The Lord is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and rich in love.
The Lord is good to all;
he has compassion on all he has made.
All your works praise you, Lord;
your faithful people extol you.
They tell of the glory of your kingdom
and speak of your might,
so that all people may know of your mighty acts
and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
and your dominion endures through all generations.
The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises
and faithful in all he does.
The Lord upholds all who fall
and lifts up all who are bowed down.
The eyes of all look to you,
and you give them their food at the proper time.
You open your hand
and satisfy the desires of every living thing.
The Lord is righteous in all his ways
and faithful in all he does.
The Lord is near to all who call on him,
to all who call on him in truth.
He fulfills the desires of those who fear him;
he hears their cry and saves them.
The Lord watches over all who love him,
but all the wicked he will destroy.
My mouth will speak in praise of the Lord.
Let every creature praise his holy name
for ever and ever.
- Psalm 145:8-21
Psalm 145:18 gives a promise that God is near to all who call upon God “in truth.”
I will have to admit that I only heard the first few minutes of the pastor’s sermon this week. We had some technical difficulties at our home. We may need a new WiFi Router, but we may find ways of limping along for a while.
What I heard was not very promising. My wife and I had seen a documentary on Netflix, American Gospel, the night before. It is well worth the two hours and 19 minutes. The documentary exposes the “Word of Faith” movement, containing both the Prosperity Gospel peddlers and the faith healers. Their message is that the power is within you, if you just believe hard enough or give enough “seed” money. The documentary exposed the teaching of the Prosperity Gospel peddlers as false, and it exposed some of the faith healers’ tricks.
But why bring this up when the church that I attend does not preach the prosperity gospel or do any faith healing? The focus of the documentary was that we have drifted from Christ, and Christ Alone, as our central theme and often pastors ignore preaching the true Gospel, thinking the people in church “know that already.” It seems so many churches do that without even noticing.
If my wife and I go church hunting again, I hope we are smart enough to run away when a church says, on our first visit, whether we want to be members. We have heard people say, at one church or another, that membership in that particular church, or that particular denomination, was tantamount to a guarantee of heavenly glory – shove your way to the front of the line, my friend. Thus, focusing on church membership and personal glory instead of the person of Jesus Christ.
Yet, why bring this up today, after only a minute or two of a sermon, before the screen froze and the “circle of death” appeared? The sermon title was “What is My Truth?” And I heard three statements, not in this order, and not quoted exactly, thus no quotation marks: What is your truth? We live in a time of fake news, fake fake news, and even the truth is considered fake. And, there are so many ‘truth’ claims.
I pray that the pastor reeled it in a bit after that opening to focus on Jesus as the Truth, but the pastor, serving as an interim while the permanent pastor search committee is hard at work, was laying out the modern concept of truth in modern society.
The title of this post is a line that I grew up with, but it is incomplete. We never missed an episode of Perry Mason, except when the time slot changed, and it interfered with Sunday night worship. Yes, after about three hours on Sunday morning, the pastor usually led a more relaxed worship service Sunday evening, often turning it into a Bible study. At a couple of churches, this turned into two hours on Sunday evening with choir practice before the service. For a year, we missed Perry Mason. But, on the show, as each witness was sworn in they were asked to place their hand on the Bible and “Do you solemnly swear that you will tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?” The witness, whether lying or telling the truth, would say, “I do.”
Now, secular society has grown so pervasive that the younger generations think that everything is relative, and nothing is true or false. Just take the sky. The sky is blue, but when there is a haze, it might be gray. In the morning and evening, it might be yellow, orange or red. Some say that with certain types of storms in the area, like a tornado, the sky can be green.
As for the sky color, science can explain why we get each of these various colors, and even why on a clear day, for the bulk of the day, that our eyes see the sky as blue, since air is colorless anyway. But in arguing the different colors, it places doubt in people’s minds. Even when the evidence and science are so clear and repeatable.
As for the fake news, I have mentioned many times that the news that is published or broadcast is the news that the management wants on the air or in print, leaving out the mountain of information that proves it inaccurate at best or a bald faced lie at worst. Okay, they might get one or two things right, by accident or even on purpose.
And with that said, what is truth? (not your truth or my truth, but TRUTH) Jesus, who is 100% God and 100% man, came to earth. He performed signs and wonders, to prove according to Old Testament Scriptures that He was indeed the Son of God. The people in power rejected His message and killed Him, but Jesus rose on the third day. Jesus, as a perfect person while on earth was a person without sin, and in dying on the cross, He paid the penalty that is due each of us. We deserve death. We have sinned. No matter how hard we try, we cannot wash our sins away, nor can we live a perfect life from this point forward. We love sin that much. But God loves us so much that He placed our sins upon Jesus who took our place. God is just. God is Holy. The debt for our sin must be paid. It is either accept Jesus and His redemption of our life or it is us paying the price for our own sins – eternally.
I like C. S. Lewis’ argument between the things that are objective, foundational truth and those things that are not foundational. It is great fun to argue and discuss a variety of ways in seeing those non-foundational things, but as C. S. Lewis said, if you have an open mind about foundational matters, at least keep your mouth shut.
That may be what is a major problem with the secular world today. They keep talking after they have run out of things to say.
And with that in mind…
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.