Although Spirit equipped, many Christians are not truly gospel trained nor fully aware of sound doctrine. We live in a society wherein reliable bible principles are rejected as dogmatic bible doctrine. This is error in the greatest degree. How can we teach? How can we grow? How can we train disciples? How can we preach the Gospel if we accept the noise of clanging cymbals rather than the sound doctrine of men who are educated and convicted concerning the Godly principles delivered via the inspired word of God?
In Matthew, chapter 11, Jesus spoke to the multitudes concerning John the Baptists. In this discourse, he asked three rhetorical questions. The voice of the Spirit is recorded as follows.
“And as they departed, Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind? But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? behold, they that wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses. But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet. For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee,” (Matthew 11:7-10).
To fully understand the value of these verses, you must first grasp that they follow a discourse wherein the doubts currently alive in John the Baptist evoke an answer that reminds the messenger of the certainty of the message rather than a comfort for the emotions.
If you investigate the Scripture that paves the way for Matthew 11:7, you will notice that for strength to a struggling preacher, Jesus merely points toward evidence that existing and sound doctrine has been and is being fulfilled. Although they quote from no specific verse, the words in Matthew 11:5 cannot be concluded as merely pointing out evidence thru the working of miracles. No, these words go much further, for they specify that Jesus is fulfilling those things that Scripture has already declared. Thus even as John the Baptists is pointed toward Scripture as his source for encouragement and strength, a gospel trained believer is taught to trust in existing bible principles, bible truths, and sound bible doctrine.
“The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them,” (Matthew 11:5).
Spirit Filled and Fully Aware of Sound Doctrine
When Jesus speaks of a reed shaken with the wind, he defines a messenger who preaches a wavering message. Just as the reed sways to and fro with each new gust of the wind, the message of a false teacher changes according to the whims of society. Likewise, just as a reed in the wind makes a sound, that sound lacks any measure of context worthwhile for spiritual growth.
But the message delivered by those who are gospel trained and Spirit filled will not waver and will not change. Neither will it ramble on useless words and meaningless sounds.
Likewise, Jesus speaks of those who relate truth to status. In bringing to attention those people who are clothed in soft raiment, our Lord draws a line between politics and truth, wealth and spiritual understanding, power and spiritual authority. This is not to say that those who sit in king’s houses cannot speak truth, but rather it makes clear that status, recognition and power do not, by default, equate to a Spirit filled message. Indeed, and more often than not, those who sit in king’s houses either become self-minded or people-minded rather than truth-minded.
The Gospel Trained Christian Speaks An Unchanging Message
In the end, Jesus defines the life of John the Baptist in no uncertain terms.
“But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet. For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.”
Now we know that John the Baptist rebuked sinners, for his message declared, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near,” (Matthew 3:2). And when the times came together for proclaiming the arrival of a heavenly King, he pronounced Jesus Christ as the Lamb of God. This is the beginning of the gospel. It cannot change and it will not change. And those who are filled with the Spirit will not bend concerning the rightly divined word of God. No! rather than shifting with the wind or bowing to please mankind, those who are filled with the Spirit of God grow, learn, and grasp the fullness of the entire Gospel of Jesus Christ. And then they teach truth.
Adherence to sound bible teaching does not condone arrogance, dogmatism, or self-righteous behavior. But it does assurance confidence when in the shadows of trial and tribulation as was John. Furthermore, sets a firm and unyielding foundation in faith. It require conviction that will not stumble before false teachings. And sound doctrine delivers exactly those principles.
Spiritually Equipped For Sharing Reliable Bible Principles As Well As The Gospel
In verse 11, Jesus addresses the relationship between the knowledge and power available to John the Baptist and the knowledge and power avail to modern day Christians. Understand these words:
“Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” (Matthew 11:11).
For John the Baptist, Scripture was as yet incomplete. Furthermore, this prophet lived in a dispensation wherein the Holy Spirit came to abide upon the man rather than within the man. Thus in the words of Jesus: You, dear reader, if indeed you are a born again child of God, can be gospel trained, Spirit filled, and made fully aware of sound doctrine. Therefore you are without excuse. You must seek bible principles that embrace accurate interpretation, persistent application, and Spirit-inspired conviction. To do any less is to fall short of this great promise:
“…he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.”