Saturday, May 9, 2015

"People of Faith" Doctrine II

In the previous post we talked a little about doctrine. I'm still talking about that because to be honest (and I really should be honest) doctrine is a subject that has always bothered me.  It bothered me even before I began to understand a little about what it was.  It seemed to always have been a stumbling stone, a cause for offense.

This has come to mind as a Pastor friend of mine has been preaching a series of sermons on evangelism. As he laid the Scriptural foundation for the hows and the whys, this thing of doctrine came to mind again.

You may have experienced this same thing, but I don't know how many times I may have shared a Scripture with someone to address a particular subject for the moment, only to have them reply, "Well, that's just the way you see it, let 12 different people read that and you will get twelve different views, what makes your view the right one?"  There I stand staring them in the eye, not wanting to appear arrogant and a know it all, yet searching for a reason why they should believe me rather than someone else.  All the different views, which we will call doctrine, seem to diminish our ability to evangelize, for who can know the truth?  Thus, the troubling in my soul.

So what are we to do?  I think I have come to an understanding of a few things that help, perhaps some of you can give us further insight to help us to even a greater extent.  One of the greatest things that has helped me is a greater understanding of the Sovereignty of God in Salvation, really His absolute Sovereignty over His creation.

To the left here we see Dr. Rush studying, keeping the Word of God before his eyes, contemplating with his mind the things of God.  If we do that we will discover the complexity of Creation.  We as human beings are very complex in our nature, to that we must add the complexity of our fall.  Everything we are has been damaged and altered, nothing remains untouched,  the way we think, reason, even our emotional make up, in all it's complexity we are drastically affected by the fall, some refer to this as total depravity.

When we start with this precept, we can begin with the understanding that it is a wonder we understand anything correctly at all.  So who can know the truth?  Left to our own understanding, no one.

So now we know why there are so many different views (doctrine) of Scripture.  In our damaged state, even as Christians (regenerate beings) it is difficult for us to see correctly. (Paul mentions we see through a glass darkly 1 Cor. 13:12) Perhaps better said, it is easy for us to lean on our own understanding.  So how does this help me as I stand there starring in the eyes of the question, "Who can know the truth?"

Perhaps it would help if we had a mind as brilliant as Albert Einstein! We could then make a good enough argument to persuade people we are correct in our views (doctrine).  If we could just get enough people with a mind like his to read and study the Scriptures for us, they could discover the truth and explain true doctrine of which we could all then follow.

I am being fictitious of course, we all know this would get us no where, Einstein himself was baffled by the God of the Bible, not being able to understand the complexity of Creation.

Let's try to get somewhere now, In Matthew 16 we find these words,

Mat 16:12  Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. 
Mat 16:13  When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? 
Mat 16:14  And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. 
Mat 16:15  He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? 
Mat 16:16  And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. 
Mat 16:17  And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. 

The Word of God is Amazing, if I could think of a more glorious way to say it I would.  My vocabulary and knowledge of the English language and language as a whole is not sufficient to describe the magnificence of God when He speaks.  While it is true every event of our lives is not specifically addressed in Scripture, if it were we would have a book so large it would be useless to us, but we do find principles and precepts that do apply to every aspect of our lives.

 
Since we have determined we are not smart enough to grasp true doctrine, we must get it some other way.  Notice the question Jesus asked his disciples, "Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? "  Their reply will be their views, (doctrine).  Notice there were many, yet only one truth.  From this we can determine that out of those 12 different views mentioned in the beginning of the post, there could be one that really is truth.

Notice also Peter's view (doctrine) "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." This is true doctrine, the others were reasoning's  of men and not true doctrine.

Now notice how Jesus said he got it, " . . . flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven."  Now that is pretty straight forward.  But we must understand this didn't just come somewhere from thin air so to speak. Peter heard words taught, this includes the false views (doctrine).  He studied the Scriptures, which also included the not so accurate commentaries, yet out of all this he was able to know and define true doctrine.  It came not from intellectual capacities or powerful persuasions, but from the Spirit of God.  His attention to what was preached, his study of the Scriptures himself, his pondering of the things of God were the means by which God used to bring Him to true doctrine.

Here is the strength of my point, God in His absolute Sovereignty is not surprised nor frustrated by all the diversity of views (doctrine) we face today, Therefore, since he allows it, there must be purpose in it and a benefit to us from it, and as a result at the end of all things He will be Glorified the more by it being so.

I do know I find, as a result of all the diversity of Christian doctrine, a driving passion to seek truth all the more.  As Paul said of the Berean's in Act 17, they searched the Scriptures daily to see if those things were so. Out of that searching and desire in prayer the means of truth is revealed and settled in our hearts. The things we have to fight against is our fallen tendency's to hold to our views (doctrine) rather than seeking truth above all things.  Many times our pride in or faithfulness to our views (doctrine) supersede our humble dependence upon the Spirit of God.

Now, how do I answer the question starring me in the face, "Who can know truth?"  I resign to the Sovereignty of God in all things.  Yes, there are 12 other views, (you choose the number) but the truth will not be persuaded by my strong argument or the intellectual capacity of the individual.  We are not told to study to be powerfully persuasive, though we must study.  We are not told to be intellectual giants, though we must learn all we can.  We are told to preach the Gospel, and all who are ordained to eternal life will believe. We preach, God opens the heart, His truth becomes clear light illuminating the life of the believer.  My answer to one who says there are 12 other views, yes, but if you desire to search for it, you can know the truth.  It may not be easy and it may not come quickly, but if you desire the truth you can know it.  It is my prayer to God, it is important enough that you will be moved to search for it.

May the Grace of God be upon each of you,

David
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 Mud Pie Moments

This week brought the blessing of precious days filled with one of the grand girls, and sometimes two.  Those of you who've experienced these moments with your special little ones know there are so many stories to tell.  The funny things they do and say, the times they try our patience and teach us the necessity of more conformity to the character of the One we serve, and the times that our minds and bodies get so exhausted that we think we have absolutely nothing left to give, are simply priceless.  Then, all at once, we get that second wind, or breath of spring, and off we go again.

Determined that the girls would play some things creative other than indoor games and veggie tales, we set out to make an outdoor playhouse.  We used whatever we could find to turn into our kitchen.  This included fresh garden dirt for coffee and pie filling, with plenty of fresh water for cooking and dish washing.  At any rate, "it was on," with the mud pies and coffee.

As we have a freshman lad trying to do his school work around these functions, once I found myself needing to call his spelling words for his test.  We got to the word "essential" when the 4 year old piped up and said "What's essential?"  The best example, for the moment, to give her was the one pertaining to how necessary her bath was going to be after she pulled her arm (elbow deep) from the rich pot of mud coffee she was brewing. lol

You're thinking, Oh no, it's grandparent tell all time!  This can be tricky, and we must watch how we speak of those we love so much.  They have their place in our love, but we know that the love of our life must be the Christ, our blessed Savior.  He blesses us so well with the provision for all that we need.  It is hard not to share the moments that bring us such joy from His great hand of mercy.

As I sat down to write this post, my grand daughter asked me why I did this.  She had a very valid question, and I tried to think before speaking to her about it.  My prayer is that if someone at all could be helped by something written here in their spiritual walk in Christ, then it would be worth it all.

So many times when David will ask me to post something on the blog, it seems that my grand daughter's question is present with me, "why?"  The best answer here is that Christ is worthy of every effort to honor His name.  He'll even take a southern girl that often doesn't even use the good English she has learned to bear witness to His truth.  How thankful am I for His patience and method of choosing His vessels.

Maybe this is just a word of thanksgiving today to the One Who pours out such abundant blessing.  Once we may have carried a brief case and sat behind a desk to acquire an appropriate economic boost for our efforts.  But, once we experience the blessing of wholesome family living and the strength of the relationships that can be built through Christ, how could moments such as these be traded for any compensation this world could offer?

Take time to enjoy the provision of the One Who has provided while we worship Him as the All Sufficient One.  What a glorious place of rest it is to us to trust His hand of providence!  You don't have to make mud pies with your kids, but enjoy them with His rest in mind.

I Timothy 6:17 "Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;"


Have a blessed week,

Julie

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