“What is Truth?”

How we view truth

One of the characteristics of our culture is the belief that truth is relative—what’s true for you may not be true for me. If that’s the case, then neither you nor I have the right to say what anyone else should believe or do.

Certainly there are some areas of life which are subjective. For example, two people eat the very same food. One thinks it tastes great, while the other can’t stand it. So who’s right? Isn’t this simply a matter of personal preference? There is no objective standard in such cases.

How we view morality

But does it work the same way in morality? Does each of us determine what’s right or wrong, as we see it? Or is there a universal moral standard?

For instance, is it wrong to have sexual relations outside of marriage? Many today do not think so, while others do. So which is right? Who decides?

Even if we do not accept the Bible as God’s inspired truth applicable to all people in every era, we are still forced to conclude that the Bible limits sex relations to the marital union of a man and a woman. “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge” (Hebrews 13:4; see Genesis 1:27; 2:18-24).

How we view the Bible

Either the Bible is God’s word or it isn’t. If it isn’t, then it’s merely a human document we can do with as we wish. But if it is God’s word, are we wise to disregard it?

Paul wrote, “. . . we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe” (1 Thessalonians 2:13).

How we view Jesus

Likewise with Christ. Either He is who He claimed to be, the Son of God, or He isn’t. He can’t be both.

If He isn’t, then we don’t need to follow Him. If He is, then how can we ignore Him?

One of Jesus’ claims is this: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me” (John 14:6).

What a bold statement! Now either it’s the truth or it’s a lie. Which? If true, then how can we consider all world religions as alternate paths to God?

One doesn’t have to be a narrow-minded bigot to affirm that the Bible claims there is only one way to God, and that way is through Jesus.

If that’s the truth, then who has the right to say otherwise?

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Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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Why Was Jesus Rejected?

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For centuries they had been looking for the Messiah, but when He finally came, they killed Him! Why?

Jesus told the truth.

He said, “the world . . . hates Me because I testify of it, that its deeds are evil” (John 7:7).

And when Jesus told those of His hometown synagogue about God’s concern for Gentiles, they tried to push Him off a nearby cliff (Luke 4:25-29).

Jesus claimed divinity.

“. . . the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He . . . was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God” (John 5:18; see Matthew 26:62-68; John 7:28-30; 8:51-59; 10:30-39).

Jesus violated their Sabbath traditions.

He always observed the Sabbath as prescribed in the Law of Moses, while ignoring the Sabbath traditions of the Pharisees (Mark 3:1-6; Luke 13:10-17; John 5:8-18; 9:13-16).

They were envious of Him.

When Jesus came on the scene, the Jewish leaders no longer had the power and influence over the people they once had. They watched in frustration as the crowds flocked to Jesus instead (Matthew 27:18; John 12:19).

And we?

And there were other reasons they rejected Him. But that was back then. Do people still reject Him? Though maybe not for the same reasons and not in the same ways, but yes, many reject Jesus today.

Many acknowledge Him as a great teacher or mighty prophet, but deny His claims to be the Christ, the Son of God.

One common way we can reject Jesus is to put our agenda ahead of His, keeping busy with the routine of our own day-to-day affairs—in effect shutting Him out. It’s a subtle form of rejection, but it is rejection nonetheless.

“He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born . . . of God” (John 1:11-13; see John 3:3-5; Titus 3:5).

Why reject the One, the only One, who offers us the greatest privilege of becoming God’s own children?

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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Compassion

Students of the life of Christ are familiar with the references to His compassion toward the spiritually needy, the physically hungry, the two blind men, the leper, and the widow whose son had just died (Matthew 9:36-38; 14:13-14; 15:32-38; 20:30-34; Mark 1:40-41; Luke 7:12-17).

In addition, we have three of Jesus’ parables in which compassion plays a key role.

When the deeply indebted servant pled with his master for mercy, “the lord of that slave felt compassion and released him and forgave him the debt” (Matthew 18:21-35). When the Samaritan saw the wounded traveler, “he felt compassion . . .” (Luke 10:25-37). As the Prodigal returned home, “his father saw him and felt compassion . . .” (Luke 15:1-2, 11-32).

The divine compassion

In each story the compassionate character represents God or Christ. This is certainly consistent with what we know of the Father and His Son.

The expression of compassion

In each case the divine compassion does not remain a feeling but is expressed in loving action. The master cancels the debt. The Samaritan provides abundant help. The father runs and embraces his son and joyfully celebrates his return.

The opposite of compassion

In each case the compassion expressed in these parables stands in stark contrast to the lack of compassion evident in other characters in these stories. The forgiven servant shows no mercy to a fellow slave who owes him. The priest and Levite ignore the plight of the wounded traveler. The elder brother is angered by the grace shown to his wayward brother.

So what are we to learn?

While it’s wonderful to be on the receiving end of Christ’s compassion (and aren’t we all?), isn’t it also wonderful when we learn to feel compassion toward others and act accordingly?

In doing so we become “imitators of God, as beloved children” (Ephesians 5:1).

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Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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Seeing Potential

Useless?

When I told an older friend of ours that we were looking for a toy box, she offered us an old wooden chest she kept in her basement.

Seeing its sad condition—holding water and split in two all the way around—I was not too impressed and didn’t take it with me.

But when I told Sara, she wanted to see for herself. After an inspection, she decided we could use it after all.

Dried out, glued, and braced, it became a dandy toy box, and some years later, a rustic blanket keeper. Over four decades later we still have it.

First impressions can be so wrong. I saw water and a broken box. Sara saw potential.

Hopeless?

God sees potential too. He sees not only sinners, but the future inhabitants of heaven they can become.

“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

“. . . for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light” (Ephesians 5:8).

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you were not a people, but now you are the people of God . . .” (1 Peter 2:9-10).

What Christ can do

Jesus could take Simon the impulsive fisherman and mold him into Peter—apostle, elder, and leading spokesman for Christ.

He could transform Matthew, the despised tax collector, into the author of the Gospel that bears his name.

He could turn Saul, the violent persecutor of churches, into Paul, the leading planter of churches and author of one-fourth of the New Testament.

Having done all this and so much more, what might He do with you and me?

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Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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“Then What Shall I Do with Jesus?”

His question/Their answer

The governor was in a dilemma, and he knew it. As Caesar’s official representative in Judea it was Pilate’s responsibility to deal with those brought to him for judgment.

Never in his career had Pilate dealt with anyone like Him. He knew this Galilean was innocent of the charges so vehemently made against Him. He also knew what lay behind the vicious accusations: It was envy.

When Pilate asked, “Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” The people shouted, “Crucify Him!” (Matthew 27:22).

Countless sermons been preached on the subject “What Shall I Do with Jesus?” It’s a good question, a disturbing question, one that deserves and demands an answer.

When we meet Jesus

Jesus is not simply a great Teacher who lived nearly 2,000 years ago. He lives today, reigning at the right hand of His Father.

Someday He will return. His second coming will be quite unlike His first. He came the first time to make our salvation possible. He’ll come again to bring it all to a conclusion. He will judge the world (Acts 17:30-31).

Each of us will face Him personally in Judgment. Awesome thought!

The choice we make

We can face Him prepared or unprepared. We can hear Him say, “Come, you who are blessed of My Father . . . .” Or we can hear Him say to us, “Depart from Me . . .” (Matthew 25:34; 7:23).

Do we want Him to bless us? “. . . God raised up His Servant and sent Him to bless you by turning every one of you from your wicked ways” (Acts 3:26).

Do we want Him for our Friend? Jesus said to His disciples, “You are My friends if you do what I command you”: (John 15:14).

Do we want Him to save us? “. . . He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation . . .” (Hebrews 5:9).

What will you do with Jesus?

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Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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What Moses Declined–And What He Chose Instead

A major test of our character is what we choose—and what we do not choose.

Moses’ choices

As an infant, Moses was adopted by the Egyptian princess and was given a first-rate Egyptian education (Acts 7:20-22). Moses had it all. But then he gave it all up. Why?

“By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward” (Hebrews 11:24-26).

Moses would appreciate John Newton’s great hymn, “Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken,” which includes these lines: “Fading is the worldling’s pleasure,/All his boasted pomp and show;/Solid joys and lasting treasure/None but Zion’s children know.”

On two separate occasions, decades later, God was so angry with Israel that He told Moses he would destroy them and make Moses the father of a great nation. Moses declined the honor and pled with God to spare Israel. And God did (Exodus 32:7-14; Numbers 14:11-20).

Like Moses

God promised to raise up an even greater Prophet like Moses—none other than Jesus Himself (Deuteronomy 18:15; Acts 3:19-24; John 5:45-47).

Moses endured because he was “looking to the reward” (Hebrews 11:26). Jesus endured “for the joy set before Him” (Hebrews 12:1-3).

And we?

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Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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10 Remarkable Things About Jesus Christ

1. He’s the only person who chose to become human.

2. Only He is both fully human and fully divine.

3. He never sinned—not once!

4. As Healer, He could cure any malady, no matter how severe.

5. As Teacher, none was His equal.

6. No one could trap Him in argument, or ask a question He could not answer.

7. No one was more demoted—by becoming human, or more highly promoted—as King of kings and Lord of lords.

8. He is the best-loved and most-rejected of any who ever lived.

9. His blood, offered as a sacrifice for sin, is the only remedy for our helplessness.

10. Of all the most remarkable people who have left their mark, none compares.

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