Text: Psalm 51
Preached in Quabbin Valley on
John 18:33-38 Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, "Are you the king of the Jews?" 34 "Is that your own idea," Jesus asked, "or did others talk to you about me?" 35 "Am I a Jew?" Pilate replied. "It was your people and your chief priests who handed you over to me. What is it you have done?" 36 Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place." 37 "You are a king, then!" said Pilate. Jesus answered, "You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me." 38 "What is truth?" Pilate asked.
I want to talk this morning about “truth”, about standing up for and announcing truth. It doesn’t do any good to know the truth of something and not let others know, it doesn’t do any good to know the truth and not to stand up for it.
1) There is truth
In John 18:38 Pilate asks a question, “What is truth?” Some even today ask this question.
There are some in this world who believe that there is no such thing as truth. If that is true then we have a contradiction don’t we. Some people faced with this will still say that there is no such thing as truth in the absolute sense. You like vanilla and I like chocolate. Truth is relative; each person decides truth for themselves. There are some who will go so far as to say that what the Nazi’s did was not wrong, evil, or bad, just not effective, or the most beneficial way to carry out their plans.
But is there no real, absolute thing as truth? Ask a person who says they don’t believe in absolute truth if they were to be robbed or hurt or even killed if that would be wrong and you will soon find that there is such a thing as truth.
The truth is that people who say they don’t believe in truth are using that as an excuse for them to do whatever they please but when they are miss treated you better believe they change their tune.
I had the opportunity last week to be on a jury and the people in that court room and involved with that case believe in truth, in fact much of the system is based on the idea that there is truth and we as the jury were encouraged to convict or release a man based on what was presented to us as truth. Now there were some who were not telling the truth but our job was to try and find the truth.
6941 She Repeated Algebra Four Times
The dean of an American college discovered that a woman for the last four years had elected the same course in algebra even though she had passed it the first time.
The dean inquired of her for an explanation. The woman said she was so tired of arguing with her neighbors about everything in the world that she wanted to study something she couldn’t argue about.
Mathematical computations without doubt do not change. Two times two will always be four.
There is such a thing as truth.
2) Called to stand for the truth
John the Baptist was a man who was a righteous man but was a man who wavered at times in his faith, he never lost his faith but it was tested at times. You might remember the sermon I gave which talked about John’s great faith in announcing that Jesus was the son of God, the Messiah but later in prison was confused and seemed to waiver in his faith some when he sent disciples to Jesus to ask if he was the one they were waiting for or not.
But think with me about some other characteristics of John. He was a man of God, a prophet, one who was committed to the truth. John spoke the truth no matter what. We read in Matthew that when the Pharisees and Sadducees had come to see what was going on with John and all these people coming to him he boldly stands up for the truth and he rebukes these leaders calling them snakes and hypocrites.
This was a very dangerous thing to do. John is standing for the truth but these leaders are capable of murder and John was not ignorant of this fact.
Later we see John standing for truth as he confronts King Herod who had married his brother’s wife and was in sin. John, the text tells us, was constantly saying to the king it was wrong for him to have his brother’s wife.
Matthew 14:3-4 3 Now Herod had arrested John and bound him and put him in prison because of Herodias, his brother Philip's wife, 4 for John had been saying to him: "It is not lawful for you to have her."
John didn’t say this once but was over and over again saying this. John knew what kind of trouble he might get in for doing this and yet he stood for the truth. Even to the point of being put in prison and eventually put to death. John was a righteous man and a prophet but he was still a man no different from us. When sometimes think of men and women in the bible as superheroes who never wavered or stumbled, who never were tempted or afraid but the truth is that they are humans just like us, they relied on God for their strength just like us. John stood for the truth and we all are to do the same no matter what this world threatens us with.
Sometimes the world threatens us with being called names, goodie two shoes, saint even though all Christians are saints people will often try and use this as an insult. You might be called know it all, self righteous. Are we really so afraid of being called names? For most of us we will never be threatened with prison or death for standing for the truth but we are still called to speak the truth in love, to stand for the truth.
(Pg 724) Matthew 10:16-33 16 ¶ I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. 17 "Be on your guard against men; they will hand you over to the local councils and flog you in their synagogues. 18 On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. 19 But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, 20 for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. 21 "Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. 22 All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. 23 When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another. I tell you the truth, you will not finish going through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes. 24 ¶ "A student is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. 25 It is enough for the student to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If the head of the house has been called Beelzebub, how much more the members of his household! 26 ¶ "So do not be afraid of them. There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. 27 What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs. 28 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. 30 And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. 32 "Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. 33 But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.
Jesus is sending the disciples out into the world and tells them they will have troubles. They are telling the lost sheep of Israel the truth of the Messiah. Now some of this is going to be fulfilled later on as they go to the gentile world at this point they were only going to Israel but they are going to be mistreated for telling other the truth.
The rulers had called Jesus a demon he says they will call you the same. They crucified Jesus they will crucify, mistreat, and persecute the disciples.
The apostles in Acts were told by the leaders of the day to speak no more in the name of Jesus. The Apostles said we must obey God rather than men and were threatened and beaten, jailed and eventually killed over speaking the truth, speaking the name of Christ.
You see the truth must be spoken no matter what the outcome; we must obey God rather than men. We as Christians are following in the steps of Christ and the Apostles. Jesus spoke the truth even when faced with opposition; he said if they did this to me they will do this to you. Christians will be persecuted in different ways for the truth of Christ but we are still to stand and proclaim that truth even in the face of danger and death.
You might think that we in American will never face death for the truth but we might.
There was a young high school student, a young girl who was faced with two murderous male students who had guns and they asked her if she believed in God and when she said yes they shot her. She was murdered for the truth. Now maybe they would have killed her anyway but she stood for the truth and was killed.
We are called to stand for the truth as well.
3) We speak the truth about Christ
In a world of no absolutes and where some would have us believe that there is no right and wrong and there is no such thing as truth we as Christians are called to speak the truth of Christ. We must speak the truth about Christ.
Jesus is the only way. All can come to him. Those who come to him will have eternal life. When we speak the truth in love we will be called names, loose friends, maybe lose jobs, or maybe just feel uncomfortable, we might even be called to give our lives for Christ.
We tell people about Jesus not because it’s popular but because it’s true. We don’t tell people about Jesus because it’s unpopular and we like controversy, we tell people about Jesus because it’s true.
Jesus said “I am the way, the truth, and the life”. We tell people the truth we tell people about the one who is the truth. That’s what a Christian does. A Christian is a truth barer and Christ bringer, one who brings the truth about Christ to people.
If we are unwilling to tell people about Christ who is the truth then we are unlikely to tell the truth about other things that are less important. If on the other hand we tell people the truth about Christ we are more likely to tell the truth when it comes to other issues that are not as important.
No matter what, we are to be people of truth. We follow the one who is the way, the truth, and the life.
John 18:37 “Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice."
Paul said we speak the truth in love. Throughout the bible we read that we serve a God of truth, that is one of his characteristics. The people of God, of Christ are to be people of truth.
#2335 pg 280 A treasury of sermon illustration
“When workers in marble in ancient Rome accidental chipped their statues, they would fill in the chipped place with wax of the same color as the marble and then sell their work as perfectly fashioned, other statue makers wishing to sell honest products, stamped their product ‘Sine Cera’ (without wax). From this custom we get our word ‘sincere’. Honest, truthful, we are to be people who are “sine Cera”, without wax.
We sit here this morning preparing to partake of the Lord’s Supper which proclaims to everyone in this building and to everyone in this community and to everyone in the world that Jesus is Lord, that Jesus died for sinners and rose on the third day and that in Jesus we have the hope of eternal life. The truth is being proclaimed and we are being reminded every week about the truth which we are to live by. That truth is Jesus Christ.