Summary: How to distinguish understand God’s truth in an age with so many false doctrines and prophets.

2 Timothy 3:14-4:5

“What is Sound Doctrine?”

By: Rev. Kenneth Sauer,

Pastor of Parkview United Methodist Church, Newport News, VA

I was sitting in a repair shop lounge a few weeks ago waiting for my car to be fixed…and oh…the bill…

…but that’s another story.

Anyhow, the t-v was on and it happened to be the time and channel that a very famous and influential television evangelist broadcasts his

t-v show each day.

He was talking about the war in Iraq: “You know what we ought to do?,” said the t-v preacher, “we ought to starve those Iraqi’s to death. That would solve the problem.”

Hmmm… starve, men, women, children, widows, orphans, people created in the image of God…people who possess infinite sacred worth…simply because God loves them.

It was all I could do not to get sick right then and there.

I asked one of the employees at the repair shop if I could change the channel on the t-v, and then did so quickly.

Now, is this the teaching of Jesus Christ?

Can you imagine Jesus Christ telling His followers to starve anyone, or even to hurt anyone in anyway?

I mean we are talking about Jesus here!!!

It is Jesus who cautions us not to even be angry with each other…

…It is Jesus who tells us: “You have heard it said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also….”

… It is Jesus who tells us: “You have heard it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…”

…and it is Jesus who tells us: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.

And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

In our Scripture Lesson for this morning, Paul warns his young protégé, Timothy: … “the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine.”

He goes on to basically tell Timothy: “These false teachers will teach what they think people will want to hear and actually use the Scriptures themselves to manipulate and control.”

Remember Jesus taught us: “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.”

I’m afraid that we do have many wolves in sheep’s clothing…using and manipulating the Scriptures for an agenda which is so far from the Gospel of Jesus Christ…that…well…we must watch out!

Some 2,600 years ago a young man of eight years of age came to the throne of one of the most powerful nations of the world.

For seventeen years this young man ruled his country as best as he could…but his reign wasn’t successful.

The country was in turmoil, the theological foundation of the country was eroded, morality was non-existent, idols were worshiped everywhere, the Temple was neglected, and the once-powerful country was in sharp decline…

…sound familiar?

Anyhow, something happened.

A wonderful event happened that turned the reign of this young king around and made him one of the most revered individuals in the history of his nation.

The country turned around economically, politically, and spiritually.

Everything started to mushroom for the good of the country.

What was the simple act that turned the nation around?

The king’s name was Josiah, and we find his story chronicled in the book we now call 2 Kings.

It seems that one day a priest was walking by a lonely and neglected corner of the Temple.

He was housecleaning, if you will.

And there he found a book, the Book of the Law, the Book of Life, the book we now call Deuteronomy, the Word of God.

And it was the rediscovery of the Word of God that turned an entire nation around.

But there is a word of warning here: it was found in the Church!!!

It was in the Church that the Word of God had been neglected.

It was in the Church that the Word of God had been ignored and left on a dusty table.

And this can happen to us today!

So what are we going to do to ensure that this does not happen to us?

Paul’s solution for this upcoming peril was for his protégé to accept the charge to be firm in the Word:

“In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.”

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