What is Truth?, Pt. 1

What is Truth?, Pt. 1

Scripture: John 17:17, 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12, Psalms 119:142
What is truth? Is there absolute truth? Is truth relative? Does truth change depending on people's opinions? What about Bible truth? Can we agree on some basic concepts in the Bible?
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Truth part 1

Announcer: It's time now for Bible Talk. Join Gary Gibbs and John Bradshaw as they open the Bible to deepen our understanding of God's Word.

John Bradshaw: Hi and welcome to Bible Talk where we talk about the Bible and how the Bible affects you today. I'm John Bradshaw and with me is Gary Gibbs, hi Gary.

Gary Gibbs: Hi John. Our listeners are going to want to stay with us because we're going to be talking about a topic John, that is often debated in religious circles and that is "What is truth?" Everybody has their own opinion as to what truth is and some people have resolved this dilemma simply by saying "You have your truth and I have my truth and God considers it all truth even though it may be contradictory."

John: And others who will say "There is no absolute truth" and you've got to say "Are you absolutely sure about that?"

Gary: And of course they would say "Yes, I'm absolutely sure." And then there's an absolute there, isn't there?

John: That's right, you know thinking of this outside of the Bible for a moment, I read recently an obituary from Denmark. A fellow had died of lung cancer and his sons put the obituary in the newspaper, it said "For this event, full credit must go to... And they named a tobacco company, without which this event would not have taken place for another ten years." They said "All we were doing was putting in the newspaper something that their dad had said." Now according to the surgeon general, their dad rather is an absolute truth that tobacco kills, tobacco is harmful, shortens your life and does all of that. Can we say in this late age, we are absolutely sure about that about tobacco?

Gary: Yes we can, in fact recent lawsuits against tobacco have proven that we can be absolutely sure about that, but there are people who don't want to know that truth. I remember one lady who said "I wish I lived back in the days before the surgeon general issued the warnings and I could have enjoyed smoking."

John: Does keeping your head in the sand negate the fact that there is truth? I don't think so somehow.

Gary: You know John, as we now extrapolate this to other things like Bible truth. This is where people start deconstructing and they say "Well truth only, whatever is truth is what has meaning to you when it comes to religious things." They might agree yes, there is absolute scientific truth.

John: I wouldn't argue about science, if I dropped this egg on the ground, the law of gravity, which is absolute, means this thing's going to make an absolute mess on my kitchen floor, right?

Gary: That's correct.

John: Why can we come to the Bible and say "There are some things in here that are absolute."

Gary: I think Christians especially need to come to this because we at least agree on some basic concepts and that is the Bible's inspired word of God, there is a God in Heaven and some people would say it's a Father, Son and Holy Spirit, others would just say it's just Jesus, but we can at least agree on the basic concept there's a God that inspired people to write this book.

John: All right, let's push that a little bit, there would be some people who say "Yeah, that's true, but we can't take it literally. Creation didn't really happen like that, Jesus didn't really raise the dead." And so their inspired Bible is semi-inspired or partly inspired. The higher critics who sit in judgment upon the word of God, can we get to the Bible and say "Man, this is absolute this is solid rock from the first page to the last page." Why don't we look to the testimony of the Bible itself?

Gary: We need to do that, John says in John 17:17 in quoting Jesus, "Thy word is truth." But he says actually more than that. He says "Sanctify them thru thy truth, thy word is truth." So what he's saying is God's people are to be a sanctified people, set apart different from other people around them and the thing that sets them apart and makes them different is their understanding of the word of God and that it is truth.

John: So if you have a mushy, partial, soft peddling understanding of the word of God let me just put it this way, if I can't have confidence that what I'm reading in this book is really the word of God, can it really have that sanctifying effect on me Jesus wanted to have in order to prepare me for everlasting life? I would say no.

Gary: No, and to prove that, to demonstrate that is the fact that the devil tries to distort truth and tries to lead us away from truth. He must know that truth is important to us otherwise he wouldn't spend all that energy trying to lead us away from truth.

John: You look at the Bible and you've just caught John 17:17, "God's word is truth." according to Jesus, right?

Gary: That's Jesus word, that's right.

John: We think the Bible is God's word so we ought to stand on that as well.

Gary: Yes and let me go back to this thought John that the devil must realize that there's absolute truth, otherwise he wouldn't invest his time in leading people away from him. In 2 Thessalonians 2:10, we have a prophecy of the last days and I believe that we're living in the last days. I think prophecy makes that really clear. In verse 10 of two Thessalonians two we read "That the devil, thru the anti-Christ will work with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish because they receive not the love of the truth that they might be saved." So if you don't love truth then you're not going to be saved.

John: Now wait a minute, you're deepening this. It's not just acknowledging that there is truth, but it's being in love with that truth.

Gary: Accepting it into your life so that it changes you like we read Jesus said in John 17, that it sanctifies you, that it does something for you.

John: Now anybody familiar with that passage in 2 Thessalonians knows that those who don't receive the love of the truth meet with dire consequences, now wait a minute, I'm just going to take this moment to let everybody know that we've got a special offer we want to make to you at the end of this program to receive free study material on this subject, which will bless your understanding of this aspect of the Bible and of the Bible itself. Hang in there and we'll let you know how to get that offer in a couple of moments.

Gary: You want to call our toll free number in a moment or email us. It's called Written in Stone so stay by for that address for that phone number.

John: OK, if you don't receive the love of the truth, what happens?

Gary: Well the Bible says there in 2 Thessalonians 2:11 that you'll receive strong delusion that you'll believe a lie. See John, people are going to believe something. I've seen people who believe a lie just as strongly as somebody who believes the truth. That lie becomes a truth too that they'll die for and in the last days, people will die for their lies and the reason they believe these lies are the truth of written experts, verse 12 tells us "They had pleasure in unrighteousness." You see, they love their sin more than they love the truth.

John: OK, so let's take this in a direction here, the Bible says "Not only God's word is truth, but it says God's law is truth," Psalm 119:142, nine verses later it says "All your commandments are truth." Now if you don't receive the love of the truth, you believe a lie because you love sin. Sin is the transgression of God's law, correct?

Gary: It is.

John: So if you don't love the truth and don't love the law of God, in God's principles, in God's guidelines, there's only one direction you can go and you're going to go into sin.

Gary: And you're going to believe a lie.

John: If I don't love that commandment that says "Thou shall have no other gods before me." I'm going to put something before God, if I don't love that commandment that says "Thou shall not commit adultery." Then I'm going to be impure and unfaithful and all there is, isn't that right?

Gary: It is and the way we get this where we understand truth is we have to give our hearts to God. I mean really John, that's what it comes down to. We have to say "God, I want your truth more that I want anything else." And really John, I think this is the thing that is dividing Christianity is we have our own pet doctrines and our own ideas and we love our life as it now stands. We love our church and that's OK, but we cannot love those things more than we love God and love His truth and if we will come to that conclusion, I think God can do marvelous things within Christianity.

John: There's another verse that underscores the very thing you're saying. Jesus said in John 14:6, "I am the way, the truth and the life." If you love Christ, then by definition you love truth, because He is the embodiment of the truth. So in order to love this thing, I don't want us to paint ourselves into a corner here where it sounds like we're saying what you need is some kind of intellectual thing only. You've got to be right, there's far more to it than that. It's right with the Lord and right in the Lord because if you're in Jesus and He comes into your heart, He's going to bring His righteousness, He's going to bring His principles, He'll bring His law and He'll bring his truth and the love for the truth, isn't that right?

Gary: It is, let's go back to this concept of is there absolute truth because we have identified now that Jesus is the truth, the word is the truth. God inspired the writers of the Bible to put down these thoughts. Well if there's not absolute truth, then you've got to trace it back to the author. Is He just rambling, is God rambling as He inspires these writers to write these random thoughts that are contradictory that come to no concrete conclusion? If He is doing that, what type of God then is He?

John: That's not much of a God is He? God Jesus says follow me, I've got to know where to follow. The Bible is the written a record of the thoughts and purposes and intents of almighty God, and if God was capricious in the way He inspired this thing, a thought here, a thought there, doesn't matter which way you go, all rivers run to the sea, it says an awful lot about God.

Gary: Actually if you were to read a book today of somebody who wrote like that, it wouldn't hit the best-seller list, it would be the ramblings of a crazed mind, actually, and if that's what we're saying, that truth is not absolute, that you read the Bible, get out of it whatever you want, you know it's contradictory to what others believe then we're saying that God is this rambling lunatic that had no real intent and purpose in inspiring this book.

John: And just another mention here, you want to learn more about this, we've got an offer to mention just a few moments, Written in Stone. You're going to want to call us or email us and get that offer. It will pick up the subject and fill in lots of gaps and lead you to a greater understanding. So there's absolute in the Bible, does that mean then that there's more to Christianity than just going with the flow, this ought to be a search, is that right, a real studied search?

Gary: Sometimes the only absolute truth Christians can agree on is God is love. We say "OK, as long as we agree on God is love, everything else is OK," but listen, you have to define love, love is more than just this twittering feeling inside our heart. Love is defined in actions, how we live our lives and the Bible defines what that love is, and so we have to come to that conclusion, what is truth, how does God want us to live? And that is discovered thru a research, a careful research of the word of God with an open heart saying "God, I want you to lead me into all your truth."

John: In the eighth chapter of the book of John, Jesus said if you... Now this is something really important, a lot of Christians, they get saved, find the Lord, Heaven awakening moment or whatever and never really push on from there. They just stay right there, but that is not the biblical definition of Christianity that Jesus gave us. He said "If you continue in my word..." so that means coming to the Bible and moving on and learning more and altering your life, surrendering your heart and conforming to this thing, "If you continue in my word, then you are my disciples indeed."

See, there's a ramification to that Gary, the person who rolls up to church, comes down the front of an altar call or whatever and says "I'm here." No you're not here unless you're continuing in the word.

You're not a disciple, you may be there in the moment, but to stay with the Lord, you've got to grow and move on. If you continue in my word then you're my disciples indeed and you shall know the truth and the truth will make you free.

Gary: So we need to be in pursuit of truth, John and we really don't have the Holy Spirit in our life unless we're pursuing that truth and every Christian wants the Spirit in their life.

John: Now hang on we don't have the Spirit in our lives unless we are pursuing the truth, that's a big statement, man.

Gary: Because the work of the Holy Spirit is to guide us into all truth, Jesus said that in John 16:13. The Holy Spirit isn't there just to give us the ecstatic utterance this or some other gift. The Holy Spirit is there to guide us into all truth so if we're going to have the Holy Spirit in our life, we need to be praying to Him, John. Lord, guide me in all your truth, I haven't arrived yet.

I want you in my life and I want to learn more of you and it's been my experience and yours and I know of others who love God that God will do that, He'll guide us further in the path of truth.

John: And what makes Christianity so exciting is this journey we're on, this adventure, this continual growth with the Lord Jesus and friend, we want you to experience that peace and that joy and that love and that growth that comes from searching for God's truth and let it be free in your life. Hey, join us next time for more here on Bible Talk.

Man: If you'd like more information on what we've been studying today, we have a comprehensive Bible study guide we'd love to share with you that's absolutely free. This study includes many of the texts we've just discussed and expands on the subject including information you want to know. To receive this free, informative, Bible study guide, simply call, write or email and ask for Written in Stone. The toll free number is 866-Biblesays. That's 866-2425372. You can write to us at Bible Talk, PO Box 1058, Roseville, California 95678 or email us at bibletalk@amazingfacts.org. Bible Talk has been produced in association with Amazing Facts in the studios of LifeTalk Radio.

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