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What is Truth?

INTRODUCTION:

What is truth?  Pilate said those words to Jesus, who is the Truth, and he did not know to whom he was speaking. We who know Christ know that the men who wrote God's Holy Word were never speaking on their own account. God the Holy Spirit moved the men to write that which He directed them to write. The Apostle John was concerned that the readers of his first letter, now compiled into the Epistle known as First John, know and be aware of the fact that what they were reading was true! The Apostle John declared the following:

“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the word of life – the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declared to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us – that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. And these things we write to you that your joy may be full." (1 John 1:1-4)

The Apostle John wanted the readers to know that Jesus, the eternal Living Word of God, was from the beginning! In the Gospel of John, the Holy Spirit had led John to write, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." Therefore, when John was writing First John, the Holy Spirit was leading him to make certain that the reader both knew and understood that the Apostle John was giving them a firsthand account. The things that he was writing were in fact “from the beginning", and, in fact what he was writing was indeed what he had heard, seen with his own eyes, and which his hands had handled! In other words, the Holy Spirit was leading the Apostle John to write these words to make certain that his readers both knew and understood that he was giving them a firsthand account of The Truth.

The word of life had been manifested to John and the other apostles and John had seen and heard and declared to the readers that the gift of eternal life which was with the Father had been manifested to him and the other apostles. This was not some “feel-good story" that John had just thought up. He was writing THE TRUTH. He wanted his readers through the leading of the Holy Spirit to know this TRUTH and thus to have fellowship with the apostles and to understand that their fellowship would also be with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit, who is the teacher sent from God, always points us to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore, one must ask the question, is TRUTH important? Scripture says Yes, but it certainly seems that we have reached a point, at least in our country, where many of those in positions of authority do not think so. Truth must emanate from God, and the godly must speak the truth, for God is Truth! God cannot lie! Those whom he has called to be his children, to be heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, must not lie either. They too must speak the truth. Thus, though 5 justices on the United States Supreme Court, or any other elected officials, or,1000 angels swearing that there is a constitutional right for men to marry men, or for women to marry women, it is not so and can never be so. There simply is no such provision in the United States Constitution, no matter what person says there is!

This nation was founded for the purpose of the proclamation of the Gospel of Christ. This nation was founded by the will and for the purposes of God. There is no "right" in the United States Constitution to do “wrong”, or to commit ungodliness, The United States Supreme Court has been guilty for many years of sanctifying the profane, and profaning the sacred.  Whether it is the “right" to kill one's own baby or to commit the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah in the name of “same sex marriage", there is no such authority to be found in the United States Constitution. This is not “TRUTH".

The Apostle Peter, also being moved by the Holy Spirit to write his Epistles, declares in his 2nd Epistle THE TRUTH! Peter, who denied Jesus, and later repented, stated the following:

“For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For He received from God the Father honor and glory, when such a voice came to him from the excellent glory, ‘This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.” (2 Peter 1:16-18)

Thus, the Apostle Peter also declared to his readers that this was not anything that he had “made up". He wasn't following “cunningly devised fables". He was speaking the truth to the readers. The Holy Spirit of God moved Peter to speak these things and not to neglect to remind his readers always of these things. Peter says that he wants his readers to “make their calling and election sure" so that “an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ." (2 Peter 1:12-15)

The Apostle Peter also affirms that his testimony is not something that he is writing “by the will of man" but that “holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit," thus emphasizing the fact that it is God who cannot lie ,who is moving him by God's Holy Spirit to write. Therefore, Peter is affirming to his readers that the things that he is writing were actually revealed to him and to the other apostles as “eyewitnesses" and he is speaking THE TRUTH. These men who wrote the Bible were speaking TRUTH!

The prophet Isaiah, writing nearly 700 years before the birth of Christ spoke concerning the effect of the failure to tell the truth saying:

“Behold, the Lord's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor his ear heavy that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear. (Isaiah 59:1-2); “Therefore Justice is far from us, nor does righteousness overtake us; we look for light, but there is darkness! For brightness, but we walk in blackness! We grope for the wall like the blind, and we grope as if we had no eyes; we stumble at noon day as at twilight; we are as dead men in desolate places.(Isaiah 59:9-10) “For our transgressions are multiplied before you, and our sins testify against us; for our transgressions are with us, and as for our iniquities, we know them: in transgressing and lying against the Lord, and departing from our God, speaking oppression and revolt, conceiving and uttering from the heart words of falsehood. Justice is turned back, and righteousness stands afar off; for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter. So truth falls, and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey." (Isaiah 59:12-15)

I.                    The Truth Matters

The result of lying is that “Justice is turned back and righteousness stands afar off.” Jesus is the Word of God which lives and abides forever. In the 17th Chapter of the Gospel of John he requests of the Father that the Father “sanctify them in thy truth thy word is truth" Jesus calls all mankind unto himself. In the 11th Chapter of the Gospel according to Matthew, Jesus says the following:

“Come unto to me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me for I'm meek and lowly in heart and you shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light" (Matthew 11:28-30)

The Apostle Paul says in his letter to the church at Ephesus that all mankind is dead in their trespasses and sins. Paul says that apart from Jesus everyone is “by nature a child of wrath”. Coming to Jesus is a sovereign act of the will of God, and, is in fact, declared to be “a creation". “If any man be in Christ he is a new creation, old things have passed away, behold, all things are becoming new". (2 Corinthians 5:17)

It is only by God's grace that anyone is saved. “For by grace are you saved through faith and that not of yourselves it is the gift of God, not of works lest any man should boast". (Ephesians 2:8-9) Salvation is that sovereign act of the will of God whereby one is justified and made righteous in God's sight. Salvation is the only way that one can escape being “by nature a child of wrath". It is Truth that the Bible makes clear that the wrath of God is coming. The only way to escape the wrath of God is to receive the righteousness of God. We hear the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ. We are given repentance toward God. Repentance is a sheer gift of God that allows us to surrender our will to God's will. He also gives us saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ alone. For nearly 500 years repentance (submission/meek) and saving faith (placing one's trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, or committing one's life to Christ) were identified as the twin pillars of the act of conversion. Being justified by God, we receive His righteousness. In fact, God's Holy Word tells us that “Christ who knew no sin became sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him”. (2 Corinthians 5:20). It is this righteousness which is given to us as a free gift which allows us to escape the dreadful wrath of God which is coming. Of course, in order to “come unto” Christ, one must know The Truth!

II.                  Suppression of Truth

In Paul's letter to the Church of Rome in the very first chapter, in the 18th verse, the Holy Spirit writing through the Apostle Paul says that “the wrath of God is revealed from heaven upon all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness”. (Romans 1:18) Here we see that suppression of the truth is sin!

What constitutes sin? In its most fundamental and basic form it is simply a violation or transgression of the law of God.  We read in Exodus Chapter 20 that when God gave the law to Moses on Mount Sinai it consisted of two tables which together make up the Ten Commandments. The first table has reference to our relationship to God. Thus, if our relationship is violating the first table, the sin that results is ungodliness. Ungodliness is therefore sin. The second table consists primarily of the definition of our relationship to human beings and violation of the second table is the sin of unrighteousness. Therefore, generally speaking the first table deals with our relationship with God and the second table of the law deals with our relationship with other men. Thus, when the Apostle Paul states that “the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men…", he is simply stating that God's wrath is revealed against those who have violated the first table of the law (ungodliness) and the second table of the law (unrighteousness) making up the whole of sin. According to the great expository preacher, Dr. D Martyn Lloyd-Jones, “these two things must always be taken together, and must always be put in the same order. Ungodliness, first, and unrighteousness, second.”

In Paul's letter to his young protégé, Timothy, he speaks about certain people, having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof.  (2 Timothy 3:5)  They talk about God and they talk about righteousness and unrighteousness, immorality and morality, but they are actually denying the power of God. Hence, in view of the fact that our nation, indeed, the Constitution on which our nation is based, was created according to the will and purposes of God, and to propagate the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ, that which flows from the Constitution, or, is constitutional, cannot be ungodly or unrighteous. That would be the classic definition of sin. In verse 18 which I have been addressing from the first Chapter of Romans, we see the results of sin. The wrath of God is coming and has been revealed! It is coming against all who are ungodly and unrighteous and suppress the truth in unrighteousness!

When the Holy Spirit moved Paul to write his first Epistle to the Church at Corinth he said in the 6th chapter the following:

“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicator's, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortionists, will inherit the Kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you are sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the spirit of our God." (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)

·         THE TRUTH GIVES HOPE

The very point here is that those who suppress the truth in unrighteousness will not inherit the Kingdom of God. This also includes those who have committed sin specified in the aforesaid passage of scripture. UNLESS… it is this little word “unless" which gives hope to the whole world, including those who have suppressed the truth in unrighteousness, for Paul points out to the Church at Corinth that there is eternal hope! He tells them, bluntly, “and such were some of you." For, you see, the precious blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin. It is when we surrender our will to the Lord's will in true repentance, and place our trust in the Lord Jesus Christ alone for our salvation, placing no confidence in our own record (for our own record is what we need saving from) that we are justified! “But you were washed, but you are sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the spirit of our God.

What can make the foulest clean?” The answer, of course, is nothing but the blood of Jesus. The good news is, indeed, THE TRUTH IS, that even the foulest can be washed, cleansed, sanctified, and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. There is none too black for God's sovereign cleansing Holy will to create them anew in Jesus. This truly is the good news. For Jesus came not into the world to condemn the world but that the world through him might be saved. Jesus came to seek and to save that which was lost, and to give his life a ransom for many. Have you been ransomed? Are you seeking to speak the truth in all that you do? Or, rather, are you seeking to suppress the truth in unrighteousness?

As the Holy Spirit calls the Apostle Peter to write see to it that “You make your calling and election sure". “Add to your faith virtue and to virtue knowledge and to knowledge self-control and to self-control patience and to patience godliness and to godliness brotherly kindness and to brotherly kindness love". Seek to live every second to God's glory. Jesus’ entire life was lived only to the glory of God. He said “I seek not mine own glory, but the glory of him that sent me." God's Holy Word teaches us that God made man to that end. According to the shorter catechism the question is asked “What is the chief end of man?" It is the first question in the shorter catechism, and the answer, of course, is “Man's chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever". To fall short of that in any respect is to be guilty of ungodliness, to be guilty of sin.

This “suppression of the truth in unrighteousness" is serious. There is a tendency on the part of many to forget the Lord God. Isaiah says that “your iniquities have separated you from your God.” “It is your sins that have caused His face to be hidden from you.” Thus, conceiving and uttering from the heart words of falsehood (NOT TRUTH) have resulted in the fact that “Justice is turned back, and righteousness stands afar off; for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter in.” Many throughout the years have been interested in morality without God, or in what they called righteousness without being concerned about Holiness. So they find that God's definition of marriage being between one man and one woman is, alas, unconstitutional! This is an abomination. Jesus said, “Have you not read that in the beginning God made them male and female? Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and cleave unto his wife and they two shall be one flesh”. This is not a man marrying man or woman marrying woman. God's Holy Word is TRUTH!

Yes, truth matters. It is truth that shall set us free. Jesus is truth. The good news, however, is that no sin is too great no transgression so permanent, and no violation of God's law so black that the blood of Jesus cannot cleanse us from all unrighteousness. This gives hope to all who will surrender their will to God's will, and place their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ alone for their salvation. Homosexuals, adulterers, fornicators, those who have been disobedient to parents, liars, murderers, including those who have murdered their own children, all can come unto the Lord Jesus Christ by repentance toward God and saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ alone. They can pray that God would wash them and sanctify them and cleanse them and justify them and ask that the Lord God would be pleased to give them the righteousness of God in Christ.

III.                The Implication

Our nation is on a very dangerous path. We cannot have “morality” without Godliness”. We cannot have “righteousness” without “Godliness”. Remember God’s gift of The Ten Commandments and the twin tables of the law. I urge you to memorize and meditate on God’s Commandments and teach them to your children and grandchildren. Talk with them of “Godliness” and “Righteousness” and God’s Holy Truth! The Ten Commandments, also known as The Law of God, is our “schoolmaster” to lead us to Christ. He is our righteousness! “He who knew no sin, became sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” That is the purpose of the Gospel of Christ. For this purpose, God created this Nation. Pray diligently that The Lord God will raise up preachers, and men and women, to preach His Holy Truth! Ask God to turn many from iniquity and sin to The Truth of Jesus.

CONCLUSION:

The words of the great hymn of Charles Wesley, ”O for a Thousand Tongues” are appropriate for closing this brief look at truth:

“O for a thousand tongues to sing, My great Redeemer’s praise,

The glories of my God and King, The triumphs of His grace.

My gracious Master and my God, Assist me to proclaim,

To spread through all the earth abroad, The honors of Thy Name.

Jesus!  the name that charms our fears, That bids our sorrows cease;

‘Tis music in the sinner’s ears, ‘Tis life, and health, and peace.

He breaks the power of canceled sin, He sets the prisoner free;

His blood can make the foulest clean; His blood availed for me.

Hear Him, ye deaf; His praise, ye dumb, Your loosened tongues employ;

Ye blind, behold your Savior come; And leap ye lame for Joy. Amen.”

Wherefore, walk in truth and do not suppress the truth in unrighteousness. May God's richest blessings be yours and that of your family.

Your friend and brother in Christ,
Bill Gray

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