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The Daunting Challenge of Truth
By Larry Rouse
When Jesus appeared before Pilate, He summarized His character, His work and His followers in this way: “For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice” (John 18:37). Pilate could not bear to admit that there was such a thing as “truth” because this admission would demand that he follow the path of truth and thus any consequences it would bring. The fear of such an unknown path brought this question from his lips: “What is truth?” (John 18:38).
Those who are truly Christians gladly welcome and seek the truth. The apostle John wanted to know that those Christians he had converted and nourished in the faith would continue in the truth. “For I rejoiced greatly when brethren came and testified of the truth that is in you, just as you walk in the truth. 4I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” (3 John 3-4)
What is at stake?
The entire life of the Christian is defined by the truth. Every relationship and all future relationships will be defined by the path of truth. Consider these four things:
1. Your associates will be determined by
this. (Psa 1:1-4)
Why is seeking the truth so hard?
From the standpoint of the pure-hearted man, the truth is not hard to seek and find. God has given us a revelation that can be understood (Eph 5:17) and He has promised that such a heart will find the truth. “If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority” (John 7:17). Truth becomes “hard” to find when one’s real desire lies elsewhere.
In the ministry of Christ there was a man who had given his entire life to the study of the Scriptures but would admit that he did not know an elementary truth. The Holy Spirit describes this lawyer’s motive when he asked a question to “test” or “tempt” or to “make trial of Him (ASV)” (Luke 10:25). This man wanted to defend the human sect that he belonged to by discrediting Jesus among the people with a question that he thought would lead to a carefully set trap. He never entered this discussion with a desire to find the truth with the help of our Lord. The Lord easily avoided his trap and in turn led him to the truth to his great dismay!
“And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 26He said to him, “What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?” 27So he answered and said, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’” 28And He said to him, “You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.” 29But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”” (Luke 10:25-29)
The truth will call you out of sectarianism.
How was it possible that this knowledgeable lawyer was “unable” to understand the definition of an easily defined word in a passage that by his own admission was the key to eternal life? The Holy Spirit tells us that he wanted to “justify himself.” The only “truth” that he wanted was that which agreed with his current practice and that of the religious sect he was loyal to. He, as a likely member of the Pharisees, did not want to admit that a Samaritan could be his neighbor. After Jesus told him the parable of the Good Samaritan, this lawyer grudgingly admitted the truth about who his neighbor was (Luke 10:30-37). Jesus then challenged him with a command that likely was unbearable to this lawyer: “Go and do likewise” (Luke 10:37).
Do you really want the truth?
Consider some of the reasons people
rejected the teachings of Jesus.
The truth will exact a high price in your life.
Hear this quote from H. L. Mencken: “For
the truth-teller and truth-seeker, indeed,
What has the truth cost you? Anyone who begins the course of pursuing “Undenominational Christianity” will quickly discover that most religious people have no interest in such a stand. When others see that you are willing to sincerely question long-held religious practices, you will become a perceived threat to them. Those who cannot defend their practices based on the truth will often “justify” themselves by a slanderous attack on you personally.
In my own life I made the difficult decision on two occasions to leave a local church and the human movement they had identified with because of the truth. Such a stand did not mean that I had all knowledge or that I could read the hearts of other men. It did, however, mean that I had to stand upon what I did know. When you make a firm commitment to seek and stand upon the truth, then you will find those difficult occasions where you must choose between relationships with men and the truth of God. My prayer is that you will always struggle for and stand with the truth!
“Seek good and not evil, that you may live; so the Lord God of hosts will be with you, As you have spoken. 15 Hate evil, love good; Establish justice in the gate. It may be that the Lord God of hosts will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.” (Amos 5:14-15)
“Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:31-32)
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