Summary: It is not our doctrine that reaches people or brings them to God. No matter how pure or right your doctrine is. What brings people to Christ is what they see in you.
Deeds, Not Doctrine
A famous evangelist was holding a Crusade in a certain town. One afternoon, before the evening services, he decided to take a drive around the town. He wanted to see the town, get a feel for the people and needed to mail a letter at the post office. He borrowed his host's car and headed for the post office. However, he became lost and drove round and round. Finally he decided to ask for help but the only person he saw was a young boy walking by the road. He stopped and asked the boy, "Can you tell me how to find my way to the Post Office?" To which the boy responded, "Sure. Just turn around, go back that way to the stop light, turn left, and go a block or two on the right."
The evangelist thanked the boy. Before he drove away he told the boy. I'd like for you to come to the Crusade meeting tonight at the stadium. If you come I will tell you how to find your way to heaven.
The little boy grunted, "Fat chance! You can't even find your way to the post office,"
That little story reminds me of the church and the world... the part of the church played by the evangelist and the part of the world played by the boy.
A lot of times we are busy talking to the world about "being saved" or "righteousness" or things like sanctification or the inerrancy of scripture." We want to convince them of our faith by the purity or rightness of our doctrine.
And too many of the un-churched see the churches doctrine as out-of-fashion, irrelevant, superstitious teachings that don't have much application to their lives and don't make much difference in our lives.
In fact, that is the problem.
Perhaps if the doctrines we hold and preach made more difference in our lives... they may seem more applicable in their lives.
That is why Paul, in writing to Timothy warned him... 14: 16 Watch your life and doctrine closely.
Do you se how Paul weds deeds and doctrine?
As I read this today God impressed on me that it is not our doctrine that reaches people or brings them to God. No matter how pure or right your doctrine is. What brings people to Christ is what they see in you.
Look at the early church. Their doctrinal knowledge was small. All they had was a letter or two from Paul and a few itinerant preachers.
They saw God adding to the church daily those being saved. But not because of their doctrine it was their love for each other and the power of God that was evident in their miracles.
Look at Paul. His teaching was largely rejected by hearers. His doctrine was so objectionable that he was thrown in prison for it. He preached to the prisoners and the jailer heard him. He and Silas sang hymns late into the night keeping the jailer awake. But those things did not have any affect on the jailer. But when God opened the prison doors and the jailer saw that Paul's message had changed the prisoners until they did not try to escape through the open doors... he fell on his face at Paul's feet and cried out..."Man, whatever it is that you have, I want some." (Pendleton version)
Look at Jesus. Was ever there a more pure and perfect doctrine? Yet what was it that caused people to come to him and to accept his God?
His words were hated too. He was constantly in trouble for his doctrine. But his deeds... his love and his miracles... those were the things that caused the people to come and to believe.
The healing of the woman with an issue of blood
his concern for an adulterous woman at the well
his healing of a blind man, the raising of a widows dead son
~ the feeding of thousands
Deeds.... NOT DOCTRINE!!!!!!!
I do not deny the need for the church to preserve strong and pure doctrine. Paul said in 3:9 that we were to maintain pure doctrine.
But I like what he said in 4: 16 If you persevere in them (BOTH) you will save yourselves and your hearers."
That is what convinces people of our faith, draws them to our God, and opens them to our doctrine. I can give you a list of person in the bible who had good doctrine that was outweighed by evil deeds. I can not give you one example of bad deeds were outweighed by good doctrine.
We must remember that pure doctrine is necessary for direction.
But Christ-like deeds are necessary for bringing doctrine to life.
I will end with this illustration.
WWII left Europe a mess. Most of England was a bombed-out ruins. There were few jobs and few things to be bought. The streets were littered with the broken pieces of former buildings and former lives. One of the saddest of all sights were the who roamed the streets in search of food.
Centerline New Media