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Apr23SunApril 23, 2017We live in a day were truth is hard to come by. It doesn’t seem to matter if the facts are there or even if it is made up. When watching the news, you have to regularly question if what they are saying is actually a factual statement. Today people have no problem telling anything from a little white lie to statements that don’t have an ounce of truth in them and look you in the eye while doing it. At one time it was only Hollywood not the news channels that were really good at this. There are always movies that want you to believe, they are truth. That beautiful scene in the background is just a green screen. They will also advertise some movies with this statement; Based on a true story or inspired from a true story but after fact checking there are many “creative licenses” or embellishments taken. These statements are used to get your attention because deep down inside people crave the truth and believe that this must be true and people are gullible. Slogans like made with real fruit get you to believe, hey this jujube is made of fruit so it is good for me or Fruit Loops have fruit and a good source of fiber or Cocoa Puffs with whole grains as the first ingredient but it will drive you cuckoo from all the sugar as one critic said. The slogan “Based on a true story” becomes a marketing tool to promote their movie but like these other slogans, be careful as truth may be limited like the fruit in fruit loops. “Based on a true story' refers to the recreation of a story with changes to the storyline to suit the audience's understanding and expectations. Often done to entertain the audience and dramatizes certain events for that purpose. Moderate modification of facts is seen and these aren't absolutely authentic but the basic storyline can be verified with an actual story.” “Inspired from a true story' is the adaptation of a story in spinning a new tale altogether. The setting, progression and scene can sometimes share little similarities with a true story. Only certain aspects of the plot would be drawn from real stories. Dramatization and manipulation of facts is seen heavily as it is a new story.” You also see this in the book industry. People seem to like to know that there is some truth to what they are hearing but at the same time don’t really care if it is the whole truth and nothing but the truth. We see this in the gossip magazines. Yes the people are real but the stories can be made up and the photos doctored but most don’t seem to care.This apathy is also seen in the church, as there is little truth and little desire to search for truth. We saw from Jeremiah how bad this got. Jeremiah 5:1 “Go up and down the streets of Jerusalem, look around and consider, search through her squares. If you can find but one person who deals honestly and seeks the truth, I will forgive this city. 2 Although they say, ‘As surely as the Lord lives,’ still they are swearing falsely.” In our day very few people are seeking the whole truth of God’s word. Today we have many churches who say as surely as the Lord lives but what they do is based on a true story with enough changes to entertain the audience. We also have churches saying the same thing who have been inspired by a true story yet have spun a new tale altogether. In both cases the stories about Jesus or other events have strayed from the truth and therefore are false gospels. Is the Jesus of scripture actually present? What are you being saved into? Do you know which spirit is present? The true story of Jesus Christ and his life and the power that is available to us and everything else found in God’s word have been altered to make it more palatable but any variance from the truth makes it false and no longer does it hold true. Many men and women are preaching about a Jesus and Holy Spirit they do not know. Their inspiration does not come from God’s word but from gurus that they desperately want to emulate. This variance from the truth affects God’s promises also. If you do this then this will happen, if you don't then it won’t.The point here is that we need to be following what we are told to do according to God’s word, not man’s ideas about God’s word. We do not need to make anything up to add to it. If we would just do what we are told to do, we would see massive change in the church. The church today is supposed to be a true story but now is based on a true story or inspired by a true story but has failed to adhere to the true gospel of Jesus Christ. Even though everyone has a bible, they don’t know His voice. Yes they talk about Jesus, the bible, heaven and grace but the story has been modified and changed to fit their own storyline. Yes Jesus, the Holy Spirit play a role in the story but the power has been written out of the story. The new story, inspired by God they say, has been written outside of scripture to explain this missing power. Thus they have to make what they do more palatable to the masses. The church no longer looks like the gospel of Jesus Christ nor is it built on a solid foundation. They have spun a new tale and have made a flimsy white- washed wall. (Ezekiel 13:15) Time will show that like Luke 6:49 “the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.” Finding out on judgment day is too late.We need to be building on a foundation of truth that will last. The church is supposed to be a pillar and foundation of truth. Paul said 1 Timothy 3:15 “If I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth.” Matthew 7:24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.” 1 Samuel 2:2 “There is no one holy like the Lord; there is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God.” When we tell a different story we build a new building that will collapse. 1 Corinthians 3:11 “For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 9 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.” Paul said to the Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians 2:13 “But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters loved by the Lord, because God chose you as firstfruits to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth.” Now think about this. Ephesians 1:11 “In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.” What if the message you heard was not the truth, nor was your belief complete.The church is supposed to be founded on the truth and stand for truth at all costs. The truth and the church should be synonymous with each other. The problem is that God has turned His face from us, there is no fear and there is no truth. Much so-called truth today is only the inspiration of men. There is inspiration but not by the Holy Spirit. Jeremiah 14:14 “Then the Lord said to me, “The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I have not sent them or appointed them or spoken to them. They are prophesying to you false visions, divinations, idolatries and the delusions of their own minds.” You would think that attending a church based on the true story or inspired from it would be good, but like Hollywood there are changes to the truth which has caused the truth to be watered down, gospel to be sold and cheap grace and in most cases a whole new story is being told that does not line up with scripture nor will it lead to eternal life. They have made it entertaining enough to keep the crowds attention for an hour but they have deleted the parts like true repentance and living wholeheartedly because it is a hard sell without the power of the Holy Spirit present. People still say, Isaiah 30:11 “Leave this way, get off this path, and stop confronting us with the Holy One of Israel!” The truth has been lost and yet people continue to shout Hosanna and crucify Him. Isaiah 59:15 “Truth is nowhere to be found, and whoever shuns evil becomes a prey. The Lord looked and was displeased that there was no justice.” Hosea 9:7 “The days of punishment are coming, the days of reckoning are at hand. Let Israel know this. Because your sins are so many and your hostility so great, the prophet is considered a fool, the inspired person a maniac.” Jeremiah 7:28 “Therefore say to them, ‘This is the nation that has not obeyed the Lord its God or responded to correction. Truth has perished; it has vanished from their lips.” Jeremiah 9:3 “They make ready their tongue like a bow, to shoot lies; it is not by truth that they triumph in the land. They go from one sin to another; they do not acknowledge me,” declares the Lord. Jeremiah 5:3 “Lord, do not your eyes look for truth? You struck them, but they felt no pain; you crushed them, but they refused correction. They made their faces harder than stone and refused to repent.” This is not how it supposed to be. Malachi tells us Malachi 2:8 “You have turned from the way and by your teaching have caused many to stumble.” The same turning from the “Way” has continued to happen since Jesus.It is not good enough to be based on a true story or even to draw our inspiration from a true story; we must be the truth story with no variance from it. Lots of people walked with Jesus but missed his power and salvation. We must do what Paul said. 2 Corinthians 4:2 “Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God.” We have been warned about adding and subtracting, but few listen as this happens in most churches because the truth is not enough for them. The job of the church is to perpetuate truth. Malachi 2:6 “True instruction was in his mouth and nothing false was found on his lips. He walked with me in peace and uprightness, and turned many from sin. 7 “For the lips of a priest ought to preserve knowledge, because he is the messenger of the Lord Almighty and people seek instruction from his mouth.” There is no room for falseness. So we have to 2 Corinthians 13:5 “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test? 6 And I trust that you will discover that we have not failed the test. 7 Now we pray to God that you will not do anything wrong—not so that people will see that we have stood the test but so that you will do what is right even though we may seem to have failed. 8 For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth.” We start with the word of God, the way, the truth and the life. John 7:18 “Whoever speaks on their own does so to gain personal glory, but he who seeks the glory of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him.” We do not veer to the left or to the right. Many churches say they don’t but what they actually mean is they refuse to veer away from their doctrines. Joshua 1:7 “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.” Will it be said about us like King Josiah; 2 Kings 22:2 “He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and followed completely the ways of his father David, not turning aside to the right or to the left.” There can’t even be hint of falseness or we will be off track. Picture the narrow way as a tight rope. Go ahead step to the right or to the left. Luke 13:23 “Someone asked him, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?” He said to them, 24 “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. 25 Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’ “But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’ 26 “Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’ 27 “But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!’ Truth must prevail at all costs.We are to be like Jesus so then the truth must also be in us. We are to do the same and be the church of truth. Jesus is the truth we are to go after and be like him. Matthew 22:16 “They sent their disciples to him along with the Herodians. “Teacher,” they said, “we know that you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren’t swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are.” Luke 20:21 “So the spies questioned him: “Teacher, we know that you speak and teach what is right, and that you do not show partiality but teach the way of God in accordance with the truth.” The church must return to this truth and not be afraid of what people think, say or do. We are not to be afraid to speak the truth. Paul said in Romans 9:1 “I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it through the Holy Spirit.” Revelation 22:6 “The angel said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true. The Lord, the God who inspires the prophets, sent his angel to show his servants the things that must soon take place.” We have to adhere to the truth and not let go.If we expect God to bless us so that we bear fruit then we must remain in His word. Colossians 1:22 “But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— 23 if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.” Because we have not adhered to that gospel, we repent and turn around. If we would wait on God to turn His face upon us once again we would see His Spirit move again. 1 John 2:24 “As for you, see that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. (this is why we have to go back to the beginning) If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father. 25 And this is what he promised us—eternal life. 26 I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray. 27 As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him.” 3 John 1:3 “It gave me great joy when some believers came and testified about your faithfulness to the truth, telling how you continue to walk in it.” 2 Timothy 3:14 “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15 and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” If not do not continue in it. James 1:25 “But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.”Being a Christian means that there is never a question as to the validity of God’s word. His word is truth. John 1:14 “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 17:17 “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.” If we do not believe that God’s word is truth, we will never be sanctified. Many churches teach a cheap grace but you can’t have grace without truth otherwise John 8:44 “you belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” This is where doctrines of demons come from, the father of lies. Today many teach a false grace in which there is no truth but again this version of the story is told so that they feel better about their depraved minds and lack of power. 2 Peter 2:2 “Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute.” 2 Timothy 3:1 “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people. 6 They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over gullible women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, 7 always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth. 8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these teachers oppose the truth. They are men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected. 9 But they will not get very far because, as in the case of those men, their folly will be clear to everyone.” Many like these will lead those in the church away from truth. Galatians 5:7 “You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth?” Romans 2:8 “For those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger.” Romans 1:18 “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness.” Romans 1:25 “They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.”If you question whether the word of God is true how can you call yourself a Christian? If we follow other gospels then the truth is not in us. 1 John 1:6 “If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth.” 1 John 1:8 “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” 1 John 2:4 “Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person.” The problem is that the church has led so many astray with their version of “based on the truth” instead of being set free by the truth. John 8:31 “To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” To the ones who did not believe, Paul said, Act 28:25 “The Holy Spirit spoke the truth to your ancestors when he said through Isaiah the prophet: 26 “‘Go to this people and say, “You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.” 27 For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’ 28 “Therefore I want you to know that God’s salvation has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will listen!”But now what happens when the Gentiles are not even listening and written a new story. Matthew 15:6 “Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. 7 You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you: 8 “‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. 9 They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.” Hebrews 5:12 “In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food!” The answer is we go back to the beginning and wait. We must worship in Spirit and in truth. John 4:23 “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”So we have instructions for us to be the church of truth. Titus 1:1 “Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ to further the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness— 2 in the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time, 3 and which now at his appointed season he has brought to light through the preaching entrusted to me by the command of God our Savior, 4 To Titus, my true son in our common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.” Paul said of the old ways, Ephesians 4:17 “So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 18 They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 20 “That, however, is not the way of life you learned 21 when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” This is why we need to go back to the beginning, as most of us have not been taught the truth. Paul tells us this is what we are to teach. 1 Timothy 4:6 “If you point these things out to the brothers and sisters, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, nourished on the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed.” 2 Timothy 2:15 “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” There are many men and women who have gone before us and are among us who do not correctly handle the word of God. 2 Timothy 2:25 “Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth,” This is why we teach repentance. 2 Timothy 4:1 In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: 2 Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. 3 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 5 But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry. 6 For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.It is obvious that the church has not continued in the truth. We have not been firmly established in the truth. Peter tells us to 2 Peter 1:5 “make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins. 10 Therefore make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, 11 and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” The Peter says He will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things. So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have.” We have the truth set before but will we listen or will we continue to follow cleverly devised stories. Peter continued to say 16 For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 He received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” 18 We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain. 19 We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. 20 Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. 21 For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” We have this right before our eyes. Hebrews 10:26 “If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. 28 Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?”As we return to following the true story and living it out may this be said about us. 2 John 1:4 “It has given me great joy to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as the Father commanded us. 5 And now, dear lady, I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another. 6 And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love. 7 I say this because many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist. 8 Watch out that you do not lose what we have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully. 9 Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take them into your house or welcome them. 11 Anyone who welcomes them shares in their wicked work.”Scripture makes it clear, very clear to us that we must obey. This means we follow the word of God. This means we follow the way the truth and the life. There is no other way to God.