Truth Brings Freedom

This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series The Joy of Truth

INTRODUCTION

Read 2 John 1:1-13

1 The elder, To the chosen lady and her children, whom I love in the truth–and not I only, but also all who know the truth– 2 because of the truth, which lives in us and will be with us forever: 3 Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son, will be with us in truth and love. 4 It has given me great joy to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as the Father commanded us. 5 And now, dear lady, I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another. 6 And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love. 7 Many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist. 8 Watch out that you do not lose what you have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully. 9 Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take him into your house or welcome him. 11 Anyone who welcomes him shares in his wicked work. 12 I have much to write to you, but I do not want to use paper and ink. Instead, I hope to visit you and talk with you face to face, so that our joy may be complete. 13 The children of your chosen sister send their greetings.
2 John 1:1-13 (NIV)

This series is based on the words of John as recorded in verse 4 of 2 John:

It has given me great joy to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as the Father commanded us.
2 John 1:4 (NIV)

• Question posed: “What is it that gives John great joy?”
• Draw attention to the number of times John refers to “truth” not only in this letter, but in all his letters and in the gospel accounts.
• Answer to question: It is truth!!
• “So for the next few weeks we’re going to look at the theme of truth – and uncover the “joy” of truth.

ILLUSTRATION AND TRANSITION:
Truth doesn’t always carry joy with it – or does it – what’s the alternative? (for instance when wife asks how good her meal tastes, or how good she looks etc.)

– Watching an episode of “Andy Griffith” Aunt Bee has stolen from her an expensive broach. Andy turns the theft into the insurance with Aunt Bee collecting and spending the insurance money. Sometime later she is going to help Opie paint and goes to get her apron cover from the kitchen closet. AS she reaches into the pocket her finger is cut on a sharp object. Upon pulling out the object she discovers her “stolen” broach. In telling a friend her dilemma, the friend suggests, “Well Bee all you need to do is tell the truth.” To that Aunt Bee states, “I’m afraid I am going to need a little more than that.”

– Doesn’t that seem to be the thinking today? That we need a little more than the truth to get us by.

INTRODUCE MESSAGE “TRUTH BRINGS FREEDOM”
• Focus on verses 1-3 and the idea that truth brings freedom – to John truth brought the freedom to love.
• TRANSITION: “But before we get into this message I think there are some questions that need to be answered…

1. Why is truth so important?

There are two models of truth in our world today. Since Adam and Eve these two models have been present. One Is true and the other is false.
The first model is that truth is defined by GOD for everyone, it is objective and absolute. In other words, what God said and commands is true for all people, for all times and for all places. So, when God says thou shall not commit adultery thousands of years ago, he means it today. Jesus goes on to say that we are not even to entertain the thought of adultery in our minds. That is an unalterable absolute truth!
Some scriptures talking about the truth found in God:

Psalms 31:5 (NIV)
…, O LORD, the God of truth.

Isaiah 45:19 (NIV)
… I, the LORD, speak the truth; I declare what is right.

Isaiah 65:16 (NIV)
16 Whoever invokes a blessing in the land will do so by the God of truth; he who takes an oath in the land will swear by the God of truth….

John 1:17 (NIV)
…; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

John 3:21 (NIV)
21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”

John 14:6 (NIV)
6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

John 16:13 (NIV)
13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. …

John 17:17 (NIV)
17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.

2 Corinthians 11:10 (NIV)
10 As surely as the truth of Christ is in me, ….

Ephesians 4:21 (NIV)
21 Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus.

The second model (and the one we are seeing more and more in our world today) is truth defined by the individual, it is subjective and relative. In other words what is true for you may not be true for me.

ILLUSTRATION: The Men’s Thesaurus (men don’t always say what they mean – excerpts)

When a man says: “IT’S A GUY THING”
He means: “There is no rational thought pattern connected with this, and you have no chance at all of making it logical”

When a man says: “CAN I HELP WITH DINNER”
He means: “Why isn’t it already on the table?”

When a man says: “UH HUH, SURE HONEY,” or “YES, DEAR”
He means: Absolutely nothing – it’s a conditioned response.

When a man says “IT WOULD TAKE TOO LONG TO EXPLAIN”
He means: “I have no ideaa how it works”

When a man says: “TAKE A BREAK, HONEY. YOU ARE WORKING TOO HARD”
He means: “I can’t hear the television over the vacuum cleaner”

When a man says: “THAT’S INTERESTING DEAR.”
He means: “Are you still talking?”

When a man says: “OH, DON’T FUSS, I JUST CUT MYSELF. IT’S NO BIG DEAL”
He means: “I have actually severed a limb, but I will bleed to death before I admit I’m hurt”

When a man says: “I CAN’T FIND IT”
He means: “It didn’t fall into my outstretched hand, so I’m completely clueless”

When a man says: “I HEARD YOU.”
He means: “I haven’t the foggiest clue what you just said and I am hoping desperately that I can fake it well enough so that you’ll not spend the next 3 days yelling at me.”

When a man says: “YOU KNOW I COULD NEVER LOVE ANYONE ELSE”
He means: “I am used to the way you yell at me and realize it could be worse.”

When a man says: “YOU LOOK TERRIFIC!”
He means: “Oh please don’t try on one more outfit, I’m starving.”

When a man says: “I’M NOT LOST. I KNOW EXACTLY WHERE WE ARE.”
He means: “No one will ever see us alive again.”

That is a little bit of a lighter look at relative truth, however it is important that you understand the serious danger of this model of truth. You see this model of truth is based on a great lie. A lie that was perpetrated in the Garden of Eden by the “father of lies” Satan…

John 8:44 (NIV)
…When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

Genesis 2:15-17 (NIV)
15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 16 And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.”

Read Genesis 3:1-6

1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” 2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.'” 4 “You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.
Genesis 3:1-6 (NIV)

This lie says that there is no such thing as absolute truth. It is this model that has led to such things as:
– Wars, Nazi, Euthenism, Abortion, Gambling, Acceptance of Adultery, degradation of the family etc.

Truth is so important because the Bible is very clear it is the line between heaven and hell – life or death – you are either on the side of truth or you are not…

Psalms 96:13 (NIV)
… He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples in his truth.

Romans 1:18 (NIV)
18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness,

Romans 2:2 (NIV)
2 Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth.

Romans 2:8 (NIV)
8 But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger.

2 Thessalonians 2:10-13 (NIV)
10 and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie 12 and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness. 13 But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth.

Truth is so important because if the line between truth and lie is blurred then the line between good and evil can also be blurred! And friends the scary thing is that we’re seeing more and more of that “blurring” taking place in our world today. Even more scary it is not only taking place in the world but also in the church which is supposed to be according to 1 Timothy 3:15 the pillar and foundation of truth.

ILLUSTRATION: Chuck Colson writes, “During the greatest resurgence of evangelicalism in this century, belief in the Bible has declined and religious influence has been so thoroughly scrubbed from public life that any honest observer would have to regard this as a post-Christian culture. Gallup reports the most bewildering paradox: religion up, morality down. Why have evangelicals not more effectively influenced the world? We have, I fear, substituted therapy for truth, trivialized worship, and tolerated, yes encouraged a dangerously low view of the church” Colson goes on to say… “We’ve protected our enterprises but in the process lost the culture. How can we expect others to take what we profess to believe more seriously than we ourselves apparently do?

2. So the next question I have for you then is, “Does truth matter to you?”

It is God’s desire that we know the truth

who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.
1 Timothy 2:4 (NIV)

Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.
Psalms 51:6 (NIV)

The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.
Psalms 145:18 (NIV)

23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”
John 4:23-24 (NIV)

If truth doesn’t matter to you then…
• It is easy to be decieved:
– Psychic hotlines: if the world was convinced psychics held all the answers in the palms of their hands why would they put “for entertainment purposes only” at the bottom of the screen during their commercials.
– Dabbling in the occult
– Humanism
– New Age
– False religions.
– Evolution as fact
– All these things are powerfully deceiving people every day.

• Decision making becomes selfish and destructive.
– When there is no standard of absolute truth we begin living our lives selfishly. We want what we want! A “what’s in it for me” mentality. I want immediate gratification and I won’t stop until I get it. When people do not submit to absolute truth chaos abounds! We see the implications of this everyday. School shootings, suicide, sexual immorality, insurmountable debts. I’m not saying that every person who does not believe in absolute truth ends up shooting someone but I can say that their destructive, unhealthy, wrong choices will always outweigh their right choices! And the end results are staggering.

• In short, when truth doesn’t matter to a person then their life will be bound by lies. Because they are still living under the most pervasive lie ever uttered – the one spoken in the Garden of Eden.

TRANSITION: Read John 8:31-32

31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
John 8:31-32 (NIV)

The joy of truth is found in the fact that Truth liberates people from the bondage of this lie! When absolute truth is your standard when you hold to the truth and live by the truth then lies have no power over you.
***A lie loses it’s power/existence in the presence of truth. A lie is merely the distortion or suppression of truth.

Acts 20:30 (NIV)
30 Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them.

Romans 1:18 (NIV)
18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness,

Romans 1:25 (NIV)
25 They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator–who is forever praised. Amen.

Because of this a lie often weaves its most destructive power in the presence of “perceived truth” or in terms that we’ve already discussed “relevant truth” (refer to the Garden of Eden).

When John penned his second letter it is clear that he writing with a passion for the truth and he encourages the “elect or “chosen” lady and her children (the church and believers) to encourage and exhort them to keep living and walking in the truth because he knows the incredible freedom truth brings.

Freedom from…
Insecurity and uncertainty
• Lies lead to insecurity – truth brings security
• Lies breed doubts – truth births certainty
• With lies there is the “fear of being caught” – with truth there is the “relief of nothing to hide”
• Lies bring distrust – truth encourages trust
• Lies foster contempt – truth fertilizes love

Blindness
• Lies blind you to what is really happening – truth brings understanding to circumstances
• Lies blind you to consequences – truth awakens to effects.

ILLUSTRATION:
A traveler, between flights at an airport, went to a lounge and bought a small package of cookies. Then she sat down and began reading a newspaper. Gradually, she became aware of a rustling noise. From behind her paper, she was flabbergasted to see a neatly dressed man helping himself to her cookies. Not wanting to make a scene, she leaned over and took a cookie herself.

A minute or two passed, and then came more rustling. He was helping himself to another cookie! By this time, they had come to the end of the package, but she was so angry she didn’t dare allow herself to say anything.

Then, as if to add insult to injury, the man broke the remaining cookie in two, pushed half across to her, ate the other half, and left.

Still fuming some time later when her flight was announced, the woman opened her handbag to get her ticket. To her shock and embarrassment, there she found her pack of unopened cookies!

Powerlessness
• Lies weaken and cripple – truth strengthens and heals
• Lies are a mark of the faithless – truth is the target of the faithful

Death
• Ultimately, truth brings freedom from the shackle of death a lie puts on a person.

CONCLUSION

And so I come back to the question I asked earlier this morning. Does truth matter to you? If it matters then you already know the freedom that truth brings in your life. But if it doesn’t matter then friend I’m sorry to say that you are shackled to a lie this morning. God wants you to know the truth and now is the opportunity to find it!

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