Tag Archives: Truth

A WORD TO PREACHERS AND TEACHERS

eyeseeyouKNOWLEDGE…Wonderful, desirable and powerful!  Passage after passage in Scripture commends its acquisition.  Knowledge, however, can become a source of pride. Maybe, for example, you know a bunch of “big words.”  You may be able to slap together a phrase that no one but the very well educated can understand.  But, if your big words hinder communication, what good are they?  Knowledge for its own sake is as useless as a parka in Miami. “Knowledge makes arrogant, but love edifies (builds up)” (1 Corinthians 8:1).  If your goal is to impress the easily impressed with your “smarts,” then acquiring a lot of facts, figures and information (whether practical or not) should work well.  Truly, you have your reward.  But what then?

All Scripture has a purpose, an application, a meaning that influences the course of our life — how we speak, what we say, what we do and why we do it, our goals, our relationships, the quality and purpose of our work, how we spend our time, how we use our talents and resources, etc., etc.  The Word that we preach or teach potentially makes a difference in the lives of those who hear(depending on their degree of absorption).  Otherwise our preaching and teaching is in vain.  “Knowledge is of no value unless you put it into practice,” wrote Anton Chekhov.   And Samuel Johnson said,  “Between falsehood and useless truth there is little difference.  As gold which he cannot spend will make no man rich, so knowledge which cannot apply will make no man wise.” 

Always, always we must make our lessons practical and applicable to everyday life.  It is not our job as teachers to convey obscure theological theories and opinions.  People need to know how to live!  Charles Stanley wisely observed:  “I think a lot of people, even Christians are willing to be satisfied with gaining lots and lots of biblical knowledge — and many people go to Bible studies and don’t realize it isn’t enough to know what’s right, it’s applying the information and knowledge that you have.” 

Jesus was frequently called, “Teacher.”  But the goal of His teaching was to bring light into the lives of souls stumbling in the darkness.  His teaching brought grace to those enslaved by sin and captive by man-made laws and traditions.  He walked among the spiritually bereft teaching those who followed about an abundant way of life.

So keep your well-educated pride to yourself and preach and teach the simplicity and purity of the life-changing good news.

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Filed under Christlikeness, Discernment, discipleship, Hermeneutics, Homiletics, Jesus Christ, Knowledge, Persuasion, Philosophy, Preaching/Teaching, Truth, Uncategorized

The Christian Difference – 2

Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened. — Sir Winston Churchill

A belief in absolute truth distinguishes Christians from those outside of Christ.  This truth forms the basis of an unshakable value system.  It is our values that make us different.  We live in a time of growing pluralism and relativism.  Since truth is relative, it is reasoned, there are no absolutes…everyone simply does what they think best.  This is a recipe for disaster well described by Isaiah:

Isaiah 47:10 You have trusted in your wickedness
and have said, ‘No one sees me.’
Your wisdom and knowledge mislead you
when you say to yourself,
‘I am, and there is none besides me.’

For Christians, there are absolutes.  To quote Churchill again: “The truth is incontrovertible, malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end; there it is.” It is this incontrovertible truth Jesus spoke of when he said, “…you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. (John 8:32)”  Jesus is the embodiment of truth (John 14:6).  When we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, we are filled with the Spirit of truth (Romans 8:9; John 15:26).  The Psalmist was able to pray:

Psalm 26
2 Test me, O LORD, and try me,
examine my heart and my mind;
3 for your love is ever before me,
and I walk continually in your truth.

God’s WORD is truth (John 17:17) and available to all men:

Isaiah 45
19 I have not spoken in secret,
from somewhere in a land of darkness;
I have not said to Jacob’s descendants,
‘Seek me in vain.’
I, the LORD, speak the truth;
I declare what is right.

But mere assent is not enough.  We must consciously apply truth if we expect to influence our culture and call our fellow-humans back to trust in God.

Zechariah 8:16 These are the things you are to do: Speak the truth to each other, and render true and sound judgment in your courts;

As someone has said, “Unless your heart, your soul, and your whole being are behind every decision you make, the words from your mouth will be empty, and each action will be meaningless. Truth and confidence are the roots of happiness.”

It is significant that Jesus constantly prefaced his teachings with the phrase, “I tell you the truth…” To follow Jesus, then, means to proclaim and live the truth in ways which allow it to be observed in our works and applied in our values.  It means to “Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist…(Ephesians 6:14)”

The Christian difference depends upon the answers to these questions: What are we doing with the truth of God?  When questions of morality arise, will we take a stand?  When we see injustice, will we remain silent?  When lies are set forth as truth will we expose them?

We are surrounded by a swamp of pluralism and the muck of relativism.  It is time for disciples of Christ to extricate ourselves from this chaotic cultural morass that sucks at our feet and stand boldly on the solid ground of truth.

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Filed under Culture Wars, discipleship, Kingdom Growth, Meaning of Life, morality