~Ephesians 4:14 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;

I came across this picture and chuckled to myself! What a funny looking tree, huh? I truly believe that there is a lesson from God in every piece of His creation. When I was in grade school Science class, we did an experiment on this very topic. We planted a bean in a cup filled with soil. We watered it, put it in the sun and watched how much it grew from day-to-day. We all know that all plant life grows toward the sun. When you shade a plant, it stunts its growth and slows the process. If the plant finds the smallest speck of sunlight, it will grow toward that sunlight. The tree in today’s picture doesn’t seem to have had a shade problem and I’m not certain why it’s so crooked, however, I think you see my point.

I wondered at how much our own spiritual lives are reflected in this picture! What circumstances would cause a new Christian to grow up crooked? Today’s text indicates that that the new believer is easily tossed about with wrong doctrine. He is easily deceived and sucked into false doctrine. Paul exhorts the Ephesians not to be like children! The only way to spot false doctrine is by knowing the true doctrine … by studying one’s Bible! Don’t study to be a man pleaser but study to show yourself approved unto God! God will reveal Himself and His doctrine to you if you are studious!

~2 Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

There are thousands of people on this planet who are preaching wrong doctrine. Just turn your TV set on and watch on any given Sunday. It is so sad that people are sucked into this spiritual vacuum and fall prey to these charlatans! They fall prey because they have not studied for themselves! It is easier for them to let someone else do the studying and they just follow! Letting someone else do your studying does not exempt you from studying for yourself! You will be accountable for your own actions. It may be easier for you to follow after someone else but you can be certain that you will be tossed about and carried away with every wind of doctrine, as Paul said.

Following after Christ is not easy. Christ never promised that being His disciple would be filled with good things and that you would prosper in wealth and in health. He did promise that you would prosper spiritually and that you would inherit eternal life, however! If wealth and health are in the future of every believer if they just believe, then Foxe’s Book of Martyrs is clearly a record of spiritually lacking people who have died and not prospered in their lives. It’s a sham to tell people this – it’s a money-making business! If people took it upon themselves to study for themselves, they would easily see the truth and the truth would set them free! Jesus said that the pathway to destruction is a wide path and many go through it. The Christian’s path is narrow but it is straight if he stays on it and reads, studies and applies what the Holy Spirit teaches him!

~Matthew 7:13-14 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

~1 Timothy 1:10 For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;

Today’s text says it all! Just what is sound doctrine, anyway? Let’s look to God’s Word to see! Today’s text categorizes what is contrary to sound doctrine:

(1) whoremongers: one who indulges in lust; fornication, or adultery.
(2) them who defile themselves with mankind: homosexuality
(3) menstealers: enslaving another – could be slavery, kidnapping, entrapping
(4) liars: self explanatory – anything spoken that is not the truth
(5) perjured persons: making false oaths to a court of justice

If sound doctrine is compromised in a church, it can only be replaced with its opposite. The doctrines being practiced in today’s churches fall exactly in line with what Paul was warning against:

~1 Timothy 4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;

We see a great falling away from the faith in today’s modern church. Paul did not mince words – he did not sugar coat them either. Paul says that today’s doctrine is the doctrine of devils. Any doctrine that cannot be supported by God’s Word must come straight from the devil! Although a church may seem religious, one should test its doctrine and compare it with the plumb line of God’s Word.

What do we see in today’s churches? We see people who claim they are Christians are yet are adulterers, fornicators, homosexuals, liars, perjurers, etc. There is no new nature spoken of in John 3:3 and 2 Corinthians 5:17. They continue in their same old life style thinking that God will bless them in some way. No repentance is evident and yet they crowd the churches and fill it with sin and compromise. Now that these sins have been allowed to fill our pews, like a rotten apple in a barrel full of healthy apples, it’s not long before the rest of the church (barrel) is filled with rotten fruit!

I don’t believe that anyone even knows the definition anymore! Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines the word “sound” as:

SOUND, a. [L. sanus.]

1. Founded in truth; firm; strong; valid; solid; that cannot be overthrown or refuted; as sound reasoning; a sound argument; a sound objection; sound doctrine; sound principles.

2. Right; correct; well founded; free form error; orthodox. II Tim 1. Let my heart be sound in thy statutes. Psa 119.

Wow!! What a poignant adjective! Now when used with the noun “doctrine,” it begins to take on an eye opening definition! Mr. Webster defines “doctrine” as:

DOCTRINE, n. [L., to teach.]

1. In a general sense, whatever is taught. Hence, a principle or position in any science; whatever is laid down as true by an instructor or master. The doctrines of the gospel are the principles or truths taught by Christ and his apostles. The doctrines of Plato are the principles which he taught. Hence a doctrine may be true or false; it may be a mere tenet or opinion.

2. The act of teaching.

He taught them many things by parables, and said to them in his doctrine. Mark 4.

3. Learning; knowledge.

Whom shall he make to understand doctrine? Isa 28.

4. The truths of the gospel in general.

That they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things. Titus 2.

5. Instruction and confirmation in the truths of the gospel. 2 Tim 3.

When combined, these two words should explode to the Christian! Amen??  Is it any wonder that sound doctrine has been compromised in our churches?  What are we exposing ourselves to when we listen to Christian radio? How many Christians are side tracked when watching Oprah? Does Dr. Phil really have all the answers? Why is it that the Christian finds himself seeking counsel from people who do not seek counsel from God’s Word? This cannot and will not feed the believer with sound doctrine. Of this I am certain!  Can one truly say, “Oh, I can continue living with my girlfriend just as long as I am ‘born again’!  Or, “I can continue to be ‘gay’ because Christ did not speak directly about homosexuality.” “God won’t judge me because it’s all under the blood of Jesus!”  Oh foolish one! You have succumbed to the doctrines of devils just so you can continue in your sin and feed yourself with the devil’s lies. What a price you are paying just so you can pretend to be a Christian. Is it so worth it for now? It won’t be when you enter eternity and see truth!

One cannot be at peace with these thoughts if one is truly born again.  Our new born again nature causes us to grieve when we sin and to have deep remorse!  Anyone who thinks they can continue in their old sin does not display remorse – in fact, quite the opposite.  This has an air of audacity and indignation! Cain did the same thing when his offering was of his “own making” and not what God required. This attitude is equivalent to thumbing your nose at God!

Men’s hearts have grown so cold toward God’s Word that they will seek out doctrine and preaching that will agree with their sin and compromise.

~2 Timothy 4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;

We must warn those that God places in our path – we must exhort them to righteous living – we must guide them in the Word and show them that sound doctrine cannot be compromised! We won’t be popular for doing so, that’s for sure! But then neither were the Apostles. They were stoned, boiled in oil, beheaded, etc. for the sake of preserving sound doctrine.

~Titus 1:9 Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.

~Titus 2:1 But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine: