2 Timothy 4:3, John 8:31-32
Which is more important doctrine or evangelism? It was a point of discussion that we had one evening with some friends. Especially wondering shouldn’t we be focusing so much on what God’s Word and what it says and holding to that Word? Or should we as a church be more focused on reaching other people even if it means doing things that are a little bit unorthodox and maybe not focusing so much in all the fine details of God’s Word?
Perhaps you’ve maybe heard people say this before concerning a very large church: ‘well they must be doing something right.’ As they see great numerical growth in a church they wonder well certainly whatever it is that they’re doing must be pleasing in God sight after all look how he has blessed that church. Is it true?
In 1 Timothy chapter 4 verse 3 the Apostle Paul writes this:
For there will come a time when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, because they have itching ears, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in line with their own desires.
Apostle Paul is saying there is that people aren’t always drawn to somebody who speaks the truth of God’s Word. Quite often people simply like preachers that tell them what they want to hear. And so numerical growth or lack of numerical growth isn’t a sign that you have God’s blessing.
So what is? How can we know that we are truly disciples of God and doing what is right? Jesus says this in John chapter 8 verse 31.
“If you remain in my word, you are really my disciples. You will also know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
He talks about the importance of remaining in His Word holding to the doctrine of His Word. It says that we’ll also know the truth through that Word and the truth will set us free.
Sad to say there are many churches and groups of Christians that in their pursuit of trying to get so many more people to join them, join the group, join their church, they’ve gone astray. Not focusing so much on what God says concerning sin, maybe promoting a gospel that’s different than the true Gospel, saying that the message that the Bible has for you is to show you how to live a Christian life or how to be prosperous in this world. Neither of those things really brings comfort of the true Gospel.
Jesus says by remaining in His Word you will know the truth and the truth will set you free. Vitally it is important for us to hold steadfast to God’s Word, every detail of it, a Word that shows our sinfulness, but also for our savior Jesus Christ the one through whom we are set free. The one who has paid for all of our sins on the cross. So when that question came up with my friends they finally resolved and said I guess doctrine is most important because what other message can you share if it isn’t the truth of God’s Word?
How precious that message is for us as well. May God help us always to remain faithful to His Word and in His Word. Amen.