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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

THE DOCTRINE OF CHRIST

2 John 9 Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.

The two verses that precede the lesson text tell us that it will be those Christians that become and remain faithful to God's commandments, that will receive the full reward. The rewards that an obedient child of God receives while here on earth are too numerous to mention. However, the full reward, referred to here, is the final reward given, by God's grace, to those that finish the course of life faithful to the will of God - that is, eternal life in heaven. In order to attain the full reward of heaven, John tells those in Christ to look to yourselves. Christians are told to constantly examine the conduct of their lives and compare it to the life that God demands of His children. This is necessary in order to avoid the deceivers of the world - the antichrists that serve the cause of Satan, rather than the cause of Jesus Christ. The writer of the letter to the Hebrews warns all Christians everywhere of unbelief, departing from the living God, ...through the deceitfulness of sin (Heb. 3:12-13).

As long as God's children inhabit the earth, we are assured that Satan will also be there with his armies of deceivers, opposing the gospel message of Jesus Christ. John tells us to believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world (1 John 4:1). Here "spirits" refer to false prophets - teachers that claim to be sent by God, but promote error by proclaiming a doctrine that is contrary to His will. Speaking of how Christians are misled by false teachers, Peter wrote, that many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you. That is, false teachers will "buy" children of God away from Him and "sell" them to Satan through deceitful teachings, by offering them the things of this present world, instead of a future heavenly home.

John tells us that whosoever transgresseth, that is whoever heeds the doctrine of false preachers and teachers, abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, (and) hath not God. Since it is necessary for eternal salvation, we must understand, and heed, the doctrine of Christ. What is Jesus' doctrine? It is that which He taught His disciples, and the multitudes that gathered around Him, during His life on earth. It is the "Sermon on the Mount" as well as all other teachings of Jesus that are found in the inspired Gospel accounts. His doctrine is the teachings found in His messages that were oftimes astonishing to His hearers (See Matt. 7:28; 22:33; Mark 11:18; Luke 4:32). Jesus, at a very early age, told us that My doctrine is not Mine, but His that sent Me (John 7:16). The doctrine of Jesus was that of God. Jesus Christ was merely the messenger that delivered God's word to the world, during His earthly ministry. The word of God was given to the world through His Son, Jesus Christ. The voice of God assures us of this, when He spoke these words: This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye Him (Matt. 17:5).

The doctrine of Christ is, not only what He personally taught while here on earth, but also what He authorized His apostles to teach. Matthew records these final instructions of Christ to them: Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen (Matt. 28:19-20). After receiving the inspirational power of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, which was promised by Jesus Christ (Acts 1:8), Peter, and the other apostles, stood up, and preached the doctrine of Christ for the first time in its completeness.

Three thousand souls responded immediately when Peter told them to repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38). This was the doctrine of Christ on that Day of Pentecost, and has been His doctrine every day thereafter. In order to receive the hope of eternal salvation, which was promised to by God to His children, one must receive Jesus Christ (Matt. 10:40), and obey His message of salvation, that was given through His apostles. Doing so, one is added to the body of Christ, His church (Acts. 2:47). Those that abideth in the doctrine of Christ (the gospel message of God delivered by Himself and His apostles), ...hath both the Father and the Son. To this we can only add, Amen!