The Gospel Truth
During a recent Communion Service Scripture reading I was struck by a portion of John 19. I am sure that I have read it scores of times, but this time it really got me to thinking. When John recorded the events surrounding Jesus’ crucifixion he wrote, “And he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you also may believe.” (John 19:35). In the midst of making some incredible claims about the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus John pauses to say, “believe me”!
As I got to thinking about the importance of this statement it reminded me that we all have to be honest with the gospel – not just John (whose words would transcend time) – but every one of us. Even though we have the written Word available to us today, we must treat it with honesty and we must be transparently truthful when discussing it. So, how do we make this happen?
1. We must know what the Bible says (and doesn’t say). Truth begins with facts. If we are going to accurately teach the Word, we have to have a working knowledge of its contents. There are some incredible truths found in the Bible, but there are also secular adages that sound biblical that are not. As we profess the truth, let’s be able to back it up with “book, chapter and verse” rather than relying upon what we think we remember it saying.
2. We must be truthful about what the Bible says (and doesn’t say). John makes the statement that he told it like it was. He didn’t embellish what he saw nor did he omit things that were not pretty. In the end, he stood by what he described because it was accurate. While most of us have our favorite passages and “pet” teachings, we have to be willing to speak the whole truth. No, this does not give us a license to be mean or malicious; we must remember that truth is only truth when it is completely and fairly presented.
3. We must be comfortable with what the Bible says (and doesn’t say). I have found that when I get in trouble with the truth of the text, the conversation typically begins with, “Well, I believe ...” or “You know, what this seems to say to me is ...”. It is great to be a teacher and it is wonderful to be given the opportunity to explain the way of the Lord to those who are struggling, but in the end it doesn’t matter what I believe; the only thing of real importance is what the Bible says. Let’s not go overboard trying to “explain” God’s Word. It has been doing quite well on its own (without our interjections) for centuries.
It is great that we have the Word of God at our fingertips! Now, let’s do what we can to help others receive the truth into their hearts.