I am getting ready to teach the final lesson on the Apostle Paul’s epistle to one of his disciples, Titus. This lesson will focus on the importance of sound doctrine. We live in a day when there is a great famine in our world, especially in the churches, when it comes to teaching and learning sound doctrine. Many have watered down the Word of God so much that It is lost in the church. It seems that very few leaders are actually teaching the full counsel of the Word of God. This is nothing new. During Paul’s day, he had to teach the full counsel of God’s Word because there were so few who were doing it. As Paul instructs Titus via his epistle, he emphasizes the importance of sound doctrine and commands Titus to teach and defend sound doctrine. The question that we want to focus on is, what is sound doctrine?
In the Greek language, the word that is translated into English “sound” is “hugiaino”. It literally means “healthy”. When something is healthy, it is able to grow or produce growth. When something is unhealthy, there may be growth, but it is mutated growth, often with disastrous results. Paul was entrusted with sound doctrine and he passed that sound doctrine on to anyone who would listen. Some laughed and scoffed, others ignored, yet still, there were many who accepted sound doctrine. The word doctrine actually comes to us from Greek via Latin. It carries the idea of instructing someone with theory and helping them practically apply what they learn. Many times, the words doctrine and discipline can be interchanged. When you discipline your children, you explain why you do it, giving them the theory of the teaching and also apply that theory so that they will learn to apply that theory in practical terms. A prime example would be, “do not play in the street because it is dangerous and can cause painful consequences”. Children have the theory but they do not have the experience. Worst case scenario would be that they experience the danger and pain of playing in the street. Instead of having that happen, they are punished for not applying the theory and then equate the theory with the practice, which, theoretically, keeps them from experiencing the danger and pain of being hit by a car. This is what sound doctrine is in the spiritual realm, which also has implications in the physical realm.
I. Sound Doctrine reveals a calling
According to Titus chapter one, sound doctrine is found in the Word of God and the message of the Word of God is that God wants to be reconciled with man and He invites man to join Him in a personal relationship. Answering this call brings about many things in our lives, one of which is eternal life in Christ Jesus. God cannot lie. He has promised this blessing to all of those who answer the call. Eternal life is found in Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ is revealed to us in the sound doctrine of the Word of God, the Gospel, or, in other words, the Bible. In Ephesians chapter one, Paul explains that, in Jesus Christ, God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing that He has to offer from the heavens. In Galatians chapter four, Paul goes on to explain that this calling is for us to be adopted into the family of God as His children. Another part of that calling that God extends to us the calling to share sound doctrine with the people around us. God equips us in doing this by giving us sound doctrine in the Bible and the Holy Spirit the motivates us to share It with those in our sphere of influence. The question is, what happens when I answer this call?
II. Sound Doctrine causes us to be born again
According to Jesus Christ, Himself, when we answer the call of the Gospel and trust in Jesus as our Lord and Savior, He causes us to be born again, spiritually speaking, and we become new creations. This is not a physical transformation. It is a spiritual one. This spiritual transformation begins to shape our daily lives. Jesus explains the process of being born again, teaching in John chapter three that the Spirit of God works together with the Word of God (Sound Doctrine) to reveal the Truth of the need for faith in Christ Jesus. Once we understand this and accept God’s message, we are born again. The apostle Peter explains this in his first epistle, in chapter one, when he explains that we are able to be born again because of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. This is what we must believe, that He rose from the dead to give us a new life, in Him. Saint James, in the first chapter of the epistle that bears his name, explains that God causes us to be born again through His Word. The Word of God describes and explains the new birth to us. When we are born again, we are born into the family of God, or, as I wrote earlier, we are adopted into the family of God. We are new people, from the inside out. How does this impact our daily lives?
III. Sound Doctrine transforms our lifestyles
In Titus chapter two, the apostle Paul goes on to explain that when we believe in Sound Doctrine, and are born again, then Sound Doctrine becomes a tutor for us, instructing us to deny ungodliness and engage in good deeds to meet pressing deeds. This echos what Paul wrote to the Roman church in Romans 8:28-29, teaching that God calls us to be reconciled with Him and teaches us to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. The more time we spend learning and applying sound doctrine, the more we will reflect Christ in our attitudes and actions. This will equip us for the next step, to go and make disciples of the people around us. Or, Jesus puts it another way in John 15 when He tells His followers that He called them to go and bear fruit and that their fruit would remain. From the context, their fruit is more disciples who make more disciples. This is crucial because according to Revelation 22, Christ is coming back and He will reward the good and faithful servants who answered His call, were born again, conformed into the image of Christ, and made disciples who made disciples.
My dear friend, are you one of the many who have answered the call? Have you been born again? Are you being transformed daily into the image of Jesus Christ? Is your character becoming more and more like Christ’s daily? Are you making disciples who are making more disciples? Are you confident that you will hear “well done good and faithful servant” when Jesus Christ returns? Are you ready for your reward? May the Lord help us learn and teach Sound Doctrine to everyone we can!