Posts Tagged ‘Truth


Grace Talk

When considering how we act toward people who are outside of the faith, we need a reminder from the Apostle Paul about how we talk with them. He wrote:

Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. – Colossians 4:6 (NIV)

Facebook. Sure, Paul had no clue as to what Facebook would be, but I’m positive he would write, “Let your posts be always full of grace…” My brothers and sisters, Jesus always spoke the truth in a grace-filled way. If Jesus wouldn’t say it or post it, then we shouldn’t either. Screaming and yelling at people who believe differently than you won’t pique their interest in following Jesus. Season your conversations and posts with grace so that people will want to know WHO it is that makes you different. When people are struggling and wanting to know where to turn for answers, will they turn to you because you belittled them and berated them? Or will they turn to you because you spoke the truth in a grace-filled way?

Speaking Truthfully

Paul reminds the Colossian believers that they have taken off the old self with its old ways. One of the old practices of the old self is lying. Paul says:

Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. – Colossians 3:9-10 (NIV)

As followers of Jesus, we need to speak truthfully to one another. We need to be known as people of honesty. Don’t lie to your spouse or your children. Don’t lie to your boss. Don’t lie to your brothers and sisters in church. Paul told the Ephesians to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). The old self tells lies. The new self speaks the truth in love. If you are tempted to lie or to perpetuate lies today, remember that you have been changed and it is time to come clean. Tell the truth and do away with the lies.

In Spirit And In Truth

John 4:19-24 (NIV)

“Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. 20 Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”
21 “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”

It appears that the worship wars started many years ago. The Jews and Samaritans were at odds over the proper place of worship. Jesus says that it isn’t the place of worship that counts. It’s something else entirely. He says that true worshipers must worship in Spirit and in truth. Spirit-filled worship of God does not take happen in just one place, such as a mountain or a temple. True worship of God takes place in the heart of every born-again believer in Jesus. True worship is more than just words on a page or a screen. Spirit-filled worship emanates from our souls as we express our gratitude for what God has done and our admiration of who He is.
I think that fighting about worship, whether styles or locations, is about the dumbest thing we do as followers of Jesus. How foolish is it that we think that God is contained in our little worship box? As though there is only one kind of music God likes? As though God can be limited to being worshiped on a Sunday morning at 10:30 (in your particular time zone) in a church building? When we gather for worship, the important thing is not the songs we sing nor the place where we gather with brothers and sisters. It is the attitude in which we enter into worship. Are we there to express our thanksgiving to and admiration of Almighty God? It’s an honor and a privilege to come before Him! We’re beggars and paupers coming before the King in our filthy rags of self-righteousness and we’re going to fight with each other about how we’re dressed or the proper way to sing His praises? Ludicrous! Let us seek to honor and worship Jesus in Spirit and in truth that we may be unified in awe and wonder as to who He is and what He’s done.
PRAYER: Forgive me, Father, for my wrong attitudes regarding worship. I want to worship You in Spirit and in truth. Help me to know the truth and to be filled with the Spirit so that my worship may be pleasing to You. You are good and kind. You have provided all that I need. You are most worthy of praise! Accept my offering of worship and praise today in the name of Jesus, amen.

We Love The Darkness

John 3:19-21 (NIV)

This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.

Let’s face it, human beings love spiritual darkness. It’s much easier to hide our lies and our sins in the dark. We hide them from one another and we try to hide them from God. Why? Sometimes we try to hide because we’re ashamed. Sometimes we try to hide because we want to keep doing what we’re doing. If we bring our sins out into the light of truth, we’re forced to admit that what we’re doing is sinful. If we venture out into the light of truth, we know we have to repent. The darkness of sin is easy. The light of truth is hard. 
The reality of the situation is that we’re not hiding anything and we’re not fooling anyone. God sees it all and knows what we’ve been up to. He’s not shocked by our sins. He’s well aware. That’s why we need to step out of the darkness of sin and into the light of Jesus’ love and grace. We may be afraid of condemnation and punishment, but that’s not what we find in the light. We find Jesus in the light and He will not condemn us to Hell because of our sins. He wants to forgive our sins and rescue us from Hell. That’s why He came. Don’t be afraid of the light. You don’t have to hide in the dark anymore. 
PRAYER: Father God, help me to step into the light of truth and grace. I don’t want to hide in the darkness anymore. Thank You for your mercy and grace. Thank You for your love and forgiveness. Thank You for Jesus. I love You, God. Amen.

Zeal For Worship

John 2:13-17 (NIV)

When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 In the temple courts he found people selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. 15 So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. 16 To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!” 17 His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for your house will consume me.”

Was Jesus upset about the fact that people were selling cattle, sheep and doves for sacrifices? No, this was done out of convenience for pilgrims who came from a long way off. Was He upset that people were exchanging currency? Again, this was done so that people could pay their temple taxes and offer their gifts. Jesus was upset because people were being taken advantage of. They had to give a gift and make their sacrifices. So the priests and money changers were getting rich by overcharging. Not only that, but all of this commerce was taking place in the court of the Gentiles and was making it difficult for the Gentile converts to worship God. They were being distracted by the county fair kind of atmosphere that was taking place in their courts.
Jesus was passionate about honoring His Father in worship. He was zealous for the house of the Lord. We should be zealous, not for our church buildings, but for true worship of God. The little girl scout selling cookies after church or the young boy selling candy bars are fine as long as they are not overcharging to make a profit (is it even possible to overcharge for Thin Mints? Those things are amazing!) and as long as they are not distracting people from worshiping God. If they’re walking around selling cookies and candy bars during the service, they need to wait until a more appropriate time. The New Testament teaches us that true worshipers worship in Spirit and in Truth. Worship is not about a building, but rather it is about our hearts. So let’s focus on what really matters when it comes to worship – focusing on honoring Jesus.
PRAYER: Thank You, Father God, for the gift of worship. I want to honor You and Your Son with my life and with my heart. I want to be pure in my motives and devoted to You in my heart. Forgive me my many sins so that I may stand before You in worship as You see me, forgiven and clean. In Jesus’ name, amen.

FULL Of Grace And Truth

John 1:14
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Jesus was FULL of grace AND truth. A friend of mine recently pointed out to me that this is not a 50/50 balance of grace and truth. He was FULL of grace and truth. It was 100/100! Jesus always told the truth in a grace-filled way. 
As followers of Jesus, we have so far to go. We often error on one side or the other. We’ll preach the truth of the Gospel, but we’ll forget the grace. We’ll be so loud and bold that we actually turn people off to Jesus because we think that it is our job to convict the world of sin. Jesus said that that is the job of the Holy Spirit. 
Or we will preach good news of love, forgiveness and grace and forget about the truth that there is bad news, too. We’re all sinners and deserve to spend an eternity separated from God in Hell. That’s the truth! 
How can we be more like Jesus when it comes to telling people the truth (we deserve Hell) in a grace-filled way (but God wants to save us because He loves us)? We have to keep our eyes on the cross. Jesus went through hell so that we can go to Heaven. The cross is that perfect balance of grace and truth. Without the cross, there is no good news. Jesus suffered and died so that our sins could be washed away in His blood. Without Him we have no hope. But we do have hope because Jesus came and laid down His life for our forgiveness. O praise His name!

PRAYER: Thank You, Father, for sending Jesus, Your Son. Help me to be more like Him in my interactions with people. Help me to tell the truth in a grace-filled way. Thank You for saving me by Your grace. Amen.

Full Of Grace AND Truth

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.  (John 1:4, NIV)
I love that John describes Jesus as being full of grace (God’s unmerited favor) AND truth.  Jesus came to love people and show them God’s grace in a personal and tangible way.  We see Him loving people everywhere He goes.  The woman at the well.  The woman caught in adultery.  The man born blind.  Jairus, the synagogue leader whose daughter died.  The 5,000 who needed to be fed.  Jesus loved people and demonstrated God’s grace to them over and over and over again.
He also spoke truth everywhere He went.  “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near!”  “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  No one comes to the Father except through Me.”  “But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”  He said some pretty tough things.  I did a brief sermon series called “Tough Pill To Swallow” on some of the tough things that Jesus said.  It was hard for His followers and His critics to hear some of the Truths that He taught.  It’s still hard.
But Jesus was not just love, love, love all the time.  He was not just truth, truth, truth all the time.  He was the perfect balance of love AND truth.  How can we be more like Him?  How can we demonstrate God’s love while preaching the Truth to those who so desperately need to hear it?  I think that we, as Christians, need to reach out to those around us in love in order to gain an audience that will hear the Truth of Jesus Christ.  We are often accused of hatred and bigotry.  What better way to answer our critics than with love and acceptance of people.  We never accept sinful behavior, but we must always accept sinners.  After all, we were all once alienated from and enemies of God” (Colossians 1:21) and He reconciled us to Himself through Jesus.  Let us love and accept those who are far from God that they might want to hear His Truth and turn to Him for forgiveness.
PRAYER: Help me to find the balance, O God, between grace and truth.  May I share Your love with the world and stand up for the truth of Your Word.  Help me to live for Jesus today and to become more like Him – full of grace AND truth.  Amen.

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