Monday, March 23, 2009

Unity Through the Spirit

Let me first start off by saying that Joey and I feel that expository preaching (preaching through the Bible verse by verse) is the best/most Biblical way to preach most of the time. While we have enjoyed topical studies, we always come back to expository teaching. The Bible COMMANDS pastors/teachers to preach the WHOLE counsel of God, not just topics they are passionate about or touchy feel good messages. Many Biblical portions of Scripture get skipped or left out because topical sermons are preached. When expository teaching is the majority, controversial Scriptures and the like can't be overlooked.

With that in mind Bro. Mike has been teaching through the book of Ephesians and by God's will he taught from Ephesians 4:1-6 on Sunday. He focused in mainly on verse 3, but I will quote two and three for clarification. "...with all lowliness and gentleness, with long suffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."

The only way to have true unity or peace in the church is for everyone to be on the same page doctrinally. There are those in one camp that say doctrine divides and we all just need to love each other and forget about our differences, but God's Word teaches otherwise. "Preach the Word! Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all long suffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables." 2 Tim. 4:2-4. There is unity in doctrine. It's what holds people together. Can you imagine if the leadership in your church were all on different pages doctrinally? It happens and sad to say, churches are being divided because the body is going in different directions.

Amos 3:3 says, "Can two walk together unless they be agreed?" No. There will be minor differences of course, but all should agree on the facts of the gospel. Yes, we are called to love another, but we are also called to stand firm on the Truth of God's Word. Sometimes that calls for loving rebuke, exhortation, and correction. "ALL Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness..." 2 Tim. 3:16

You know we are in detrimental times when people flock to hear Joel Osteen "preach" God's Word. I definitely say that lightly because you can't even call it preaching. He said himself that he just wants people to feel good about themselves so he doesn't preach on sin or hell, just touchy feel good messages to tickle the ears of the people. They have all turned aside. See why doctrine is so important? It is the foundation of what we believe and we can't just toss it aside to get along and not rock the boat.

I urge you if you are not in a church that preaches the whole counsel of God consider what you are being fed weekly. I know that good solid Bible churches are very hard to find so you might be in an area where it's not possible to hear good teaching. Consider supplementing with sermons during the week from John Piper, John MacArthur, Tom Nelson, David Jeremiah. I know for a fact that has free sermons for your MP3 or Ipod. They no longer cost you anything to download and all of John MacArthur's sermons that he has ever taught is available. There is too much good stuff available not to take advantage of it.

On a last note, I love what Bro. Mike said that when two believers are at odds or disagreement with one another, one of them is not walking close to Jesus. If two believers are walking close to Jesus there is no room for bickering. That is my own version of what he said and it's true.

Sorry for the long post, but he echoed what Joey and I have believed for years, that doctrine is what holds people together; not music preferences, not common convictions, not your children, but solid doctrine.