Seventh Sunday after Trinity – Saturday
Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned, and avoid them. – Romans 16:17.
A congregation or denomination that has, teaches, confesses, and practices all the doctrines of God’s Word in unalloyed purity, is called orthodox. To an orthodox church we must adhere, and contribute toward its maintenance and propagation according to our ability. Any congregation or denomination, on the other hand, that does not have, teach, confess, and practice all the doctrines of the Word of God as we find them in the Bible, is called heterodox. Such heterodox churches cause divisions and offenses among Christ’s people by departing from the doctrine which we learn from the Word of God. These the disciples of Jesus are to mark (take note of) and avoid; for so the Holy Spirit teaches us to do.
Listen, Christian, how this is! You are to hate false doctrine as you love true doctrine (Psalm 119:103-104, 127-128). You are carefully to beware of false teachers as those that would destroy your soul, and are not to believe them, but are to try, or test them according to the standard of God’s Word, and you are to find them to be liars (Matthew 7:15; I John 4:1; Revelation 2:2).
Heterodox churches, where false teachers hold sway, you are to avoid; you are to come out from such a church if you have belonged to it; you are to be separate; you are to avoid it (II Corinthians 6:14-18). Heterodox Christians, however, you must not consider to be unbelievers; they are deficient in this or that point of Christian knowledge, but still trust only in the Lord Jesus for their salvation. Consider, if some of the saving doctrines of the Gospel are still taught in heterodox churches, then there may, indeed, be some children of God among them (through a blessed inconsistency). And you must rejoice that it is even so. But as far as you are concerned, if you would be a true disciple of Jesus, “Who loved [you], and gave Himself for [you]” (Galatians 2:20b), you must, as an evidence of your love and gratitude, continue in His Word and in the church that has, teaches, confesses, and practices His Word in all its purity.
PRAYER – Lord Jesus, grant me a rich measure of Thy Holy Spirit, working through Thy Word, that I may be and remain firmly grounded in the true doctrine of Thy Word, that I may evaluate every teaching offered me according to the standard of Thy Word, that I may guard against being seduced to believe false doctrines, and that I may always confess the true doctrine by word and deed, until Thou shalt take me home, into the realms of eternal joy and bliss. Amen.
Lord Jesus Christ, with us abide, For round us falls the eventide;
Nor let Thy Word, that heavenly light, For us be ever veiled in night.
The haughty spirits, Lord, restrain Who o’er Thy Church with might would reign
And always set forth something new, Devised to change Thy doctrine true.
And since the cause and glory, Lord, Are Thine, not ours, to us afford
Thy help and strength and constancy. With all our heart we trust in Thee.
Hymn 292, 1. 6. 7. (TLH)