A Passion for Truth, Part II
*March 13, 2005
Video Illustration: “Unshakable Word” Sermon Illustrators, vol. 2, no. 4, Worship Films.com.
Have you ever heard the expression, “God said it, I believe it, and that settles it?” The monologue you just watched about the veracity of God’s Holy Word is the foundation for such a statement.
ILLUS: Someone once wrote about “The Bible”:
Indeed, God’s Word is truth.
“Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.” (Joh 17:17 NivUS)
He has revealed it throughout the generations of his people.
It is amazingly cohesive over time.
Time always proves it out.
And Jesus embodied it, lived it out, and proclaimed it boldly.
That was the subject of a message about a month ago – that Jesus had a passion for truth. But we only got through part of it.
Today’s message is the rest of it – Part II of “A Passion for Truth.”
What does Jesus want us to know about truth? What is it that he claims we need to know beyond a shadow of doubt? Where does he want his passion for truth to take us?
You might recall from the previous message that although the synoptic gospels have a number of truth statements by Jesus, mainly in Matthew, only John uses the double truth statement amhn amhn legw umin implying that behind the statement is the authority of the very “Amen” of God the Father.
“"To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation.” (Re 3:14 NivUS)
It is a strong affirmation of what is declared, “Truly indeed, it is true I tell you,” a prefix to a significant statement. The words are uttered as before God, indeed are uttered by the Son of God himself. This is truth that transforms.
I will quickly reiterate the first several points we covered in the last message.
We learned that Jesus tells us the truth about his heavenly origin, approval and vindication. He is the bridge between heaven and earth (Jn. 14:6), the only mediator between God and man (1Tim. 2:5).
1. Joh 1:51 He then added, "I tell you the truth, you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man."
Jesus tells us the truth about our darkened human condition needing rebirth. There is nothing short of a heavenly infusion, a divine miracle, that can change it. It is the work of God, not the work of man, that saves us. We are naturally resistant.
2. Joh 3:3 In reply Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again."
3. Joh 3:5 Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.
4. Joh 3:11 I tell you the truth, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony.
This is why Scripture tells us to take whatever opportunity of faith in Christ that presents itself.
“7 ¶ So, as the Holy Spirit says: "Today, if you hear his voice, 8 do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the desert,” (Heb 3:7-8 NivUS)
“1 ¶ As God’s fellow workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain. 2 For he says, "In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you." I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.” (2Co 6:1-2 NivUS)
Jesus tells us the truth about his unity with God the Father and his ability to grant eternal life.
5. Joh 5:19 Jesus gave them this answer: "I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.
6. Joh 5:24 "I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.
7. Joh 5:25 I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live.
And Jesus tells us the truth that he himself is the source of eternal life. The people were looking to him as a kind of “meals on wheels” to meet their daily needs, but Jesus was much more.
I will expound a little more fully on this last point from the previous message and then we will proceed on to the rest of Jesus’ truth statements in John.
8. Joh 6:26 Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, you are looking for me, not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate the loaves and had your fill.
9. Joh 6:32 Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven.
10. Joh 6:47 I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life.
11. Joh 6:53 Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.
The true bread from heaven was not the manna from heaven in the time of Moses. Jesus is greater than Moses because Jesus himself becomes the manna from heaven that gives eternal life.
But how is Jesus like the manna in the desert?
“16 This is what the LORD has commanded: ‘Each one is to gather as much as he needs. Take an omer for each person you have in your tent.’" 17 The Israelites did as they were told; some gathered much, some little. 18 And when they measured it by the omer, he who gathered much did not have too much, and he who gathered little did not have too little. Each one gathered as much as he needed.” (Ex 16:16-18 NivUS)
“He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1Jo 2:2 NivUS)
The sacrifice of Jesus is sufficient for all mankind, but each one must “gather him” in to his heart. There is individual responsibility, but enough “manna” of him to go around.
“19 Then Moses said to them, "No one is to keep any of it until morning." 20 However, some of them paid no attention to Moses; they kept part of it until morning, but it was full of maggots and began to smell. So Moses was angry with them. 21 Each morning everyone gathered as much as he needed, and when the sun grew hot, it melted away.” (Ex 16:19-21 NivUS)
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Mt 6:34 NivUS)
“Give us each day our daily bread.” (Lu 11:3 NivUS)
Taking Jesus in cannot be just a one-time hoarding as if you are ‘at once’ done with him. Our need is more serious than that. We must come each day for a fresh supply. The manna itself is like salvation (it continued for the forty years they were in the desert), but we must come each day to its provision.
“And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” (Php 4:19 NivUS)
But we find a special provision for the Sabbath.
“22 ¶ On the sixth day, they gathered twice as much— two omers for each person— and the leaders of the community came and reported this to Moses. 23 He said to them, "This is what the LORD commanded: ‘Tomorrow is to be a day of rest, a holy Sabbath to the LORD. So bake what you want to bake and boil what you want to boil. Save whatever is left and keep it until morning.’" 24 So they saved it until morning, as Moses commanded, and it did not stink or get maggots in it. 25 "Eat it today," Moses said, "because today is a Sabbath to the LORD. You will not find any of it on the ground today. 26 Six days you are to gather it, but on the seventh day, the Sabbath, there will not be any." 27 Nevertheless, some of the people went out on the seventh day to gather it, but they found none. 28 Then the LORD said to Moses, "How long will you refuse to keep my commands and my instructions? 29 Bear in mind that the LORD has given you the Sabbath; that is why on the sixth day he gives you bread for two days. Everyone is to stay where he is on the seventh day; no one is to go out." 30 So the people rested on the seventh day.” (Ex 16:22-30 NivUS)
On that day we don’t go out to gather, but come in to receive. That is the day of rejoicing in the double measure. That is the day of worship.
“Instead of their shame my people will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace they will rejoice in their inheritance; and so they will inherit a double portion in their land, and everlasting joy will be theirs.” (Isa 61:7 NivUS)
“17 The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: 18 "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor."” (Lu 4:17-19 NivUS)
That is our day in the presence of the Lord.
And we are to remember the sacrifice of Jesus for sin throughout all generations just like the Israelites were to remember the provision of manna.
“32 ¶ Moses said, "This is what the LORD has commanded: ‘Take an omer of manna and keep it for the generations to come, so they can see the bread I gave you to eat in the desert when I brought you out of Egypt.’" 33 So Moses said to Aaron, "Take a jar and put an omer of manna in it. Then place it before the LORD to be kept for the generations to come." 34 As the LORD commanded Moses, Aaron put the manna in front of the Testimony, that it might be kept. 35 The Israelites ate manna forty years, until they came to a land that was settled; they ate manna until they reached the border of Canaan.” (Ex 16:32-35 NivUS)
“23 ¶ For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, "This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me." 25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me." 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” (1Co 11:23-26 NivUS)
Jesus tells us the truth about our addictions. Without the “manna” or substance of his victory over sin we are helpless – like slaves.
12. Joh 8:34 Jesus replied, "I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.
“They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity— for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him.” (2Pe 2:19 NivUS)
“We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin.” (Ro 7:14 NivUS)
“Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey— whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?” (Ro 6:16 NivUS)
“22 For he who was a slave when he was called by the Lord is the Lord’s freedman; similarly, he who was a free man when he was called is Christ’s slave. 23 You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men.” (1Co 7:22-23 NivUS)
“18 You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. 19 I put this in human terms because you are weak in your natural selves. Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness.” (Ro 6:18-19 NivUS)
But Jesus also tells us the truth about how to overcome addiction. He himself is the great “I Am” who gives us his word through his Spirit to believe and obey in overcoming the living death of sin’s addiction.
13. Joh 8:51 I tell you the truth, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death."
14. Joh 8:58 "I tell you the truth," Jesus answered, "before Abraham was born, I am!"
“35 Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (Joh 8:35-36 NivUS)
“1 ¶ Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, 4 in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit. 5 Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6 The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; 7 the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God. 9 You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. 10 ¶ But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you. 12 Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation— but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, 14 because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, <"Abba,>Father." 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.” (Ro 8:1-16 NivUS)
Jesus tells us the truth about the enemy who would deceive us into following him instead.
15. Joh 10:1 "I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber.
16. Joh 10:7 Therefore Jesus said again, "I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep.
“4 ¶ Jesus answered: "Watch out that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.” (Mt 24:4-5 NivUS)
“10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.” (Mt 24:10-13 NivUS)
“13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 15 It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.” (2Co 11:13-15 NivUS)
“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1Pe 5:8 NivUS)
Jesus tells us the truth about the necessity of death in the eternal life equation.
17. Joh 12:24 I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.
“25 The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.” (Joh 12:25-26 NivUS)
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Ga 2:20 NivUS)
“10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body.” (2Co 4:10-11 NivUS)
“We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” (Ro 6:4 NivUS)
Jesus tells us the truth about submission to the divine order of following his example not only in death but also in service for the enablement of our use in ministry.
18. Joh 13:16 I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.
19. Joh 13:20 I tell you the truth, whoever accepts anyone I send accepts me; and whoever accepts me accepts the one who sent me."
“So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.’"” (Lu 17:10 NivUS)
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Ga 6:9 NivUS)
“"I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” (Mt 18:18 NivUS)
But Jesus also tells us the truth that not all servants are what they seem.
20. Joh 13:21 After he had said this, Jesus was troubled in spirit and testified, "I tell you the truth, one of you is going to betray me."
“7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8 The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.” (Ga 6:7-8 NivUS)
And Jesus tells us the truth that some servants will disappoint.
21. Joh 13:38 Then Jesus answered, "Will you really lay down your life for me? I tell you the truth, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!
But Jesus also tells us the truth that faith can be restored.
22. Joh 14:12 I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
“The third time he said to him, "Simon son of John, do you love me?" Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, "Do you love me?" He said, "Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Feed my sheep.” (Joh 21:17 NivUS)
“17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2Co 5:17-21 NivUS)
Jesus tells us the truth that we will not be left alone in the outworking of our faith.
23. Joh 16:7 But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.
Jesus tells us the truth that the pain of his sacrifice will be the joy of our deliverance and the foundation of our power.
24. Joh 16:20 I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy.
25. Joh 16:23 In that day you will no longer ask me anything. I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.
Finally, Jesus tells us the truth that whatever he calls us to do is in his full knowledge, love, care and purpose.
26. Joh 21:18 I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go."
“Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, "Follow me!"” (Joh 21:19 NivUS)
These truths that Jesus tells us, these truths he has a passion for, are the outworking of the gospel.
If you have a passion for truth like Jesus, you will believe him. He is the very embodiment of truth. And to the extent that you believe him, you also will embody the truth without fear and without compromise.
Do you have a passion to believe his truth and be a voice for his truth in your generation?
Judge Upholds Navy Man’s Right to Witness at State Building
|Allie Martin, Agape Press|
A federal court has ordered officials in Illinois to respect the free-speech rights of a U.S. military reservist who sued to defend his freedom to distribute religious material in public. Last year, Kevin Cantrell, an airline pilot and Naval Reservist, began handing out Christian tracts in the atrium in front of a state building in Chicago. Police stopped him from speaking and distributing the literature, saying he needed to get a "Special Events Request," which he did. But then the authorities told Cantrell that he had to pay $300 to apply for the "Special Events" permit. He then contacted the Alliance Defense Fund, which sued on his behalf. ADF attorney Elizabeth Murray says the judge in the case granted a declaratory judgment in favor of Cantrell. She commends the soldier's stand for his personal freedom of speech and religious expression, and notes, "It was important for Kevin to fight this because important First Amendment rights were at stake."
The federal judge who presided over the case agreed, Murray says, that the local policies hindering Cantrell from speaking or distributing his literature in the atrium or outdoor plaza of the state building are unconstitutional. The judge told Illinois government officials they cannot forbid Cantrell from sharing his faith in a public building.