Truth and love. Scripture calls us to “speak the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15) yet the only Person who spoke the truth in love perfectly was Jesus Christ and we killed Him. But because of His great love for us He and the Father let us kill Him so we could be fully forgiven and have eternal life and walk with Him now in truth and love. (John 3:16; 10:17-18) In the midst of a world that is increasingly denying and distorting God’s truth let’s look at His Word on truth and love and how Jesus lovingly spoke the truth to us and continues to speak it to us through His “living and active” Word today. (Hebrews 4:12-13)
TRUTH – Why did the world (all mankind – Romans 3:23) kill Jesus? Because He told them/us the TRUTH – that we are sinners enslaved to sin and that we would face eternal damnation apart from receiving Him as our Savior for taking our penalty, the wrath of God (hell), on the cross. Jesus said, “The world cannot hate you [since you are part of it], but it does hate Me because I denounce it and testify that its deeds are evil.” (John 7:7) Here Jesus is speaking to His mocking brothers who thought He was mad (because He passionately spoke the truth) and did not believe in Him until after His resurrection. (Mark 3:21) Again Jesus said, as He was speaking to his disciples, “If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first. 19 The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you. 20 Do you remember what I told you? ‘A slave is not greater than the master.’ Since they persecuted me, naturally they will persecute you. 22 They would not be guilty if I had not come and spoken (the truth) to them. But now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 Anyone who hates me also hates my Father. 24 If I hadn’t done such miraculous signs among them that no one else could do, they would not be guilty. But as it is, they have seen everything I did, yet they still hate me and my Father. 25 This fulfills what is written in their Scriptures ‘They hated me without cause.’“ (See John 15:18-25) Jesus, and later on His disciples, were hated and killed (the disciples were killed too) for speaking the truth to people. Why? Because sinful unrepentant people do not want to give up their sin and hate those who tell them they are guilty and will be punished for it. (See John 3:19-21) “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.” (Romans 1:18-19) If you read the results of “suppressing the truth” in the remaining verses of Romans 1 you will see that there is both a present judgment for sin (“God gave them over” – sin has its own consequences now in this life) and an eternal and everlasting consequence for those who reject Christ’s sacrifice. “Jesus answered them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do. 32 I have come to call not those who think they are righteous (self-righteous people do not believe they need a Savior), but those who know they are sinners and need to repent.” (Luke 5:31-32) So Dr. Jesus, the Great Physician, lovingly tells his sick (sinful) patient the truth, that we are spiritually dying because of sin, and need a cure (salvation), and then He pays the price of the medicine (the cross) and gives it to “whosoever will” (whosoever wants it). (Romans 10:13) “And you shall know the truth and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32) not only from the penalty of sin (hell) but the power of sin now in this life so we can grow in freedom from the power of sin and its present consequences. (See Romans 6:16-23 and/or my newsletter on freedom from sin at http://www.lensykes.com/archives/1956)
LOVE – If we try to love people without God’s truth as seen above, it is not love. For example, imagine going to your oncologist for a follow up meeting after the biopsy in which it was discovered you have stage four cancer and he says, “you’re fine, you’re well.” He thinks, “I don’t want to discourage her and ruin her happy life so I’ll just tell her she is fine.” Then six months later you die and your family is furious with the doctor because he didn’t tell you or them the truth, that you were dying and needed medicine, a cure – chemotherapy, etc. Would you call that doctor a loving doctor, a loving person? Absolutely not; he’s not only unloving, he’s a liar. So Jesus tells us the truth that we are sinners and have both present consequences for sin and eternal consequences for it and we need the ultimate cure which is His salvation and the power of the Holy Spirit to know and walk in His truth.
But how do we know what is true?
“What is truth?” Pilate asked Jesus after Jesus had said, “I was born and came into the world to testify to the truth. All who love the truth recognize that what I say is true.” (John 18:37-38) Is truth relative to my opinion or your opinion? Could I believe that 1 +1 = 2 and you believe that 1+1 = 1.9999 and we both have the truth? Or could I believe that water = h2o and you believe it is h3o and both of us have the truth? Is truth absolute? Could I believe that murder is a sin while the cannibals say it is not and both have the truth? Could I believe that what the Bible says about sexual sin and you believe something different and both have the truth? Do you believe that pedophilia, child rape, is morally good for those who believe it is good but an evil and criminal act in the opinion of others? Who gets to define what is and what is not sin? Man or God? You and me or God? The Bible claims it is the Source of absolute truth. “The sum of Your word is truth, and every one of Your righteous ordinances is everlasting.” (Psalm 119:160) “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” (John 14:6) Or to say it another way people have different opinions about right and wrong but God doesn’t have opinions; He has absolute truth. “Let God be true and every man be a liar.” (Romans 3:4) If our opinions about sin differ from God’s truth then we are liars.
For example, what does God say about sexual purity and sexual sin? “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. (Sexual consummation of the marriage) And they were both naked, the man (male) and his wife (female), and were not ashamed (sexual purity).” (Genesis 2:24-25) From the beginning God created sexuality for procreation and for physical pleasure within a marriage defined by the joining of a man and a woman. All sexual acts outside of this God-designed blessing God says is sinful. In fact, Jesus says if we look lustfully on a woman we have committed adultery with her in our heart. (Matthew 5:28) One pastor put it this way, as a fire in a fireplace is a blessing of warmth and light and even a good cozy feeling, so sex is a blessing from God within the boundaries He has given us in Scripture. But sex outside of these boundaries would be like having a roaring fire outside the fireplace in the middle of your den which would do lots of damage. If we do it God’s way sex is both for our physical pleasure and the continuation of God’s world through children. But if we do it any other way it is like a raging fire damaging us and others.
Heterosexual sins (fornication and adultery) are just as sinful as homosexual sin but the latter has more serious consequences (more diseases and early death from diseases) than heterosexual sin. And of course, procreation is not possible in homosexual relationships. Pro-gay advocates argue that the Bible only speaks against homosexual sins that are violent, idolatrous (e.g., temple prostitutes) and non-consensual whereas consensual gay relationships are not spoken against in the Bible. But if we go back to God’s definition of sexual purity above (Genesis 2) we see that sexual purity is confined ONLY to marriage between a man and woman. Secondly, adulterers can have consensual relationships even long-term, but most of us would agree that adultery is hurtful and sinful. We don’t see Adultery Pride marches and adulterers suing bakers who won’t bake a cake in honor of their adulterous relationship. And most adulterers would not argue that they were born that way and therefore their acts are not only acceptable but morally good even in God’s eyes. Since the Fall, we are all born as sinners and with a propensity toward sin and only through salvation and receiving God’s indwelling Holy Spirit can we change and grow in obedience to all of God’s commands. If alcoholics have a gene that gives them a disproportionate tendency to get drunk they still do not argu e that it is morally good to be an alcoholic and have Alcoholic Pride marches, etc. Paul shows us that a new life in Christ can deliver us from all kinds of sinful acts and tendencies. “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9-11) It is simply not true that people with a homosexual orientation cannot be changed and walk in sexual purity. I have friends who were formerly acting out in homosexual relationships who have been saved and changed and walk in sexual purity. Two of our friends, Mike and Pat Caven, are a couple who were both practicing homosexuals before they met the Lord and now are a godly married couple who have formed a ministry to help others who struggle with sexual sin both heterosexual sins and homosexual sins. http://wp.purity101.com/about-rlm/
If we condone or advocate for homosexuality because we feel it is loving our friends to do so we are saying that we are wiser than God in knowing what’s best for them and that we love them more than God loves them. God says He loves them so much He sent His son to die for them to both save them from hell and deliver them from a miserable life of sexual sin. And to say otherwise we either have to totally reject God’s Word on this issue or twist it to say what it doesn’t say. And rejecting God’s Word is a serious sin in itself for which we will all give an account to God because God’s Word is not only absolute truth it is authoritative, meaning that disobeying it will always bring His discipline and judgment. “For the word of God is living and active and full of power [making it operative, energizing, and effective]. It is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating as far as the division of the soul and spirit [the completeness of a person], and of both joints and marrow [the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and judging the very thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And not a creature exists that is concealed from His sight, but all things are open and exposed, and revealed to the eyes of Him with whom we have to give account.” (Hebrews 4:12-13) Notice how the written word of God in verse 12 becomes the Person of God (Jesus Christ) in verse 13 (“His sight, the eyes of Him”). When we exalt our opinion over God’s pure absolute and authoritative truth we will experience serious consequences both as an individual and as a society.
“Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.” (Luke 21:28) The good news about the increasing bad news in our country and the world is that it is one of the many signs of the Lord’s soon return for His church (the imminent Rapture) and then the judgment of the nations in the tribulation and the purging of Israel to bring forth a remnant who acknowledge Jesus as the “One they pierced” and their Savior. (See Zechariah 12-13 and Romans 11:25-27)
“See that you do not refuse Him who speaks (the truth). For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven, 26 whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven.” 27 Now this, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain. 28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. 29 For our God is a consuming fire.” (Hebrews 12:25-29)
Until He comes again,
Len and Kristen