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WHAT CONSTITUTES SOUND TEACHING
Other than being separated from God for all eternity, the second worst thing that can happen to a man is to become religious. Religion makes you absolutely blind to the truth. The religious Pharisees couldn't even recognize God when he was standing right in front of them.
The crowd asked Jesus in John 6:28-29, '"What must we do to do the works God requires?" Jesus answered,' "The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent."' Notice the definitive way he answers the question. Believe in the one he has sent and nothing further than that. Jesus meant for us to come to understand the meaning of the word believe, as it is illustrated in John 15:5. "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit, apart from me you can do nothing." Belief is life. Belief means to be dependent upon the life of God, the same way a branch is dependent upon the life of the vine. What this will produce is the fruit that is acceptable to God. If people choose not to be dependent upon the life of God, and no matter how good their intentions may be, the best they can produce are works of the flesh. These God does not accept and they count for nothing. As Christians, the works that count will flow naturally, because it is God who is doing the actual work. We simply bear the fruit that comes from remaining in God.
Jesus said in Matt. 7:13-14: 'For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.' Only a few will find life. This is addressed to the crowd as well as Jesus' disciples and therefore addressed to religious Christians up to today. Within our church history only a few have found life resuting in producing works that count. This means that the rest of all the works throughout the history of the church have been on the broad road of destruction producing works that count for nothing.
If you go into Wikipedia you will find a chronological timeline of the history of the church. What you will discover can be summed up in four words: the will of man. God is not in the picture. Really the church's history isn't any different than Israel's history. It too can be summed up with the same four words.
Still today, the church has yet to come back to where the Apostles left off. It is still reaping the relgiousity it sowed throughout its history. We have gone from Constantine nationalizing Christianity, which eventually produced the corrupt papacy, which ignited Martin Luther, who actually read the book of Romans, and from that comes the Reformation, which lead to the Protestant Movement, and when people became tired of Protestant Churches, they split and formed Nondenominational Churches. These are basically Protestant Churches without the formality. You can wear jeans and a tee shirt.
What is needed to keep us from becoming religious is sound teaching. Martin Luther got a jump start on this, but the Reformation did not quite reform enough. Sound teaching is simple because devotion to Christ is simple. Man in general is so about the show (also known as the boastful pride of life) but the religious man takes it to a whole other level. Satan's goal like he did with Eve is to lead us astray by mixing truth with error. We need to become so familiar with truth, that we can spot error immediately. Familiarity with the truth comes from sound teaching.
The Apostle Paul tells us in 1 Cor. 3:10-11 that we should be careful how we build on the foundation of Jesus Christ. Here are a few suggestions to follow to build correctly and to keep us from becoming religious:
- Need to be taught the authority of scripture.
- All teaching should eventually lead us back to Christ. Pastors like sheepdogs should be bringing the stray sheep back to the Shepard.
- Teaching after the cross is much more important than before the cross (Rom 5:10). God does not deal with us on the issue of our sins anymore but on the issue of life and the renewing of our minds.
- The grace of God should be taught, not the law of God. We are not under the law. If grace is not taught, then law is taught automatically. Refer to the book of Galatians.
- The book of Romans should be taught to new converts; especially chapters 5, 6, 7, and 8 (the heart of the gospel). And to old converts if they haven't been taught.
- The book of Hebrews needs to be understood, and then taught; especially knowing the distinction between the Old Covenant vs. New Covenant. In my lifetime I've heard only one legitimate study on the book of Hebrews.
- Teach total forgiveness (done perfectly, completely and once and for all). That's why Christ said: "It is finished."
- People should be taught a side by side study comparing what tradition teaches vs. what the truth plainly teaches. For example: Traditionally 1 John 1:9 is misinterpreted. The truth is; it is a responce to the verse right before it, which is talking about unbelievers.
- Need to be taught what the renewing of our mind means.
- Need to be taught the inheritance we have in Christ. Upon recieving the life of Christ, what is the package deal that comes with that.
- Need to be taught that the Christian life is not hard to live; it is impossible to live. Only Christ can live it.
- Need to be taught that we can't lose our salvation. That's why it's called an eternal life. Otherwise it would be called a temporal life.
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