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Ambassador Baptist Church
1926 Babcock Blvd
Pittsburgh, PA 15209
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clear.gif - 808 Bytes Question:

clear.gif - 808 Bytes I recently heard a preacher say that when we stand before Christ we are only going to be judged by our works (particularly our soul-winning), not our doctrine. He inferred that doctrine was not all that important as compared to our works. Do you agree with this.
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clear.gif - 808 Bytes Thanks for writing.

clear.gif - 808 BytesI think that the Bible teaches that what you believe is every bit as important as what you do. In fact, it may be more important because what a man does is based upon his doctrine. For example, if a man holds to the doctrines of unconditional election and reprobation, then he will not be very concerned about soul-winning or missions. If a man believes in baptismal regeneration, then he will get baptized. So, a man's behavior is rooted in his belief system. I Timothy 1:9-10 says,

" Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;"
Doctrine determines practice, and bad behavior is contrary to sound doctrine.

clear.gif - 808 BytesMatt. 5:19 says,

" Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven."
The word "teach" is a translation of the root word "didasko", which is the root of the word that is translated "doctrine" in the New Testament. Therefore, it appears from this verse that a man's doctrine, at least that which he teaches to others, will be a basis for his reward in Heaven.

clear.gif - 808 BytesTeaching "doctrine" is part of the Great Commission. We are to evangelize, baptize, and then "teach" (same word) the new converts all things that Christ taught. Of course, Christ referred to His own teachings as "doctrine" (John 7:16-17). In fact, when Christ says,

"If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself"
in John 7:17, I believe He is saying that those who truly obey the Lord will understand sound doctrine. Those who are doctrinally incorrect must not be doing the will of God. Titus 1: 9 indicates that converting people to Christ comes as a result of giving them sound doctrine:
"Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers."
Thus, sound doctrine is necessary for evangelism.

clear.gif - 808 BytesHere are some other thoughts concerning the importance of doctrine.

1) Acts 2:42-47 lists out the characteristics of the church at Jerusalem following Pentecost. The first trait that is listed is that they "continued in the Apostle's doctrine."

2). Rom. 16:17 reads,

"Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them."

It seems that if God commands us to pay attention to what people believe, than He will probably pay attention to what people believe. In fact, Paul commands Timothy to "charge some that they teach no other doctrine" in I Tim.1:3. If Timothy has the authority and responsibility to judge false doctrine, I think God will judge it when we stand before Him.

3) Ephesians 4:11-14 states,

" And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;"

This indicates that the office gifts were given to the church, in part, to help the church mature to the point where it understood and held to sound doctrine. God wants us to mature, and I think that He will hold those who refuse to "grow up" accountable for that.

4) The first purpose for the Scriptures, as given by Paul to Timothy in II Tim. 3:16, is for doctrine:

"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:"

clear.gif - 808 BytesIn conclusion, a pastor in particular ought to be very concerned about doctrine. Several reasons for this are spelled out in Scripture. First of all, II Tim. 4:2 states that the pastor is to

"preach the word...with all longsuffering and doctrine".
A man who isn't teaching doctrine isn't preaching! Second, in I Tim 4:6, Paul tells Timothy that if he is going to be a good minister, he needs to be
"nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained".
Third, Paul again instructs Timothy to
"Give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine... Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee"(I Tim. 4:13,16).
Finally, the pastor's value is determined by his doctrine. I Tim. 5:17 states,
" Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine".
Churches are to determine the quality of their pastor not by the size of the church, nor by the number of baptisms, but by the pastor's leadership and his efforts in understanding and teaching the doctrines of the Word of God. Now, if I am to judge my pastor by his doctrinal efforts, doesn't it make sense that God will do the same?

clear.gif - 808 BytesDoctrine and practice both matter. You can not be right in one without having the other.

clear.gif - 808 BytesMay the Lord bless you.
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Pastor Dr. Mark Montgomery
Ambassador Baptist Church
1926 Babcock Blvd
Pittsburgh, PA 15209

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