Do you remember Pilate’s question to Jesus, “What is truth?” Well, there are long and short answers to that. The short answer is, “Truth is God’s opinion about anything.” Period. End of discussion. Everyone in the world could say “Yes” to something, but if God say’s “No,” the truth is “No.”
There really is such a thing as Truth. Truth is unchanging. It is transcultural, transnational, transgenerational and even transmillennial. God built certain things into creation design having to do with Himself, man, and the God-man relationship. Truth emanates from the person and character of God. To be spiritually wise is to know Truth and to understand how to apply it in life.
Life as God intends it to be, begins when man accepts Truth. It is the Truth spoken of in John 8:31-32 that sets us free, but freedom only comes to those who hold to the teaching of Jesus. Those who abide in Him as in John 15:1-8.
Do you need freedom in some aspect of your life? If so, seek the humbling but life-giving Truth that applies to your need and submit yourself to it. The Truth of God’s knowledge, power, sovereignty, love and mercy. The Truth of the cross; the resurrection; and Jesus’ intercession for us today. The Truth that the scriptures are spirit and life. (John 6:63) The Truths of John 3:3-7 and of I John 1:9. The Truth of Deut. 30:15-18. The Truth of James 1:2-4 and v12. And the Truth of the folly of thinking that you know what is best for yourself.
Jesus is the full expression and revelation of Truth. He is Truth itself. In John 16:6 He said, I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. To fully know Truth would be to fully know Jesus, and vice versa.
The problem though, is that the Life of Truth is entered into through a narrow gate - the gate of Matt. 7:13-14. And only those who come to Jesus in the spirit of Matt. 11:25-30 will know it. And then there is the Truth of “the message of the cross” as in I Cor. 1:18. And the new Life of Mark 8:34-38. Consider what Jesus says in John 14:21-26 and 16:13-15 about how we come to know Truth.
The “Wisdom” of Man
Over the years I have seen that an increased regard for the thoughts and words of men, diminishes ones’ respect for the scriptures and results in a loss of authentic spiritual vitality.
There are eras and movements in the history of man. Those of my generation saw how both the secular and spiritual worlds were impacted by the hippie movement; new age; the feminist movement and its offspring gay rights, and more. They are very different from each other in certain ways, but their common denominator is that they present alternatives to Truth.
In every case the attempt is to exalt man and concoct a way for us to rule ourselves rather than obeying God. Today’s “emerging church” and other parallel movements follow in their footsteps, and the emphasis on prophets and prophecy in some elements of the church, places us at risk in a way that many don’t realize.
Truth, and the Prophet
I have heard four arguments recently that indicate where some in today’s church are headed. All have to do with the role that we give to “prophets” today, in regards to Truth. They are: 1) that the scriptures are adequate to “save us” but that we need something more to take us deeper with God and live for Him in this day; 2) that it is by “the prophetic anointing” that truth is revealed; 3) that if one predicts something, and it comes true, his words are equivalent to the Truth of the Bible; and 4) that all are prophets. Please consider these responses.
1) II Timothy 3:14-17 speaks of - - the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. “Salvation” means the fullness of life that we receive through Jesus, not just the initial act of being “saved.” All that we will ever need, to be godly and serve effectively, is in the Word!
2) We do need those today who speak prophetically. We need them to challenge our love for the world; to warn us of the troubles that are coming; and to call us to repentance. And even to warn us against following false prophets! But we don’t need prophets to reveal the Truth of God’s Word to us. We need pastors and teachers who know Jesus; who “rightly divide the Word;” who understand man; and who humbly but boldly bring the two together. Prophets are not our spiritual leaders - pastors and teachers are, yet many of the tenets of contemporary, post-Biblical-Christian movements across the church are rooted in words that come from “prophets.”
3) Truth is absolute, sacred, unerring, and eternal – qualities which can never be attributed to the words of a man. It is spiritual arsenic to suggest otherwise.
4) It is not true that all are prophets. (I Cor. 12:12-31) It is true that as we walk through life, and especially when we are in close relationship with God and with others, that He can give us things to share with others to encourage them. Some come through human insight and the experiences of life, and some are from the heart and mind of God. Having a compassionate heart and being an encourager opens capacities within us to be vessels through whom God can bless others. It is a wonderful and much-needed ministry among Christians, but it is not prophesy.
With the enlightenment of God’s Holy Spirit, the scriptures are adequate to lead us into all that He has for us. We are helped by Eph. 4:11-16 spiritual leaders, and through fellowship with each other as in I Cor. 14:26, Col. 3:16, and Heb. 10:23-25.
Let’s be wise and discerning as we seek Truth. It is at great risk to ourselves and to those we influence, that we would follow man instead of God. The Life-giving Truths of God’s Word are uncovered by the Holy Spirit to the mind and heart of His humble child who longs to know Him better.
Posted Jan. 26, 2011