<%@LANGUAGE="VBSCRIPT" CODEPAGE="65001"%> The Importance of Knowing the Truth in God's Word
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The Importance of Knowing
The Truth In God's Word

Reverend William R. Cunningham
Sermon for June 20, 1999


The following is an overview of the sermon that I preached on Sunday June 20, 1999.   This was the first service of Oasis Christian Fellowship of Philadelphia.  We thank God for this opportunity to minister to you.  Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or comments about this topic or anything that I "say" herein.   Thank you and God bless you.

Introduction

This is a call for Christians to know the Truth in God's word.  Too often I talk to Christians who have been beaten up by the religious community instead of being edified by the word of God.  Too often Christians that I talk to are enslaved by their denomination, church doctrine, the pastor, or their religious organization.  To often Christians are hurt and wounded by the very people that should help them, encourage them, and love them.  Instead of love and compassion, some Christians receive orders and bondage.  I have been in churches where the pastor assumes the role of the "King."  For some reason the pastor believes that the congregation is for the pastor instead of the pastor for the people.  The unfortunate thing about this is that many people are blindly following these pastors because they don't know any better.

We are taught that we can't listen to certain radio stations or watch certain movies.   We are told that we can't wear certain clothes.  We are told that we have to be in church all day on Sunday and that we should give 10% of our income to the church and then some.  We are told that we are obligated to support the pastor.  Where is the love?  Where is the compassion?  Why do people believe such things and follow them.  Why do people let their families crumble to support their church?   Why do marriages suffer because the wife or the husband would rather spend so much of his or her time in church rather than with their spouse?  Why do children suffer because the parents would rather be in church so much instead of spending quality time as a family?  I'll tell you why.  They just don't know any better.  They think that their service to the church is their service to God.  People suffer in their religion because they don't know the truth.  People migrate to cults because they don't know the truth in God's word.  People's lives crumble around them as they embrace the church because they don't know what God says.

This is what this lesson is about.  Knowing the truth.  If we knew what God really said about certain things then we would be a lot better off.  At the very least we would make decisions and do those things that are consistent with the word of God instead of a man's belief.  This lesson is to encourage you to seek the truth of God's word.  This lesson is to entice you to seek Christ regardless of what anyone else tells you.

Lesson

Let's begin our lesson by looking at a rather familiar scripture.  Of course people usually don't know what the more familiar scriptures teach or say.

(John 14:6 KJV) Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

This verse reveals that Jesus Christ is the way, the truth and the life.  Jesus also tells us that he is the way to the Father.  What does he mean by "way", "truth", and "life?"  Our focus in this sermon will be on Jesus Christ being the truth and the importance of us knowing that truth.  Since Jesus says that He is the truth, then it follows that knowing Jesus Christ is to know the truth.  So Jesus says that he is the WAY.  What is meant by "way?"

The word way implies a path, or a mode of operation if you will.  Let's look at a few scriptures that give us more information about this.  A word here is appropriate before we get into the scriptures.  It is important to not develop a conclusion or "theology" on one scripture alone.  It is important to gather information from many scriptures on a particular topic in order to come to a more precise conclusion about what the Bible actually reveals about the topic being studied.  So let's look at a few scriptures that reference the concept of way.

(Prov 3:5-6 NIV) Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; {6} in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.

Here we see that word way.  It's interesting that the New King James Version of the Bible uses the word path instead of way.  The word way implies a path or a mode of operation.  You can also think of it as the path to a goal.  For example.  Look at the next verse.

(Mat 7:13-14 KJV) Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: {14} Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

Here we see the word way again.  Other translations use the word road or path in place of the word way.  This is consistent with the underlying Greek word.

Now look at the following verse.

(John 8:12 KJV) Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

Jesus Christ is not only the way, He is also the light of the world and brings life to us.  We see from the above scripture that those that follow Christ will have the light of life.  Look at John 1:4.

(John 1:4 KJV) In him was life; and the life was the light of men.

In Jesus Christ is life and that life illuminates us.  This is why we can be the light of the world--Only because the light of Christ is in us and not because of anything of our own.

Now look at the following scripture.

(John 8:31-32 KJV) Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; {32} And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

This is a very important verse especially to the vision of Oasis Christian Fellowship.   Jesus said that if we (those who believe in him) continue in his word or teaching then we are disciples of his.  A disciple is a learner or a student.  I like to think of a disciple as a student.  That word "continue" is translated from a Greek word that means to abide in, stay, endure, or to dwell.  So a disciple is one who abides in the word of God (being that Jesus Christ is the word--John 1:1).  We also see that the disciples of Christ will know the truth.   Remember that Jesus Christ is the truth.  The truth that we know by being disciples of Christ will liberate us from sin.  Liberty from sin appears to be the specific context of this scripture (See John 8:34-36).

There is something else that I would like to bring out about this topic.

(John 6:63 NCV) It is the Spirit that gives life. The flesh doesn't give life. The words I told you are spirit, and they give life.

Again we see that Jesus Christ gives life.  How though?  Through His words.   What are his words?  He says what the Father shows him (See John 8:38).   This brings to us to the final point.

(Mat 4:4 KJV) But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

We live by what God says!  I think it would be very beneficial to us to know what God says.  Why?  So at the very least we can agree with Him and obey Him consciously.  Our decisions can be based on what we know of God's word.

Knowing the Truth

Christians should know the truth.  The truth liberates us from sin and bondage.   We know the truth by being disciples of Christ.  We know the truth by knowing Christ.  If we know Christ then we know the Father too.  Why is it important to know the truth?  So that we can live and live abundantly.  I'm not talking about the faith teaching of having riches.  I personally believe that much of that teaching is inconsistent with the Bible's teaching.  I am talking about having an abundance of life--the life of Christ.  I'm talking about having a glow that shines brighter each time we get and understand more of the word of God.  Since we live by the word of God, the word of God brings life, and the word of God is truth then I would suggest that we obtain the truth so that we can truly live.

Too often Christians are slaves to their church doctrines, rituals, formulas, and bondage.  We need not be in bondage.  We have liberty by the Spirit of God.   Liberty from sin to be bound to God.  We can't bind ourselves to God if we are bound by something else.  First we must break the chains that bind us and then cling to the truth, which is Christ Jesus.  The Christian faith is founded on the works and teachings of Jesus Christ.  True Christianity transcends any and every church's doctrines and programs.  However, many Christians, from my experience, are trapped by men and women leaders in the Christian community to believe a lie.  We give ministers prestige and honor when we should honor God.  We believe anything the TV evangelists tell us in lieu of the word of God.  Jesus was so right when he said....

"....Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition." - Matthew 15:6b

Have you forsaken the truth for your church's traditions?  Have you turned your back on Christ to cling to your doctrines?  Have you embraced your church programs instead of the life of Christ in His word?  We all need to evaluate ourselves.   Consider what Paul said in the following verse.

(2 Cor 13:5 NIV) Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you--unless, of course, you fail the test?

Where do you stand?  Have you passed the test?  Are you living according to the word of God or your traditions.  Do you get angry when anyone seems to oppose what you believe or what your pastor believes.  There is no reason to get angry.   Listen to what is being said.  If you know the truth then you should have confidence that the truth will stand against anything.  Perhaps you can help to correct the person opposing your belief or you may find that you are edified by what the other person says.

We must know the truth.  Without the truth we are susceptible to living a lie.   Not knowing the truth may result in us relying on our church doctrine or the pastor's beliefs instead of the word of God.

So the message to you here is to know the truth.  Seek after the truth, which can be found in your Bible and is the Word of God.  Hold the truth and forsake all that is not the truth.  Cling to the Word of God instead of your church's teachings.   This is not to say that you should throw the teachings of your church away or that all church teaching is bad.  What I am trying to get across is simply to give the word of God a higher priority even over the words of your pastor.  If the pastor is telling you what the word says then good.  However, you still will have to know that truth for yourself so that you know your pastor (or anyone) is telling you the truth.   How can you know if someone is telling you the truth unless you are familiar with the truth yourself.  So this is a call for Christians to know the truth.  Study your Bible.  Talk to each other without accusations and condemnation.  Edify each other in love and let all Christians seek the truth of the Word of God.  Let all Christians seek Christ and live Christ.

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