Truth Matters: The Importance of Sound Doctrine

Before we can really understand and embrace the importance of sound doctrine, we must know what sound doctrine is. So let’s define it up front: Sound doctrine is the well defined standard of truth set down in the Gospel by our Lord Jesus Christ and the apostles (1 Cor.15:1-3; 1 Tim.1:11; 6:3ff; 2 Tim.1:13). Sound doctrine constitutes what Paul and Jude called “the faith…once for all handed down to the saints” (Jude 3; 1 Tim.1:2,11,19; 3:9,13; 4:6; 6:21). Sound (literally, healthy) doctrine is said to be healthy because it alone has the intrinsic power to restore genuine spiritual and moral health to those who accept it into their lives.

Another way of viewing sound doctrine is as the throne on which Christ sits. Just as the Gospel is the chief instrument that Christ uses to restore the throne and dominion of God in the souls of men, sound doctrine is the chief instrument by which Christ washes the saved man and fashions him into His likeness. Sanctification is inextricably tied to the doctrine that Christ gives. It is through His truth that He rules the church and sanctifies His people (John 17:17-18). “Doctrines are the shovels and tongs of the altar, while Christ is the sacrifice smoking. Doctrines are Christ’s garments; which smell of myrrh, and cassia, and aloes, but it is not the garments that a man of God cares for, as much as for Christ Himself.” Christ comes to us clothed in the garments, or the doctrines, of the Gospel.


Truth Matters

Not long ago, I heard a politician interviewed for her stance on a particular issue. Her position had been criticized by the evangelical voting populace for whatever reason, and she was trying to defend herself as a strong Christian. In so doing, she adamantly stated, “I believe very strongly in my faith.” Well, whether she was a strong Christian or not is beyond the point that ought to be made from this statement. Instead, her statement brings up a sentiment that seems to be pervasive in our culture, and even in the Church; the sentiment that we put our faith in faith. Truth is relegated to the side, or not even considered at all, for many people. After all, what’s true for me may not be true for you. But is this true?

I found myself having to think about this question again when I was talking with a gentleman on an airplane. The issue of good deeds came up, and he was politely acknowledging that my good deeds stem from my faith, but that his good deeds stem from a different faith or philosophy. For him, the point was that as long as the good deed is done, the motivation does not matter. For this man, religion is good insofar as it motivates people to do good. But what was missing from the conversation was “truth.” What is actually true?

Christianity is a religion, or faith, completely wrapped up in truth. If it is not fundamentally and factually true in its claims, it falls apart as worthless dribble. Our faith rests on a true God (Jer.10:10) who gave us a true Word (Ps.19) that can be trusted. And it is the truth of our faith that must motivate us to live holy lives; and it is the truth of our faith that must drive our evangelism. Paul understood this when he wrote the Corinthians (1 Cor.15:3-5) about what was “of first importance…that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” For Paul, the Gospel was not about positive thinking or cleverly devised fairy tales—it was about the historical realities of the Gospel. Jesus Christ did indeed come from God to this earth physically during the reign of Caesar Augustus (Luke 2:1). Jesus Christ did, in fact, live and walk and work and speak among people as a person in the actual regions of Galilee and Samaria and Judea. Jesus was certainly tried by Pontius Pilate and physically executed on a cross outside Jerusalem. Jesus was physically raised from the dead on the third day, and was seen and heard by at least 500 witnesses before He literally ascended into heaven (1 Cor.15:6). This is where our hope rests – on this real person of Jesus. We do not point people to an idea about forgiveness or joy or even, generically, God. We point people to this Man—Who lived and died on this earth, and is coming again as King of Kings. We point people to this person, Son of Man and Son of God, in Whom we find forgiveness and joy and peace and life eternal.

You Can’t Handle the Truth!

“I want the truth!”

“You can’t handle the truth!”

You may have heard this famous line from the movie A Few Good Men. The quote, “You can’t handle the truth!” is made by Colonel Nathan R. Jessep, who is played by Jack Nicholson. The quote gives the impression that in this world there are events, things, and truths that people could not bear to know. Well, I would like to offer that in this world there are indeed events, things, and truths that people must know and accept.

So what is Truth? A google search of the word truth gives this definition: that which is in accordance with fact or reality. In other words, the way things really are. For example, 2+2=4; or, the fact that a person is restrained by the law of gravity and can’t jump out of a second story window, expecting to flap his or her arms like a bird and soar off into the clouds. Therefore, whether we choose to believe in something doesn’t change the fact that it is true. The truth is the truth whether or not we believe it. When it is all said and done, what matters is that you believe and accept the truth—the truth about the things in this life and the life to come. And the most trustworthy and reliable source for truth concerning life in this world is the Bible (God’s Holy written Word).

God, through the Bible, gives us the truth concerning, creation, life, death, and everything in between. God has even gone so far as to give us the truth about the paper thin material that we call money. Money or finances are a major part of our society today. Someone has once said, “Money makes the world go ’round” (I don’t think I would agree with that statement). However, I think the saying is meant to point to the fact that almost everything that takes place in our society and within our human interactions requires or involves money. Since finances play such an enormous role in our lives today, I think it’s crucial that we know the truth about it.

In the book of Ecclesiastes, in chapter 5 verse 19, the writer says, “Furthermore, as for every man to whom God has given riches and wealth, He has also empowered him to eat from them and to receive his reward and rejoice in his labor; this is the gift of God.”

So what the Word of God tells us is that our finances and the ability to enjoy them are gifts from God. So does that mean I’m not the owner of the things I have? And if I’m not the owner, what does that leave me with? If we are not the creator or owner of our finances, we are left with being the manager. Another word for manager is steward. The Bible explains that one who is a steward must be faithful to rightly and wisely manage what has been given to him.

I can remember when I was a little boy, about 11 years old; I could never come home from school and just put my coat or clothes on the floor. My mom would tell me that I didn’t own or buy those things, so I didn’t have the right to mistreat or not properly take care of my things. So when I was done wearing my coat, I had to make sure I hung it back up in the closet. My mother was teaching me that I had to learn how to be a faithful steward over the things that I was given. I wish I could say that the lesson my mother sought to teach me at an early age has kept me from being an unfaithful steward, but sadly it hasn’t.

In my past, prior to becoming a believer, and even today as a believer, I’ve made mistakes in the stewardship of my finances. However, I trust that as I grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, I will grow in my faithfulness of stewardship over my life, my talents, and even my finances. So at the end of the day, the truth of the matter is this, I came into this world with nothing and I’m going to leave this world with nothing. And that’s the way things really are.

Proverbs 30:8-9“…give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is my portion, that I not be full and deny You and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’ or that I not be in want and steal, and profane the name of my God.





Traditional Family vs. Modern Family?

As I thought about this month’s blog topic of “Truth,” the idea of Truth and Family led me to consider how the family unit is defined by today’s contemporary culture.

I grew up in a single parent home; my mother and father divorced when I was around five years old. I always fantasized what a “traditional” family would be like with both parents in the home. In many ways, I felt slighted as a young man growing up without a father, so I was determined that when I had a family of my own, I would be there as a father.

However, I was utterly clueless as to what God’s Word truly said about family. God’s Word is very clear on the matter. If we want to understand God’s plan for the family unit, we must begin where God began, and that’s in Genesis. In Genesis 2, we see God establishing marriage between one man and one woman. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh” (Gen.2:24). God gave marriage as a gift to Adam and Eve. Marriage was not just for convenience, nor was it brought about by any culture. It was instituted by God.

Hollywood even has an opinion on what a family should look like. Regarding the critically acclaimed sitcom Modern Family, Brian Lowry, of Variety magazine, had this to say: “Flitting among three story lines, it’s smart, nimble and best of all, funny, while actually making a point about the evolving nature of what constitutes ‘family.'”

Did you catch it? ….the evolving nature of what constitutes “family.”  According to whom?! I believe the Apostle Paul was clear in outlining God’s desires for the family and family relationships: “Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be embittered against them. Children, be obedient to your parents in all things, for this is well-pleasing to the Lord. Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart” (Col.3:18-21). This is simple, practical advice that contemporary culture often rebukes.

So, is my family a “Traditional Family” or “Modern Family”? Or a more relevant question is, “Does my family resemble God’s true definition of family?” I like what Alistar Begg says about this is in his blog, Truth for Life: “In truly Christian families, each member affirms that ‘Jesus is Lord.’ Husbands and wives display their love for the Lord Jesus in giving themselves wholeheartedly to the privileges and responsibilities of marriage. Children also display their understanding of Jesus’ Lordship by respecting and obeying their parents. When everyone in the family follows this biblical mandate it makes for healthy churches and stable societies.”

I say Amen to that and pray that my family will resemble this statement more and more by God’s grace.