Astonishing teachingJesus came with a new attitude to life with a teaching that was very foreign to that which the first century Palestinians were used to. It was a teaching that astonished them. As much as they were amazed at the works of Jesus as in Mark 1:27, they were just as amazed at the plain teaching that the Lord brought. We find such passages in Matthew 7:28, 22:33, Mark 1:22, 11:18, Luke 4:32. Matthew 7:28 sums it up, "When Jesus had finished these words, the crowds were amazed at His teaching;" It is fine to think that we have to flow in miracles and love for every living creature (which we should), but if we shut out the truth of the gospel then we are headed for trouble. I heard a quote a while ago that sounded something like this: "You either have a limited fellowship, or limited truth." What this means is that if we do not have a problem to have a fellowship (theologically speaking) with every Tom, Dick, and Harry, then we essentially will have to compromise in the truth. It was not only the love, and miracles of Christ that drew them to Him, but also His teaching. That which He taught had a great impact on them.
The doctrines of menMany people come up with great ideas that they end up putting into their theology. We only need to look at the Word-faith group to see something of this effect. Many of the things they teach cannot be found in the Bible. Ideas such as: Jesus died spiritually (JDS) and went to hell to be born-again; the work of the cross was not enough - Jesus had to suffer in hell to complete our salvation; Christians are little gods equal to Jesus, etc. Now these are merely the doctrines of men. When it comes to the Bible, it does not need any help from us - added value - to make it better than it is. We need to teach that which is in the Bible and that only. (Mt. 15:9; 16:12; Mk. 7:7)
Truth in JesusWhen Jesus came, He became the embodiment of the truth. That is why He is called the Word. . He is full of truth. Jesus came to declare the truth concerning salvation. Truth is applied to Jesus many times in some or other way. If it was so important to the writers of the New Testament to connect Jesus to truth, how can we assume that it is no longer important today? (Jn. 1:14, 17; 14:6; 18:37-38; Eph. 4:21).
Worship in spirit and truthThere is a critical balance between knowing the truth and knowing God. I feel that it is important to always seek the balance here. There are those who have little regard for the Bible, but a very high regard for the spiritual things. They regard fellowshipping with Jesus much higher than the Word that Jesus brought. It is great to fellowship with the Lord, but if we do not get into the Word, or let it get into us, then our worship of God will be one-sided. Relationship is correct, but truth will balance it out. The only way we will know how to worship, is to know the Word of God. The truth will make us worship the true God. The reason why the JWs and Mormons have gone wrong is because they did not regard the truth of the Scriptures to be enough. We need to worship in spirit and truth. Worship has to be complete. Without either one of these it is no longer true worship of the Living God. (Jn. 4:23-24) What happens when we stop living for the truth, and anything else is just Ok? Self becomes exalted. (Rom. 1:25) Truth will reveal itself, and God will be worshipped in the end. (Jn. 7:17; 8:32)
Spirit of truthIn several places the Holy Spirit is looked upon as the Spirit of truth. (Jn. 14:17; 15:26; 16:13; 1 Jn. 5:7) For those who feel that it is more important to flow with the Spirit than to study the truth, I find it quite ironic that He who is the One who only brings truth will inspire people not to study and know God's Word. If anything, the Spirit will lead people to study the Bible to know its truths, because the Bible says that "He will guide you into all the truth." (Jn. 16:13) The spirit that leads people away from the study of God's Word must be discerned and shown for what it is. How can He who inspired the writers of Scripture be the One who leads people away from those very Scriptures.
Truth sanctifiesTruth is not boring. It sanctifies - makes holy. Now, should this not be the goal of every Christian? Holiness? God uses different ways to bring people to the point of holiness, but the truth of the gospel is one of them. (Jn. 17:17, 19)
Turn from those who do not teach the truthRomans 16:17 "Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them." This very clear statement sums it up for us. If there is any one who comes with a different doctrine than that espoused in the gospel of Jesus Christ we need to turn away from them. False doctrine brings division in the body of Christ, and how do we deal with false doctrine? We separate ourselves from those who teach it. Now, I know that there are those out there who say that theology or "doctrine is the real culprit when it comes to division. Love will unite us!" Love does unite us, but false doctrine separates. Correct doctrine has never caused division. If what we have in the Bible is truth, then any doctrine contrary to it must needs be the divider. Why? If the norm is orthodoxy, and always has been; if the norm is correct doctrine, as Paul urges us to follow, then any departure from that by anyone makes that person the schismatic, not those who keep to correct doctrine.
Be diligent in the truthIt is our responsibility to follow truth with all our hearts. 1 Corinthians 13:6 love "does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth;" Yes, it is important to love our brothers and sisters, but love will correct those who follow the wrong path. If a family member of yours is blind folded and headed for a cliff, will you not tell him the truth? If you do not and that person falls over the cliff, then you are largely to blame for that person's death. It is the same in the church. If someone's teaching goes off the wall, then it is our responsibility, in love, to bring them back onto the wall.
2 Corinthians 4:2 "but we have renounced the things hidden because of shame, not walking in craftiness or adulterating the word of God, but by the manifestation of truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God." Are you adulterating the Word of God? Are you making light of the truth of the gospel? If the gospel is the message about salvation, you can bet your bottom dollar that the truth of the gospel is of utmost importance. It is literally a matter of life and death. Do you want to mess with this truth, and risk the lives of many? One of our defensive weapons against the devil's missiles is "belt" of truth. If truth was not so important, then why was it included in the armour of God? (Eph. 6:14).Why did God institute the ministries of apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher? So that we may no longer "be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming" (Ephesians 4:14). We must make sure that our lives before God is in order, but also that our teaching is in order. (1 Tim. 4:16)They cannot be separate. Proper doctrine will lead to proper lives before God. If doctrine does not lead to proper lives, then there is something wrong with doctrine. The truth sanctifies. We have to handle the word of truth correctly, and be diligent at it. I like the way Weymouth translated 2 Timothy 2:15, "Earnestly seek to commend yourself to God as a servant who, because of his straightforward dealing with the word of truth, has no reason to feel any shame." Titus 2:7 "in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified."
Oppose wrong doctrineWhen it comes to the importance of the gospel, Paul said that if anyone, himself, or an angel brings another gospel, he is to be cursed. These are harsh words. Yet, Paul was serious about it. Paul was very much against any teaching contrary to that which he received and preached. Why are we so lackadaisical about the truth? Have we no backbone, and that is why we cannot stand for the truth? Do we have the guts to tell people not to teach heresy? (1 Tim. 1:3). We are willing to tell people what they are not supposed to do (1 Tim. 1:10), but we always feel that we do not have the right to tell them what not to believe. Come on, we are told to warn those who teach false doctrine and refute them. Titus 1:9 tells us in no uncertain words that we can and need to refute gainsayers (those who bring opposite teachings), "holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict." 2 John 1:9-10 "Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting." This is harsh isn't it? The truth is important. We are in the days when relativity reigns supreme, and I am sad to say, that this relativity has crept into the church too. Much of the church have come to the point where whatever works is used as truth. This is especially so in the Charismatic part of the church. If it works, it has to be God, they say. Pragmatists. The time has come of what Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 4:3-4, "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths." Relativism has become the scourge of the church, as influenced by the world. "Just as long as I love them all is fine." There is little regard for the truth out there. When last did you even take up your Bible after Sunday church to check out of your pastor was Sovereign Truth; or, do you just accept that he will teach you correctly. I have heard from some, "But I am not the type of person to go check up on doctrine or theology. I just want to be blessed and go to heaven." Each of us has the responsibility to learn for ourselves what the truth is. Sure, we do have the four-fold ministry to bring us to maturity. But, when you have reached maturity you must look after your own life and doctrine. Are you still spoon-fed in church? Then maybe, just maybe, you are not mature yet. We are living in times when we are running out of time. Get up, take your Bible and study. Are you like one of those who will not endure sound doctrine? Come on, walk with Jesus in this. Show Him that you care about what He has given you. The truth of the Word. It is such a joy to study the Bible, to glean from it the sacred truths that give life, the doctrine that brings direction. May we always walk a life of truth, unwavering.
More verses on truth
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all
ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in