Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Truth, whether you believe it.....or not!

   I was impacted by an illustration I found as I was preparing a recent sermon the other day.  It was about bank tellers.  Bank tellers work with money all day.  They handle it, they count it, they store it and they check it for authenticity.  A bank teller goes through training to ensure that they are able to spot and identify counterfeit bills.  When they do spot one, they usually know that it is a fake just by the tools that are available to them and the training that they have received.  They know it because it feels and looks a little different.  No matter how good a counterfeit bill it is, there is always some tell-tale sign that lets you know it's a fake.

   And that is the way it is with our Christian faith.  In John 14,  Jesus is telling his disciples that the time was coming when he would soon be departing them.  He tells them that he is going to prepare a place for them in Heaven, and that if he is going to prepare a place for them, then surely he will return for them.  Then he says something that, to me, is absolutely amazing!  John 14:6-7 says, "I am THE WAY, THE TRUTH, and THE LIFE; NO ONE comes to the Father but THROUGH ME."  Wow!  How awesome that must have been for the disciples to hear!  And even when Phillip said "show us the Father, and it is enough for us", Jesus gently reminded them that they had been in the presence of the Father all this time.  Jesus was letting them know that they were in the presence of the real deal!  This was (and is) the Son of God, Jehovah-Jireh, Yeshua, the Messiah.

   The disciples were assured of the salvation of the Gospel of Christ because of their fellowship with him.  They walked with him, learned at his feet, broke bread with him, ministered with him and defended the faith because of their intimate relationship with him.  They were daily in communion with him through their physical presence with him.  Paul was assured of the TRUTH of the Gospel because of his close encounter with Jesus.  Because of that experience, nothing could separate him from the truth of Christ's salvation!  And we should be assured of that very thing as well.

   I love how God shows me more and more insight into His Word.  If I am to know who Christ is and what God's Word says about him, I have to have a deep and personal relationship with him!  When I am in prayer, when I read my bible, when I devote quiet time to him, I spend time getting to know what an awesome God I serve.  And I am able to know the truth because I have been in his presence.  The more I build this friendship with Christ, the more I submit to him, the easier it is to know who the Real Deal is!  We live in a world that wants to bring a different message, and different Gospel than the one that we have received from Him.  Everywhere we turn, we are bombarded with all sorts of thoughts and ideas that are in direct opposition to the Word of God.  Take your pick, big or small, they all fail to stand up to the absolute truth of the Bible.  But if we fail to spend time with Christ, if we fail to set ourselves apart from this world, we become easy prey for those falsehoods.

   There used to be an underground magazine in St Petersburg, FL when I was a teenager that was put together with this sort of punk-Christian style.  It was very hip and cool during that time, with lots of different fonts (often in the same article) and funky cut-out and xeroxed pictures (think ransom notes).  I carried one of those articles in my wallet with me from about the time I was 15 and still have it to this very day.  It wasn't until several years later that I realized that it was a passage of scripture from Philippians.  I guess it just never dawned on me.  But it's found in Philippians 2:5-11;

5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in very nature God,
   did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing
   by taking the very nature of a servant,
   being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
   he humbled himself
   by becoming obedient to death—
      even death on a cross!
 9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
   and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
   in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
   to the glory of God the Father.

   We need to know WHO Christ is, WHAT he has done for us, WHY we believe he is the Lord, WHAT we believe about him, and HOW that impacts not just us, but the world.  We need to sit at the foot of his throne daily, just as the disciples did when He walked this earth, so that we know that He is THE WAY, THE TRUTH, and THE LIFE!  When we do, it's really easy to spot the fakes, to see the counterfeit revolutions and point them out.  To put it another way, we either stand for something (that which is better), or we'll fall for anything.

   I want to be so close to him, that i know a fake when I see it.

  Good night dear Romans, may God keep you in the palm of His hand, may He guide you in wisdom and in truth, and may He never leave you nor forsake you.  I know He won't.  Amen!

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