Charged with the Truth
Text: 2 Timothy 4:1-5
What we believe is important. Our theology and doctrine matter to us and to our children whether we know it or not. We have become too pluralistic in our thinking, and have given room for false doctrine to grow amongst the truth of the offer of grace that not only saves but sanctifies through the power f the Holy Spirit by the cleansing of the carnal nature. If we allow the flame to go out we are treading a path back to the dark ages. In order to hold back the darkness we have to protect our flame.
I. Communicating the Truth is Our Resource
A. An ever ready resource
- Eveready Batteries. The power is there.
- Y2K won't affect it. No season of time reduces its power.
B. An ever challenging resource
*The only person who likes change is a wet baby.
- Mark Twain
*Someone once asked a little boy if he knew what doctrine was. The little lad replied that doctrine was something you give to sick folks. He may have a good point. We have a lot of
spiritually sick Christians that need some good doctrine.
C. An ever teaching resource
*A chaplain who was ministering to a seriously wounded soldier was requested by the dying man to write a letter to his former Sunday school teacher. "Tell her I died a Christian because of what she taught me in that class in church. The memory of her earnest pleas and the warmth of her love as she asked us to accept Jesus has stayed with me. Tell her I'll meet her in Heaven." The message was sent, and some time later the chaplain received this reply: "May God forgive me. Just last month I resigned my position and abandoned my Sunday school pupils because I felt my work had been fruitless. How I regret my impatience and lack of faith! I shall ask my pastor to let me go back to teaching. I have learned that when one sows for God, the reaping is both sure and blessed!"
II. Compromising the Truth is Our Risk
A. When desire determines doctrine
* "If you believe what you like in the Gospel, and reject what you like, it is not the Gospel you believe, but yourself."
* Here in the city is a fine old gentleman, a returned soldier. Recently, he states, he went to hear a preacher who is rabid on unconditional eternal security. It was the 11:00 a.m. service. The
minister brought forth one of his typical sinning-religion, eternal-security messages. At the close of the sermon the doctor who had just delivered this sermon saw this distinguished-looking gentleman with his wife and family. He went to them immediately, expressing his appreciation for their coming to his church. After this greeting he seemed to pause, waiting for the compliments of his visitors.
He received the compliments in about the following language: "Doctor, I am so happy. You have surely helped and relieved me of all my concern about getting to heaven. I know I have been saved; but I always thought until today that, even though you had been saved, you had to pray, serve the Lord, live right, and be faithful to make it in. But I find all my fears have been groundless. No matter what I do, or how I live, I am as sure of heaven as if I were there. If I never pray, go to church, nor live right, it is all the same. Doctor, you have surely helped me." He said the doctor turned abruptly away without saying a word. I should think there was not much to say. It is the devil's doctrine that will damn multitudes in hell.
William Moses Tidwell, "Pointed Illustrations."
B. When we hire what we want to hear
* "As scarce as truth is, the supply has always been in excess of
- Josh Billings
- _Instant Quotation Dictionary_, p. 294.
* At a country fair there was a Buffoon who made all the people laugh by imitating the cries of various animals. He finished off by squeaking so like a pig that the spectators thought that he had
a porker concealed about him. But a Countryman who stood by said: "Call that a pig's squeak! Nothing like it. You give me till tomorrow and I will show you what it's like." The audience
laughed, but next day, sure enough, the Countryman appeared on the stage, and putting his head down squealed so hideously that the
spectators hissed and threw stones at him to make him stop. "You fools!" he cried, "see what you have been hissing," and held up a little pig whose ear he had been pinching to make him utter the
Men often applaud an imitation and hiss the real thing. Likewise,
mankind has embraced one false religion and prophet after another.
But when the only begotten Son of God came to earth they crucified
him rather than embrace him!
* God's work of salvation, according to a hard-line liberal, is summed up in the following quote:
"A God without wrath brougt men without sin into a kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a Cross."
H. Richard Niebuhr, The Kingdom of God in America [New York: Harper & Row, 1959], 193.
C. When we are deaf to our own deception
I heard about a lady who had a hearing problem. One day she
and her husband were driving from Tennessee to Little Rock, AK. They got pulled over by a state trooper who asked if the husband knew how fast he was driving? The wife asked, "What did he say?" The husband replied, "HE ASKED IF I KNEW THAT I WAS SPEEDING." Looking at the driver's license the trooper said, "I see you're
not from around here." The husband said, "No we are from Memphis." The wife again asked, "What did you say?" The husband told her, "I SAID WE ARE FROM MEMPHIS." The state trooper then
commented, "You know the meanest woman I ever met was from Memphis." The wife again asked, "What did he say?" The husband
replied, "HE SAYS HE THINKS HE KNOWS YOU!"
While not being able to hear physically is bad, not hearing
God is far worst!
- Mike Minnix
* "Evil unchecked grows, evil tolerated poisons the whole
- Jawaharlal Nehru
- _Instant Quotation Dictionary_, p. 121.
III. Committing to the truth is our responsibility
A. Under the weight of judgement
- In college, many people played around and didn't do their work. When the day came for exams, they acted surprised that they would be made to answer such hard questions.
-*In the Cat in the Hat , t here were two children who were stuck in the house on a cold rainy day, and the Cat in the Hat came with Thing 1 & Thing 2, to play games, and Thing 1 & Thing 2 wreaked havoc in the house while the children's pet goldfish protested and protested.
Thing 1 & Thing 2 tore up the house with their games until the goldfish finally saw mother coming up the street. Then the fish said "Look! Look!" as he shook with fear. "Your mother is on her way home! Do you hear? Oh what will she do to us? What will she say? Oh she will not like it to find us this way!"
Jesus has entrusted us with the truth, but many have come wreaking havoc with the truth of the gospel, trying to promote things that are not acceptable. What will He do? What will he say? He will not like it to find us this way.
B. Under the weight of hardship
*When things go wrong as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all up hill, When the funds are low and the debts are high, And you want to smile, but you have to sigh, When care is pressing you down a bit, Rest if you must, but don't you quit. Life is queer with its twists and turns, As everyone of us sometimes learns, And many a failure turns about When he might have won had he stuck it out; So don't give up, though the pace seems slow - For you may succeed with another blow. Often the goal is nearer than it seems to a fain and faltering man, Often the struggler has given up, When he might have captured the victor's cup. And he learned too late when the night slipped down, How close he was to the golden crown. Success is failure, turned inside out, The silver tint of the clouds of doubt. And you never can tell how close you are, It may be near when it seems afar; So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit, It's when things seem worst that you mustn't quit.
C. Under the weight of duty
We have seen a gradual change over the past several decades in our society from emphasizing individual responsibility to emphasizing, almost glorifying, individual rights.
-- Kurt D. Bruner in Responsible Living in an Age of Excuses. Christianity Today, Vol. 37, no. 7.
We have been given a great resource. The truth is effective when allowed to work with open and receptive hearts. We have been given a great gift; the Word of God. The problem is when we take that gift and change it to fit our own desires and try to justify our own sin. When we do that, we compromise the truth and, in the process, destroy the truth for following generations who are dying to hear it. We must carry the torch and hold it high. If we do not it will not only spell our own destruction, but the destruction of countless others who follow us.