THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 7-16-06
LESSON TITLE: "GOD'S TRUTH: HOW CAN WE DETERMINE WHAT IS TRUTH?"
What a blessed Lord's Day morning it is and how wonderful it is to assemble before the throne of God to worship His Holy and Reverent name! We thank you for joining us today for the study of God's Living Word. And as always, it will be our privilege today to give this time to God. The one and only, true and living Creator who has even given us this very opportunity to approach Him this morning.
So what about you? Will you do your part today as we focus on God? As we study God's Word and sing praises to His wonderful name, will you offer sacrifices which are pleasing in His sight? My prayer is that we each do our part this morning in making this time profitable before our God and according to His complete and perfect Word.
At this time as we begin our worship to God will you go before His throne with me in prayer!
Have you responded to the wondrous call of God? This is where we will begin today in our songs of praise. So won't you join in with the congregation at this time as we sing together, "Hark The Gentle Voice Of Jesus."
(SONG # 1)
One of the simple truth's found in scriptures which is often misunderstood throughout the religious world is found in Galatians 3:11. There we read, "But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for "the just shall live by faith." The fact which Paul confirms here as a former Jew and follower of the Old Law, is that Christians are no longer bound by the Law of Moses. Rather those who are followers of Christ are justified through faith in Jesus Christ, not the ordinances of the Old Testament.
This idea is further explained in the same chapter when down in verse 23-25. Again here what the Holy Spirit reveals to us through this apostle, "But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor." Once again we learn about the Old Law and Faith in Christ. One is described as a tutor and the other as "that which was to come." The important clarification which we have here is that the old law was in place to bring us to Christ. It prepared the way and spoke of that which would come. However, when Christ and faith in Him was revealed, we further learn here that we are no longer under the tutor. The reality is we can not serve to laws or masters at one time.
Another verse I would like to mention is found in Hebrews 8:13. God here confirms for us just where we all stand in relationship to the Old and New Testaments. There we read, "In that He says, "A new covenant," He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away." When Christ came He fulfilled the Old Law and shed His blood that the New Law might be put into effect. No wonder in Colossians 2:14, we read that the Old Law was taken out of the way and nailed to the cross, for when our saviors blood was shed and ran down the cross He sealed a new and better covenant for our sakes.
So what covenant are you following? Do you give the honor and glory to Christ or Moses? Just as the great man of God Joshua once asked, I ask again today, "Choose you this day who you will serve,....but for me and my house we will serve the Lord!"
In just a few minutes it will be time to consider our main topic of the morning. Today we will be continuing our discussion on, "God's Truth!" Our specific lesson of the day is entitled, "How Can We Determine What Is Truth?" So please stay with us and after our next song together I will be leading our discussion on this important topic.
Now it time to join in our second hymn of the morning, won't you join in with the congregation, as we sing together, "How Great Thou Art."
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Ray Sullins
I'm glad you've stayed with us today that we might now go and study the Word of God and find out more about God's Truth.
For about a month now, we've had a good discussion about the Truth of God and have been able to learn a lot about not only what the Truth is, but also why it is so necessary. We've also learned that the Truth is that which saves us. We further have found out that there are those that can pervert or even change the Truth and preach something that is not according to Truth at all although they might proclaim or say that it is true.
But today, we want to continue by trying to understand then how do we determine Truth. Certainly we know that Truth is real. Truth is the Word of God. So how do we determine the Truth so that I know what it is that God expects of me, what He commands and out of those things that we read of in His Word, the Bible, what are those things that are directly to me? What are those things that should be of an encouragement and those things that should maybe encourage and provoke me in a positive way to do those things that He has asked us to do. So if we ask the question: How can we determine Truth? We want to understand several points that will help us in this endeavor. First of all, the obvious is that we must study the Word of God. If Jesus said, "The Word of God is Truth," John 17:17, then we've got to study the Word of God to know that Truth, that same Truth again that will give us salvation (John 8:32).
But there in the text of 2 Timothy chapter 2, we are reminded of what Paul told a young evangelist he should do in order that he might determine or really know the Truth. I want you to notice that passage with me beginning in verse 15 of 2 Timothy chapter 2. He said, "Be diligent (the King James says) to study, be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed rightly dividing the Word of Truth." Did you hear that? It talks here about the need to be diligent or to committed to or study of the Word of God that we might know how to rightly handle or properly handle God's Word. He even uses the word here, "the Word of Truth." How else can we know the Word of God if we don't study it? How else can I understand what it is that God says I should do in my actions or the things I should say with my words? How do I know what God says I should not do or what I should not say if I do not go to His Word, the Truth and learn from it and grow from it?
Wasn't that exactly what we find in the same opening there just a chapter over in 2 Timothy chapter 3 that Paul was again saying about this young evangelist, Timothy? There if you'll read with me in verse 15, he says, "And that from a child you have known the Holy scriptures." He says, "You knew the Word of God. You knew the Truth from childhood." Now, how did it profit him? I want you to go on with me in the same passage. "Which are able to make you wise for salvation." Does that sound familiar? The Holy scripture. The Word of God. The Truth. Remember John 8:32 again? "The Truth will make you free," will save you. Well here again, we see that the Holy scriptures can save you by faith in Jesus Christ.
So we find here the importance of studying, learning, and taking in the Truth, putting it in our hearts and minds and then putting it not only inside of us, but then showing it outwardly in the things that we do and in the things that we say. This is a topic, a Biblical topic that we often refer to as Biblical interpretation, the study of Hermeneutics, trying to know what it is that is being said from the Word of God to me and then how it applies to me as a Christian today in 2006. So as we Hermeneut the scriptures, let's look at them as God's Word and we must study them so we can hear what they have to say to us. But then what we would like to further do is figure out exactly how the scriptures speak to us, in what different ways do they show us the Will of God? Do they really show us the interpretation that He wants us to understand?
Let's look at some examples. For instance, in Matthew chapter 28, as well Mark chapter 16, in Matthew 28 and verse 19, in Mark 16, verses 15-16, we find the Great Commission given by the Lord to His disciples to, "Go into all the world." Now it doesn't get much clearer than that. A direct command of God to go. What about things such as what Jesus said even to us through the Holy Spirit as He guided these men? What did He tell John in 1 John? "Love your brother." What did He tell us? "To fellowship those of the light and to stand in the light where God is," 1 John chapter 1. You see, there are some things in scripture that are direct commands, direct commands by God that we must follow and so when God says to me, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved," then I understand that is a command of God that equals salvation, therefore what I want to do is believe and be baptized. So there are clearly direct commands in scripture and probably these are the easiest to recognize and to understand as we try to determine again how Truth applies to me, how God speaks to me through scripture.
The second avenue is similar but yet it is found to those of like precious faith in New Testament times. For example, divinely approved examples. For instance, let's say that we find that in the New Testament church there was something being done by command of the apostles. That shouldn't be strange to us. We recall there in Acts chapter 2 and verse 42 that the scriptures say that, "They continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine." Now what was the apostles' doctrine? It was directly from God and it was those things that the Holy Spirit was guiding them in and telling them because Jesus said, "The Holy Spirit will come and guide you into all things," John chapter 14. But now as we consider again in Acts chapter 20 or rather Acts chapter 2 and verses about 42, we understand as they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrines that they were doing certain things by command. Now what does that tell us as New Testament Christians? We follow that example. The example that was divinely given and approved through the apostles to the New Testament Christians as command would then be examples that we must follow.
A more specific example might be found there in Acts 20 and verse 7. It actually says that, "Paul remained in Troaz for six days so that on the first day of the week he could break bread with the brethren." What were they doing there? They were coming together to worship God and one of the things was to break bread and then Paul preached to them until midnight. An example, a divinely approved example of the apostles' will as given by the Holy Spirit that the New Testament church was practicing and therefore we do it. Isn't that why they were breaking bread? Isn't that why they were praying? Isn't that why they were preaching? Isn't that why they were giving on the first day of the week? "Let every one of you lay by in store and give." When? "On the first day of the week," 1 Corinthians 16: 1-2. Why? Because they were doing it and they were commanded to do it as the church. Are we the church? Yes. Thus, we have a divinely approved example that we should follow.
So we have commands of God. We have those examples that are directly from God and approved of by God because they were apostolic teachings through the Holy Spirit that were really binding on the church. But then as well we have inferences. There are a lot of things inferred in the scriptures. Maybe they're not directly commanded to us and maybe they aren't even directly commanded to the New Testament church and thus practiced, but we also see that maybe they were being done by Christians and thus approved by God. One example that I can think of is in Philippians chapter 1 and verse 3. There Paul said, "I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, brethren." Well, he was talking about the Philippian church and he was excited to say, "I am thankful to God for you every time I approach the throne of God because you are faithful. You're worthy. You've been helpers. You've been good workers for the Lord. All of these reasons I thank my God." What a wonderful example. What a wonderful example although not commanded. What a great inference to us. What a great thing that we see here as something that might be implied that certainly then wouldn't we want to commend and exhort and encourage brethren and churches and say, "I thank my God, as well, as Paul thanked his God for the Philippians, I thank my God for you," maybe a church in Springfield. Well, that's implied. That's another idea that is clearly given that we might know exactly what it is that really is uplifting that is praiseworthy before God.
Then we also find areas of expediency. No doubt there are many things that we deal with on a daily basis that are not specifically commanded, that are not divinely approved examples, that are not really even implied, but things that are clearly given as expedient. Now we read earlier from Matthew 28 there in verses 19 the idea of "going into all the world," but how do you go? Does God say you've got to walk or take a donkey or a horse or go by airplane or boat? You see, He doesn't specify. There's an open area, an area that we understand that we need to go, but what is the best way to go in my day? And so we find those areas of expediency. In fact, what is sad is that these areas of expediency often bog the church down and cause greater problems than anything else because we might want to determine how large of a building we're going to build or what color carpet. And what begins to happen between brethren? Bickering. I want red or I want yellow or we want brown. Then we begin to break down sometimes over matters that don't matter and aren't of a spiritual nature, that really come into opinions. Well yes, we must love our brethren and even in areas of expediency should put God first and see that we always work in peace and harmony.
So yes, we can hermeneut or try to Biblical interpret scriptures as given to us by God. But we also must try the Spirits. I think we have a good example there in 1 John chapter 4 where here John encourages us to know exactly what we must do when maybe there is a question, a question about what is being taught to me where he says there in verse 1, "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits whether they are of God because many false prophets have gone into the world." He goes on to say that, "Every spirit of God is one that confesses Jesus but one who does not confess Jesus or the Will of God is the anti-Christ." Well you see he says that we must try the spirits. Why do I say that? Because one of the ways we learn is from preaching and teaching. We go in and we worship and we gather before God and we learn through songs and teaching, and then sometimes we just accept it without even looking into the Word of God. Try the spirits. Make sure they are of God. Make sure what I say to you and what others say to you are not what I think or believe or what some church says, but what God says. That's Truth. What I say is not Truth. What a church says is not Truth. The Word is Truth, so try the spirits. Test them and make sure they are worthy before Him.
Finally, I'll mention this morning that we must make sure that as we know the Truth, we don't add to or take away. There are several scriptures that we might jot down and you might even want to read later about this. There in Galatians chapter 3 and verse 15, "The scriptures be confirmed. We have no right," Paul says, "to add to or to take away." Again in Revelation 22, there in verses 18-19, "Anyone who adds to the writings of the Word of God will be added to the plagues that are found in Revelation. Anyone who takes away will as well be taken away their name from the Book of Life." Here we find that we have no right to take away, but we must make sure that those things that we do are of God and His Truth and that we do not give Godspeed to those that preach another doctrine or truth. In 2 John there in verses 9-11, it says there, "Take heed and be careful because those will come who do not preach the doctrine of God." Well you know we need to know the Truth. We need to test the Truth. Make sure it is of God, not adding to or taking away and continue studying daily, being diligent to make sure we know the Will of God that we might rightly divide it that in the end we might be found pleasing to God and you and I know if we are found pleasing to God there is a great reward that awaits not only now, the blessings of this life, but a great reward as well in Heaven where we will live eternally with our God, a mansion over the hilltop as we often sing, a paradise in Paradise Valley, a place of eternal existence where there is no sorrow or pain. That's every reason, my brethren, that's every reason, my friends, to know the Truth and to understand that Truth will make us free. Will you today determine Gods' Truth as He has given it to you or will you follow another? Please put God first and obey.
(SONG # 3 - "His Yoke Is Easy")
Again, let me thank you for putting God first and choosing to give this time to Him. It is always a pleasure to have you with us. We invite you to join us every Sunday morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves this worship to God!
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Thanks be to God that we can know the truth and determine exactly what it is that God requires of us. Thus we can obey what God has said and be found pleasing in His sight!