(1/12) Introduction - Speaking the Truth in Love
I. The Condition of our Country
About a year ago Pastor David Jeremiah wrote a book based on a series of sermons he did called, I Never Thought I Would See the Day, subtitled, Culture at the Crossroads. In his introduction he says, "As I wake up and scan todayís headlines, I am often tempted to say, ĎToto, we are not on America anymore.í"
I am part of the generation that has seen a total shift in our countries beliefs and values. If you are younger than fifty, chances are that you grew up with many of the current values and beliefs already in place. We have embraced things that 60 years ago no one would have ever believed would be possible in this country. Many call this progress, but
many also believe it is the beginning of the end of a great country.
This shift and the changes in our country are largely due to 8 great lies that our country has embraced, (as well as many countries in the world) and not only embraced but teach as truth to our children.
Last week I finished what was intended to be a short series for Christmas, called Christmas According to Jesus and we looked at 4 passages of Scripture in which Jesus our Lord said, "This is why I came or why I was born." The last was, to speak and show the truth from John 18:37. The Truth was probably and primarily referring to the truth about God,
the truth of the sinful condition of man, the truth about how to be saved, the truth about heaven and hell, about Satan, about religion and more. The Bible tells us these things and more. It tells us that Jesus is the truth, that He speaks the truth, that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth, that the Bible is the Truth, that the commandments are all truth, and that God is
the God of Truth.
But like Pilate, America and some of the world has adopted the philosophy that no one really knows the truth, or has the truth, and that truth is subjective and relative; that is, there is no such thing as absolute truth or morals. Last week we read from a Barna poll that said that over 75% of adults and 85% of teens do not believe in absolute truth.
And the figures are not much different among those who claim to be born again.
What has happened? I believe that Satan has come up with a strategy to bring down a nation that had risen to greatness on the coat tails of faith in God, Jesus Christ, and His Word-the Bible. Our Lord Jesus told us in John 8:40ff, "But now you seek to kill Me, a Man who has told you the truth which I heard from God. Abraham did not do this. 41 You do
the deeds of your father." Then they said to Him, "We were not born of fornication; we have one FatheróGod." 42 Jesus said to them, "If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me. 43 Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. 44 You are of your father the
devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. 45 But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me. 46 Which of you convicts Me of sin? And if I tell the truth, why do
you not believe Me? 47 He who is of God hears Godís words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God."
When I got home last Sunday, I felt an urge to continue a series based off of last weekís sermon. We will continue with our Words in Red after Easter. Until then we will do two series. This one is called, 8 Great Lies that America has Embraced. 7 of these have been on our life time, the 8th began in the 19th century. What I want to do today and in the
8 weeks ahead is to show and tell you the truth, so that you can in turn can show and tell the truth in love to your children, grandchildren, family, friends, and other acquaintances. Now, there are probably more than these 8 lies, and if you have questions or believe that you would like to hear the truth about some others, let me know and maybe we will address them after
Easter. But here are the 8 that I believe we should address for now:
- 1-19 - #1. The Birth or Aborting of a Baby is a womanís right to choose
- 1-26 - #2. Same Sex Relationships are normal and should be accepted as good
- 2-2- #3. Cohabitation is a viable alternative to marriage
- 2-9- #4. Men and Women are equal in every way
- 2-16- #5. Evolution explains our existence
- 2-23- #6. Pluralism is to be respected as no religion is exclusive
- 3-2- #7. There must be Separation of Church and State
- 3-9- #8. Truth is Relative and there is no such thing as Absolute Truth
But I must tell you that this isnít a series to condemn our nation, that is Godís job and not ours, nor is the purpose to rant and rave about the sins that we have embraced. This is not a hell-fire and brimstone series. Rather, this is to show you what the Bible says, and what the facts are, so that you can know, and show others.
II. The Church Ė
Let me remind you again, as I will throughout this series, that the Purpose of the Church is to continue the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. It is not a building we go to, or what we do when we gather, it is about what we do when you leave our gathering. We are to be Salt and Light in a dark and decaying world just as Jesus was. I skipped one
message I was going to do for Christmas about Jesus coming to give Sight and Satisfaction from John 9 and 10. But that is part of what we are to do as well. People are blinded by Satan. John calls him the deceiver. Rev. 12:9 says, "So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his
angels were cast out with him." We who have come into the light and have had the eyes of our understanding enlightened, are to be the bearers of light and truth to those who are still in darkness. This is why Jesus called us and saved us; not to just meet in Holy Huddles on Sunday and then blend in with the culture during the week. We are, as Paul said, to be as bright stars
on a dark night. Phil. 2:14-16 says, "Do all things without complaining and disputing, 15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast the word of life,Ö"
Do you understand this? Peter says, "But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy" (1 Peter
But we are to do it like Jesus did. And here in is a problem.
III. The Criticism -
The Church has been criticized and vilified as a right wing group of judgmental bigots who are graceless and condemning and do not reflect the light and life of Jesus. As I have said many times we are noted more for what we are against than what we are for. To make matters worse, there are groups like the Westboro Baptist Church that protests at
military funerals and carry signs pronouncing Godís hatred of Homosexuals and more. High profile church leaders have been caught in homosexual or adulterous situations and much of America labels the church as hypocritical and uninviting.
IV. The Challenge Ė
The challenge of this series includes several things
A. To show you the truth from Godís word. I want you to at least have in your hands or notebooks, what the Bible says about these lies.
B. I want you to be able to do more than condemn, rather, I want you to love the sinners who have embraced these lies and with grace and love, show them the truth.
C. I want you to be able to sit down with your children and grandchildren and show them from the Bible what God says about these lies.
D. I want you to be able to offer, Faith, Hope, Grace, Forgiveness, and Love to blinded people.
E. I want you to be able to discuss the truth, not just preach. I want you to be able to listen to their reasons for embracing what we know to be lies. I want you to know how they were deceived and hear their emotions and maybe feel their pain. This- Jesus our Lord did. This is why sinners felt comfortable around Him. He did not approve of their sin,
but He loved them, spoke truth, and offered grace. We must do the same.
V. The Context Ė (2 Tim. 2:19-26)
Our text and context is from Paulís second letter to Timothy and his last recorded words to anyone. He is in prison and his impending death is a sure. This is scripture but it is a very personal letter from a Father to a Son. Though Paul was more of a Spiritual Father, Timothy was his son in the faith. I understand that, There is a young man that is
not my son, nor did I lead him to Jesus, but I feel as if he is my son. Persecution is spreading from the Jews to the Gentiles. Rome under Nero is targeting Christians as enemies of the state. Paul is urging Timothy to stand strong in a world that is getting worse and worse morally, and politically. Donít cave, and donít quit. Be like a farmer, who endures the heat, the cold,
the drought, and more to produce a crop. Be like a soldier that lives to follow orders even it results in death. Be a servant that wants to honor and please his benevolent master. But in order to do this Timothy you must Know and Speak the truth.
Even within the church, false teachings and false teachers are rising and this is part of what Paul tells his young protťgť, "19 Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: "The Lord knows those who
are His," and, "Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity." 20 But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. 21 Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work. 22
Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife. 24 And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, 25 in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them
repentance, so that they may know the truth, 26 and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will." (2 Tim. 2:19-26).
VI. Confronting the Lies Ė
Paul gives us several principles to bear in mind as we confront our culture with the truth. I know that the primary context is about those with twisted views of salvation, sin, and sanctification, but the principles are the same. Are you ready?
A. Check Your Character. Have I personally departed from iniquity (v. 19), and am I pursuing righteousness (v.22). Because if I am toying or continuing any sinful behavior for which Jesus died to redeem, I have lost my effectiveness as a witness to the truth. This is not speaking about what I have confessed and been forgiven of from my past. This is
what am I doing now. Your changed character is the first step in the right to be heard. You do not want anyone to be able to say truthfully, "You are a hypocrite." Now they may still say it about your past, but you know that if you have confessed and forsaken it you have been forgiven and have the right to speak the truth.
B. Donít argue. Discuss. Dialog. Talk and Listen, "And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel" (v. 24) In an argument you can win the battle and lose the war. In an argument both sides just want to win and be the rightest. In a discussion or dialog, you spend as much time trying to learn and understand the other personís perception and why they believe
what they do and in turn you can share the truth in a way that a person is more likely to think about it. In an argument people often leave feeling wounded or angry and the focus is on the arrogance of the other person. In a dialog or discussion each person can focus on what is being said.
C. Know the Truth and Teach the Truth. Listen the issue is the truth, not the personís sin and Iíll explain why in a moment. Ė A servant of the Lord mustÖ be able to teach." (v. 24). What does the Bible say and Why does it say it? Thatís why I want to give you in depth notes these next 8 weeks. That means you must study your Bible. American Christians
are woefully, Biblically ignorant. We may know what we believe, but often we donít know why we believe it. We canít pick up the Bible and use it. This takes time and intentional effort but as the world gets darker and darker and deeper and deeper entrenched in lies, we must be the source of light and truth. This is another wonderful purpose for small discipleship gatherings.
D. Be Like Jesus Ė This is a combination of all I have said. Verses. 24 -25 says, "And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, 25 in humility correcting those who are in opposition." Jesus was a friend of sinners and inviting, not because He was a wimp but because He keep His strength under control of Godís
Holy Spirit. The only place in the New Testament where Jesus describes Himself He says. "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." (Matt. 11:28-29). The only people that Jesus got ticked with and blasted were religious
hypocrites who knew the truth and distorted it to their own advantage. See those words Gentle, Patient, Humility. Paul reminds us as well in Galatians 6 to remember that we are only sinners saved by grace without which we would be no different than those entrapped in the lies. Look at Gal. 6:1-3, "Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore
such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. 2 Bear one anotherís burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. 3 For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself." Without these qualities of Christlikeness, we come across as holier than thou, and while position-ally we are, practically we are not. We
are saved because of Godís grace and nothing else. But oh how often do we forget that and we think we are something?
E. Remember people are not your enemy, they are victims of the enemy. V. 26 says, "and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will." By the lies and deception Satan has captured the hearts of Americans and people all over the world who follow his lies and think they okay. The
abortionist and the homosexual, the evolutionist, and more are not your enemies. They are victims of the enemy caught in his trap even as you and I were, but Jesus loves us and died for victims of the enemy.
F. Trust God to Change hearts- as you show and speak the truth in love. Look one more time at verses 24-26, "And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, 25 in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, 26 and that they may come
to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will." You and I have no ability to save a soul or change a soul that is caught in Satanís trap of lies. But when you and I show and tell the truth in love and humility, God is able to take that truth and penetrate a hard heart and set it free. Let me give you just one more.
G. Remember you may be but a link in chain that God is using to show the light and truth. Other circumstances, other discussions, other people may be necessary to show and confirm the truth that God will use to change minds and hearts. When you speak the truth in love, you are confirming what others have said and you never know when the light will come
on for the person.
I hope that part of your New Yearís desires is to know and be able to show the truth of Godís word in a world that has embraced Satanís lies.
Do you know the truth of how to be right with God and how to know that you are forgiven and have eternal life" I would to be able to tell you. If you arenít sure, then before you leave here today, just say, "Pastor Gary I want to know the truth."
If this has blessed you or you would like to know more, please write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Read other thoughtful writings by Pastor Gary Buchman