Faith Baptist Church
4258 Botetourt Road
Fincastle, Virginia 24090
(540) 473-2325

Curious or Convicted Saints

Romans 16:17-18

For thousands of years there have been those who give the appearance of being serious students of the word of God. And yet when it comes to any resemblance of conformity to orthodox Christianity they are way out in left field. They feel they are superior to the church and thus they set off on a grand adventure to supposedly rediscover the teachings of Christ. What I believe they are really doing is attempting to reinvent Christianity. What a novel idea! The problem is they are not getting closer to God as is the intent of biblical Christianity. They are straying from the faith which was once delivered unto the saints of God, Jude 3.

They have a curiosity in the word of God, but they do not have a conviction to the word of God.

It is true of Christianity that men have failed to uphold its teachings and practices, but instead of reinventing Christianity we need to return to it. Christianity doesn’t need to be on a different path than what God prescribes in the Bible, it just needs to be adhered to. Justifying leaving biblical orthodox Christianity because the narrow Scriptural road can be difficult doesn’t mean the road is wrong; it just means the way is hard at times.

Scrapping the purpose of the local church is wrong. Exchanging the office of the pastor-teacher to become the church office manager instead of the resident doctrinal expert is wrong.

Backing down from those who oppose themselves is also wrong.

Paul said the Athenians and those who flocked around these supposedly superior men, that they spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing, Acts.17:21.

Hey! Look What I’ve Found

Some today purport to be teachers of some new thing, some inside angle on knowing God. Some come up with a new approach for getting people interested in God and church. They package and sell their ideas on saving souls for God. Its as if God couldn’t save souls without this new idea and their philosophy of ministry. Does the Sovereign of the universe have to wait on the ideas of men in order to find His way into the souls of mankind? I think not. Does God have to be represented in a different light than that which represents his total holiness? Can only the love of God be shown without the wrath of God being understood for folks to know the God they are coming to? There is nothing about God that a believer should be ashamed of. We should only be ashamed that we know so little about him. Do we have to slant the truth to get people interested in coming to church? Do we have to play up one side of the essence of God to folks so as to keep them distracted from other more daunting aspects of our righteous God? I think not.

Spiritual Vagabonds

Some folks work outside the local church as spiritual vagabonds. They do not focus even on the cardinal doctrines of the word of God. Many of these folks say doctrine is a bad word. Watch out for people, especially those who call themselves God’s people, who say the word of God, the heart of God; the mind of Jesus Christ is divisive and destructive to unity. If the word of God does not unify God’s people I highly doubt they are God’s people.

Eph.4:13 Paul says under inspiration, “Till we all come in the unity of the faith [this is doctrinal teaching, not personal faith], and of the knowledge [epignosis, spiritual understanding of doctrine] of the Son of God, unto a perfect [mature] man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;” Fullness of Christ for the believer requires accepted knowledge and compliance to the teachings [doctrines] of the Bible.

Even the qualifications for the deacon in I Tim.3:9 says he must hold the church doctrines in a pure conscience. But it would seem only fair that if preachers don’t have to regard New Testament doctrine then the rank and file of the church can disregard New Testament teachings too.

If this is the case all of us can make up our own rules. This is what is happening today in the emerging church movement and the seeker friendly church movement. This movement is setting the traditional Bible believing churches and denominations up for a frontal assault from those proponents of liberation theology.

“This is a movement within the Roman Catholic Church originating in Latin America which puts the main emphasis upon social justice. Thus to be theologically orthodox one must oppose verbally and by actions any oppression of the poor and lower classes by both Church and state. In fact, the proof of one’s salvation is in such opposition to oppression rather than in acceptance of the gospel and affirmation of the doctrines of faith.” A Woman Rides the Beast, Dave Hunt .

As mainline Christianity moves away from the truths found in the Bible, America’s believers are becoming extremely vulnerable to the deceits of Satan, as his ministers of light work to establish a new order of righteousness through the good works of men. Without Bible doctrine being resident in the souls of believers there are no safeguards to signal Satan’s attack on the souls of God’s children. God’s children do not learn how to protect their minds from evil influences by having emotional experiences or by being entertained; they learn it from Bible doctrine.

Our Father in heaven sees his children as it were playing in a school yard. He loves to see us laughing, playing, listening, singing, talking and over all getting along. And in this school yard there are rules to protect the children. No fighting, fussing, arguing, or tattling on others.

He also has boundaries where his children must not go. He has fences which we are to stay behind.

These fences represent his authority, and these fences are called doctrine by the Apostle Paul. Paul said in Rom.16:17. “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them who cause division and offenses contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.”

How do these charlatans who have invented these new ministry philosophies gather a following? I believe, along with other doctrinal preachers, that they follow because they have not learned the doctrines of God. They are being told doctrine is divisive, that it is bad. Who is telling them this? I’ll tell you who. It is those who are opposed to living according to God’s authority.

Paul goes on in Rom.16:18 “For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ but their own body, and by good words and fair speeches [liberation theology, the new social gospel] they deceive the heart of the simple.”

They say doctrine is bad and it causes divisions.

Division is not caused by doctrine; division is caused by disobeying doctrine . Doctrine tells us how God wants us to get along with him. Amos 3:3 tells us we cannot walk with God if we are not in agreement with him. We are to walk in agreement with God and we cannot do this if we are not unified in Bible doctrine [teaching].

We do not tell God how he is going to get along with us. The clay does not tell the Potter how to make the mold. And if the properties of the clay is such that it will not be molded then the Potter will cast the obstinate clay into the refuse heap. It is good for nothing to his glory.

God’s playground is large enough for all of us, but some always seem to wander along the fence row looking for a piece of wire the devil has loosened. Some are always trying to sneak over into the neighborhood yards. Perhaps they saw a ball over there they wanted to play with or perhaps they just wanted to get away from the Divine teacher who watches over the playground. Of course most of these straying children suffer from approbation lust. They love to hold power over others so they search out the unsuspecting and ignorant to follow them over or through the fence.

They may call their followers all kinds of names like chicken, teachers pet and so on if they don’t follow. These false teachers may call you old fashioned, uncaring or narrow minded. Some of these new and popular teachers will cast you out of their churches if you don’t adopt their newly invented philosophy of ministry.

They do not care if others are hurt just so long as they have a following.

Jesus Christ said in John 15:14 “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatever I command you.” Bible doctrine contains the commandments of our Lord Jesus Christ. Paul said these commandments come from the mind of Christ, Phil.2:5. Paul said in I Cor.2:16 that instruction; another word for doctrine, that it is the mind of Christ. Let’s not forget that Paul got his church age doctrine directly from the Lord Jesus Christ, Acts 26:16; Gal.1:11-12. If a New Testament believer were to say Paul’s writings are not authenticated by the Holy Spirit as from God himself; this would be no different than if an Old Testament believer had said the writings of Moses are not authenticated as from God.

To say doctrine is bad is to say the Logos is bad. It is to say Christ is bad. Now someone tell me, why is the Church of today straying from Bible doctrine? Is it because Bible doctrine demands so much more out of the believer? Bible doctrine is the straight and narrow path. It does not leave room for self-praise. It tells us we need God, not that God needs us. I John 5:2-3 tells us we show our love to the saints and to God when we keep his commandments, and he tells us God’s commandments are not grievous. God doesn’t tell us what is best for us just to hear us groan and sigh in resentment within ourselves.

Bible doctrine puts us in our places and in our arrogant society today we detest any authority, even God’s authority to tell us what to do. We want room to wiggle apart from divine mandates. We want to fit in with a cultural sliding scale of morals. We want grace to cover our disobedience. Shame on us for even claiming to be a Christian nation, or as far as that goes a Christian church. We would rather sing and be entertained for forty minutes and hear a soothing story and do something for the underprivileged than engross ourselves in the life changing doctrines from God’s word.

For many believers and unsaved church goers it is easy to stay faithful to the local church when the church doesn’t demand change in our lives.

We do not like the boat being rocked. We like the status quo. We do not want God building a highway through our souls where He can tread through our lives. We do not want our secret lives exposed, even anonymously to God; even when God in his love is shedding his light in our souls to drive the darkness out of us. We want to like what we think of ourselves and we want to keep the secret places of our hearts. We don’t want the truth found in God’s doctrines exposing the darkness of our hearts. We don’t want to see ourselves in less than shining brilliance. We must be careful as to whose light we are standing in, God’s or Satan’s.

But don’t be fooled. God is not mocked. He has already seen the things in the secret places of our hearts. He saw these things in eternity past, and he alone has the only light to inspect these places and drive out this darkness.

Bible doctrine reflects the light of God and an expository church is going to shed more light than any other kind of church and people know it and that is why it is easy to tell the curious from the convicted Christian.

The curious Christian will enter in a local church and see what is going on, and inspect his or her happiness prospects in such churches, and if it is soon discovered they are going to be spiritually challenged they run out of the church as if their tails were on fire.

Some folks enter the church building looking for happiness and when a teaching [doctrine] from God’s word exposes something that is wrong with their lives it makes them uncomfortable and thus their alleged happiness is jeopardized. Now what they must do is determine if they want God’s happiness. God’s happiness cannot be experienced if the believer is not being conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. It is voluntary submission to God’s word that conforms the believer, Rom.12:1-2.

I think many believers never experience the happiness of God because they are afraid to let go of the intoxicating satisfaction the world offers. They are afraid that they will not be as happy in a vibrant, righteous fellowship with God as they are with the world.

But the convicted believer eats up the word, and cannot seem to get enough. They come

and if they have children they bring them and they teach them by word and example as God, through Bible doctrine is changing them.

Rom.8:14 “ For as many as are led [Present Passive Indicative verb from the Greek word,

ago - meaning to be pulled], as many as are consistently, definitely, willing to be pulled by the Spirit of God, these are the [huios, mature sons] of God.”

They are willing to be led of the Holy Spirit all the way to spiritual maturity.

And the Spirit of God always leads through God’s word.

Just remember that at the judgment seat of Christ, the crowns will not be presented to

the curious, only the convicted saints. Let us press forward to high ground of spiritual maturity. Let us stop letting the new philosophies of ministry ruin our opportunities to grow in the treasures found in the Logos.

May we find ourselves in a good sound Bible teaching church this week and the weeks and years to come until the Lord either takes us home in death, or the Rapture.

God bless, and Godspeed as we press forward for the Lord.