Community Bible Chapel
Tuesday, July 23, 2019
A place to grow.... where everybody is somebody and Jesus Christ is Lord.
 7/2/17   The Church – God’s Workplace  -  Keeper of the Truth
 

Humanist John Dewey (1859-1952), co-author and signer of the Humanist Manifesto 1 (1933), declared, "There is no God and there is no soul. Hence, there are no needs for the props of traditional religion. With dogma and creed excluded, then immutable truth is also dead and buried. There is no room for fixed, natural law or moral absolutes." Humanists believe one should do, as one feels is right.”

          -That’s where we get the whole “follow your heart” philosophy that most of

the world and much of the church lives by.

-And I will add that that philosophy is the cause of untold heartache and

 hopelessness in the world today.
 

I invite you to join me in I Timothy 3:15

-I want to revisit our theme verse for the year I want to speak to the church’s

responsibility as the Keeper of the Truth.

          -Paul is writing this letter to Timothy and giving him instructions to help this

 church as it struggled in the midst of a very pagan culture.

          -There was false teaching and arguments in the church.

          -The church in Ephesus was much like the church today – struggling to be authentic

 and relevant in the midst of a self absorbed culture.

          -The beginning of the chapter speaks to the qualifications of Elders and Deacons.

          -Then Paul makes a personal statement about trying to come to visit

                   Pastor Timothy and the church in Ephesus.

READ I Timothy 3:14-16

          -Now, we spent some time on this passage back in January.

-Today I want to focus in on the statement that Paul makes about the church being

 the “pillar and foundation of the truth”.

Let’s look at the three main terms that make up this statement.

What is truth?

-The Moody Handbook of Theology gives a definition that is fully

agreed upon in every secular dictionary I looked at.

                             “Truth means that the facts conform to reality.”

          -Now, when we consider truth, Theology . . . what we believe about God . . . has a

 large impact on our understanding of truth.

          -Since the world doesn’t believe there is a God, they place themselves in the

 center of reality and thus can make up their own truth.

-But as you and I understand that God exists, it stands to reason . . . and we have

 seen . . . that God is truth.

          -Meaning that the facts of this world conform to the reality that God is

the Creator and sustainer of all things.

          -So, for us to understand the truth in any issue or event that happens in this

 world, we have to see it’s facts in conformity to the reality of who God is.

          -So, whether we are looking at issues of sexuality, abortion, education, or how I    

 should spend the money I have in my pocket, I need to evaluate it by the

 truth of who God is.

                   -So, as I live and make decisions by my intellect, feelings, or natural

 impulses, I will only live by truth as those conform the reality

the truth of God. 

          -So when our culture pushes us to live in a way that is “true to myself”, what

 is it claiming?

                   -One thing that statement claims is that I am the absolute source of

 truth that I will live by.

-It says that I don’t have to look beyond myself.

-It means that I believe that God (if He exists) isn’t the standard of truth.

                   -Let me warn you today, if you have bought into that standard of living,

                             you better brace yourself, because your standard of living will  

                             eventually come into a collision with the truth that is outside of         

you and comes to you in the truth of God. 

                   -That may be a fender bender or a train wreck depending on how closely

or distant your “truth” is to the truth of God.

          -That is going to happen because truth is involved in all the events of our lives.

-When I leave church and get in an accident, I can only view that truthfully

as I include God and His Word into it.

                   -Some may claim demons, others may claim the other person was responsible,

 some may claim that God is punishing them, but are those truth?

                   -The truth is that God allowed that to happen to grow me more like Jesus.

                   -The truth is that God has good intent for that accident.  (Rom 8)

          -The reality always matches the God of truth.

          -The world will always be confused and struggle with how the facts match reality

because it doesn’t believe God exists.

          -If you don’t start with “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth”

you have zero chance to get truth right.

          -So we need to make sure we have the right starting point. . .

                   that there is truth and that truth is defined by the character of God.

                  
X  Where do we find truth

          -We witness an accident from the north corner of the street and we

                             are able to give a true account of what we saw.

                   -But the person standing on the south corner gives an account that is

 different than ours, but also true from their perspective.

 

                   -We might say, “see the world is right – truth is relative as both people saw

 the accident and gave true accounts.

                   -But if we stop there, we will be deceived about truth.

                   -No matter what either saw from their perspective, there is a true

 account of the accident that either or neither saw.

                   -Truth is not relative to our perspective, there is an actual truth whether

we saw it or not.

          -The key is to line up my perspective with what is true and not assume that

my perspective is necessarily true.

          -Since I’m coming from the assumption that we are all here and agree that

                   the God of the Bible is real, let me carry that into where we find truth.

          -If God is truth, then truth comes from Him as well.

          -We find truth in God because God is the only One who sees things as         

they truly are.
     -How do we find truth in God?

          -It’s found in His revelation to us and through His Spirit (who is also true)

                   enlightening it to our hearts.

          -God reveals Himself to us in two main ways.

                   General revelation – through His creation.

                             -We see that God is faithful when the sun comes up each day.

                             -We see that God is powerful when we see lightning.

                             -The physical world speaks to His perfect character.

                             -And we might question why bad things happen?

                             -And of course God has told us that the physical world is cursed in sin,

so we have to be careful when we look at it, because it does not

 always appear as God created it to be.

                                      -Natural disasters happen not because God is not good,

but because this world is cursed in sin.
                   Special revelation

                             -Jesus claimed to be the “truth” in John 14:6, and Jesus claimed

“God’s Word is truth” in John 17:17.

                             -God has revealed Himself in His Son and in His Word

so we could know truth.

                             -Through it, not only do we have truth, but it helps us to understand

God’s general revelation by truth.

          -I spoke to a woman this week who questioned why her life was a mess if God

                   was so good.

                   -She was evaluating God by her life and she was angry at God

and very depressed.
 
 

                   -But if she turned that around and evaluated her life by the truth of God’s

 Word, she would see herself differently, see God differently and she

would find the hope that God has for her.

          -God’s revelation to us is true – it tells the truth about who God is, who we are,

why the world is the way it is, and how it will end.

Now, since God is truth, what is the church’s responsibility toward it?.

X Pillar of truth

          -A pillar is an upright post that holds something up.

-Temple of Diana was in Ephesus and was one of the 7 wonders of the world.

          -It had over 100 massive pillars which held up its massive marble roof.

          -So the Ephesians would have been familiar with pillars.

          -In a similar way, the church is the pillar of the truth – it holds up the Word of

God for all to see its beauty and wisdom.

          -That my brothers and sisters is a heavy weight of responsibility and one we

need seriously consider.

          1.  -One thing that we need to understand is that the church holds up the truth . . .

 it is not the truth itself.

                   -I want to make sure that we understand that distinction as some parts

                             of the Christian faith have claimed equal authority with the truth

of the Scripture.

                   -That is a false teaching that has lead many astray.

          -The church certainly has authority as God’s instrument to uphold the truth,

but in and of itself, the church is not the truth, it is designed by God

to uphold the truth.

          2.  The tool the church has to uphold truth is the Word of God.

-The church holds up the Word of God as it teaches and lives in obedience

to it’s wonderful wisdom.

                    -The church holds up truth by loving and cherishing it because of the

 abundant life it brings to us.

          -If there were no church, the truth would fall to the ground and be trampled.

                   -Not that it would end being true, but there would be nobody holding it up

because the World doesn’t believe in it.
Foundation of truth

          -We established in the first week of the year that the church’s corner stone

is Christ and is built on Him.

          -The rest of the foundation and building is the church – believers down through

the ages who have held up the Word of life for all to see and come too.

          -That means that we can read the writings of old and gain knowledge

of the truth that they left for us.

          -So we don’t stand on truth alone – we stand firmly in the teachings of all

those who have taught the truth in the past.

          -Commentaries that have spoken on God’s truth from the past remain valuable

to us today.

          -Their writings helped them hold up the truth just as we do today.

          -While the world is working to destroy the knowledge of the truth, the church is

charged with the responsibility of upholding God’s revealed truth.

 
X  How do we hold up the truth?

          -The church both upholds and protects the truth, but it doesn’t do that very well

by arguing or condemning people.   

-The church holds up the truth best by living it out among a broken world.

                    John 17:17 says “Sanctify them by your truth, your Word is truth.”

          -That sanctification means growing closer to the truth of God’s Word.

                   -As we work to understand it and apply it and obey it, we grow farther

                             from our own ideas about life and how we want to live it and closer to

                             the life God is re-creating us to live.

                    -As we mature in the truth and live closer to it, the truth is held up for

all the world to see. 

                   -That helps us to understand how God is working in my life and in the world.

-That helps us to come alongside others who are struggling.

                   -That allows us to praise God and worship Him in the midst of difficult

-So we hold up truth best by living according to it.

 
X  My Place in God’s Church:  
II Tim 2:20-21

“In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for special purposes and some for common use. Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.”

 

-Out of all the institutions that God has allowed throughout the world

 and throughout all time, only the Church of the Living God has been called to

be “the pillar and foundation of the truth”.

          -We have been chosen for special purposes in God’s household.

          -And we all have the responsibility to cleanse ourselves from wood and clay and

 become as gold – useful to the Master.

As we consider how we are to live by truth, I think we all can think of a time when we left

 truth naked.

-Where we spoke the truth and left someone bleeding as we beat them over

the head with it.

-Let me finish with two stories of how to clothe truth for God’s glory.

 
     Truth Clothed in Wisdom

          -Eph 5:15 “Be careful how you life, not as unwise, but as wise.”

-And you might ask, PJ, what does that look like? 

How do I live the truth of God’s Word wisely?

          -I can say that when my kids were young, I didn’t live God’s truth as wisely as

I would have liked.

          -Paul Tripp in New Morning Mercies this week gave a great example naked truth

without wisdom looks like.

“Late on Thursday night, you go into your teenager’s room and ask him something.  You can barely open the door because of the debris that is in the way.  There are dirty clothes, spoiled food items, and pieces of tech gear in a tangled pile from yesteryear.  You can’t believe it!  You have had enough!  So you explode: ‘I never thought one of my children would turn out to be such a slob.  Don’t you have an ounce of self-respect?  I should take every piece of your junk and lock it away and leave you in an empty room until you put on your big-boy pants and grow up.” 

Now, you and I both know that we have been there.

          -We have spoken truth – maybe a bit exaggerated, but we are making a point

 that my teenager needed to hear, so it’s warranted.

          -But did they hear the truth when it was presented without wisdom

                   or did they just hear the foolish ranting of a lunatic?

Tripp answered for us  “Your teenager is not saying to himself:  ‘My, this is helpful.  This is truly wise person who is saying very helpful things to me.  I am so thankful that this person is my parent.”

          -You and I know that is not what that teenager is saying to themselves.

          -Instead of taking to heart what was said and growing in truth, since the truth was

 clothed in foolishness, they discounted the whole thing and on top of that

the relationship has become more distant and your role as a parent

less effective.

          -If we want to display God’s truth well to our kids and to the world,

 we have to clothe it in wisdom.

          -The entire book of Proverbs calls to us to live Biblical truth that is clothed

 in wisdom.

                   -Prov. 8:11 gives us a summation and the importance of wisdom

“Choose my instruction instead of silver, knowledge rather than

choice gold, wisdom is more precious than rubies,
                   and nothing you desire can compare with her.”

          -Much of the church and all of the world is lacking in their view of truth,

which makes it imperative that we live truth clothed in wisdom.

         
 
 

Not only is truth lived in wisdom, but truth must also be clothed in love.

Eph 4:15 says “speak the truth in love”

          -That means that if we are going to speak truth, we have to have the best

 interest of the other person in mind.

     A while back I read an article written by Shane Windmeyer. 

          -It had an impact on my and so I have it saved on my computer.

          -Shane is the executive director for Campus Pride  - an LBGT activist on

the college campus.

          -The article concerns Chick-fil-A and their Biblical stand on marriage.

          -As Shane’s group was protesting and waging war against Chick-fil-A, he gets

a call from Dan Cathy – owner of Chick-fil-A.

                -He said he almost didn’t answer it because he really didn’t want to talk to him.

          -Long story – short, (I’d be happy to forward you the article)

Dan Cathy befriends Shane and gets to know him as a person.

          -And here is what Shane had to say about Dan Cathy later in the article.

“Throughout the conversations Dan expressed a sincere interest in my life, wanting to get to know me on a personal level. He wanted to know about where I grew up, my faith, my family, even my husband, Tommy. In return, I learned about his wife and kids and gained an appreciation for his devout belief in Jesus Christ and his commitment to being “a follower of Christ” more than a “Christian.” Dan expressed regret and genuine sadness when he heard of people being treated unkindly in the name of Chick-fil-a — but he offered no apologies for his genuine beliefs about marriage.”

          -Dan reached out to an enemy and spent time clothing Godly truth in love.

                   -He didn’t change his stand on God’s truth, but lived it out, along with a

                             great many other truth’s from God’s Word in their relationship.

          -That was risky in light of the possible backlash coming from other Christians that

 don’t have wisdom or understanding, or that might claim that Dan is

caving to the LGBT agenda.

          -No, Dan is living the truth of God’s Word and clothing it in wisdom and love.

          -Dan is someone who became as gold and was useful to the Master.

          -Living as one feels is best will not yield that kind of life.

-As followers of Jesus, we must learn and practice living God’s truth with

wisdom and love.

          -As we do, God will use us to build His church.

 

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