Before we get started with the #TruthInLove series, we need to define some terms.
Truth is reality…what really is.
Subjectivism is where truth and reality are determined by the subject or person.
Relativism is the theory that there is no objective standard by which truth may be determined. There is no absolute truth.
As Bible believers we believe in absolute truth which means we stand opposed to relativism and subjectivism. Truth is not relative to time, location, and people groups. Truth is not subject to peoples opinions or culture. God’s Word defines truth.
Whew – that was a lot of words that we don’t deal with on a daily basis but here’s the point!
A world of relativism is a world of contradictions. If I say the coffee pot is empty and you say the coffee pot is full and we are both right…then our world makes no sense. This is impossible.
If a Christian says “there is a God” and an atheist says “there is no God” we cannot both be right. It is impossible.
So then we move into moral issues.
If culture teaches our teens that sex outside of marriage is okay and even good and we say it is wrong (I Cor. 6,7) it is impossible to both be right.
So the struggle for us as believers is living in this world of contradictions.
Sometimes in our goal to love others well – the church becomes wishy washy. While it’s vital we love others well – we must not be ashamed of drawing a line in the sand and saying – “this is wrong”. Period.
But is the Bible absolute truth? I mean if we aren’t sure –we will never speak up right? And when we do speak up – should it be via a twitter war or a facebook debate, or should it be privately amongst our children and in Bible study groups, or should it be from blogger to blogger – one on one?
I can’t answer the questions of when to speak up – you will have to follow the Holy Spirit’s leading but I can answer the how. It MUST be done in love.
How can you know if you are doing it from a heart of love?
First, ask yourself –do I love this person that I am talking to? If you really don’t care for this person, then most likely –the truth you are about to share is going to come off in a tone that makes your truth impossible to accept. We will be like clanging gongs and cymbals as I Corinthians 13 says.
If we can’t speak in love, we are outside the will of God —do not speak at all.
But if we love the person, pray and then proceed boldly. Stand firm, let nothing move you. You have entered a spiritual battle. The enemy is not the person you are contending with but rather Satan himself, the father of lies. Do this with gentleness and respect.
“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” I Peter 3:15
If your confidence in the authority of the Bible is not strong – it will be scary to speak up. So let me give you some facts to build your faith upon from Josh McDowell’s book Evidence Demands a Verdict.*
The Bible is unique!
It was written over a 1500 year span by more than 40 authors from every walk of life – kings, fishermen, poets, and scholars. It was written in different places such as the wilderness, prison, and palaces. It was written in times of war & in times of peace, in times of despair & times of joy. It was penned on 3 continents -Asia, Africa, & Europe and written in 3 languages – Hebrew, Aramaic, & Greek. The Bible contains hundreds of controversial topics…WITH an amazing degree of harmony.
Find me 5 random men from your local town who could do this with harmony! It can not be done – this is what makes God’s word – God’s!
2 Timothy 3:16 says: “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.”
The Bible is the Book of Books! It is not merely a book about God – it is a book from God.~ R.C. Sproul
The Bible is the #1 best selling book of all time. No other book in history has been translated, retranslated & paraphrased more than the Bible. The Bible has been translated into over 2,200 languages. No other book comes close to it’s unique influence on civilization including calendar dates (B.C. Before Christ).
The Bible contains over 300 prophetic references to the coming Messiah that were perfectly fulfilled in Jesus Christ.
Here’s just a few…
Born Of a Virgin – foretold in Isaiah 7:14 / fulfilled in Luke 1:26-35
Seed of Abraham – foretold in Genesis 22:18 / fulfilled in Matthew 1:1
Tribe of Judah – foretold in Genesis 49:10 / fulfilled in Luke 3:23,33
Born in Bethlehem – foretold in Micah 5:2 / fulfilled in Matthew 2:1
Shall be called Immanuel – foretold in Isaiah 7:14 / fulfilled in Matthew 1:23
Ministry of miracles – foretold in Isaiah 35:5,6 / fulfilled in Matthew 9:35
He was to enter Jerusalem on a Donkey – foretold in Zechariah 9:9 / fulfilled in Luke 19:35-37
Silent before His accusers – foretold in Isaiah 53:7 / fulfilled in Matthew 27:12
Wounded and Bruised – foretold in Isaiah 53:5 / fulfilled in Matthew 27:26
Hands and feet pierced – foretold in Zechariah 12:10 / fulfilled in Luke 23:33
Do you see why we have no reason to give way to fear and ride the fence?
Some will make you doubt the Bible. Some will make you feel like you are less than them – less intelligent, less cool, or less culturally relevant. But you can have full confidence that God’s word is truth.
Where God’s word speaks – we must speak.
God has clearly spoken to the cultural issues of our day.
Where God’s word is silent regarding gray areas – that’s where I will be silent and leave room for personal convictions and grace.
In the book of Judges there is a phrase used over and over…and over. It says: “In those days, everyone did what was right in their own eyes.”
This is the world we live in – a world of no absolutes — a world where right and wrong is defined by feelings and truth has been twisted to suit our own opinions.
We must not let this seep into the church.
We MUST be bold and courageous and stand for truth! The father of lies has taken enough ground – it is time we stand firm and say – you have come this far and you will go no farther. We will not let you mar the bride of Christ. We will not fall for your tricks and deception. We will not play footsies with those who twist your word.
5 Ways to Defend Truth:
1. Get into God’s word – read it daily. Know what it says!
2 Timothy 2:15: “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” esv
2. Pursue sound doctrine. Don’t follow teachers who itch ears (or spread their quotes and links on your social media).
2 Timothy 4:3, “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.”
3. Love everyone including your enemies. Pray for the church, the beautiful bride of Christ.
I John 4:8: “Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”
4. Be bold, courageous and unashamed!
2 Timothy 1:7,8: “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God” esv
5. Do not be surprised when you are slandered because of your stand for truth.
I Peter 4:12-16: Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.
May we unite and lift the name of our Lord Jesus Christ higher and shine unashamedly in a dark and weary world.
I look forward to going deeper in with you next Monday!
**Chime In** What is the most difficult part for you when defending truth? Is it feeling unequipped and unsure of what scripture says? Is it being called names like judgmental and intolerant? Is it fear of losing a friendship? Or is it a fear of confrontation?
I make this list straight from my heart – these are MY fears too. You are not alone.
Walk with the King,