Life Lesson #4: Know the truth of God’s Word
Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. 2 John 9
We hear a lot of “my truth,” “your truth” these days. What that really means is telling someone that their experience of a situation makes the facts of that situation flexible. The use of this term makes it clear you aren’t to question someone’s opinion. For example, we all know how human life is created. When a human sperm fertilizes a human egg, the new life begins its process toward a fully created human baby. Those are facts. The circumstances surrounding that creation of new life may be slightly different for one person or another. But those circumstances don’t create a “new truth” about the creation of life.
We have now entered into the teachings found in the small letter by John (2 John) to a woman, whom scholars believe to be a home church host. In it, he reminds her that there are self-professed “teachers of the word” who have either added to or distorted Jesus’ words. He cautions her to not even allow people like that into her home for fear that people will be led astray.
There is a frightening movement in our time that says we can’t agree on even basic truths. In the world of “church,” entire denominations have turned away from scripture by voting on accepting “new truths.” I’m not sure what the end goal is behind this movement except chaos. And as Christians we know who the king of chaos is – Satan.
“If ‘moving forward’ leads us away from the doctrines of the person and work of Jesus Christ then that is dangerous.”Warren Wiersbe on 2 John
I had a great discussion with a friend about the Gnostic texts found at Nag Hammadi. Once the apostles trained more and more missionaries, the Word spread far and wide. But that also meant the Word of God got more and more distorted. In fact, all the letters written by the apostles and included in the Bible have some focus on sticking with the truth of the Gospel and Jesus’ words. Sure there were folks that simply misunderstood the message but there were also those that craved power and the possibility of making money off new believers (something that still happens today!)
I’m always surprised when I’m in faith-type discussions with fellow Christians and a statement about God or Jesus is said that just doesn’t find its truth in the Bible. For some, studying and reading the Bible just isn’t a priority. Yet those same Christians go out into the world professing to know and understand its truths. Here’s a few you might recognize:
- “Jesus is a socialist.”
- “Jesus says to love and accept everyone no matter what.”
- “The Bible doesn’t have a problem with homosexuality (or any kind of sex outside marriage).”
- “The Bible hates women.”
- “I love Jesus but there are lots of different ways to salvation and God.”
- “The Bible teaches us to hate rich people and the accumulation of wealth.”
- “If you pray hard enough God will answer you.”
- “If God doesn’t answer you then you obviously have done something wrong.”
- “The Bible teaches that women are less respected than men.”
- “Jesus was just a man.”
- “Christians aren’t supposed to express their beliefs if in a government job.”
- “Christians are supposed to obey the government no matter what.”
- “Faith should be private.”
- “Sharing the gospel is like being a used car salesman and isn’t something we should do.”
- “Jesus wants you to give up everything you own and follow him.”
A few years ago, the denomination that I’ve been a member of for about 20 years authorized same-sex marriages and voted to divest from Israel. I wrote to the leadership and made a simple request. “Show me where your decision is based on Biblical truth.” And what I got in response was crickets. Because, “who do I think I am questioning those in the know?” But the great thing about Jesus is He brought the Word to all of us.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5
In other words, our job is to stay tightly attached to Jesus. Stay anchored in His Holy Word. If we could even stick with the basic message of Jesus day in and day out, we would be victorious in living out the one, most important truth – that God sent His son to give us redemption for our sins. And our acceptance of this truth leads us to behave like saved people, attached to the great vine.
Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Joshua 1:8
Throughout the Bible we are told to have His Holy Word on our lips, on our hearts and on our minds. How do we do that? For many it stops at going to church occasionally. But what my BSGs (Bible study girls) have discovered is that to truly know and understand the great truths of the Bible is to be immersed in His Word. To truly study on it, meditate on it, sing it, speak it and even defend it. And then it becomes imprinted on our hearts and minds. Too many of us go to the once a week lecture in the lecture hall and then fail to do the assigned homework.
If our homes and churches are to be true to Christ and oppose false teachers, we must know the truth.Warren Wiersbe on 2 John
There is no true love apart from the truth of God. He sets us on the right, good and loving path. Love, because we know the truth, becomes action.
Stand firm then with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place. Ephesians 6:14
We hear a lot about the need to be “progressive” in our faith so that it has relevance – or new “truths.” Yet, when we read the Bible we see the same sinful behavior played out year after year, century after century. The Greek word prokopé (progress) means something different to Christians.
For the believer, this means going forward in sanctification, cutting through obstacles by the Lord’s power.Strong’s Concordance
“By the Lord’s power” – His Spirit and His Word. Progress to a Christian is not about creating a “new truth.” It’s about applying God’s truth to our lives and cutting out our worldly ways. It’s about resting in the knowledge that God is the God of yesterday, today and tomorrow. It’s about having peace that Jesus taught us what is right and good. It’s about knowing that the Holy Spirit guides us through the chaos of this world. It is our responsibility as God’s people to know the truth of His Word.