Saturday, May 2, 2015
"People of Faith" Doctrine
When I began these posts on people of faith, I thought I was heading to the subject of William Tyndale, perhaps I will still make it. But this morning as I sit I question whether or not I have titled these last few posts appropriately. I have noticed I have been struggling with the previous posts feeling it necessary to try and qualify what I meant by "People of Faith". That phrase has come to mean so many differently things to different people, it is almost a useless phrase without qualification. Our pluralistic society has made it very difficult to do without this need of qualification. In the beginning of our nation, when our founders spoke of religion, a qualification was given only if they were for some reason speaking of something other than Christianity. That is no longer the case.
But it goes deeper than that, we have become so confused over the term of faith, we cannot speak of it even in Christian circles without some kind of qualification. It is no wonder the world is confused about the nature of God when the church itself is so confused. I used to ask the question sometime when inquiring about where someone went to church, "What faith are you" but I think a more accurately stated inquiry would be, "What is your doctrine?"
I have heard it said that doctrine divides and it is therefore avoided, I am incline to believe doctrine unites. I have heard preachers almost boast about the fact they don't preach doctrine, just Christ. But you can't preach Christ without doctrine, that is doctrine, what you believe about Him is doctrine, and that is very important. Doctrine matters to the utmost degree. We have come to the place in the Christian church that you can just invent you own doctrine and go start another church, call it Christian and for the most part the Christian world will embrace it and acknowledge it.
I find most people who attend church regularly if asked what is their doctrine, they have no idea or either spill off some kind or unorganized statement of beliefs that generally fall within their group. I know this to be so, for not so long ago I was one of them. Out of sheer Grace I was given a desire to define what I believed and why. To compare that with what I found in Scripture, then with what those before me believed and why. Then to look at church history and what the church has believed over the centuries, see where they found themselves missing the mark and how they made their corrections. To weigh the time tested doctrines of history against my own.
As a result I have had to make some corrections of my own, things I have believed to be Christian truth for most of my life I found to be in error. This is a difficult thing for one to do, when so much of your life has been given to something, then discover it was vanity.
I would encourage you, whoever you are, don't take your calling lightly. If you are called into the Kingdom of God, you have purpose, but you also have responsibility. Neglect your responsibility and you may find there is no calling.
Test you convictions against the Word of God, weigh it against the history of church. Scrutinize it with the wisdom of great men of the past, whose lives and life testify of truth. Look to the critics of you faith and see if you have answers. Doctrine is most important, we must be as accurate as we possibly can. If you have a belief that is not clearly stated in Scripture, and a way of life that cannot be found in Acts and the early believers, things that the great men before us do not speak of, things that were not accepted throughout early church history, be careful, be diligent, strive for the truth.
Preface all of this with sincere pray and commitment to God for Him to give you a heart and eye for truth, then be patient, it most likely will not come over night. Most generally it will begin slowly and continue for the rest of you life.
May the Grace of God be upon each of you,
Today I've experienced another great measure of God's precious grace in this life. Just this very morning, spending time with both my mother, and my mother-in-law (as two of the best friends one could possibly have), has reminded me of the blessedness interwoven into our lives by such a caring Heavenly Father. The design He established with making families and the many joys found in such relationships are among the richest endowments of His great hand of provision.
While thinking on the coming weekend and the celebration we hold in this nation in honor of our Moms, the thought came along side for those who cannot celebrate with their Moms living on this earth with them now. They've already gone on to their reward with Christ, or maybe even it isn't a good memory at all. Those who never got to know their earthly mother, or even had to live in the issues of an ungodly parentage, would have many struggles with such a celebration which so many of us desire to honor.
Yet, after thinking a little further, we must realize that our Heavenly Father has so many varying blessings that come our way in this life. The friendship and close bond that I may enjoy with these two precious gals are of the greatest He has given me. Someone else, on the other hand, will experience His great hand of providence in yet other graces. Isn't it so comforting to know that the Lord of Heaven and Earth has in store for us just what we need, and exactly when we need it? When we can really lay hold on this truth that "our God will supply our need according to His riches in glory in Christ"(ref. Philp 4:19), we can rest in the assurance of His choice of blessings toward us.
Paul was speaking to the folks at Philippi when he stated the passage above. This seemed to come about after their faithfulness to the work of the Lord and provision for the ministry of those serving in his capacity. If He (Christ) truly is the One in Whom we place our confidence, then our investments of time, energy and finances will reflect this place of trust. How marvelous to enjoy His blessings while we worship and honor the One Who Blesses.
As we approach this time of honor toward Moms, my prayer is that you have indeed this occasion to be thankful for. But, if not, may we examine His many graces toward us and trust His hand of great mercy with a thankful heart. He's so worthy of our praise and thanksgiving even amidst the many things that we are yet to understand.
Blessings to you as you hold His hand in confidence of Who He Is in your life, the Lord, Savior, and soon coming King of Glory.
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