October 30, 2017

~ and the truth will set you free ~

Lies… from the very beginning of time that which has gotten mankind in trouble are lies.  From the deception of the serpent to the falseness found in our own hearts, untruth has brought ruin to many.  In the age of a twenty-four hour media-saturated society with information fly at us a million miles per second, untruthfulness still is mankind greatest adversary.  For, though all of the knowledge that mankind has amassed is at our fingertips, lies still convince the heart to turn away from God.  These lies are conveyed in beautiful packages… whether it be the last piece of technology or the false intimacy of an ungodly relationship, mankind takes lies, hook-line-and-sinker.  The average American, each day, is exposed to hundreds of messages telling them to believe something, to buy something, or to just live some way.  It is not just the commercials on television that try to influence but television programs, billboards, pop-ups online, logos and branding on t-shirts... baseball caps... athletic shoes and list goes on and on and on.  Statistical data show that in 2016, more than $190 billion were spent in advertising in the United States alone.  All this money just to influence what we see to be truth and real.

So what is truth?  The gospel of John records a discussion between Pilate and Jesus on this matter.  In this conversation, Pilate was trying to see who Jesus claimed to be.  As he struggle with the question, he state, “What is truth?”  This is the question and it has always been the question!  What is the standard of truth is a point on which many people disagree.  The world wants to say that we can define truth for ourselves… it wants to say, what is true for you is true for you and what is true for me is true for me.  This approach reminds me of an Old Testament passage.  Now, in the Old Testament, the nation of Israel seemed to be fickle… during one period they would chase after God and in the next they would run away.  The period of the Judges was like this.  People would be far from God… so He would send some to speak for Him and to bring His people back… yet too often they turned away.  During one of the godless period, the books of Judges records people’s mindset this way, “In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes. (17:6)” In this particular historical period for Israel, similar to our world today, people sort of made up their own mind on what to do. They personally answered questions of what was right and wrong. They had “their truth” and didn’t force things on one another. It was every person for himself or herself. This produced a vicious cycle.  It’s clear in the book of Judges (and in our world) that if you don’t have a standard of living, chaos ensues. 

But what is the standard?

The Gospel of John answers this question clearly and concisely when it records the statement of Jesus when declared, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (14:6)” You see truth is not a thing but a person.  It is not something that can be relative.  The only standard of truth is Jesus. He may not tell us everything we’ll ever need to know, for He does not tell us how to drive a car, but everything we know and decide upon can be viewed through the lenses of scripture… through understand that of which God approves and that of which he condemns.  

Know that Christ is truth allows one to become a person who is able to distinguish between a truth and lie.  And the truth is, something or someone is always telling us something we ought to believe… listen to this quote from a marketing guru when asked how the guru sells his product, in this case, hamburgers: “We’ve taken a page from Satan’s book. Find a point of weakness and lust in every man, woman, and child, and target that weakness to make them want to buy the product.”  If you and I are live Christ-like lives then we must learn to be discerning people… or if we are not careful… we will adopt the crazy, mixed-messages of our fallen culture.  You see, the truth is that every movie, show, ad is attempting to be sermon to us.  Think of it this way, what is your favorite movie teaching?  Wasn’t it trying to make a point?  The truth is that some stories, some music, some people lead us to live lives that are not Christ-like. Folks, when we take in ungodliness, often without thinking about it, we are setting ourselves up for a failure. It’s just a fact.  By discerning the messages sent our way, we are being Christ-like. That’s not to say we never listen to a “secular” song or watch a movie that is rated more than “G.” It just means that no matter what we’re doing, we should be discerning what we allow our eyes to see, ears to hear, and minds to think.  Think of it this way, if we put trash in we will get trash out and if we put God in we will get godliness out!  

Let us see the truth that is Jesus and let us live the truth out.  This means living in Christ alone (Ephesians 2:1-10)!  This means living differently (Romans 6:6; Ephesians 4:22-24; Colossians 3:9-10)!  Let us live the truth that is Jesus, not for our own glory or to draw attention to ourselves but so that people will see the way that you live and glorify God. It’s all about drawing attention to Him, the only source of truth!

The question really is not what is truth but will we accept the truth?  Will we seek God and give Him first place in our lives?  Will we allow Him, not ourselves to inform us of truth?  Will we worship the truth?  That is the question… for only one thing can and will occupy first place in our lives.  Scripture says, in Matthew 6: 24, “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.”  The Bible is clear… we can’t serve God and something else. We will always worship one more than the other.  So who will you be… will you be what Paul calls, a lovers of self (2 Timothy 3:2) or will you be one who calls out to the Lord (Romans 10:13)?  What will you believe… the truth of this world or will you place your confidence in the Truth that was, the Truth that is, and the Truth that will always be?