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“holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict.”
More of the New Testament is devoted to the subject of doctrine than any other. Jesus and the Apostles emphasized the importance of sound doctrine but also refuted false doctrines, rebuked false teachers and warned the church about both. Some of the epistles were written with this as their primary purpose and even point to the proliferation of false teachers and false teaching as signs of the end times. (Matt 24:36)
Sadly, there is an abundance of false teachers propagating “doctrines of demons” today more than ever. When concerned believers take a stand for the truth they are labeled as divisive and unloving. While we cannot speak for the motives of everyone, the writers of the New Testament also took similar stands and they were men who loved Christ and his church! Additionally, truth by its very nature is divisive. When seasoned ministers of the gospel “rightly divide the word of truth”, distinctions are necessarily drawn that cannot be compromised. And, the clearer the truth is preached, the clearer the lines of division become visible.
In his pastoral instructions to Timothy, Paul the Apostle, knowing his life on earth was nearing its end, gave Timothy this exhortation.
“I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.” ( 2 Timothy 4:1-4)
We should be struck by the solemnity of these words of Paul. His impassioned and serious plea for biblical truth jump from the page imploring us too, to be like minded.
Living Waters Fellowship, we need to thank God for the ministry of Pastor Randy and the Beatty family. May God himself impress on us just how blessed we are as a church to have leaders that are sound in doctrine and are not afraid to preach and teach the truth. Such leaders are worthy of our highest honour. (1 Tim 5)
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“...This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, ...”
It’s been said that a person can endure anything as long as they have hope. Unfortunately the converse of this is true as well. People who feel hopeless lose the desire to keep going in the face of even minor obstacles.
In the Apostle Paul’s famous Love chapter (1 Cor 13), he ranks hope among the top three Christian essentials along with love and faith. Hope is fundamental to the Christian life and essential to running our race here on earth.
In 1 Thessalonians 4:13 we are reminded that even death is different for the Christian because our present mortality and our earthly lives are nothing in light of the eternal glory that awaits us. The scriptures refer to this as our “blessed hope”.
I love how the writer of Hebrews puts it. “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, ...” Maritimers know the importance of a “sure and steadfast” anchoring. When the anchor is secure the crew of the vessel can rest secure. There is nothing more secure to place our temporal and eternal hope in than Christ!
Your circumstances may look bleak. Your life may seem hopeless. Are you at the end of your rope with no help in sight.
Can I encourage you to cast yourself unreservedly on Christ...? He cares for you. (1 Pe 5:7) If you would just dare to hope in him, he will not fail you.
“How precious the thought that we all may recline,
Like John the beloved and blest,
On Jesus' strong arm, where no tempest can harm,
Secure in the "Haven of Rest."
“I've anchored my soul in the Haven of Rest,
I'll sail the wide seas no more;
The tempest may sweep o'er the wild, stormy deep,
In Jesus I'm safe evermore.”
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That’s a great question. Pontius Pilate asked Jesus this question in John 18:38 but unfortunately he didn’t wait for the answer. If his question to our Lord had been sincere he would have been shocked by the answer he would have received. Jesus would have told him, “I am the truth.” (John 14:6)
We live in interesting times, to say the least. Truth is no longer valued in the mainstream. Feelings trump facts, experience beats logic and truth gives way to political correctness. Politicians, business leaders, celebrities and the media that covers them have all become masters of ‘spin’. Lady Gaga, one of the most influential characters in pop culture is famous for her quote, “I hate truth so much that I’d rather have a giant dose of bulls**t any day.” Even many of our “Christian” leaders have “exchanged the truth of God for a lie.”
But we should not be surprised. The Lord Jesus is the Truth and he was, is and always will be hated by this world. (John 15:18) The world doesn’t hate religion or philosophy. It doesn’t hate the teachings of Buddha or Confucius. The world wholeheartedly swallows the outrageous theories of so-called science, and the more outrageous the theories the better it likes them. In fact Satan has no difficulty pulling the wool over the collective eyes of this world because he is a liar and this world loves a lie.
But, what this world declares to be foolishness, we proclaim as the ultimate truth! Christ and the message of his cross answer every question the sincere seeker could ask. (1 Cor 1:18)
We have the inerrant truth in the holy scriptures (John 17:17), but that word of truth became flesh and brought divine truth to this world in the person of our Lord. Truth that transcends the limitations of doctrine to become “all in all” to those that love him!
D.L. Moody said, “A rule I have had for years is: to treat the Lord Jesus Christ as a personal friend. His is not a creed, a mere doctrine, but it is He Himself we have.”
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Philippians 4:6-76 “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.“ 7. “And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
God’s love for us is unconditional but many of his promises aren’t. That means if we want to experience these promises there is something we must do first. For example, in the well known verse 2 Chron 7:14 God promises to hear from Heaven and heal the land but only if his people humble themselves and pray and turn from sin.
God’s promise in verse 7 of Phil 4 for an incomprehensible peace that will protect our mental and emotional health is conditional on our obedience to verse 6, and verse 6 is about prayer. In fact we’re told to substitute prayer for worry.
These uncertain days certainly provide us with many things to be anxious about. The fear of contracting Covid-19, the effect it will have on jobs and the economy. The many unanswerable questions we’re faced with are real cause for concern.
Christians are not exempt from worry, but we are the only people in this world with a true antidote for it. We may have to go through the storm with everyone else, but the storm inside of us can be calmed if we would only allow our Lord Jesus to speak to our hearts, “Peace, be still.”
Such Heavenly peace, found only at the throne of grace will be a testimony to those around us in these fearful times. It will be a visible witness to the lost, of Christ’s inner work in the soul of his children. A peace that cannot be counterfeited or found anywhere else!
God’s unconditional love for us is expressed clearly in his desire to provide us with the means of dealing with anxiety and its ill effects. But, he will not force his peace on us. Instead he invites us into intimate fellowship through prayer where he is able to still our hearts and minds and fill us with his wonderful peace.
Peace, peace, wonderful peace,
Coming down from the Father above!
Sweep over my spirit forever, I pray
In fathomless billows of love!
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“On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.”
One of the images of Christ we find over and over in the bible is that of the ‘Rock’. In fact Jesus even refers to himself as the Rock in the parable of the two houses, one built on the sand and the other on the rock.
As we consider all of the news and talk about the Coronavirus and the fear and unrest associated with it, we need to be reminded of Jesus words in John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Jesus warned us ahead of time that we would be faced with things that could cause us to be afraid. Things that would upset us and disturb our peace. But he didn’t just give us a warning, he also gave us the secret to peace in these last days. Brothers and sisters, Christ is our peace. This world and all of its troubles have been conquered and very soon we will witness the final culmination of his victory. We can have peace in this troubling world because in him we too are overcomers.
As we watch the news and see all that is going on in our day, it seems like there’s no safe place to stand. But we can find firm footing even if we are walking on the sea if we keep our eyes on our Lord.
As the world plunges into greater darkness, chaos and fear, we have this blessed assurance that, “He knows the way that I take”. Every step we take is known to him and “he is our refuge and our strength, and an ever present help in times of trouble.”
In the words of that beautiful chorus, “the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of his glory and grace.” if we keep our eyes on Christ.