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The Battle for Truth

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We are in a sermon Series in the Epistles of John entitled Radical Community. This morning we are going to be talking about, “the battle for truth.” To be honest the subject of TRUTH is a huge subject..… we are just going to be skimming the surface morning of the meaning of truth… What we are going to establish is that there is Battle for truth in our world…
If you followed the News about Brett Kavanaugh the past few weeks — You got to see a Battle for truth… You had these allegations from 38 years ago of sexual misconduct…which pushed on Kavanaughs Character — and it questioned whether or not he would be fit to serve on the supreme Court…
You had two testimonies had Kavanaugh and Ford and both were sincere…but obviously one of the testimonies is false and the other true…
What amazed me is how quickly people jump to conclusions…including myself.... the outcome of all this was that Kavanaugh was sworn into the supreme court yesterday…
We are living in a day.. when the concept of truth is under fire....
where the concept of truth has been dying a slow death for many years and has become more noticeable in the past decade or so.
In the early 2000s, comedian Stephen Colbert picked up on this cultural phenomenon by coining the term "truthiness," which went on to become Merriam-Webster's word of the year in 2006.
Similarly, in 2016 in the wake of our presidential election, Brexit, and accusations across the political spectrum about "fake news," Oxford Dictionaries named "post-truth" its word of the year. We heard during the elections phrases such as "alternative facts." In April 2017 Time featured article with the question "Is Truth Dead?"
As long as we live in a fallen world there is always going to be the question of Truth… Philosophers from Socrates forward have question whether truth is Absolute? Pilate when confronted with the claims of Christ asked the question -
What is truth?
Truth can be understood both from what it is and from what it is not. There are many inadequate views of the nature of truth.
Let me give a few examples of what is not truth,,
Truth is not “what works.” - One popular theory is the pragmatic view of William James and his followers that truth is what works. According to James, “Truth is the expedient in the way of knowing. A statement is known to be true if it brings the right results. It is the expedient as confirmed by future experience.” --- Just because something works doesn’t mean its true...
Truth is not “what is comprehensive.” Another idea is that the view that explains the most data is true. And those that are not as comprehensive are not true—or not as true. Comprehensiveness is one test for truth, but not the definition of truth. One can have a comprehensive view of what is false or a superficial or incomplete view of what is true.
Truth is not “what feels good.” The popular subjective view is that truth gives a satisfying feeling, and error feels bad. Truth is found in our subjective feelings.
One of the popular views of truth today is that truth is Relative - Relativism says what may be right for one person may not be right for all people… In other words truth depends on the person… if it feels good to you then that is your truth… Each of us has our brand of truth… truth is relative the person.
What is truth? Truth is what corresponds to reality… Truth is the way that things really are… “telling it like it is”.
If something its true then all the facts should line up — basic mathematics - 2 + 3 = 5..
There is a story of a man who came to his old friend, a music teacher, and said to him, “What’s the good news today?” The old teacher was silent as he stood up and walked across the room, picked up a hammer, and struck a tuning fork. As the note sounded out through the room, he said, “That is A. It is today; it was five thousand years ago, and it will be ten thousand years from now. The soprano upstairs sings off-key, the tenor across the hall flats on his high notes, and the piano downstairs is out of tune.” He struck the note again and said, “That is A, my friend, and that’s the good news for today.”
The point is that Truth does not need updating ---
As Christians we talk about Absolute truth - which says that what is true for one person is true for all person, times and places...
What we are saying is Truth is not subjective. It does not shift or change with culture or society. What is true for one person is true of all persons times and places.
T/s In our text in 1 John The early Church found themselves in the cross hairs for the battle for Truth.... John is writing out of concern for the church that they would be able to distinguish and discern Truth... John is answering the question of how we know Truth?
1 John 2:18–20 ESV
18 Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us. 20 But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge.
T/S How do we have confidence in Truth?

1. Discern the Deception in the World

John is writing this letter with serious concern over Truth… He wants these believers to succeed in their personal relationship with Christ and in their relationships with each other… but he knows how easy it is to be deceived by half truths and liars… These things can impact us deeply…and negative ways… so to avoid…truth is to walk in the knowledge of the Truth…
The church was being impacted by philosophy of Gnosticism that basically said had they possesed special knowledge illumination of truth…
They insisted that they alone had an inside track with God, that they alone really understood the true knowledge (gnosis), that they alone enjoyed the true anointing
The were themselves above doing wrong because they had deeper knowledge… Discounted the deity of Jesus… because Jesus was matter and all matter was considered bad…God could never have manifested in the flesh… The problem is this teaching was coming from within the ranks of Christianity and it was bringing confusion about Faith…
This is often the case when false teaching enters the church is… some new and shiny new truth or doctrine… special revelation…When ever you hear some talk about New Truth or New revelation… red flag should go up…
John is not introducing a New Truth or teaching but rather amplifying something they already had been taught… John started off
1 John 1:1–2 ESV
1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— 2 the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us—
This is teaching that was initiated by Jesus himself… John is expounding the words of life…Now John is gives the Church tools on how to discern Truth from Error..
John begins by reminding them that they are living in the last days.
… When John talks about time....He uses the word Beginning - what you have heard in the begining… then he talks about last days.. In a sense God himself bounds history with the beginning and the end…two book ends... the first and the last… the Alpha and the Omega.. John’s view of History is a continuiom moving to a definite end...
The End times began with the coming of Christ and will conclude in Christ…
- The Greek word Last means Eschtos.. where … It speaks of the last series of objects or events…it’s where we get he word eschatology the study of End Times.. The last hour is an hour in which the spirit of antichrist will be increasingly active....
In the last days there will be the coming of the anti-Christ… John makes the distinction between the Antichrist and many antichrists. There is a “spirit” of antichrist, and this “spirit” of antichrist will one day find its ultimate fulfillment in the Antichrist, who will lead humanity in an end-times rebellion against God.
The only place in the New Testament where this Greek word antichristos appears is in 1 John and 2 John. The ordinary meaning of the word anti in Greek is “against,” or “opposite.” It is interesting, however, to note that the preposition also carries within it the meaning of “instead of,” “in the place of”
John gives us Two methods to discern between Truth and Error.. The first Method is to ask the question.
a. Have they remained faithful steadfast discipleship?
Remember Truth is what corresponds to reality
John says look at these teachers --- Look at Where they started and where they have ended up… Have they stayed the course…
If truth was a Straight line A-B truth continuum… you would expect what was true at the begining would be true at the end… like train tracks… truth should mirror itself...
John explains that these teachers… Started with them but did not “Continue with them..-- The word continue is the same word as ABIDE…
When it came to the Fundamentals or the absolutes of Faith they got off at an exit.... No longer were they mirroring truth… they got off course.... We talking doctrinally.. here…
There are times when you someone leaves our church and attends another church… Sometimes that happens…and it obviously sad to see someone leave our church… but when it says they started with us… He is talking about the Truth....
John says that it became Plain to us that they are not of us. Because they have ended up in a different place…
Second method..
2. The Inner Witness of the Holy Spirit
20 But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge.
So look at the last part of this verse.. “You have all knowledge.” The ALL is important… If you are a believer you have the deposit of the Holy Spirit.... you have been regenerated…Made alive in Christ and born again and the Holy Spirit dwells in you… If the Holy Spirit lives in in you have knowledge…
John uses a different word for know than he mostly used before. Previously John used the word meaning knowledge by experience; here he used the word meaning knowledge by intuition. We know some things intuitively by the anointing of the Holy Spirit.
Every Christian has a Holy Spirit filter in his conscience.
You have an anointing (unction) from the Holy One.
John asserts that it was believers, not the gnostics, who had the anointing (special initiation) from deity.
John takes up his opponents’ term. He pretty obviously uses chrisma, an anointing, to indicate the Holy Spirit. We note what the Apostle says, not about the Gnostic anointing (which he calls “counterfeit”), but the Christian one. It is God, described as the Holy One, who grants the anointing that enables believers to know the truth.
The false teachers were claiming a special revelation from God (i.e. special anointing). John asserts that all believers already have the true anointing when they trust the Anointed One and are filled with His Spirit
John makes the promise to us that we are anointed by God Himself. God is the one who has confirmed and sealed His people and therefore these Christians do not need to seek out other anointings in order to be equipped for their age…
We are reminded of the Lord Jesus’ promise that he would ask the Father to send “the Spirit of truth” who would be with his followers forever. The world, including the Gnostic world, being unbelievers, would not accept, see or know him (John 14:16, 17).
Among some Christians today, there is a rather magical or superstitious approach to this idea of anointing. In their mind, the anointing is like a virus or a germ that can be spread by casual contact or infect a whole group. Usually these folks think that when one “catches” the anointing, you can tell because they begin acting strangely. This isn’t the Bible’s idea of anointing
I never thought about this but years ago I was in a service where pastor was aging and we were encouraged to go up and get the pastors annointing.... Seemed like a good idea at the time… Who wouldn’t want the annointing of a succesful pastor…
The false teachers will offer to the Christians a new and different “anointing” which is only available to those who will submit to the secrets and special teaching of the teachers. The young Christians are tempted because almost everyone wants more spiritual authority or strength if there is more to be had. The Greek-Roman mystery cults had many special anointings to offer, and now what these Christians face is the temptation of special anointings but from a supposedly Christian source.
Now we need to be careful because there is only one anointing and it comes from the Holy Spirit.
You have annointing from the Holy One himself… Because he lives in us we Know the truth… John says he his writing to them not because they do not no truth… because they already know the truth.. they have received truth..
1 John 2:21–23 ESV
21 I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth. 22 Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. 23 No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also.
T/S How do we have confidence in Truth?
1. Discern the Deception in the World

2. Know the truth you have Received in the Gospel

One of the problems with the Gnostics is they claimed to have New Revelation… (special revelation) “Revelation” refers to the act by which God makes known what is otherwise unknowable — Some new teaching…or experience— something that is hidden is revealed…
When John says to the Church you have anointing from the Holy One....and therefore you have all the knowledge you need…What he is talking about is not Revelation but illumination- The Revelation is already in place — we have God’s word in the Scripture… Illumination is when the Spirit takes what God has said and make it alive to us.
Illumination is not the reception of new revelations from the Spirit. Rather it is the Spirit’s application of the truths of God’s complete revelation in Scripture to spiritual life.
It goes back to the theme of light and darkness.. If we are walking in light and in fellowship with the father and the Son… We have light...Light is in us… The Spirit bears witness with our spirit we are sons and daughters of God...
There is a fundamental difference between Revelation and illumination…
I love the illustration that Saint Augustine gave when explains how the Gospel sheds light on the Old Testament....He says that i the Old Testament is like a fully-furnished but darkened room. All the ‘furniture’ of God’s rescue is present, but it is only perceived dimly and in shadow. The gospel turns the light on so that we say, ‘Ah, now I can see what God has been doing and how he has been doing it!’ That’s illumination!
We have received the light of the Gospel - - Now illumination doesn mean that we don’t need to study God’s word…
Every week I get the privilege of preparing sermons and studies… Part of the process is prayer… and asking the Holy Spirit to shed light on the verses… but illumination doesn t take the place of diligent Bible Study…still need to work with Greek and Hebrew languages and backgrounds of text..using tools.. lexicons commentaries.. that is part of the process.. being diligent as workman who is not ashamed of handling accurately dividing the word of truth… As a preacher I don’t sit and wait for a lightening bold to hit me over the head…
John says we are Know You what we have Received..
The best protection against a cold is to stay healthy. The best protection against error is to know the Truth…
Truth goes back to the fundamentals…
While the spirit of anti-Christ - Denies that Jesus is the Christ (Savior) — The Church Proclaims that Jesus is the savior of the World
While the spirit of Anti Christ Denies the Deity of Jesus, being God himself - The church procalaims that Jesus is the Son of God… and if you have seen the Son you have seen the Father.
While Anti Christ Denys the Son… The church Confesser Jesus is Lord.
In the priestly prayer of Jesus in John 17, Jesus prays.
John 17:3 ESV
3 And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.
To Know Jesus as Personally as the Son of God… To know that jesus is truly God - and to know that Christ is the Savior of the world…
This is the essence of eternal life. It’s the essence of what it means to be a Christian…
T/s The evidence that we know Jesus is through a life that is abiding in Christ…
1 John 2:24–27 ESV
24 Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father. 25 And this is the promise that he made to us—eternal life. 26 I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you. 27 But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.
T/S How do we have confidence in Truth?
1. Discern the Deception in the World
2. Know the truth you have Received in the Gospel

3. Practice the Art of Abiding in Truth

We are almost always attracted to something just because it is new. One of the frustrating thing about technology is that every year they are coming out with something new… New iphone Max…now face recognition… it wasn’t long ago that we thought it was amazing that we could open our phones with our thumb prints.. The iphone Max now takes better photo graphs… Just as your were loving the portrait mode on you iPhone plus they now have much better photos… frame by frame photography…
We almost always think of new as better.
But when it comes to truth, new is not better. John talks about truth that they had heard from the beginning… Continue in the message you first heard..
The word “abide,” menō, is a very important word in the Gospel of John. It means to “dwell” or “rest in.”
Abiding in Jesus (living in Jesus) is not a passive thing; it is an active thing. We must give ourselves both mentally and spiritually to living in Jesus. Charles Spurgeon said
“We abide in him, not by a physical law, as a mass of iron abides on the earth; but by a mental and spiritual law, by which the greatness of divine love and goodness holds us fast to the Lord Jesus.” Spurgeon
to continue v. — to continue a certain state, condition, or activity. It means to remain in the same place over a period of time—‘to remain, to stay.’

Abide (Continue) in the message you have received

The only way you can abide in the Word is through reading the scriptures regularly… It’s personal contact with God’s word… the only way to get excited about the Bible..is if we are reading it regularly… Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the world of God…
One of the advantages that we have when study a book of the Bible is that we can read the same verses and drawing from the same truths. One of the exciting things about our community groups is that we get to hang out together arround the same verses… On Tuesday mornings
We have our mens study and we have been going through 1 and 2 Corinthians - lots to learn in those books… its a blessing to read the scriptures together… we learning something new every week....Amazing what happens when we get excited about the word of God.

Abide (Continue) in the Father and the Son

One of my friends Nick from Seminary actually was very close to Billy Graham…and was actually being mentored by Leighton Ford… Billy Grahams brother in law…One of the proofs of the relationship is they actually spent time together....Here is a photo he posted shortly after Billy Grahamed passed away...
Now, I know of Billy Graham… and I had one class with Leighton Ford… which was awesome…but I can’t say that I had abiding relationship…
What John is presenting us is that we can know Jesus in the most personal way… Through a relationship..
John did not say, “If you know God’s Word, you know God,” because someone can have a bare, intellectual knowledge of God’s Word. But he did say, “If God’s Word lives in you, God lives in you.” We can come to a living, growing, relationship with God through His Word.

Abide (Continue)in the Annointing of the Holy Spirit

You do not need that anyone teach you: Just as he stated in 1 John 2:20 (you know all things), John tells us again that the anointing we receive from God guides us into truth. We are guided into truth on a one-on-one level, God confirming it to our hearts.
Again, John’s message is simple. Because of the anointing of the Holy Spirit given to all believers, they possess the resources for knowing the truth. This is not to say that teachers are unnecessary, because one of the resources for knowing the truth is the reminder given by teachers like John.
Keep your weight down upon what is the center of the boat. From that center you will be able to stretch out in response to the various pitches of the wind. Most people who go adrift in their lives do so because they lose a living relationship with the living center of life, and they throw away the ballast. Then it is that superficial and secondary themes take over and the counterfeit looks appealing—not because it is good but because we are confused. John’s word is not superficial. It is good news: “Abide in him.
Conclusion:
When I was younger living in Africa - my dad owned a bottle shop and around the back of the store was a 50 gallon drum of parafine.. This was sold in bottles and was used in stoves … One day I was playing around in the back courtyard… and for some reason thought I would open the faucet on this drum… well nothing happened and so I left it open… well that night that whole drum of fluid poured out all --- and literally went down the drain… The next day… Dad discovered what happened and he figured out that it must have been one of been one of us children playing out back…
Do you remember those feelings of having to own up to something as a kid…
Well, I had to come out with the truth.... and admit that it was me that had turned on the faucet…
1 John 2:28 ESV
28 And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming.
One day we are all Going to have to stand before God and give an account for the truth that we have been given…John tells us that we don’t have the fear the coming of Christ.... Because as Children of God… we stand before him with Confidence… because we have Abiding in Him and his truth.
The verb translated “be ashamed” (aischunthōmen) appears only here in John’s writings. It carries the idea of shrinking back or being separated from God through guilt or shame.
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