THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 6-18-06
LESSON TITLE: "GOD'S TRUTH: WHAT IS TRUTH?"
Stephen once cried out, "...I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God," Acts 7:56. Wow, how wonderful it is to know that our Lord Jesus Christ is at the right hand of the Father in Heaven!
Let me welcome each of you to the Living Word program on this glorious Lord's day morning! How wonderful it is to know that you have chosen to put God first this day and to assemble for this time of worship before His Mighty Throne!
As always, it will be our privilege to offer sacrifices to God this morning, with the fruit of our lips and the obedience of our actions, may we all be encouraged on this the Lord's day. However, may we each do our part so that ultimately we will offer praise to God according to His truth as is found in His Precious Will. So as we begin our focus on the Creator, will you bow with me in prayer?
Now let's join in our first hymn of the day. It reminds us of the great Love of our savior, Jesus Christ. The name of the song, "Love Lifted Me."
(SONG # 1)
One of my favorite stories in the Bible is the one we mentioned earlier, where Stephen boldly stands for the cause of Christ. In Acts 7 we find Stephen giving a defense and proclaiming Jesus as Lord. We also see the angry mob as they hear what he has to say. Their reaction in verse 54 is interesting for it says, "When they heard these things they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed at him with their teeth." They were so angry that they were "chompping at the bits." And then Stephen said that he looked into the heavens and saw Jesus standing at the right hand of the Father. Well that was all they could take for in verses 57-58 we read, "Then they cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and ran at him with one accord; and they cast him out of the city and stoned him." What a horrible reaction this was to the proclamation of God's Word. Can you believe that people could go to such extremes?
Well the reality is that people still reject God's Word in similar ways today. Maybe most people aren't being beaten or loosing their lives in our day, although it still can happen in some parts of the world. However, people are still being persecuted and forced to suffered because of their expression of faith in Jesus. And why, well most of this world still reject His Glorious Name!
The reality is Jesus is the Son of God whether many in the world believe it or not. Furthermore we must face the fact that as the world often hated Jesus for the truth, they will also hate us. I am reminded of this very point being made by our Lord himself, when He said, "If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you," John 15:18! But why is this so? Well the next verse goes on to say, "If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you."
Are you of this world and thus estranged from Jesus. Or are you hated by this world because of your love and commitment to God. Brethren and friend, may we always put God first and realize that there is nothing in this world which is worth loosing our soul over.
Today we will begin a new series of study entitled, "God's Truth." Our lesson this day will be a discussion on, "What Is Truth." So please stay with us this morning and after our next song together, I will lead us in the main thoughts of the day. Now it's time to join in our second song, the name of this hymn, "Night With Ebon Pinion."
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Ray Sullins
Thank you so much for continuing with us today and for your continued interest in the program and your watching as well as your interest through letters and calls, as well as requests for different types of materials in the different series that we continually have on the program. We have just concluded as you well know a study from 2 Peter chapter 1. We had a very good response in relationship to that and as far as understanding those things that are Christian Virtues.
Today we want to continue with a new series, but we really want to draw from where we left off in that passage. In fact you might look there in 2 Peter chapter 1 and verse 3 as it talks about the power of God. It says, "Through the divine power..." It says that, "God has given us all things pertaining to life and godliness." Then he even mentions the idea that He has given us this knowledge, a knowledge that helps us to understand all things, not some but, all things concerning life and godliness. Now that's an interesting idea. It is an interesting thought because God has always been a God who has instructed His people with what He desires. For instance, you might go all the way back to the Garden of Eden and you might recall that after God had made man that He gave him commands on what he should do, naming the animals. He gave him commands on what he should eat, that he should not eat of the one tree in the midst of the garden, but of everything else he could freely eat. He gave him laws and set up laws.
Then we move into the Patriarchal Period where we find that after men like Seth and Noah that we also get to men like Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and during these times it is clear that they had a law from God where they made sacrifices. They offered to God. They sacrificed. They worshipped. They did so many different aspects and things that would honor and glorify their God according to the command of God knowing even in that time that sometimes what they did and the way they did it was unacceptable. At other times, it was acceptable. That means God had set out exactly what He wanted.
We also know there at Mount Sinai as Moses had brought the Israelites out of Egypt and they arrive at Mount Sinai, that God gives them now the written law in a written form. Not only did Moses hear it and speak it, he wrote it multiple times that they might have it in their hands, that they might be able to refer to it and read it and follow it as what God commanded.
Then we find that not only after Moses, but also Joshua. We see that Joshua served God. We find that during the period of the kings, off and on, we find that kings that strove to serve God, but then even during all the different prophets, major and minor, again we find prophets who were striving to impose and encourage the people to turn back to God and follow what? The pattern, the law, that which God had commanded. And see, God had given them all things pertaining to life. He had told them what He expected and what He wanted and as long as they were doing what He wanted in those areas, not adding to or taking away, God was pleased and God blessed them.
We find that such an example of interest, I think, there in the book of Amos as there in the first six chapters we find the Israelites had become almost sick with sin. They were just almost so wicked that it is past understanding, but there in chapter 7 we find clearly given to us that God says no longer. He begins to send plagues or at least in a sense say that plagues will come and bring these people down and Amos prayed. But there in chapter 7, verse 7, notice that God says, "Well, then I'm going to set a plumb line. I'm going to set a plumb line on the wall and when have set it in the midst of the people, I will no longer pass by them or over them, but I will require them what is due." In other words, I will require of them to do what? Know the law, to obey it and to follow it and to keep it in order that they are pleasing in my sight. We know what a plumb line is. We know that it is something that causes one to be straight or lined up in relationship to construction or building. But what about in spiritual matters? Well again, it must be that line, that line that is let down to make sure that we are straight and in line exactly with what God has established. What has He established? His Word, the Word such as He has established from the beginning, as He has established in every period that we have looked at and as well, He has established even today. Brethren and friends, today we have by God been given a plumb line. We have been given a pattern, something by which we can look to and know that if we follow it, we are proper in His sight.
In the book of Acts, in Acts chapter 17, you might note with me there an interesting point that is made by Paul as he tells them that ignorance is unacceptable now. Why? Because God has given them the knowledge unto repentance. There in chapter 17 and verse 30, he says, "Truly these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men to repent." Why? Verse 31, "Because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the man that is Jesus Christ whom He has ordained, He has given assurance to all by raising Him from the dead." In other words, through the giving of Jesus, now ignorance is no longer acceptable because Christ came to the earth that we might know the full will and then through the Holy Spirit, the Will was given to us in a written form, that is in the Bible. So therefore, we have the knowledge unto repentance, so ignorance is unacceptable. We have that which God expects and requires of us and so therefore we know what God wants and we must do it. Isn't that why back in Acts chapter 4 the same book we find the encouraging verses there beginning in verse 10, "Let it be known to you all that all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazarus whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by this man who stands before you as whole, this is the stone which was rejected by you the builders which has become the chief cornerstone." But hear verse 12, "Now as there is salvation in His name, there is salvation in none other." What is he talking about? What is he encouraging with? What is it that it takes to be saved? The knowledge of Jesus Christ, the obedience to Jesus Christ. Now how do we have that? How do we know that? Well, through the Word.
Let me ask you a few questions. How would you know where you came from? How would you know how the world began? How would you know who God is? How would you know Jesus? How would you know what He expects of you if you didn't have this book the Bible? Well, isn't it several places that the scriptures confirm for us primarily again in the New Testament that the Word of God been given not just by anyone, but by God Himself.
There in 2 Timothy chapter 3, verse 16, "All scripture (not some), all is given by inspiration of God." That is, given by inspiration of the Holy Spirit. He goes on in verse 16, "For profitability unto (what?) doctrine. For reproof, correction, instruction, and righteousness that the man of God might be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work." What is the Word of God for? That we might have in our hands what He wants and that we might be fully and completely equipped for all works, for all work that is required.
That takes us back to 2 Peter 1 again. That power of God, divine power has given us what? All things pertaining to life and godliness. How do we have it? We have it in this compiled cannon of a book that has stood the test of time now for several thousands of years and has been seen to be true and worthy and unified and one in full harmony with itself and has proven that only a God and the God could have brought it about. This could be no work of mere men. So therefore, we find great encouragement to know that this book, the Bible, is the Word of God. Now that brings us to our series, to our understanding of what we will try to establish in knowing God's truth. God has always established truth to all men of all ages and today unto the New Covenant, He has found something that is no different. In other words, He is again determined that, "I will establish it. I will give them all that they need through My power and give them the knowledge that pertains to life and godliness. I will give them everything they need to be completely furnished and I will do it through My Son Jesus Christ." Isn't that why it says in John 3:16 that, "God so loved the world that He (did what?) gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him (will be what?) saved." Saved. Not damned or condemned. Saved through Jesus Christ.
Wasn't it this same Jesus who proclaimed Himself, a few chapters later in John 14, verse 6 as, "The way, the truth and the light." Jesus said, "I am the way. I am the truth." You see this concept of God's truth, this concept of who God is and what He is about, and what He wants is wrapped up in Christ and that's why Jesus went on to say there in John 17:17, "Thy Word or your Word is true." Now think about that for a moment. God's Word is truth. The Word that has been given to us from God has come through the Son, also the Spirit and recorded in the Bible. It was Jesus Himself that said, "Father, send a helper that they might know fully what they need to know and that is when the Holy Spirit was sent, and it is the Holy Spirit that led them in all these things (2 Peter 1:20-210. So yes, we find that God did do these things so that we might do what? Have freedom. It is in John 8:32 that it says, "The truth shall make us free." If we turn to God and we know the truth that only comes from Jesus Christ, we can have freedom in and through it.
I want you to look with me at a particular passage then from Christ in John chapter 12 because this passage I believe really summarizes the things we've said thus far about the Word. What Jesus spoke was from the Father. What He saw that was recorded was from God, and it is essential. Why? Let's look. There it begins in verse 46, "I have come as a light into the world that whoever believes in Me shall not abide in darkness and if anyone hears My Word and does not believe, I do not judge him for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world." But hear verse 48. "He who rejects Me and does not receive My Words has that which judges him, the Word which I have spoken will judge him in that day." Who are His words? Let's go on to hear. "For I have not spoken," He says, "of My own authority, but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command what I should say and what I should speak." What did Jesus say? What did He speak? What was directly from the Father. Then He goes on in verse 50 to say, "And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore whatever I speak just as the Father has told Me so I speak." Jesus said, "Everything I speak has been directly from the Father and therefore," He says, "you will not be judged by Me, but by the Words that I spoke. You don't have to worry," He says, "about Me judging because the Father Almighty will judge you. By the Words that I spoke because My words are not My own. They are His. Thy Word," He says, "is true." How can thy word... How can the words of Jesus be true? Because they're the Father's Words. How can Jesus say, "I am the truth." Because His words are from the Father. His actions are from the Father. Everything Jesus was about was the Will of God, not His own Will, but the Will of God as a whole and again primarily the Will, He says, of the Father. And so therefore He says you will be judged by the Words of God, the Words that God has always established and told you that you might know all things that you need to know in order to be saved, the truth, God's truth.
Do you follow God's truth? Do you believe it? Do you understand it? Do you understand what it is all about? The scriptures give us clear indication that the New Covenant is that truth, that it is exactly what God has said it will be.
There are several passages that I would encourage you to jot down that we won't have time to read and to look at completely, but there in Romans chapter 6 and verse 17, he says there that, "They were to obey from the heart that form of doctrine." To obey a form of doctrine. "To walk according to the rule," Galatians 6:16. "To walk in the pattern that had been established," Phillippians 3 and verse 17. But then also there to Timothy, the young evangelist, Paul encouraged him that he might "hold fast," he said. Hold fast what? "Hold fast, Timothy, the pattern of sound words, the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me in faith through Jesus Christ." You see, there was a pattern. There was something established. There were words given by God and today, my friends, what I am suggesting and what I am showing you is that it is the Word of God, the Bible, and that we have it and that it is truth because it is the Word of God and therefore it is what we must follow. No doubt that's why even men like David, the great psalmist, said, "Thy Word (or your Word) is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path." Why? Because "it is God's truth," Psalm 119:105. No doubt, it is also passages such as that that encourage us to know that the Word of God as is sent by God is established in heaven and therefore required on earth to be followed. The question again is: Will we follow it? Will we obey it? Will we do it? Will we hold fast the faith (Titus 1 and verse 9) and will we show ourselves worthy before Him?
There's another verse that I want to look at as we finalize our points this morning. There in the book of Ephesians chapter 1, it is interesting here how he sets the concepts of truth in this verse. There he states, if you'll look in verse 13 with me, "In Him you also trusted after you heard the Word, the Gospel of your salvation." Here he says the truth is the gospel of what? Salvation. (Romans 1:16) It is the gospel that saves, the truth that saves, the Words of truth, God's truth that allows us to stand today justified as those who are obedient to it, having known fully what God wants and obeyed it in every way. How encouraging it is not to have to wonder what God wants. How wondrous it is to know that He has given us exactly what we need and He has established for us those things that we must say and do, and how encouraging it is to know that we will have heaven someday, not because of who we are, but because of who He is and because He has given us the Word that we might do our best in following it knowing that in the end we will be justified by His grace.
Are you following God's truth? Are you doing all that you can to know it and to learn it everyday so that in the end you will receive the great reward of heaven?
(SONG # 3 - "O The Depth.")
Let me thank you again for choosing to be with us today, in this offering to God. I know our time together has been an encouragement and blessing to all of us. We invite you back every Sunday morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this service of God!
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Thanks be to God for the saving truth which He delivered to us through His Son and Holy Spirit! Have you believed in God and found freedom in His truth?