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Scripture Reading: John 8:26-32
Seeking and Knowing the Truth
1. Jno. 18:37-38: Pilate’s question describes the relativism, skepticism, doubt and perplexity of many today toward the subject of truth.
a. The voice of Jesus is truth, Jno. 18:37. Heb. 1:2 (Jno. 13:20)
b. This is a declaration that He is God, cf. Jno. 17:17.
2. Yet, because Jesus spoke truth, He was the enemy of many (Gal. 4:16), Jno. 8:45-47; 15:20.
3. Jesus boldly says, “You shall know the truth” (Jno. 8:32).
a. Not a few brethren believe virtue is ultimately in the seeking of truth (which allows for a more flexible, pliable “truth”), but they doubt, discount and discredit the actual finding and applying of truth (identifying and teaching definitive, demanding truth).1
b. Biblical unity: In truth, or in seeking truth? Jno. 17:20-21; Turner.2
c. Restoration of NT Christianity: Open and dynamic? Rubel Shelly3
4. Unless we are able to seek and find the truth with certainty, we are left to our own traditions, speculations and self-serving definitions and applications of what is true worship and faithful living, 2 Tim. 3:7, 14; 2 Cor. 11:3-4.
5. By seeking truth we can find it, Acts 17:11-12; Matt. 7:7-8.
6. Truth is central to God’s plan of redemption and to our lives with Him, 1 Jno. 2:24-27.
I. THE SOURCE OF TRUTH: GOD.
A. God Revealed Truth to the World through Jesus, Heb. 1:1-2; Jno. 1:14 (Word – Truth).
1. Truth is expressed by the word of Jesus, Jno. 8:26-28.
2. His word contains eternal life, Jno. 12:49-50.
3. Question: Can we seek, find and know the truth of God, or do we achieve unity and restore the ancient order by the process of searching for the truth of God?
B. Jesus is the Revelation and Embodiment of Truth, Jno. 1:14-18; Eph. 4:20-21.
1. Jesus is the full scope and perfect expression of truth, Jno. 14:6.
2. We must learn Christ by hearing and being taught, Eph. 4:20-21.
3. Question: Can we seek, find and know the truth of Christ? Or, is our unity determined and defined by the process of searching for the truth of Christ?
II. THE MISSION OF TRUTH.
A. To Save Sinners, Jno. 6:44-47.
1. Drawn by the Father to Jesus, 6:44.
2. Taught by God: Hear and learn – Comes to Christ.
-By means of gospel, Jno. 8:26, 28; Mk. 16:15-16; 2 Ths. 2:14; Rom. 1:16.
3. Believer has eternal life, Jno. 6:47 (Rom. 10:17).
4. Question: Is eternal life found in the learning process, or in the faithful life that learning (coupled with faith) produces? Jno. 8:31-32; Jas. 1:21, 25; 1 Jno. 2:3, 5-6
B. To Make Disciples, Jno. 8:31-32.
1. The word of Christ produces a disciple when he/she decides to learn and in faith, follow the Master’s teaching, Lk. 6:40.
2. If the word abides in us, we abide in the Father and Son, Jno. 15:7-8; 1 Jno. 2:14, 24; 3:24.
3. Question: Is genuine discipleship (being like our Master) attainable? That is, may we learn and live the Master’s teachings with the confidence that we are in Him? Or, is our confidence measured and attained only to the degree that we are seeking to be a disciple? Answer: Yes, 1 Jno. 2:3-5
1. We are thus fully able to know the truth and be freed from sin (Jno. 8:31-32).
a. We are sanctified by the truth of God, Jno. 17:17.
b. God’s judgments are according to truth, Rom. 2:2.
2. We thus conclude that it is in knowing and practicing the truth – not merely the search for truth – that salvation and Biblical unity is found, Jno. 17:20-21; Eph. 4:13.
3. This demands that we seek truth, find truth and obey truth, Acts 17:11-12.
1 “On the other hand, the clashes on divorce and remarriage and fellowship illustrated the continued dissonance between the underlying themes in restoration thought. Some of the early critics of institutionalism had been driven largely by a propositional understanding of the concept of restoration that, rooted firmly in a Baconian, common-sense hermeneutic, tended toward a sectarian view of the church. Others were motivated by a more general commitment to the principle of restoration, remaining open to change and acknowledging the ongoing nature of the search for the ancient order. The divorce and remarriage debate highlighted once again a tension between these fundamental motifs in restoration thought. Every person in noninstitutional churches of Christ was a distinctive personal mix of both concepts, but some defined their religious identity more narrowly and propositionally, while others had a higher tolerance for dissent and uncertainty.” (David Edwin Harrell, Jr., The Churches of Christ in the 20th Century, 361)
2 “Biblical unity is not a goal achieved and placed on our trophy shelf, but is an open-ended way of life....It cannot be bottled and capped by any human level of understanding but must remain a challenging mountain upon which all truth-seekers climb. We have the Biblical unity available to fallible creatures, in the process of seeking it.” (Robert Turner, “Unity,” Focus Magazine, January 1998, pp. 21-22, emp. his, cited by Harrell, 363-364)
3 “The restoration of New Testament Christianity will always be a goal to be sought and never an accomplishment to be applauded and defended.” (Rubel Shelly, “A Passion for Nonsectarian Faith,” Wineskins, January/February 1993, pp. 4-6; cited by Harrell, 216)
By: Joe R. Price
Posted: November 21, 2013