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MUCH EVIL

“I wish to talk only a while, a little bit, about the children of earth, the young children. The parents must be very careful who you send your children to be taught from. Much evil is being developed in the schools in the name of sexuality. Why cannot we have our children pure of thought and mind? How can we, My children, when the teachers there are being taught to bring in sex education to your children? This belongs not in the schools, but in the homes. This is an obligation of the parents. It will only lead to much greater disaster by having this sex education in the school system.” – Jesus, 

“Your children must be taught at home, given a firm foundation of the truth, the knowledge of their Faith. You must instill in their hearts the love of God before the love of any man. You must instill in their hearts the knowledge that they must work now to achieve their redemption and salvation by the plan of the Eternal Father, as written and espoused through many prophets through countless earth-years of time: written in the Bible, your Book of life and love.”

God’s Answer:  Thorns and snares are in the way of the perverse; He who guards himself will be far from them.  Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it.  Proverbs 22: 5-6

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger; instead, bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Ephesians 6:4

False TeacherThe short letter of 2 John is written in part to warn believers against the influence of false teachers. John identifies them as those “who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh” and describes them as deceivers and antichrists (2 John 7). He goes on to prohibit receiving them into our homes or wishing them well. The question is whether this prohibition refers to those who knock on our doors today, such as Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses. Are we to deny members of these sects access to our homes?

It is important to understand exactly what it means that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh. Many cultists will agree that Jesus was a man of flesh and bone who walked the earth around 2,000 years ago. But that is not what John means here. He first addressed this issue in 1 John 4:2, telling us how to identify false teachers and the spirits who drive them. The first test of a true teacher/prophet of God is that he proclaims that Jesus is God incarnate in human flesh (John 1:14). A godly teacher will teach both the full deity and full humanity of Christ. The Holy Spirit testifies to the true nature of Christ, while Satan and his demonic host deny that true nature. That is why John identifies anyone who denies the deity of Christ—which both the Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses do—as deceivers and antichrists.

It is also important to understand the context of John’s epistle. John is writing to “the elect lady and her children” (verse 1). This lady was engaged in a ministry of hospitality. In the name of Christian love (verse 6), this kind-hearted woman was receiving itinerant preachers into her home, providing room and board for them, and sending them on their way with her blessing. John writes this quick note to her to warn her about the many false teachers who would gladly take advantage of her generosity. Her love needed to be tempered by truth. Boundaries had to be drawn. Hospitality should not be extended to charlatans, hucksters, and the devil’s own emissaries.

John gives the lady a litmus test: what does the preacher teach about Jesus Christ? If he is presenting the full deity and full humanity of Christ, then he can be welcomed into her home. However, if the teacher mitigates, obscures, or equivocates on the fact that Jesus was fully man and fully God, then the lady is to have nothing to do with him. Such false teachers are not to receive help from believers, not even so much as a greeting (verse 10). To give aid to the purveyors of false doctrine is to partake of their wickedness (verse 11).

What should be our response, then, when cultists come knocking at the door? It is not wrong to share the truth with them or to relate your testimony. We are called to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). However, we must be careful not to do anything that would give the appearance that we approve of the cultists’ message. Never invite them into your home for an extended stay, never donate money to their cause, and never allow them to conduct a “Bible study” with you.

Here are some things to remember: First, cultists are master deceivers who are well trained in techniques that will confuse those whose knowledge of Scripture is limited—the very ones cultists most often seek out. Well-meaning and compassionate souls (like the “elect lady” in 2 John) dialog with cultists and can be fooled by them. Second, Christians are of Christ; cultists are anti-Christ (2 John 7), no matter how kind, sincere, and charming they may appear. Third, we are not to give the cultists or anyone else the impression that we see the cult as having legitimate claims, doctrines, or opinions. Fourth, Jesus tells us to “watch out” for false teachers (Matthew 7:15), and Paul tells us to “avoid them” (Romans 16:17) and declares them to be “accursed” (Galatians 1:8). Therefore, we should build no close associations with them. Fifth, John tells the lady not to “welcome” a false teacher (or bid him “God speed” in the KJV). This phrase in the Greek means to cheerfully or joyfully hail someone. In other words, we are not to bless false teachers or wish them well.

We are, of course, to be always ready with an answer for the hope that is within us (1 Peter 3:15), but we must do so in the Holy Spirit’s power, following His lead. When cultists knock at the door, it could be an opportunity to relate the truth about Jesus to them, or it could be an opportunity to “leave them; they are blind guides” (Matthew 15:14). In any case, we must rely the Lord’s wisdom (James 1:5) and be cautious not to cast our pearls before pigs (Matthew 7:6).

th1R4FTFLIMy dear parents, please! Listen to what I have to say to you, for I tell you the truth. The Eternal Father sees all, and makes us knowledgeable as to what is happening upon earth that will bring its eventual destruction. Your children are being educated in the schools to take all Christianity from their lives, and believe not in the supernatural things of God, but the diabolical processes of Satan, in cults.” –

“Your children must be protected from the evils that abound in your school systems in your country and most nations throughout the world. They are being taught immorality and a loss of faith in the supernatural and the knowledge of their God. All manner of heresy has been indoctrinated into their youthful minds. It is a diabolical plan of Lucifer.”

God’s answer: “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. ” Proverbs 22:6  “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.”  3 John 1:4

[SEE ALSO:] “Healing Our Land

 

False%20Doctrine-001  Doctrine is “a set of ideas or beliefs that are taught or believed to be true.” Biblical doctrine refers to teachings that align with the revealed Word of God, the Bible. False doctrine is any idea that adds to, takes away from, contradicts, or nullifies the doctrine given in God’s Word. For example, any teaching about Jesus that denies His virgin birth is a false doctrine, because it contradicts the clear teaching of Scripture (Matthew 1:18).

As early as the first century AD, false doctrine was already infiltrating the church, and many of the letters in the New Testament were written to address those errors (Galatians 1:6–9; Colossians 2:20–23; Titus 1:10–11). Paul exhorted his protégé Timothy to guard against those who were peddling heresies and confusing the flock: “If anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, he is conceited and understands nothing” (1 Timothy 6:3–4).

As followers of Christ, we have no excuse for remaining ignorant of theology because we have the “whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27) available to us—the Bible is complete. As we “study to show ourselves approved unto God” (2 Timothy 2:15), we are less likely to be taken in by smooth talkers and false prophets. When we know God’s Word, “we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming” (Ephesians 4:14).

It is important to point out the difference between false doctrine and denominational disagreements. Different congregational groups see secondary issues in Scripture differently. These differences are not always due to false doctrine on anyone’s part. Church policies, governmental decisions, style of worship, etc., are all open for discussion, since they are not directly addressed in Scripture. Even those issues that are addressed in Scripture are often debated by equally sincere disciples of Christ. Differences in interpretation or practice do not necessarily qualify as false doctrine, nor should they divide the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 1:10).

False doctrine is that which opposes some fundamental truth or that which is necessary for salvation. The following are some examples of false doctrine:

• The erasing of hell. The Bible describes hell as a real place of eternal torment, the destination for every unregenerate soul (Revelation 20:15; 2 Thessalonians 1:8). A denial of hell directly contradicts Jesus’ own words (Matthew 10:28; 25:46) and is therefore a false doctrine.

• The idea that there are “many paths to God.” This philosophy has become popular recently under the guise of tolerance. This false doctrine claims that, since God is love, He will accept any religious effort as long as the practitioner is sincere. Such relativism flies in the face of the entire Bible and effectively eliminates any need for the Son of God to take on flesh and be crucified for us (Jeremiah 12:17; John 3:15–18). It also contradicts Jesus’ direct words that He is the only way to God (John 14:6).

• Any teaching that redefines the person of Jesus Christ. Doctrine that denies the deity of Christ, the virgin birth, His sinless nature, His actual death, or His physical resurrection is false doctrine. A group’s errant Christology readily identifies it as a sect or cult that may claim to be Christian but is actually teaching false doctrine. Even many mainline denominations have begun the rapid slide into apostasy by declaring that they no longer hold to a literal interpretation of Scripture or the deity of Christ. First John 4:1–3 makes it clear that a denial of biblical Christology is “anti-Christ.” Jesus described false teachers within the church as “wolves in sheep’s clothing” (Matthew 7:15).

• Teaching that adds human religious works to Christ’s finished work on the cross as necessary ingredients for salvation. This teaching may pay lip service to salvation by faith alone but insists that a religious ritual (such as water baptism) is salvific. Some groups even legislate hairstyles, clothing options, and food consumption. Romans 11:6 warns against attempts to mix grace with works. Ephesians 2:8–9 says we are saved by the grace of God, through faith, and nothing we do can add to or take away from it. Galatians 1:6–9 pronounces a curse on anyone who changes the good news of salvation by grace.

• The teaching that presents grace as a license to sin. Sometimes called “easy-believism,” this false doctrine implies that all one must do for right standing with God is to believe the facts about Jesus, pray a prayer at some point, and then resume control of one’s life with the assurance of heaven at the end. Paul dealt with this thinking in Romans 6. In Matthew 7:21–23, Jesus warned those who adopt this doctrine that they did not know Him at all. Second Corinthians 5:17 states that those who are “in Christ” become “new creatures.” That transformation, in response to a believer’s faith in Christ, changes the outward behaviors. To know and love Christ is to obey Him (Luke 6:46).

Satan has been confusing and perverting the Word of God since the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:1–4; Matthew 4:6). False teachers, the servants of Satan, try to appear as “servants of righteousness” (2 Corinthians 11:15), but they will be known by their fruits (Matthew 7:16). A charlatan promoting false doctrine will show signs of pride, greed, and rebellion (see Jude 1:11) and will often promote or engage in sexual immorality (2 Peter 2:14; Revelation 2:20).

We are wise to recognize how vulnerable we are to heresy and make it our habit to do as the Bereans did in Acts 17:11: “they . . . examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” When we make it our goal to follow the lead of the first church, we will go far in avoiding the pitfalls of false doctrine. Acts 2:42 says, “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” Such devotion will protect us and ensure that we are on the path Jesus set for us.

SIMPLE LESSON

“Learn a simple lesson from the past, My children. When the morals of a country start to go down into darkness, and the teachings turn from God to man, that country will soon be ended. First the spiritual life and then the material life of your country shall be destroyed.”

God’s answer: “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”  2 Chronicles 7:14 ]

 

John begins his second epistle with these words: “The elder to the elect lady and her children, whom I love in truth” (2 John 1:1, ESV). The apostle identifies himself as “the elder,” a title that reflects bThe-Chosen-Lady-Squat1oth his age at the time of the writing and his authority in the early church. The letter is written in sincere love—the words truth and love are found five times each in the first six verses. And the recipient of the epistle is a lady and her children—the “elect” lady, to be precise.

The word elect means “chosen.” In fact, the NIV translates 2 John 1:1 with the phrase “chosen by God.”

There are two categories of those who are elect, or chosen, in Scripture: those who are part of the nation of Israel and those who are in the universal Church. Paul says about the nation of Israel, “Theirs is the adoption to sonship; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of the Messiah, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen” (Romans 9:4–5). The Jews are the chosen people of God to bring about His purposes in the world (see Deuteronomy 7:6; John 4:22; and Romans 11:28).

But the lady of 2 John is called “the elect” not because she was Jewish (we don’t know her ethnic background) but because she was part of the church. The universal Church is comprised of all people who believe that Jesus Christ is the Savior who died on the cross to bear the guilt and pay the penalty of their sin and who conquered death at His resurrection. The universal Church came into existence on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2) and will be taken from the earth at the rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:13–18). The Bible clearly teaches that the church is elect—i.e., they are chosen by God “before the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4; cf. Revelation 13:8).

John calls the lady in 2 John “the elect” because she believed in Jesus Christ and was therefore saved; she was a member of the universal Church. Some interpreters see the lady not as an individual but as a symbol of the church as a whole or of a local body of believers. But that interpretation makes it difficult to explain who her “children” are. It is better to view this lady as an unnamed friend of John who had actual children who were serving the Lord.

There are actually two elect ladies mentioned in 2 John. The apostle concludes his letter by relaying a message: “The children of your elect sister greet you” (2 John 1:13, ESV). So, we have an “elect lady” who receives the letter, and she has an “elect sister” whose children (her nieces and nephews) also know John. The mention of this other elect lady and her children further supports the view that John is writing to actual individuals. The lady and her family were chosen by God, redeemed by Christ, and made part of the family of God (John 1:12).

God's Elect  Simply put, the “elect of God” are those whom God has predestined to salvation. They are called the “elect” because that word denotes the concept of choosing. Every four years in the U.S., we “elect” a President—i.e., we choose who will serve in that office. The same goes for God and those who will be saved; God chooses those who will be saved. These are the elect of God.

As it stands, the concept of God electing those who will be saved isn’t controversial. What is controversial is how and in what manner God chooses those who will be saved. Throughout church history, there have been two main views on the doctrine of election (or predestination). One view, which we will call the prescient or foreknowledge view, teaches that God, through His omniscience, knows those who will in the course of time choose of their own free will to place their faith and trust in Jesus Christ for their salvation. On the basis of this divine foreknowledge, God elects these individuals “before the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4). This view is held by the majority of American evangelicals.

The second main view is the Augustinian view, which essentially teaches that God not only divinely elects those who will have faith in Jesus Christ, but also divinely elects to grant to these individuals the faith to believe in Christ. In other words, God’s election unto salvation is not based on a foreknowledge of an individual’s faith, but is based on the free, sovereign grace of Almighty God. God elects people to salvation, and in time these people will come to faith in Christ because God has elected them.

The difference boils down to this: who has the ultimate choice in salvation—God or man? In the first view (the prescient view), man has control; his free will is sovereign and becomes the determining factor in God’s election. God can provide the way of salvation through Jesus Christ, but man must choose Christ for himself in order to make salvation real. Ultimately, this view diminishes the biblical understanding of God’s sovereignty. This view puts the Creator’s provision of salvation at the mercy of the creature; if God wants people in heaven, He has to hope that man will freely choose His way of salvation. In reality, the prescient view of election is no view of election at all, because God is not really choosing—He is only confirming. It is man who is the ultimate chooser.

In the Augustinian view, God has control; He is the one who, of His own sovereign will, freely chooses those whom He will save. He not only elects those whom He will save, but He actually accomplishes their salvation. Rather than simply make salvation possible, God chooses those whom He will save and then saves them. This view puts God in His proper place as Creator and Sovereign.

The Augustinian view is not without problems of its own. Critics have claimed that this view robs man of his free will. If God chooses those who will be saved, then what difference does it make for man to believe? Why preach the gospel? Furthermore, if God elects according to His sovereign will, then how can we be responsible for our actions? These are all good and fair questions that need to be answered. A good passage to answer these questions is Romans 9, the most in-depth passage dealing with God’s sovereignty in election.

The context of the passage flows from Romans 8, which ends with a great climax of praise: “For I am convinced that… [nothing] in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39). This leads Paul to consider how a Jew might respond to that statement. While Jesus came to the lost children of Israel and while the early church was largely Jewish in makeup, the gospel was spreading among the Gentiles much faster than among the Jews. In fact, most Jews saw the gospel as a stumbling block (1 Corinthians 1:23) and rejected Jesus. This would lead the average Jew to wonder if God’s plan of election has failed, since most Jews reject the message of the gospel.

Throughout Romans 9, Paul systematically shows that God’s sovereign election has been in force from the very beginning. He begins with a crucial statement: “For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel” (Romans 9:6). This means that not all people of ethnic Israel (that is, those descended from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob) belong to true Israel (the elect of God). Reviewing the history of Israel, Paul shows that God chose Isaac over Ishmael and Jacob over Esau. Just in case anyone thinks that God was choosing these individuals based on the faith or good works they would do in the future, he adds, “Though they [Jacob and Esau] were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad – in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls” (Romans 9:11).

At this point, one might be tempted to accuse God of acting unjustly. Paul anticipates this accusation in v. 14, stating plainly that God is not unjust in any way. “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion” (Romans 9:15). God is sovereign over His creation. He is free to choose those whom He will choose, and He is free to pass by those whom He will pass by. The creature has no right to accuse the Creator of being unjust. The very thought that the creature can stand in judgment of the Creator is absurd to Paul, and it should be so to every Christian, as well. The balance of Romans 9 substantiates this point.

As already mentioned, there are other passages that talk to a lesser extent on the topic of God’s elect (John 6:37-45 and Ephesians 1:3-14, to name a couple). The point is that God has ordained to redeem a remnant of humanity to salvation. These elect individuals were chosen before the creation of the world, and their salvation is complete in Christ. As Paul says, “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified” (Romans 8:29-30).

It’s All About Love

 

Here is a wonderful message from our Christian sister in Sri Lanka.  Her message is worth hearing.

via It’s All About Love — priyanthiv

 

false-teacher-picJesus warned us that “false Christs and false prophets” will come and will attempt to deceive even God’s elect (Matthew 24:23-27; see also 2 Peter 3:3 and Jude 17-18). The best way to guard yourself against falsehood and false teachers is to know the truth. To spot a counterfeit, study the real thing. Any believer who “correctly handles the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15) and who makes a careful study of the Bible can identify false doctrine. For example, a believer who has read the activities of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in Matthew 3:16-17 will immediately question any doctrine that denies the Trinity. Therefore, step one is to study the Bible and judge all teaching by what the Scripture says.

Jesus said “a tree is recognized by its fruit” (Matthew 12:33). When looking for “fruit,” here are three specific tests to apply to any teacher to determine the accuracy of his or her teaching:

1) What does this teacher say about Jesus? In Matthew 16:15-16, Jesus asks, “Who do you say I am?” Peter answers, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God,” and for this answer Peter is called “blessed.” In 2 John 9, we read, “Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.” In other words, Jesus Christ and His work of redemption is of utmost importance; beware of anyone who denies that Jesus is equal with God, who downplays Jesus’ sacrificial death, or who rejects Jesus’ humanity. First John 2:22 says, “Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist—he denies the Father and the Son.”

2) Does this teacher preach the gospel? The gospel is defined as the good news concerning Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection, according to the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). As nice as they sound, the statements “God loves you,” “God wants us to feed the hungry,” and “God wants you to be wealthy” are not the complete message of the gospel. As Paul warns in Galatians 1:7, “Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ.” No one, not even a great preacher, has the right to change the message that God gave us. “If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!” (Galatians 1:9).

3) Does this teacher exhibit character qualities that glorify the Lord? Speaking of false teachers, Jude 11 says, “They have taken the way of Cain; they have rushed for profit into Balaam’s error; they have been destroyed in Korah’s rebellion.” In other words, a false teacher can be known by his pride (Cain’s rejection of God’s plan), greed (Balaam’s prophesying for money), and rebellion (Korah’s promotion of himself over Moses). Jesus said to beware of such people and that we would know them by their fruits (Matthew 7:15-20).

For further study, review those books of the Bible that were written specifically to combat false teaching within the church: Galatians, 2 Peter, 1 John, 2 John, and Jude. It is often difficult to spot a false teacher/false prophet. Satan masquerades as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14), and his ministers masquerade as servants of righteousness (2 Corinthians 11:15). Only by being thoroughly familiar with the truth will we be able to recognize a counterfeit.

What is doctrine?

The word translated “doctrine” means “instruction, especially as it applies to lifestyle application.” In other words, doctrine is teaching imparted by an authoritative source. In the Bible, the word always refers to spiritually related fields of study. The Bible says of itself that it is “profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). We are to be careful about what we believe and present as truth. First Timothy 4:16 says, “Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.”

Biblical doctrine helps us understand the will of God for our lives. Biblical doctrine teaches us the nature and the character of God (Psalm 90:2; 97:2; John 4:24), the path of salvation through faith (Ephesians 2:8–9; Romans 10:9–10), instruction for the church (1 Corinthians 14:26; Titus 2:1–10), and God’s standard of holiness for our lives (1 Peter 1:14–17; 1 Corinthians 6:18–20). When we accept the Bible as God’s Word to us (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20–21), we have a solid foundation for our doctrine. There can be disagreement within the body of Christ over secondary points of doctrine, such as eschatology, church organization, or the gifts of the Holy Spirit. But truly biblical doctrine is that which incorporates the “whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27) and draws conclusions based on that which seems most closely aligned with the character of our unchanging God (Numbers 23:19; Hebrews 13:8).

However, the Bible is not always the foundation upon which people or churches build their doctrinal statements. Our sinful natures do not easily submit to God’s decrees, so we often pick and choose the parts of the Bible we are comfortable with and discard the rest. Or we replace what God says with a man-made doctrine or tradition. This is nothing new. Jesus rebuked the scribes and Pharisees for “teaching as doctrines the commandments of men” (Mark 7:7, ESV; cf. Isaiah 29:13). False doctrine was rampant in New Testament times, and the Scriptures tell us it will continue (Matthew 7:15; 2 Peter 2:1; 1 John 4:1). Second Timothy 4:3 says, “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.”

The Bible gives stern warning to those who would teach false or incomplete doctrine simply because it is more compatible with man’s ideas. First Timothy 6:3–4 says, “If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing.” The apostle Paul wrote harsh words about perverting the gospel with false doctrine: “Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!”(Galatians 1:7–9).

Doctrine is the worldview by which we govern our lives. If our doctrine is based soundly upon Scripture, we can know we are walking in the path God designed for us. However, if we do not study the Word of God for ourselves (2 Timothy 2:15), we are led more easily into error. Although there are a variety of minor issues upon which Christians disagree, true doctrine is clearer than many imply. Second Peter 1:20 says that “no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation.” There is a right interpretation of everything God says, and it is our job to discern that meaning, not create an interpretation to suit our tastes. God wants us to know His heart and has given us His Word upon which we can build godly lives (see Matthew 7:24). The more we study true doctrine, the more we understand God and ourselves.