Weathering the Storms of Life: Part 2a

Last week we covered the first installment of the series weathering the storms of life. There were 3 main points that were covered, but the point that stood out most to me was that in the midst of the storm, we are instructed from the letter written by James to ask for wisdom.


I attempted to emphasize the point that I felt like the Lord wanted  me to equate this series about the storms we will be speaking of to the trials and tribulations that Jesus promised we would encounter upon this earth (John 16:33).


An illustration I used was a vessel or ship upon a raging sea. The tumultuous sea is the storm, and the vessel is the believer who is being tossed to and fro. As pointed out last week, wisdom is needed in order to navigate through the storm. Furthermore, it was explained that wisdom is more than just knowledge about God’s word; rather, wisdom is the proper application of God’s word in the midst of the storm, navigation for our every day lives. 


To bring the illustration a step forward, the application of wisdom regarding navigation on a ship in the midst of a storm would be the understanding of properly plotting coordinates upon the navigation chart. Undoubtedly, it would be useless to have coordinates, yet no understanding to properly plot them.


Tonight we will be studying a passage out of the book of Ephesians that will once again speak of being tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine. My attempt tonight will be to properly explain the importance of doctrine in the life of the believer. To be truthful, doctrine, good doctrine that is, is every bit as important as wisdom. Just as it will do the mariner no good to have coordinates if he hasn’t the wisdom to properly plot them, it does him no good to have the wisdom of plotting if he has the wrong coordinates. Doctrine, as we will see, is the coordinates, the very building blocks from which the wisdom of God properly navigates our lives.


Ephesians 4:11-16
And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

Last week we discussed three elements that are important if a person is going to weather the spiritual storms of life:
#1: ask for wisdom
#2: be aware that many times the result of the storm is directly related to who and what you allow in your boat.
#3 throw Jonah (disobedience) out and put Jesus in.
In the last teaching, I tried to explain the concept of wisdom. As stated, it's important to understand that wisdom has an experiential aspect to it. In other words, wisdom is not just the knowledge of God's word; instead, wisdom is the practice of the knowledge of God's word in our daily lives; it is the application and insertion of God's wisdom into our everyday circumstances.
Unfortunately, just as our flesh (the part of man tainted with sin) and the Spirit of God in the born again believer engage in a battle for supremacy to win domination and control the manifestation of our behavior (Galatians 5:17), there is also a struggle taking place where the Christian is wanting to vacillate back & forth between God and man's wisdom. 
It should be understood that this is no small thing. The word of God is very clear that the wisdom of man can be very dangerous to our well being.
1 Corinthians 3:19
19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.
1 Corinthians 2:1-8
Chapter 2
 And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.
 Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect:yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought: But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew:for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

So in the last lesson point #1 said, "If you find yourself in a storm ask God for wisdom."
In this lesson, we are going to learn that before the knowledge of God can ever be practiced, it must first be learned.
[Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive]
AV (2)- unity 2;  unity unanimity, agreement


ενοτησ henotes; from 1520; oneness, i. e. (figuratively) unanimity:— unity.
I took an excerpt from our passage that we are studying because I wanted to focus on a couple things:
1). The scripture is clear. God's design is that we would come together in unity. However, let's be careful and pay close attention to what is being said, "unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God."
This passage is not saying that we should all just get along with one another; rather, this verse is explaining that our unity must come together at a certain point. The point of convergence isn't our horizontal relationship. Instead, the point of converging unity takes place in our understanding of [the faith] and the [knowledge of the Son of God]. To be clear, people in unity on the truth, will walk in unity with one another.
Once again, it is important to note that the faith spoken of here is not a verb. As a matter of fact the reason this phrase was translated "the faith" rather than just "faith" is because the Greek definite article precedes the word faith in the original language.
Right now some people are saying, "Who cares?" For those people, it's probably best to keep scrolling your news feed; however, for those who want some answers, stay tuned.
The definite article in the Greek simply constitutes a noun in that language; therefore, when the definite article precedes a word, which in our language is translated as "the", it means the word is a noun.
"The faith" in this verse is descriptive of the New Covenant. The convergence point that God desires we, those born of Him (1 Peter 1:1-3; John 3:3), become unified is in our understanding or belief of the New Covenant, which is the Son of God.
While I have already gone too long, let's clarify. Jesus said, "This is my body it will be broken for you. This is my blood of the New Covenant, it will be shed for you." Jesus Christ (His person—represented by the bread) and His blood (the sacrifice [cross]—represented by the wine) is the New Covenant.
This is the place where we must agree, and anything that tries to pull us away from this is being driven and motivated by demonic entities; furthermore, any true Christian should not be…and I repeat, "Should not be unified with that movement!"
2). We are told that those remaining unified at this place will be moved towards a certain measurement of "stature." The idea being portrayed is one of adult height. In other words, we are growing up in Christ and progressively coming to that place of Christian maturity. I don't know about you, but when I look back on my first twelve years of Christianity, I'm so glad that I've moved past "diapers and milk."
3). When a man or woman of God becomes unified in their own spirit with the Spirit of God on what a proper understanding of "the faith" and the "knowledge of the Son of God" is, maturity and growth takes place-- and...
4). Furthermore, we are no longer "tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive..."
This is the place that we resume our "storm" motif. It should be noted that the wind, which is causing the storm or tossing in all directions is caused by false doctrine.
Furthermore, it should be noted that in this case, the Bible warns that the false doctrine isn't accidental. In reality, the text is clear-- this false doctrine, which generates storms in the lives of believers, resulting in unrest and violent tossing to and fro is methodical.
To explain this, I'm only going to (exegete) or draw out the meaning of two words in the text in order to make my point:
a. The first word is sleight from the phrase, "... The sleight of men..." This word in the Greek is κυβοσ kubos
This is where we get the English word cube. The idea is descriptive of a game of dice played by men of deceit.
(a “cube”, i. e. die for playing); gambling, i. e. (figuratively) artifice_ Strong's
b. The second wait from the phrase, "...lie in wait." This word in the Greek is g3180. μεθοδεια methodeia;
compare “method”); traveling over, i. e. travesty ( trickery): — wile, lie in wait_ Strong's
In other words, its a diabolical plan that has the idea of the sleight of man's hand purposefully deceiving God's people, ultimately, resulting in Christians being tossed to and fro by the winds of false doctrine.
Even more interesting, at least to me, is the thought that the Greek root of the word for methodeia is methistemi...
μεθιστημι methistemi;to transpose, transfer, remove from one place to another
It's as though the thought involved is a switching of one thing for another. Now, take all this information together and think of these people on the streets of big city's hustling money with the three bended card game or the nut under the shell game. Essentially, what is taking place is that they are purposefully trying to deceive people through illusion of fast hand movements, a transposing or moving of an object from one place to another, causing the observer to believe what he saw was the right thing when in reality what he saw was an illusion.
In a moment, I will make the point that I personally believe that this very thing has been and is currently taking place in the church-- evil deceivers, posed as "friends" (Christians) are slowly and methodically changing the gospel before our very eyes, and its being done with such trickery that the masses, even astute leaders are falling headlong into the trap.
But first, I want to tackle this thought about doctrine, which seems to be a much hated word by the new version of Christianity we see arising on the new horizon of this "new world" we are slowly entering.
If you polled people nowadays, you would undoubtedly hear people speak of the fact that their favorite part of church is the music. Furthermore, they want to hear a message that is relevant to their own personal needs. As a matter of fact, I have heard people say, after a good sermon, "How does that affect my marriage?"
I'm sorry Burger King customer that we didn't serve up your desires your way right away. Let me go back into the kitchen and whip you up another meal that might better satiate your appetite.
Or better yet, why don't you, as a child of God recognize that the scriptures are His counsel unto you and that the words contained therein (the Bible) are the words of life that will bring nourishment to your souls and healing to your life:
Proverbs 2:10-11 When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul; Discretion shall preserve thee,
understanding shall keep thee
As we learn to apply a proper understanding of God's word to our lives, we will begin to see our marriages healed along with many other practical aspects of our lives.
Therefore, let's spend some time with this concept called doctrine, especially since the wrong kind will brew a strong wind within our Christian journey.
g1319. διδασκαλια didaskalia;

 from 1320; instruction (the function or the information):— doctrine, learning, teaching.
AV (21)- doctrine 19, teaching_ Strong's
This word is undoubtedly where we get our English word didactics. I have always liked the word didactics because it describes the type of learning that takes place in a classroom, and I love learning and teaching in a classroom setting.
Let me give you some examples:
1). In a nursing degree, the didactics portion of the curriculum involves the textbook or learning of the theories associated with the science of nursing; whereas, the practicum is the portion of the education where the student takes what he has learned in the classroom to the bedside, adding an experiential aspect to his education.
2). Let's use the concept of electricity or air condition refrigeration. While I personally know nothing about these fields, I do know that there is both didactics and practicum involved in the process of learning this skill. There are grounds and live wires. There is conduction and insulation. There are circuits and breakers. And there is a time when the electrician must move his hand and eyes from the blue print to the place where he touches the wires.
3). Lets look at the job of a preacher. If he receives an education, he may take a preaching class. The didactics portion of the class may teach him aspects such as the difference between how to preach a story (narrative) vs. one of Paul's letters (epistle). This would be the didactic portion of his learning; however, there will come a day when he will have to study, produce, and finally communicate that sermon. This, once again, is the practicum or practical portion of his education.
Why do we care?
We care because the passage we studied last week instructed us: whilst in the storm ask for wisdom from God.
This week I want to point out the importance of the fact that there is a perquisite to habitually walking in the wisdom of God. The prerequisite to the wisdom class is doctrine or instruction 101, in other words, the proper instruction of God's word.
I must warn you that the sleight of hand of crafty man we spoke of earlier is alive and well in the modern church and sadly most believers are completely unaware that its happening.
There is a movement within the modern church known as the Emergent Church. Within the framework of this faux "church," there is an emphasis on reaching a generation of what we call postmodern people. Postmodern meaning-- we've moved past the age of modernity, where science was supposed to fix all the ills of mankind, when in reality, it has left people with a void in their lives and full of unanswered questions.
Within postmodernism, is the thought that there is no absolute truth; therefore, there is no absolute text (Bible). Furthermore, there is no absolute central focus; therefore, there is not one absolute God.
Instead, there are many ways to happiness, many holy books to explore, and many gods to implore. Within this framework, the Emergent Church's mission is to give the postmodernist an opportunity to "experience God." In other words, people don't want to just know Him, read about Him, and have to put there faith in some doctrine. No! They want Him to be palpable, breathable, even drinkable.
Listen close because this is where it gets good or bad, whichever way you choose to see it. The way people are instructed to tap into experiencing this god's presence is through ancient mystical practices which include: soaking, breath prayers, and contemplative prayer.
Both of these practices find their roots in mystery religion and "christianized" versions of the ancient art of yoga where one is taught to empty oneself in order to "experience" the deity, so I don't doubt if you practice these tactics that you're experiencing something, but I can definitively tell you this, "It ain't the God that sent His Son Jesus to die on the cross, because the way you experience that God is through faith in the one whom He sent to die for your sin."
These types of mystical practices have also entered through much of the Word of Faith Movement where preachers preach fables then back it up with, "I received this one from direct revelation of God."
Within both of these movements, there is a deterrence from a proper Christ centered (Jesus Christ and Him crucified) approach to the gospel. There is a clear avoidance of terminology such as: sin, blood, and the cross.
There are multiple instances where these people can be seen and heard degrading the concept of doctrine, which, once again, simply means God's instruction.
One of the most blatant examples is found in The Purpose Driven Life:
"God won't ask you about your religious background or doctrinal views." Pg. 34
Sadly, many of us in the church have been made punch drunk by the claim of the word of faith preachers, "Touch not mine anointed." This verse is used as an attempt to quiet detractors and strike fear in the heart of any man who would dare call into question the teachings of another preacher. Really! You better go back and read your Bible. Start with Jesus' warning about the leaven of the Pharisees. Then move to Paul's persistent warnings about the Judaizers and others who were teaching false doctrine.
No! It's my job and your job to be Berean's, study the word, and mark them which teach any other doctrine than the one we have been given:
Romans 16:17-18
Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.

If you think I've gone too far here, then I challenge you to watch this video-- if you can handle the truth that is!
Church of Tares: Purpose Driven, Seeker Sensitive, Church Growth, and New World Order.
In the meantime, I'm going to discuss some scriptures that speak about the importance of doctrine.
Matthew 16:12
Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.
Exegete and expose the verses before and after this one
Acts 2:42
42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles 'doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
Romans 6:17
17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.
Romans 16:17-18
Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.
Fair speeches-- in a bad sense, language artfully adapted to captivate the hearer:fair speaking, fine speeches
1 Timothy 4:13
13 Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.
1 Timothy 4:16
16 Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them:for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.
2 Timothy 4:3-4
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 {desirous of hearing something pleasant}; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
Fables--  an invention, a falsehood

And we wonder why the lives of believers many times resemble those of unbelievers, struggling and flailing in the midst of a tumultuous storm, seemingly incapable of finding their way back on course.