Affirm the Truth

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There are those who claim, “All we have to do is to love and worship God! You don’t need doctrine to do just that!” They think that doctrine (or right teaching) is not needed for faith. But they are mistaken. (What is doctrine? It “is an organized summary of what the Bible teaches about the most important issues of life.”) [1]

The prophet Moses declared,
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. (Deuteronomy 6:4-5) [2]
Note that doctrine (“The Lord our God, the Lord is one.”) comes first before devotion (“You shall love the Lord your God”). The more we know about God, the more we ought to love Him. How can we really love God when we don’t even know who He truly is?

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When the Samaritan woman asked our Lord Jesus where we should worship, He answered, 
But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:23-24) 
Again, note that doctrine (“God is spirit”) comes first before devotion (“those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”) Who we worship comes before how we should worship. In fact, “worship” came from “worth-ship.” How can we really worship God if we don’t actually know how worthy He is of our worship?

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That’s how important doctrine is to us. Of course, it’s not an end by itself. If we make it as such, we might end up proud.
But while knowledge makes us feel important, it is love that strengthens the church. Anyone who claims to know all the answers doesn’t really know very much. But the person who loves God is the one whom God recognizes. (1 Corinthians 8:2-3, NLT)
Yet, that does not make doctrine unimportant. It’s meant to be a means to an end. What end? Loving and worshiping God. 
The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. (Ecclesiastes 12:13)
We will only fear God and keep His commands if we know who He is and why He is worthy of our obedience. Thus, we need to take root in the truth.

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Charles Swindoll, one of my favorite Bible teachers wrote,
What roots are to a tree, the doctrines are to the Christian. From them we draw our emotional stability, our mental food for growth, as well as our spiritual energy and perspective on life itself. By returning to our roots, we determine precisely where we stand. We equip ourselves for living the life God designed us to live. [3]
Brothers and sisters, let us affirm the truth!

[1] Tom Holladay and Kay Warren, Foundations: 11 Core Truths To Build Your Life On (Teacher’s Guide Volume One) (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2003), 22.

[2] All Bible verses are from the English Standard Version, unless otherwise noted.

[3] Holladay and Warren, 22-23.


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