Good evening and welcome to eBible Fellowship’s Bible study in the Book of 2nd John. Tonight is study number 15, and we will be reading from 2 John 1:9:
Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.
As we were looking at this idea, of abiding in the doctrine of Christ, in our last study. We saw, that when some people say that doctrine is not important, they are completely wrong. They have not taken a look at the Bible at all, because in numerous places God indicates the tremendous importance of doctrine. We also saw that doctrine is the teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ, the teaching of the Bible, and when Christ spoke in parables, it was according to His doctrine.
And so, doctrine, yes, can be a systematic, organized list of Bible teachings, that theologians write in commentaries. They can list Bible truths and try to organize them in some way. But doctrine, is also the spiritual meaning of the Bible. That is what Christ was teaching in parables, and so we must abide in the doctrine of Christ. We have to look at the whole Bible as His teaching, and we must look for the deeper spiritual meaning of the Bible, and follow the LORD’S directions in digging out understanding and coming to truth, in order to abide in His doctrine.
Doctrine is so important that if we fail to abide in it, that then, the Bible says that we do not have God. But if we do succeed in abiding in the doctrine of Christ, we have both the Father and the Son. We should also point out, that ultimately, the only ones who will be able to abide in the doctrine of Christ, are the true believers. They are those that have become children of God, and God has saved them. God has done the work already of salvation within them, which will result in leading them and causing them to abide in the teachings of the Lord Jesus, in abiding in His doctrine.
On the other hand, if God has not performed that work of grace within an individual, that person will not be able to abide in the doctrine of Christ, and he does not have God. That will actually be an outworking of the fact that he is not truly saved.
So, let us look at some other verses. The Bible has so much to say about this. We have many more verses we could look at, but we want to look at a few more. In 1 Timothy 4:13-16, we read:
Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.
We understand, of course, the great importance of reading the Bible. Who among us would think that was not one of the most important things for a Christian, to do? For a true believer, to do? We must stay in the Word, and for how long? We are never to stop. We are to continue giving attendance, that is, we are to show up with Book in hand and ready to read the Scriptures until Christ come. We want to read the Bible. It is not a laborious chore for us, that we do not want to do. But, we love the Word of God. We desire to learn from it, and so it is a pleasure for us, to “give attendance to reading, to exhortation,” that is, what happens once we read. We learn the things we read, and so we also want to share what we learn, to exhort others, and to encourage them in the things that we have been encouraged with.
And finally, it says, “to doctrine,” that is, we could read this, “Till I come, give attendance to doctrine.” It is not something that was finished and completed during the reformation, that when the reformers saw that we are justified by faith, that therein lies the end of doctrine, and all the other reformed principles that were developed.
Unfortunately, that is what many churches think. Doctrine is settled, doctrine is established already by their particular church, and “here, we will show you the finished product in our confession and in our creeds. These are our church’s principles. These are what we stand upon.”
Why yes, okay, some of them appear to be Biblical, but some others are not Biblical at all. So, we have to keep reading, and as we keep reading, we will continue to learn, and as we learn, we will teach, and from our teaching, develops doctrine. Doctrine is from the Word of God, from the Bible, and it is to be done on a continual basis until Christ come. In other words, God is telling us here, that we may learn something new, and we should give attendance to that. We should be knowledgeable of this fact, that we might learn a new doctrine.
And of course, we have, once God opened up the Scriptures, when we reached the time of the end, and that period of time began with the end of the church age and the beginning of the great tribulation, back in 1988. The LORD opened up the sealed Book of the Bible and began to reveal to His people, doctrine.
We began to learn, shortly after, about the end of the church age, which is a doctrine. We began to learn about the Bible’s teaching of annihilation, rather than suffering forever in a place called hell. That was giving attendance to doctrine. As we continued to read the Scripture, the LORD opened up our eyes to see these things. We began to learn about Christ dying and being resurrected from the dead, before the foundation of the world, that is, we learned better doctrine. It was the LORD, who was giving us more information from His Word and causing us to understand these things.
He opened up from the Bible, information about the timing of Judgment Day. First, the judgment on the churches and then the judgment as it transitioned to the world. This was doctrine from the Bible, and all of these things were given to us by God as the LORD’S people continued to give attendance to reading the Scriptures, to exhortation, and to doctrine.
Even today, during these days after that tribulation, God is continuing to establish doctrine, and so we are not surprised. He told us that this would be the case. It goes on to say, in 1 Timothy 4:14-16:
Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. 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.
Again, we want to emphasize that continuing in doctrine, if it is right doctrine, and a good work, and works can never save us, but what God is doing here, is indicating that the child of God that continues in the faithful teachings of the Bible, in right doctrine, the doctrine of Christ, as it has been discovered through comparing scripture with scripture, and so on—as that child of God continues in it, and he continues in it, despite opposition, despite perhaps persecution and reviling. He continues in it, unconcerned about the world’s opinion of him for doing so, and unconcerned about the church’s opinion of him.
Just think about the doctrine of the end of the church age and some of the affliction that holding onto that kind of teaching from the Bible, can bring upon individuals. Here is someone in a family, and maybe one of his parents or a close relative is a pastor, and the family goes to church, faithfully and regularly. They do not know anything about this teaching, but one individual in the household hears it, checks it out and understands it. He sees it in the Bible and he now must take action, because God also revealed that the true believers were to depart out of the churches.
And so, the child of God must inform his parents, one of them being a pastor, and he must tell his family, “I cannot go to church any longer because the church age is come to an end. God has left the congregations and Satan has been loosed and is the one reigning in the churches.”
This would have been during the 23 year great tribulation period. And, what would be the response? In most cases, it would not be understanding. It would be animosity. They would be astonished and amazed that someone thought the church was in control of Satan. The pastor father would have been stunned to find out that his son would no longer attend the church and actually thought that he was in a wrong place for continuing to pastor.
You can imagine the pressure and the spiritual affliction and tribulation that this individual would come under. And yet, God says, “Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them:…”
This is basically, a parallel command to Matthew 24, where it says in Matthew 24:13:
But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
What does God mean by, “he that shall endure…”? Endure what? What does someone, have to endure, unto the end? Is it life? Many people endure physical life, and not all are saved. Is it the afflictions that come with life? Mental anguish? Depression? Is it sickness? What must we endure? Many people of the world endure these things, and they are not saved.
No; the thing that must be endured to the end is sound doctrine, the doctrine of Christ, the teaching of the Bible. That is what must be endured, and holding onto it will not be easy. Not at all. It will be extremely difficult for an individual to hold onto teachings, like the end of the church age, or like the doctrine of annihilation, or Christ being slain, before the foundation of the world, or God pouring out His wrath, in a day of judgment, in a spiritual way, on May 21, 2011. These doctrines are not easy to hold onto, when so many scoff and mock and ridicule and apply pressure in various ways, where they will leave you, as a friend. They will move away from you, and separate themselves from you, for the sake of the teachings that you hold onto.
Oh no, it will not be easy at all. God’s plan is to severely test those that claim to be His people, during the final days of the day of judgment. And so, He tells us in Matthew 24:13:
But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
That is, if an individual, if someone who says that they are a believer, maintains and holds onto, steadfastly, to the teachings of the Bible, in the face of adverse circumstances, such as these, it would be an evidence that he has, indeed, become a child of God.
That is exactly what 1 Timothy 4:16 is saying:
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.
It is not saying that holding onto a teaching will save us, but it is saying that a true believer, who already is saved, will demonstrate the work of Christ in saving him, by faithfully adhering to the Word of God.
Let us also turn to 2 Timothy 3, and we will read 2 Timothy 3:16-17:
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
That idea that some hold onto, which is, “doctrine is not for me. I will not get involved in petty doctrine.” That is, “I am not going to butt heads with anyone over doctrine. We will just pick out a handful of the Bible’s major teachings, like Christ died on the cross for sinners. That is what I believe in, and I do not worry myself about anything else. All these other things, these fine points are really of no concern.”
How utterly false that is. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine.” We just cannot help developing doctrine, as we read the Bible, because the whole Bible is profitable for that purpose. It is designed by God for the purpose of giving us understanding. God teaches us things from His Word, and what is taught is doctrine.
And so, we hold onto doctrine, and when it is derived from the Word of God, the Bible—we are holding onto the Word of God. We are holding onto the Bible. It is not stubbornness. It is not just our pigheadedness, that we will not give in, on doctrine. How can we? That would be giving in on the truth of the Scripture.
The child of God cannot give. We cannot be as a politician. One politician wants one thing and another wants another, and so they compromise and come to a middle ground of agreement. That might be fine for politics, and fine for people who hold to other points of view on other subjects, but that is never fine for the Bible. It is never to be the case that we compromise any point of doctrine, any teaching of the Scripture, in any way to any degree.
For instance, we do not have a discussion with someone and they are looking at things one way and we see the Bible teaching another way, and so they seem to concede a point. Now, in the world, if you are meeting someone in the middle, then now you concede a point, and you shake hands in the middle, and all is fine. No, no, we hold onto the teaching of the Word of God, because it is not our teaching. We are not in control of what it says and what it does not say. It is God’s teaching and all we are, are messengers and servants and doorkeepers. We are just humble preachers, thankful that God has performed a great work of salvation in us, and so we want to share faithfully everything, He has said, and we must do so, accurately and never give in. Never do we give in on a point of doctrine to please someone else, so that they will like us, so that they will not leave us, so that they will look upon us in a more favorable light, so that they will, whatever. We never do that.
The Apostle Paul realized this, when God moved him to write this, in Galatians chapter 1, and it says in Galatians 1:6-10:
I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.
And that is the marching orders for the soldier of the cross, for the child of God. We seek to please God. Honestly, we do not want to be an offense to anyone, and if we find that we are in a discussion with someone, and they are maintaining an incorrect viewpoint of the Word of God, and they are not recognizing a particular Bible truth, we do not try to force it. No, that is not what is meant by “holding onto the Word.”
We do not try to argue them into believing. We just realize that God has to open up a person’s eyes. We never want to strive. God commands the true believer, in 2 Timothy 2:24-25:
…the servant of the Lord must not strive (that is, fight); but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;
It is up to God to show someone the light, and a right understanding of what He is saying. We cannot do it, and so we stop striving, and that means that we end the conversation and say, “Thank you. We cannot agree.” We do not give in on any point. We do not try to, again, compromise on any point, but we also do not argue any point, as well.
We may look at a couple of more verses in our next study, on “doctrine.” Doctrine is so important in the Bible, and really, the Word itself, and how God uses it, has not been looked at all that much, so we will look at it, a little bit further, when we get together in our next Bible study.