Faithlife Sermons

Discerning Truth in a World of Confusion

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Intro

3rd test: Test of Belief
Do you believe the truth about Jesus?
- Who do you say that I am?
There are all kinds of ideas and views about Jesus, but we must all agree that there is 1 truth we are all looking for.
John wants us to be discerning in our faith.

A World of Confusion

What does the word “Discernment” mean to you?
Dictionary definition: the ability to judge well.
It is the ability to judge the genuineness and/or truthfulness of something.
It is vital to seek in an age where we are overrun with ideas, theories, and information.
Some information isn’t too hard to process, as in this article I read this week.
The Rev. Gretta Vosper hadn’t noticed the giant industrial metal cross rising in front of her church for years, hidden as it was by a bushy tree. But then someone complained about it.
The Rev. Gretta Vosper hadn’t noticed the giant industrial metal cross rising in front of her church for years, hidden as it was by a bushy tree. But then someone complained about it.
Since Ms. Vosper does not believe Jesus was the son of God, the complainer wrote in an email, she should take the cross down.
“The next day, a storm took the tree out,” she said, peering up at the cross with a benign smile.
Some Christians might call that an act of God. But Ms. Vosper does not believe in God either. Instead, the parable says more about her determination. Despite being an outspoken atheist, Ms. Vosper has steadfastly maintained her place in the United Church of Canada, which with two million followers across the country is Canada’s pre-eminent Protestant church.
“This is my church,” said Ms. Vosper, 60. “The United Church made me who I am.”
It isn’t hard to judge the ridiculousness of this story.
Paul himself says that if Jesus Christ wasn’t raise we should be pitied more than anyone.
But there are other ideas that are harder to discern the truth of.
Paul is confronting a false teaching called Gnosticism, which considered the physical word to be broken and the pursuit of a “saving” wisdom as the main thrust of life.
They didn’t believe Jesus actually became a man, but remained an untainted spiritual being.
It was an attractive idea that led many Christians away from orthodox faith.
John is called these believers to have a discerning faith.

Becoming a Discerning Christian

1) Discerning Christians are not surprised. (2:18; 4:1b)

We have to realize that the world we live in is full of blatant lies, partial truths, and truths mixed with lies; and we must learn to recognize when we encounter untruths.
1 jn 2 18-19
1 John 2:18–19 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.
1 John 4:1 ESV
1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.
There are 2 confusing terms here that you must avoid getting stuck in
Last hour- John was in the last hour and 2000 years later we are in the last hour.
This is not a reference to the “end of time” but a reference to the fact that when Christ returns it will be for the consummation of all things.
Until Christ’s return, we are in the “last hour” and certain indicators point to this being the last hour.
One of the indicators is antichrists are coming and have come.
Antichrists- “anti” means against so it is the ones whom are against Christ.
Neither Oprah nor Obama are “the” Antichrist. Sorry to burst that bubble.
John is the only NT writer that uses the term and he has in mind the false teachers who are confusing the believers he is writing too.
According to John, an antichrist is
1 jn 2
1 John 2:22 ESV
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.
The one who denies Jesus and the Father is an antichrist.
Oprah and Obama might be antichrists, as well as some in this very room.
John is saying that because we are in the last hour we have to realize the world we live in is full of confusion and falsehood.
Every day we are bombarded with advertisements, ideas, worldviews, and truth claims that are designed to sale us a product or convince something is reality.
These are so common to us that we don’t even consider the fact that a great amount of what we hear and experience is selling us something
Much of the confusion we struggle with today (and sadly have succumbed to) sounds like it could be and maybe even partially true, but it leads us down a path of lies and away from the Lord.
When we realize and accept the reality of
It robs us of the joy of knowing and following Jesus as we embrace untruths and pursue things that leave us empty and lost.
“Girl, Wash Your Face” by Rachel Hollis is an example of this:
Hollis confesses to be a Christian, the book was published by Thomas Nelson, a Christian publishing company.
It is littered bible passages and statements about God.
Thousands and thousands of Christian and non-Christian women have read the book, to a point where it has reached the best seller list.
Many women feel like the book has changed their lives, and it very well may have in some temporal way, but mixed in with the bible passages, references to God, and pseudo-christian ideas are lies that rob those same women of their potential joy in Christ.
One author wrote a critique of “Girl, Wash Your Face” in which she pointed out the 5 lies Rachel Hollis believes in the book. She writes:
Reading Girl, Wash Your Face exhausted me. It’s all about what I can be doing better and what I’m not doing well enough. How to be better at work, parenting, and writing. How to be less bad at cardio, sex, and, you know, changing the world. But grasping the good news of who I am in Christ—and nothing else—is what brings true rest. So rest from striving, my friend. Yes, wash your face. Take care of yourself. Make good choices. But know who you are in Christ Jesus. If you let this truth become the foundation of how you see the world, you’ll be content to glorify him in every situation—whether cleaning bathrooms or relaxing at your beach home, changing diapers or crushing your career goals.
“Girl, Wash Your Face” is a great example of what John says in 2:19:
“They went out from us, but they were not of us...”
The lies we often believe aren’t too far removed from the truth.
If we are to navigate the confusing world we live in we must first recognize and admit that it full of falsehood that we easily fall victim to.

2) Discerning Christians recognize falsehood. (2:19, 22-23; 4:3a)

1 John 2:20–21 ESV
20 But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. 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.
1 John 2:24 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.
1 jn 20-21
1 jn 2 20-
1 jn 1 24
2:22-23 and 4:3s defines who the antichrists were:
The falsehood is rooted in the question: Who is Jesus?
“he who denies that Jesus is the Christ...”
The false teachers were denying that Jesus was
“He who denies the father and the son...”
“Does not confess that Jesus Christ is not from God...”
If they do not confess Jesus as the promised Messiah, born of a virgin, God become flesh, who lived a perfect life, died on the cross for the sins of those who trust in Him, and who was raised from the dead in order to conquer sin and death, then they are liars.
Whenever the person and work of Jesus is changed the Gospel message is lost.
“Girl, Wash Your Face” by Rachel Hollis is an example of this:
Hollis confesses to be a Christian, the book was published by Thomas Nelson, a Christian publishing company.
It is littered bible passages and statements about God.
Thousands and thousands of Christian and non-Christian women have read the book, to a point where it has reached the best seller list.
Many women feel like the book has changed their lives, and it very well may have in some temporal way, but mixed in with the bible passages, references to God, and pseudo-christian ideas are lies that rob those same women of their potential joy in Christ.
Hollis makes statements like this:
“You are meant to be the hero of your own story.”
“You are meant to be the hero of your own story.”
“You, and only you, are ultimately responsible for who you become and how happy you are.”
“You, and only you, are ultimately responsible for who you become and how happy you are.”
“You should be the very first of your priorities.”
“You should be the very first of your priorities.”
One author wrote a critique of “Girl, Wash Your Face” in which she pointed out the 5 lies Rachel Hollis believes in the book. She writes:
Reading Girl, Wash Your Face exhausted me. It’s all about what I can be doing better and what I’m not doing well enough. How to be better at work, parenting, and writing. How to be less bad at cardio, sex, and, you know, changing the world. But grasping the good news of who I am in Christ—and nothing else—is what brings true rest. So rest from striving, my friend. Yes, wash your face. Take care of yourself. Make good choices. But know who you are in Christ Jesus. If you let this truth become the foundation of how you see the world, you’ll be content to glorify him in every situation—whether cleaning bathrooms or relaxing at your beach home, changing diapers or crushing your career goals.
“Girl, Wash Your Face” is a great example of what John says in 2:19:
“They went out from us, but they were not of us...”
The lies we often believe aren’t too far removed from the truth.
If we are to navigate the confusing world we live in we must first recognize and admit that it full of falsehood that we easily fall victim to.

3) Discerning Christians are grounded in the truth. (2:21, 24; 4:2)

1 John 2:21 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.
John is encouraging the believers
We live in a post-truth world, meaning absolute truth is labeled intolerance and anyone who
The very idea of a “discerning Christian” would mean that there is an absolute truth our there for us to believe and build our lives around.
We live in a world that doesn’t want this to be true.
If absolute truth exists then someone is wrong, but if truth is relative and my truth is my truth as much as yours is yours, then we can all live in peace and harmony pursuing our own truth.
The reality is, no one wants a surgeon who doesn’t believe in absolute truth,
The books say you should cut here, but I believe you should cut there.
No one wants a pilot that doesn’t believe in the laws of nature.
I am not sure I believe in gravity.
There is a deep-seeded realization in EVERY human that truth exists, and for us who trust in Jesus, that truth is known in Him and in His Word.
1 John 2:24 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.
This is one of the two imperatives (go and do) in this verse.
Let the Word you have heard from the beginning (the Word about Jesus) ABIDE (remain, stay, live) in you.
The truth we seek is found in the revealed Word of God.
God has made Himself known in His Word and through His Son.
Hebrews 1:1–2 ESV
1 Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.
1 John 4:2 ESV
2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God,
Heb 5
We test every spirit we encounter through the Word of God.
It is the standard of all truth claims and all worldview issues.
It educates our parenting, our politics, our jobs, and our hobbies
It decides how we spend our money, how we spend our free time, and how we use our gifts and talent.
Ephesians 4:14 ESV
14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.
The Word of God is the anchor that secures us to truth, and the rudder that steers our way.
If we want to know truth, we must embrace God’s Word as truth.

4) Discerning Christians are filled with the Spirit. (2:20, 27)

1 John 2:20 ESV
20 But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge.
When we come to Christ we receive the “Anointing” of Jesus- He sends the Holy Spirit to live in us.
1 John 2:27 ESV
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.
If we want to know what is true in a world of confusion we must rely on the work of the Holy Spirit.
If we want to know what is true in a world of confusion we must rely on the work of the Holy Spirit.
1
John 14:26 ESV
26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.
the Spirit of God teaches us all things and reminds us of what Jesus has said.
The Work of the Holy Spirit is
SO IMPORTANT: The Word of God is sufficient for us to learn all we need to know, but our sinfulness often keeps us from following.
“I know what the bible says, but our culture is different now.”
“The bible kind of leaves that area gray right?”
But the Spirit speaks the truth into our hearts and minds.
John 16:13–14 ESV
13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.
Jn 16
The Spirit is our guide to truth, teaching us all things and reminding us of all that Jesus has said.
The Spirit of God allows us to guides us to ALL TRUTH.
He alerts us to falsehood when we hear or read them.
He leads us to truth and gives us a desire to know what is true.
He reminds us and guides us to the Words of Jesus when we need it the most.
Discerning Christians rely on the power of the Spirit of God.

5) Discerning Christians rest in the promised victory. (2:25, 4:4)

1 John 2:25 ESV
25 And this is the promise that he made to us—eternal life.
those who know the truth rest in the promise of eternal life.
Rather than embracing the lure of worldly pleasure, discerning Christians find hope and solace in the promise of Heaven.
1 John 4:4 ESV
4 Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
Discerning Christians rest in the victory we have the forces of evil and the lies of the World.
2 Corinthians 4:16–18 ESV
16 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:16–17 ESV
16 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,
Do you want to be on the WINNING team? Jesus us the victor and the Church will win!

Response

There are some hear today that have bought into a lie and the Lord is calling you to turn to Him and believe truth.
There are others here today that have not connected with what I have said because you realize you do not believe this.
Trust Jesus
Submit your life to Him
It is not too late to commit to God’s Word this year.
Read, study, live it.
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