Friday, May 31, 2013

THE MARK OF A MATURE BELIEVER

The mark of a mature believer is a refusal to be "tossed to and fro . . . with every wind of doctrine" (Ephesians 4:14). Such believers cannot be manipulated by any teacher. They do not need to run around, because they are feasting in green pastures, growing up in Christ. They have learned Christ. They will not be captivated by music, friends, personalities or miracles, but by a hunger for the pure Word.

Paul said, "That they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things" (Titus 2:10). What is Christ's doctrine? The grace of God teaches us that “denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world (Titus 2:11-12). The doctrine of Christ will conform you to the image of Christ. It will expose every hidden sin and every evil longing.

Is your teacher rebuking with authority, speaking and exhorting you to forsake sin and lay down all idols as instructed in Titus 2? Are you learning to hate sin passionately? Or do you leave church, still not deeply convicted? The message of the doctrine of Christ is, "Let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God" (2 Corinthians 7:1).

Many write to us saying that their pastors tell them, “I'm not here to preach against sin; I'm here to lift up Jesus.” Or, “You’ll hear none of that condemnation preaching from this pulpit! I'm here to lift the fear and depression off my people.” Even Pentecostal preachers have two extremes. Some scream a hard, legalistic gospel without love, merely of works; others preach against sin like cowards, taking it all back in the same message.

The doctrine of Christ is a doctrine of godliness and holiness. "If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; he is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings" (1 Timothy 6:3-4).

The preaching of Christ's doctrine will bless, strengthen and encourage you, but it will also convict you so deeply you cannot sit under it and still cling to a secret sin.