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Collapse IntroductionIntroduction
Let's define sound doctrine
Let's focus on sound doctrine about God
Let's focus on sound doctrine from the Bible
Let the Bible tell us how to study the Bible
What aspects of God are we interested in?
Collapse Why is finding sound doctrine difficult?Why is finding sound doctrine difficult?
Satan tries to spread lies
We like lies
Other people accept lies
All this makes truth rare
Collapse Why should we have sound doctrine?Why should we have sound doctrine?
So that we don't worship in vain
So that we don't destroy ourselves
So that we don't persecute true believers
Collapse Sound doctrine is top secretSound doctrine is top secret
Do you really have sound doctrine?
God hides sound doctrine
Why does God hide sound doctrine?
Man cannot find sound doctrine
Collapse From whom is sound doctrine hidden?From whom is sound doctrine hidden?
From the clever and intelligent
From those who don't understand God's power
From the scoffer
From the liar and deceiver
From those who suppress the truth
From the wicked
From those who don't have a good heart
From those who receive glory from men
Collapse The source and channel of sound doctrineThe source and channel of sound doctrine
Sound doctrine comes from Christ
Sound doctrine comes through the Holy Spirit
Collapse To whom is sound doctrine revealed?To whom is sound doctrine revealed?
To those who seek
To those who fear the Lord
To those who love the truth
To those who obey God
To the humble
Collapse How to test whether you have sound doctrineHow to test whether you have sound doctrine
You understand what God expects?
You know you still sin?
You are trying to stop sinning?
You are making progress in stopping sinning?
Do you love?
Are your prayers answered?
Summary
Collapse Unscriptural methods for getting sound doctrineUnscriptural methods for getting sound doctrine
Having no method
Using the historical / grammatical method
Collapse Interpret Scripture properlyInterpret Scripture properly
How did Jesus interpret Scripture?
A scriptural approach to getting sound doctrine
Collapse Parting thoughtsParting thoughts
Seek to know the Lord
Test every spirit
Estimate yourself soberly
Ask God to teach you
Make yourself the guinea pig
Study, practice, then teach
When you teach, refuse quarrels
When you teach, be gentle
When you teach, be loving
Guard what is entrusted to you

To those who love the truth

If you ask most Christians why Jesus came into the world they will say that He came to die for the sins of mankind. Now that’s true. But that’s not the only reason why He came.

Jn 18:37 tells us that Jesus came to testify to the truth. That is, He came to tell us the truth regarding God’s nature and God’s expectations of man.

Jn 18:37 Therefore Pilate said to Him, "So You are a king?" Jesus answered, "You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice."

Now don’t miss the sentence at the end – which says that it is those who are of the truth who hear His voice. You can think of God’s word (i.e. the truth (Jn 17:17; Ps 119:160)) being disseminated by a radio station broadcasting at a certain frequency, and a person who is of the truth as someone who has a radio receiver that is tuned to that frequency. Such a person can hear His voice, but the others cannot, even though the broadcast is there.

Many times, after Jesus said things, He would end by saying, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear." We can now understand what He meant – He was saying that in order to understand what He just said you have to be of the truth, for it is those who are of the truth who have the ears to hear His voice. Therefore, it is important to know what it means to be of the truth.

To begin exploring what being of the truth means, let’s first learn something from David.

In his early years, David was close to God. But then he slowly drifted away. At one point, in the matter of Uriah, he sinned greatly before the Lord. For quite some time he tried to hide this sin, but God finally exposed it.

David wrote Ps 51 after his sin was exposed. It was then that he clearly understood that trying to hide or justify his sin prevented him from receiving God’s wisdom. Here is how David expressed what he learnt.

Ps 51:6 Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being, and in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom.

Our outermost being is the actions that we do – the part that everyone can see. Our innermost being is that part of us where people can’t see – our thoughts, and our motives for doing things. They’re private, but that’s what God is most interested in.

When David sinned, he tried to cover it up, making Uriah’s murder appear as if it was normal war casualties. The action looked okay on the surface, but the motive was not.

David says, "Behold…" It looks like he just figured it out at that time. That’s interesting because when Samuel anointed David as king, that was when Samuel figured out that God looks at the heart (which is the same as God desiring truth in the innermost being) (1 Sam 16:7). At that time, David had truth in the innermost being and that was why God chose him. But he lost that – a warning to all of us.

God desires truth in the innermost being. That is, God wants us to take the time to honestly examine our motives, and be willing to admit when we did something without a 100% pure motive. Then, God will give us wisdom to fix those things.

If you do not live like this, being truthful about your motives, then you will find it difficult to hear what God is saying to you. That was the problem with the Pharisees, and Jesus pointed it out to them in Jn 8:43.

Jn 8:43 "Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word."

Jesus said many things to the Pharisees, but they simply would not understand Him. Here is Jesus’ free consultation to the Pharisees, and they didn’t get that either.

If God were to give you a free consultation on why you don’t understand His word, would you receive it?

In order to understand what God is saying you have ‘hear’ His word. That is, when He tells you that something is sin, you have to agree with Him. If you don’t agree with Him in such matters then you will not be able to understand the other truth that He speaks.

When Jesus pointed out the sin of the Pharisees they didn’t like it – they got angry with Him.

A while before, in Jn 3, Jesus said the same thing to another Pharisee – Nicodemus. Nicodemus came to Jesus with questions, and Jesus answered them, but Nicodemus didn’t get it. And so, Jesus gave Nicodemus a free consultation too. It is found in Jn 3:19-21, and it is an amplification of what Jesus said in Jn 8:43.

Jn 3:19-21 "This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God."

Jn 3:19-21 teaches that those who practice the truth to come to the Light. What does ‘Light’ mean, and what does the Light do? To answer that, consider these verses:

Ps 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

Ps 90:8 You have placed our iniquities before You, our secret sins in the light of Your presence.

Ps 90:8 tells us that the presence of God is a light. Ps 119:105 tells us that God’s word is a light too. Jesus said that He was the Light of the world (Jn 8:12).

Ps 90:8 tells us that Light exposes our secret sins.

Therefore, we can say that to practice the truth is to allow the light of God’s word and the Holy Spirit to convict us of sin, and when we are convicted of sin to acknowledge our sin instead of justifying ourselves.

What do you do when the Holy Spirit convicts you of sin that no one else saw you doing?

What do you do when reading the word of God exposes our sin, or when the prophets of God expose our sin by shining the light of God’s word on our hearts (1 Cor 14:25)?

What Jesus was saying to Nicodemus was that when God exposes your sin, if you agree with God then you are practicing the truth. And when you practice the truth then you will understand the things of God.

You see, if your deeds are evil, you have two choices. You can call those deeds ‘evil’ or you can try to justify them as ‘good’. If you are practicing the truth then you will call those evil deeds ‘evil’ and not ‘good’.

Few people like to hear the truth about themselves. It looks like Nicodemus took Jesus’ words to heart and got saved (Jn 7:50-51; Jn 19:39), but most of the Pharisees didn’t.

If we love the truth then we acknowledge our sin. On the other hand, if we don’t love the truth then we try to justify our sin. We justify our sin by blaming others or blaming circumstances.

So we see that to come to the light is to allow your secret sins to be exposed, and when they are exposed, to acknowledge the sin instead of justifying yourself. This is what it means to practice the truth.

When David’s sin was exposed he practiced the truth and acknowledged his sin instead of killing Nathan, the prophet who exposed his sin. When Nicodemus’ sin was exposed, he practiced the truth and accepted what Jesus said. On the other hand, when Jesus exposed the sins of the Pharisees, they killed Him.

So what about you? How do you treat God’s word and God’s voice and God’s prophets when they expose your sin?

In Heb 4 we read about not hardening our heart when we hear God’s voice – the voice that is able to give us a free consultation on our spiritual health.

Heb 4:12-13 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.

We have to be willing to allow the word of God to judge the thoughts and intentions of our heart. When it does so, we should not be uncomfortable or embarrassed but humbly acknowledge the truth of the judgment.

So that’s what it means to practice the truth. Now, in order to practice the truth, we have to have a great love for the truth. Consider 2 Thess 2:8-12.

2 Thess 2:8-12 8 Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; 9 that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders,10 and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. 11 For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, 12 in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.

We see from 2 Thess 2:8-12 that Satan and his agents are actively trying to deceive people, and will continue to do so until Jesus returns. If we love the truth then we will be saved from that deception. But if we do not love the truth then God Himself will send a deluding influence to ensure that we believe what is false! That is, you will actually believe that what is actually sin is not sin, and vice versa. And you will end up with false doctrine.

You can’t understand God’s word if God Himself is out to prevent you from understanding His word!

However, if you love the truth then God will ensure that you believe the truth and practice it. And then, you’ll be of the truth and will be able to hear His voice.

So what does it mean to love the truth?

To love the truth is to desire to know the truth more than anything else. You will then practice the truth – that is, you will acknowledge what is true even if it causes you great loss, including the loss of your relatives and friends, your possessions, and even your life.

Loving the truth also means that you choose to believe the truth even if hardly anyone else believes it.

On the other hand, if you want to look good before men (which includes your friends, relatives, brothers and sisters in the church) and save face before them when proved wrong then you do not love the truth.

A person who decides to believe something because the majority believes it does not love the truth – rather, he loves the security of standing with the majority. Such a person is looking for security, not truth. Such a person will not find truth.

So based on what we’ve discussed so far we can say that a person is of the truth if he loves the truth. This love of the truth causes him to come to the light and practice the truth irrespective of the consequences.

What is the result of being in the Light and allowing it to expose our sin?

Eph 5:9 (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth),

When you live in the Light one of the results (or fruit) of being in the Light will be that you will know the truth.

The tragedy in Christianity has always been that very few people love the truth.


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