home > Pastor’s Desk > 2022 > November 18th > WHY FINDING TRUTH MATTERS

John 8:31 ¶ So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, John 8:32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”What value do people find in religion? Perhaps for many Hindus they might be attracted to its diversity and inclusiveness. Perhaps for many Buddhists they might be attracted to its offer of peacefulness. Perhaps for many Jews and proselytes they might be attracted to its long history and traditions. Perhaps for many Muslims they might be attracted to its strength of convictions, its muscularity. And perhaps for most Christians they may have been attracted to Christianity because it is true. Christianity is grounded in the truth. We live in a very spiritual world where 99% of the world’s population profess one form of religion or another. Within our spiritual world there are spiritual forces at work that particularly oppose Christianity because of its truth claims – and in fact, these forces go so far as to deny truth itself! These forces vigorously attempt to hinder people from seeing the truth by confusing even the concept of truth with vacuous suggestions whispered in people’s inner ears, such as find your truth — as if there are different versions of the truth each contradicting each other. Because truth is the greatest strength of Christianity, every follower of Christ and His Word should know the truth and why it is true.

The truth claims of Christianity are subject to the same tests and requirements of proof that any truth claims are subject to: can the claim be tested? and, can the truth claim be verified? In the case of Christianity the answer to both questions is affirmative.  

¶ And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory,
glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
John 1:14, 17

C.S. LewisC.S. (Jack) Lewis (author of The Chronicles of Narnia) and J.R.R. Tolkien (author of Lord of The Rings) were good friends. They both worked at Oxford University and caught up with each other every week at their local establishment. C.S. Lewis was not a Christian, in fact, he self-described himself as an atheist. In both of their worlds ancient and classic literature reigned – especially its mythology. To scholars of such literature mythology was how the people of long ago wrote about the inter-connectedness of this world with the supernatural realm. Stories of flying dragons, hideously evil creatures, heroes of great courage and military prowess, talking animals, and demigods all revealed something about the truths which the people of those by-gone eras sought to capture.

J.R.R. TolkienOne day Tolkien and Lewis were walking taking a walk and talking about spiritual matters. Tolkien put a question and a proposition to Lewis. After asking Jack if he enjoyed reading mythology (which Lewis did) he asked Jack if he knew what it was that separated Christianity from all other “myths”? Lewis didn’t know. Then Tolkien said: Jack, Christianity is true myth! It actually happened! That’s the thing which distinguishes it from all other myths. This conversation had a profound effect upon Lewis. He came to see that his friend was correct. A short time afterwards, unable to get this new and glorious thought out of his mind, C.S. Lewis came to accept, albeit reluctantly, that he now had no choice but to become a Christian—because it was true

This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Saviour,
who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
First Timothy 2:3-4

The thing that distinguishes Christianity from all other religions is that its claims are true. That is, they are verifiable and testable. (Read more here.)

If you are ever asked, Why are you a Christian? I hope I can show you why you should answer, “Because I have good reason for believing it’s true!” Conversely, if you are ever asked, “But why not be a Buddhist, or a Hindu, or a Muslim?” I hope you will come to know that you also have good reasons for replying, “Because I have good reasons for believing they are not true.”

How can we determine whether a claim is true or false?

Truth matters because it is the basis for accepting and applying the revelation of God’s Word so that people can find peace with God and live meaningful lives.Some people think there are different kinds of truth — my truth, their truth, and your truth. But how do they know that their assessment of truth is true? After all, their assessment – that there is my/their/your truth might just be based on their truth rather than the truth. Truth has certain qualities that distinguishes it from what is false-

  1.  Truth corresponds to reality.
  2.  Truth is verifiable (that is, if it is true, it can be evidentially shown to be so).
  3.  Truth is falsifiable (that is, if it is false, it can be evidentially shown to be so).
  4.  Truth is sometimes testable (that is, claims that are experiential can be tested by experience – including scientific claims, historic claims, and existential claims).

We have good reasons for the believing that the Bible is true because it is the divinely inspired, reliable and authoritative Word of God which has been superintendedly preserved by the Holy Spirit (read more about this).

The sum of your Word is truth,
and every one of your righteous rules endures forever.
Psalm 119:160

What you believe determines how you behave, how you treat others, and how you respond to life’s setbacks — and ultimately how you will die. If you believe that you are indestructible you are going to cross a highway of speeding cars hurtling in both directions in quite a different way to me (I will use the overpass by the way). If you believe that God is an angry god who demands appeasement from you outweighing your good deeds over against your bad deeds – then you are going to live differently to a Christian — and you will also die differently because you will never know whether you have done enough good deeds to appeasement angry-god. Following Christ and accepting His claims and commands as true will result in the follower living quite differently compared to those who have no hope (Eph. 2:12).

O LORD, do not your eyes look for truth?
You have struck them down,
but they felt no anguish;
You have consumed them,
but they refused to take correction.
They have made their faces harder than rock;
they have refused to repent.
Jeremiah 5:3

The challenge that those who know the truth have is to share it winsomely to a world who hates the truth because it is like a bright light being shone into their darkness (John 1:9-11). But just because there are spiritual forces which are literally hell-bent on keeping people from seeing and understanding the truth it does not mean that we should cower to their intimidation and keep silent (Eph. 5:11). Truth should be contended for in a culture that has often been beguiled by lies (Jude 3). We, the Church, are called to be custodians of the truth revealed in God’s revelation of His Word to mankind. This may mean that we won’t win the approval or applause of man, but when we do so gently with respect from a heart that genuinely loves it will challenge those in the media, those in the legislature, and sometimes even those in pulpits.  

If I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God,
which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth.
First Timothy 3:15

This is why finding truth matters!

Your Pastor,

Andrew

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Follow Me AS I FOLLOW JESUS

We all walk a path in life that is set before us. We start with very little experience and knowledge about the purpose of our life and the world beyond us. All of humanity experiences joy, wisdom, strength, weakness, suffering and hardship, especially those who are “contending for the faith”. Knowing Jesus is a very special part of this life journey.

A CERTAIN GOD

We can be reasonably certain about many things. In fact, without this certainty about life, none of us could function. We can be certain that tonight the sun will ‘set’. Tomorrow the sun will ‘rise’. After the February 28th it will be February 29th. This year there will be international unrest and much political instability in many parts of the world. In the coming months global warming will be identified by politicians as the source of floods and wildfires. Several high profile international celebrities will die this year. Archaeologists will make a discovery that will require some aspects of history to be rewritten. And you will certainly have one of the most memorable moments in your life in the coming days. You see, there are clearly some things we can be quite certain about. However, there are some aspects about our future that we cannot be certain about, yet in those moments we can be certain about what we should do.

LOW COST LIVING

Turn on any TV or radio news lately and there’s bound to be a story about the current “cost of living crisis”. We all feel it. Initially most people accepted the widespread price-rises were caused by 2020-21 pandemic lockdowns. But whatever the reasons for the rapid price hikes over the past two years, every time we go to the supermarket we feel it again. While governments are striving to curb the impact of this cost of living crisis, there remains a way to enjoy low cost living. The key to this is recognising that the most valuable things in life are literally priceless. The path to enjoying low-cost living is to be found in Christ, and what He taught — and it begins with treasure.

How To Know Jesus Better

It’s a scary thought to realise that the Jesus we have been told about and worship may not really be known to us at all. We can ‘know’ about someone or something, but not really know them. In Christian circles it’s often referred to as head knowledge not heart knowledge.

Knowing Christ Better

As a church, this year’s theme is coming closer to Christ by getting to know Him better. I feel that I am “the least qualified person” to tell anyone how this is done — but someone else has already claimed this distinction – the apostle Paul. After decades of hearing directly from Christ, seeing extraordinary miracles, being taken to heaven temporarily, planting churches across the Roman Empire, he could still say I would give anything to really know Christ – even if it meant suffering like He did! (Phil. 3:7-10). Therefore, I could say: If you do this or that, you will then know Christ better – but in my view, it’s not as easy as that! How we develop our relationship with Christ is shaped by several factors including our personality, our life experiences, our physical health and fitness, and our relationships with others (especially our parents and particularly our father). In fact, I believe that there is a relationship between how we have learned to build relationships with others (and notably how we have learned to relate to those who are closest to us) and how we then proceed to have a relationship with God. Even though I have expressed my lack of qualifications in telling anyone how to have a closer relationship with Christ, I still can, like one hungry beggar to another hungry beggar, offer you a few of the morsels of food that I’ve been able to find.

SOME PEOPLE HAVE AMAZING BUTS

I know of several people with amazing buts. There’s Jo’, Mo’, Sam, Esther, Jerry, and others. Each of these people were gifted by God with an amazing but that changed there life and the course of human history. Sometimes these gifts came with a …then, or …God, or …the LORD. When it comes to the size of things, a but is a relatively small thing (in Greek it can be just two letters: de) but it can have huge implications and enormously great blessings for multitudes. I hope to show you how this was the case with each of the people I have chosen as samples, and then show you how God is your God of buts.

OPEN

What does the word ‘open’ mean to you? Like language itself, it is like any word in which the meaning only comes from the context in which it is used. I can think of at least 12 different understandings of this word, some of which I will point out, most I will not, and one that I focus on because it is prophetically important for where we are at as a church at this crucial time.

ONE THING I HAVE TO SAY

​I’m always amazed at the really cool events I’d organised for my kids to experience, so that they might have happy memories – but now they don’t remember it except the random comment someone made in the car trip on the way there or what snack was eaten. Conversely, if you make a mistake, well that one is remembered! Once I drove Andrew’s car and just lightly hit something so it ended up with an annoying 2cm scratch. The mistake is (still) there in full view to anyone who looks. Is Andrew going to remember this above the years of my devotion to him? (Not likely, but some people do remember the wrong for way too long!) If you had the choice, what one thing would you want to be remembered for? What one thing would you want your family to remember? It’s not often going to be the thing you have in mind.

‘Famous last words’ comes from the hope that you’ll be remembered for them. If you were given the privilege of being able to articulate as the important thing to say, to be remembered by all, what would it be? Would it be a reflection on your love toward someone? Would it be a directive on how to have the best life? Would it be that you wished you had done something? Someone once mused, ‘would your dying words be that you’d wished you’d spent just one more day in the office’? (Not likely.)

AT THE END OF THIS YEAR I WILL RECOUNT 12 WONDERFUL THINGS (An Explication of Psalm 9)

This is my last end-of-year Pastor’s Desk post. When the head of our Live-stream ministry, Sari, asked me what I was thankful for this year, my immediate answer was obvious and predictable. But since then, I have considered that I also have eleven other things for which I am grateful to GOD for. In this last ever end-of-year Pastor’s Desk please indulge as I share my heartfelt thanks to God and for those God has used to bless me this year.

HE WAS BORN A KING

The king who reigned over Judea when Jesus was born was Herod the Great. Herod had no legitimate claim to the throne of Israel. He was from an Idumean noble family who supported the Roman occupation of Palestine. As a reward he was appointed by the Roman Senate as the King of Judea. Despite his attempts to curry favour with the Jews, including several major public works programs (including completing the temple reconstruction) he was still largely unpopular among the Jews. Little wonder then that when the Magi arrived in Jerusalem with their large retinue and requested to view the birth of the prophesied King of the Jews, Herod was emotionally threatened by this revelation. Herod immediately ordered an enquiry from the chief priests and religious scribes.