The End Goal of Doctrine

Doctrine (teaching) is, for all who know Him as Lord and Savior, a very basic and absolute necessity. However, if we only know it, believe it, defend it, we have not reached the ultimate goal of sound Bible teaching. In John 8:32, Jesus said, “….ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” His Truth is to free us. It frees us if we come to Him and receive Him as our personal Savior and Lord and yield to His reign in our lives. That frees us from spiritual death. It frees us from the penalty due our sins, bondage to sin, spiritual darkness, hopelessness, fear, and much more. It frees us to be all that God intends us to be, to be used by Him for His glory, to enjoy His fellowship, and to know for certain that we will be with Him forever in a perfect environment. Doctrine that is simply a body of teaching is only wonderful and fascinating knowledge. When we experience the kind of life that sound teaching is meant to reveal, that knowledge is “set on fire” in our hearts, lives, and joyous experience. Titus 2:11-14 (too long to include in this post) will reward any who carefully study it thoroughly. When doctrine becomes both explanation and experience, we can sing from the depths of our beings: “I have found Him! I have found Him! To the cross I ventured near; threw the arms of faith around Him, while He whisper’d words of cheer. Freely now to me is given peace and pardon, life and light; all I need for earth and Heaven in His boundless grace unite. O the joy when first I knew Him! He was seeking there for me; tender mercy drew me to Him, His forevermore to be. I have found Him! I have found Him! He is precious to my soul; while my hopes are twining ‘round Him, all my cares on Him I roll. Hallelujah! I have found Him! Blessed Savior, friend divine; Hallelujah! I have found Him! I am His and He is mine! (“I Have Found Him”-By Eliza E. Hewitt). Selah! Imagine a fantastic feast spread for you with all the food and desserts your heart could desire. However, you study it, learn about it, could explain it—-but never touch it! On a far higher scale, let’s not settle for doctrine only, let’s enjoy the experience.   Ron

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The Produce

The Spirit of God uses the Scriptures to show us our condition, show us our Savior and the deliverance He offers, draws us to trust Him, yield to Him, and surrender to Him as Savior and Lord. When we do, the Holy Spirit, using God’s Word, restores us to Spiritual life and takes up residence in us. When He becomes resident, the next step is to be “President” over us. We have all of Him; He wants all of us! To accomplish this, He brings the Word of God to bear on our daily lives producing wonderful fruit in beautiful balance. Paul was inspired to tell us about this fruit in Galatians 5:22-23. Here it is: “….the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” This nine-fold fruit describes the character qualities of Jesus. This fruit (produce) in our lives is the process of making us like Him! Now this is how constant devotional study and meditation on His Word is used by the Holy Spirit to conform us “….the image of His Son.” (From Romans 8:29). Other books might influence us to try to do and be some of these things, but only the Bible, used by the Holy Spirit, can develop all nine in our lives in harmonious balance. May we, like Daniel Iverson, pray what he prayed in his hymn, “Spirit of the Living God” “Spirit of the Living God, fall fresh on me! Spirit of the Living God, fall fresh on me! Melt me, mold me, fill me, use me! Spirit of the Living God, fall fresh on me!” Selah! Only God’s Word, activated by His Spirit, can develop Jesus’ likeness in us and produce such wonderful fruit in our lives. As you get more and more into His Word, let more and more of His Word get into you!   Ron

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Authority and Power

No book ever has had, or ever will have, the power and authority that is found within the Bible. No other book has ever touched lives like God’s Word has touched them and does touch them now and does as life on earth continues. It’s influence is far, far above any other book. No other book has ever been used to change lives to the extent that the Scriptures have been used. None even come close! No other book has ever come close to explaining life on earth as does the Holy Book. Much more could be added. Power comes from the sacred text; why? Because the Holy Spirit uses it and brings the voice of God and a revealing of His plans and purposes to our inner man. Even when rejected, it brings conviction to the hearts of those who reject it. It warns of eternal judgment and the life that is to come. In its pages, we discover that we were born “enemies of God.” However, the Holy Spirit’s sword is the Word of God. We’re told this in Ephesians 6:17 where Paul was inspired to record: “….the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.” When we respond to God’s offer of salvation, we are changed from being enemies to being His sons and daughters. All who are born again are to wield this sword and the Holy Spirit will direct it and bring its point to bear where needed. When the Word pricks hearts, if it finds good soil, the Holy Spirit implants the seed and new life in Christ enters the lives impacted by the authority and power of Scripture. So, look to the Holy Spirit to use you, as you wield His sword! Frances R. Havergal prayed in her hymn, “Lord, Speak to Me,” a prayer that we should make ours: “ Lord, speak to me, that I may speak in living echoes of your tone; as you have sought, so let me seek, your erring children lost and lone. O teach me, Lord, that I may teach the precious things you do impart; and wing my words, that they may reach the hidden depths of many a heart.” Selah! Let the Holy Spirit impress you to know and use the Word of God wherever opportunity arises and trust Him to use its power and authority to impact folks in their inner being and their lives.   Ron

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Beyond the Sacred Page

If it were not for the Holy Spirit, the Bible (at best) would only be a religious book! It could never be understood as the actual words of Almighty God! Only the Holy Spirit can open it to our hearts and minds and use the paper and ink as a way of conveying God’s Revelation to us of all He has to say to us. “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, (they) are spirit, and (they) are life” (John 6:63). “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God” (I Corinthians 2:12). Without the Holy Spirit, the Bible would be only sterile information. Once we come to know Jesus as Lord and Savior, Scripture comes alive Spiritually to us. The Holy Spirit brings it to bear on our daily lives. He brings it to our remembrance. Using the Word, He imparts Spiritual strength to our lives. He nourishes us from its Truths and produces Spiritual growth. He sanctifies our hearts, values and behavior. In fact, He uses it to bring about our new birth: “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever” (I Peter 1:23). “More about Jesus let me learn, more of His holy will discern; Spirit of God, my teacher be, showing the things of Christ to me. More about Jesus in His Word, holding communion with my Lord; hearing His voice in ev’ry line, making each faithful saying mine. More, more about Jesus, more, more about Jesus; more of His saving fullness see, more of His love who died for me.” (“More About Jesus”-By E. E. Hewitt). Selah! The exerting of the Spirit’s power will occupy our attention tomorrow, God willing.   Ron

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Don’t Shortchange the Holy Spirit!

If Jesus is your Lord and Savior, I want you to honestly consider how you actually relate to the Holy Spirit. Have you consciously or sub-consciously relegated Him to a level lower than the rest of the Godhead? Because of a lack of really understanding Him and His ministries, have you simply placed your emphasis on the Father and the Son? Perhaps you have been “turned off” on giving much time to study the Truth about Him because of how some have gone to extremes about Him that are not justified by Scripture. First, He is God just as much as the Father is God and the Son is God. Second, He is the One Who brought conviction and an awareness of your sin(s) and their due judgment. He revealed Jesus’ payment on the cross for your sin(s). He urged you to come and place your faith (trust) in Jesus’ to save you. Third, He performs the miracle of your new birth. Fourth, He opens, explains and motivates obedience to God’s Word. These are only some things that He does. Let me ask you; would you want to dispense with Him or His ministries? If your answer is “No!” don’t rob Him of His deity or discount His status as God! Think carefully on John 16:7-14: “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you and when He is come, He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they believe not on Me; of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when He, the Spirit of Truth, is come, He will guide you into all Truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, (that) shall He speak: and He will shew you things to come. He shall glorify Me: for He shall receive of Mine, and shall shew (it) unto you.” Let’s pray with Mary A. Lathbury: “O send your Spirit now, dear Lord, to me, that He may touch my eyes and make me see. Show me the Truth concealed within Your Word, for in Your book revealed I see You, Lord.” (From “Break Thou the Bread of Life”). Selah! Give the Holy Spirit the honor due His Deity and His Person and ministry.   Ron

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The Part I Don’t Like

Imagine a large photograph. It is a picture of you. Part of the picture shows something good about you; part of it shows something bad about you. You don’t like the bad part so you take a pair of scissors and cut out the bad part. The problem is that cutting out part of the picture doesn’t change a thing. Or, imagine a contract you are handed to sign. You delete the part you don’t like and sign. Do you think the other party will accept the contract? If it’s  absolutely important to him or her, it won’t be accepted! Some people look at the terms of salvation that way. They like the parts about forgiveness, cleansing, blessings, the guarantee of Heaven, etc. However, they don’t like the parts about giving up some things that they want to do (but are wrong). God has indicated these things have to stop. They don’t like possible (probable?) suffering. They don’t like to be told what they need to be and do. So, they try to ignore, excuse, “skirt,”  or refuse the part they don’t like. It can’t be done! Too many approach salvation this way. “God, I believe all Your Truth about the way of salvation. I accept it, so all is well between us, right?” Wrong! These Truths are only part of the picture or “contract.” The other part is that our lives are to be given over to God’s control. We can’t change the terms! Romans 10:10 gives us inspired explanation in “stark” and simple words: “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” We believe in our hearts-unto righteousness! This same reality is captured in John H. Sammis’ hymn, “Trust and Obey.” “When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word, what a glory He sheds on our way! While we do His good will, He abides with us still, and with all who will trust and obey. But we never can prove the delights of His love until all on the altar we lay; for the favor He shows, and the joy He bestows, are for those who will trust and obey. Trust and obey, for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.” Selah! This part that we might not like will turn out to be a huge blessing!   Ron

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No Middle Ground

God’s dividing lines are clear-cut. We, on the other hand, try to make excuses, water things down, straddle the fence, etc. If we see our need of Jesus as Lord and Savior, we have to choose which side of the division we want to experience. We choose between belief and unbelief, light and darkness, the broadway and the narrow way, going all the way or turning back, receiving or rejecting salvation, Heaven or Hell, holy lives or sinful lives. These are but a few choices. If we make the right choices, we move in that direction; if we make wrong choices, we move in the opposite direction. There is no middle ground; we can’t have the world and have Jesus; it’s one or the other! If we have been moving in the wrong direction, our only hope is to reverse direction and the only time that we can be sure of being able to turn around is NOW!  In John 3:36 Jesus “drew a line in the sand.” In His own words: “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” When we make the choice to surrender our lives to Jesus, trusting Him for salvation and to take over the control of our lives, our old nature (what the Bible calls the “flesh”) must be put to death. We resist it, refuse it, starve it, bring the Word to bear on it, reckoning ourselves to be dead to it. The ”pull,” the attraction, the temptations of the “flesh” can’t move us, if we truly count ourselves dead to them. That Fanny Crosby understood is clear from these verses from her hymn, “Give Me Jesus.” She wrote: “Take the world, but give me Jesus, all its joys are but a name; but His love abideth ever, through eternal years the same. Take the world, but give me Jesus; in His cross my trust shall be, ‘till, with clearer, brighter vision, face to Face my Lord I see.” Selah! To truly follow Jesus, we break with the world’s way and thinking and commit ourselves without any reservation to Him and His ways!   Ron

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