“Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers. For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake. One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies. This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith” (Titus 1:9-13).
The world fills our ears with all kinds of sounds, many of which we try to drown out. As Christians we need to listen to a very important sound, that is, the voice of the Holy Spirit, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches” (Revelation 2:7). This reveals that we must have our spiritual ears attuned to sounds of Heaven. The only way that we can hear what God is saying to us is if we are sound (pure and undefiled) in two vital areas.
This is the very thing that few immerse themselves in today, and because of the lack of sound doctrine they fall for every lie that comes along. “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears” (2 Timothy 4:3). It is only through sound teaching that we can determine if a preacher and his words are true or false. No wonder then many are looking for a gimmicky and entertaining church rather than one built upon the solid rock of God’s word. “Let my heart be sound in thy statutes” (Psalm 119:80).
Sound doctrine must include the concept of judgement. Any preacher, teacher or evangelist that refuses to allow his words to pass through the test of Scripture, or suggests that no-one ought to question his teaching, has immediately made himself a false prophet. Such men have placed themselves and their reputation above God’s word. A true believer must study and search the Scriptures to make sure that what is being taught lines up with the truth. In other words, we must sound it out. “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me” (John 5:39). We need to be Bereans, “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so” (Acts 17:11). It is not wrong to judge spiritual matters, “But he that is spiritual judgeth all things” (1 Corinthians 2:15) … “Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 1:13).
Sound faith is determined and is dependent upon what we believe. Sound faith reveals what we have been taught. If our doctrines are skewed then our faith rather than being built upon the rock is tottering on sinking sand. In the majority of cases where a person does not rely upon the Scriptures, we will find him trusting in good works and personal merits. It is not Christ that saves him, but his own goodness and righteousness. He cannot understand why a sinner needs to be born again and trust in Christ alone for salvation. “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
Without Christ, whatever faith he might claim to have, he is lost. There is a tendency today, both amongst Christians and the lost, to believe everything that is “contrary to sound doctrine” (1 Timothy 1:10). The measuring stick for sound faith is sound doctrine, and you cannot have the one without the other. Those who are sound in doctrine and faith must sharply rebuke those who put their trust in falsehood. They must be stopped in their tracks with the weapon of sound doctrine and the boldness of sound faith. We have seen several ministers falling from grace over the years, Jim Bakker and Todd Bentley to name a few, but each one arrived in that position through false doctrine. They were doctrinally unsound long before they became morally unsound. “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh” (Matthew 12:34).
We need a revival of sound doctrine and sound faith at this time, and less of the hypocrisy and falsehood that promotes itself as Biblical Christianity. “From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores” (Isaiah 1:6).
“Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls” (Jeremiah 6:16). This means that we must teach, believe and live by the doctrines of God’s book.