Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Without truth - empty, heartless gestures to God

Something that is also dear to me is the concept of truth. Now I have to admit that I am no great philosopher and no theological guru. However, truth, especially Biblical truth is absolutely important to me.
Many branches of the church are still into pragmatism and simply cannot comprehend Biblical truth when it confronts them from the pages of the Bible! If a person's life changes as a result of "clucking like a chicken" then these people are quick to assume that it had to be God that made the person cluck. The same goes for things like "holy (?!) laughter" and other similar experiences. To them the experience determines truth. It then becomes easy for them to take their experiences to the Bible and twist and deform the Scriptures beyond recognition to make it fit their experiences. The fact is that in many religions today, people are changed for the better through some mystical experience. Many times these experiences are very similar to the clucking-Christian experiences! Should we, based on these "results," simply accept these experiences as from God, or should we still apply Biblical discernment?
This idea fits the bill in terms of preachers that are being followed such as the Word-of-Faith crowd with Kenneth Copeland, and also faith-healers such as T.B. Joshua. Because Copeland's ideas work for him and others, it suddenly becomes the truth no matter what he preaches and believes. Truth is determined by success and we all know that success is a very fickle playmate. Simply ask Job! T.B. Joshua seemingly had a lot of healings and people flock to his church to be healed. Again, because of all the healings going on there he is immediately equated with being a great man of God. "And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray." (Mt 24:11) How will many be led astray? I believe it is by tweaking their heresies to look like the truth. Otherwise people all over will see right through them! "For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect." (Mt24:24) This is happening everywhere! People see signs and wonders and just accept it as from God. No discernment is applied to these false prophets!
How many times do we read in the gospels that people were amazed or astonished at the miracles of Jesus? I can't think of any instance off-hand. However, the people were amazed at the teaching of Jesus! "And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching." (Mt 7:28) Also see Mt 22:33; Mk 1:22; 11:18 and Lk 4:32.
The doctrines of men are being spread everywhere by men with little regard for the truth. Many of them are claiming to be preaching the truth, but they are not. Pastors are allowing these men to preach their poison in their pulpits because these pastors are deceived themselves! "'This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; (9) in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.'" (Mat 15:8-9 ESV) When men and women travel all over the landscape preaching the doctrines of men, then they worship God in vain since their hearts in reality, are far from God. Honouring God with our lips just is not enough! God demands that we worship Him in spirit AND in truth. Many of these people claim to be worshipping God in spirit; however, I would want to know what spirit?
There is a critical balance between knowing the truth and knowing God. 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 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 without truth it does not amount to much. While driving in my car some time ago on my way to work I thought about the whole issue of truth and relationship with God. A god that is only interested in relationship cannot be trusted, since trust can only be based on truth; without which true relationship cannot exist. If the very God that gave us the Scriptures and showed us how important the truth is by putting it in writing suddenly tells us through the "spirit" that truth (through which doctrine and theology are derived) is no longer that important, then I have STRONG doubts that it is not the Spirit of God speaking! 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) Our motto should be: "The supremacy of Christ or die!"
In several places the Holy Spirit is called 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 the very One who only brings truth will inspire people not to study and know the very Word He inspired! If anything, the Spirit will lead people to study the Bible to know its truths, because the Bible says that "he shall guide you into all the truth." (Jn. 16:13 – ASV) 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?
Sanctification or holiness will not come without the truth. Any holiness devoid of the truth is meaningless, simply leading to empty gestures of heartless worship to a God that demands truth! In Jn 17:17 Jesus prays that the Father "sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth." Sanctification without the truth of God's Word? Never! You cannot have the one without the other. Truth will lead to sanctification and sanctification cannot be accomplished without truth!
Deny or twist the truth, and all I can say is that "the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth." (Rom 1:18)
Just thinking...

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