Doctrine of Christ

Sermon for Sunday, January 21, 2018

The Doctrine of Christ

Text: John 6

The word doctrine and teaching mean same when it refers to the content of what you believe or teach.  When I say “teaching” I am referring to the content of what is taught and the act of teaching it.

Usually, only one Greek word is behind both English words in our English Bibles.

Titus 2:

[1] You, however, must teach what is appropriate to sound doctrine.

I have known people who reject the need to be concerned about doctrine.  They do not like doctrinal preaching.  They say, “Just love Jesus”, but Jesus said “If you love me you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15).

Consider these examples: “Preach Christ, but not doctrine.  Preach Christ, but leave others alone.  Christ, yes.  The church, no.”

The doctrine of Christ could be the teaching about the person of Christ or what Christ taught, which would be his teaching.  However, it is not a question of one or the other.  Belief in both are important.

We noted something similar in last Sunday’s lesson.  People want to ignore everything in the Bible except the Ten Commandments, yet they do not keep the Sabbath!

The Ten Commandments in Exodus 20 is not a summary of the Bible or a list of all we have to do.  The Sabbath requirement does not even apply to us today.  And yet, people will ask “Does your church keep the Ten Commandments?” as if this is all one has to do.

Note that things like the church, God’s plan of salvation, and Lord’s Supper observance are not found in the Ten Commandments.

I have heard preachers argue we need to preach from the gospels rather the more doctrinal Acts and the rest of the New Testament.

There is a danger when we try to reduce the gospel to just a few things.  Instead, we must do as Paul did and consider “the whole will of God” (Acts 20:27).

The gospels alone do not represent the “whole will of God.”  And yet, even the gospels provide with many more obligations to obey God than those who limit themselves only to the gospels.  For example, we are told in the gospels to live our lives in keeping with the truth of God’s word:

John 3:

[21] But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.

This truth about how to live comes from God’s word.  We can see this in our text in John 6.  Jesus uses the literal bread he feed in the feeding of the five thousand in verses 1-4 to talk about himself and his word as the “bread of life.”

John 6:

[51] I am the living bread that came down from heaven.  Whoever eats this bread will live forever.  This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.

[52] Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”

Jesus is speaking figuratively about himself but notice the disciples reaction.

[60] On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching.  Who can accept it?”

[61] Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you?  [62] Then what if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before!  [63] The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing.  The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life.  [64] Yet there are some of you who do not believe.”

[66] From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.

[67] “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve.

Jesus teaches about his message and his person; that is, who he is.  He comes from heaven and his message gives life.

Now let us examine some doctrine found in the gospels:

1) Jesus and the incarnation:

In John 6, Jesus was leading the apostles and his other disciples to a greater understanding of who he was.  His word is the bread of life.

[63] The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing.  The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life.

Compare Hebrews 4:12-13.

John 6:

[33] “For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”  [34] “Sir,” they said, “always give us this bread.”

[35] Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life.  Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.

[41] At this the Jews there began to grumble about him because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.”

[42] They said, “Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know?  How can he now say, ‘I came down from heaven’?”

Jesus and the incarnation:

Some also think that even about the person of Christ is not important.  A speaker at a Christian university told his audience that “God will not ask of us doctrinal questions, such as Jesus’ virgin birth, but he will ask, ‘When I was hungry, did you feed me?  When I was in prison, did you visit me?’ ”  So, what is the speaker saying?  Is he saying that our beliefs about the virgin birth are not as important as our beliefs about ministry?  Or, is he saying that God will allow us to reject the doctrine of the virgin birth as long as we do ministry?  The Bible says that Mary was “found to be with child through the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 1:18) and “The virgin will be with child” (v. 23).

The doctrine of the virgin birth is fundamental to faith in the incarnation of Christ.  To doubt or deny that Jesus was born of a virgin is to doubt or deny what God says, and to believe that ministry trumps this important doctrine is to believe in salvation by works.

When it comes to the doctrine of Christ, we should have faith in who Jesus is as well as what he taught.

2) Jesus and baptism:

Some preachers try to help people see Jesus but they only reveal a part of the picture.  They present Jesus as healing the sick, but they do not show Jesus being baptized of John or baptizing others.

Notice, however, that John 4:1 that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John did.  Thus, baptism was a very prominent part of the ministry of Jesus.

John 4:

[1] Now Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that he was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John—

[2] although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but his disciples.

Note that Jesus commissioned the apostles to go into all the world and make disciples of all nations and baptize them.

Matthew 28:

[18] Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”

[19] “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

[20] and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.  And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

One cannot preach Christ or cause people to see Jesus without seeing him being baptized, baptizing others, and commanding his apostles to baptize others.

Some religious leaders try to show Jesus feeding the poor and helping the needy, but never show Jesus attending worship services at the synagogue.

 

3) Jesus and church attendance:

Jesus promised the apostles he would build his church (Matthew 16:18).

Luke 4:

[16] He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom.

The point is this:  Jesus regularly attended worship services and he commanded his disciples to worship God regularly.

To preach Jesus without showing him regularly attending worship services and commanding his followers to do so as well is to fail to preach the whole counsel of God.

Hebrews 10:

[24] And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,

[25] not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

4) Jesus and doctrine:

John 7:16   Jesus answered, “My teaching is not my own.  It comes from the one who sent me.”

Whether it is the doctrine about the person of Christ or the teaching of Christ, it is imperative that all believe and accept it.

2 John 1:

[9] Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.

[10] If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take them into your house or welcome them.

[11] Anyone who welcomes them shares in their wicked work.

Acts 20:27  For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God.

To show Jesus to the world, we must inform them fully of what he did, but we must also known his doctrine.

All doctrine in the Bible comes from God and is revealed by the Holy Spirit and is essential to know and obey.  Notice what Paul commanded Timothy to do concerning the importance of doctrine:

1 Timothy 4:

[13] Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching.

[15] Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress.

[16] Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.

Acts 2:42  They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching…

J B Myers
jbmyers1@gmail.com

Books:
Faith and Addiction
Elders and Deacons
Life Choices

Ten Commandments

Sermon for Sunday, January 14, 2018

Understanding the Ten Commandments

Text: Exodus 20

In the Bible, God is described as:

1) The creator of matter

2) The creator of life

3) The architect, or designer of what he has created.

The Creator of all things has communicated to humans, the highest form of his creation, through the Bible.

These commandments show how we are to regard our creator and one another.

Many suggest the Ten Commandments is the summary, or Cliff Notes, for what is in the Bible.  It is more than a summary of what is in the Bible.  It is a set of instructions about how we are to live and worship the one who created us.

Exodus 20:

[1] And God spoke all these words:

[2] I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

[3] You shall have no other gods before me.

[4] You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.  [5] You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, [6] but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.

[7] You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.

[8] Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.  [9] Six days you shall labor and do all your work, [10] but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God.  On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns.  [11] For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day.  Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

[12] Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.

[13] You shall not murder.

[14] You shall not commit adultery.

[15] You shall not steal.

[16] You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

[17] You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.

The Bible calls these commands the Ten Commandments:

Exodus 34:

[28] And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant—the Ten Commandments.

Many argue they do not have to obey God’s plan of salvation or go to church because keeping the Ten Commandments is all God wants us to do.

Even in the church, some try to reduce their obligation to God down to the Ten Commandments.   But consider this:

1) God expected more of the Israelites than obeying the Ten Commandments.

Obeying the Ten Commandments was  not all of the law, and the law was much more than the Ten Commandments.

For example, God commanded Abraham and his descendents to be circumcised:

Genesis 17:

[9] Then God said to Abraham, “As for you, you must keep my covenant, you and your descendants after you for the generations to come.  [10] This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep: Every male among you shall be circumcised.  [11] You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you.

[14] Any uncircumcised male, who has not been circumcised in the flesh, will be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.”

2) People who say this do not actually keep the Ten Commandments.

For example, do you observe the Sabbath day as stated in the fourth commandment?

All of the commandments were also commanded in the New Testament except for keeping the Sabbath.

3)  There are things that have been brought over into the New Covenant and things that have been left behind.

Anything that has not been brought over into the New Covenant has been done away with.  Nine of the ten commandments have been brought over but one has not.  The same is also true with all aspects of the Old Testament.

We are not obligated to do many things we read about in the Old Testament.  For example, sacrifices before and after the Law of Moses, temple worship, circumcision, and the food laws of the old covenant.

4) The Law of Moses has been done away with.

The point: if it has not brought over then it does not apply.

Galatians 3:

[24] So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith.  [25] Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian.

Hebrews 8:

[7] For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another.

Luke 22:

[20] In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.”

Hebrews 8:

[13] By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear.

Colossians 2:

[13] When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ.  He forgave us all our sins, [14] having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross.

Colossians 2:

[16] Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day.

[17] These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.

The Ten Commandments:

First: You shall have no other gods before me.

[3] You shall have no other gods before me.

The emphasis is on the object of worship

Second: You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything.

[4] You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything…

The concern is how we worship

[5] You shall not bow down to them or worship them…

Later, Israel violated this command when they made the golden calf (Exodus 32:1-4).

About 500 years later king Jeroboam commits this sin again (1 Kings 12:26-30)

Third: You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God.

[7] You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.

The concern is what we say about God.  We are not to use the name of God for no purpose.

What are some of the ways we can misuse the name of God:

1) to express mild surprise;

2) to fill in the gaps in conversations;

3) to confirm something that is false.

This does not prevent the use of God’s name in legitimate oaths:

Deuteronomy 6:

[13] Fear the Lord your God, serve him only and take your oaths in his name.

Fourth: Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.

[8] Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.

What relevance does this command have for us if we are to worship on the first day of the week?  Perhaps God is telling us that we ought to have a day set apart especially for him.  In the New Testament, that day is Sunday, the first day of the week.

John 20:1  Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance.

Verse 19 – On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together…

Verse 25 – A week later his disciples wee in the house again, and Thomas was with them…

Acts 2:1  When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.

Acts 20:7  On the first day of the week we came together to break bread.

1 Corinthians 16:2  On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income…

Fifth: Honor your father and your mother.

[12] Honor your father and your mother…

Verse 12 says “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.”

Sixth: You shall not murder.

[13] You shall not murder.

Genesis 9:6  “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed.”

I have noticed that people who oppose the death penalty tend to favor abortion.  It seems to me that they want to kill the innocent and spare the guilty and I want to spare the innocent and judge the guilty.

Seventh: You shall not commit adultery.

[14] You shall not commit adultery.

Hebrews 13:4  Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.

Eighth: You shall not steal.

[15] You shall not steal.

According to a University of Florida survey, retail stores lose more to employee theft than shoplifting.  We now have identity theft.  In answer to the question, “Why don’t you steal?”, the number one response was, “I might get caught.”

Ephesians 4:

[28] He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.

Not only should we not steal, but Paul says we should work.  The world does not owe you a living.  Work is good and healthy for you.  Ant those who work must share with those in need.  We should learn to be generous.  Are you generous with God?

Ninth: You shall not give false testimony.

[16] You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

We must be truthful in all areas of life.

Tenth: You shall not covet.

[17] You shall not covet…

God gives us examples of some objects we are not to desire: You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

To covet is to long after, desire earnestly.  This commandment deals with the heart and shows that none of the previous nine commandments could be observed merely from an external point of view.

1 Timothy 6:6 “But godliness with contentment is great gain.”

J B Myers
jbmyers1@gmail.com

Books:
Faith and Addiction
Elders and Deacons
Life Choices

Put On Your New Clothes

Sermon for Sunday, January 7, 2017

Put On Your New Clothes

Introduction:

In Ephesians 5, Paul tells the church how to live the Christian life.  We are to live differently from what we see in the world.  We are to live or walk in a different way.

Ephesians 5:

[1] Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children [2] and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

This different way of living in Christ is sometimes described as putting off and putting on new clothes.

Galatians 3:

[26] So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, [27] for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.

The verb “clothed yourselves” is used by Jesus to refer to literal clothing:

Matthew 6:

[25] Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear.  Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?

Colossians 3:

[8] But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.

[9] Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices [10] and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.

[12] Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

Examples of clothes to take off:

Ephesians 5:

[3] But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.

[4] Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.

1) “sexual immorality” (Πορνεία) means “every kind of sexual intercourse.”

2) “hint” means it literally should not be named among you.

3) “impurity” is often associated with sexual immorality (Galatians 5:19).

Galatians 5:

[19] The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery;

4) “greed” is covetousness (Luke 12:15).  In the Greek lexicon, one definition is “insatiableness” which means “incapable of being satisfied.”

Like the Willie Nelson song titled “Luckenbach, Texas”:

We’ve been so busy
Keepin’ up with the Jones
Four car garage and we’re still building on
Maybe it’s time we got
Back to the basics of love

People get caught up in the rat race: “Buying things we don’t need to impress people we don’t know.”

5) “obscenity” is a rare word that can also be translated “indecency.”  The KJV and NASB translates it “filthiness.”

“Obscenity” refers to “indecent behavior, ugliness, or wickedness” (BADG).

Perhaps this word is associated with the two words that follow it (“foolish talk or coarse joking”).

6) “foolish talk or coarse joking” are tied together with a conjunction which indicates they are similar.

“Foolish talk” (μωρολογία) is silly talk.  Course joking is a word that refers to a negative kind of wit.
All three terms refer to a dirty mind expressing itself in vulgar conversation.

Perhaps these two things are tied to some of the above sins involving sexual immorality.

Note the point of verse 4: Do not joke about sex, but rather give thanks.

All of God’s gifts, including sex, are subjects for thanksgiving, rather than joking.  To joke about them is to degrade them.  To thank God for all blessings is a way to preserve their worth.

All of this is likely in mind in verses 11-12 of our text:

Ephesians 5:

[11] Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. [12] It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret.

Ephesians 5:

[14] This is why it is said: “Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”

[15] Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, [16] making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.

[17] Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.

1) “making the most of every opportunity” means we should make the best possible use of the circumstances of life.

Someone said, “There are no guarantees in life, only opportunities.”

Wise people make the most of their time (v. 16): “Lost, yesterday, somewhere between sunrise an sunset, two golden hours, each set with sixty diamond minutes.  No reward offered, for they are gone forever.”

2) “understand what the Lord’s will is” shows the importance of seeking God’s will rather than our own.

The point: Wise people seek to know the will of God for their lives.

J B Myers
jbmyers1@gmail.com

Books:
Faith and Addiction
Elders and Deacons
Life Choices