WHAT IS TRUTH?
PART FOUR – THY WORD IS TRUTH
What is truth? That is the question of the hour—because in this world where the truth seems hard to come by, we need to know what the truth is. And the truth is that we as Christians don’t have to be at a loss like the lost are. We have the answer for this world and the things contained in it because there are things the Lord has given us that clearly reveal to us what the truth is.
We learned in the first part of this series that there is the spirit of antichrist—the spirit of error—in this world and it is dictating much of what we see that is mainstream. And as I’ve stated several times, if it’s mainstream, it is likely going downstream—yes, downstream like a river, taking everything towards destruction. But we learned that when we heard the word of truth—the gospel—a paddle was put in our hands to turn our boat around and head upstream against the current of this world.
A couple of weeks ago, we began answering the question of this series—What is truth?—and I began by giving you a specific definition that the Holy Spirit gave me when I asked Him this same question that Pilate asked Jesus. He told me that the “Truth is—that which is not hidden, which makes God known.”
So, as we considered this definition, we saw that the Lord first described truth by what it is not by saying that it is something “which is not hidden.” In fact, when He gave me this definition, I didn’t know it at the time, but when you look up the root word for “truth” in the New Testament—the word aletha—you’ll find that it describes something not hidden and unconcealed. So, the definition he gave me certainly lined up with the literal definition of the words used in the Bible for truth.
But since the Holy Spirit began by telling me what the truth was not, what this means is that at its core, truth is the exact opposite of hiding and concealing things. In other words, truth is the exact opposite of a lie as God and the devil are contrary to one another. So, we spent a week talking about the fundamental difference between the truth and a lie.
Then last week, we got into the second half of this definition of truth where the Holy Spirit said that the truth is that “which makes God known”: I explained how when the Holy Spirit shared this with me that I began seeing how all the examples of truth that I had come to know in the Scriptures all illustrated this.
And the first one I would venture to say we all think of when we think of the truth is JESUS, right? Yes, I suppose that most of us would immediately gravitate towards that statement by Jesus in John 14:6 where we have one of the most powerful proclamations of Himself that He ever uttered— “I am the way, the truth, and the life …” That’s right, Jesus didn’t just have truth or speak truth; He was the truth. But as we saw, He was not just the truth; He is the truth yesterday, today, and forevermore.
We looked at Hebrews 13:8 that declares that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever—which means that the truth is the same today, yesterday, and forever.
You see, this is one of the fruits that indicate what the truth is— Truth is found in the consistency of it. Yes, when it comes to where our faith needs to be and what we build our lives on, it needs to be on the One who never changes, the One who is the same today as He was yesterday and the one who will still be the same tomorrow as He is today. This is Jesus!
But oh, how the truth seems to always be changing, doesn’t it? It’s evolving with the times and today we are seeing the world around us adopting certain mindsets and belief systems that were unheard of just decades ago. This should not be so with the church of the Lord Jesus Christ! Like the truth Himself, we ought to be the same yesterday, today, and forever—understanding that the truth that we heard from Him 2,000 years ago is still true today and we do not move off of it.
We looked at John 1:14-18 that states that Jesus came full of grace and truth—which is a good illustration of this point that in the church today there is a little too much absence of truth in the emphasis of His grace.
Now you know that I am certainly big on His grace—understanding that it is only by His grace that we can be saved, and it is only by His grace that we can grow and increase. But the mistake I see a lot of the church making in this generation is that in making such a strong emphasis on His unconditional love and grace, the truth—absolutes in His kingdom—are not being held in high esteem and proclaimed to the people. But the “truth” is that Jesus was full of both of these things: Yes, He came to reveal to us God’s goodness & grace, and we see that on full display throughout His life and ministry. But at the same time, He never compromised the truth of God. Rather, He boldly proclaimed it in the face of the hypocrisy that had permeated Israel.
So, we asked the question: If Jesus were to be the guest speaker of a church today, what would He preach? What truth would He have come to deliver? I made the point that you can be sure that it would not be just sweet & kind. No, it might ruffle a lot of feathers because it would be vastly different than so many traditional Sunday morning sermons today, because it would contain some rebuke, reproof, correction, and warning. I know this because just look at what He ministered 2,000 years ago. So, if He has not changed, then the truth He came to deliver would not change either.
So, Jesus came to tell us the truth—it is that God is good and merciful. It is that He loves the sinner and seeks to save the lost. But it is also to tell the sinner to repent and to declare the true way to God. Amen.
HIS WORD IS TRUTH
Now in that definition the Lord gave me of truth, I saw how Jesus perfectly fit that description of the truth because Jesus was not hidden. He came from heaven to earth to show us the way to eternal life. So, He was not hidden, but came for all to see—and He came to make God known so that we could see the true nature and will of our Father. As Jesus said, “If you have seen Me, you have seen the Father” (John 14:9). Therefore, Jesus was not hidden, and He most definitely made God known.
But another thing that popped up into my head when the Holy Spirit spoke this to me was that the Word of God, which is also described as truth, fits this description as well. And this shouldn’t surprise us because Jesus and the Word are one and the same.
You see, the apostle John revealed to us that Jesus, who was in the beginning, was the Word (John 1:1). So, there is really no difference between Jesus and the Word. If you’ve seen one, you’ve seen the other.
And like Jesus, the Word of God has also not been hidden. The Lord has made sure that His Word has “run swiftly” throughout the whole world. It is not hard to get ahold of a Bible in most countries and He also made sure to preserve it during dark times where people have tried to snuff it out. Not only has His Word not been hidden from us, but it also makes God known to us in that it reveals His character, will, and purpose to us. Yes, next to the Holy Spirit who inspired the Scriptures, the Bible gives us the knowledge and truth of God more than anything else.
And we have plenty of references in the Scriptures to God’s Word being the truth. So, this week, let’s look at some of the examples we have of God’s Word being truth …
The first and most obvious example is found in John chapter 17: In this chapter, we have Jesus’ prayer before His arrest later that evening. He prays for His disciples in verses 6-19 and in this prayer, He says this— “I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.” (Verses 14-19)
So, what Jesus is describing here is how His disciples had received God’s Word from Him and, as a result, they were no longer of the world and the world hated them just as the world hated Him. So, they were in essence “sanctified”—that is, set apart & different—by the truth. And Jesus then said in verse 17— “Your Word is truth.”
So here, we have one of our most concrete statements that God’s Word is the truth in the entire Bible. But Psalm 119—which is widely known to be a chapter of the Bible that is completely devoted to the subject of the Word of God—has a verse that summarizes this point as well. Verse 160 says, “The entirety of Your word is truth, and every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever.”
Notice that it is the entirety of God’s Word that is truth, not just portions of it. That doesn’t mean that every word in it is true. There were things in it that people were quoted as saying and other things people did that were not in accord with the truth, but the overall “Word” that we receive from the Scriptures is certainly true. Not only that, but Psalm 119:160 goes on to say that it “endures forever”—meaning that it does not change with the times but is just as true today as it was when it was written. Amen?
Church, this is something we can absolutely hang our hats on—that God’s Word is the absolute truth. If we want to find truth, we go to the Scriptures. If we want to be better equipped to avoid the lie, we give heed to the Scriptures. His Word—the entirety of it—is truth. Of this, we can be certain.
And this is what Jesus taught us in John chapter 17—that His Word is what keeps us and separates us from the evil and deception found in this world. Jesus said that the Word—His truth—is what set His disciples apart from the rest of the world. It is what makes us think and act differently. It is what gives us the mind of Christ and causes us to be more Christ-like. And it is what protects us from he who is in the world. Sounds a lot like what we have been learning in the series, doesn’t it?
But I’m here to tell you today that the Word of God is not just information that is true which helps keep us from being deceived; it is life that will both cultivate the ground of our heart so that we think more like Him and less like the world and it will also equip us to survive any storm that this world will throw at us in the future.
BREAKING UP THE FALLOWED GROUND
Do you remember in Jesus’ Parable of the Sower how He described four different conditions of hearts, and the first one was the ground “by the wayside”?
This ground was alongside of the path well-traveled. That’s why it was so hard and compacted to where the seed could not even penetrate it. That is descriptive of those who are too close to the world, and the more worldly they are, the less likely the truth can get in their hearts.
Well, if one’s heart is currently in this condition, a good question would be—How do they “till” this ground and make it good ground that can receive the seed—which is His Word, the gospel of truth?
The Lord once showed me the answer to this question: Second Timothy 2:15 says, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
So, what we see here is how we can eliminate the wayside ground from our heart:
First of all, it takes diligence! It’ll take work, and you need to understand that! That ground did not get that way overnight. It has taken years to get compacted like it has. So, it isn’t going to get softened overnight. It will require diligently working that ground. How?
By, first of all, being a laborer of that field who is unspotted from the world—that is, not conformed to the world. This worker is not half-hearted and double-minded. They have removed themselves from the world and have set their hand to the plow, not looking back. Amen? This echoes what we’ve seen in Romans 12:1&2—that the first and foremost key to not being conformed to the world is by the renewal of our mind.
Finally, Paul tells us this by telling Timothy how we do this: By rightly dividing the Word of Truth! So, the way we break up that wayside ground and make it good ground again is by “cutting straight lines” (Lit. “rightly dividing”) in it—which comes through rightly dividing the Word. This could be described as cutting furrows in the ground before planting seed.
Saints, the key to seeing that wayside ground changed is diligence in the Word of God—letting His Word renew your mind through diligent study, reading and meditation. As the Apostle Paul says in Second Timothy 2:15—this is what digs and lays straight furrows in that ground which has been packed down through the world’s counsel and philosophies.
So, as Hosea 10:12 says, “break up your fallow ground.” This means to break up that untilled ground so that the seed you sow gets where it can perform what it is meant to perform! Amen.
EQUIPPED FOR THE STORM
So, that is how we change a prior & current condition. What about preparing us for future obstacles?
In Second Timothy 3:16-17, this is what the apostle Paul said concerning God’s Word and how it can prepare us for these storms: In this passage of Scripture he says, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
In verse 17 when Paul says that with the Word of God we will be “thoroughly equipped” for every good work, I want us to look at what this meant in Paul’s days. The Greek word that was used to translate “thoroughly equipped” described a boat that was completely outfitted and decked out with all the little trinkets that they would need to survive any storm and get to the other side. So what Paul was saying was— “God’s Word will well-equip you, not only to survive the storms of life, but also to get you to the other side!” Yes, it will set you apart to where you are not like every other boat in the harbor. Yours will have all that it will need to weather the storms that are most certainly coming upon this earth.
Well, I am reminded of the story of when Jesus constrained His disciples to get into the boat and go to the other side? Now they did this knowing that there was a storm awaiting them or else He wouldn’t have had to make them (i.e., constrain) do it. Well, in one account, Jesus being the truth gave them the Word beforehand saying, “Let us go to the other side.” He did not say, “Let us go halfway and then drown because of the winds and waves of the storm.” No, He showed them that He intended for them to get to their destination and not perish in the storm.
Likewise, Jesus has already given us His Word—the truth. He said in John 16:33, “In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world!” We too have this promise that, although the winds and waves will try and destroy us, we can rejoice because we have God’s Word that we will make it to the other side. You see, this is the power of God’s Word! If He said it, we are going to make it if we will just put faith in His Word!
So, here is the conclusion to the matter—you and I and entire world for that matter have been given the opportunity to know the truth and let that truth make us free—free from deception, the devil, and everything else that does not take us toward Christ likeness.
But it’s going to take us being more than just a believer; we have to become disciples—those who diligently continue in His Word and study to show ourselves approved.
As we cultivate the ground of our heart by letting His Word break up the fallowed ground, we are better equipped to receive the word of truth and produce its fruit. And then, when storms come in this world around us, we won’t be moved because His Word is what we are grounded on, and we know we will get to the other side.
His Word is truth and if we want to be kept from the deception, we must hide His Word in our hearts. Amen?