The Book

If you’re like me you have stacks of things lying around you’d like to read, but may never get around to. There just isn’t enough time.

So we are forced to be selective—not just because there is more than we can possibly digest, but also because there is so much not worth reading. Literally anything is available these days—from the uplifting to the ugly.

There are books, and there is THE BOOK. What separates the Bible from all other literature is its divine origin. It is God’s message through human agents inspired by the Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20-21).

People who loved truth

A man from Ethiopia was reading the Old Testament as he traveled toward his home. “Do you understand what you are reading?” a stranger asked him. “Well, how could I,” he replied, “unless someone guides me?” Having said this, he invited Philip to join him on his journey. Beginning with Isaiah 53, the passage which had puzzled the traveler, Philip “preached Jesus to him.” As a result he became a Christian before the day was over—and “went on his way rejoicing” (Acts 8:26-39).

A few chapters later Paul preaches in a synagogue in Berea. “Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11). They neither rejected nor accepted what Paul said without investigating. When they compared Paul’s words with God’s word, they saw the two lined up perfectly. So they believed.

Do we investigate?

Many people never check out the preaching they hear. But while some preach truth, others preach error (2 Timothy 4:1-4). Do we love the truth enough to investigate until we find the answer?

What if all of us were to resolve to spend less time with social media/TV and more time in the Bible? What difference, do you suppose, would that make in our lives?

truth not lies-tagged

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

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Of Doctrine and Landing Places

A Christian invited his neighbor to visit the congregation where he and his family worship. The man explained that his wife was raised in a particular denomination, but he said, “I’m ‘non-denom.’ I believe in God, but beyond that I don’t want to get involved in all those rules and details. I believe in God, and we’ll just leave it at that. We’re going to visit several churches, and wherever we like it, we’re going to land.”

Suppose this fellow accepts the invitation. He and his family visit and are impressed with the warm welcome, the children’s classes, and the preacher’s message. Let’s say that after a few more visits he and his wife decide this is where they will “land.” What then?

What they would learn

Someone will likely sit down with them, with an open Bible. If what follows is really a Bible study, it shouldn’t be long until it gets into some “details”—such as:

>The Bible is our only authority in religion.

>Jesus is the Son of God and our only way to God.

>Repentance is a requirement for salvation.

>Baptism is the moment at which we are forgiven.

>The church must conform to the New Testament pattern.The church Jesus purchased with His blood was established long before denominations.

How they would respond

If the teacher of this study is really “speaking the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15), and if this couple are convicted by the Scriptures, they would then be willing to become true disciples of Jesus Christ─Christians only.

On the other hand, they may quickly decide this is not the place for them—too many “details”—and then resume their search for a landing place.

Do they genuinely want the truth (Acts 17:10-12)? Or are they simply religious consumers in search of what they want (2 Timothy 4:1-4)?

How this scenario turned out, I don’t know, but we can be sure of this: Regarding the doctrine we are to believe and practice, as revealed in Scripture, “God is in the details” and therefore discounting these details as dispensable or optional is not an option.

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There is Such a Thing as False

There is falsehood . . .

Several English words begin with the prefix pseud- from a Greek word meaning “false.” A pseudointellectual pretends he is smarter than he is. A pseudonym disguises the author’s true identity.

The New Testament, written in Greek, uses several pseud- words: false Christs (pseudokristos), false apostles (pseudapostolos), false prophets (pseudoprophētēs), false teachers (pseudodidaskalos).

These are Satan’s agents, deceiving those who fall for their lies, so they will be lost (2 Thessalonians 2:8-12).

And there is truth!

Like the Bereans (Acts 17:10-12), let’s use the Scriptures to compare what we hear with what God has already revealed as the truth.

It is the truth that saves (John 8:32).  “. . . no lie (pseudos) is of the truth” (1 John 2:21).

Beware of the pseuds!

true false-tagged

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

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What Does It Mean to Love the Truth?

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Do we really love the truth?

Many never question what they’ve been taught.

Many believe whatever they want to believe.

But if we truly love the truth, what will we do?

We will do our homework.

When the Bereans heard Paul preach, “they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11).

We will accept the truth even when it’s not palatable.

Not all truth is pleasant or easy. “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine . . . and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths” (2 Timothy 4:3-4).

We will put the truth into practice!

What good does it do to discover truth if we don’t obey? (Matthew 7:24-27; James 1:21-25)

So let’s search for the truth, accept it even when it’s hard, then live it!

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

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Standing for Truth but Not Obnoxious

Firm but kind

God expects Christians to take a firm stand on morals and doctrine. But how can we do this without closing doors unnecessarily?

“The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth . . .” (2 Timothy 2:24-25).

Kindness, patience, and gentleness prevent our coming across as abrasive, arrogant, holier-than-thou know-it-alls.

A lifestyle that changes minds

People are quick to note whether we practice what we preach (1 Timothy 6:1; Titus 2:9-10; 1 Peter 2:15; 3:1-2, 15-16).

Also, good deeds make the truth attractive (Matthew 5:16; 1 Peter 2:12).

With this approach we may win a soul for Christ!

And won’t that make it all worthwhile?

happy sad-tagged

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

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The Truth-Teller

Why was someone who “went about doing good” so rejected?

Jesus told the truth about our sins

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

“. . . you are seeking to kill Me, a man who has told you the truth, which I heard from God . . .” (John 8:40).

Jesus’ heaven-based values so often run counter to the way we see things.

Do we really want the truth?

What if the truth counters our cherished beliefs—or requires major changes in our lifestyle?

Jesus told the truth about Himself

He claims to be the only way to God (John 14:6). He claims to be the Son of God.

Jesus proved His claims by His life, His miracles, and His resurrection.

Jesus really is everything He claims to be.

truth-tagged

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

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The Day He Changed His Mind

Speaking to King Agrippa, Paul recounts his own conversion (Acts 26).

“I thought”

“. . . I thought to myself that I had to do many things hostile to the name of Jesus . . .” (v. 9).

Point: What we think may contradict what God thinks.

“I saw . . . I heard”

“. . . at midday, O King, I saw . . . a light from heaven . . . . I heard a voice . . . saying to me in the Hebrew dialect, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” (vv. 13-14).

Point: Painful truth is far preferable to sincere ignorance.

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“I obeyed”

“. . . I did not prove disobedient to the heavenly vision. . .” (v. 19).

Point: Truth learned must be truth lived.

Have we made sure what we think is really the truth?

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

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