Jesus built His church on a Rock
Does the church of Christ teach the truth?
I. An amazing statement is found in 1 Timothy 3:14,15 -- "These things I write to you, though I hope to come to you shortly; but if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."
A. The church is the pillar and ground of the truth!
B. How is this possible in a world which is flooded with religious error? It is true by definition.
1. There are many religious bodies, but the church of God is unique.
2. It is, by definition, the one church which knows, practices and proclaims the truth.
3. A church which does not know, practice and proclaim the truth, is simply not of God.
II. God is the source of truth.
A. "He is the Rock, His work is perfect; for all His ways are justice, a God of truth and without injustice; righteous and upright is He." From the song of Moses (Deut. 32:4).
B. "Into Your hand I commit my spirit; You have redeemed me, O LORD God of truth" (Psalm 31:5).
C. "For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations" (Psalm 100:5).
D. "The truth of the LORD endures forever" (Ps. 117:2).
III. The truth of God has been revealed through the prophets.
A. After Elijah restored the life of the widow's son, she declared: "Now by this I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the LORD in your mouth is the truth" (1 Kings 17:24).
B. "For the word of the LORD is right, and all His work is done in truth" (Ps. 33:4).
C. "The entirety of Your word is truth" (Ps. 119:160).
IV. God's truth has been fully revealed by Christ.
A. "God, who at various times and in different ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son" (Heb. 1:1,2).
B. Jesus said: "I am the way, the truth and the life" (John 14:6).
C. Of Him John wrote: "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth" (John 1:14); "For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ" (John 1:17).
D. Jesus promised his apostles that they would be guided into all the truth.
1. "And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you" (John 14:16,17).
2. "But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. And you shall bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning" (John 15:26,27).
3. "I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth" (John 16:12,13a).
4. Not only the thoughts, but the very words the apostles used to proclaim the message are from God. 1 Cor. 2:12,13 -- "Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, not in words which man's wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual".
a. Let us not be careless with the words in the New Testament.
b. Let us not think that we may create our own words to communicate the gospel just because we think something sounds catchier than what we read in the New Testament.
c. Now if you can come up with a better translation of the original, that is fine.
d. But do not think that you can improve on the words in God's book, because those words were taught those men by the Holy Spirit of God, the Spirit of truth. Those words are powerful, but our words which come from human wisdom are not only worthless, but harmful and destructive.
e. The very words used to communicate this message are from God.
5. The first believers "continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine" (Acts 2:42).
V. The truth of God has been preserved in prophetic Scriptures.
A. When One like a son of man appeared to Daniel, He said: "I will tell you what is noted in the Scripture of Truth" (Dan. 10:21).
B. Jesus testified: "Scripture cannot be broken" (John 10:35).
C. "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God" (2 Tim. 3:16).
D. "No prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit" (2 Peter 1:20,21).
E. God commanded that the gospel be made known to all nations through holy Scriptures: "Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which was kept secret since the world began but now has been made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures has been made known to all nations, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, for obedience to the faith -- to God, alone wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen" (Rom. 16:25-27).
VI. Because the truth of God has been revealed and preserved in Scripture, men of faith can know the truth and thereby be saved.
A. God promised through Zechariah: "I will return to Zion, and dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. Jerusalem shall be called the City of Truth" (Zech. 8:3). "Therefore love truth and peace" (verse 19).
B. Jesus explained to Pilate: "For this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth, hears My voice" (John 18:37).
C. To His followers He said: "You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:31,32).
D. This does not mean, of course, that we know everything: "We know in part" (1 Cor. 13:9). Only God knows everything. But we can know what God has revealed. "The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law" (Deut. 29:29).
E. Our salvation depends on a knowledge of the truth.
1. God "desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth" (1 Timothy 2:4).
2. Before His death, Jesus prayed: "Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth" (John 17:17-19).
3. To the Ephesians Paul wrote: "In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation" (Eph. 1:13).
4. To the Thessalonians Paul wrote: "But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth" (2 Thes. 2:13).
5. James explains: "Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures" (James 1:18).
F. In 1 Tim. 4:3 Christians are referred to as "those who believe and know the truth."
VII. In order to be the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth, it is required, not only that we know the truth, but that we also practice the truth.
A. "We have a strong city; God will appoint salvation for walls and bulwarks. Open the gates, that the righteous nation which keeps the truth may enter in" (Isaiah 26:1,2).
B. "Teach me Your way, O LORD; I will walk in Your truth" (Ps. 86:11).
C. "I have chosen the way of truth" (Ps. 119:30).
D. Jesus explained: "He who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God" (John 3:21).
E. He also promised: "If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:31,32).
F. "Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever" (1 Peter 1:22,23).
G. Paul asked the Galations: "O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth...?" (Gal. 3:1). "You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth?" (Gal. 5:7).
H. "God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth" (John 4:23).
I. Peter refers to the Christian faith as 'the way of truth' (2 Peter 2:2).
VIII. The church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth, not only knows and practices the truth, but also proclaims the truth.
A. Paul replied to Festus: "I am not mad, most noble Festus, but speak the words of truth and reason" (Acts 26:25).
B. Christians edify one another by "speaking the truth in love" (Eph. 4:15).
C. Paul admonished Timothy: "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" (2 Tim. 2:15).
IX. Unfortunately, many reject the truth and are lost.
A. Some, like Pilate, ask: "What is truth?" (John 18:38).
1. In our time many do not believe truth exists. This means, of course, that they do not believe in God, because He is the God of truth.
2. Many others do not believe it is possible to know the truth. This means, of course, that they do not believe God and His Son, Jesus Christ, who tell us that we can know the truth and, furthermore, that we will be held responsible if we reject the truth.
a. "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness" (Rom. 1:18).
b. God will execute judgment on "those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth" (Rom. 2:8).
B. Why are there so many who do not know the truth?
1. In the last two passages we already learned that the truth is suppressed and disobeyed because of unrighteousness and egotism.
2. Daniel said of Israel: "As it is written in the Law of Moses, all this disaster has come upon us; yet we have not made our prayer before the LORD our God, that we might turn from our iniquities and understand Your truth" (Dan. 9:13).
3. Paul explained why people would listen to the lawless one: "The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness" (2 Thes. 2:9-12).
4. People reject the truth because they do not love the truth. This, of course, means they do not love God, because He is the God of truth.
C. Even in the church, men can arise who do not love the truth.
1. "If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, useless wranglings of men of currupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourself" (1 Tim. 6:3-5).
2. "But shun profane and vain babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness. And their message will spread like cancer. Hymenaeus and Philetus are of this sort, who have strayed concerning the truth, saying that the resurrection is already past; and they overthrow the faith of some" (2 Tim. 2:16-18).
3. Paul speaks of some who are "always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth" (2 Tim. 3:7). Why are they unable? The answer is given in the next verse: "Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth; men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith" (2 Tim. 3:8).
4. In the following chapter Paul says some will turn their ears away from the truth because they have itching ears and cannot endure sound doctrine (2 Tim. 4:3,4).
5. Paul told Titus: "Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, not giving heed to Jewish fables and commandments of men who turn from the truth" (Titus 1:13b,14).
A. By definition, the church of the living God, is the pillar and ground of the truth: to be the church of God, we must know, practice and proclaim the word of truth.
B. Just as in the first century, there are false teachers among us today who resist the truth, suppress the truth, turn from the truth, and are devoid of the truth because they do not love the truth. And there are those who love to have their ears tickled.
C. But the Lord knows those who are His. They who know, practice and proclaim the truth compose the church of Christ, the pillar and ground of the truth.
The Scripture quotations in this article are from
The New King James Version. ©1979,1980,1982,
Thomas Nelson Inc., Publishers unless indicated otherwise.
Permission for reference use has been granted.
Published in The Old Paths Archive