Somewhere in my teaching or preaching I am confident that most people have heard me refer to the Apostles’ doctrine or teaching (probably several times). You may have asked yourself: why do we focus so much on the teachings of the Apostles? I think I can answer that question by observing what Jesus promised the Apostles. For about three years Jesus taught the Apostles what they were to teach, preach and write. And if they ever forgot anything about the ministry of Jesus, He gave them a promise about that also. Let’s examine the Scriptures which teach the importance of the Apostle’s Doctrine:
The Apostles given Guidance in Speaking and Teaching
Matthew 10:19-20—But when they hand you over, do not worry about how or what you are to say; for it will be given you in that hour what you are to say. For it is not you who speak, but it is the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.
Luke 10:16—The one who listens to you listens to Me, and the one who rejects you rejects Me; and he who rejects Me rejects the One who sent Me.
John 14:26—But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.
Matthew 28:19-20—Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.
John 16:13—But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.
Apostolic Message as Foundational
The Apostles claimed that these promises came true in their ministries. Their message, as it was given by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, was foundational to what the church believed and practiced.
This concept was not foreign to the Apostles. Notice that they claimed it for themselves:
Ephesians 2:20—having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone.
Acts 2:42—They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
Apostolic Message as the Authority
I Timothy 4:11—Prescribe and teach these things.
Titus 2:15—These things speak and exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you.
II Thessalonians 3:14—If anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take special note of that person and do not associate with him, so that he will be put to shame.
II Peter 3:1-2—This is now, beloved, the second letter I am writing to you in which I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, that you should remember the words spoken beforehand by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior spoken by your apostles.
The Apostles also claimed that their messages were prophetic. They claimed their writing were Scripture. And they claimed that their messages were from God.
Practice of the First Century Christians
Simply put, they devoted themselves to the Apostles’ teaching or doctrine. That is one reason why I, personally, am committed to restoration—that is, the restoration of the foundational message of the church—the Apostles’ doctrine!
I believe that the church today needs to constantly contend for the faith once delivered by the Apostles! It is not the elders’ doctrine or the deacons’ doctrine or the evangelist’s doctrine or the ladies’ fellowship doctrine! It is the Apostles’ doctrine that the early church devoted themselves to. At South Side, lets do the same!
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