’s word! God judges people who teach wrong things and thereby prevent others from understanding the truth.

What is the impact on the church when even the leaders don’t have sound doctrine? This is what Amos declares.

Amos 8:12 "People will stagger from sea to sea and from the north even to the east; they will go to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, but they will not find it.

Amos 8:12 is not talking about the written word but about a true understanding of what the written word means and how to apply it in daily life. When even teachers do not understand the fundamentals it will be very difficult to find anyone who really understands God’s word. People will search for such people but will typically not find them.

Is 5:13 Therefore My people go into exile for their lack of knowledge; and their honorable men are famished, and their multitude is parched with thirst.

The end result of all this is spiritual famine and calamity. For example, a recent study showed that the divorce rate among born-again Christians is slightly higher that of the general populace. If the church had sound doctrine would such a thing be true?

To summarize, there is a lack of knowledge of God and understanding of His purpose, even among the people of God. Even the teachers do not have this knowledge and understanding. Therefore, people will go around looking for such knowledge and understanding and will not find it. As a result, there will be ruin and destruction among the people of God.

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