Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Continue in My Word, You Will Know the Truth

What do you want?  You answer that question by the time and effort you give to a certain definite activity.  God calls you and has given you the ability to choose the fullness of life He originally planned when He created you.  Nothing can take away the promise this amazing opportunity provides.  The question is "How do you handle the Word of God?"

"If you continue in My Word, ... you will know the truth and the truth will set you free." John 8:31-32   Considering that Jesus said that He was the Truth, it clearly follows that continuing in the Word releases the truth (or Truth) that makes you free indeed.  Can something so simple be so life changing?

Lets take an ordinary example.  Perhaps someone feels that they are worthless, unattractive, and always a failure.  These are pretty strong negative thoughts or persuasions that often control not only the inner perceptions but also the outward actions or choices.  If such a person begins to read and consider what the Word of God reveals, he would discover that he is made in the image and likeness of God and as an image-bearer of God Himself is extremely valuable and destined to overcome every negative that holds him back.  Furthermore, he is wonderfully and fearfully made, and is so precious that God is pleased to have Jesus His Son bear all the hurt and offense for him.  This Word or declaration begins to unveil a powerful truth in the mind of the reader.  The more he continues in this truth, the more he become free from the bondage of the old condemning patterns of thought, and is released to become the son of God that was originally intended.  Scripture says, "He sent forth His Word and healed them" or in our example, made them whole.

Man is not able to grasp all of God.  God is so good, so awesome, so holy, so glorious, and so totally other, that the best man can do is "line upon line, line upon line, precept upon precept, precept upon precept, here a little, there a little" until the light dawns in man's soul, which is his thoughts, emotions, and choices.  In spite of man's condition, clearly God wants every man to know Him.   He desires to reveal Himself to all who call on His name.  God has made a way to accept God's invitation to literally know what the Bible calls "a mystery that has been hidden," of Christ Himself being revealed inside of us, through taking time to read and receive with meekness the Word of God.

This revealed way is allowing the Holy Spirit to reveal His "setting free" truth by choosing to focus on God's thoughts and ways.  So obey Jesus' invitation, "Continue in His Word, come to know the Truth, and this Truth will set you free.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Many Will Be Deceived vs. Love of the Truth

One of the most terrifying statements Jesus made about the end times is that many will be deceived.  No wonder whenever the disciples asked him about what will happen, as in Matthew 24, his first words were, "Take heed that no one deceives you."

While there are many areas in which a believer may be deceived, there are three glowing areas that are rapidly becoming the focus of the battleground.
First, Jesus is God, and the Son of God.  You would think this would be elementary, but in the intellectual, accommodating world, many are trying to say He was a great teacher, or just a man, or one of many spiritual leaders to help us find truth. 

Second, Jesus is the only way to heaven.  People want to accuse Christians of saying that "their religion" is better than others.  The point isn't the argument over whose religion is better, but rather there is only one perfect man who rightfully could pay the price for man's sins.  Jesus is the only one who qualifies to justly take away our wrongs

Thirdly, that God who is love will also be a righteous judge.  Even well known pastors with large followings are beginning to question God sending someone to hell.  Sometimes people like to act as if they are more merciful than God.  Jesus shows the absolute love of God for us in paying an incredibly awesome price for sin.  Clearly He did it to forgive man's sin and to bring us back to the Father.  His infinite mercy is shown in not only taking every single person's sins, but also in opening the doors of heaven and inviting everyone to "Come to Me."  Even though He desires everyone to be saved, He respects the decision of those who choose to reject Him and all the mercy He extended in taking their place in suffering the consequences of their sins.  God will not and can not cheat.  Every sin is paid for, either by Jesus Christ's death, or by the offending person himself.  God is just.   Man will get what he sows. God is absolutely merciful carrying and putting to death the consequences of every man's sins.  His nature is both perfect love and perfect justice.  Otherwise He could not be who He is. 

The Word, in 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12, stresses that Satan will come with all power, signs, and lying wonders to deceive many.  Notice why: BECAUSE THEY DID NOT RECEIVE THE LOVE OF THE TRUTH.   Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to lead us into all truth, including the truth about Jesus.  He will do this for everyone who is teachable.  One of my favorite short Scripture verses is "Let God be true and every man a liar."  Romans 3:4    Our theme at CedarWood for this year, "Got Truth" is based on Proverbs 23:23  Buy the truth and do not give it up at any cost.  Ask God to give you a love of the truth, and a refusal to never compromise it.  Otherwise, you will be deceived.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

What is Truth?

An atheist, in an argument with a believer, declared that there were no absolute standards such as truth, right or wrong.  The believer asked, "What about Hitler slaughtering 6 million Jews?  Surely, you admit that was wrong.  Killing innocent people must be wrong."
Rather than agree with the obvious, he replied, "I would say that is your opinion, not truth.  From the German regime's viewpoint, the Jews were a threat and they were only protecting themselves."  The atheist continued, "In order for it to be truth, everybody has to agree it is true."
All of a sudden the Christian became aware of the problem.  According to the atheist and modern liberal thinking, only those principles that everyone acknowledges such as gravity or scientific phenomena that can be demonstrated are truth, everything else is subjective.  The believer, on the other hand, understands that what God says is truth, not what man thinks.
Amazingly, Jesus told Pilate (in John 18:37) "for this reason I have come into the world to bear witness to the truth."  Pilate's answer was the same as modern liberal thinking, "What is truth?"  So the obvious dilemma is whether God has the right and authority to establish truth.  Are things exactly as God says they are, or are we actually just a chaotic civilization with no true values or principles, and living a life with no ultimate goal or purpose?
Jesus claimed to be the Truth and the Father bore witness to what Jesus did and said with signs and wonders.  Furthermore, Jesus promised that the Spirit of God would continue to bear witness to the truth. The litmus test that determines whether someone comes to know the truth is beyond our natural mind and thinking, but rather revealed to those who honestly come to Jesus admitting they need a savior to deliver them from their sins. The Spirit bears witness with our spirit and we "know" the truth of Jesus and the principles given in His Word.  God invites us to know truth, and be set free from the uncertainty and insanity of the world's confusion and philosophy. This Truth endures forever.