Good Morning Brothers…
“OK…take this bag and stand next to that tree along the path. Jeff and I will cut through the woods here and circle around that big hill. Once we get there, we will wait about 30 minutes and give the snipes some time to settle down. Then we will work our way back your direction.”
“So…I just stand here with my bag and wait for a snipe to run down the path?”
“Yes. The snipes will be spooked because of us. They don’t see very well and they move pretty slow. You will be able to bag one easy.”
“What do they look like?”
“Kinda hard to explain. About the size of a small dog, but they run on two feet, or hop, sometimes they do both, almost like they are skipping. Believe me…you’ll know it when you see it.”
“Do I keep my flashlight on the whole time?”
“Oh no…keep your flashlight turned off. Snipes are afraid of light, that’s why we have to wait until midnight to catch them. OK…are you all set? (nods head) Good. We will see you in about an hour or so. Good luck.”
Jeff and I head out into the woods and circle back to camp. After stifling many bouts of the giggles, we crawled into our bags and went to sleep. (You can tell inexperienced hunters almost anything.)
Paul writes in Titus 2:1, “But as for you, speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine.” Doctrine…what does Paul mean with the word doctrine? Doctrine is the noun form of the word ‘teaching’. To say we are teaching sound doctrine is too say we are teaching sound teaching. All doctrine comprises beliefs, basic principles, and dogmas, or, specific principles and belief systems laid down by an authority. Essentially, a doctrine contains the ideas, rules, and guidelines we hold to be accurate and true. Obviously this is very important, especially if we have been called to a position of leadership. It would be real easy at this point to veer into dialogue about determining WHAT sound doctrine is…however, we will veer off into a different, yet equally important direction.
Remember that game PLINKO? A disc is inserted into the top of the game and bounces off the pins on its way down to the bottom. Once it reaches bottom, it either lands in the area containing points or it lands in the area containing no points. For a Christian, any new idea or perspective is a disk. Once inserted into our brain, the disk bounces off of our ‘pins of doctrine’, or, the things we hold as true. We may call this ‘processing’ or ‘ruminating’. Sometimes, the disc gets stuck in our brain right away. The new idea, or perspective, is so far off from what we hold as true, that there is very little travel into our head before we reject it completely. Paul is warning Titus to speak sound doctrine because the new believers have very few ‘pins of doctrine’. They will believe anything.
Sticking with Titus, it says in Chapter 1:7-9, “For the overseer must be above reproach as God’s steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain, but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict.”
We have to realize, that we hold our students PLINKO boards in our hands when we teach. The doctrine we teach is very important but so is the delivery. I’m not referring to smoke and lights or the use of videos and music. I’m referring to our delivery…our personal delivery of the doctrine. Paul uses words like hospitable, just, devout, sensible, self-controlled, and holding fast to the faithful word. This paints a picture of preparation. As overseers, we must be prepared to provide for our students at all times, in season and out of season. In order that, we may exhort (encourage with passion) good teaching and refute (throw out) bad teaching. Our students may only have a few ‘pins of doctrine’ and each new disc inserted into their heads, will fall all the way to the bottom and get accepted as truth.
Our preparation is key. We really don’t have an off-season, as far as, preparation is concerned. We may have an off-season, as far as, active teaching is concerned. Our off-seasons our seasons of rest, yet, rest doesn’t mean laziness. Rest means time spent with God without an immediate agenda. It may be a time that God moves us into different ministries or simply continues to equip us for the next round. Whatever His plan, we are still preparing…or maybe I should say it like this, “We are still being prepared.”
Whatever is next, Acts 20:28-30 still holds true, “Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them.”
Paul is still giving us a warning:
- Be on guard
- savage wolves will come in
- among your own selves men will arise
Passages like this make me uneasy. Its not the ‘being on guard’, or the fighting off the ‘savage wolves’, its the false teachers rising up from among us to draw the disciples (the students) away from Christ and toward themselves that scares me. Without preparation, I may be drawn away as well. Paul certainly takes this seriously. Notice that all of our scripture today is from the teachings, or doctrines of Paul. In fact, lets add one more from 2 Timothy 1:13-14, “Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you.”
Our ‘pins of doctrine’ which establish the PLINKO board inside of our head is described as a “treasure which has been entrusted“. This treasure, as Paul describes it, is “the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.” We have a responsibility to protect, and guard, our students from the damaging discs of false doctrine. To do this, we must teach them about the faith and love that is Jesus, that is Truth, that is Doctrine.
“Hey Jeff…its been 12 hours…should we start looking for Mark?”