We in society today are warned never to speak with too much certainty or conviction because the world wants us to believe nothing is certain. This is post-modernism in a nut shell. It seeks to dismantle objectivity. It is a war on truth.
This has led to a rise in ‘mystery” versions of Christianity; the “emergent” churches and Greek Orthodoxy. They focus on ‘what we don’t know’, using emotionalism, mantras, icons and images. The central focus here is on viewing all things eternal as a mystery, as opposed to seeking certainty about such matters.
Orthodox Christianity is built on the absolute necessity of absolute-truth. It stands on the reality that we can know and that we can be certain about our sinfulness and the work of Christ to overcome it.
Christianity is a religion of faith. That means it’s a religion of ‘what we believe’ and if we arrive at some version that we still call Christianity, whose foundation says we don’t believe anymore…I just want us to be clear; that’s not Christianity. To espouse oneself as not believing or not knowing as a worthwhile pursuit is to turn Christianity on its head. It’s to suggest that Christianity is in fact not a religion of belief but a religion of unbelief. Refusing to acknowledge and defend the revealed truth of God is nothing less than stubborn unbelief of the worst sort. It doesn’t get any worse than that; to take what God has said as true and to say, ‘we really just can’t know anything about that’. Every genuine Christian, according to the Bible, should both know the truth and love the truth. – Pastor Steve Wilson
2 Thessalonians 2:9-12
The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
Paul makes clear that this is a picture (then and now) of a pervasive denial of the truth as it regards God’s clear directions. This is Satan’s best work happening when the denial of God’s truth is going on. Satan tries to shed doubt on God’s Word just like he did in the Garden.
Satan needs to get a new trick.
Satan said to Eve, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.'” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die”.
It’s the same trick. It is a work of pure deception upon the minds of those who are stubbornly refusing to believe God’s word. First Adam and Eve rebelled against the Word, then embraced a lie set in motion by Satan. The only certainty they now have is certainty in a lie: that leads to the fall.
There is nothing new here. God’s people did the same thing during the great exodus from Egypt. They saw with their own eyes the incredible power and purpose of God, and then consciously turned from that truth to deny Him; all the while worshiping other gods. So, God destroyed those people.
We can travel back even further; this time before time and see a third of the angels of heaven being led by Satan in a rebellion against God¹. Even angels, who knew God Himself intimately, would exchange the truth for a lie. They left behind the order they knew; denying who they were and the God they were created for. They set this aside in hopes of attaining autonomy and glory for themselves.
We look at this and say the angels were obviously delusional because they had firsthand knowledge of God. They should have known better. God says we today also have firsthand knowledge. We don’t get a pass on this responsibility just because we are several thousand years removed from the crucifixion.
Romans 1: 18-23
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
Stepping away from God’s order into a dangerous satanic mind-field never ends well. It is the eternal bondage of one’s own making; while Satan is doubled over laughing at how easy you fell for chaos being cool and relevant.
…and you [believers] will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
Jesus confirms that you WILL have a certainty about all that He has made, done and is doing. There is no mystery here for the believer. The certainty of truth will shut Satan’s questions down.
Where do we go to be immersed in the truth?
1 Timothy 3:15
…the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth.
God established the church as a powerful place where truth can be guarded. The church is the depository of His truth. The church is the front line in the war against the truth.
God didn’t give that treasure [truth] individually to Christians and say, ‘good luck with that’. You have to belong to it [the church/the truth]. The church [with full authority from God] presents the Gospel, defends the Gospel and together we go out and spread the Gospel. – Pastor Steve Wilson
Faith isn’t believing something that is unbelievable. Faith is believing something that is undeniable. – Pastor Steve Wilson
Faith is not a thing we believers should wonder about. Thus is the great shame of some of today’s modern Christian churches that compromise, homogenize and even reject the truth. They do it to keep the peace, get along, and gain favor in the world. A peace on those terms [rejecting truth] is no peace at all.
Jesus spoke in very certain terms about truth and its necessary implications. This made people very angry. His refusal to compromise and accommodate would inevitably lead to His death. That battle for the truth was then inherited by the church. It was passed on to the apostles, preachers, teachers and members of the Christian church (you and me).
1 John 1:6-7
If we say we have fellowship with Him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another [church], and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.
There should be, for every believer, a comfort in Jesus speaking in such certain terms about certain-truth, and what happens in our lifetime if we reject it. Our lives can be really difficult and uncertain, but God’s truth, no matter how uncomfortable at times, is steady. It is the only dependable thing when nothing is dependable. Certain-truth brings us peace in life.
Next week we will finish up this sermon by traversing the very uncomfortable, yet, certain truth that can be found in death. I hope you will subscribe to this blog and keep learning all God has to teach through these lessons taught by Pastor Steve Wilson of Grace Community Church.
¹Jude 6, 8, 16, 19