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Tuesday, March 14, 2023
Church sign in Bethel, PA.
The Blue Mountain ridge is in the background. This is the ridge the Appalachian Trail runs along in this part of the state.
"When Truth Hurts"
Message summary: Today let us receive the truth, primarily the Gospel truth, even if it does hurt! Let us hear and heed our Lord's words: “If you abide in my word, you are truly My disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31,32).
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“Have I then become your enemy by telling you the truth?” (Galatians 4:16). “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31,32).
As we've mentioned often on daily encouragement we are genuinely blessed by the messages we read on church signs and private yards throughout Lancaster and Lebanon County. We see a lot of them here in rural Pennsylvania. They can be thought-provoking and even humorous. Last week we passed the church sign in our lead photo in Bethel, PA which states, "If The Truth Hurts, Then It Is Working".
For many years during the time I served as a pastor I had a small placard attached to the pulpit facing me as I preached with these words, "Sir, we would see Jesus". It was visible as I stood in front of God's people and preached every Sunday reminding me that it's not me that the people came out to see, but Jesus, whom I solemnly represented. This is an extremely important truth for all ministers of the Gospel to keep in mind as they break forth the Word of Life.
The venerable J. Vernon McGee also used this phrase on his pulpit reminding him of his serious duty but he writes:
"There is another verse I wanted to place on the audience side of the pulpit, but I never had the nerve to do it. It is these words of Paul: “Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?” As you know, many folk today really don’t want the preacher to tell the truth from the pulpit. They would much rather he'd say something complimentary that would smooth their feathers and make them feel good. We all like to have our backs rubbed, and there is a lot of back-rubbing from the contemporary pulpit rather than the declaration of the truth."
McGee died in 1988 so it's no telling how long ago he wrote this and it is even more true today in the age of "seeker-sensitive" churches where a cardinal rule is "don't say anything that might offend someone".
Bible teacher A.T. Robertson quipped, "It is always a risky business to speak the truth, the whole truth. It may hit and hurt".
The phrase "truth hurts" means that the truth can be painful or uncomfortable to hear, especially if it conflicts with our beliefs, expectations, or desires. It can also increasingly conflict with popular culture.
In the daily text Paul is addressing a drift away from the truth among the Galatian believers. A few verses earlier he wrote, "Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods. But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more?" (Galatians 4:8,9).
Truth can hurt when it challenges our beliefs. These Galatians had been exposed to false teachings. They had been persuaded of certain beliefs by false teachers, hearing something, even something true, that contradicts those beliefs can be difficult to accept.
It can feel like a personal attack, and we may resist it because it threatens our sense of identity. This will be the case as our society becomes increasingly Biblically illiterate and rejects God's ways and many become ignorant of God's truths.
Earlier in the book of Galatians Paul writes, "I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel" (Galatians 1:6).
Our sinful nature makes us prone to exchanging truth for a lie. In Romans 1:25 Paul wrote of those who "exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator".
Today let us receive the truth, primarily the Gospel truth, even if it does hurt! Let us hear and heed our Lord's words, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31,32).
Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)
Stephen and Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, just as Paul wrote that he was astonished when Your followers were so quickly deserting the gospel of Jesus Christ and turning to a different gospel, we too are astonished and grieved when we see those who have walked with You in righteousness and truth turn to a counterfeit gospel, one that says Jesus is a way, not the way; another that says we are saved by our good works, by our name recognition, by how much money we give to charitable works and on and on the list grows. We thank You for Christian friends, preachers, and Christian leaders who speak the truth even when it hurts. They don't just go along to get along, but they stand on principle not seeking to be contrary but to be Christ honoring and obedient to that which is established in Your word. We want to abide in You so that we will abide in Your truth and do not fall prey to erroneous teaching. Keep us faithful, Jesus. Amen.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"Oh But God" Click to listen on YouTube Shane & Shane
"Holy Forever" Click to listen on YouTube From our service this last Sunday at Calvary Church. Brooksyne and I found ourselves talking about this song and even singing the chorus throughout the day. She told me the thought came to her when we sang "You are holy forever" during the service that she considered how essential the word "forever" is when singing God's virtue of holiness. In Brooksyne's own words: I thought about Satan who was an angel enjoy the glories of heaven and all the privileges that angels enjoy, but then he became proud, was cast out and has caused destruction, mayhem and every other negative words I can think of in my vocabulary in addition to seeking to rob us of our soul. What if God's holiness wasn't forever, that He would take an abrupt turnabout with His omnipotence and then use it for evil. We would be hopeless, banished and never know the eternal glories that await those who are faithful followers of Christ. How futile and frightening. But I'm so glad we can rely on the promises in God's Word and sing with 100% conviction God is holy Forever!
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