For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. -- John 3: 16 (NIV)
Writing about matters of discernment within the church regarding false teachings can have a habit of wearing on you. Going against popular culture, while having eternal value, can cause strains in the temporal. People reflexively prefer to consider their church as infallible rather than Scripture. That is because as humans we tend to think only about the intent of people. That is how the more popular heresies infiltrate the church. When I try to discuss matters of doctrine I am often greeted with matters of personality. As if the fact that someone might be a good fellow has any relevance to whether their teaching is false. The other argument offered usually goes something like this: "well what's the big deal?" The big deal is that the eternal souls of men are at stake with every utterance of false doctrine. For every person that might be able to "eat the meat and spit out the bones"; there are ten who choke to death on the bone because they do not know the difference yet. For every ten people who might be somehow reached or helped through a false teaching there might be a hundred that think they are saved and are not. Doctrine is so important it is one of only two things Paul warned Timothy to guard closely -- his life being the other. When I was considering why it is so important to me, I keep coming back to two Scriptures:
But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God's curse! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God's curse! -- Galatians 1: 8-9 (NIV)
Dear brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged more strictly. -- James 3: 1 (NLT)
I am not talking about matters of secondary importance. Quite frankly I prefer that we talk about what joins us together. The love of Christ. The sacrifice of
I say this as the backdrop because I asked God for a feel good message to write today. Something about Your love, ya know? He said to write about how He sent His only Son to die for our sins, the very thing that separates us from Him. Not so we can waste it chasing myths and fairy tales but so that all may come to repentance. I said, "I don't think You got the point." He said, "No, you didn't..."
Soundly rebuked I retreated back into the Word to find a verse that would sum up what God wanted written and when it comes to the true Gospel message -- John 3:16 fits the bill better than any other verse. As we start to exposit the verse we see the first message God always wants us to understand is that He loves us. For He so loved the world. Just insert your own name where "world" is in that verse and make it personal. For God so loved Bob. For God so loved Mary. How does the Bible describe this love?