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The Goal of Doctrine June 20, 2006

Posted by mjtilley in Uncategorized.
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You can download a recording of this lesson (in windows media format)

The goal of doctrine, the goal of a Christian, the goal of man’s very existence is one thing: To love and enjoy God.

Jesus said in Mark 12:30, “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.”

Not only is God glorified, but we are fulfilled.

Paul, in Philippians 3:7-20, shows this goal in action and gives some indication of what I mean.

First, in verses 7 and 8, he says that the worldly pleasures are completely useless to the Christian. He is particularly plain in verse 13 where he notes, “… this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before.”

Or at least that should be the attitude of the Christian.

Unfortunately, many of us are as C.S. Lewis described in his essay The Weight of Glory, “We are half-hearted creatures, fooling around with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered to us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

Second, Paul says that instead of the pleasures of the world, he opts for the infinite joy of Christ and His righteousness. Note verses 8 and 9: “… that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:”

Third, we must note why Paul desires Christ; for what purpose. In verses 10-14, he lists several reasons: to feel the pain of Christ, to be with Christ, to love God (which is “the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus”). But in verse 10, he states the most compelling reason in the world to press toward Christ: “That I may know him.” He considers knowing Christ far greater than any of the pleasures that the world can offer.

Many of the Psalms echo this sentiment. Note:

  • Psalm 16:11 – God provides fullness of joy and pleasures evermore
  • Psalm 17:15 – We can be satisfied with God
  • Psalm 37:4 – Our desires come when we delight in God
  • Psalm 40:8 – It is a delight to do God’s will
  • Psalm 51:12 – Salvation produces joy
  • Psalm 63:1-3 – The desire for God is as hunger
  • Psalm 73:25-26 – God should be the focus of our desire

When this kind of passion is present in our lives, the result will be worship … that is giving all that we are to all that is God. But as we see in the following two passages, proper doctrine results in proper love and proper love results in proper worship and only then are we rewarded with the ultimate prize: God’s Presence in our lives.

John 4:21-24: According to Jesus, the issue wasn’t as much a matter of where worship occurred as it was a matter of how and whom. The Samaritans were arguing about a controversy that was many years old and stemmed from disobedience. But in doing so, they lost sight of the real issue… that God must be worshipped in spirit and in truth.

Matthew 15:3-9: Jesus also corrects the Pharisees by telling them that they had their doctrines wrong. More specifically, in verse 9, He says, “But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.”

The writer of Hebrews tells us (11:6), “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

Because our goal is love God and worship Him, we must have proper knowledge (or doctrine) of God and His Word.

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