In Times Like These
The Apostle of love spoke much about truth. Apart from the truth, it is impossible to please God, because there is only evil in lies and deceptions. For this reason, John said, "I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth." (3 John 4) The Apostle understood that apart from the truth, it is impossible to love God and others in a way that pleases Him. Somehow I think that John was not just referring to three or four main points of the gospel when he referred to the truth. For one thing, Jesus told Peter three times in immediate succession, "Feed my sheep." No pastor, teacher, or discipler feeds his sheep well if he does not plumb the depts of God's word for food. Not going beyond the gospel is good, not digging out from God's word, food that nourishes is terrible. No one can live on candy. Food is for those who pull apart the words of the Bible to understand their exact meaning. It is one thing to read what God has said; it is quite another to discern what He means by what He has said. There is no substitute for a literal, grammatical interpretation of Scripture - ever. Often when I disciple someone, the question of the meaning of a verse arises. Inevitably, particularly with new disciple thoughts and ideas are added to the text for explanation. The thing that matters most for a proper interpretation of God's word is what He said and not what we think. Therefore, His words must be appropriately dissected and considered for their syntax or arrangement to understand their meaning. Is there any wonder that the longest Psalm in the Bible is 119, where God's word consumes the writer. Consider what he desires, "Teach me, O LORD, the way of Your statutes, And I shall observe it to the end. Give me understanding, that I may observe Your law and keep it with all my heart." (Psalm 119:33, 34) Unless the LORD teaches us His word, we will be without understanding, though we read it all day. Unless the LORD gives us the understanding, we will not be able to observe it will all our hearts. For God to teach us, we must have received Jesus Christ as Lord. (Romans 10:9) We must be filled with the Holy Spirit. (Ephesians 5:17) Furthermore, we must also abide in Christ. (John 15:7) If we abide in Christ and His word abided in us, we will ask what we will, and it will be done for us. All of the previous elements of obedience are predicated upon the Christian being healthy and strong, as a result of eating nourishing food.
IN TIMES LIKE THESE that test the metal of a person, when confusion is common, and lies are everywhere, it is essential to know the truth of God. To know God's truth in such a way that imparts wisdom from heaven is not as common in the church, across the board, as you might think. Why do I say that? If there were much wisdom in the church, God's people would agree on everything. However, the church of Jesus Christ is fractured all around the world. When Paul wrote to the Philippians, he asked them to complete His joy. "Make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose." (Philippians 2:2) Jesus imparts His joy in the believer. He then allows believers to complete His joy in others by being united with them.
God is not divided! God is not confused! The scriptures may have many applications but only one interpretation! Try to find a church board that makes decisions by consensus. No two people can disagree on a matter of Christian teaching, and both be correct. With all the disagreements that there are, how much is the church walking in the truth?
IN TIMES LIKE THESE, we need to know God. IN TIMES LIKE THESE, we need to walk with God. IN TIMES LIKE THESE, we need to have been adequately fed. IN TIMES LIKE THESE, nothing is more necessary than to walk in the truth. IN TIMES LIKE THESE, Christians need to make the right decisions.
IN TIMES LIKE THESE, Christian people need to be free.