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Ephesians 4:14

Stand Firm on Sound Doctrine

14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;


As we have seen from our study of the previous verse, we begin our Christian lives as mere babes in Christ, but our goal is to mature so that the entire body of Christ can also mature "unto the measure of the fullness of Christ." Paul, however, recognizes that many of the members of the church had not grown in their faith and knowledge of Christ and he takes the opportunity in this verse to urge them to grow up.

My ministry is in the center of a small southern city where poverty, violence and drugs are a daily occurrence. Few of the people living there have ever received Christ as their Savior, but many of them have been to church with their parents or grandparents. Some of them have very strong religious beliefs and superstitions that are not consistent with sound doctrines but have been held by them and their families for several generations. The people are open to learning new things but are reluctant to give up their old beliefs. If I simply attack there superstitions, I will quickly be thought of as an enemy. Therefore, it is my calling to help them find Biblical truths that will make them question and eventually give up their old belief systems.

The danger that I face is that they are so easily persuaded by the spectacular and emotional fervor of some crafty preachers who will lead them astray for their own profit by confirming those old superstitions and adding even more to them. Until they have a sound understanding of the doctrines of the Christian faith, they are vulnerable and can be carried about with every wind of doctrine.

Only prayer and the work of the Holy Spirit can take people like those in Ephesus who worshipped many false deities and build them into a doctrinally sound, mature church. It takes time, patience and a love for the people with whom you are involved. One must make sure that the people are well grounded in the basics before trying to teach the more difficult doctrines.

Paul experienced a situation in his letter to the Hebrews in which the people were not growing in their knowledge of the truth. He wrote, "Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskillfull in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil." (Hebrews 5:11-14)

It is important to be able to discern between truth and a lie, between good and evil, and between a man of God and one of the devil. The devil's agents are crafty and sly. They know how to take a lot of truth and wrap it around their ultimately destructive lies in order to get people to follow them. They lie in wait, looking for the ones who are weak in their faith and knowledge of Christ.

Every day I meet people who have actually received Christ as their Savior, but are still tossed to and fro. Some believe that the dead communicate with them, others listen to fortune tellers who claim to be prophets while others have completely misinterpreted portions of the scriptures. The devil never rests.

I have frequently recommended that my readers should not believe a word that I have written but should check me out in the holy scriptures. "If it ain't in the Bible, it ain't the truth." You should know how to study the Bible methodically and how to properly interpret what you find. It is the only source of truth that we have in this evil world and will remain so until Jesus returns. Learn its doctrines and stand firmly upon them, sharing them with others and building the body of Christ.

Before The Throne:

Ask God to give you ever increasing skills in the interpretation of scriptures. No scripture is of any private interpretation, so you must have the ability to see how it interprets itself. Pray that your understanding would be sound. Ask God to protect your pastor from doctrinal errors. Pray that He will use you to help others grow in their knowledge and understanding. Pray for the maturity of the church.

For Further Study:

(v.14)
** no more: Isa 28:9; Mat 18:3-4; 1Co 3:1-2; 14:20; Heb 5:12-14; ** tossed: Act 20:30-31; Rom 16:17-18; 2Co 11:3-4; Gal 1:6-7; 3:1; Col 2:4-8; 2Th 2:2-5; 1Ti 3:6; 4:6-7; 2Ti 1:15; 2:17-18; 3:6-9, 13; 4:3; Heb 13:9; 2Pe 2:1-3; 1Jo 2:19, 26; 4:1; ** carried: Mat 11:7; 1Co 12:2; Jam 1:6; 3:4; ** by the: Mat 24:11, 24; 2Co 2:17; 4:2; 11:13-15; 2Th 2:9-10; 2Pe 2:18; Rev 13:11-14; 19:20; ** lie: Psa 10:9; 59:3; Mic 7:2; Act 23:21;

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