Truth

June 11, 2017  II Timothy 4:1 – 5  Truth 

 

    I have just read that according to one pole 71 % of Americans do not believe in absolute truth and that 40 % of people who call themselves Christians do not believe in absolute truth.  I think I am appalled and amazed at what I see in our nation today when it comes to truth.  The further we get from truth the riskier ground we are on as a nation.  There are many people today who will believe anything that those they like and trust they will believe them.  If they do not trust you they and like you they will not believe anything you say.  We have seen in Christian circles that folks are saying all roads or many roads lead to heaven.  Jesus said I am the way to heaven.  I believe truth is being assaulted today.  I believe that morals are being assaulted today and Perry Stone a bible teacher who also prophesy said that when America gets to the point where wrong is right and right is wrong we will be judged by God.  I agree with that.  We are on that path as a nation.  We seem to be going further and further from the bible and truth.  I think those of us in this church would say as a nation we are not doing better because of that. 

    A scuba diver told me that he had been in water so deep and dark that it was almost impossible to keep from becoming disoriented. What a terrifying feeling — being underwater, unable to see your hands in front of your face, not knowing which way is up, panic engulfing you. I asked my friend, “So what do you do?”  “Feel the bubbles,” he said.  “Feel the bubbles?” I asked.  “That’s right. When it’s pitch-black and you have no idea which way to go, you reach up with your hand and feel the bubbles. The bubbles always drift to the surface. When you can’t trust your feelings or judgment, you can always trust the bubbles to get you back to the top.”  Sometimes in life we get disoriented and desperate. At other times, we find ourselves drifting aimlessly. God knew we would need advice and instructions about how to live. In the sixty-six books of the Bible, we have a reality library — stories, letters, guidelines, and examples from God that tell us what is true and real.  — Terry Carter, Scott Duvall, and Daniel Hays, Preaching God’s Word (Zondervan, 2005

     I would hope today that as a church we will stand with Jesus and the bible. I would trust that we would do that as individuals and as a church.  Jesus said I am truth.  If you do not embrace truth you do not embrace Jesus.  If you lie you do not embrace Jesus.  Those that teach heresy reject Jesus.  Those that sweep things under the carpet, those that slant the story move away from Jesus and truth.   Everything that we see and hear today we should evaluate against the scriptures.  We need to see what the bible says.  The bible is being attacked today. Some would say you have your truth and I have my truth.  If your truth and my truth does not line up with God’s truth it is not good.   What good are words that are not true?  The world is full of junk.   In a sense man does not make truth.  The laws of science God gave us.  They are his truths.   They are his laws. 

    This is a conversation that Abraham Lincoln once had with one of his detractors:   Lincoln said, "Well, let’s see how many legs has a cow?"  "Four, of course," came the reply disgustedly.  "That’s right," agreed Lincoln. "Now suppose you call the cow’s tail a leg; how many legs would the cow have?"  "Why, five, of course," was the confident reply. "Now, that’s where you’re wrong," said Lincoln. "Calling a cow’s tail a leg doesn’t make it a leg."  Truth is truth.  There is a lot to say for good common sense. 

     Jesus is not popular today with many people.  There are many things in the bible that perhaps a majority of Americans do not like today.   They do not agree with the bible. They do not agree with the teaching of Jesus and the bible.  Will you stand with Jesus today?   Do you agree with the bible?  There are moral laws that are above what man thinks.  There is a standard that is higher than man. There is a push away from truth.  God is holy and ultimately, he will judge.  We will stand before God.  Jesus said the words that he spoke will judge us.  Jesus said not the smallest letter or the least stroke of the pen will not disappear from the law until everything is accomplished.  This book stands and all other ground is sinking sand. 

        All of us tend to avoid pain. Sometimes, though, avoiding pain can lead to much greater suffering. Consider the story of William “the Refrigerator” Perry.   Perry was a colorful defensive lineman for the Chicago Bears when they won the Super Bowl back in 1985.   His nickname fit him well, because he was big and wide.    Perry was also a friendly man with a wide grin.  Unfortunately for his grin, though he was a mammoth man playing in the tough world of the football trenches, he apparently was afraid of the dentist — so afraid that he didn’t go to the dentist for twenty years.   He didn’t go to the dentist even though his teeth and gums hurt terribly, even though his teeth began falling out.    Eventually he had lost half of his teeth — some he pulled out himself! — and his gums suffered chronic infection.   He was suffering!

     Finally, as he neared age forty-five, Perry went to a dentist, who had to pull out all of his remaining teeth, insert screws in his jaw, and implant new teeth — all of which would have cost him $60,000, except the dentist donated the procedure (apparently for the free publicity).  Now there’s a story every mother will tell her son when she tells him he has to go to the dentist or brush his teeth.   But this is also a story for all who avoid emotional and spiritual pain of any sort, for the body teaches you things about your soul.   There are a lot of things that can cause pain to the soul but actually bring health asking for help, hard work, repentance, looking honestly into our own souls, going to church, dealing with our problems, humbling ourselves, reading the Bible, listening to sermons, facing the truth.    This list goes on. It takes courage to face pain.   But as William Perry said of his new teeth, “It’s unbelievable.   And I love them. . . . I got tired of my mouth hurting all the time.”  Craig Brian Larson, “ ‘The Fridge’ Gets New Teeth,” Preachingtoday.com; source:

     Let’s not continue to hurt because we reject truth.   Let’s not continue to hurt because we do not obey Jesus.  What a terrible thing to neglect your soul.  We often live for the moment and do not consider how what we do today impacts life years later.    Often, we do not think how what we are doing today impacts eternity.  The wise person embraces Jesus and truth.  The spiritual healthy person embraces the bible and applies what it says to his or her life.  They are building their life on the solid rock and the floods are coming.  The storms are coming and we must draw near to Jesus. 
   Truth is very important.  People used to seek out wisdom and truth.  We think we are enlightened today and in some ways, we are but it seems we are getting further from true light.  Jack Nickelson in the movie a few good men yelled out you can’t handle the truth.  That is an interesting comment.  In many cases a lot of people steer away from truth.    People lie or cheat on their taxes.  People in politics lie and mislead.  Sometimes the news does not report the news.  It can be difficult to trust people today.  A study shows that 70 percent of nearly 70,000 U.S. college and high school students admit to cheating. This distressing statistic highlights a 14 percent increase since 1993, and a 44 percent hike since 1963. The Duke University report also indicated that Internet plagiarism has quadrupled in the past six years.  A separate poll of 25,000 high schoolers found that nearly half agreed with the statement “A person has to lie or cheat sometimes in order to succeed.” Culture Clips,” Plugged In (June 2006)   Did you get that?  Seventy per cent of college and 50% of high school students admit to cheating.  That article is over 10 years old.   That speaks of society today. 

    I believe we are living in the last days.   We are seeing a shift in morals in America and in the world.  What does the bible say about things in the last days?   In II Timothy 3 we read but mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days.   People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.   They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over gullible women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth. 

     Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these teachers oppose the truth.    They are men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected.   But they will not get very far because, as in the case of those men, their folly will be clear to everyone.  They reject the truth and they reject the faith.  They may reject truth but they will be judged by truth someday.  God is totally just and righteous.  Many people glorify sin today.  That attitude has been around for a long time.  I believe the people of Sodom and Gomorrah glorified sin.  It is not necessarily what men say is right it is what God says.  God is the judge.  God’s word will judge mankind.  God is the moral standard for the world.  There is truth above man’s thoughts.  There is a standard that is higher than man often desires.  There are laws and truth that transcends man.  Thank you, God.  There is a push for tolerance today.  I would say hell is not tolerant.

       There are many who are corrupt in business practices.  Have you ever worked for a place that you made uncomfortable in how they did business?  Have you ever been asked to cheat in business?  It can be tough to stand up for what the bible says.  Lots righteous soul was vexed with the sin around him. 

      George Galatis, an engineer at Millstone Nuclear Power Station in Waterford, Connecticut, found several unsafe practices at his plant.  Federal guidelines required the Millstone plant to store only one-third of spent fuel rods in holding pools, but Galatis found all of the hot fuel had been dumped into them.  Also, fuel was unloaded just 65 hours after a shutdown, far sooner than the mandated period of 250 hours.  Supervisors winked at the routine violations, knowing they were saving millions through shortcuts.  Fearing the violations could threaten thousands of lives, Galatis told a colleague they should contact the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).  The friend warned him, “You do that and you’re dogmeat.”  Galatis urged plant managers to stop the hazardous practices, but they refused. Since many of his supervisors were churchgoers, he was baffled. “This was not splitting hairs,” Galatis says. “These were moral issues.” Galatis warned his supervisors what could happen: eventual shutdown, decommissioning of the plants, and criminal investigations.  But after two years nothing had changed except other workers’ attitudes toward Galatis.  When he sat down in the cafeteria, coworkers left.   When he entered a meeting, the room fell silent.   Rumors spread that he was an alcoholic.   His performance evaluation took a hit.  Galatis searched for God’s guidance, rising every morning at 4:00 a.m. to pray and read Scripture.

      During lunch breaks, he drove to a secluded place to pray and search the Bible. During one of these prayer times Galatis believed God whispered to him, “Will you die for me?”  Though he feared for his safety, Galatis realized there were many ways of dying; his livelihood, his reputation, and his family could also be destroyed.   Previous whistleblowers’ families had broken under intense emotional strain.   Northeast Utilities, owner of the nuclear plants, would likely hire one of the nation’s top law firms to fight him.  Still, he pressed on.   He contacted the NRC, asking the government agency to suspend Millstone’s license.   As the petition became public, pressure at work increased. Coworkers confronted him, calling him a fool and troublemaker.   He was harassed for months.   After four years of battling Millstone, Galatis finally got a severance agreement and left.   The NRC never suspended Millstone’s license, but three reactors were shut down for repairs at a cost of over $1 billion.  A criminal investigation was launched.  Galatis went on to graduate from seminary and is now a pastor.  Adam Bowles, “A Cry in the Nuclear  Wilderness,” Christianity Today  His Christians friends and supervisors abandoned him. 

   Let’s embrace truth.  I am a child of God.   I am forgiven.  I am on my way to heaven.   God is going to bless me.  God loves me.   God wants to do great things through my life.  God has a good plan for me.  I have the mind of Jesus.  I have peace.  I have hope.  I have joy.  I walk in victory.  I walk in his presence.  I am free.   I am blessed.  My life is important.  I have victory.  I will not be condemned.  I have a home in heaven.  Some may say this nothing more than name it and claim it.  Well I think we need to speak the word of God.  God loves me is better than saying no one loves me.

    It is better to say God has a plan for me than saying my life is useless.  Let’s speak it out loud often that God is with me and in my house and in my children and God is going to use us for his glory.  All of my family will know Jesus and go to heaven.  If that is name it and claim it I am guilty.  I will; walk in victory and I will walk in God’s grace.  Jesus said you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.  Truth God’s truth will set people free.  Joyce Meyer said about the woman with the issue of blood.  She said if I can just touch the hem of his garment I will be healed.  Is that name it and claim it?  I don’t know but she got healed.  Jesus said your faith has healed you.  Let’s walk in truth.  Let’s walk in faith.