March 26, 2012
By: John Barnett
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Have you ever wondered what we look like from Heaven, as God looks down on us as we gather?
Please open with me to I Timothy 3:15.
God designed His Church to be pillars, grounded in truth as God’s household living on earth; but that truth is under assault --and God has said the war against truth will intensify as the world nears its final hour.
We have gathered as Christ's Church. We are members of God’s household and part of His family; and our purpose is to uphold by what we live and say God’s Truth as recorded in the Bible. Please stand as we listen to God describing us this evening:
"1 Timothy 3:15 but if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God [lit. ‘household’], which is the church of the living God, the pillar [Timothy was pastoring in Ephesus that had the Wonder of the World, Temple of Diana (Artemis) with 127 gold covered columns] and ground [only here in N.T. and means foundation] of the truth." NKJV
We are to know, believe, live, and proclaim truth as Christ's church. We are indwelt by the Spirit of Truth, and hold a copy of the inspired Word of Truth. Note what Paul said in v. 15 “how you ought to conduct yourself”.
Just as God is Love, and is Holy, and is Righteous, so also God is TRUTH. Truth is defined by our dictionaries as:
Truth: “conformity to fact or actuality; proven to be or accepted as true; reality; actuality; often truth is defined as that which is considered to be the supreme reality and to have the ultimate meaning and value of existence.” (The American Heritage Dictionary)
Our God is a God of Truth
We worship a God who calls Himself the God of Truth (Deut. 32:4; Psalm 31:5).
Deuteronomy 32:4 He is the Rock, His work is perfect; For all His ways are justice, A God of truth and without injustice; Righteous and upright is He. NKJV
We trust a Savior, God the Son who calls himself The Truth (John 14:6), and came to us full of grace and Truth (John 1:14, 17).
John 14:6 "Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. "NKJV
We are indwelt by God the Spirit, who calls Himself the Spirit of Truth (John 14:17; 15:26; 16:13).
John 14:17 “the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you." NKJV
We read and study God’s Word which is called the Word of Truth (Psalm 119:43); and as God’s children are called followers of the Way of Truth (Psalm 119:30); because we were born again by the Word of Truth (Eph. 1:13; James 1:18; I Peter 1:22).
Psalm 119:43 And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth, For I have hoped in Your ordinances. NKJV
Psalm 119:30 I have chosen the way of truth; Your judgments I have laid before me. NKJV
Ephesians 1:13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, NKJV
1 Peter 1:22 Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, NKJV
Our entire life in Christ is to be built upon the solid rock (Matthew 7:24) *of Christ's Truth. Jesus came full of grace and Truth (John 1:14), to lead us to the God who can only be worshipped in spirit and Truth (John 4:23-24).
Matthew 7:24 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: NKJV
John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. NKJV
John 4:23-24 “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.24 “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” NKJV
As believers we are to: speak Truth in our hearts (Psalm 15:2); and live lives that have been set free from slavery to sin by The truth (John 8:32); as we become more and more sanctified by Truth (John 17:17, 19); and always growing that the Truth is in Christ Jesus (Eph. 4:21).
Psalm 15:2 He who walks uprightly, And works righteousness, And speaks the truth in his heart; NKJV
John 8:32 “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” NKJV
John 17:17-19 “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. 19 And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth."/ NKJV
Ephesians 4:21" if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus:" NKJV
We were saved by the Word of the Truth of the Gospel (Col. 1:5), and all who are saved have received the love of the Truth (II Thes. 2:10); and live a life of purifying their souls through obeying the Truth (I Peter 1:22).
Colossians 1:5 "because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel," NKJV
2 Thessalonians 2:10 "and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved." NKJV
1 Peter 1:22 "Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart," NKJV
Salvation comes through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the Truth (II Th. 2:13).
2 Thessalonians 2:13 "But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth," NKJV
But God’s Truth has been under attack from the beginning by:
Satan: the Truth-snatching, Mind-blinding Devil
God’s enemy and ours is the Devil who abode not in the truth (John 8:44), neither can he because he is a liar and the father of lies. Our enemy wants to snatch the truth (Matthew 13:19) from our minds.
John 8:44 “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it."/ NKJV
Matthew 13:19 “When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside." NKJV
So we all face a dangerous, truth-obscuring, mind-blinding Devil who can influence people to:
• resist the truth (II Tim. 3:8); 2 Timothy 3:8 Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith; NKJV
• spread error concerning the truth (James 5:19; II Tim. 2:18); 2 Timothy 2:18 who have strayed concerning the truth, saying that the resurrection is already past; and they overthrow the faith of some. NKJV
• turn away their ears from listening to the truth (II Tim. 4:4); 2 Timothy 4:4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. NKJV
• hold down the truth in unrighteousness (Rom. 1:18); Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, NKJV
• change the truth into a lie (Rom. 1:25); and twist it to their own destruction (II Peter 3:16). Romans 1:25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. NKJV; 2 Peter 3:16 as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures. NKJV
So that is why God always seeks to ground His children in truth. God wants firmly holding onto His truth. The Scriptures open with Satan twisting and negating God’s truth with his lies in Genesis 3. By Genesis 6, just 3 chapters further, God destroys the whole world of sinners except for 8 and puts up a global reminder of His truth in the sky called a rainbow. God wants people to be reminded of the truth of their Creator and His expectations.
By the second book of the Bible, Exodus, we see God chose a nation to be His light in the world. He commanded that a tent that taught the people about the ways of the Lord be built right in the middle of the camp of Israel. The advertising system God designed was amazing, with a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night hovering over that tent—to remind them all day and every night that He was there and they needed to live like they belonged to Him. God wanted them to grow by regular exposure to His truth.
Later, an exquisite, golden Temple followed and three annual trips to Jerusalem with preparations to meet with the Lord were required of all families. God wanted them to grow by regular exposure to His truth.
Centuries of festivals in Jerusalem three times a year supplemented by a stream of prophets, priests, and kings followed. All these measures, instituted by God were for spiritual growth. God wanted them to grow by regular exposure to His truth. But all the Old Testament pales when we see:
Jesus is the Ultimate Expression of Truth
Then the Truth Incarnate, the Living Word of God is wrapped in humanity and sent to earth. Jesus is the exact and true representation of God (Heb. 1:3). If you see Jesus you have truly seen His Father.
The only link we have to God comes by faith in His Word (Romans 10:17). God’s truth saves us, sanctifies us, and defends us from all attacks. Truth is of the essence. It is what we build our lives upon and place our hope in. God is Truth, Christ is the Truth, and His Spirit is the Spirit of Truth. Lost people never receive the love of the truth. And sadly, in the last days (in which we live) many will turn away their ears from listening to truth.
Paul’s world was hostile to the truth of God; and Paul warned that days to come would increasingly be filled with false teachings about God, and bad behavior by believers.
II Timothy 4:3-4 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
For times just like those in which we live Paul writes, Christ's church is to be filled with men who are sound in faith.
Titus 2:2 that the older men be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience; NKJV
You can’t separate growth in truth from God's Word. Growth is a part of sanctification. We are sanctified by God's Word, and God's Word is Truth (John 17:17). So discipleship is to be the constant focus of the church because…
All Believers are to be Grounded in Truth
God’s eternal plan is that all believers serve Him as truth beacons in a world of lies. Both Peter and John (1 Peter 2:9; Revelations 1:6) describe our calling to that life of worship in spirit and truth as each of us being ‘priests’ to God.
The Reformation went far in teaching about the priesthood of the believers but didn’t sufficiently train them or utilize them in service. This is not a criticism, just an observation from history.
God’s plan for training each believer in their ministry of offering worship in spirit and in truth is laid out in Ephesians 4:11-14.
How are you in the truth department? Are you a pillar for God, grounded in the Word of Truth, filled with the Spirit of Truth, living the way of truth for God’s glory? That is what He wants from us today.
Please stand with me and turn to #247 “Spirit of the Living God” and sing this as a prayer that we will get fuller and fuller with the Spirit of Truth this week!