Sunday, September 16, 2012

What Is Truth?

What Is Truth? (John 18)

Bible Background: Background of Scripture

  • God gave Moses His Law and offered His Covenant with His people on Mt. Sinai. It was never meant to merely be a list of rules, but grounds of the Covenant.
  • It was never to leave their mouths, hearts or minds.
  • God’s people were given history and law

  • OT/NT were converted to chapters & verses many years ago 
  • Pentateuch: (Law/Torah) were converted by ancient Hebrews in 54 sections (to be reach each Sunday at the synagogue)
  • These sections were later broken into 669 sections of unequal length
  • The prophets were divided likewise into passages
  • Early Latin/Greek bibles were divided similarly (NT as well) under different names/titles
  • Cardinal Hugo published a bible in 1250 AD that we broken into chapters with some already fixed since 1059 AD
  • Chapters were broken into verses around 1550s when Robert Stephens introduced Greek bible. 1st English bible with verses was in 1560 (Geneva Bible)

  • I’m sure these people had good reasons for doing this, but it helpful in understanding the truest meaning of passages.

  • KJV for example, writes each verse as a chapter so you have no idea where the actual chapters start or end, hence it’s difficult to grasp the concept that’s being developed in scripture.

  • This has caused our understanding to be fragmented.

  • I don’t engage in mission or inner-city ministry because a single verse says so...I do so because the Story of God portrays God as a Missionary God Who is committed to pursuing those who are disenfranchised, less that and underprivileged.

Sermon Title: What Is Truth? John 18:36-38
36 Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.”37 “You are a king, then!” said Pilate. Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” 38 What is truth?” retorted Pilate. With this he went out again to the Jews gathered there and said, “I find no basis for a charge against him.

John 17:17 Amplified Bible (AMP)

17 Sanctify them [purify, consecrate, separate them for Yourself, make them holy] by the Truth; Your Word is Truth.

  • A working knowledge of OT scripture is needed in order to appreciate all that Jesus has accomplished for us.

(It’s helpful to know Romeo & Juliet to really appreciate West Side Story or the Iliad to fully appreciate Oh Brother Where Art Thou?)

☞John 5:38-40 (CEV) The folks Jesus’ engage didn’t understand Truth.

38 You have not believed his message, because you refused to have faith in the one he sent. 39 You search the Scriptures, because you think you will find eternal life in them. The Scriptures tell about me, 40 but you refuse to come to me for eternal life.

Truth is arrived from the Greek word Aletheia (Al-ay-thi-a)...which is derived from the work True (not concealing). 


  • We need to study in order to hear what the hearers of this message heard when it was spoken to their ears.

  • The God Who was only seen as a historical fact, was now living among His people and they didn’t recognize him as God the Son/Messiah.

  • God the Holy Spirit lives among us and we don’t even recognize it because it isn’t our music or worship style; it isn’t similar to our ethnic style; it is uncomfortable it produces angst in us.

  • Jesus’ death was for everyone as was his resurrection (which is why Luke HAD to be written because he, the outsider Gentile, spoke of the Magi, the Good Samaritan, Simon the Pharisee, The mistreated Greek widows, The Samaritan Revival and Cornelius! (Luke properly contexualizes Mark’s message to the new Jewish world)

☞God is offering us illumination! People have read scripture and have objectified it for millennia and their lives have remained unchanged.

☞God has revealed Christ and wants to do so in our hearts. He will use Scripture to do so...

  • Not scripture that we manipulate for our own good
  • Not scripture that we use to prove our own points
  • We are being called to read scripture that’ll read us and show us the nature of Christ.

Classic Pentecostals love the Spirit (Inspiration & Power)
Classic Evangelicals love the Word (Order, Authority and Historic)
→They both should lead us to Truth and not away

We need to a grasps of the word of God and to be grasped by it...
We need to grasp the Holy Spirit and to be grasped by it...

John 20:30-31 (CEV)
Why John Wrote His Book
30 Jesus worked many other miracles for his disciples, and not all of them are written in this book. 31 But these are written so that you will put your faith in Jesus as the Messiah and the Son of God. If you have faith in him, you will have true life.
John 21:25: 

Jesus did many other things. If they were written in books, I don’t suppose there would be room enough in the whole world for all the books. (Last verse of John’s gospel)

Word = Sums whole message of God
Truth = Revelation of that message

What is the bible? 
  • God’s rules & expectations?
  • Our job description?
  • History book
  • Or is it a revelation of God’s attributes, qualities, attitudes, desires, expectation & provision????

We have NOT created God...God has revealed God to mere mortals thru the person of Jesus Christ.

Revelation and Illumination are the goal of God in scripture. (The truth is unrelieved and our eyes are opened)

Jesus is Light & Truth

Stott: God speaks and acts via His word. His words are not mere speech, they are deeds.

Jesus taught that scripture testified of Him:

Abraham rejoiced to see my day (John 8;56)
Moses wrote of me (John 5.46)
Scriptures bear witness of me (John 8.39)
“Scripture is fulfilled in your ears” Luke 4.21
He taught them scriptures about himself Luke 24
Jesus taught that scripture converged on him (bear witness of him)

Scripture tells of God’s nature & love for us: (For examples)
  • Jeremiah 2.4 “What fault have y'all found?”

Jeremiah 2:4-6 (ESV)

Hear the word of the Lord, O house of Jacob, and all the clans of the house of Israel. Thus says the Lord: “What wrong did your fathers find in me
    that they went far from me, and went after worthlessness, and became worthless?
Truth: God’s love for us is revealed to us in justice and mercy!

  • Justice is that God will not overrule our desires...if he honors our desires, He must also honor His promise to judge those actions of our said desires.

  • Mercy: That heart that we’ve witnessed in Jere 2.4 came to us to carry us out of the firestorm that we created. He bore the brunt of that punishment for those who are tired of missing the mark! Jesus came to reveal the nature of God’s heart because sin had blinded us.

Scripture is where the Truth about Jesus is revealed. It is the evidence.

The revealed Truth of God’s nature is that:

☞God is Creator, Provider, Covenanter, Guide, King, Parent, Protector, Rescuer, Restorer, Sacrificial Lamb, Savior, Conscience, Helper & Lord!

...Scripture tells us so! Scripture states it and the Holy Spirit will direct our minds to grasp it via illumination.

Challenging Thoughts:

Scripture is a means to an end. It isn’t the end. God of scripture is larger than words of scripture that describe Him ~ Dr. Winn Griffin (God’s EPIC Adventure)

Challenging Questions:

Can you afford to miss what God has been trying to say to you?

Can you count on God’s provision if you don’t acknowledge God’s guidance? Has that ever worked for God’s people in history?

Are you willing to ask God to give you the hunger and discipline to engage the message of God in scripture?

Are you willing to accept the joy of insight, purpose and transformation that come from  the understanding God’s understanding of you?

Leviticus 21:17-23
The Message (MSG)

16-23 God spoke to Moses: “Tell Aaron, None of your descendants, in any generation to come, who has a defect of any kind may present as an offering the food of his God. That means anyone who is blind or lame, disfigured or deformed, crippled in foot or hand, hunchbacked or dwarfed, who has anything wrong with his eyes, who has running sores or damaged testicles. No descendant of Aaron the priest who has any defect is to offer gifts to God; he has a defect and so must not offer the food of his God. He may eat the food of his God, both the most holy and the holy, but because of his defect he must not go near the curtain or approach the Altar. It would desecrate my Sanctuary. I am God who makes them holy.”

*This is an example of a passage of scripture that can be confusing if taken out of context. God NEVER meant to exclude followers. This process was offered to describe the holiness of God rather than discriminate against people will ailments. This passage points to the perfection of Christ and his ability to present us faultless before the Father via his own perfect righteousness.

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