The Identity of True Faith and Practice

THE IDENTITY OF TRUE FAITH AND PRACTICE I. Error begins with accepting some other standard for faith and practice than the word of God. GEN 3:1-6; 2CO 11:3. II. Personal feelings and thoughts do not determine truth. PRO 28:26; 14:12. A. It is possible to be completely convinced that one is doing right though in error. JOH 16:2; ACT 26:9-10. 1. Dedication to an error does not justify the error. 2. Zeal is not necessarily be a good thing. 2SA 21:2; GAL 4:17-18. B. It is possible to be in ignorance about wrongdoing. PSA 19:12; ACT 3:17. 1. When this is discovered, the mind is to be changed and the wrongdoing forsaken. JOB 34:32; ROM 12:1-2; 1PE 1:14. 2. God calls men to repent. ACT 17:30. a. Repent: “To feel contrition, compunction, sorrow or regret for something one has done or left undone; to change one's mind with regard to past action or conduct through dissatisfaction with it or its results.” b. Acquired corrective knowledge demands an appropriate response. ISA 55:6-8; EPH 4:17-24. c. The length of time that a person has believed and practiced an error should be no deterrent to making a needed change. PRO 19:20. 3. An honest man, when confronted with the truth, will either repent of his error or cease being honest. III. The newness or strangeness of the doctrine is no reason in itself to discard it. MAR 1:27; ACT 17:18-20; HOS 8:12. IV. The word of God is to be relied upon above the word of enemies, teachers and ancients. PSA 119:98-100. V. The fact that actions/beliefs contrary to Scripture may get “results” is no standard for determining what is right. NUM 20:7-12. VI. How many or few believe a thing does not prove it true or untrue. A. Joshua and Caleb were outvoted ten to two. DEU 1:22-38. B. Elijah's ministry was a minority ministry. 1KI 18:21-22. C. Noah's church was a minority church (temporarily). 2PE 2:5; 1PE 3:20. D. God's man is sometimes called to stand alone because of His word. JER 15:16-17. E. God's word is true if NOBODY acknowledges it. ROM 3:3-4. F. Obedient followers of the truth tend to be rare. MAT 7:13-14, 21-23; LUK 18:8. G. There may be many more followers of the faithful word than one is aware of. ROM 11:2-4. VII. Perfection comes gradually. God does not expect men to know everything before they will do anything. HEB 11:8; PRO 4:18. A. In the absence of knowledge or opportunity, God sees the intents of the heart (HEB 4:12) and is merciful. 1KI 8:18; 15:14; 2CH 30:18-20. B. When knowledge and opportunity are gained, actions must be directed accordingly to avoid judgment. JAM 4:17: LUK 12:47. C. Continual learning that does not bring forth its fruit speaks of reprobation. 2TI 3:7-8. D. Ultimately, a person must make up their mind one way or another. JOS 24:15; 1KI 18:21; MAT 12:30. VIII. The question is oftentimes asked, “Why would God allow me to have believed a lie for all these years?” A. It may be because of unchallenged tradition that should have been tested. 1TH 5:21. B. It may be because of a love of sin and self more than truth. 2TH 2:10-12. C. Sometimes God tests His people by allowing them to be exposed to error. DEU 13:1-3; 1CO 11:19. D. If a child of God is found to be in error, he should be instructed unto conversion. ACT 10:1-6, 34-35; 18:24-28; LEV 19:15-18. IX. But some ask, “Well, am I just supposed to cast away everything I have ever believed?” Ans. No, just the errors. ROM 12:9. X. Partiality is not to be shown in God's law. We have no right to only submit to the parts we like or overlook so-called “trivial” parts of the doctrine. PSA 119:128; MAT 5:19; 23:23. A. Disobedience in one point incurs judgment even though other points are faithfully observed. 1KI 13; 1CH 13:1-12; REV 2:2-5. B. God has little use for “strange fire” substitutes. LEV 10:1-2. XI. Full obedience is the goal. COL 1:9-10; HEB 13:20-21. A. Love demands obedience. JOH 14:23-24; 1JO 5:3. B. Obedience is personal. JOH 21:21-22. C. Do not be discouraged over past failures. PHIL 3:12-14; PRO 19:20; 4:18. D. The prayer of the upright is for refinement. PSA 139:23-24; PHIL 3:15.
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