"Repeat these basic essentials over and over to God's people. Warn them before God against pious nitpicking, which chips away at the faith. It just wears everyone out. Concentrate on doing your best for God, work you won't be ashamed of, laying out the truth plain and simple." 2 Timothy 2:14-15 MSG
Thoughts for Today
The Bible tells us that God is our Banner. God, not doctrine. And yet how often do we as Christians focus on doctrinal opinions and differences instead of our Creator?
The basic doctrines of the Gospel cannot be compromised, but we tend to take it so much further and focus on the "dos and don'ts" presented in the Bible. In doing this, we often become unbalanced in our teaching. We take isolated scriptures out of context and build entire doctrines on them. And then we wave these doctrines, instead of Jesus and his love, as our banner.
This kind of "nitpicking" brings division to the body of Christ. It often causes confusion for unbelievers and even builds a wall of aversion to their receiving the truths of the Gospel. In the words of today's scripture, it "chips away at the faith" and "just wears everyone out."
When Jesus walked on earth, the Pharisees and Sadducees carried their banner-waving rules and regulations so far that most of them failed to recognize Jesus as their long-awaited Messiah.
When we focus more on our doctrinal differences than on the Living Word, we miss Jesus. We miss his direction for our lives. We miss his love. We miss his strength. … And we can cause unbelievers to miss him altogether.
Let's focus on Jesus. Let's join together with other believers in the love of Jesus … agreeing on the truths of the Gospel and agreeing to disagree on the rest … and carry Jesus' banner of love and forgiveness to a lost world.
Father, help me to join with other believers, no matter what their denomination, in forming a united body to carry the Gospel to people around the world. Help us to focus on you and the truth of salvation and refuse to let our differences divide us. In my personal walk with you, help me to grow in my understanding of the Scriptures and to concentrate on doing my best for you, work I won't be ashamed of, laying out the truth plain and simple. In Jesus' name …
These thoughts were drawn from…
Knowing God My Father: Applying the Names of God to My Personal Life by Jimmy Ray Lee, D.Min. This curriculum is designed to help people strengthen their relationship with their heavenly Father by applying His names to their personal life. Along with helping Christians know God better, it can serve as an evangelistic tool by giving a true picture of God to people who may have a distorted view of Him because of an absent or abusive earthly father who did not or does not provide for them. This group can also help men who want to be better fathers. Note: This curriculum was written especially for small groups, and we encourage people to use it that way. However, it can also be used effectively as a personal study for individuals or couples.
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