“What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus.” 2 Timothy 1:13 (NIV)

Many Christians believe that sound doctrine or teaching is essential, but they do not always know why it is crucial. Sound doctrine is not an end in itself, but instead, it serves as guard rails to keep us on the road of faith. Following sound doctrine will lead to sound living, sound ministry, and sound hope. When we look at the results of following sound doctrine, we can conclude that differences in doctrine, resulting from varied experience and training, can be considered sound as long as the outcome is sound.

Much of Paul’s letters served to correct and reinforce doctrine as it is applied to the way that we live. Interpersonal relationships, moral purity, work ethic, the handling of finances, the role of government, and our relationship to it, to name a few. Those who are called into a new life in Christ live life differently than the prevailing standard of the world, yet the pull and draw of the world are always there. Sound living is essential. We are called to live holy lives because God is holy and not be ensnared by deceptive teachings which lead us away from Christ.

Stay with the Mission

Secondly, sound doctrine serves to help us maintain the proper focus on sound ministry. We are called to go into all of the world’s nations to preach the Gospel and make disciples, but we can quickly become distracted from our calling and commission without the appropriate guidance. “But you should keep a clear mind in every situation. Don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at telling others the Good News, and fully carry out the ministry God has given you.”  2 Timothy 4:5 (NLT).

Finally, sound doctrine stimulates and protects sound hope. Several times in the New Testament, Paul had to deal with those who had lost hope because some were teaching that the resurrection had already taken place. True hope is such a vital component of our Christian faith that when those who intentionally or erroneously mislead people into believing that they have missed out on God, it is very important to set the record straight. Sound hope is what keeps us looking forward and keeps us encouraged in our faith.

Careful Examination

If we accept the premise that sound doctrine serves to lead us into sound living.  It should motivate us for sound ministry and encourage us to maintain sound hope. Then, it should cause us to re-examine our definition of sound doctrine and cause us to be careful in labeling some teaching as false simply because it is not the same as ours. In particular, I have observed that the teaching and instruction of those with differing eschatological beliefs can still result in sound living, sound ministry, and sound hope. To be sure, there is plenty of false teaching and heresy in the church today. However, let us look at things in light of the results that they produce in lives instead of carelessly causing division (which is the real definition of heresy) because of speculation and a desire to be right in our own eyes.

Despite differences, sound doctrine should bring us together for the cause of the Gospel and keep us moving forward on the road to the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 2 Timothy 3:14–15 (NIV)

 

Steve Ekeroth

 

Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko from Pexels

2 Comments

  1. Rev Jan Michael Nace on October 29, 2021 at 9:52 am

    https://java-village-baptist-church.s3.amazonaws.com/Sermons/2021/October/The+Importance+of+the+Name+of+Jesus.mp3
    “Anyone who has ever done anything for God has first come under the dominating force of some great truth.” Jones
    Doctrine is truth.

  2. Stan on October 29, 2021 at 12:45 pm

    Timely

Leave a Comment