Redeemer Presbyterian Church South River NJ
The Truth and Obstacles to hearing it.
February 11, 2017
So many times we have gone through life hearing things from different people. We have heard things about how to make your ketchup last longer, how to make beef jerky, how to behave when you are pulled over by a policeman. We take all these things as truth without any hesitation, but when we hear God speak in His Word, there is a disconnect, there is a moment of hesitation where we think this can’t be the truth, there has to be another truth. Another truth? Can this be possible? Logic demands that we see the fallacy of this argument; there cannot be two truths, there can only be one truth. The truth of God has been the truth before this world existed, before the universe came into being, before, well, my brain can’t think of a time before there was time. The truth of God is knowing that He has no end, that God is always and forever will be. We readily accept truth from sources that don’t mean very much, but accepting truth from the most important source, we have an issue with that. Today, maybe we can go through the Truth of God in His Word and see how Jesus asked for the truth, and how the disciples responded.
In Mark 8:27-30 we have an interesting moment that occurs also in Matthew 16:13-17 and in Luke 9:18-20; Jesus asks the disciples for the truth, basically asking them, Who does the world say I am? and Who do you say I am? Jesus knows the answer to the questions because truth rests in him, he is the God man there is no deceit, no sin within him. The truth comes through as Peter resoundingly tells Jesus, “You are the Christ.” (v.29). Peter seems to know the mystery that has been “kept secret for long ages” (Rom. 16:25), but does he really see the truth or just a small tiny piece of truth? Peter certainly cannot see the entire spectrum of who Jesus really is, just as Martha doesn’t really believe that Jesus can bring her brother Lazarus back from the dead (John 11:25-27), they both hear what they want to hear and disregard the rest.1 There is a rejection of the truth here from both of these people, but there is also a realization of a partial truth, a truth that brings them to a place where the real truth can be found, but in the end the truth they are speaking never can bring them to the truth of God. The truth these two speak should bring a reminder to how we hear the truth of the gospel today. Are we hearing the entire truth? Can we see Jesus as he really is? Or do we settle for just knowing a part, a small tiny piece of God’s truth, an aspect of the truth that doesn’t resolve any of our nagging desires for a Savior?
The truth must be seen in the wholeness of it, if we see the truth just partially then we can miss the greatness of it. The gospel truth cannot be separated from Jesus Christ, just as the gospel truth cannot be separated from the crucifixion and the resurrection. The gospel truth can not be just repentance and Godly sorrow for our sins, it must be clothed together with all the richness and finery of all the other essential parts. Peter and Martha knew just pieces of the truth, they would certainly see the truth in full bloom when our Lord rose from the dead, and of course as they sat with the other saints in the Upper Room and experienced the Holy Spirit. But here in context with the Scriptures there is an important lesson here for all of us, do we see the truth in gospel completeness? Or are we just seeing pieces of the truth?
The truth experienced in whole is the truth in Christ and three aspects of that are important for us to look at. The first is, the truth of God against the fiction of the world, or the truth spoken to the world. The second is, the truth of who Jesus is, or the truth spoken about Jesus. The third is, the truth of Christ in us, or the truth we speak to ourselves . The third aspect always hits me right between the eyes, that is because we (ourselves) are the biggest talkers to us, we constantly talk to ourselves hopefully not in public. Paul Tripp2 uses this analogy as he relates how we need to preach the gospel to ourselves everyday. This gospel has to be preached to us in the fullness of what it is intended to be, truth, total and without equal. The truth that we speak against the world’s lies must have the entire gospel in it, without it there is no hope for the unrepentant. The truth we speak about who Jesus is has to be said in relation to a sinless God man, dying on a cross, giving his life for many, without this the truth has no bite, the truth is toothless. The truth we speak to ourselves must be focused on who Christ is in me, how he constantly convicts me of sin and how he has promised eternity to all who believe in him.
The truth comes at us in many different forms. Knowing how to discern the truth requires us to be faithful believers, always going back to God’s Word to see the truth. The revelation of truth in the pages of Scripture is our bedrock, our foundation for the hope of a new life, an eternity with God; a moment here on earth.