“Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.” (Jude 1:3 NKJV).
According to the Lord Jesus one of the major evidences that you are one of His true disciples is your continuance or abiding in His word, teaching or doctrine.
Jesus clearly said to the Jews who believed in Him, “If you abide in my teaching, you are my true disciples.” (John 8:31 MNT).
When you abide in, comply with, or conform wholly to Jesus’ teaching, the world will see clearly that you are different from them.
When the Gentiles converts in Antioch began to conform wholly to the doctrine and example of Christ that were taught and demonstrated to them for a whole year by Barnabas and Saul, the rest of the Gentiles in Antioch could see clearly the differences or changes in their lives (Acts 11:26).
Therefore, they gave them a new name – “Christians” meaning “Christ-like.” Sadly, people hardly notice any significant changes in the lives of many people professing to be Christians today.
It is absolutely impossible to abide or continue in what you don’t really know or understand properly. Therefore, it is very crucial for every believer to have a clear understanding of the doctrine or teaching of Christ.
Moreover, a proper understanding of the doctrine of Christ is a sure guard against false doctrines or teachings that are now prevalent in this end time (1 Tim. 4:1-3).
In His prophetic letters to the seven churches in Asia sent through John the beloved, the Lord Jesus sternly rebuked the churches who were holding strange doctrines like that of Balaam and Nicolaitans (Rev. 2:14-15).
Sadly, many believers and churches today are still holding, propagating, and following doctrines which are not consistent with that of Christ.
Many believers today are being tossed from one church to another and from one minister to another by every wind of new doctrine because they are spiritually immature, having no real understanding of the truths of God’s Word.
God wants all His children to grow in the grace and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, so “that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting.”(Eph. 4:13-14 NKJV).
Like Paul admonished Timothy, it is wise for you to take heed to the doctrine you are holding, obeying, propagating, or defending (1 Tim. 4:16).
Therefore, it is wisdom for us to carefully examine what the Bible says or teaches about the doctrine of Christ which every true disciple of Christ must abide in, hold fast to, follow, earnestly defend and contend for.
First, the doctrine of Christ is absolutely divine; it comes from God the Father.
All that Jesus said or taught about God, about Himself, about His Kingdom and every subject are what His Father gave Him to teach, reveal and explain to us.
The doctrine of Christ is therefore God’s mind perfectly and clearly revealed to us by Christ on every matter, issue or subject. It is therefore authoritative and superior to any other teachings or doctrines.
While on earth, the Lord Jesus clearly revealed to the Jews the source of His teaching or doctrine, saying, “My doctrine is not Mine, but His who sent Me.” (John 7:16 NKJV).
“For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak.” (John 12:49 NKJV).
“He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me.” (John 14:24 NKJV).
Therefore, whatever the Lord Jesus Christ has said or taught on any subject or matter is the final authority on that subject or matter. Any word, doctrine or teaching that anyone is holding, propagating, following, or defending that is contrary in any respect to that which Christ taught is not from God.
The Scripture states: “In many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets; but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.” (Heb. 1:1-2 RSV).
Second, the doctrine of Christ comprises all that the Lord Jesus taught, whether in parables or in clear terms, or in the public or in private, or to the multitudes or to His disciples.
The doctrine of Christ features His views, perspectives, values, mindsets, principles, ways, or attitudes which are in perfect conformity to that of God the Father.
Any teaching that presents, expresses, or advocates any view, perspective, value, mindset, principle, or way of life that does not conform fully to that of Christ is a false, heretical, human or demonic teaching.
The Scripture warns, “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.” (1 Tim. 4:1-3 NKJV).
Third, the doctrine of Christ is the entire body of teachings taught by the early apostles of Christ.
The teachings of the early apostles consist of what the Lord Jesus Himself taught them while He was physically present with them and also what the Lord Jesus through the Holy Spirit taught and revealed to them after His ascension into heaven (John 16:12-14, 1 John 1:1-5).
The doctrine of Christ is the body of teachings which God the Father delivered unto Jesus Christ His Son and which Christ delivered to His early apostles, and which the early apostles of Christ passed down to the saints in the Church. This is why it is sometimes referred to in the Bible as “apostles’ doctrine” (Acts 2:42).
All that the Lord Jesus taught His disciples in person and through the Holy Spirit was compiled together and presented to us in the Bible as the New Testament. Therefore, any view or teaching that does not conform wholly to that of the New Testament is not of Christ or of God. It is heretical, false, human or demonic doctrine!
It is very important for you to understand that the doctrine of Christ is not progressive; there is nothing to add, modify or remove from it. It is perfect, complete and once for all delivered to the early apostles of Christ and passed down in the Church.
This complete body of teachings is what Jude called “the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” and exhorted us to contend earnestly for.
He admonishes, “Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.” (Jude 1:3 NKJV).
However, our understanding of the teaching or doctrine of Christ is progressive, for we cannot fully know or understand all the teaching of Christ at once.
The early Disciples of Christ didn’t fully understand many things that Lord Jesus did, said or taught until after His resurrection and ascension, and when the Holy Spirit (the Spirit of truth) came to abide in them and with them, reminding, explaining and helping them to understand all that Christ did, said or taught while He was with them in the flesh (John 16:12-16).
Any man or woman of God today, regardless of his or her status, gifting or anointing, who claims to have any new revelations, dreams, visions or prophecies that do not conform wholly to that of the early apostles clearly presented in the New Testament is simply proud, knowing nothing. He is a mere liar and a deceiver.
Paul warns us in 1 Timothy 6:
3 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. (NKJV).
Beloved, the Scripture commands that you should not befriend, entertain, or accommodate anyone who does not hold, bring, or abide in the doctrine of Christ. If you do, you share in his evil deeds and give the devil an inroad to your mind.
John the beloved also warns in 2 John 1:
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. (NKJV).
Prayer: My Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending the Lord Jesus Christ to clearly and perfectly teach and reveal Your will or mind to me on every subject or matter. Help me Holy Spirit to know, understand, and abide always in the doctrine of Christ, in Jesus’ name. Amen.