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5 years ago  ::  Sep 28, 2012 - 12:18PM #1
Posts: 75

"The apostles' doctrine:" What is that? Doctrine is teaching. Some people and churches in our day have a strong repugnance toward the word "doctrine." The word has come on hard times in modern-day religion. Some hold to the idea of the leadership of the Holy Spirit separate from and independent of teaching or doctrine, which they interpret to be traditionalism or often, legalism. Actually, "They continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine” simply means the apostles were indoctrinating these new converts. Now I have gone and said a bad word, haven't I? Indoctrinating. You see, new Christians need to be indoctrinated. They need to be taught.

And at first the apostles were the only teachers in the church; so it is said, "They continued steadfastly in the apostles' teaching." Our Lord had prepared the apostles well for this event. He had said repeatedly in their presence and to them,

"My doctrine is not Mine, but His who sent me" (John 7:16).

"The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works" (John 14:10).

"He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father's who sent me" (John 14:24).

And in His prayer in John 17 He prayed for those apostles. He prayed to our Father in heaven:

“I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. Now they have known that all things which you have given Me are from You. For I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them” (John 17:6–8).

In preparing them for His imminent departure, He promised the apostles the Holy Spirit, saying when the Holy Spirit did come He would teach them all things, and He would bring to their remembrance all things He had taught them (John 14:26). He would also guide them into all truth, and He would reveal even more things to them (John 16:13).

When the Holy Spirit came on that eventful day of Pentecost following His resurrection and ascension to heaven (Acts 1:9–11), those apostles were empowered and prepared to teach the newly-born church. Those on the day of Pentecost who gladly received the word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. They continued in the apostles' indoctrination. And now we have seen that the apostles' doctrine was the word of God. I mean, the word of the living and true God, the Creator, the Lord of heaven and earth, the Father of our spirits.

The apostles were the only Holy-Spirit-guided ones among them and they were doing what the Lord commissioned them to do: "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them . . . teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you" (Matthew 28:19–20).

John R. W. Stott makes an interesting observation about this. He says,

“Those new converts were not enjoying a mystical experience which lead them to despise their mind or disdain theology. Anti-intellectualism and fullness of the Spirit are mutually incompatible, because the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth. Nor did those early disciples imagine that, because they had received the Spirit, he was the only teacher they needed and they could dispense with human teachers.”

Then he makes his application. He says,

“Since the teaching of the apostles has come down to us in its definitive form in the New Testament, contemporary devotion to the apostles’ teaching will mean submission to the authority of the New Testament. A Spirit-filled church is a New Testament church, in the sense that it studies and submits to New Testament instruction” (The Message of Acts, page 82).

Very good. He's so right about that. A person or a church that professes to submit to the leading of the Spirit independent of or contrary to the Spirit's teaching in the New Testament is being misled.
Program Transcripts, 2004, THE APOSTLES’ DOCTRINE
(The preceding is merely a portion of the entire article, Jake)

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