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Proclaiming Truth that Liberates and Protects II

Updated: Apr 24

Quote – “It is better to be divided by truth than to be united in error. It is better to speak the truth that hurts and then heals, than falsehood that comforts and then kills. It is not love and it is not friendship if we fail to declare the whole counsel of God. It is better to be hated for telling the truth than to be loved for telling a lie. It is impossible to find anyone in the Bible who was a power for God who did not have enemies and was not hated. It’s better to stand alone with the truth than to be wrong with a multitude. It is better to ultimately succeed with the truth than to temporarily succeed with a lie.” Adrian Rogers - Long time So. Baptist pastor in Memphis, TN

 

INTRODUCTION – In our first post about truth we focused on knowing God as the only One who is utterly true. Any seeking of truth or discussion of truth without a humble and obedient pursuit of the knowledge of Him and an ongoing deepening relationship with Him will end in deception or the misuse of truth. While the discovery of truth and the ever deepening commitment to truth has brought about nation transforming things like the end of slavery in the West and the exposing of the evils of the abortion industry in our nation, we should be sober about how easy it is to turn our back on truth or to be blind to truth.

 

We should be sober because the god of this world’s primary weapon is that of deceit and twisting of truth.  As Jesus said to those Jews who were unknowingly his slaves – Satan “does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” John 8:44.  Just as God is utterly true and cannot lie, Satan is utterly false and cannot tell the truth. And he can quote scripture (twisted oh so slightly) with the best as we see in Matthew 4:6, where Satan quoted Psalm 91:11, 12 – seeking to get Jesus to disobey His Father’s will and way.

 

We should be sober because the apostle Paul in his last letter before his death often warned Timothy of those in the church who:

-              “…have gone astray from the truth…” II Timothy 2:18

-              Were “….always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” II Timothy 3:7

-              “…so these men oppose the truth…” II Timothy 3:8

-              “for the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.” II Timothy 4:3,4

 

We should be sober as well because twice in scripture we are told “all men are liars” (Psalm 116:11 & Romans 3:4). At the core of our sinful fallen nature is dishonesty – the propensity to lie. Few like to admit this. But the more we get to know the one true God, the more this becomes evident.

 

Thankfully while the more we get to know God and gaze upon God our sinfulness becomes more evident, we also see all that He has done for us in Christ to help us put off our old self and put on our new self (Eph. 4:22-24) or to clothe ourselves in Christ (Rom. 13:14 NIV) – all of which depends on our grasp and submission to truth.

 

While we should never lose sight of Satan and his demons’ deceptive activity around us nor the sinfulness of our flesh, we should ever more give attention to how superior our Savior is and to how great our salvation in Him is. There will be times when deception and lying and hardness of heart towards the truth is so seemingly prevalent around us that it will be easy to despair if we are not ever more grounded in these things. So I want to draw your attention for a while to our great Savior, whom John the apostle proclaims is “….full of grace and truth” John 1:14   John goes on to say, “For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized though Jesus Christ.” John 1:17   The world had never seen a fully human man so utterly truthful, so committed to proclaiming only the truth, and in whom was not one ounce of falsehood or deceit.

 

Jesus was not just full of grace and truth, He tells us He is the truth in John 14:6, “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; ….” One of the reasons so many who had been under the oppressive thumb of the Pharisees and Scribes were so elated to know and follow Jesus was because for the first time there was someone whom you could totally trust. Finally there was someone who had no skeletons in the closet or no hidden life. Finally there was someone who knew how to use truth to set the captives free.  While some of the Jews were offended at the thought that they needed to be freed from something, and many today react the same,  throughout the centuries those who have been enslaved to sin and longed for freedom from it have found great comfort from  Jesus’s words in John 8:31,32, “So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”  Only truth can free us from all the deception and torment and bondage that sin brings with it.  Perhaps that’s why when Paul pens his longest discussion in his epistles on spiritual warfare and how to overcome it – the first piece of armor he chose to mention was “truth” (Ephesians 6:14).

 

So how can we better continue or remain or abide in His word so that we can know the truth in such a way that the truth will make us free from all sin and free to be all that He has called us to be?

 

Well I think it would be wise to start with a reminder of how dependent we must be on the Holy Spirit in this process. One of the books I am meditating on these days is that of the gospel of John. Jesus as of John chapter 13 knew “…that His hour had come…” (vs. 1), and thus He was sharing with His disciples all that they would need to know to be able to recover from the shock of Judas’s betrayal, Peter’s denials, all of them fleeing at some point, none of them but John being there to watch Jesus die on the cross, the grief over all of their unbelief and fear and failures, and then embracing their call to be His church and His body and to proclaim the gospel of the kingdom to the ends of the earth.

In chapter 13 He sought to help them see the importance of serving and loving per His own example. In chapters 14-16 He spoke much to them about the Holy Spirit and all that He would be to them as they sought to obey their Master and Lord in His physical absence. I find it very interesting that while the Spirit of God is mostly referred to in scripture as the Holy Spirit, in each of these three chapters He is referred to as the “Spirit of truth”. Let’s take a look at each of them. He is first referred to the Spirit of truth in John 14:17,  “that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.”  In this passage the emphasis seems to be the believer’s relationship and status with the Spirit of truth.

Then in John 15:26 “When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me,”. In this passage we learn that the Spirit of truth testifies constantly about Jesus. So one of the ways we know if we are tracking with Him is whether we are increasingly Christ centered and focused in all that we do and say. The final passage is 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.”  In this passage we learn that the Spirit of truth will guide each of His children into all the truth.  One more passage that is connected to these is I John 5:6, wherein we learn that just as Jesus is the truth, so is the Holy Spirit, “This is the One who came by water and blood, Jesus Christ; not with the water only, but with the water and with the blood. It is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth.”

 

All of this to say,  there is no pursuit of truth much less grasping of truth much less being transformed by truth and being used by God to help others be transformed by truth without or apart from the Holy Spirit. And while it is true that when we are born again we are immediately indwelt and sealed by the Holy Spirit, and we become a temple of the Holy Spirit - - please do not think that being filled or full of the Holy Spirit is either immediate or automatic. For many of us who heard little of the Holy Spirit in our early years as believers, and who then had bad experiences with immature charismatics or Pentecostals along the way, becoming intimate and comfortable and dependent upon the Holy Spirit was/is not a pleasant thought.  For some of us the primary input we received from teachers about the Holy Spirit was mostly warnings about excesses and abuses.  Few were able to teach us out of an abundance of theologically sound experience of walking with the Holy Spirit for a period of years.  Others of us grew up in unhealthy Charismatic or Pentecostal churches where truth (especially the whole counsel of God) was not valued as it should have been.

 

Whatever your background, the good news is “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?” (Luke 11:13). The Spirit of truth longs to help you see and understand and grasp and heed truth. Ours is to humble ourselves and ask like trusting children for more and more of Him and His help in this truth journey.

 

May the Spirit of truth reveal Himself to you in greater and greater ways in these last days before our glorious Savior returns for His bride.

 


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