Summary: The importance of doctrine for the growth of the church.
Theme of 1 Timothy:
Although I hope to come to you soon, I am writing you these instructions so that, if I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth.
1 Timothy 3:14, 15 (NIV)
Why doctrine matters:
(From Growing Deep in the Christian Life by Charles Swindoll)
1. It gives substance to our faith
2. It stabilizes us during times of testing
3. It enables us to handle the Bible accurately
4. It equips us to detect and confront error
5. It makes us confident in our daily walk
6. It filters out fears and superstitions
Illustration: Ficus tree putting down deep roots
How to recognize sound doctrine:
Read 1 Timothy 1:3-11
1. Determine the source
Unsound doctrine originates from man
As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies¡K
1 Timothy 1:3-4 (NIV)
Myths were common in the ancient world. Each city had developed fictional stories that traced their ancestry back to the gods. A man like Alexander the Great had a completely artificial genealogy that traced his lineage back to Achilles and Hercules.
Old Testament shows the importance of genealogies to the Jews. But one of the favorite occupations of many Jewish scholars was to construct imaginary and edifying biographies for each person on the list. Example: Book of Jubilees.
Sound doctrine originates from God’s Word
We know that the law is good if one uses it properly.
1 Timothy 1:8 (NIV)
...and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine that conforms to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.
1Timothy 1:10,11 (NIV)
Illustration: Prosperity gospel preachers
Illustration: 2001 Barna Survey people were asked to indicate the basis on which they make moral and ethical decisions:
25% - feelings
15% - values they had learned from parents
13% - Bible
10% - whatever would be most personally beneficial
2. Examine the goals
The goal of unsound doctrine is personal gain
Some have wandered away from these and turned to meaningless talk.
1 Timothy 1:6 (NIV)
The false teachers had missed the mark and gone off course. Their goal was to fulfill their own egos and fill their pockets.
The goal of sound doctrine is love of God and of His people
The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.
1 Timothy 1:5 (NIV)
This kind of love comes from three sources:
A pure heart
A heart that has been cleaned by repentance and faith.
A good conscience
Those with a pure heart will not be condemned by their consciences.
A sincere faith
Literally a faith "without hypocrisy"
3. Consider the motives
Unsound doctrine is motivated by pride
They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm.
1 Timothy 1:7 (NIV)
The false teachers weren’t concerned about truly learning the law, knowing the God who created the law, or serving people in love through the law. They just wanted the prestige that was accorded to the rabbis in Judaism. Jesus talked about such men:
"Everything they do is done for men to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long; they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; they love to be greeted in the marketplaces and to have men call them ’Rabbi.’
Matthew 23:5-7 (NIV)
Sound doctrine is motivated by humility
Don’t be in any rush to become a teacher, my friends. Teaching is highly responsible work. Teachers are held to the strictest standards. And none of us is perfectly qualified. We get it wrong nearly every time we open our mouths.
James 3:1,2 (Message)
4. Observe the consequences
Unsound doctrine results in dissension
...these promote controversies...
1 Timothy 1:4 (NIV)
Sound doctrine leads to a life of faith
...rather than God’s work- which is by faith.
1 Timothy 1:4 (NIV)
Apparently some people have been introducing fantasy stories and fanciful family trees that digress into silliness instead of pulling people back into the center, deepening faith and obedience.
1 Timothy 1:4 (Message)
Don’t let people waste time in endless speculation over myths and spiritual pedigrees. For these things only cause arguments; they don’t help people live a life of faith in God.
1 Timothy 1:4 (NLT)
How to be rooted in sound doctrine:
Read 1 Timothy 4:6-8
1. Be a student of the Scriptures
In pointing out these things to the brethren, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine which you have been following.