(1/5) I sincerely hope that you all had a happy New Year. Besides diet and exercise did you make any special resolutions for 2014? (Field some responses) I want to start some writing.
Let me ask you another question, Have you ever thought of how important you are to the plan and purposes of God? Remember that Godís plan and purpose for you as a Christian and for all of us as His Church
is that we carry on the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. You must never forget, that in the mind and plan of God, Church was never intended to be a building that we go to, or a place to worship, it/we were intended to be a
people called out from the world to carry on His life and Ministry. We do gather to worship and learn and find encouragement from each other, but itís what we do out there that makes us a Church. The world we live in and the
people we live among will only know about Jesus by what we show and tell them. Itís like the old saying, "You may be the only Bible that some people will ever read."
In our brief series that has been interrupted by snow I wanted you to show you, in Jesusí own words, why He came to us about 2020 years ago. We have seen that He came:
- To Serve and Sacrifice for People (Matt. 20:28)
- To Seek and Save the Lost (Luke 19:10)
- To Secure and Sustain our Eternal Life (John 6)
- To Show and Speak the Truth (John 18:37) and our last one next week,
- To give Sight and Satisfaction (John 9-10)
Turn in your Bibles to John 18:33-38, "Then Pilate entered the Praetorium again, called Jesus, and said to Him, "Are You the King of the Jews?"
34 Jesus answered him, "Are you speaking for yourself about this, or did others tell you this concerning Me?"
35 Pilate answered, "Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered You to me. What have You done?"
36 Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here."
37 Pilate therefore said to Him, "Are You a king then?"
Jesus answered, "You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and 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
38 Pilate said to Him, "What is truth?" And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews, and said to them, "I find no fault in Him at all. Did you catch that in verse 37? He was born to be a
King, the King of the Jews, the King of Israel, The King of the World, the King of Kings. Thatís what He was accused of by the Jews to Pilate in Luke 23:2, He was born as Davidís heir to the throne and as Godís Messiah to rule
But He came into the world to bear witness to the truth. The wording of verse 37 reminds me of Isa. 9:6, "For unto a child is born, unto us a Son is given. His birth reminds us of His humanity, but His
coming or being given reminds us of His Deity. He existed before His birth.
He came to bear witness to the truth. John began His gospel by telling us that, "Öthe 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.
16 And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ." But Pilate said, and we donít know the manner in
which he said it, "What is truth?" Listen carefully, this is one of the biggest problems we deal with in America today; "What is truth?"
You and I are living in a time like no other in our history. The prevailing philosophy is called Post Modernism; that is, a time that is beyond modernism. Modernism refers to the prevailing philosophy of
a century ago. Modernism said that science is all we need to explain our existence. We donít need a God. Science explains how we got here and the supernatural was considered myth. To the modernist, much of the Bible is not true,
is not authoritative, and Jesus was just a man, not God the Son who has come in the flesh to die for us and rise again. Humanism, which elevates man as the top of creation with no room for a God, was the core belief. Many
churches fed into humanism and stopped preaching salvation in Christ and started preaching a social gospel that focused on manís physical and emotional needs instead of his spiritual need to be forgiven and accepted by God in
The Post Modern Philosophy basically says that there is no such thing as absolute truth. That is, that all truth is relative, subjective and situational. That includes morals and ethics like lying,
stealing, cheating, etc. What may be true for you may not be true for everyone. In two national surveys conducted by Barna Research, one among adults and one among teenagers, people were asked if they believe that there are
moral absolutes that are unchanging or that moral truth is relative to the circumstances. By a 3-to-1 margin (64% vs. 22%) adults said truth is always relative to the person and their situation. The perspective was even more
lopsided among teenagers, 83% of whom said moral truth depends on the circumstances, and only 6% of whom said moral truth is absolute.
The gap between teen and adult views was not surprising, however, when the adult views are considered by generation. While six out of ten people 36 and older embraced moral relativism, 75% of the adults
18 to 35 did so. Thus, it appears that relativism is gaining ground, largely because relativism appears to have taken root with the generation that preceded today's teens.
The Barna study also showed that there is a racial component to this issue, as well. Among whites, 60% endorse relativism, compared to 26% who adopt absolutism. Among non-whites, however, 74% support
relativism and just 15% believe in absolute morality. (Fifteen percent of Hispanic adults and only 10% of African-American adults contended that moral truth is absolute.)
Not surprisingly, born again Christians were more likely than non-born again individuals to accept moral absolutes. Among adults, 32% of those who were born again said they believe in moral absolutes,
compared to just half as many (15%) among the non-born again contingent. Among teenagers, there was still a 2-to-1 ratio evident, but the numbers were much less impressive: only 9% of born again teens believe in moral absolutes
versus 4% of the non-born again teens.
We have entered a new era when morals, values, and beliefs were not to be imposed on others, but others were to be respected to do and believe whatever they want. The battle cry became, "Tolerance."
Everyone is free to decide what is true for them. But sadly that tolerance is for everyoneís beliefs except Christ-Followers.
The weeks following the 9-11-01 tragedy saw American churches packed with people and it was supposed that since the attacks were religious based, that America would see a revival in Christianity. However,
rather than a revival, America embraced tolerance and a second word emerged that called for Pluralism; that all faiths are to be considered of equal status. American college campuses like McDaniel College began holding
symposiums on Islam, and we were instructed to respect all faiths as equal. Truth is considered to be subjective. The only thing that canít be tolerated is intolerance. No one is to say, in this post-modern era, that he or she
has the truth. Consider, for example, a speech given by President Clinton at Georgetown University (Nov. 7th, 2001). In it, he says that we might be the blame of the terroristís attacks because of our own arrogant
self-righteousness. If both sides would have just sat down and realized that there is no such thing as absolute truth they would have realized that there is no ideology worth fighting for. "Nobodyís got the truth," he told the
students. "You are at a university which basically believes that no one ever has the whole truth, everÖ.we are incapable of having the whole truth." The terrorist believed that they had the truth and thatís why they attacked us.
But since we understand that truth is unknowable, we are more tolerant. "They believe they got it. Because we donít believe you can have the whole truth, we think everyone counts."
That pretty much sums up what our society believes today. 75% of Americans, church goers included, do not believe in moral absolutes or absolute truth. The end result has been the legalized killing of
babies, same sex marriages, evolutionary teachings, pluralism, and a disdain for God and His Son Jesus Christ.
If it is Godís word, we would assume that it is what it claims to be and that is, truth, and its morals and teachings are absolutes. Because God does not change, His truth does not change. What was true
7000 years ago is still true today. Truth is that which is real, established, proven, fixed, genuine, and accurate. Truth is, what is. It doesnít depend on whether it is believed or accepted or not. It is what it is regardless.
Consider what the Bible says:
A. John 4:19-24 says, that true worshipers will worship God in truth and that God is seeking for people to worship Him in Spirit and in truth. Now, notice that He doesnít say, "In sincerity," but in
B. John 1:14 says Jesus came full of grace and truth
C. John 17:17 Jesus says, that Godís word is truth as does Psalm 119:151, 160 You are near, O Lord, And all Your commandments are truthÖ.
160 The entirety of Your word is truth, And every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever.
D. John 8:31-32- Jesus says that those who continue in His word would know the truth and the truth would make them free
E. Deut. 32:4 Moses says that God is a God of truth
F. John 14:6 Jesus says, He is the Truth
G. John 16:13 Jesus says that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth.
H. Col. 1:5 Paul describes the Gospel as the Word of Truth.
I. 2 Thess 2:13, Paul says they were sanctified by the Holy Spirit and faith in the Truth.
J. 1 Tim. 2:4 he says that God wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth
K. 2 Thess 2:10-12 reminds us that people will be judged harshly who would receive or believe the truth and be saved.
Jesus came to bear witness of the truth. He came to show us the truth of the Holy nature of God that must judge sin and anyone who does not repent and believe in Jesus will die in their sins and be
condemned (John 3:18-21; 8:24) "Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins."
Jesus came to tell us the truth about the way to be saved. God sent Him to be the sacrifice for our sins and only by believing in Him can one be born again and have new life (John 3:1-21). Unless anyone
is born again, he or she will not see heaven.
Jesus told us the truth about Himself. He is not just a man, not just a teacher, He is very God and the redeemer of man (John 5, 8, 10).
Jesus told us the truth about Satan. He is a thief, a robber, a murderer, and the father of lies, yet people chose to believe and follow Satanís lies, despite the fact that they make no sense. Jesus said
in John 8:41 "You do the deeds of your father." Then they said to Him, "We were not born of fornication; we have one FatheróGod." 42 Jesus said to them, "If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came
from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me. 43 Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. 44 You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He
was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. 45 But because I tell the
truth, you do not believe Me. 46 Which of you convicts Me of sin? And if I tell the truth, why do you not believe Me? 47 He who is of God hears Godís words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God."
ē Pluralism ĖPluralism claims that all faiths are equal and no one is exclusive. Religions are like many rivers that all flow into the same ocean. Yet no other faith practice in the world makes sense
compared to Christianity. No other faith presents a God of Grace, love and sacrifice. They all require man to do something, and then never say when the deity is satisfied. No other faith has a God who came as man, died in manís
place and rose again in an un-arguable manner.
ē Abortion Ė The lie is that a woman has the right to choose to say if the baby is worth having or throwing in a dumpster. Many say that it is not a viable life until after a child is born. When science
has confirmed what the Bible says that it is a viable life at the very instant of conception. And that God created that life in every womanís womb
ē Evolution Ė Evolution is so anti-science and mathematically and logically impossible that it makes no sense. Yet, we have bought into the lie and refuse to teach our children about a loving and
purposeful and intelligent creator. No one would dare say that this watch or this building just evolved after billions of years. It took a builder for both. The Bible says that God created, in fact, it says that Jesus created
all that is. And He designed us all intricately different and special (Ps. 139).
ē Addictions Ė We have taken a self - induced dependency on drugs or alcohol and have called it a sickness, which many are predisposed to, and are in fact, now moving to making drug use legal as we have
ē Homosexuality Ė is a right of gender Ė a preference that is right, and normal, and an appropriate alternative lifestyle. Despite the fact that the plumbing just does not in any way fit. Even if I didnít
believe in God, I donít understand how anyone could believe that this is natural. Men and women were designed to fit together. Men were not designed to fit with men nor were women designed to fit sexually with another woman.
Romans 1:18-32 is a portion of scripture that looks like it is written specifically for us. It says, "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who
suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by
the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and
their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible manóand birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. 24
Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the
Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the
woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God
gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit,
evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, 30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; 32 who, knowing
the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.
A little over a year ago my children started asking me if I was familiar with the popular cable TV show called Duck Dynasty. I was not. It sounded like a looney toons cartoon about Daffy Duck. No, it was
about the Robertson family. I had heard of the Duck Commander and watched their commercials on the Outdoor Channel about Bernelli Shotguns and Yeti ice chests. I knew that Willie also had a hunting show, with a baseball player
and a country music singer, called the Buck Commander. The Robertsons are now an American Phenomenon. You canít go to a Wal-Mart or Dicks or any sporting goods store without seeing their faces and beards everywhere. I am now the
owner of two of their T-Shirts, and one of their books. The patriarch of the family is Phil Robertson, whose previous claim to fame was that he was the first string quarterback ahead of Terry Bradshaw in college.
The Robertsons are Christ Followers. Philís book, Happy, Happy, Happy, is about his story and how he came to faith in Jesus at age 28 after a life of sinfulness. With all the silliness, and down home
humor, and hunting, the show always ends with family dinner and prayer in Jesusí name.
Several weeks ago, GQ magazine interviewed Phil Robertson and the results of that have caused a stir in America. You can read the article on line by Googling Phil Robertson. In the interview, he states
his opinion about homosexuality and then quotes the Bible. His remarks are, in my opinion, quite tame. In fact, I was offended by the repeated use of the, "F," word by the articleís author. Robertson said that homosexuality is a
sin and then said that his opinion was that if we loved God and each other more, the world would be a better place. But his remarks were called repulsive, and homophobic, and Jessie Jackson said that he was worse than Rosa
Parkís bus driver. He was put on an indefinite hiatus by A& E even though they still play all his re-runs and will air all the new shows he was part of. A&E just reversed that decision. Phil Robertson gave a personal opinion and
also stating what the Bible has been saying for 3500 years. It is written in every Bible in every church in America. God says homosexuality is a sin and part of the reason that He had the Israelites destroy all the residents of
Canaan (the Promised Land, Lev. 18:19-29; 20:7-27), But because one man spoke the truth, a lot of people are calling for him to be punished and vilified.
Jesus, our Lord, once said that what happened to Him will happen to His followers. He spoke the truth and the result was torture beyond comprehension, and a death on a cross.
It is no mistake that you and I were born and live at this time in history. It is no accident that you have come to faith in Jesus and adopted as a child of God and occupy this place in America. God has a
plan and a purpose for your life and mine. The truth has been entrusted to us. We are now the carriers and communicators of Godís truth. We are the church called to continue the life and ministry of Jesus Christ who came to show
and tell the truth. Let me close with 5 action points.
1. See people, not as enemies but victims of the enemy and destined to be lost. Homosexuals and their advocates are not the enemy, If you are a Republican, Democrats are not your enemy and vice versa,
neither are pro-choice people your enemy, neither are people of other faiths, or denominations. Jesus saw people as sinners, deceived and destined to be lost. Satan has lied to people for years, He has blinded their eyes,
stopped their ears, and offered them alternative beliefs and philosophies. Jesus loved sinners and ministered to them and saved them, even when He was on the cross, He gave hope to a thief, and prayed for God to forgive His
accusers. I grieve for my country, but I do not see people as my enemies but in pity I see them as victims of the enemy. I urge you to do the same. Thatís how Jesus saw people. The only people he got angry with was those who
knew the truth but as hypocrites manipulated the truth to their own advantage.
2. Know the truth. Read and meditate in the Bible. Jesus said in John 8; that if you continue or abide in His word you will know the truth and the truth will make you free. Not to develop a holier than
thou attitude, but to be settled in your mind and then to be able to communicate Godís truth to others. That means studying, reading, meditating, and memorizing Godís Word on more days that just Sunday. Teach your children,
donít wait for the church or Christian school to do what God has instructed you to do-Dad!
3. Speak the truth in love- Did you catch that? Thatís what Paul says in Ephesians 4:15. Among people who live in darkness you need to speak the truth. Listen, not just be truthful which we must always
do, but share the truth of Godís word. Not wishy washy, but in a manner that says we care about you and want you to know truth. Donít argue, discuss. Listen as much as you speak. You may open the door to further discussions. It
is Godís job to judge and condemn, it is our job to show and tell truth and encourage repentance and faith. Do you understand this?
4. Show grace even to those who reject the truth. Jesus was the fullness of grace and truth. He fed those who rejected Him, healed those who were ungrateful, and washed the feet of those who would desert,
deny, and betray Him. And extend grace and forgiveness to blatant sinners, prostitutes, tax-collectors, etc. Your grace today may well result in a brother or sister tomorrow. Show them that you are just a sinner saved by grace,
not to be a judge but to be a conveyor of Grace for others. Do you understand this?
5. Expect conflict. The truth attracts those who want to know truth, and you can have some great discussions, like Nicodemus. But expect, some will hate both the message and the messenger. Our Lord said
in John 15:18ff, "If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world,
therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you, ĎA servant is not greater than his master.í If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. 21 But all
these things they will do to you for My nameís sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 He who hates Me hates
My Father also. 24 If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would have no sin; but now they have seen and also hated both Me and My Father. 25 But this happened that the word might be fulfilled which is
written in their law, ĎThey hated Me without a cause.
As the world draws further and further away from the truth, the light of Godís people is more and more essential. You and I have been entrusted with the truth and grace of God. Make 2014 the year you
realize God saved you for a special purpose, to testify to the truth. It is His job to judge the sinner, it is our job as sinners saved by grace to share truth and grace with those who have believed the lies.
Itís why Jesus came, and itís one of the reasons God chose you to be His child.
Do you know Jesus? Do you know the truth?
Read other thoughtful writings by Pastor Gary Buchman