Charles Stanley - False Doctrine
There are twenty-four million children in America, twenty-four million. One third of them, eight million, do not live with their father, which means they have a greater possibility of slipping off into drugs, the alcoholism, and to all kind of sexual addiction. Imagine eight million. I wonder where the fathers are. Wonder why they are without a father. There are many, many reasons why that's true. Sociologists say it is the most pressing problem facing our nation. Because, you see, if it's eight million today, how many will it be tomorrow? And a week from now and a month? And a year from now. Then where are the fathers? What's going to happen to them? Who's going to raise them? And what kind of circumstance will they be in?
When I think of the culture in which we are placing our children today, so much in the growth of atheism, agnosticism, the cults, people who just oppose anything spiritual whatsoever. So I want you to turn for just a moment to the sixth chapter of Deuteronomy. And in this sixth chapter, God speaking through Moses is reminding the people and preparing them to go into the Promised Land. And I want you to notice where he placed his emphasis in preparing them. That's the sixth chapter of Deuteronomy, and if you'll turn there and we'll just read a few verses just to get us oriented.
In the first verse, the Scripture says, "Now this is the commandment, the statutes and the judgments which the Lord your God has commanded me to teach you, that you might do them in the land where you are going over to possess it, so that you and your son and your grandson might fear the Lord," listen, "fear the Lord your God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be prolonged". Then he says, "O Israel, you should listen and be careful to do it, that it may be well with you and that you may multiply greatly, just as the Lord, the God of your fathers, has promised you, in a land flowing with milk and honey. Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart".
Then listen to what he says. He says, "You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, when you rise up". That is God's Word and His principles should be in the conversation in your house no matter what's going on. "You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates".
Why did Moses spend this time making it so absolutely essential that fathers train their children in the ways of God? Now, watch this carefully. I'm going to tell you why. Because they were ready and getting ready to go into a land of many religions, many cults and many beliefs and many unbeliefs. And if you'll notice what he says later on in this sixth chapter, look in verse fourteen of the sixth chapter, "You shall not follow after other gods, any of the gods of the peoples who surround you, for the Lord your God is in the midst of you and is a jealous God". Then look in chapter seven for a moment. Then he describes who these people are and this is the kind of society they're going to go into.
Remember this, that the Hebrews are all one, solidly one, one nation born, as they would say, out of Egyptian bondage. And so he says in chapter seven, verse one, "When the Lord your God brings you into the land where you are entering to possess it, and clears away," listen to this, "clears away many nations before you, the Hittites and the Girgashites and the Amorites and the Canaanites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and stronger than you, and when the Lord your God delivers them before you and you defeat them, then you shall utterly destroy them. You shall make no covenant with them and show no favor to them".
And then he says, "Furthermore, you shall not intermarry with them, you shall not give your daughters to their sons, nor shall you take their daughters for your sons. For they will turn your sons away from following Me to serve other gods". And he says in verse six, "For you are a holy people to the Lord your God and the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for his own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. Now, here's what I want you to think about. The nation of Israel was one. They were bound together by the Word of God, by their awesome miraculous deliverance from Egyptian bondage, and across the Red Sea and so forth.
Now they're going into a society that's corrupt with all kind of cults and gods. The Hittites, for example, they had their gods. The Jebusites and all the rest. And cultish-nesses, all the things. Here's the difference in that situation and ours. When you think about that, you'd think, "Well, that would just be terrible. Let me tell you why the culture our children are walking into is worse than that ungodly pagan society in which they were going. That was a separate group of people. Today, we're not separate. The Christians mingle among other people and today we live among other cults. We live among, for example, other religions. We live in all kinds of circumstances and situations and unbelief and atheism and agnosticism and all the rest, which makes it more difficult today than in those days.
A Hebrew was a Hebrew. Everybody else were pagans. Today we're different. And so, if ever fathers needed to abide by what Moses said to these fathers in that day, this is the time. Our children go to school, they come out of our Christian home, they go to school and they hear, for example, that you don't believe the Bible. The Bible's not true, the Bible has errors in it. Or you don't believe certain things about the Bible. And so, what they would say, they would say, "You know, it's okay for you to believe these things and so forth, but". And so our children are walking into a spiritual, satanic trap, because they go with open hearts and open minds. Why wouldn't you believe what the teacher says?
And so, at home, they don't hear anything much different. And Mom seems to be the one who reads the Bible. And Father's more interested in watching the ballgame. You don't, he's not talking about spiritual things. And so they just go, slightly handicapped spiritually into a schoolroom or wherever it may be and begin to hear things that their parents know are not true, but somehow the parents don't seem to take enough time to say to them, "What did you learn today"? I always asked my kids every day, "What did you learn"? You know what they would say most of the time? "Oh, nothing". That's what they would say. But of course they were learning.
And so here we are sending forth our children, innocent children, into a society that is full of error, lust, sexual sins, drinking, corruption, unbelief, all kind of cultish ideas, and we wonder why so many of them get in trouble so early. What an awesome reminder to us and illustration for all of us to begin to think about, wait a minute, now, this is what they faced. And it's interesting how many times Paul said to Timothy, he said, "Guard sound doctrine". That is the right thing. He said, "Hold tightly to sound doctrine". And so, he gives us these warnings.
And it's interesting that in Romans and Ephesians and Colossians, before Paul begins to talk about how to live, he spends the earlier part, all of those particular books on what they should believe. And the book of Romans, for example, the first eleven chapters primarily, is like a doctrinal statement. And so he says in Ephesians, he talks about doctrine to begin with in Colossians, because watch this. Listen carefully, what I believe determines about how I behave. And so, if our children do not know the truth, how are they going to behave? They're going to look around and say, "That's what she does, that's what he does, that's what his parents allow him to do, that's what her parents allow her to do".
And they walk into a culture that's full of traps. And God warns us in the beginning. Father, before they leave home, you have the responsibility of teaching them the truth and teaching it in such a way they're able, their ears to hear truth and discern truth from error. And so, when you look at the Scripture and you find how many warnings there are about these things. So let's think about what it is in essence, and what we hear out there is false doctrine. So I have two or three definitions I want to put on the screen so you can write them down so you fully understand. For example, let me define what a doctrine is.
A Doctrine is a body of teaching used as a standard of orthodoxy. That is, this is what we accept, this is what we believe, this is the standard, for example, and then specifically, there's the doctrine of Christ, that He is the Son of God. That He's born of a virgin, rose from the dead and coming again and so forth. There's the doctrine of the Holy Spirit, who lives within us, anoints us and enables to do His work. So that's what doctrine is.
Now, a false doctrine is this. It's something, watch this. It is a belief that doesn't match the Word of God. If the Bible says that Jesus Christ was born of a virgin, anything that says that Jesus Christ was just born of Joseph and Mary, period, that's a false doctrine. That's a false statement, it's not true. Somebody says, "Well, those things are not very important". Yes, it is. One of the things, for example, about creation, the Bible gives us God's view of creation and how He did it. When somebody comes along and this is what they say, they'll say, "Well, those first eleven chapters of Genesis, that's a myth. That's not really the way it happened.
So all of those things never happened. Somebody just wrote that down". That is false doctrine. So we send our children out into that kind of society. That's what they're facing. And they, listen, used to face it when I was coming along, maybe in college, but very seldom then. Now they face it in the first grades of school. Teachers who do not believe in the Word of God and they'll talk on the one hand, "Well, you're not supposed to speak about godly things and religious things in school". But when they do, most of the time it is something that's anti-Christian. And it looks like that it's sort of popular to gang up on the Christian, criticize the Christian and defend themselves about freedom of speech and all the rest.
But let us do it and we're interfering in somebody's freethinking. We're sending our children into that kind of a society. We are responsible for being sure that what our children hear is absolutely the truth. I cannot tell you how important it is for us to make sure we're living a godly life and that we are influencing our children in a way that'll be difficult for them. They're going to schools that folks not going to believe what they believe. That's why dads need to be courageous and bold and let your children see that in you, not somebody who's weak and willing to compromise.
And over and over and over again, Paul says to Timothy, "Hold fast to that which is true. Hold fast to the doctrines of the Word". And so, we have a culture we don't like to face. We can talk a lot about its politics. We don't like this and we don't like that and we don't like the other. What about its morals? Where we stand morally. Listen, when our stand morally is right, our politics will get right, because it begins with what is right from the Word of God, not some other place.
And so, here's what face. We either stand firm in the truth, know what we believe, why we believe it and we're able to defend it, or we just give up and say, "Well, you know, Christianity's important, but it's on the back burner of my life". Your faith in Jesus Christ should never get to the back burner. But up front, it's who you are. It's your character. It's what you believe, it's what you stand for. It's what you, it's what you value. It's what you hold dear to you. Listen, if ever there was a time when we need to get serious about living a godly life, when we need to get serious about defending what we know to be true, reading the Bible, listen, studying the Word of God.
You say, "Well, at this age in my life..." you're not as old as I am. And let me tell you something: I study it every day to some degree, a little bit every day, and some days a lot. Because I think there's a lot more for me to learn. And I want my grandchildren, and anybody else I have an opportunity to impact, to know the truth. You, listen, you are a truth carrier or you are an error carrier. We're either going to live carnally, according to the flesh and our fleshly desires, or we're going to live holy and righteous before Almighty God.
So when I look at all that and I think, "Lord, what are You trying to say to us"? Simply this: there is a pathway that's very clear, and that pathway leads in the wrong direction, when people get caught up in these things that they shouldn't. And if you look at the signs along the way, here's what you'll find. Number one, deception: the promise of something they can't really keep. That's what cults and false religions do: promise, make a promise they can't keep. First of all, deception. Secondly, the second sign is division. Parents get divided from their children. Families get divided over things that they believe or don't believe.
And somebody says, "Well, I wouldn't foul up my family over something I believe". Well, if you... listen, and I could give some examples, and God knows I wouldn't embarrass anybody for anything in the world, but I'm here to tell you, "It's happening all the time. Families get divided". And not only that, the third sign is disillusionment, because people will promise things they can't produce. Leaders make promises, and all they're doing is pocketing something for themselves, or they are promising something that they know in their heart that their primary purpose is just to keep their leadership and to keep people following them.
Then there's moral danger, because here's what happens. When you have cults and all the rest, you can look at any of them, there is a tendency to be permissive in the areas of morality. Because when people are living a sinful life in disobedience, they don't want you drawing any restrictions. That's why we're in the political, spiritual mess we're in today, because nobody wants you to draw a line anywhere. And they just want freedom to do any, watch this, freedom to do anything they want to, anywhere they want to do it. And no restrictions, no barriers, and what I want to say is, "Would you please define for me what your future looks like? Please define for me what you think the effect of this is going to be upon your children, and upon the children of this nation". Then, of course, there's destruction, because that is exactly what happens.
So somebody says, "Well, what do we do about it"? Well, we can't change the world in a day, or maybe in a month, or maybe in our lifetime, it won't. Somewhere along the way, God needs to raise up godly men and women. You say, "Well, I'm only one". But, you know, I think about this. The Apostle Paul was only one man. He was a Jew in the midst of a bunch of Gentiles, trying to change their whole way of life. And it was absolutely ridiculous, humanly speaking. What could one man do? Here's what he could do. He could be obedient to God. He could teach and preach and spend a lot of time in jail, and being persecuted and being beaten and being threatened and all the rest. But he kept going. And while he was in jail, he kept writing these epistles, inspired by Almighty God, from Romans and Galatians and Ephesians and Colossians. He didn't write all of them in jail, but many of them he did.
And so, what do we have today? We have the written Word of God given to the Apostle Paul, who finally was beheaded. Suppose he'd have said, "It's not worth it". He couldn't see the future, but he had the courage and the will and the love for his fellow man to do whatever was necessary to keep the truth before them. And there came a time many, many, many, many years or later when there was a printing press. And today, praise God, we have television, radio. We have computers. We have Messengers. We've got iTunes. We got you-this and you-that and so forth.
Listen, we live in a generation that's the most threatened in the world, but we live in a generation that has the potential of reaching every person on the face of this globe with the gospel of Jesus Christ, if we have the courage to do it. And there are many people in the world who are watching our nation and knowing that we're not doing the right thing in many ways, but also who love the same Jesus that we do. So what can you do? Well, I'd just mention a few things. First of all, you can study the Word of God personally.
Now, watch this. You've got a lot of books at your house. Do you have a study Bible? And you say, "Well, what's that about"? It's all the doctrines, all the things you and I believe, and it's from a biblical viewpoint. You say, "Well, I may not understand it". Yes, you will. You've got time to read the newspaper, watch the television, watch all this stuff. What about getting into something that challenges your mind, strengthens you, and enables you? You see, if behavior is the result of belief, and I believe that that's important in my life, then I'm going to do something about getting my mind full of the truth of Almighty God, studying the Word of God.
So, and if you think, "Well, I don't know where to start," then you be sure you get to a church somewhere, when the pastor begins, he opens the Word of God, and he talks about what God said, what the Bible says, not what somebody else thinks. Second thing you can do is be on guard, and Second Peter, the third chapter and the seventeenth verse, listen to what he says, "You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness, but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ," which every single one of us can do every day if we choose to do so. And in the process of doing so, you learn to refute false doctrine.
People say, "Well, I don't believe there's a heaven". Well, what's your basis of believing that? Listen, this is their answer oftentimes. "Well, that's just what I believe". But the truth is they don't know what they believe. They've never been taught and they just argue on the basis of the permissive lifestyle they want will determine the kind of behavior they have. And then I would say one last thing, and that is in Second John, that last few little books of the Bible, listen to what he says which we need to remember, "If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching," that is the truth, "do not receive him into your house, and don't give him a greeting". Don't let them in. Don't even get in a conversation with somebody who's totally convinced, not going to listen to you, and have shut their minds to the things of God. Unless you think there's a crack in the door and that they're willing to at least listen.
So here we are. We're living in the most corrupt society we've ever been in the history of our nation. We have so many uncertainties, so many things that are not clear, so many points of division, so many cults and ideas and sensuality and permissive and all the rest. We cannot excuse ourselves under any condition, no amount of excuses really matter. I'm not being critical. I'm just telling you what God says and trust that you'll do some serious thinking about your children, about your grandchildren, or, listen, somebody else's children who don't have a godly father and who are looking for something that they don't see in their own dads.
And when I see children, and they come up around me, I am never too busy to stop and shake hands with them, they're going to hug me or hug them back or whatever it might be. Because you know what? You don't know what their potential is. That may be a little president one day, or she may be an awesome figure in our society that everybody respects. And your touch, your hug, you're taking a moment to kneel down beside them and listen to them on their level. You could never know what the impact that will be. Don't discredit yourself by saying, "Oh, it won't work for me". Yes, it will! And I'm praying this message will stick in your heart, and if you try to get rid of it, that it will stick you deeply. Because it is the absolute truth. Your family needs it and deserves it. And I believe you're capable of doing a great job of it. Amen?
Well, if you're here this morning and you're not a Christian, listen carefully. I want to challenge you this morning to make this decision. You need Jesus whether you believe it or not at this point. You need Him desperately in your life. You're going to need Him when you die. The best time to settle this issue is while you're alive, while you can think, while you're making decisions in your own life and you can think clearly.
You say, "Well, how do I become a Christian"? You acknowledge the sinfulness of your life. You ask the Lord Jesus Christ by faith in Him. You ask Him that because of His death at Calvary and the shedding of His blood, though you may not even understand all that, but you understand what the cross is about. It's about Jesus dying for your sins, paying the penalty for your sins and being forgiven, cleansed, no longer guilty in the eyes of God, and a whole new life. If you're willing to ask Him to forgive you, to save you, surrender your life to Him, He'll change your life. Listen, not only does He change your life, He changes your eternity. And that's my prayer for you.
Father, how grateful we are this morning for this awesome book. And when I think about what my life would be like without the Bible, I just come up with this big, empty, very, very empty, wayward, lost, dark feeling. But on the other hand, You've placed this Word in all of our lives, and not darkness, but light, not sadness, but joy, not fear, but faith and confidence and boldness and courage. And not wondering about tomorrow, but confident in the will of God and Your willingness to show us. But Lord, we know that all the power's in Your hands. There needs to be a shift, a turning of the tide of atheism and immorality and drug addiction and unbelief in this society and it needs to turn back to the Word of God. Make each of us, Father, a part of the turning of that godly tide for the sake of our children and our future. In Jesus' name, amen.