• Tag Archives truth
• … so that no one can buy or sell

Almost every discussion of the end times involves the topic of “the mark of the beast” and what it could be. Many (most?) people think it is a physical mark, many (most?) people think it is something like a chip, etc.

Jeremiah 18:1-4 (ESV) (1) The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD: (2) “Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will let you hear my words.” (3) So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was working at his wheel. (4) And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do.

Worship is so much more than singing, but there is so much worship in singing.

I’m reminded of that when I think of the songs we sang with the college students at The Salt Company in Ames.

I was an orphan, lost at the fall;
Running away when I’d hear you call,
But Father, you worked your will.
I had no righteousness of my own
But Father, you loved me still.

And in love, before you laid the world’s foundation,
You have raised me up so high above my station;
I’m a child of God by grace, and grace alone

• Jesus is Knowable…

Because relationships based on falsehood are not really relationships. They are fantasies.

• Jesus is Freedom…

In my last post, I talked about truth and the importance of standing for it.  I hope we all see the value in standing for what we believe in.  Everyone stands for something, and everyone has truth standards, even if they don’t think you can know truth.  Probably the most absurd thing I have heard anyone say in regard to this is…

“There is no such thing as absolute truth.”

…because they never follow it up with…

“Well, except for what I just said.”

The statement “There is no such thing as absolute truth” is itself an absolute truth claim – a claim, by the way, which is self contradictory.  But that is the world in which we live – people don’t care about being consistent.  Being consistent takes work and guess what else…yup…consistency.  And in this day and age, people seem to care more about what others think is true than what is actually true.  You need look no further than Indiana’s plight right now to see that.

Proverbs 12:15 ESV (15) The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.

It seems that we’d rather believe we are right than actually be right.  I suppose it’s because in order to be right, there must be truthotherwise, it’s all opinion.  And we do so love opinion…

But contrary to popular belief, that knife cuts both ways.  If someone says to you …

You can’t tell me what’s right – what’s right for you might not be right for me”

… all you need to reply with is something like …

Well, according to you, I certainly can.  You just told me what I can and can’t do, what’s right and wrong.  So, why can’t I tell you what’s right and wrong?  Did you really mean to say ‘I can tell you what to do because I’m right and you are wrong?'”

… because what that person did was give you a moral truth claim:  “you can’t” followed by what you can’t do: “tell me what’s right“.  The unstated reason: “because I don’t agree with you.”  Chances are very good that, if this person was talking with an ally, they would be more than happy to give all sorts of moral imperatives.  They are proving what they scream to deny – that there is a truth out there somewhere – and in fact, that they are closer to it than you.

But they’ll never admit that.  That would be arrogant.  And God forbid anybody speak as if they really believe what they are saying!

But that’s really beating around the issue.  Moral relativism (at it’s core is an illogical fear of calling anything right or wrong) is a symptom of a deeper, much more serious problem, denial.  Not just denying that we can know truth, but the denial of truth altogether.  A couple thousand years ago, there was a very important discussion about truth.  It went like this…

John 18:33-37 ESV (33) So Pilate entered his headquarters again and called Jesus and said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” (34) Jesus answered, “Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?” (35) Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you over to me. What have you done?” (36) Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” (37) Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.”

… and Pilate responded to this assertion with a question…

John 18:33-37 ESV (38) Pilate said to him, “What is truth?”

And given what we know about Pilate, there is a good chance that his words conveyed this sentiment: “Whatever.  As if there is such a thing as truth.

But what riled Pilate so much?  What was Pilate responding to?  Listen to the words of Jesus:  “For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth.”

According to Jesus, there is such a thing as truth!  Imagine that.  And it’s not simply that there is such a thing, it’s that you can know this truth because Jesus testifies to it!

Now, it gets really serious, far more serious than your belief that 1+1=2.  It’s serious because Jesus believes and teaches that there is such a thing as truth, and He came to testify to that truth.  So, if you want to know truth about Jesus, where should you go?

Joel Osteen?  Oprah Winfrey?  Hollywood?

Sadly, that’s where a great number of people go, and they come out with all sorts of crazy, wrong ideas about Jesus.  Ideas like:

• Jesus was simply a good teacher
• Jesus never really existed
• Jesus is love, and Jesus wins, so Love Wins!  Hell isn’t forever!
• Jesus and Satan are spirit brothers born from a father god and mother goddess
• Jesus is merely a god, not the God
• Jesus existed, but he didn’t really die
• Jesus existed, and died, but didn’t resurrect
• Jesus existed, died, and resurrected spiritually, not physically
• Jesus wants you to live Your Best Life Now
• and on … and on … and on

But, if you really cared about truth, I mean really cared, you’d go to the source of truth, wouldn’t you?  But, that would require you to not only accept truth as a concept, it also requires you to accept truth as a person.

Jesus, the way, the truth, the life.

And if Jesus is actually the Truththen what Isaiah said is actually true…

Isaiah 45:19 ESV (19) I did not speak in secret, in a land of darkness; I did not say to the offspring of Jacob, ‘Seek me in vain.’ I the LORD speak the truth; I declare what is right.

God’s truth is not spoken in secret.  God speaks the truth.  God declares what is right.  And since Jesus is God, He speaks the truth and declares what is right.

So, what does that mean for you?  It means that if Jesus calls something true, right, or good, it is absolutely true, right or good no matter what you believe about that something.  It also means that if Jesus calls something false, wrong, or evil, it is absolutely false, wrong, or evil no matter what you believe about that something.

And here is probably the biggest and most controversial thing I’ll say all post:  this also means that Jesus is the Lord of the entire universe, even of your life, even of your circumstances, whether you believe it or not.

But why did Jesus come to testify to the truth?

John 8:31–32 (ESV) (31) So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, (32) and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

Are you ready to believe that?  Will you submit to your Lord and abide in him and be set free by knowing Him…the Truth?

John 8:33–35 (ESV) (33) They answered him, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?” (34) Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. (35) The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever.

Or will you continue to rationalize why you don’t believe what He says and remain a slave forever?

• Jesus is Truth…

I’ve been thinking about something a lot lately – a little thing called truth.  And if that was the only thing I was thinking about, that would be enough.  But my thoughts have not been on only truth, but also on our willingness to stand up for it.  All of us believe in things, and all of us are willing to stand up for those things to some degree.

For example, do you believe that 1+1=2? (No, it’s not a trick question).

I hope so!  But suppose you were in a math class (or had kids/friends/relatives in math class) where the teacher believed and taught that 1+1=0.  But take it further, what if this teacher didn’t just believe this without proof, what if he actually had a proof, and it went like this:

Suppose we have two numbers, a and b, both of which are equal to 1.  We write that like this:

$$\text{1) Let } a=b=1$$

One thing we know is that if two numbers are equal, we can square both of them, and their squares are equal.  So, in our example, squaring both sides gives us:

$$\text{2) }a^2=b^2$$

If we subtract the same number from two numbers that are the same, the result is the same.  Therefore, we can subtract $$b^2$$ from both sides and get:

\begin{align}\text{3) }(a^2-b^2)&=(b^2-b^2)\\(a^2-b^2)&=0\end{align}

Now, this requires a bit more than “basic math”, but equations in this form are called “the difference of two squares” and can be written like:

$$\text{5) }(a-b)*(a+b)=0$$

Now, if we have two numbers that are equal, we can divide them both by the same value and the result will be equal.  For example, if 10=10, we can divide both sides by 2 and get 5=5, right?  Doing this gives us:

\begin{align}\text{6) }\frac{(a-b)*(a+b)}{(a-b)}=\frac{0}{(a-b)}\end{align}

The left side reduces to (a+b) since the (a-b)’s cancel out.  The right side is still 0 because 0 divided by anything equals 0:

\begin{align}\text{7) }\frac{(a-b)}{(a-b)}*(a+b)&=0\\1*(a+b)&=0\end{align}

So we are left with:

$$\text{8) }(a+b)=0$$

If we substitute our original values, we arrive at:

$$\text{9) }(1+1)=0$$

There you have it!  We have just proved that 1+1=0!

So, now do you believe that 1+1=0?  I still hope not!  You know that 1+1=2, not 0…so where’s the problem?  The proof looks reasonable, doesn’t it?

But this isn’t about math, it’s about truth.  And more than truth, it’s about our desire to defend it.

My guess is that if your child/friend/relative/self had this math teacher, you’d be pretty upset.  In fact, you might even complain to the board to get him suspended or fired or transferred.  You’d stand for this truth, right?

Time for the hard question, and no, it’s not “where’s the error in the proof” (hint – it’s in step 6)…it’s this:

Does the truth claim “Jesus is God” hold your loyalty as much as the truth claim “1+1=2”?

If you are a Christian, you must say yes.

And here’s the “hard part” – saying “yes” means something.  It means that anyone who says “No he’s not” is just as wrong as someone who says “1+1=0”, even if they have some sort of proof.  It means that saying “Jesus may be God for you, but not for me” is just as absurd as saying “1+1 may equal 2 for you, but not for me.”

Christian, do you truly believe that Jesus is the one and only Son of God?  Do you believe that we are all sinners in need of a savior?  Do you believe that sin is wrong and not only separates us from God for a time, but if left unatoned for, will separate us from God for eternity?  Do you believe that God’s word is true?  Always?

If you believe these things are true, then you are obligated to defend them as if they actually are true, just as you would defend the truth that 1+1=2!  Do you?

Or, by your words and actions, do you show that you really don’t believe those things are actually true, but only true for you?

During this week leading up to the celebration of the ultimate display of Truth the world has ever seen, would you reflect on how you view this truth…

1 Corinthians 15:3–5 (ESV) (3) For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, (4) that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, (5) and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.

… or this truth …

John 8:21–24 (ESV) (21) So he said to them again, “I am going away, and you will seek me, and you will die in your sin. Where I am going, you cannot come.” (22) So the Jews said, “Will he kill himself, since he says, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come’?” (23) He said to them, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. (24) I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins.”

… or this one …

John 14:6–7 (ESV) (6) Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (7) If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”

The Truth.

Jesus is the Truth.

Will you submit to the truth of scripture?  The truth of Jesus’ words?  Or will you be quiet when the world around you assaults Him and His truth?

Will you curl up in defeat and give in to the world who says:

“Jesus may be your truth, but don’t you dare say he is THE truth!”

or will you boldly proclaim, to all who would oppose you:

“Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.  You will never see heaven except through Him!”

• What must I believe to be saved? (Part 3 of 3)

But the obedience part of religion, and the fuller understanding that comes with growth is a topic of another post. This is about the belief part of religion. When we teach people about Jesus, what do we teach them? When they believe, what do we expect them to believe?

• What must I believe to be saved? (Part 2 of 3)

But whether it’s “I am” or “I am He”, the point still stands – you must believe something specific about Jesus or you will remain in your sin.

• What must I believe to be saved? (Part 1 of 3)

Can I believe anything I want about Jesus and still call myself a Christian?