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Bible Search
May 5, 2019 Truth!

 

 

Scripture reading: John 3:18-21 (NIV); I Cor 13:6.

 

[I. Introduction] These passages show us the supreme importance of truth. We must love the truth and live the truth in order to be receptive to Christ Himself. When one loves the truth they also rejoice in the truth! Loving truth is foundational to receiving anything from the Lord, even salvation (2 Thes. 2:8-10)! As we grow in the faith we will learn to love the truth more and hate falsehood more as well.

 

The importance of truth and our attitude towards it cannot be overemphasized. It is vital to a living faith. If we neglect truth we neglect our own faith. And, if we neglect our own faith we neglect our own well-being because our spiritual health depends on our faith.

 

First, take notice that God identified Himself as “the God of truth.”

 

 

he who blesses himself in the land

shall bless himself by the God of truth,

       and he who takes an oath in the land

shall swear by the God of truth;

       because the former troubles are forgotten

and are hidden from my eyes. [1]

 

The Lord designates himself as the “God of truth” because he always keeps his promises and he is the very source of truth.

 

Into your hand I commit my spirit; you have ransomed me, O LORD, God of truth. (Psalm 31:5; NASB) (KJV and NIV use the same designation.)

 

God is the source of truth. The Triune God defines truth. Truth is found in Him.

 

7 Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. 18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. 19 They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. 20 But that is not the way you learned Christ!— 21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus,[2]

 

In this passage we see that, again, the way people live is linked to their reception of the truth. Where can the truth be found? In Jesus! The Lord is the place where truth is!

 

The Spirit is called “the Spirit of Truth.”

 

15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. [3]

 

26 “But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me. 27 And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning. [4]

 

Since God identifies himself, in all three of his Persons, as truth we must know that truth is important to God and must be of the highest importance to us.

 

We must see that God is the source of all truth. Actually, God is the source of everything that is real and, therefore, he is the source of truth itself.

 

36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. [5]

 

Truth is from God and through God!

 

[II.] Because truth is from God and characterizes God, our duty is to love the truth.

 

8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming. 9 The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, 10 and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.[6]

 

You see, in order to be saved, in order to believe, one must love the truth. Even if you do not believe the realities of the Christian faith presently, if you have a love for truth then you are in a good position.

 

The great scientist and Christian, Blaise Pascal said:

 

Truth is so obscure in these times, and falsehood so established, that, unless we love the truth, we cannot know it.
 

He was right when he wrote this in the 1600’s and, if anything, it is even more true now.

 

We must love the truth in order to receive it and we must love the truth because, once we know it, it will set us free.

 

31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” [7]

 

Note that Jesus is speaking to those who believe in him already. It is true that the lost person will find freedom from the bondage of sin when they love and know the truth. But this is true of the follower of Christ, as well. The more truth we know, the more freedom we will experience.

 

Consider just one example. We all have a tendency to believe that our acceptability to the Lord is based upon our obedience to his laws. That is, that we must perform and behave in good ways in order for the Lord to love us and accept us. When we think in this way, it only takes a few failures or a few sins and we feel rejected. This is nothing less than living by the law and not by faith. The truth is that the Lord loves us and accepts us as we are because of Christ. When we see and fully believe this truth it sets us free to enjoy the Lord and to live for him with a glorious sense of freedom!

 

We must love the truth because it brings us freedom!

 

[III] Because truth is from God and characterizes God, we must conform all our thoughts to the truth.

 

                  The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever;

The judgments of the Lord are true; they are righteous altogether.

                  They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold;

Sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb.[8]

 

The judgments – that is, the statements, the decrees, the laws – of the Lord are true. They are always true. They are true and they are righteous. That simply means that they are right. Because they are true and they are good they are more desirable than gold and they are more delectable than the best food.

 

We must recognize that, because of the fall of man, our entire being was corrupted. Our flesh has desires that go beyond the normal level of desires that we were meant to have. Thus, we crave food abnormally and easily fall into gluttony. We desire sex in inordinate ways and so we lust. Our emotions are imbalanced. But, our thinking is darkened too. We read this passage just a short while ago and we noted that the truth is in Jesus. Let us look at it again and see that it points out that one’s thinking can be darkened.

 

17 Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. 18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. [9]

 

This passage is describing the unsaved. However, it is reflective of our fallen nature, which we all still possess. Indeed, Paul will continue in the verses following to admonish the Ephesians to put away behavior which issues from futile thinking and darkened understanding. Clearly, a Christian may still be influenced by the flesh, including wrong thinking.

 

All our thoughts are not in accordance with truth. Therefore, we must conform our thoughts to the truth.

 

In the Lord’s final prayer, just before his death, he said:

 

14 I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.[10]

 

God’s word, the Scriptures, are not the only source of truth. But they are the only source of truth that possess absolute certainty. We must conform our minds to all truth, wherever, it is found; but, the highest and most important truths are found in the Holy Scriptures. Whenever our thinking is different to the truth of God’s word, we must change our view. Do you know what will happen when we do? We will experience freedom! We will understand things as they really are. It is a wonderful thing!

 

[IV] Because truth is from God and characterizes God, we have a duty to proclaim the truth. The following quote from a 17th century Puritan theologian hits the mark:

 

Truth fears nothing so much as concealment, and desires nothing so much as clearly to be laid open to the view of all: when it is most naked, it is most lovely and powerful.

Richard Sibbes[11]

 

Here, Sibbes personifies truth. If truth were a person, it would fear being concealed. If it were a person it would desire being known. The Bible, in Proverbs, personifies wisdom; so, it is quite appropriate to personify virtues.

 

28 Let the prophet who has a dream tell the dream, but let him who has my word speak my word faithfully. What has straw in common with wheat? declares the Lord. [12]

 

If someone is a prophet then they should reveal what their divinely inspired dreams are. But those who have God’s words should speak them. Who has God’s words now? It is every follower of Christ who has a Bible. It is us. “Let him who has my word speak it!”

 

But it is not just Christians. God’s people always proclaimed the goodness of God. They were vocal about it. David said:

 

Sing to the Lord, bless his name;

tell of his salvation from day to day. [13]

 

This was not only David’s own experience but he is telling the saints under the old covenant not to be quiet. Sing! Bless! And tell of the Lord’s salvation. How much more ought we to be singing and proclaiming!

 

Because truth is from God and characterizes God, we have a duty to proclaim the truth.

 

[V.] Finally, because truth is from God, we must defend the truth. Let us look at one last verse.

 

Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. [14]

 

There are two things that we should note about this verse. The first is that is from Jude and he wrote what is known as a general epistle, or a general letter. Meaning, it wasn’t addressed to a specific group of Christians as many of Paul’s letters are. See in verse 1 that it is “to those who are called.” Now, he certainly had a certain group of Christians in mind. We just don’t know who they were except that they were likely Jewish converts since this short letter is filled with OT and apocalyptic imagery from those sources. Because it is a general epistle it is applicable to all believers in the Lord Jesus.[15] It is addresses “to those who are called.” Hence, it is addressed to all of us, because we are, each one, called! It is not just for church leaders, or apologists.

 

The second matter is that Jude intended to write to them about their common salvation: an important and foundational subject! Yet, he was compelled, no doubt by the Holy Spirit, to write to them about something else. What? He knows it is necessary for them to “contend for the faith.” Some translations have “contend earnestly for the faith.” In this context “the faith” is nothing less than the contents of our faith, the reality of our faith, known both propositionally and experientially. In other words, the truth! Jude is admonishing us, all of us, to contend for – that means fight for – the truth of the gospel and the truth of revelation. Not just evangelists and apologists – all who have been called and who are loved by God. That is you!

 

This is why it is important, no – essential, that every true believer be involved in a local church. The church was established by Christ to equip you to defend the faith! The Lord does not expect you to reinvent the wheel and try to find the reasons why we know the revelation of God to be true. He has committed them to the church and the church is the pillar and buttress of the truth (I Timothy 3:15).

 

[VI. Conclusion] All truth is from God and is defined by God. God is truth![16] Because truth is from God and characterizes God, we must

 

  • Love the truth
  • Conform our thoughts to the truth
  • Proclaim the truth, and
  • Defend the truth

 

Do you know why we, each one, can do these things? Because we have been given the Spirit of truth! The Spirit of truth loves the truth! As we touch the Spirit we will love the truth even more. As we walk in the spirit we will desire to conform our minds to the truth. As we are supplied by the Spirit we will proclaim the truth.

 

To contend for the truth does take a little preparation. That is why the church is here. To prepare you!

 

“Lord, make us lovers of the truth who live the truth and speak the truth daily. We know that in ourselves we are not up to the task. But you are within us! Make us what you have called us to be! Amen!”

 

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Is 65:16). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[2] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Eph 4:17–21). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[3] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Jn 14:15–17). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[4] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Jn 15:26–27). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[5] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ro 11:36). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[6] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (2 Th 2:8–10). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[7] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Jn 8:31–32). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[8] New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). (Ps 19:9–10). La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

[9] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Eph 4:17–18). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[10] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Jn 17:14–17). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[11] Ritzema, E., & Vince, E. (Eds.). (2013). 300 Quotations for Preachers from the Puritans. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[12] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Je 23:28). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[13] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ps 96:2). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[14] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Jud 3). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[15] Of course, every book of the Bible has application to all believers. It is just that some books have narrower applications (e.g., Philemon, which is a blessed resource for addressing issues of slavery and servitude). General epistles often have broader application.

[16] Besides John 14:6, see how the apostle John substitutes the word truth for God in 18:37, I John 3:19, 2 John 1:2, and 3 John 1:8, 12.