Where are you in the learning process? In this age of instant access to facts and info, are you learning what God has said to you in the Bible? Is doctrine important to you, or do you see it as dull and irrelevant, maybe food for someone else’s thought? Let me state two reasons why possessing sound doctrine is invaluable. The first is for the preservation of our own faith and the accuracy of guidance and protection it affords us. The Apostle Paul used severely strong words to young Pastor Timothy (1 Tim. 4) declaring “But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons.” (Friend, we are now living in those “later times.”) He goes on to say “You will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine you have been following.”
We might ask why someone would defect from the Christian faith. Part of it certainly is what Mark spoke of in Chapter 4 if you’ll read it. (Parable of the sower) Laziness and apathy about the need to invest in knowing God’s word certainly applies as well. But Paul references the style and source of teaching we might be drawn to . . . “deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons.” And what of these false teachers? Are you able to discern them with certainty? Some are charlatans for sure but regardless, they’re convinced what they are teaching is true, is from God, and they have the charisma and ability to persuade others to buy into their position. Go back to that line in 1 Timothy 4 where Paul communicates “the Spirit explicitly says.” That, my friend, is strong language. We probably all know of someone who has “defected” from the faith. What makes and keeps you secure?
Now for the second reason. As a Christian, do you sense any responsibility for being a resource for others? Let me ask another question. Would you ever consider going to a doctor who has stopped studying? When your mystery illness strikes, particularly something severe, are you just going to research the Yellow Pages or some lexicon of advertising and simply pick a name with an M.D. by it, or will you check references and seek out someone who is still learning and practicing good medicine? Will you want someone who knows their craft, is current with technology and medical advances and has a reputation in high standing? Yes, you do!
Maybe you’re one of those who would say “Give me a break. I’m getting up in years. I’ve paid my dues. I’m saved. I know I’ll be with Jesus when I die. Just don’t make me think.” Deuteronomy 6:4-9 is as useful for us today as when Moses spoke to the nation of Israel. Parents especially need to take note of teaching opportunities “on the way” and all of us must know there are people around us who respect us, look up to us and need someone who can communicate truth without wavering.
What can change in your daily schedule that would make it easier to draw essential nourishment from God’s word? I close with the wisdom of C.S. Lewis saying “If all the world were Christian it might not matter if all the world were uneducated. But, as it is, a cultural life will exist outside the church whether it exists inside or not. To be ignorant and simple now – not to be able to meet the enemies on their own ground – would be to throw down our weapons, and to betray our uneducated brethren who have, under God, no defense but us against the intellectual attacks of the heathen.” Think About It.