Christian Churches of God
(Edition 3.0 19960622-19991205-20070625)
Pilate said to Jesus Christ, "What is truth?" In this paper we are concerned with examining just what truth is in relation to the Holy Spirit. What did the Church get when it received the Holy Spirit?
In this paper we are concerned with examining just what truth is in relation to the Holy Spirit. What did the Church get when it received the Holy Spirit?
Acts 1:1-5 In the first book, O The-oph'ilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, 2 until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commandment through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. 3 To them he presented himself alive after his passion by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days, and speaking of the kingdom of God. 4 And while staying with them he charged them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, "you heard from me, 5 for John baptized with water, but before many days you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit." (RSV)
Going on from verse 15:
Acts 1:15-17 In those days Peter stood up among the brethren (the company of persons was in all about a hundred and twenty), and said, 16 "Brethren, the scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand by the mouth of David, concerning Judas who was guide to those who arrested Jesus. 17 For he was numbered among us, and was allotted his share in this ministry. (RSV)
Peter is talking about the concept where the Holy Spirit spoke by the mouth of David, as he had uttered prophecies concerning Judas a thousand years before. The Holy Spirit gives understanding and that is really the point here. Also, Christ had promised the capacity that was given to the Church. Before this, the Holy Spirit had only been given at the direction of God to select individuals within Judah or Israel – it hadn’t been taken outside of Israel. But this promise was that it would be given to the Gentiles. It would be given to a larger number of people who were then called and placed within the Body of the congregation of God. That was an extension of the previous capacity.
John has a lot to say about the Holy Spirit. The gospel of John is extremely important and indeed turns, or pivots, on the concept of truth.
John 14:12-21 "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I go to the Father. 13 Whatever you ask in my name, I will do it, that the Father may be glorified in the Son; 14 if you ask anything in my name, I will do it. 15 "If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and he will give you another Counselor, to be with you for ever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him; you know him, for he dwells with you, and will be in you. 18 "I will not leave you desolate; I will come to you. 19 Yet a little while, and the world will see me no more, but you will see me; because I live, you will live also. 20 In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. 21 He who has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me; and he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him." (RSV)
As Christ was in the Father, so the Father was in him and so he and the Father are in us. That is the promise, and it is the Spirit that makes that possible. Love is a function of that activity but the Spirit is a spirit of truth. We will examine the point of what it means to have the spirit of truth. What is it all about?
We’ll see how truth is a function of the Spirit and that the gospel of John contains this central message. This message is throughout John to 2John and 3John also. Truth is the essential message of John’s gospel and epistles.
Acts 2:1-4 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 3 And there appeared to them tongues as of fire, distributed and resting on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. (RSV)
The Spirit gives to the elect the capacity to speak, and what we say is given through the Spirit, which is the spirit of truth.
John 15:26-27 But when the Counsellor comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness to me; 27 and you also are witnesses, because you have been with me from the beginning. (RSV)
So the Holy Spirit is the spirit of truth and that Spirit is the witness.
Speaking to Christ, Pilate asked: “What is truth?”
Let’s look first at the concept of what it is. Later we will deal with what it isn’t. Truth is the centrality of God. It is uprightness; it is that which is factual; it is that which can be relied on and that which is correct; it implies justice, because by truth things can be determined correctly and fixed in place. Conversely, Satan, the Adversary, is the father of lies because in order to get people to do one’s will or act irrationally against the will of God one has to deceive them. The only way to do that is to lie.
We can lie in a number of ways. We can lie by making a false statement or we can lie by omission, that is, we can not tell all the truth. That is a major way of lying. For instance, a railway worker can ask if a train is coming so the track workers can move from the line and we can say: “It’s not coming”, but neglect to tell him that it will be along in five minutes and, if the job is going to take ten minutes, they could get run over. That is omission to the point of criminal negligence or criminal malice. It is lying to the hurt of another person. That is the sort of lie that we deal with in terms of spiritual deceit, because truth in spirituality is central to salvation. By manipulating the Bible text and by putting people outside the Laws of God, we deny them salvation. We put them in the second resurrection. Once we change true ideas to false ideas, we alter physical action. Truth encompasses deeds.
John 3:16-21 For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. 18 He who believes in him is not condemned; he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For every one who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But he who does what is true comes to the light, that it may be clearly seen that his deeds have been wrought in God. (RSV)
Truth here is a deed. It is not a statement of fact. It is a right action. Hence, deeds encompass the concept of you are what you do and, thus, having right action according to the Law of God produces right fruit. It is a true action as opposed to a false or evil action. The point here was that Christ did not come into the world to condemn the world. The world had condemned itself. In the same way Moses, when he was confronted, did not utterly condemn his people. He said words to the effect of: “I know they have sinned but, Lord, do not destroy them”.
Truth also is worship. Truth becomes a deed and a right action. In being an action it then turns to worship. Look at John 4:23-24. Christ is talking to the woman at the well.
John 4:23-24 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for such the Father seeks to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth." (RSV)
That is the centrality. From true thinking we get true actions that lead to true worship. That is the determinate factor. The Father is seeking those people to worship Him in spirit and truth. Therefore, only truth will determine our correct worship. So the people who say they don’t care what the doctrines of their Church are, are really saying: “I don’t care what is true.” This means they can’t worship the Father in truth. If we are not worshipping the Father in truth we are in breach of these injunctions.
They are effectively saying: “I don’t care about the worship of the Father”, and indeed that is the very issue that they don't care about. That means they are not in the First Resurrection. It is a very hard statement, but that is the way it is. Christ came to preach the truth of the gospel of the Kingdom of God and to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, His Father and His God. The New Testament is predominantly concerned with the nature of God and His truth.
That truth eternally existed. God is a God of truth. Look at the paper Distinction in the Law (No. 96) and then look at what God is and what His Law is. Truth is one of the five centralities of the Law and of the nature of God.
Both John the Baptist and Jesus Christ came to bear witness to the truth.
Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever he does, that the Son does likewise.
Christ is saying: “I have no power of myself; I look at the Father and the Father shows me what to do and I do what the Father does”.
20 For the Father loves the Son, and shows him all that he himself is doing; and greater works than these will he show him, that you may marvel. 21 For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will.
Christ is now saying it is the Father who raises the dead and gives them life and He has given to the son the power to quicken – or give life – to whom he wants.
22 The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son,
That is a very important concept. The Father has said, “All of these people are the chosen and I give them to the son, but He judges nobody”. He is saying: “You judge them”. But He has also told Christ not to lose any that He has given to him. So we see the dual extent of that problem. God has said to Christ, “These people are all capable of becoming my sons and daughters. We have the responsibility of judging them”. In other words, He has put the responsibility on Jesus Christ to get us all into the Kingdom.
23 that all may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him.
We can’t honour God unless we honour Jesus Christ. So Judah is out, as is all Islam.
24 Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears my word and believes him who sent me, has eternal life; he does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.
So, the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ are to be believed and relied upon in order to inherit eternal life. Hence John 17:3 plus this word of God are methods of eternal life.
25 "Truly, truly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. 26 For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself,
Thus the Father has immortality (deathlessness) in Himself and He has given the Son to have deathlessness in himself. Christ did not possess it intrinsically. That is quite clear. If Christ were given life in himself from the beginning, then God would not need to give him the capacity to have life in himself.
27 and has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of man.
That is an interesting concept that follows from this centrality of truth and the determination of Christ. Christ came to delineate the word of God and to reveal the Kingdom of God to men.
28 Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice 29 and come forth, those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment. 30 "I can do nothing on my own authority; as I hear, I judge; and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me. 31 If I bear witness to myself, my testimony is not true; 32 there is another who bears witness to me, and I know that the testimony which he bears to me is true. 33 You sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth. 34 Not that the testimony which I receive is from man; but I say this that you may be saved. 35 He was a burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light. 36 But the testimony which I have is greater than that of John; for the works which the Father has granted me to accomplish, these very works which I am doing, bear me witness that the Father has sent me. 37 And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness to me. His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen; 38 and you do not have his word abiding in you, for you do not believe him whom he has sent. 39 You search the scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness to me; 40 yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life. 41 I do not receive glory from men. 42 But I know that you have not the love of God within you. 43 I have come in my Father's name, and you do not receive me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive. 44 How can you believe, who receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God? 45 Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father; it is Moses who accuses you, on whom you set your hope. 46 If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote of me. (RSV)
Truth is freedom
John 8:21-50 Again he said to them, "I go away, and you will seek me and die in your sin; where I am going, you cannot come." 22 Then said the Jews, "Will he kill himself, since he says, `Where I am going, you cannot come'?" 23 He said to them, "You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world. 24 I told you that you would die in your sins, for you will die in your sins unless you believe that I am he." 25 They said to him, "Who are you?" Jesus said to them, "Even what I have told you from the beginning. 26 I have much to say about you and much to judge; but he who sent me is true, and I declare to the world what I have heard from him." 27 They did not understand that he spoke to them of the Father. 28 So Jesus said, "When you have lifted up the Son of man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority but speak thus as the Father taught me. 29 And he who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what is pleasing to him." 30 As he spoke thus, many believed in him. 31 Jesus then said to the Jews who had believed in him, "If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free."
So, through Christ and the knowledge of the One True God and that Jesus Christ is His son (Jn. 17:3), this truth is imparted and makes the individual free. While we understand and believe the truth, we are free. Even though they imprison our body, they cannot imprison our mind.
33 They answered him, "We are descendants of Abraham, and have never been in bondage to any one. How is it that you say, `You will be made free'?"
They had all the truth – they knew the Scriptures. They were the seed of Abraham and they were in command in Jerusalem and they were in fact a ruling aristocracy. So they did not need anything. They had their own state. The Romans had treated them very well. Palestine was the only state in the whole of the Empire where the Roman Emperor’s image was taken from the battle standards – the only place in the world, in deference to Judaic sensibilities.
34 Jesus answered them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, every one who commits sin is a slave to sin. 35 The slave does not continue in the house for ever; the son continues for ever. 36 So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed. 37 I know that you are descendants of Abraham; yet you seek to kill me, because my word finds no place in you.
They had actually perverted the truth of God through the oral traditions. They called the oral traditions the Oral Law and they said it was the Law of God and they used it to modify the written Laws of God. They then reduced the oral law to writing and made it a written law which then modified the Bible.
38 I speak of what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have heard from your father." 39 They answered him, "Abraham is our father." Jesus said to them, "If you were Abraham's children, you would do what Abraham did, 40 but now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth which I heard from God; this is not what Abraham did. 41 You do what your father did." They said to him, "We were not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God." 42 Jesus said to them, "If God were your Father, you would love me, for I proceeded and came forth from God; I came not of my own accord, but he sent me. 43 Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. 44 You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 But, because I tell the truth, you do not believe me. 46 Which of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me? 47 He who is of God hears the words of God; the reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God." 48 The Jews answered him, "Are we not right in saying that you are a Samaritan and have a demon?"
Samaritans were the lowest form of animal life to the Jews. In other words, Christ was descended from these apostates, these non-Jews. So they were attacking his genealogy. They were saying that he wasn’t really of the line of Israel, so he couldn’t be who they thought he was. They thought he was the Messiah but they were attacking his lineage – another lie. All of these things are lies and misconstructions and there is no truth in any of them. This is the whole battle in John: truth against fiction; Satan against God and Jesus Christ.
49 Jesus answered, "I have not a demon; but I honor my Father, and you dishonor me. 50 Yet I do not seek my own glory; there is One who seeks it and he will be the judge. (RSV)
John 8:51 Truly, truly, I say to you, if any one keeps my word, he will never see death." (RSV)
That is the whole structure of the message of Christ. The word of God is the key to life, to never see death. If we keep all the things Christ said, we will never see death.
Christ is the means and the way. We can see the amount of material concerning truth and falsehood in John’s gospel. When we analyse John, he is concerned with this battle of truth and lies and the position Christ plays in that struggle.
John 14:6-7 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.7 If you had known me, you would have known my Father also; henceforth you know him and have seen him." (RSV)
So the concept is that through the Spirit they had seen Christ operate. They had seen the Holy Spirit in Christ; therefore they had seen the Father. We have the Holy Spirit and, in the same way, people see us and they see the Father. Very often people hate us without cause as they hated Christ without cause. When they see the Father in us through the Holy Spirit, they don’t automatically say, “Aren’t they nice people!” For some reason they can develop quite a pathological hatred against us for no cause.
Many people see the Holy Spirit and they react against it. There is nothing we can do except say: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do”. The higher profile we have, the more animosity is displayed.
The Spirit is the mechanism, and Christ is the way, truth and the light, and we go to the Father through that way, truth and light. The sequence is the way, which is truth leading to life. That is why it is put into that sequence. Once we are given to Christ we proceed in that way of truth. So we have to be concerned to rightly discern truth from fiction, because the truth is the way of action. The Spirit then guides us in that mechanism or core of truth.
John 16:12-33 "I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he (there is no he in the text ) will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15 All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 16 "A little while, and you will see me no more; again a little while, and you will see me." 17 Some of his disciples said to one another, "What is this that he says to us, `A little while, and you will not see me, and again a little while, and you will see me'; and, `because I go to the Father'?" 18 They said, "What does he mean by `a little while'? We do not know what he means." 19 Jesus knew that they wanted to ask him; so he said to them, "Is this what you are asking yourselves, what I meant by saying, `A little while, and you will not see me, and again a little while, and you will see me'? 20 Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy. 21 When a woman is in travail she has sorrow, because her hour has come; but when she is delivered of the child, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a child is born into the world. 22 So you have sorrow now, but I will see you again and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you. 23 In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, if you ask anything of the Father, he will give it to you in my name. 24 Hitherto you have asked nothing in my name; ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full. 25 "I have said this to you in figures; the hour is coming when I shall no longer speak to you in figures but tell you plainly of the Father. 26 In that day you will ask in my name; and I do not say to you that I shall pray the Father for you; 27 for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from the Father.
Jesus does not have to ask the Father for us. We go directly to the Father in Christ’s name and we are given what we ask for.
28 I came from the Father and have come into the world; again, I am leaving the world and going to the Father." 29 His disciples said, "Ah, now you are speaking plainly, not in any figure!
We need the Holy Spirit to understand the parables of the Bible. If we don’t understand the parables, it is because we are not developing the Holy Spirit. If we read the Bible and can’t understand, it is because we are not in contact with the Spirit enough.
30 Now we know that you know all things, and need none to question you; by this we believe that you came from God."
The disciples were not converted and did not have the Holy Spirit until Pentecost.
31 Jesus answered them, "Do you now believe? 32 The hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, every man to his home, and will leave me alone; yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me.
Every man can be scattered yet we are not alone, because the Father is with each one of us.
33 I have said this to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." (RSV)
Even if we are alone, God is dealing with us. All things work together for the good for those who are called according to the purpose of God (Rom. 8:28).
We are sanctified through truth
"I have manifested thy name to the men whom thou gavest me out of the world; thine they were, and thou gavest them to me, and they have kept thy word.
That was their part of the bargain; they had to keep God’s word. It is our part of the bargain. We have been given to God, and Jesus Christ has to deal with us, but we have to keep God’s word to be retained. That is the truth.
7 Now they know that everything that thou hast given me is from thee; 8 for I have given them the words which thou gavest me, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from thee; and they have believed that thou didst send me. 9 I am praying for them; I am not praying for the world but for those whom thou hast given me, for they are thine; 10 all mine are thine, and thine are mine, and I am glorified in them. 11 And now I am no more in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to thee. Holy Father, keep them in thy name, which thou hast given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I kept them in thy name, which thou hast given me; I have guarded them, and none of them is lost but the son of perdition, that the scripture might be fulfilled. 13 But now I am coming to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. 14 I have given them thy word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 15 I do not pray that thou shouldst take them out of the world, but that thou shouldst keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them in the truth; thy word is truth. 18 As thou didst send me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be consecrated in truth. (RSV)
The whole process or concept is that the truth is the word of God and we are sanctified in the word of God. So the determination of the right structure of the word of God is central to our sanctification, because the word of God is truth (Jn. 17:17).
John 17:17 Sanctify them in the truth; thy word is truth. (RSV)
Failure in the truth was the condemnation of the priesthood.
"And now, O priests, this command is for you.
The centrality of God’s truth was in the charge of the priesthood and we’ve seen in the twentieth century just how much concern the priesthood has had for the truth of God. Some seem to think it does not matter whether God is one, two or three persons. They don't care. What does God say about that?
2 If you will not listen, if you will not lay it to heart to give glory to my name, says the LORD of hosts, then I will send the curse upon you and I will curse your blessings; indeed I have already cursed them, because you do not lay it to heart. 3 Behold, I will rebuke your offspring, and spread dung upon your faces, the dung of your offerings, and I will put you out of my presence. 4 So shall you know that I have sent this command to you, that my covenant with Levi may hold, says the LORD of hosts. 5 My covenant with him was a covenant of life and peace, and I gave them to him, that he might fear; and he feared me, he stood in awe of my name. 6 True instruction was in his mouth, ...
Levi did keep the truth until the Pharisees produced the oral law and perverted the traditions.
... and no wrong was found on his lips. He walked with me in peace and uprightness, and he turned many from iniquity. 7 For the lips of a priest should guard knowledge, and men should seek instruction from his mouth, for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts. 8 But you have turned aside from the way; you have caused many to stumble by your instruction; you have corrupted the covenant of Levi, says the LORD of hosts, 9 and so I make you despised and abased before all the people, inasmuch as you have not kept my ways but have shown partiality in your instruction."
That partiality is a function of the priesthood in the twentieth century.
10 Have we not all one father? Has not one God created us? Why then are we faithless to one another, profaning the covenant of our fathers?
11 Judah has been faithless, and abomination has been committed in Israel and in Jerusalem; for Judah has profaned the sanctuary of the LORD, which he loves, and has married the daughter of a foreign god.
The foreign God of the latter days was Trinitarianism – the triune God. These priests have done the same thing.
12 May the LORD cut off from the tents of Jacob, for the man who does this, any to witness or answer, or to bring an offering to the LORD of hosts! (RSV)
Christ prayed that we might be all one as he and the apostles were one in God’s truth.
John 17:20-26 "I do not pray for these only, but also for those who believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. 22 The glory which thou hast given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and thou in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that thou hast sent me and hast loved them even as thou hast loved me. 24 Father, I desire that they also, whom thou hast given me, may be with me where I am, to behold my glory which thou hast given me in thy love for me before the foundation of the world. 25 O righteous Father, the world has not known thee, but I have known thee; and these know that thou hast sent me. 26 I made known to them thy name, and I will make it known, that the love with which thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them." (RSV)
Here we see that the centrality of love comes from the function of truth in God. Love without truth is impossible. Only by truth can we achieve unity and oneness with God. Only by a true understanding of God’s word and through sound doctrine is the beginning of all truth – hence, wisdom and salvation.
Going on to John 18, we can see that every chapter is dealing with an aspect of this centrality of truth and the love of God and the development of how we have God in us as it is in Christ. God, through the Holy Spirit, is in Christ, and God, through the Holy Spirit, is in us. We are all joined together through the Holy Spirit in truth. If we lie or are unconcerned with truth, we are not in the Holy Spirit. That is why sound doctrine – together with an understanding of the Godhead, its structure and the way it works, and our relationship with God – is necessary to salvation. Truth is a foundation of love and underpins all Christian living. We can’t live as a Christian without truth.
Pilate entered the praetorium again and called Jesus, and said to him, "Are you the King of the Jews?" 34 Jesus answered, "Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?" 35 Pilate answered, "Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me; what have you done?"
Pilate couldn’t work out what Christ had done wrong. Why would the Jews deliver up this perfectly innocent man (on appearances) to the death penalty, to a Roman? It defied Pilate’s logic. He knew what the Jews were like. They were prepared to release a murderer, Barabbas, in order to get Christ killed. It was because Christ possessed the centrality of the truth of God in his person that he condemned the Pharisees and the Sadducees and the Essene and the entire Jewish community. They hated him for it and they hate us because our existence condemns all those who do not believe in God’s truth. They do not hate us as individuals, but rather they hate our Father and the Messiah whom He sent. Even though they mention His name on their lips and they call on the name of Christ seven days a week, they are not of our Father, or of the truth. Not everyone who cries Lord, Lord will enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
36 Jesus answered, "My kingship is not of this world; if my kingship were of this world, my servants would fight, that I might not be handed over to the Jews; but my kingship is not from the world."
Pilate also couldn’t work out why nobody fought – why there was not a Jewish interfactionary war.
37 Pilate said to him, "So you are a king?" Jesus answered, "You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. ...
The entire reason for Jesus Christ’s ministry and his birth and his death was to consolidate the truth. That is how important truth is to the elect.
... Every one who is of the truth hears my voice." 38 Pilate said to him, "What is truth?"
The words of the Bible are truth and they interpret each other. The Bible is a living organism. Only with the Holy Spirit can we know the truth, which is in God. If we are not concerned with truth, it shows thereby we do not have the Holy Spirit. Those who say they do not care what the doctrines of their church are and say they are just happy there, show they are not one of us. When we come to the truth we act on it and we defend the truth of the gospel. Paul talks about the defence of the truth of the gospel at Galatians 2:5,9.
Our job is to defend the truth
We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves; 2 let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to edify him. 3 For Christ did not please himself; but, as it is written, "The reproaches of those who reproached thee fell on me." 4 For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that by steadfastness and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope. 5 May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, 6 that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
To be likeminded one to another according to Christ Jesus does not mean we have to agree with every single thing and parrot all the same things that everybody else says. The function of the Church is to glorify God the Father – the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ – not to glorify Jesus Christ as God in lieu of God the Father. The Father is the subject of the glorification.
7 Welcome one another, therefore, as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. 8 For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God's truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, 9 and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written, "Therefore I will praise thee among the Gentiles, and sing to thy name"; 10 and again it is said, "Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people"; 11 and again, "Praise the Lord, all Gentiles, and let all the peoples praise him"; 12 and further Isaiah says, "The root of Jesse shall come, he who rises to rule the Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles hope." 13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. 14 I myself am satisfied about you, my brethren, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, and able to instruct one another.
It is the truth and the knowledge of the truth that gives us the capacity to correct and encourage, educate and edify one another. That is done in love because love follows from truth.
15 But on some points I have written to you very boldly by way of reminder, because of the grace given me by God 16 to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles in the priestly service of the gospel of God, so that the offering of the Gentiles may be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit. 17 In Christ Jesus, then, I have reason to be proud of my work for God. 18 For I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has wrought through me to win obedience from the Gentiles, by word and deed, 19 by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Holy Spirit, so that from Jerusalem and as far round as Illyr'icum I have fully preached the gospel of Christ, 20 thus making it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on another man's foundation, 21 but as it is written, "They shall see who have never been told of him, and they shall understand who have never heard of him." (RSV)
That is our charge. We don’t want to build on another man’s foundation. Those people who have already heard the word of God do not need us. Our charge is to go and preach to people who have not heard the word of God. The purpose of the Faith and the calling is to help one another and to preach the word of God, each according to his or her ability. This is done by manifestation of the word of truth.
2Corinthians 4:2 We have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways; we refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God's word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. (RSV)
That has been most evident over recent time – i.e. the handling of the word of God deceitfully by people purporting to be priests of God, so that numbers are kept on seats and people are not confronted with what they believe. One minister told his congregation that he was off to another church meeting on Sundays and they could do what they liked. There is a penalty for that and that is to be blinded in the right eye and to have our right arm withered or removed (Zech. 11:17). Perhaps the Lord will be merciful to him – Father forgive him for he knows not what he does. That’s all one can say. We pray that he be released from the penalty.
2Corinthians 6:3-12 We put no obstacle in any one's way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, 4 but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: through great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, 5 beatings, imprisonments, tumults, labors, watching, hunger; 6 by purity, knowledge, forbearance, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love, 7 truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; 8 in honor and dishonor, in ill repute and good repute. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; 9 as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold we live; as punished, and yet not killed; 10 as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything. 11 Our mouth is open to you, Corinthians; our heart is wide. 12 You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted in your own affections. (RSV)
The concept here is that a whole structure of things develop in the preaching of the word. The word of truth is central to that process.
2Corinthians 7:14 For if I have expressed to him some pride in you, I was not put to shame; but just as everything we said to you was true, so our boasting before Titus has proved true. (RSV)
So even Paul’s work, in terms of his boasting, was based on truth. The whole structure was of truth.
2Corinthians 11:10 As the truth of Christ is in me, this boast of mine shall not be silenced in the regions of Acha'ia. (RSV)
He was boasting about the churches and not of himself. The truth must be rightly divided.
2Timothy 2:15-25 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. 16 Avoid such godless chatter, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, 17 and their talk will eat its way like gangrene. Among them are Hymenae'us and Phile'tus, 18 who have swerved from the truth by holding that the resurrection is past already. ...
A theologian of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church published this heresy in a book on the Holy Days. He said that the wave sheaf offering was in a sheaf because the people who came out of the tomb and were resurrected at the death of Christ all went to heaven with Christ. That view was that the First Resurrection has already passed and that is what is happening there. That was not the First Resurrection; it is yet to come.
... They are upsetting the faith of some. 19 But God's firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: "The Lord knows those who are his," and, "Let every one who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity." 20 In a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and earthenware, and some for noble use, some for ignoble.
In the Church all of us have different uses or tasks – some to honour, some to dishonour. Some for menial tasks is what is meant.
21 If any one purifies himself from what is ignoble, then he will be a vessel for noble use, consecrated and useful to the master of the house, ready for any good work.
All of us have a mixture of truth and sin and it is from sin that we purge ourselves, so that we are vessels of honour.
22 So shun youthful passions and aim at righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call upon the Lord from a pure heart. 23 Have nothing to do with stupid, senseless controversies; you know that they breed quarrels.
That is the real problem because it is unlearnedness, i.e. a lack of knowledge that leads to strife.
24 And the Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome but kindly to every one, an apt teacher, forbearing, 25 correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant that they will repent and come to know the truth, (RSV)
Repentance is the fact of acknowledging the truth and then acting on it.
2Timothy 3:7-8 who will listen to anybody and can never arrive at a knowledge of the truth. 8 As Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men of corrupt mind and counterfeit faith; (RSV)
Anyone who resists the truth is as bad as Jannes and Jambres. They were the two magicians of Pharaoh in Egypt who stood beside Pharaoh and whose snakes were eaten by Moses’ serpent. That is the level that God and the Word put on people who resist the truth in the Faith.
This is the third time I am coming to you. Any charge must be sustained by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 2 I warned those who sinned before and all the others, and I warn them now while absent, as I did when present on my second visit, that if I come again I will not spare them –
Paul was drawing to the end of his patience with the Corinthian Church because it was full of sin. God is slow to act and He does not destroy churches and people easily. But the lampstands are removed because of sin.
3 since you desire proof that Christ is speaking in me. He is not weak in dealing with you, but is powerful in you. 4 For he was crucified in weakness, but lives by the power of God. For we are weak in him, but in dealing with you we shall live with him by the power of God.
Christ lived by the power of God because only God is immortal. That is important.
5 Examine yourselves, to see whether you are holding to your faith. Test yourselves. Do you not realize that Jesus Christ is in you? -- unless indeed you fail to meet the test! 6 I hope you will find out that we have not failed. 7 But we pray God that you may not do wrong -- not that we may appear to have met the test, but that you may do what is right, though we may seem to have failed. 8 For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth.
We can’t do anything against the truth of God. God’s word does not come back empty. We can only work for the truth.
9 For we are glad when we are weak and you are strong. What we pray for is your improvement. 10 I write this while I am away from you, in order that when I come I may not have to be severe in my use of the authority which the Lord has given me for building up and not for tearing down.
The power that had been given to Paul was for the education and the uplifting or the building of the Church in truth.
11 Finally, brethren, farewell. Mend your ways, heed my appeal, agree with one another, live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you. 12 Greet one another with a holy kiss. 13 All the saints greet you. 14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. (RSV)
If we are not concerned with what is true then we are not of the elect.
Now this I affirm and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds; 18 they are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart; 19 they have become callous and have given themselves up to licentiousness, greedy to practice every kind of uncleanness. 20 You did not so learn Christ! -- 21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus. 22 Put off your old nature which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful lusts, 23 and be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and put on the new nature, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. 25 Therefore, putting away falsehood, let every one speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. 26 Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil. 28 Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his hands, so that he may be able to give to those in need. 29 Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for edifying, as fits the occasion, that it may impart grace to those who hear. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, in whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
The Holy Spirit is another seal of God. That is how the 144,000 are sealed – as those who have the Holy Spirit developing in truth.
31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, with all malice,
So there is a truth that can be spoken but in malice and slander – it is not in love and thus it is sin.
32 and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. (RSV)
The truth is of love and kindness and imitates God.
Ephesians 5:1-2 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. (RSV)
That offering and imitation of God functions around truth. The expectations of the elect are dealt with in Ephesians 5.
Ephesians 5:3-33 But fornication and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is fitting among saints. 4 Let there be no filthiness, nor silly talk, nor levity, which are not fitting; but instead let there be thanksgiving. 5 Be sure of this, that no fornicator or impure man, or one who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for it is because of these things that the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. 7 Therefore do not associate with them, 8 for once you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), 10 and try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. 12 For it is a shame even to speak of the things that they do in secret; 13 but when anything is exposed by the light it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. 14 Therefore it is said, "Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light." 15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, 16 making the most of the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart, 20 always and for everything giving thanks in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father. 21 Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ. 22 Wives, be subject to your husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 As the church is subject to Christ, so let wives also be subject in everything to their husbands. 25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 Even so husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no man ever hates his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 "For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh." 32 This mystery is a profound one, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church; 33 however, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. (RSV)
All of the illumination of the elect is based on truth and done in love. The fruits of the Spirit that lead to that situation as a church, a family, or a group come through goodness and righteousness and truth. Without truth none of these other things are possible.
From Ephesians 6:1-10 we go through the injunction of children obeying their parents and then slaves obeying their masters. These are the relationships of groups and families. All of these relationships are dedicated to and dependent upon truth. From Ephesians 6:10-20 we deal with the armour of God.
Ephesians 6:10-20 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
How much truer is that over the last decade than ever before in human history? We might say that the two World Wars were worse only because the wars had occurred. The spiritual wickedness before each of those was not as great as that which is extant on the planet now. How much greater will be the war that follows?
13 Therefore take the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,
The undergarment of the armour of God is truth, so there is no point in putting anything on unless we have our undergarment on. Everything is undergirded by truth.
15 and having shod your feet with the equipment of the gospel of peace; 16 besides all these, taking the shield of faith, with which you can quench all the flaming darts of the evil one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
So, by the underpinning of truth we then have the capacity to use the sword of the word of God. The Spirit is a sword and is the word of God. In the Holy Spirit we are able to use the word of God as a weapon to overcome evil. So truth is central to the Faith. No lie is of the truth (1Jn. 2:21).
18 Pray at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19 and also for me, that utterance may be given me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak. (RSV)
Once we are chosen we cannot fall from the truth.
Hebrews 10:26-39 For if we sin deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a fearful prospect of judgment, and a fury of fire which will consume the adversaries. 28 A man who has violated the law of Moses dies without mercy at the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 How much worse punishment do you think will be deserved by the man who has spurned the Son of God, and profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and outraged the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him who said, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay." And again, "The Lord will judge his people." 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. 32 But recall the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings, 33 sometimes being publicly exposed to abuse and affliction, and sometimes being partners with those so treated. 34 For you had compassion on the prisoners, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one. 35 Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. 36 For you have need of endurance, so that you may do the will of God and receive what is promised. 37 "For yet a little while, and the coming one shall come and shall not tarry; 38 but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him." 39 But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and keep their souls. (RSV)
This whole concept is based on the truth and the word of God. Encouraging each other in the truth is John’s theme. The second and third epistles of John deal with the truth.
2John 1-3 The elder to the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth, and not only I but also all who know the truth, 2 because of the truth which abides in us and will be with us for ever: 3 Grace, mercy, and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ the Father's Son, in truth and love. (RSV)
John is concerned here with truth, and if we look at the introduction to the third epistle it is the same:
3John The elder to the beloved Ga'ius, whom I love in the truth. (RSV)
We see that the whole concept of John here is concerned with truth.
2John 4-11 I rejoiced greatly to find some of your children following the truth, just as we have been commanded by the Father. 5 And now I beg you, lady, not as though I were writing you a new commandment, but the one we have had from the beginning, that we love one another. 6 And this is love, that we follow his commandments; this is the commandment, as you have heard from the beginning, that you follow love. 7 For many deceivers have gone out into the world, men who will not acknowledge the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh; such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist. 8 Look to yourselves, that you may not lose what you have worked for, but may win a full reward. 9 Any one who goes ahead and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God; he who abides in the doctrine has both the Father and the Son. 10 If any one comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into the house or give him any greeting; 11 for he who greets him shares his wicked work. (RSV)
This concept is that Christ came and died and that there was no part of him left that did not die. It goes on in 3John 2-12:
3John 2-12 Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in health; I know that it is well with your soul. 3 For I greatly rejoiced when some of the brethren arrived and testified to the truth of your life, as indeed you do follow the truth. 4 No greater joy can I have than this, to hear that my children follow the truth. 5 Beloved, it is a loyal thing you do when you render any service to the brethren, especially to strangers, 6 who have testified to your love before the church. You will do well to send them on their journey as befits God's service. 7 For they have set out for his sake and have accepted nothing from the heathen. 8 So we ought to support such men, that we may be fellow workers in the truth. 9 I have written something to the church; but Diot'rephes, who likes to put himself first, does not acknowledge my authority. 10 So if I come, I will bring up what he is doing, prating against me with evil words. And not content with that, he refuses himself to welcome the brethren, and also stops those who want to welcome them and puts them out of the church. 11 Beloved, do not imitate evil but imitate good. He who does good is of God; he who does evil has not seen God. 12 Deme'trius has testimony from every one, and from the truth itself; I testify to him too, and you know my testimony is true. (RSV)
John’s concepts of the truth are central to all his writings. Truth is central to the Faith. The false system concerning Christ is that of Antichrist and of lies. Where we have things manipulated, and not of the truth, we embrace the concept of falsehood. Therefore, it is not acceptable in the Faith to ignore truth in biblical matters, and say they are not relevant. That is not embracing the truth. The truth of God is rightly divided by the elect in the Holy Spirit. We have to deal with that process. Selective truth is ignoring the truth, i.e. we take the truths we want to hear and believe. In the same way selective truth is not worrying about the doctrine of the Godhead. Selective truth is not worrying about whether we just keep the Sabbath or the Holy Days or on what day we keep the Sabbath. Selective truth is not worrying about whether we keep the New Moons or whether we tithe. There are people who don’t tithe. The fact of the matter is that tithing is the mark of repentance and turning to the Lord in truth. People seem to think they have an option in those things – again, selective truth (cf. the paper Tithing (No. 161)).
The whole truth of the Bible requires action in deeds and in worship. By committing our ways to the Lord, He then establishes our thoughts (Prov. 16:3), not the other way around. When we are given knowledge of a matter, we act on it. Then our ways are established and our thoughts are then established in a more complete understanding of what we are doing.
Evil is a function of lies and deceit because it seeks to wrest the word of God. It is no longer truth. Our function and duty is the preaching of the truth of God, the acting upon it and the worship of God in spirit and in truth through the Holy Spirit.
Christian Churches of God
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