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Seeing Truth Clearly - Part B

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig
The Truth Network Radio
March 1, 2022 2:00 am

Seeing Truth Clearly - Part B

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig

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March 1, 2022 2:00 am

We live in a seemingly post-truth culture, where the very idea of absolute truth is considered archaic and even offensive. In the message "Seeing Truth Clearly," Skip shares how Paul both predicted the abandonment of truth and provided the antidote to it.

This teaching is from the series 20/20: Seeing Truth Clearly.

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Paul is saying, I've kept the truth, the faith, the gospel, the doctrine to the very end. I fulfilled and I finished the task.

I've kept the faith. That's our calling. Our calling as a Christian church in this generation is to believe the truth, love the truth, speak the truth, pass the truth on to the next generation and live the truth. We can know so much of God's truth but it will be meaningless if we're not applying it to our lives. Today on Connect with Skip Heitzig, Skip shares practical ways you can nourish spiritual truth in your daily life. Now we want to tell you about a resource that will help you unfold God's rescue mission for you and the world. What is truth? The question may seem like a postmodern musing or maybe the core of the Christian deconstruction movement, but scripture records that Pontius Pilate famously asked that very question just before he handed over Jesus to be crucified. So what is truth? Here's Skip Heitzig. You see, the Bible makes truth claims and some of those claims are, well, pretty absolute.

Here's one. Jesus said, I am the way, the truth, the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. But how can you know it's really true? We want to help you get started in answering that question with two truth-focused resources, the booklet Why Truth Matters and Bloodline, both by Pastor Skip. It's our way to say thank you for your gift of $35 or more today to help connect more people to God's truth through Connect with Skip. Jesus is absolute truth. Pilate thought it couldn't be found so he dismisses the case and in effect he dismisses Jesus from out of his life.

Get your copies of these two powerful resources when you give online securely at connectwithskip.com slash offer or call 800-922-1888. Okay, we're in 2 Timothy Chapter 4 as Skip Heitzig starts today's study. Our culture has rejected the truth. One of the reasons, and there are several reasons for it, by the way, one of the reasons is journalism in our culture over time has become sensationalized. Every article has spin. There's an editorial thought behind it. There's an agenda behind it. Information isn't pure information.

It's skewed information. Now there are extreme cases of this and extreme cases of this would be the most extreme case I can think of is tabloid news. So when you walk into the grocery store and you check out all those tabloid newspapers, crazy headlines. I have a little running list of some of the craziest headlines on tabloid newspapers. Here's one headline, Alien Mummy Goes on Rampage.

There's news for you. Alien Mummy Goes on Rampage. Got to read about that. Another one says World War II Bomber Found on the Moon. Another headline, Woman Gives Birth to Two-Year-Old Baby, Child Walks and Talks in Three Days. Another headline, Eve Was a Space Alien. I like this next one, Ancient Photo of Jesus Found, which is to me fascinating.

1800 years before there was photography invented, there's a photo of Jesus somewhere. Another headline, Abraham Lincoln Was a Woman. I never knew that. That is news to me. And then here's one more recently, Drinking Cow Urine Wards Off Coronavirus.

I don't know anybody who'd want to try that cure. Now we regard those headlines as not true, sensationalized. But how do we know they're not true? Because they're not verifiable. I can't go back in history to see if Abraham Lincoln was a woman. I can't go to the moon to see if there really is a World War II bomber on the moon. It's not verifiable. But these things don't fit into human experience. So some of us, most of us, I'm hoping, look at that and go, that's not true. And yet they sell.

Somebody buys them and they're making a lot of money selling them because there's new ones every week. So what happens now? We get what happens now? We get into a whole realm of thinking and study called epistemology. Epistemology is the theory of knowledge. What justifies your belief that something is true or not true?

How do you know if something is true or not true? That's epistemology. Another reason our culture has rejected the truth is because the truth can be so rigid that it speaks against us if our condition doesn't match what is true. So we want to make truth a bit more fluid, more personal, more individual, more variable. We used to talk about the truth. Now we talk about things like, well, that's your truth. That's not my truth.

You might make a statement and go, oh, well, that's true for you, but that's not true for me. So now we have different versions of what is true and not true. It's not objective anymore. It is now purely subjective what you feel about it. Again, because objective truth can speak against us, our lifestyle, our preferences, especially from a biblical point of view. Did you know at one time in the United States, in our country, there was what's called a moral consensus? A moral consensus that the country by and large, I mean 50 years ago even, would say that's right and that's wrong. You can do that. You can't do that.

Why? Because that's wrong. A statement like that today doesn't even make sense anymore because there is no moral consensus. And by the way, in our country, there was a time when the large majority of our country would say the Bible is true.

Not any longer. 24 percent today believe the Bible is the Word of God. That happens to be the very lowest in Gallup poll's 40-year trend of keeping records of this. The prevailing thought today is how can anyone ever claim to have a corner on the market of the truth? This is one of the reasons they reject the Christian message. You're claiming that as absolute truth like you and you alone have a corner on the market. And so here's a statement I bet you have heard. There's no such thing as absolute truth.

Ever heard that statement? There's no such thing as absolute truth. That is a self-contradictory statement. You know that because somebody is saying that when there is no absolute truth, they're making an absolute statement. There's no such thing as absolute truth.

You can't say that. You just said an absolute statement. It is self-contradictory. You may want to remember that next time you hear it. But let's look at the passage a little more carefully now because the passage doesn't seem to warn against unbelievers turning away from the truth.

That's a given. We know they do that all the time. They live in untruth. The warning here isn't about the world at large, the culture at large turning away from the truth. It seems to be referring to believers doing so or those who claim to be believers.

Notice how it's written. For the time will come, verse 3. For the time will come. Paul can see into the future a little bit. The time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine but according to their own desires, it's all based subjectively on what they want, their own desires. Because they have itching ears, they will heap up, pile up for themselves, teachers, editorialists. And they will turn their ears away from the truth and be turned aside to fables. It indicates that the people he is speaking about once adhered to the truth, but no longer. It seems then in context to refer to nominal Christians, superficial Christians, who prove their identity, their false identity, by rejecting the truth. Oh, they've been numbered with true believers. They come to church, I'm a believer, I'm a Christian, I follow Jesus. But when it comes down to it, eventually they will reject the truth proving their identity as false. According to Pew Research, 25% of American Christians believe God is a higher power. This is now the Christian Church, people who claim to be Christians. A full one-fourth claim God is a higher power, not necessarily all loving omniscient and omnipotent as the Scripture reveals. Not a personal God, not a personal being.

Just some ethereal power. It gets worse, 45% of American evangelicals are saying many religions can lead to eternal life. It's almost half, it's inching up toward half, of evangelicals in the United States are saying, Jesus is not the only way to heaven.

Many people have their faith traditions, they all lead to God, 45%. According to Barna Research, only half of the country's Protestant pastors, 51%, have a biblical worldview. Now these are leaders, these are pastors, these are the ones who are supposed to tell people how to get from earth to heaven, they don't even have a biblical worldview. An article in Christianity Today even said one in 50 clergymen don't even believe in God. I found an article, I want to share just the gist of it with you, it's called Preachers Who Are Not Believers. It's an interesting title, Preachers Who Are Not Believers.

It's a study conducted by the Center for Cognitive Studies at Tufts University under the direction of Daniel C. Dennett and Linda LaScala. And here's the quote, many churches and denominations have adopted such fluid and doctrineless identities that determining who is a believer and who is an unbeliever has become difficult. Now we do this a lot, especially when a celebrity claims to know Jesus, oh they're a Christian, and then we push them up and just, we haven't examined their teaching, their doctrine, their belief system, we just, they claim to follow Jesus, let's put them out there.

And so the lines get blurred, it gets fuzzy. And that's the reason for this series, because far worse than the culture at large turning away from the truth are churches that turn away from the truth. It's been said very well that Christianity is always one generation away from extinction.

The failure to pass it on to the next generation. Several years ago there was a movement and it was called the Emerging Church, maybe some of you heard about it when it came up and was very very popular, or the Emergent Church. Some people think it's dead, it's gone away, it has not. The leaders of it are still around, still influencing, still writing books at a larger scale. What happened to the Emergent Churches is they sort of went defunct, but the belief system, the liberalism of that, just bled back into the institutionalized denominational churches of our country. The leader of that movement was seen as Brian McLaren and he made a statement I want to share with you. He said, and I quote, I don't know if anyone has ever gotten the gospel right, close quote.

I just want you to linger on that statement. I don't think anyone has ever gotten the gospel right. Look at that statement. So that means Peter the Apostle didn't get the gospel right? That would mean John, who was there with Jesus when he said a lot of these things, an apostle, he didn't get it right. Paul, who was converted on the Damascus Road in hearing the voice of Jesus, he didn't get the gospel right because he sure wrote a lot about it.

I believe nobody's gotten the gospel right. Another leader of that movement, still around, still writing books, still influential, Tony Jones, said quote, I'm quite convinced that the Bible is a subversive text. I think the Bible is, and he uses a bad word, expletive, is a blanking scary book. And then he writes, pardon my French.

I don't know why the French always get blamed for that. I think, he continues, that deconstruction is the only hermeneutical avenue that comes close to expressing the transgressive nature of the sacred text. Let me unravel that mumbo-jumbo. He's saying, I am here to enlighten you. If you have read the Bible and plainly believed the text, I am here to show you, all deconstructed and show you, that it does not mean what it says it means.

You cannot believe it. That's the leader of this church movement. Now what I want to press on you today is, as you think of 2nd Timothy, understand this, 2nd Timothy was written just 30 years after the death and resurrection of Jesus. Already, 30 years after the original fact of the resurrection of Christ, 30 years after a church started growing and emerging, it was already developing this kind of falling away, disintegration.

It does not take long. Now what's the problem? What is the problem that creates it? Well, Paul calls it itching ears. The time will come, verse 3, they will not endure sound doctrine.

They won't put up with it. But according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, the idea behind the word is, they're itching for novelty. Because they have ears itching for novelty, they will heap up for themselves teachers and turn away from the truth. Listen to that verse in the message translation. People will have no stomach for solid teaching, but will fill up on spiritual junk food.

Catchy opinions that tickle their fancy. When Paul went to Athens, you remember that story in Acts 17? Paul goes to Athens, stands up on Mars Hill, the Areopagus, all these philosophers are there.

They're so brilliant, spouting off all the stuff that they know. And so here's Paul the Apostle, and he starts engaging in conversation about God and about Jesus and starts articulating the gospel in front of these brilliant erudite philosophers of Athens. And the writer of the book of Acts, Dr. Luke, I love what he said, he goes, for the Athenians and the foreigners spent their time in nothing else but either to tell or hear some new thing. That's itching ears. They gather together because I've heard that before. Give me something new I haven't heard.

Deconstruct it for me so I can get a different meaning to it. So here's Paul the Apostle approaching those people. So the preacher they least want to hear is the preacher they need most to hear.

And he was there. The ancient Israelites got tired of worshiping a God they couldn't see, so they talked Aaron into building them a golden calf that they could look at and worship. Jeremiah chapter 5 God said, an astonishing and horrible thing has been committed in the land. The prophets prophesy falsely and the priests rule by their own power and my people love to have it so.

Always a willing audience. Why itching ears. Heard about a farmer who was feeding his donkey's oats but the cost of oats was rising and he got tired of paying the price. So he decided he would come up with an ingenious plan. He mixed the oats with sawdust. So the oats would go further.

I'm not gonna pay those prices. I got an idea. So he started mixing the oats with sawdust and as time went on he put more sawdust than oats and so by the time the mules were satisfied they were dead. Because you can't get nourished on sawdust. Man shall not live by sawdust alone. It takes the oats of the Word of God.

People are starving because pastors are pandering to itching ears. So be concerned about knowing the truth. Be cautious about neglecting the truth. The third step to see clearly is be careful about nurturing the truth. Now I want you to see how Paul pivots here. Paul's been talking about them.

Here the time is coming when they will do this and they will do that. But look at verse 5. But you. But you.

He's now saying Timothy you're different. But you. Be watchful in all things. Endure afflictions. Do the work of an evangelist. Fulfill your ministry.

Timothy you're not like them. You're to hold on to the Word. You're to nourish it. You're to nurture it.

You're to feed on it. Then Paul uses himself as an example of faithfulness. Verse 6.

For I am already being poured out as a drink offering. And the time of my departure is at hand. Paul knew he was going to die and within a short time after he finished this letter. This is the last chapter. When he puts his pen down shortly thereafter he's marched to the Basilica Julia in Rome then taken out to the Appian Road where they take an axe and chop his head off. Paul knew that time was coming. He knew he would die soon. The time of my departure is at hand.

Look at what he writes. I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith. Finally there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness which the Lord the righteous judge will give to me on that day and not to me only but to all who have loved his appearing. Paul is saying I've kept the truth, the faith, the gospel, the doctrine to the very end. I fulfilled and I finished the task. I've kept the faith. That's our calling. Our calling as a Christian church in this generation is to believe the truth, love the truth, speak the truth, pass the truth on to the next generation and live the truth.

The truth. You don't mind if I tie my shoe to you right here? We're almost done with a message and some of you are looking like he's gonna trip over that shoelace.

I just know it so so now now it's not a distraction to me or to you. Okay so go back to verse 2 for just a moment because we just sort of glanced over this but look at look at how verse 2 begins. It is his commandment. It's an imperative. It's a commandment to Timothy. Preach the Word.

Now we know what that is. It's the Scriptures. Preach the Scriptures that you have received from childhood.

All Scripture is given by inspiration. Preach the Word. Be ready. Be prepared. Whether you feel like it or not in season or out of season.

Whether it's convenient or inconvenient. Rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering and teaching or instruction or doctrine. Now when he says the word preach, it's a very important word in that culture. Preach is the word K-Russo.

K-Russo. To herald, to proclaim publicly. And in the New Testament times a preacher or a herald was an official title of somebody sent from Caesar himself. It referred to an imperial messenger who would go through the streets and make grave loud proclamations with authority.

That was a preacher, a K-Russo. He would announce special events. He would announce if the Emperor is coming to the region. He would announce new laws.

He would announce new policies. When he spoke, he carried with him the authority of the king himself. Now if you were to speak and misrepresent the king, that was a grave offense. It was very dangerous.

He could lose his life. He had to speak what the king told him to speak. That was the herald. And to ignore the herald, to ignore the preacher, was to reject the king. So that's, with that in mind, he says preach the word. See Paul knew where Timothy was.

He put Timothy in Ephesus. And Ephesus was filled with great orators, brilliant philosophers, who were twisting the truth. They had attached themselves to the church, but they were twisting the truth.

And because of that, people were turning away from the truth. So the only antidote to that is preach the truth. Keep heralding it.

Keep hammering it. Keep speaking it. Preach the word. He didn't say preach your opinions. We're not to preach our politics. We're not to preach our culture. We're not to preach our feelings. We're to preach his word. And his word is sound doctrine. Sound doctrine. That's what he calls it in verse 3.

They will not endure sound doctrine. You got to get this one. The word sound.

Hugiano is the word. We get our word hygiene from it. Hygienic. Preach hygienic doctrine. He's saying tell people how to wash their hands.

No. The idea of sound doctrine is your teaching is life-giving. It's healthy. Sound biblical doctrine promotes spiritual health. So for the next several weeks, that's what we're gonna be doing. We're gonna go to the optometrist, to Dr. Jesus. He's going to examine what our belief systems are through his word. He's gonna check our vision to see if we are seeing clearly, according to sound doctrine, his truth, his word, and we'll get adjusted as we go. D.L.

Moody, he was sort of a country kind of a preacher. I love what he said. He said, the best way to show that a stick is crooked is not to argue about it or spend time denouncing it, but to lay alongside of it a straight stick. That's what we will do in this series. Week by week, we're gonna look at the straight stick of what the Bible declares about God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, humanity, sinfulness, need, etc, etc. We're gonna rediscover those foundational truths. That concludes Skip Heitzig's message, Seeing Truth Clearly, from the series 2020. Now, here's Skip to tell you about how you can keep encouraging messages like this one coming your way as you help connect others to God's word. We want to connect more listeners like you to God's never-changing truths in these ever-changing times. So we would love for you to consider partnering in this work today so that many others can continue to know God's truth and be transformed by His love.

Here's how you can take God's word to more listeners like you around the world. You can give online at connectwithskip.com slash donate. That's connectwithskip.com slash donate or call 800-922-1888.

800-922-1888. Thank you. Tune in again tomorrow as Skip Heitzig helps you cultivate an even deeper relationship with God as His child. Connect with Skip Heitzig is a presentation of Connection Communications, connecting you to God's never-changing truth in ever-changing times.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-28 18:27:02 / 2023-05-28 18:36:14 / 9

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