SBS Sermon Notes

SBS     Sermon Notes     Note 08/03

The Spirit of Truth

Reading: Reading: John 4:1-24

We live in a sinful world; a world where deception abounds and where truth is a rarity. Lies, innuendoes, exaggerations and errors of all kinds flourish in every land. Indeed, corruption, falsehood and greed are at the heart of almost every enterprise. What's more, human society is also being inundated with new ideas on how to live, how to dress, how to behave and even how to think. Religious, political and economic 'breakthroughs' are on the increase; but no sooner has one new idea been tried and discredited when an even more spectacular claim is made for another. Like the ancient Greeks, modern man is ever seeking something different, something new! The Bible says of the people of ancient Athens:

Acst 17:21 For all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing.

And yet, deep down inside, we all know that not all is right with human society. In every country you'll hear the older generation tell of the 'good old days' when life wasn't so stressful and people had more time for each other. To be sure we are better fed, better clothed and have more leisure time; but there is ample evidence to prove that human society is sick to the core and is drifting deeper and deeper into trouble. People are not interested in the Truth. Therefore, Scripture tells us, the Spirit of Truth will be withdrawn from human society and mankind will be handed over to the Antichrist - to believe the big Lie!

2 Thess.2:7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.
8: And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
9: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
10: And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
11: And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
12: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
This withdrawal of the Holy Spirit has begun and the vacuum left behind is being filled with the Spirit of Deception. However, this morning I want to talk about truth not deception.

Believe it or not this is an age-old question. At the trial of Jesus Christ it was asked by the Roman governor Pontius Pilate, who was no stranger to deception. Pilate often acted as a judge in high court cases in ancient Israel and had witnessed much falsehood. As a result he had grave doubts that anyone spoke the truth. Too often had he seen falsehood presented as truth: and, almost contemptuously, he asked the question:

What is Truth? (John 18:38)
Yes, What is truth? According to the dictionary, truth is something that is 'in accordance with the facts, something genuine, correct and accurate, something that lives up to its claims.' Do we find Truth in our society? Not much, you will agree. But back to our question: What is Truth?

The answer to this vital question is found in the Scriptures, the Word of the living God.

In a world of error, deception and confusion, it is reassuring to find such positive and true statements. Yahweh's Son Yeshua is the embodiment of truth, the living truth. Yahweh's written Word the Bible is the record of truth. Yahweh's Laws are the standards of truth. These are unequivocal facts. We can rely on them. We can stake our lives on them. They are absolutely in accordance with reality. They are true. They are not only true now, but will be true for all time. They will never become obsolete.

Truth is vital to human society. Its absence causes mistrust which often leads to hatred and even to war. The absence of truth is the main cause of humanity's sins and resulting woes. The presence of truth uplifts. The absence of truth degrades. The Bible puts it thus:

Proverbs 14:34 Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.

In other words, right living - which cannot be guided by anything other than Truth - will lift a nation high in the estimation of Yahweh and will win His approval and blessing. Sin, on the other hand, will produce the opposite result. The more deceptive and unrighteous a nation becomes the lower and lower it will sink into disaster. This spiritual formula works with individuals just as it does with nations. It is an eternal formula which we ignore at our peril.

Error corrupts and enslaves. Truth brings freedom - freedom from fear, freedom from hate. Truth replaces fear with faith and confidence. People who hold and live the truth are not afraid of privation, persecution or even death. They have the truth, they know the truth about life and death, the present and the hereafter, and fear has no hold on them. These are the only free people on the face of this earth! All others are slaves of error and fear! The Saviour once said:

John 8:32 And you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.

Truth opens people's eyes to the corruption and utter worthlessness of Satan's life-style. Truth brings Yahweh's law into focus. Yahweh's law is truth. Knowledge of God's law - if acted upon - separates and sanctifies a person. A believer of Yahweh's truth, His law, will progressively separate him/herself from sin in every form. In fact Truth is the only thing that can identify and define error. Without the truth it is impossible to know what sin is. Truth brings spiritual eyesight which leads its possessor into the pathway of holiness.

John 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
18: As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.
19: And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.
20: Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word.

Truth, for all its value, is not popular. Multiplied millions of people reject truth; simply because they love sin, even though they know it's wrong. Sin is a spiritual drug with deadly side-effects. Sin brings pleasure, instant pleasure: but in the end sin leads to death - eternal death.

The Bible says that just before the Saviour returns to earth, Truth (the Son, Word and Law of God) will be rejected in favour of fables, myths, entertaining fiction and outright sin. That time has come. It is here.

2 Timothy 4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
4: And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

A fable is a story that is not based on fact. A fable is the opposite of truth. It is a legend, a myth handed down through the centuries. Fables are fiction. They are not truth. Strange as it may sound, fiction is becoming extremely popular these days. A visit to any library will prove this. How accurate is the Bible when it says:

'they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.'

People are rejecting the Bible record of the creation. They are rejecting the law of God. Instead they are embracing fables, fiction and the falsehood of Evolution.

Truth is as powerful over falsehood as light is over darkness. Nothing can destroy the truth. Sinners may hate truth, reject truth and fight truth with all their might; but truth is unaffected: it cannot be destroyed. Truth is invincible. Truth can penetrate even the darkest recesses of the human mind. Truth is eternal, as eternal as God Himself. The Apostle Paul writes in 2 Cor.13:8

For we can do nothing against the Truth.

Truth is the best insurance policy an individual or community can invest in. The Most High places great value on people who revere His truth. To hurt them is to hurt God Himself. Yahweh will spare entire towns if He finds even a few residents who revere His truth. Consider these verses:

Genesis 18:23 And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked?
24: Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city
(Sodom): wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein?
... 32: And he said, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak yet but this once: Peradventure ten shall be found there. And he
(God) said, I will not destroy it for ten's sake.
Jeremiah 5:1 Run ye to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, and see now, and know, and seek in the broad places thereof, if ye can find a man, if there be any that executeth judgment, that seeketh the truth; and I will pardon it.

In the final analysis truth is far more than a reiteration of cold facts. Truth is a divine Being; and all that emanates from that Being is Truth. To effectively worship the Most High and His Son a believer must needs have the right Spirit, the right attitude; else his worship is futile. Correct doctrine, correct procedure (the right posture, the right day, the right place etc.) are all important; but without the right Spirit, the Spirit of Truth - all worship is worthless. By the right Spirit I mean the Spirit of the Most High. He it is who produces in His followers the right frame of mind (meekness) and the right attitude (a willingness to learn) and the right behaviour (righteousness). The Saviour put it like this:

John 4:23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.
24: God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

In other words, correct doctrine must not only be understood, believed and accepted, it must be lived out in the right attitude. For our worship to be acceptable to God, we must (note that word 'must') worship Him in spirit; that is, with repentance, meekness, gratitude and awe. This is the kind of worshipper the Almighty is diligently searching the earth for! Do you have the spirit of truth? If you think you still have a long way to go (and I most certainly have) then here is a short prayer you could pray each day.

A Closing Prayer
Psalm 25:5 Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day.

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Elder: David B Loughran
Stewarton Bible School, Stewarton, Scotland
December 1997 ... Reformatted November 1999