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{Doctrine DOES matter!}


 

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We should be like US Treasury agents who are trained to spot a counterfeit. They are not taught to look for each and every indicator that the bill is fake. They are taught the detail of a genuine article so they will know when the fake comes along. If we train ourselves in the dilligent study of God's Word, we will learn to discern good from evil and right from wrong. It's not about studying the details of all false teachings out there, though such study can be helpful. It is primarily about knowing the genuine article and being able to see when things diverge from it.





THE BELGIC CONFESSION OF FAITH

Article XXIX - The Marks of the True Church, and Wherein it Differs from the False Church -
We believe that we ought diligently and circumspectly to discern from the Word of God which is the true Church, since all sects which are in the world assume to themselves the name of the Church. But we speak not here of hypocrites, who are mixed in the Church with the good, yet are not of the Church, though externally in it; but we say that the body and communion of the true Church must be distinguished from all sects that call themselves the Church.
The marks by which the true Church is known are these: If the pure doctrine of the gospel is preached therein; if it maintains the pure administration of the sacraments as instituted by Christ; if church discipline is exercised in chastening of sin; in short, if all things are managed according to the pure Word of God, all things contrary thereto rejected, and Jesus Christ acknowledged as the only Head of the Church. Hereby the true Church may certainly be known, from which no man has a right to separate himself.
With respect to those who are members of the Church, they may be known by the marks of Christians; namely, by faith, and when, having received Jesus Christ the only Savior, they avoid sin, follow after righteousness, love the true God and their neighbor, neither turn aside to the right or left, and crucify the flesh with the works thereof. But this is not to be understood as if there did not remain in them great infirmities; but they fight against them through the Spirit all the days of their life, continually taking their refuge in the blood, death, passion, and obedience of our Lord Jesus Christ, in whom they have remission of sins, through faith in Him.
As for the false Church, it ascribes more power and authority to itself and its ordinances than to the Word of God, and will not submit itself to the yoke of Christ. Neither does it administer the sacraments as appointed by Christ in His Word, but adds to and takes from them, as it thinks proper; it relies more upon men than upon Christ; and persecutes those who live holily according to the Word of God and rebuke it for its errors, covetousness, and idolatry.
These two Churches are easily known and distinguished from each other






Why Does God Permit False Prophets? -
Deuteronomy 13:1-5   "If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder, (2) "and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying, 'Let us go after other gods'; which you have not known; 'and let us serve them,' (3) "you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the LORD your God is testing you to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. (4) "You shall walk after the LORD your God and fear Him, and keep His commandments and obey His voice, and you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him. (5) "But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has spoken in order to turn you away from the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of bondage, to entice you from the way in which the LORD your God commanded you to walk. So you shall put away the evil from your midst.

1 Corinthians 11:19   For there must also be factions among you, that those who are approved may be recognized among you.
John 8:47   Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God."
2 Thessalonians 2:9-12    The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, (10) and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. (11) And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, (12) that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

1 Kings 22:20-23   and the LORD said, 'Who will entice Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead?' And one said one thing, and another said another. (21) Then a spirit came forward and stood before the LORD, saying, 'I will entice him.' (22) And the LORD said to him, 'By what means?' And he said, 'I will go out, and will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.' And he said, 'You are to entice him, and you shall succeed; go out and do so.' (23) Now therefore behold, the LORD has put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these your prophets; the LORD has declared disaster for you."

Ezekiel 3:27   But when I speak with you, I will open your mouth, and you shall say to them, 'Thus says the Lord GOD.' He who will hear, let him hear; and he who will refuse to hear, let him refuse, for they are a rebellious house.
Revelation 22:11-12   Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy." (12) "Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay everyone for what he has done.







Gal 1:8   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.

Revelation 22:18-19   For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; (19) and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

Romans 3:7-8   For if the truth of God has increased through my lie to His glory, why am I also still judged as a sinner? (8) And why not say, "Let us do evil that good may come"? (as we are slanderously reported and as some affirm that we say). Their condemnation is just.

Romans 2:6-8   who "will render to each one according to his deeds": (7) eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; (8) but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness indignation and wrath,

Romans 15:4-6  For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope. (5) Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus, (6) that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 16:17-18   Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. (18) For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple.
{It is most important today to realize, in an age where theology and Biblical teaching is actually blamed for division because some want to hold to the truth as precisely as they can, that it is not the truth that causes division, but the lack of understanding the truth that causes division and problems in congregations! Don’t miss this important truth: A lack of understanding the truth is what is used to divide!}

2 Corinthians 4:2-4   But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. (3) But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, (4) whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.

2 Corinthians 11:3-4,12   But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. (4) For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted you may well put up with it! (12) But what I do, I will also continue to do, that I may cut off the opportunity from those who desire an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in the things of which they boast.

1Cor 1:10   Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and [that] there be no divisions among you; but [that] ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

Colossians 2:8   See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.

Titus 1:9-14   holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict. (10) For there are many rebellious men, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, (11) who must be silenced because they are upsetting whole families, teaching things they should not teach for the sake of sordid gain. (12) One of themselves, a prophet of their own, said, "Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons." (13) This testimony is true. For this reason reprove them severely so that they may be sound in the faith, (14) not paying attention to Jewish myths and commandments of men who turn away from the truth.

2 Timothy 4:1-5   I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: (2) Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. (3) For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; (4) and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. (5) But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

1 Timothy 4:6   If you put these things before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed.
1 Timothy 4:13   Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching.
1 Timothy 4:16   Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.

Colossians 1:9-10   For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; (10) that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;

1 Timothy 6:3-5   If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness, (4) he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, (5) useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourself.
1 Timothy 6:20-21   O Timothy! Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge (21) by professing it some have strayed concerning the faith. Grace be with you. Amen.

2Pet 3:16   As also in all [his] epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as [they do] also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.

2 John 1:7-11   For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. (8) Look to yourselves, that we do not lose those things we worked for, but that we may receive a full reward. (9) Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. (10) If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; 11 for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds.

Jeremiah 5:21-31   'Hear this now, O foolish people, Without understanding, Who have eyes and see not, And who have ears and hear not: (22) Do you not fear Me?' says the LORD. 'Will you not tremble at My presence, Who have placed the sand as the bound of the sea, By a perpetual decree, that it cannot pass beyond it? And though its waves toss to and fro, Yet they cannot prevail; Though they roar, yet they cannot pass over it. (23) But this people has a defiant and rebellious heart; They have revolted and departed. (24) They do not say in their heart, "Let us now fear the LORD our God, Who gives rain, both the former and the latter, in its season. He reserves for us the appointed weeks of the harvest." (25) Your iniquities have turned these things away, And your sins have withheld good from you. (26) 'For among My people are found wicked men; They lie in wait as one who sets snares; They set a trap; They catch men. (27) As a cage is full of birds, So their houses are full of deceit. Therefore they have become great and grown rich. (28) They have grown fat, they are sleek; Yes, they surpass the deeds of the wicked; They do not plead the cause, The cause of the fatherless; Yet they prosper, And the right of the needy they do not defend. (29) Shall I not punish them for these things?' says the LORD. 'Shall I not avenge Myself on such a nation as this?' (30) "An astonishing and horrible thing Has been committed in the land: (31) The prophets prophesy falsely, And the priests rule by their own power; And My people love to have it so. But what will you do in the end?

Jeremiah 6:10-19   To whom shall I speak and give warning, That they may hear? Indeed their ear is uncircumcised, And they cannot give heed. Behold, the word of the LORD is a reproach to them; They have no delight in it. (11) Therefore I am full of the fury of the LORD. I am weary of holding it in. "I will pour it out on the children outside, And on the assembly of young men together; For even the husband shall be taken with the wife, The aged with him who is full of days. (12) And their houses shall be turned over to others, Fields and wives together; For I will stretch out My hand Against the inhabitants of the land," says the LORD. (13) "Because from the least of them even to the greatest of them, Everyone is given to covetousness; And from the prophet even to the priest, Everyone deals falsely. (14) They have also healed the hurt of My people slightly, Saying, 'Peace, peace!' When there is no peace. (15) Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? No! They were not at all ashamed; Nor did they know how to blush. Therefore they shall fall among those who fall; At the time I punish them, They shall be cast down," says the LORD. (16) Thus says the LORD: "Stand in the ways and see, And ask for the old paths, where the good way is, And walk in it; Then you will find rest for your souls. But they said, 'We will not walk in it.' (17) Also, I set watchmen over you, saying, 'Listen to the sound of the trumpet!' But they said, 'We will not listen.' (18) Therefore hear, you nations, And know, O congregation, what is among them. (19) Hear, O earth! Behold, I will certainly bring calamity on this people; The fruit of their thoughts, Because they have not heeded My words, Nor My law, but rejected it.

Jeremiah 44:1-29   The word that came to Jeremiah concerning all the Jews who dwell in the land of Egypt, who dwell at Migdol, at Tahpanhes, at Noph, and in the country of Pathros, saying, (2) "Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: 'You have seen all the calamity that I have brought on Jerusalem and on all the cities of Judah; and behold, this day they are a desolation, and no one dwells in them, (3) because of their wickedness which they have committed to provoke Me to anger, in that they went to burn incense and to serve other gods whom they did not know, they nor you nor your fathers. (4) However I have sent to you all My servants the prophets, rising early and sending them, saying, "Oh, do not do this abominable thing that I hate!" (5) But they did not listen or incline their ear to turn from their wickedness, to burn no incense to other gods. (6) So My fury and My anger were poured out and kindled in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem; and they are wasted and desolate, as it is this day.' (7) "Now therefore, thus says the LORD, the God of hosts, the God of Israel: 'Why do you commit this great evil against yourselves, to cut off from you man and woman, child and infant, out of Judah, leaving none to remain, (8) in that you provoke Me to wrath with the works of your hands, burning incense to other gods in the land of Egypt where you have gone to dwell, that you may cut yourselves off and be a curse and a reproach among all the nations of the earth? (9) Have you forgotten the wickedness of your fathers, the wickedness of the kings of Judah, the wickedness of their wives, your own wickedness, and the wickedness of your wives, which they committed in the land of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? (10) They have not been humbled, to this day, nor have they feared; they have not walked in My law or in My statutes that I set before you and your fathers.' (11) "Therefore thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: 'Behold, I will set My face against you for catastrophe and for cutting off all Judah. (12) And I will take the remnant of Judah who have set their faces to go into the land of Egypt to dwell there, and they shall all be consumed and fall in the land of Egypt. They shall be consumed by the sword and by famine. They shall die, from the least to the greatest, by the sword and by famine; and they shall be an oath, an astonishment, a curse and a reproach! (13) For I will punish those who dwell in the land of Egypt, as I have punished Jerusalem, by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence, (14) so that none of the remnant of Judah who have gone into the land of Egypt to dwell there shall escape or survive, lest they return to the land of Judah, to which they desire to return and dwell. For none shall return except those who escape.' "
God has just told the Israelites the reason for their problems, but the spiritually blind & deaf Israelites give the following reply to God...
(15) Then all the men who knew that their wives had burned incense to other gods, with all the women who stood by, a great multitude, and all the people who dwelt in the land of Egypt, in Pathros, answered Jeremiah, saying: (16) "As for the word that you have spoken to us in the name of the LORD, we will not listen to you! (17) But we will certainly do whatever has gone out of our own mouth, to burn incense to the queen of heaven and pour out drink offerings to her, as we have done, we and our fathers, our kings and our princes, in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem. For then we had plenty of food, were well-off, and saw no trouble. (18) But since we stopped burning incense to the queen of heaven and pouring out drink offerings to her, we have lacked everything and have been consumed by the sword and by famine." (19) The women also said, "And when we burned incense to the queen of heaven and poured out drink offerings to her, did we make cakes for her, to worship her, and pour out drink offerings to her without our husbands' permission?"
God again tells the people the real reason for their calamity...
(20) Then Jeremiah spoke to all the people--the men, the women, and all the people who had given him that answer--saying: (21) "The incense that you burned in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem, you and your fathers, your kings and your princes, and the people of the land, did not the LORD remember them, and did it not come into His mind? (22) So the LORD could no longer bear it, because of the evil of your doings and because of the abominations which you committed. Therefore your land is a desolation, an astonishment, a curse, and without an inhabitant, as it is this day. (23) Because you have burned incense and because you have sinned against the LORD, and have not obeyed the voice of the LORD or walked in His law, in His statutes or in His testimonies, therefore this calamity has happened to you, as at this day." (24) Moreover Jeremiah said to all the people and to all the women, "Hear the word of the LORD, all Judah who are in the land of Egypt! (25) Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, saying: 'You and your wives have spoken with your mouths and fulfilled with your hands, saying, "We will surely keep our vows that we have made, to burn incense to the queen of heaven and pour out drink offerings to her." You will surely keep your vows and perform your vows!' (26) Therefore hear the word of the LORD, all Judah who dwell in the land of Egypt: 'Behold, I have sworn by My great name,' says the LORD, 'that My name shall no more be named in the mouth of any man of Judah in all the land of Egypt, saying, "The Lord GOD lives." (27) Behold, I will watch over them for adversity and not for good. And all the men of Judah who are in the land of Egypt shall be consumed by the sword and by famine, until there is an end to them. (28) Yet a small number who escape the sword shall return from the land of Egypt to the land of Judah; and all the remnant of Judah, who have gone to the land of Egypt to dwell there, shall know whose words will stand, Mine or theirs. (29) And this shall be a sign to you,' says the LORD, 'that I will punish you in this place, that you may know that My words will surely stand against you for adversity.'

John 4:23-24   "But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. (24) "God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth."

Proverbs 30:5-6   Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him. (6) Do not add to His words, Lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar.

Hos 4:6   My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.

Malachi 3:16-18   Then those who feared the LORD spoke to one another, And the LORD listened and heard them; So a book of remembrance was written before Him For those who fear the LORD And who meditate on His name. (17) "They shall be Mine," says the LORD of hosts, "On the day that I make them My jewels. And I will spare them As a man spares his own son who serves him." (18) Then you shall again discern Between the righteous and the wicked, Between one who serves God And one who does not serve Him.

Revelation 2:24-25   "Now to you I say, and to the rest in Thyatira, as many as do not have this doctrine, who have not known the depths of Satan, as they say, I will put on you no other burden. (25) "But hold fast what you have [already] till I come.

Rev 21:8   But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

Matthew 7:21-23   "Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. (22) "Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ (23) "And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

Hosea 6:6   For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.

Acts 20:27   For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.

Job 42:7-10   And so it was, after the LORD had spoken these words to Job, that the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, "My wrath is aroused against you and your two friends, for you have not spoken of Me [what is] right, as My servant Job [has]. (8) "Now therefore, take for yourselves seven bulls and seven rams, go to My servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and My servant Job shall pray for you. For I will accept him, lest I deal with you [according to your] folly; because you have not spoken of Me [what is] right, as My servant Job [has]." (9) So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite [and] Zophar the Naamathite went and did as the LORD commanded them; for the LORD had accepted Job.(10) And the LORD restored Job’s losses when he prayed for his friends. Indeed the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before.

Numbers 15:14-16   'And if a stranger dwells with you, or whoever is among you throughout your generations, and would present an offering made by fire, a sweet aroma to the LORD, just as you do, so shall he do. (15) 'One ordinance shall be for you of the assembly and for the stranger who dwells with you, an ordinance forever throughout your generations; as you are, so shall the stranger be before the LORD. (16) 'One law and one custom shall be for you and for the stranger who dwells with you.'"

Exodus 34:12-15   "Watch yourself that you make no covenant with the inhabitants of the land into which you are going, or it will become a snare in your midst. (13) "But rather, you are to tear down their altars and smash their sacred pillars and cut down their Asherim (14) --for you shall not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God-- (15) otherwise you might make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land and they would play the harlot with their gods and sacrifice to their gods, and someone might invite you to eat of his sacrifice,
[ In the Old Testament, National Israel was the visible church. Exodus 34:12, then, is a command to that church to refrain from any compact, cooperation, or league with other religions. God's Word does NOT teach theological diversity and tolerance. Nor false ecumenicalism ! ]

1 Timothy 1: 3-7   "...remain at Ephesus that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith. The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion, desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions."
[Paul's charge to expose unaided speculation and error in the church is done with the motive of love. While we must always teach with gentleness and respect, yet this passage affirms that the purpose of exposing bad doctrine is loving, in fact, the most loving thing a person can do for you.]

2 Peter 1:3-11   as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, (4) by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. (5) But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, (6) to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, (7) to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. (8) For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (9) For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. (10) Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; (11) for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.