Speaking where the bible speaks, and silent where the bible is silent.

Many of the teachings of the New Testament were prefigured in the Old Testament. The Old Testament story is the type and the New Testament lesson is the antitype or that which is prefigured. One of these types is the flood. After discussing Noah’s salvation from a world of wickedness by the flood, Peter said, “The like figure whereunto even baptism does also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (1 Pet 3:21). Baptism is the antitype of the flood. The Revised Standard Version of the Bible reads, “Baptism which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body, but as an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Many think that this passage says baptism is a figure of “our salvation.” This passage does not so state and neither does any other Scripture teach this doctrine. It says that baptism “corresponds to” or is a “like figure” of Noah’s salvation in the flood.

Notice three things in the passage.

  1. Baptism is not a value because of washing dirt from the body.
  2. It is an appeal to God for a good or clear conscience. Jesus said, “He that believes and is baptized shall be saved; but he that disbelieves shall be condemned” (Mark 16:16). One who believes and obeys the commands of Christ will have a good conscience.
  3. Men teach that baptism does NOT now save, but Peter taught that baptism does “NOW save.

Baptism is a burial in water (Rom 6:3-5 f; Acts 8:36-38), and is for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38 f; 22:16). Subsequent to baptism, we must “walk in newness of life” (Rom 6:4). Baptism is not the only step of salvation, but separate and apart from baptism no is man saved. Every new testament convert was baptized, without exception. Anyone who rejects the gospel, which includes baptism, has one that will reject them, that being God (Jn 12:48). All who obey not the gospel shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord (2 Thess 1:7-9).

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Jesus began His great Sermon on the Mount by relating a number of characteristics that would be possessed by those who would be ready for His kingdom which was soon to come. He said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit:…Blessed are they that mourn:…Blessed are the meek:…Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness:…Blessed are the merciful:…Blessed are the pure in heart:…” Then Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called sons of God.” As we study God’s Word, we learn that the sons of God are the peacemakers of this world and they are blessed.

In Romans 14:19 Paul said, “Let us follow after things which make for peace.” As children of God we have a great responsibility to follow after and do those things which make for peace. As Christians we should be the peacemakers and not the war mongers and strife makers in this world.

We live in a world which is far from being at peace. We live in a world filled with wars, terrorism, and violence. We are even witnessing mass murders in our school systems. The world is living in fear and all around us, we see greed, distrust, selfishness, and corruption in high places. At the time we are saying that we are trembling for we know the Lord has truly said, “all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.” Yet we see organizations like the NRA which have taken the soul of this nation down the road of an eye for an eye and fighting gun fire with gun fire, all in the name of huge profits. Brethren, that never works with God and His servants, and it won’t work for any nation.

If this nation wants peace back in their schools, they don’t need teachers packing guns. No! What they need is an ounce of prevention, for it’s worth a pound of cure. They first need to teach morality in our schools and instructing them right from wrong. I don’t advocate teaching religion in schools, for such belongs in the church, but I do advocate teaching morality. Students need to be taught right from wrong. Yes, this should be done in our families and churches, but this too has broken down in this wicked society we live in today.

We can be wise and serpents and harmless as doves (Matt 10:16) and still protect ourselves with common sense ideas. All schools need metal detectors at all entrances. They need professional armed guards at all entrances. While in session, all schools need to be on lockdown. Lastly, every nation needs common-sense gun laws which prohibit anyone possessing weapons of war. Such weapons should only be used by police forces and soldiers in defense of a country. This works for the WhiteHouse. This works for Congress. This works for courthouses. It would work for our school systems as well. And in Washington, prayer begins every day in Congress. A little prayer would work wonders in our school system also.

In times past, nearly everything has been tried to prevent war. We have tried disarmament, we have tried economic barriers, we have tried boycotts, we have tried leagues of nations, we have tried the accumulation of power, and we have tried the big stick policy. All of these have failed to bring us a lasting peace. We have never tried Christianity and until we really try it by going to God and following His way, and walking according to His Will, we can never hope to have peace in this present world. As long as so many are willing to die for peace than are willing to die in war, then we will have peace among nations.

Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers.” But we will never make peace with the artificial means of man. We may put war off a few years, and that seems to be the only hope many of our leaders have. Some of them are even expressing doubt as to whether it is best to try to put war off. They suggest it would be better to have it now while we are superior to our enemies. We must learn that only when we come to God and follow Him; and replace greed, distrust, and hatred with love, mercy and kindness will there be anything upon which to build peace.

We can’t expect nations to be at peace until we as individuals live at peace with each other. All of the attempts that are being made for peace on the national and international level, but if we are to have peace, we must start down on the level of the individual. Only when individuals begin following God will the nations, made up of these individuals, be able to get along. As long as people are selfish and greedy, and are lying and cheating, and are jealous and contentious and feuding there will be no peace. Peace must start with us. As long as we take unfair advantage of others, and as long as families are fighting, and neighbors are quarreling, and as long as labor and management are fighting, yes, even as long as there are contentions in the church there will be no basis for peace. Since we want peace, let us think about the contribution we can make toward peace. What can we do that there might be peace in the world? Let me suggest three things:

First of all, we should pray, for there is great power in prayer. James tells us that the prayers of a righteous man avails much. I hope every Christian will pray daily to God for peace, if it be in accordance with His Will.

Second, as Paul tells us, we can “follow after things which make for peace“; we can do those things which make for peace at home, at work, in our community, and in the church. There is no peace for the wicked (Isa 48:22). Therefore, if we want peace, we must first get right with God by our obedience to the gospel and doctrine of Christ.

Third, we can try to teach the people of the world with the message of the Prince of Peace. It may be that we could avoid war if we would send our enemies missionaries of peace and not threats of war.

Scriptural Names

In referring to God’s people, the New Testament uses several different terms which describe us from different standpoints. We are called saints (1 Cor. 1:2, 16:1) because we have been sanctified – that is, set apart unto the service of God. We are called disciples (Acts 11:26), for we have dedicated ourselves to learning and following the teaching of Christ. Inasmuch as our lives are devoted to God’s service, we are called servants (Rev. 1:1). In reference to the relationship that exists between us and God, we are called children (1 Jn 3:1); being children of the same spiritual Father, we are referred to as brethren (Gal. 6:1). Having submitted ourselves to King Jesus, we are described as citizens in His kingdom (Eph. 2:19). When God’s people are pictured as constituting a body comparable to the physical body, the New Testament refers to us as members of the body (Rom. 12:5). Since we are engaged in warfare against the forces of evil, we are appropriately described as soldiers (Phil 2). The name which most specifically identifies us as whose religion we practice, as to the Leader to Whom we are devoted, is the name “Christian” (Acts 11:26 cf; 26:28-29 f; 1 Pet. 4:16).

Some have questioned the divine origin of the name “Christian,” arguing that it was an epithet given to the followers of Christ in derision by their enemies. The scriptural evidence, however, leads to the conclusion that it was God who gave the disciples the name “Christian.” In presenting the earliest history of Christianity, Luke says that “the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch” (Acts 11:26).  It is found eight other times in the New Testament (Matt. 2:12, 22 ff; Lk. 2:26; Acts 10:22; Rom. 7:3; Heb. 8:5, 11:7, 12:25) and is translated by the terms “warned,” “called,” “revealed,” and “spake.” The significant point is that, in each of these eight verses, the word has reference to a divine utterance. There were inspired men there (Paul and Barnabas) through whom God could have spoken in revealing this name for His people; the fact that they were called Christians is mentioned in connection with Paul and Barnabas’ work with them. Moreover, the fact of their being called Christians is simply stated as a significant point in the history of God’s people, without even the slightest hint that the name was without divine approval or not of divine origin. It should also be noted that when Agrippa spoke of being converted, he referred to it as becoming a Christian. Paul’s reply indicates that he found nothing objectionable to that terminology (Acts 26:28-29). Finally, Peter endorses the name “Christian,” and shows that it is a name we can wear without shame (1 Pet. 4:16).

Just Christians

We do not read in the New Testament about any of today’s denominations and denominational names. We do not read of one group of congregations being organized into one denomination and another group of congregations being organized into another denomination so that an individual had to call himself by a denominational name in order to identify his religious affiliation. The Christians we read about in the New Testament formed local churches (congregations) as saints in a particular locality would band together to worship and work as a unity. No local church was affiliated with any denominational system. Being united through their common loyalty to Christ and His teachings, all of God’s people were simply Christians. One man was not one brand of Christian, while another man was another brand of Christian.

Is it possible to be just a plain, simple Christian today, without being a part of a sect and therefore having to wear the name of that sect? It most assuredly is. In fact, not only is it possible, but it is the only scriptural thing to do. There are people today who have avoided all denominational structures and are simply Christians. They have become Christians by complying with the terms of Acts 2:38. Such people in various localities have banded together to form local churches, just as the Christians did in the New Testament. These local churches are independent, not affiliated with any denominational group – just like those we read about in the New Testament. The church of which I am a part is such a group. We are just a group of plain, simple Christians, such as the one at Ephesus, the one at Philippi, and the others we read about in God’s word. We have no ties with any denominational structure; hence, we wear no denominational name to identify us as such.

Hence, if I am in a conversation in which people begin giving their religious affiliations, and one person says he is a Presbyterian, another says he is a Methodist, and another says he is a Catholic, I will simply say that I am a Christian. Some might think I should say that I am a “Church of Christer.” It is true that the local congregation of which I am a part refers to itself in its advertising as a church of Christ. However, this is not because it is a member-congregation in a denomination by that name. We are not affiliated with a denominational organization by that name. We use that name simply because it describes what we are – that is, a local church belonging to Christ. The local churches in the New Testament were described in that way (Rom. 16:16). Therefore, in the conversation in which people are identifying themselves by sectarian names, it would be wrong for me to chime in with the announcement, “I’m Church of Christ,” thereby implying that I am a part of a denomination by that name and that the name “Church of Christ” is nothing more than a denominational name to distinguish my sect from other sects. Rather than thus using the phrase “church of Christ” in a denominational sense, I will simply say that I am a Christian. Their response may be to affirm that they are Christians, too, but they want to know which particular denomination I am in. To that, I will reply that I am in none of them, that I am a part of a local church which is independent, not connected with any denominational body, that I am simply a Christian, and that I have maintained my undenominational status because such was the practice of local churches in the New Testament.

I look forward with pleasure to the day when there will not be a denominational name in existence. I hope they will soon be gone. I hope denominational names will soon perish from off the face of the earth, but let Christ’s name, His Word, and His church last forever!

“And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment.” (Heb 9:27)

While our society openly discusses sex, immorality, crime, and violence, it does not usually speak of death openly or frankly. Most people do not want to think of death let alone discuss it. We simply, deny its existence, until we see it suddenly appear in our family or friends. Then suddenly, we all become afraid and try to get closer to God. Sadly, this feeling passes and then most return to their wicked ways all over again, like the dog to its vomit and the sow to its mud (2 Pet 2:22).

There is a time coming in each of our lives, though, when it will weigh heavily upon our minds for as Hebrews 9:27 states, it is universal and inevitable. “In this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”__Ben Franklin.  “Death, the only immortal who treats us all alike, whose pity and whose peace and whose refuge are for all — the soiled and the pure, the rich and the poor, the loved and the unloved.”__Mark Twain.

Attitudes Towards Death’s Reality

The emotions one feels about death are usually the same as he has toward life. Some face it with fear, dread, resentment, and hate. Others face it with contentment, anticipation, and even joy as a welcome to another life.

We can deny it. We can be angry at it. We can try to bargain with it. We can even pout and go into a deep depression about it. However, eventually, we must all accept it. As Hank Williams once penned in one of his classic tunes, “No matter how I struggle and strive, I’ll never get out of this world alive.” Death is a fact of life!

 

Preparing for Death

Since death is unavoidable as our only exit from this world, we must prepare for it. Death is not the end but rather the beginning of eternity (Jn 5:28-29).

It is God’s desire for people to be delivered from any fear of death. Jesus Christ died and was raised as the Christian’s assurance of God’s care, even in death (1 Cor. 15:20). The child of God can face death without fear (Psa. 23:4 ff; Lk 23:46; Acts 7:59).

Since heaven has done all it possibly can do for us, we must now do our part and prepare for our inevitable demise. To properly prepare, one must:

1. Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matt. 6:33) and live a life of self-denial to the glory of God (Lk 6:26,33).

2. Live in Christ. To die in Christ one must live in Christ. Those who die in Him are blessed (Rev. 14:13). To be found in Christ, one must be baptized into Him (Gal. 3:26-27), and abide in Him (Jn 15:7) and His word (Jn 8:32), and His doctrine (2 Jn 9).

3. Let Christ have preeminence in all things (Col. 1:18). One must live a life in humble submission to His will, the gospel (Rom. 1:16). One must always seek to do His will (Matt. 7:21).

Conclusion: The rewards of living a righteous life that properly prepares one for death are many. They include receiving a hundred-fold in this life and in the age to come, eternal life (Mk 10:30); being carried away by angels (Lk 16:22); going to a house with many mansions (Jn 14:2); being with Christ (Phil. 1:23), at home with the Lord (2 Cor. 5:8); and gaining (Phil. 1:21) an eternal inheritance (1 Pet. 1:4) as a joint-heir with Christ (Rom. 8:17), reigning with Him eternally (Rev. 22:5). Now truly, who is afraid of dying and going to heaven. The only ones who should fear death are those who die unprepared to meet God. The scriptures reveal that all who know not God and obey not His gospel shall received eternal damnation (2 Thess 1:7-9).

The only obvious question I can ask anyone, including myself: Are you prepared to die?

Amos wrote, “There is a famine in the land”, (Amos 8:11), but he wasn’t speaking about bread and water, but about a hearing of the words of the Lord. We live in a land of plenty but we are being destroyed by lack of knowledge. In forsaking the fountain of living waters we are driven to the cracked cisterns of our own short-sighted wisdom from which we dredge such stuff as spanking as a form of child abuse.

I don’t doubt the integrity or sincerity of those who come up with such doctrine, but they are wrong, absolutely wrong. I can understand they are attempting to be well-meaning when they see violence and injustice in the sight of an adult inflicting a measure of pain on a child, but they are wrong, plain wrong. I can see where they are coming from when they suggest that violence begets violence, but they are wrong, just wrong. God expressed a truth in Isa. 55:8,9 that is as applicable to this subject as any other.

When man vaunts his wisdom over God’s, there will be a price to pay, you can guarantee it. Every generation only gets one shot at raising the next generation so we cannot afford to go into this, ignorant of what God has to say about the subject. Yes, God has somewhat to say about this very subject.

There are four basic passages that I believe will establish the truth that spanking is not a form of child abuse. The first is Prov. 13:24 – “He that spares his rod hates his son, but he that loves him chastens him often.”

This is the proverb that gave birth to the modern expression, ‘spare the rod and spoil the child’. The parent who does not practice corporal punishment because of the illusion that such is an expression of hatred needs to have a relook and a rethink. The Scripture says the opposite: ‘he who spares the rod hates the child’. This is not to say that such a parent detects feelings of hatred in his heart – in fact, the opposite is often true -“I love my child too much to bear to spank him” is often an accurate expression of feelings. But feelings are not the arbiter in this instance. The parent who comes forth with the proverbial “This is going to hurt me more than it hurts you”, though trite sounding to the child, is probably expressing more accurately the correct relationship between feelings and actions. Jesus Christ Himself was made perfect through sufferings (Heb. 2:10) and should we think that we can dispense with it? It is a process that will continue through life (Heb. 12:5-11) after our parents have left off their training. Early discipline will help set the pattern of acceptance and profiting from discipline.

The second proverbial passage is 22:15 – “Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child: but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.” Every criminal was once a little bundle of joy, but children come into the world essentially self-centered and with foolish notions. They do not care that mother is sick or tired or both and that it is 3 a.m. – if they feel hungry they will bawl and demand instant attention and gratification! They don’t know that the world was not meant to revolve around them, and it is the parents’ responsibility to teach them.

And what does God say is part of that process? – the rod of correction. Maybe some are offended by the word ‘rod’. It is understood that punishment must fit the crime and any responsible parent striving to please the Lord will not spank an infant with a piece of 2X4 lumber! There is a difference between harming a child and disciplining a child, and if people don’t know the difference then they should not become parents.

I am of the conviction that proper corporal punishment is a great antidote against abuse. The parents who abuse and batter their child to death usually do so in a blind rage when they have reached the end of their tether because of the behavior of an undisciplined child. Of course, this is a generalization – there are parents who are motivated by cruelty, lust etc.

When should corporal punishment begin? Obviously, the rod has to be in proportion to the age of the child.  Bear in mind that verbal reproof is ineffectual with a baby, even as with an older fool. The sooner you start discipline, the sooner you finish. The sooner you start, the easier it will be for the child and the more tranquil your home will be. It’s amazing how many parents think it’s perfectly right and proper to train a dog, but that it is wrong to train a child. Prov. 22:6 says we are to train a child in the way he should go. If you give a child a few years ‘head-start’ before you start discipline, it’s going to be harder on you and the child.

The third Scripture I want to draw your attention to is Prov. 23:13,14 – “Withhold not correction from the child: for if you beat him with the rod, he shall not die. You shall beat him with the rod, and shall deliver his soul from hell.”

It seems that God has a Scripture for everything. This is the one for the timid parent who has been swayed by arguments of brutality and abuse. A child is made by God to be able to stand a spanking. Watch them rough and tumble in the yard, fall off their bikes, fall out of the tree house, get knocked down, trip over and skin their knees, etc., and you will realize that Solomon told the truth when he said “If you beat him with a rod he will not die”, Again, if you cannot make a differentiation between a disciplinary belting and injurious abuse, you need not be a parent. The abuse of punishment does not deny the proper role of punishment any more than the abuses of Christianity deny the truth of the faith.

When I was growing up, the open hand across the buttocks and the back of the legs was the standard form of corporal punishment. But there was also a ‘higher court’ down the backyard for graver offenses. This was a thin tree branch mom called a switch. These branches did leave some marks temporarily, but no bones were broken and no damage was done, only good. Punish, but don’t injure.

The object of the exercise he says is to “deliver his soul from hell”.  More properly, it would mean saving his soul from the grave – that is, saving his life in fulfillment of the promise of living long on the earth (Eph. 6:1-3).  All who will be saved will have to submit themselves to the disciplining hand of the Lord (Heb. 12:5ff). A child trained in the way in which he should go not only is given the best possible start in life but learns the art of submission which is vital to Christian faithfulness and growth. Not all people will accept discipline (Heb. 12:11), but life is discipline, and the child raised with it is trained to accept it. Thus, in actual fact, the Lord may have less disciplining to do in later life if the parents do their work. As David said, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn your statutes” (Ps. 119:71).

The fourth passage is Prov. 29:15 – “The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself brings his mother to shame.”

Here is another passage that speaks of turning a ‘fool’ into a wise man. And this is the fourth passage now that mentions the rod, the synonym for corporal punishment.

Lest any should gain the impression that child training is solely centered around corporal punishment, remember it is the sum of God’s word that is truth, and this passage includes reproof. Reproof is essential so the child can know how and why he has done wrong and what he should do in the future. There are many parents who believe they can train their children by reproof alone, thereby relieving themselves of the onerous task of applying the rod. While we are left to our own wisdom to determine appropriate proportions of rod and reproof, the eternal wisdom specifies that there is a place for both. Belief will not save without baptism (eg. Mark 16:16), and it is the rod AND reproof that is required to give wisdom in the way God designed.

The pain of the rod helps focus the attention on the reproof. All over the land in our schools which have decided to dispense with the wisdom of God, we have disobedient students who swagger into the Principal’s office knowing that after a few words they will be able to swagger out unrepentant. But a young bully never sees so clearly as when he looks through teary eyes; never speaks so truly as when through blubbery lips, and never sits so circumspectly as when on a stinging posterior. Finding his way back to his classroom with reddened eyes covered with one hand and the other seeking to comfort the afflicted part of his anatomy will do wonders for future behavior and may even give him a little bit of wisdom.

It makes one wonder that all of these school shootings in the last few decades are in direct correlation to a nation that refuses to chasten their children. In fact, the young man who killed 17 innocent children and teachers (on February 16, 2018)  was expelled from every school he attended. He received reproof, but where was the discipline? Is it any wonder why families who refuse to discipline their own children are among the first to ask for harsh penalties from our courts when they become the victims of another’s child. In fact, if a parent properly chastens their child today, they are more apt to be arrested than to be praised. Truly we live in a sick world who have rejected God’s Word and the disciple required to make a nation civil and peaceful.

Even so, for those who know and believe God’s Word, spanking is not a form of child abuse – rather it is the opposite!

Grace provided unconditionally for our pardon “while we were yet sinners.” But our personal reception of the gift of pardon is conditional. Grace comes by Jesus Christ, but it’s up to us to obey God’s conditions in order to receive it. Obedience to the gospel of Christ is God’s condition for his amazing grace. However, God does not and will not force anyone to obey him in order to be saved.

We read of other gifts received conditionally. God offered Abraham a land, but to receive it he was called upon to leave his native country. “By faith Abraham …obeyed” (Gen. 12:1 f; Heb. 11:8). The generation of Jews which approached the land in Numbers 13-14 did not obtain it because they disobeyed God. The Lord told Joshua, “I have given into your hand Jericho,” but obedience to special instructions was required in order for him to possess what God gave (Josh.6). Naaman was cleansed of leprosy when he dipped in the Jordan River seven times. This gift was available the moment Elisha spoke, but could not be received until Naaman met the condition of obedient faith (2 Kgs. 5). So it is with our pardon from sin.

How do we personally receive God’s amazing grace in the forgiveness of our sins? Jesus said that when men hear the gospel of God’s grace, they must believe it and be baptized in order to be saved by God’s grace (Mk. 16:15-16). Through Peter, the Spirit of God told sinners how to be saved by grace: “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38). In Acts 19:5, sinners at Ephesus, “were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.” Concerning these very people at Ephesus, the Holy Spirit later said, “For by grace are you saved by grace through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Eph. 2:8-9).

When and how were they saved by grace through faith? When they were baptized! Baptism for the remission of sins is salvation by grace through faith!

After we receive God’s grace in the pardon of our past sins, we must continue in His grace. Christ teaches us how to live each day, always putting off the old man and putting on the new (Eph. 4:17-32). He is our Savior and our head in this new relationship of God’s grace (Eph 1:22-23 cf; 5:23). We have privileges and duties in the local church (Acts 2:42 cf; 14:23; 20:7). If the child of God stumbles and falls into sin, God’s amazing grace reaches out still and we receive it as we repent of error, confess wrong, and pray to be forgiven (Acts 8:13-24 cf; 19:17-20 f; 1 Jn. 1:5-2:2). We can despise “the Spirit of grace” by hardening our hearts, refusing to repent, and so departing in unbelief forever (Heb. 3:12 cf; 6:4-6; 10:28-29).

Grace throws a rope to the man drowning in sin. He does not deserve that grace and can never earn it. Unable to reach safety by swimming to it, he must take hold and continue to hold on to the rope in order to be saved by grace.

In John 18, Christ stood before Pontius Pilate to answer charges of insurrection. Pilate, the governor of Judea, asked Christ if He were a King. Jesus responded in John 18:37 by saying, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause, I was born, and for this cause, I came into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice.” Pilate, provoked by this response, replied, “What is truth?” (Jn 18:38).

God’s Word Is Truth

A few hours before His death Christ prayed to His Father. In Jn 17:17 He said, “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.” The sole source of religious truth is the word of God. Religious truth will never find its source in the creeds, catechisms, and church manuals written by men.

Truth Is Valuable

Proverbs 23:23 says, “Buy the truth and sell it not.” The value of religious truth can be seen in John 8:32, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” All men are held in bondage to sin until they are set free by the gospel.

Truth Is Narrow

In mathematics, there can only be one correct answer to any given problem. The same is true in religion. Sincerity alone is not enough (Matt 7:2123). Many people teach that it doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you are sincere. The fallacy of this idea can be shown by the following statement: If it does not make any difference what you believe about Christ, then it can not make any difference if you believe in Christ. If it does not make any difference what you believe about how men are saved, then it can not make any difference if you believe anything about salvation. Will anyone deny it? The same could be said of the church and of God Himself!

Truth Is Binding

When a religiously honest man sees that he is mistaken, he ceases to be one of two things: either he ceases to be honest or he ceases to be mistaken. He cannot remain in error and retain his honesty. Many religious people have remarked, “Well, I don’t believe everything my church teaches.” If the church of which you are a member is in error, then you are obligated to either change that church or get out. Truth can have no fellowship with error for no lie is of the truth (1 Jn 2:21). We must not give aid to any false teacher (2 Jn 9-11).

Truth Will Judge

In the resurrection day, you will not be judged by what your mother believed, what your father taught you, or by what everyone else was doing at the time. You will be judged by the gospel of Christ (Jn 12:48 f; Rom 2:16). What you know about the truth and your reaction to it will determine what He will say to you on that final day.

Do You Love The Truth?

The wise man in the book of Proverbs admonishes us to “buy the truth, and do not sell it” (Prov. 23:23). Truth is to be a valuable commodity in our lives — we are to obtain it at all costs and once obtained, never let it slip from our hands. It is the truth that sets us free from the shackles of sin (Jn 8:32).

When I started preaching I labored under several false assumptions, one of them was that all people valued the truth in the same way I did. I thought that if you would go out and tell people the truth that they would jump at the chance to go wherever it led. However, some people love darkness more than light, because their deeds are evil (Jn 3:19).

Not only was I wrong about the world in general hungering for the truth, I was wrong in my assumption that all the people claiming to be Christians were really striving to find out what God required of them. I’m talking about people who occupied the pews in buildings where I have preached. I’ve found out that a lot of people want “the truth” as long as it does not disturb them or present any challenges in their lives.

What about you? Can you honestly say that you love the truth? When it comes to religious matters, do you want the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?

Conclusion: Do you really love the truth? If you don’t love the truth, God will allow you to believe a lie (2 Thes. 2:10).

 

How do you react to the truth when some preacher points out that your life is not in harmony with the revealed will of God? Do you get angry? Do you want to fire the preacher? Or, like the Prodigal Son, do acknowledge that you have sinned against heaven and beg for God’s mercy and forgiveness?

How you react to the truth reveals what you are really made of. The gospel is like fire — it will soften wax and harden clay. What effect will it have on you?

If you are concerned about business interests, worldly affairs and material things rather than things sacred and holy, the result will be that your heart will become hardened. There is a chance you will reach the point where the gospel has lost its power upon you and you are doomed to destruction. Remember, the truth remains the truth whether you believe it or not. Jesus is the truth and Jesus changes not (Jn 14:6 f; Heb 13:8). We cannot add to the truth nor take from it (1 Cor 4:6 ff; 1 Pet 4:11; Rev 22:18,19). Obey the truth and be saved, or reject the truth and be lost (Mk 16:16 f; 2 Thess 1:7-9). It’s that simple!

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