Saturday, May 16, 2015

"People of Faith" (What is true Doctrine?)

In Joh 18:37  While Pilate was interogating Jesus and pressing him for answers, Jesus stated, ". . . Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice."  

Pilate obviously proving himself not to be of the truth replied, "What is truth. . . ."  Truth for many is not an absolute, but is a thing of relativity, as a matter of fact there may be multiple truths existing at the same time.  For others truth is simply what they believe it to be and for others truth is something obscure that can never be fully known.

For people of faith, truth must be absolute and it must be knowable.  But as we have noted in previous post, this can be a difficult process that will require effort on our part. One looking in from the outside or someone newly arriving in Christian circles may look at all the different doctrines within all the various Christian groups and wonder, how will I ever know the truth?  Which one really has the truth? 

Here are just a few things to acknowledge about the truth of Scripture: 

1st - The text from which we derive our doctrine is ancient, thousands of years old.

2nd - Cultural differences are immense between the time of their writing and ours.

3rd - Language barriers are difficult, first understanding the meaning, then bringing that meaning fully over into another language all with varying dialects.

4th - The actual text we have are copies of copies that have been made over the centuries.

One might take the above statements and argue that we never can really really know the truth, or perhaps try to explain why it seems Christian's can't agree upon what they really believe the truth to be (their doctrine).  That would be a misuse of the statements, it is only to acknowledge that there are difficulties to overcome, but they can be over come.

In the opening scripture Jesus said he came to bear witness of the truth. That tells us that truth is out there, and He was a witness of it.  Like last week's post when Peter testified to the truth of who Jesus was, Jesus told Peter that knowledge did not come from man, but from the Father.  Here Jesus tells us that those who are of the truth hear His voice.  This is a statement of not just hearing but understanding the truth of what is heard.  This is what happened in last weeks post with Peter's understanding of who Jesus was. All of the difficulties that lay before Peter in coming to this understanding were overcome by the light of Grace provided by the Father. 

Now lets be real, it is fair to ask after reading that, why are we not as Christians walking under one unified doctrine of belief as in the beginning of the ancient church?  

To avoid a complicated answer and getting lost in all the various factors involved in human complexity, the likes of which I am insufficient to even begin, let me give you the sum of it all as was spoken by Jesus to the Pharisees upon their question of divorce.  

Mat 19:8  He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. 

Any time we are outside the truth of God's Word it is because of the hardness of our hearts.  That is not something we as Christians like to acknowledge, but our differences in what we believe the truth to be come from the hardness of our hearts, our holding to our pride, self worth, or a myriad of other vices that blind us to the truth.  This hardness separates us in doctrine and opens us to deception and false teachings that are ever present to avail itself within the Church.

John 5:39  Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. 

Want to know the truth?  You can begin the wonderful discovery of who God is today, humble yourself, seek his face, give your life to knowing Him.  As you travel you will discover truth all along the way.  While you travel, love those who differ, knowing like Peter, the light of Grace will shine truth before your eyes.  

2Ti 2:15  Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 
2Ti 2:16  But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. 
2Ti 2:17  And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; 
2Ti 2:18  Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some. 
2Ti 2:19  Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. 
2Ti 2:20  But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. 
2Ti 2:21  If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work. 
2Ti 2:22  Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 
2Ti 2:23  But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes. 
2Ti 2:24  And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,

In another place we are told to "think on these things" this is our journey, we work, we study, we think and employ our mind, all of these efforts are but only means by which God uses to bring the light of truth. Don't let all the differences in Christian doctrine deter you from seeking the truth about Him, there have always been difficulties, there always will be in this age, but truth has always been there to discover and enjoy as we discover who He is, the Christ, the Son of God! 

May the Grace of God be upon each of you,


Contentment in Christ

Once again we find ourselves in the heart of the completion of another school year.  Young men and women are graduating and diplomas are being passed out by the scores.  What exciting days for these who will embark on yet another adventurous leg of the journey for their lives.  If you are reading, and this status applies to you, then a very warm "Congratulations!" be to you from us.

While attending the graduation of my nephew recently, I was blessed to be seated with my mother.  As we had ample time to have some good conversation due to arriving so early to get a seat, she made a remark that has stayed with me since the event.  We were watching people so busily buzzing around to take care of their part of the ceremonies when my mother said to me, "I'm so thankful that the Lord blessed me to be a housewife."  My only correct answer would be to concur with her.  After all, she has always been there for her family, serving faithfully her God, her home, and her neighbor.   

It should be so appropriate to be able to say when we're in the last miles of our journey in this life that we're content and blessed beyond measure with the lot we were given from our Father above.  On the other hand, it can be rather saddening for those we may know that never seem truly content with any aspect of their lives.  We who know something of this contentment that is found in Christ also know that it's because of Him that we can be content.  All other methods  of responding to this life will leave us short of the mark we wish to reach.

The perfect situations, the perfect career, the perfect family, or the perfect housewife simply do not exist.  Truth revealed unto us lets us know that only Christ is perfection.  Our daily walk with Him which requires us to humbly seek His direction through His Spirit insures us of  peace of heart even midst the most difficult of circumstances.  

If we truly seek the Christ while He may be found, there will be no shortage of contented labor in Him.  With all due respect to those professionally inclined, we really do not have to find our worth in a document that hangs on our wall sporting our accomplishments.  When that document is needed for what the Christ has given us to do, He will teach us how to carry His gifts.  Even though "pomp" certainly seems to go with the "circumstances," the glory and honor belong to our Lord.

May we do well that which He has given us to do.  May we run well in this race to His glory, honor, and praise.  Oh to speak of our satisfaction with Him, and pray to hear Him say He is satisfied with us!

Thankful for His Grace and Contentment,


I Timothy 6:6-8 "But godliness with contentment is great gain.  For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.  And having food and raiment let us be therewith content."

Philippians 4:11-13 "Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.  I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.  I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."


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