This lesson was original taught in Mexico City ("Manteniendo la Sana Doctrina," 9 August 2014).
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Life and teaching

  • Every group has boundaries. Definitions. Determination of who is inside the group and who is outside of the group.
  • Doctrines are things taught.
  • We think of doctrine as religious tenets or denominational dogmas.
  • (And it’s a lot easier to define yourself by a list of beliefs than by a set of Christ-like behaviors!)
  • Yet in the Bible, doctrine involves behaviors even more than beliefs.

Sound doctrine is building on the rock.

In Matthew 7, what kinds of things did the false teachers put their trust in? What characterized these persons?

  • Rejection of the narrow road (7:13-14).
  • Faith without fruit (7:15-20).
  • Disobedience to the will of the Father (7:21).
  • Confidence in spiritual experiences (7:22).
  • “I never knew you” => lack of love (7:23). 1 Cor 8:3. Loved self more than the Lord.
  • They were building on the sand (7:24-27).

The phrase "sound doctrine"

  • Appears in 7 passages in the epistles (1 Tim 1:10; 4:3; 6:3; Titus 1:9; 2:22; 2 Tim 1:13; 43)
  • Refers to lifestyle, behaviors, and attitudes more than to technical theology

Illustrations: 7 areas

  • Holy Spirit teaching—suggested by Matt 7:22. See Deut 13; Col 2:18; 2 Cor 12.
  • Prosperity teaching—Jer 29:11-14 (but not v.10).
    • Individualism, “vision”—Acts 2. Yet Christianity is more collective than individual.
    • The Prayer of Jabez—Bruce Wilkinson; The Secret—Rhonda Byrne; The Alchemist—Paulo Cuelho
    • Problem: materialism and lack of holiness
    • Related (Col 2): New Age—enlightenment > repentance. Many Christians get sucked into this thinking. It’s flattering.
  • Homosexuality—2 Sam 1:26.
    • Assumption that inclination justifies behavioral choice.
    • Lack of holiness.
  • Faith alone—skips obedience, repentance, baptism.
    • Sentimentality. Disobedience
    • God can make exceptions, but we cannot count on the exception.
  • "Gospel plus" (Galatians).
    • Way of feeling superior to others.
    • Burdening others—heavy burdens (the Pharisees did this—Matt 23:4; Neh 5:15; Matt 11:28)
    • Heavy-handed leadership (as opposed to servant leadership)
  • Infinite torment—Matt 10:28.
    • Though not necessarily cruel, the doctrine does become a kind of weapon.
    • Misrepresents the character of God.
  • End-times / Israel as people of God—1 Thess 5.
    • Common issue—easy on account of confusion over the covenants.
    • Avoiding discipleship—enthusiasm misplaced


  • Be a seeker of truth, but not too open-minded.
  • Unresolved feelings in the church can make us overly receptive to false teaching. Be careful what doctrine you embrace.
  • Training is essential! Let's hold every Christian teacher or leader to a high standard.
  • Sound doctrine is about life, more than the technical angles of theology. At the judgment, would you rather have a sincere and Christ-centered life (though without a complete understanding of theology), or a perfect understanding of the correct doctrines, yet without a life lived in full harmony with the knowledge that you have?
  • “I don’t believe that God is a fussy faultfinder in dealing with theological ideas. He who provides forgiveness for a sinful life will also surely be a generous judge of theological reflections” (Helmut Thielicke, A Little Exercise for Young Theologians, tr. Charles L. Taylor [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1962] 37.