Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Truth Advantage

Let your word be, ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; … anything beyond these is of evil.
Matthew 5.33-37

One more lesson about truth.  I know this is a lot, but it’s so important that Jesus’ disciples get this and cling to it!  Truth is mentioned in the bible more than 200 times.  Truth is up there with love, faith and holiness in importance. 

In the last post I observed the penalties of being a truth teller, and now I want you to understand one of the biggest advantages: truth produces growth. 

Dance training studios often have walls covered in mirrors.  Golf teachers use video cameras focused on the student.  Football teams watch “film” of the previous games, and makeup mirrors are lined with very bright lights.  Do you know why?  Because the truth … HELPS!  Yes, the saying is that “the truth hurts,” and that’s also true.  But what student dancers, golfers, football players and all these others have in common is that they need the truth in order to grow. 

“Speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ”Ephesians 4:15
Two other examples
“Hello, my name is x, and I’m an alcoholic.”  Do you know why those meetings have them say that same thing over and over again?  Because the truth helps.  We accept our flaws or issues, and then we’re able to work on them. 

In many weight loss programs, they not only use the truth-meter (known as a scale), but they also weigh-in in front of each other in the group. 

Most people benefit when they have a group’s support, and that’s true of disciples.  Disciples are little more than “recovering sinners,” and a group of disciples that actually functions properly is a true church where people are helped to grow stronger, sin less, and become more mature.  And it’s a life-long struggle.  Most people attend “churches” where they “worship” – concepts not found in scripture.  But hopefully you have found (or made) a group that is an accountability group.  THAT is how a real church is to function (1 Cor. 14.26; Hebrews 10.24; Ephesians 4.11-16). 

Do you have to tell everyone - everything - all the time? 
Obviously not! 

Can you battle against sin and grow on your own without having to be with others? 
That’s debatable, but usually: no

But here’s the important thing: If you are fully committed to growing as a disciple, you won’t let anything stop you.  If it means confessing something to a group, you’ll do it.  If it’s looking into the “mirror” of scripture and shining the light of the word on your pride, selfishness and arrogance – then know that the same light that exposes also heals. 
By lovingkindness and truth sin is atoned for, & by the fear of Yahweh one keeps away from evil.
Proverbs 16:6
Here’s the hard part and also the great thing about being truthful within your group/church: full commitment to truth. 
  • It’s that commitment to truth that will force you to confess, even when you don’t want to. 
  • It’s the commitment to truth that forces you to research things before you comment or teach.
  • It’s the commitment to truth that quiets you when tempted to share your ignorance. 
  • It’s the commitment to truth that helps you not to sin in the first place, knowing you won’t want to have to confess later.
  • It’s the commitment to truth that will help you grow more and faster than anything else. 

Committing to truth is absolutely vital, and one of the greatest assets of being in a small group church
Jesus said to those who believed: “Everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin, but if you continue in my word, then you’re truly disciples of mine; and you’ll know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”  John 8:31-34 (KPV)
Do your three column thing again on Matt. 5.37, and this time discuss your third column with each other.  Confess as much as you’re able to about  your deceptions – and then just a little more.  If you have hidden sins you’re not quite ready to be fully open about, then SAY SO!  But whatever you do … make a full commitment to the truth, and keep it.  No matter what, and without flexibility – be so devoted to truth that you can always walk confidently. 
Buy truth, and don’t sell it, get wisdom and instruction and understanding.  Proverbs 23:23 Incline your ear and hear the words of the wise, & apply your mind to my knowledge; for it’ll be pleasant if you keep them within you, that they may be ready on your lips. So that your trust may be in Yahweh, I have taught you today, even you.  Have I not written to you excellent things of counsels and knowledge, to make you know the certainty of the words of truth that you may correctly answer Him who sent you?  Proverbs 22:17-21
Failure to commit to truth – is complete failure.  You will not grow as you might, and there will always be sin in your life that you cannot escape.  We died to sin when we were born again in baptism (Romans 6) … but if we don’t continue to walk in truth and fight against our former slavery … we will inevitably fail. 
 “In reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self (which is being corrupted in accordance with the desires of deceit) … be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth. Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another.”  Ephesians 4:22-25

 Renew your commitment to truth.  Do it now, and never waiver.

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