Semper Veritas

The Art Of War

Pastor Jerry Gillis - March 8, 2020

Community Group Study Notes

  • Have someone in your group provide a brief, 2-minute summary of Sunday’s teaching. 

  • When we talk about facing spiritual battles, why is truth necessary to our preparation? Why do we need to put on this belt of truth? 

  • Read Ephesians 4:20-21. What is the truth that we need in order to be ready and prepared? Where do we find it? What does that look like in your daily existence? 

  • In what ways does the truth in Jesus help prepare you for the spiritual turbulence you’re currently facing – whether that’s at work, at school, in your family, or in your neighborhood? What truth do you need to be reminded of to continue the battle? How can we, as a group, help remind you of it? 

  • What is one action step you will take in light of what we talked about? 


Sermon Transcript

The 312th Military Intelligence Battalion of the 1st Cavalry Division of the United States Army was constituted toward the very end of World War II. This particular battalion ended up being engaged in the Korean War, the Vietnam conflict, Persian Gulf War, Operation Iraqi Freedom until it was decommissioned in 2005. As a part of their battalions formal crest, which some battalions have, they had two Latin words that were on their formal crest for their battalion and these two Latin words were these Semper Veritas.

Now for those of you who speak Latin, which I'm sure most of you do because it's a very popular language, Semper Veritas means always the truth. That's what it means. Now, the job of this particular battalion was intelligence. It was to gather things that were true so that the 1st Cavalry Division would be prepared whenever it was engaging in whatever conflict or battle or war that it was fighting in. Now, as you can imagine you may have heard that phrase Semper Veritas before. Maybe you've heard one or both of those words. For those of you who have a Marine Corps background or have family that are Marines, you probably heard semper fidelis, which is always faithful, right? My dad was a Marine, so Semper Fi was a common statement around our house, but maybe you've heard the term Veritas before.

I don't know if you knew this, but Harvard, which was founded in the 1600s, 1636, actually has on its particular shield. It's kind of marker. That's logo, that word Veritas. It looks like this. It was a V-E R-I-T-A-S. Veritas, which means truth or the truth. That's Harvard's crest formerly. Now you may or may not know this, but early on sometimes when you would get a diploma, this would be on there, but wrapped around it would be some more Latin, which said basically Christo et Ecclesia, which meant for Christ and the church.

Interesting. Huh? You've got the truth wrapped by for Christ and the church. Now, I'm not sure today, I'm sure there is actually a faculty and students that are at Harvard that would connect the idea of truth. Harvard's kind of crest logo to the idea of Christ, but I'm also confident that there are many faculty at Harvard and many students at Harvard that would not associate those two things together at all. The idea of truth and the idea of Christ.

You see we live in a day and age and if you'll allow me today I'm going to peel back some things related to our culture and I hope that you'll understand that kind of the job of somebody who communicates is not only to exegete the scripture, in other words, kind of breaking it open and helping people to understand it, but it's also that we exegete the culture so that we can actually take this word and be able to bring it into the context of the culture that we live in, and truth today is a very maligned kind of word or idea. You never are quite sure what people are saying when they talk about the idea of truth.

There was a book that I read by Dr. Rebecca McLaughlin and she wrote a book called Confronting Christianity and in it she noted that in 2016 the Oxford English dictionary chose it's word of the year. Oxford English dictionary, every year chooses it's word or phrase of the year, and in 2016 the Oxford English dictionary chose post-truth as its phrase or word of the year. Now for some of you, you're thinking to yourself, we live in the era of post everything. It feels that way, right? Kind of post everything. We just came out of what we considered an era of postmodernism or postmodernity and now you're saying that we live in an era of post-truth.

Well, yes, but let's make sure that we understand the terms that we're using when we say those things, but without going into too much explanation on the idea of postmodernism. Postmodernism was a way of looking at the world that rejected kind of the trappings of modernity. Now by that specifically, what postmodernism rejected was that there was absolute or objective truth, that there was a meta-narrative that tied all of these things together, that the world was tied together kind of by truth.

Postmodernism rejected that idea but as you can see, it only lasted... the kind of postmodernism only lasted a handful of decades because it implodes as an idea. It really collapses upon itself. It's as simple as this, is that when somebody says to you, who has a postmodern mindset and speaks to you and says, there is no such thing as absolute or objective truth, you can simply respond to that statement by saying, based upon your worldview how do you know that that statement is true? To which they respond, I don't.

Great. You can see how this idea ends up imploding, right? It just collapses upon itself. Now, post-truth, on the other hand is kind of a... it's a bit of a misnomer because when you hear post-truth, you think to yourself, it means that no one believes in truth anymore. Well, that's not what it means actually. Post-truth kind of cultural narrative is one that believes in objective truth, but subjugates it to the bottom shelf because what post-truth thinking people are really engaged in is putting forward their own preferences, their own feelings and their own emotions as being what is going to be true for them regardless of what they think about objective truth, even though they will have to agree that it exists.

Now, this isn't something by the way that is just young people believe this and older people believe this. It's not that at all. In fact, if you're one of the older folks who's kind of a get off my lawn young people kind of person, I just want to remind you that this isn't something that just young people think. It's something that most people now have begun to be infiltrated with in the culture that we live in and we've bought into this way of thinking that really our preferences and our emotions and our feelings are what are driving how we define truth as opposed to an idea of an objective reality of truth.

Now I realize that some of you that are listening to me, wherever you may be, you're listening saying, well, that doesn't really apply to me, man. I'm a... hold on, I'll be coming you later. Because I think that we sometimes all fall into the trap of this cultural narrative that we are living in and we just don't see it from time to time and it can stop us cold if we're not careful. Post-truth, right? Everybody's governed by preference. In fact, there are cultural commentators who have made famous certain sayings like there's one cultural commentator who says this and he's kind of popularized this phrase, facts don't care about your feelings, but the interesting thing is in a post-truth worldview, in a post-truth culture, feelings are our facts.

That's why you can see how it's very difficult to engage with this idea of truth because it's coming at us from a bunch of different perspectives and people start assuming, listen to this, people start assuming that everyone thinks this way. That everyone thinks with preference. Everyone thinks with emotion. Everyone thinks with feeling and subjugates objective truth to the bottom shelf. Basically the culture that we live in assumes that we think the same way that they do. I'll give you an illustration.

There's a Christian rugby player in Australia who's quite popular and also quite good and his name is Israel Folau. This particular player is a solid believer, loves the Lord and very vocal about his faith. He's vocal on social media. He's vocal in interviews and I mean he doesn't mess around and he doesn't play around. He's a serious follower of Jesus and he engages with people at times on social media and not terribly long ago he was engaging with someone who asked him this question on social media. What do you think God's plan is for gay people? And I'll show you his response on Twitter. Hell, unless they repent of their sins and turn to God.

Now, regardless of what you think about his response, he was basing his response on what he believed to be objective truth. In other words, it didn't even have to be a question by the way, about same sex attracted people. It could be a question about anyone who rejects Jesus or anyone who has not been redeemed from their sins. Anyone who has not repented. That could be the answer to that question regardless, based upon what he believes is the reality of truth.

Now, could he have said it a different way that was maybe a little more tactful and maybe a little more loving? I imagine he could have, right? But here's the thing. He was treated like a monster. People were calling for him to be fired from his job because we live in the culture, the cancel culture era. Right? And you can imagine why and you'll see how all of this place together. Because when people are motivated by their preferences and their feelings, they also assume that you are and so their assumption was that this player was saying, this is my preference. My preference is, is that these people go to hell or my preference is that these people go to hell. He wasn't speaking however, from the perspective of preference, he was speaking from the perspective of what he understood objective truth to be. Do you see the difference? And so as a result, they wanted him gone. We want to cancel him. He shouldn't be on any team. He shouldn't be able to make a living.

Basically what they're saying is he should go to hell. This guy should go to hell for saying that other people are going to hell unless they repent of their sins and whatever. Right? This is the world that we live in and this is what we are up against in trying to figure out how do we navigate in a world like this, because we've got forces that are going on that are unseen in the world that we live in, forces that are competing for the framework and the narrative of our minds and our soul and we can't even see everywhere from which they're coming. It's not just that we see them coming from people, they're actually coming from a place that's outside of that.

How do you deal with something like that? Well, we don't have the beautiful opportunity that the 312th Military Intelligence Battalion had and that is they can see their enemy. They actually know those kinds of things. We're dealing with an unseen enemy, but we better take the same perspective that they had and that's this. We better believe in Semper Veritas always the truth. You see, in this battle that we are fighting, Paul when he talks to the church in Ephesus about this battle, he even highlights this idea of truth as foundational for us, and building upon the context of where Pastor Wes started us last week in that really, really great message that he taught. I want to look at the context of what we looked at last week in Ephesians 6 but I want to highlight a piece that we didn't get to as we build upon this idea of the spiritual armor. Here's what it says in Ephesians 6 beginning in verse 10.

Finally be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms and places that we can't see with our eyes. Therefore put on the full armor of God so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground and after you have done everything to stand, then he goes on to say this. Stand firm then with the belt of truth buckled around your waist and with the breastplate of righteousness in place and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.

Now, it's important for us to understand that when Paul begins writing about this idea of spiritual armor, he talks about the first thing, this belt that he says of truth needs to be buckled around our waist. This is a foundational piece because it's coming first in what Paul talks about, and it's not meant to be separated out. It's a part of a full idea of what we call the armor of God and we'll talk about that a little further in a moment, but he talks about this belt of truth. Now, this belt isn't just something for show, it's not a fashion piece. Like a lot of times when we wear belts these days, they're not because we need them to hold our pants up, right? We're trying to show them a cool buckle or whatever. Right? Like, look at my buckle. Of course we're in Western New York. Not everybody does that, but if you go to Georgia, a lot of buckle show offs, lot of buckle show offs. Just saying.

By the way, in Georgia, there are also some people that need to wear belts because clearly their pants are falling down and they should put a belt on, right? But this belt that Paul is describing is not just one for show or for fashion. It actually has a purpose. For instance, I fly plenty and I'm sure that you do as well and when you get on a plane just before take off, you've got these flight attendants that come out into the aisles and they say, if we could have your attention, we want to talk to you about some safety precautions and we want everybody to listen, please pull out the thing that's in the back, you know, you start looking at it. No one reads it. Everybody's just kind of sitting there, their earbuds and going, whatever. I know how to buckle a bell, right? Everybody, they've got the flight attendants in out there demonstrating, right? As if buckling belts is a brand new technology, right?

It's like, oh, we do, right? Hey, we've got this new thing in America called cars. We understand the belt buckling thing, right? But they're out there showing you and that's cool. They're out there showing you what it's for, but they're telling you... listen, they're telling you what to do but they're also telling you why. Because they're saying this actually serves a purpose. Because at times when we're flying and we get up to certain elevations, we face turbulence and for your safety we want to prepare you so that you are buckled in, have it fastened low and tied around your waist. Because we are telling you this because we don't want there to be a security issue or a safety issue for you because when we hit turbulence, this is actually going to be good for you. The point of that belt is for when you face turbulence in the air.

Same thing. This is the point that Paul is trying to make that actually this belt of truth is preparing us for the turbulence that we face in the war that we are in and it is a war that is coming at us from the heavenly realms or sometimes as Ephesians calls it from the air, and that we need to make sure that the belt of truth is buckled and fastened around us when we deal with this. Now when Paul's talking about the belt of truth, we can ask this question. Is Paul talking about truth as in tell the truth, truth telling or is he talking about objective truth like the whole nature of truth? Well, the answer to that question is, yes. You don't separate those things out, right? The truth telling is really a subset of what it means to understand objective truth.

In fact, two times that you can see in the context of chapter four of the book of Ephesians, Paul actually talks about both of those things. Notice what Ephesians 4:25 says. Therefore, each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor. Now, just a pause right here by the way. Don't try and pull some like hyperspiritual jujitsu and go, cool. I can lie to my spouse, but I have to tell the truth to my neighbor, right? No. Neighbor is everybody, right? So you have to speak truthfully to everyone. That's the command. You are to be a truth teller but notice what he says a few verses before that in verses 20 and 21. However, is not the way of life you learned when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus.

Did you catch that? Paul's now talking about objective truth, the truth that is in Jesus, that Jesus is this embodiment of truth. Paul tells us that we have to be truth tellers, but he tells us that there is this embodiment of truth that is none other than Jesus. What I believe Paul's talking about when he talks about this belt of truth being buckled around our waist, he is predominantly talking about objective truth into which us being truth tellers is something that will come naturally when we are fitted with the belt of truth and finding ourselves completely in Christ. Now as you probably know, Paul was writing this from a jail. That's where he wrote the book of Ephesians. You know that by the way if you read Ephesians because chapter three verse one kind of tells you that he's a prisoner for the Lord and those kinds of things, but what's interesting is that Paul would have had a real clear view of what Roman soldiers looked like and how they were geared up, right?

If he's under arrest, he got to see that and it would be front of mind for him all the time and so Paul was using a pretty simple illustration that was a front of mind illustration for him but one of the things that I think we need to note is that they had this belt on and the belt actually served a pretty unique purpose in terms of their preparation. Let me explain. The people of the ancient world were an outer flowing garment people, maybe I can say it that way. I don't know if that's the fashion way to say it. My wife does clothes as a business and that's probably not. It's a flowing garment. There we go. We've done it. That's what they wore, right? And even when Roman soldiers, oftentimes if they were... somebody was on house arrest or whatever, they would have on their modest breastplate and their staff or whatever, and they would have a flowing garment over that.

If they had to get busy though, like something happened, right? Something happened. You know what they did? They pulled that garment up, they hyped it up and they tucked it into their belt because now they're ready, right? They can move freely and do whatever they need to do with, Kiai, right. That was an exact emulation, exact. Studied it, studied it, so they could tuck it into their belt, but listen, the people of the ancient world had been kind of a long flowing garment people forever. In fact, when God was talking to the Israelites when they were in captivity in Egypt and the time of the Passover was coming and they were going to be heading out that night and he told them to eat the Passover meal. You remember that whole story, right? Notice what he said in Exodus chapter 12.

This is how you're to eat the Passover meal, with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste. It is the Lord's Passover. In other words, he was saying to them, your cloak needs to be tucked into your belt because it's about to be go time and we are high tailing it out of here and the armies are going to follow you, but you're going to be ready because you're going to eat this meal with your cloak tucked into your belt.

This picture that Paul is painting for us is a picture of preparedness of being ready with the truth. That this belt of truth is something that keeps us prepared and keeps us ready for action and ready to engage in the fight that we're going to be in, but stay with me here. I'm giving you a lot, but I want you to stay with me here. Paul in his mind is not just on a Roman soldier. Paul is too enmeshed in the Old Testament and understanding the reality of it, to just give us this simple illustration of, hey, look what he's got on. I'll write some stuff about that. It's deeper than that. That's certainly true, but it's deeper than that and I'll tell you why, because Paul knew that the Old Testament talked about God as a warrior. Paul also knew that the Old Testament prophesied that Jesus was going to be one who would fight a battle that only he could fight, the Messiah. Paul knew this very well.

In fact, the lyrics that we sang earlier in our worship gathering, were lyrics that were pulled right out of the psalmist mouth, and here's what it says in Psalm 24. Lift up your heads you gates. Be lifted up you ancient doors that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. You see, it was clear from the Old Testament that God himself is a warrior who can battle but what was also clear is that people like Isaiah had prophesied that one was going to come who was going to battle and who was going to be victorious, and that was none other than the Messiah, Jesus.

In fact, listen to Isaiah's words and when you hear them in these places in Isaiah, think about Ephesians chapter six and what it says about the armor of God. Here's Isaiah chapter 11, but with righteousness he will judge the needy. With justice, he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked. Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist. Do you know those words, righteousness and faithfulness also have an understanding of truth built into those words.

Listen to what Isaiah chapter 52 says, how beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news who proclaim peace. Remember his feet are going to be shod with the gospel of peace, right? That's what Paul says in Ephesians chapter six. Notice what it says in Isaiah chapter 59. Truth is nowhere to be found and whoever shuns evil becomes a prey. The Lord looked and was displeased that there was no justice. He saw that there was no one. He was appalled that there was no one to intervene, so his own arm achieved salvation for him and his own righteousness sustained him. He put on righteousness as his breastplate and the helmet of salvation on his head. He put on the garments of vengeance and wrapped himself in zeal as in a cloak.

You see, Isaiah is giving us a picture. He's giving us a picture of a coming warrior who is going to battle on our behalf and he is going to be the one who secures the victory. You see what Paul's doing here in Ephesians chapter six when he talks to us about the armor of God, he's not just yelling at us going, hey, be good, do good. He's actually pointing us to Jesus. He's actually teaching us that Jesus is the great warrior, that Jesus is the one who has taken on all of these things and now when we find ourselves in him, everything can be changed. That Jesus is the one who secures the victory.

Jot this down. To stand in truth, righteousness, and peace is to stand confidently in Jesus and our position in him. I think you've got some fill in the blanks there that you can write a little more quickly here, but to stand in truth, righteousness, and peace is to stand confidently in Jesus and our position in him. See, I don't want you to miss what Paul is doing here in Ephesians chapter six. Paul is actually pointing us to Jesus and in fact he's already done that because he's connected the idea of truth with the idea of Jesus already in the book of Ephesians. In fact, if you look back in chapter one of Ephesians, you see this and you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. What is the good news of your salvation?

Let me sum it up in one word. Jesus. The message of truth is Jesus, right? And we already looked at Ephesians chapter four when he says the truth that is in Jesus. See, Paul has already been connecting the dots for us, that Jesus himself is truth and now when he's talking about the armor of God, he's pointing us again to Jesus, not just what we have to do, but who we are in him. That we are confident in our great warrior who has secured the victory and that when we stand, listen confidently in Jesus, things change. That's why we have to have, listen, the belt of truth buckled around our waist. We've got to know who Jesus is. We've got to know what Jesus has done, what Jesus has said, what Jesus loves, what Jesus hates, what Jesus wants, what Jesus calls us to. When we do, everything changes in the battle that we're finding ourselves in. Because he's the one that wins the victory.

The battle is the Lord's, right? We're in it, but it's his so we want to find ourselves standing confidently in him. Paul's not the only one who connects the idea of truth to the idea of Jesus. If you read John's gospel, wow. John's gospel all through it is doing the very same thing. Look at the very opening chapter. In chapter one verse 14 he says, the word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we've seen his glory, the glory of the one and only son who came from the father full of grace and truth. He's already identifying that the word who became flesh, Jesus is full of truth. Right?

A couple of verses later in verse 17 it says, for the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. He not only says in that first opening chapter that Jesus himself is full of truth, but he's also an agent of truth. That truth comes through him, that he himself is truth. He's full of truth, and that truth comes through him and maybe you remember what Jesus said as John records it in chapter eight. The Jews who had believed in Jesus. This is what Jesus said. If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples, then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.

Pause here. You do know, you do see here that Jesus connected the ideas of truth and freedom? You see it, truth and freedom are connected. That's important for us not to miss ladies and gentlemen, particularly in the world and the culture that we live in, and I was listening to an interview with a guy named Abu Murray and he is the North American director for RZIM which is Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, and he made an excellent point. He said in the post-truth culture that we live in today, when people use the term freedom, what they actually mean is autonomy.

Now, let me break that down for you for a second. The word autonomy comes from two words. Autos which means self and nomos, which means law. Autonomy means a law to ourselves. You see people in this culture, ladies and gentlemen, in a post-truth kind of world, when they talk about the idea of freedom, what they're really talking about is being a law unto themselves. Being autonomous, because freedom actually has the boundaries of truth associated with it. Jesus said, you'll know the truth and the truth will set you free. So the boundaries, listen to this, the boundaries of freedom are truth.

You are only free when you live in the reality of truth. You are not free when you are living as a law unto yourself, but that's what the world desires. Autonomy, but you can see the problem, right? If I'm a law unto myself and you're a law unto yourself, how do we solve that? What we do is we have a quest at that point for power because power will win. This isn't any more about truth even though we might agree that truth exists in a post-truth culture, we've relegated it to the bottom shelf and instead my preferences are this because I am a law unto myself and if I'm more powerful than you, then my preferences win. It may not be truth that won, but it's preference that won and power is what seals the deal. That's actually not a good state of affairs for us in terms of being able to understand and get at the reality of truth, but John, the writer of the gospel, he's got even more to say about Jesus and truth.

Listen to what John 14:6 says. He's quoting Jesus. Jesus said, I am the way and... say it with me. The truth. Say it with me one more time. The truth, he didn't say I'm a truth. He didn't say I'm something to consider. He said, I am the truth. Jesus himself said, I am objective truth. I am the embodiment of truth. I am the word made flesh full of truth and no one comes to the father except through me. That is the truth.

John's gospel also goes on to say in chapter 15. Jesus speaking, when the advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the father, the spirit of truth who goes out from the father, he will testify about me. Did you see what Jesus just did here? Jesus said, by the way, not only am I fully truth, but the advocate who the father will send. He is the spirit of truth. He will testify to me. Do you know why? Because I'm the truth. He's the spirit of truth testifying to me because I'm the truth and by the way, anything the father does, if he's ascending the father is doing in truth. So father, son and spirit completely and totally true. This is the testimony of the word of God and we do well to embrace it.

You may remember Jesus prayer in John 17. He was praying for his disciples and he said, sanctify them by the truth. Your word is truth. Why? Because it flows. Listen to this, it flows from the father through the son, by the Holy Spirit to us and now we can trust that it's true, and then do you remember when Jesus was standing before Pilate and his death was approaching? Listen to this conversation with Pilate. Jesus said, my kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders, but now my kingdom is from another place. Pilate said, you are a king then and Jesus answered. You say that I'm a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth.

Everyone on the side of truth listens to me. What is truth? Retorted Pilate and then Pilate left. I find the story fascinating because after Jesus says, the reason I came was to testify to the truth. I came to testify to the truth. That's why I came. Pilate says, what is truth? And then he left. He didn't give Jesus a chance to reply. He just left, but Jesus replied, just not with his mouth. He went to a cross and he died in our place. Do you know why? Because he's the truth and he's the only way to the father.

He died in the place of sinful people and rose from the dead and even though Pilate didn't give Jesus a chance to answer, Jesus answered with his death and his resurrection. I am the truth. You see Pilate's question was even framed wrong when he said what is truth? He should have asked who is truth. Because whether it's Paul or whether it's John or certainly whether it's quoting the words of Jesus, Jesus is tied to the idea of truth. Jesus is truth. The belt of truth is letting the one who is truth have the final say on everything we do. When we buckle up with the belt of truth, we are saying, Jesus, whatever you want I submit to because you are truth. That's what we're doing when we buckle up with the belt of truth. That means we will be truth tellers, but it also means ultimately we will be defined by finding our confidence in Jesus.

Here's why, because we have an unseen enemy and this enemy only knows one language, lies. It's the only language. There's a million dialects by the way, but it's one language, lies. He's the father of lies. Every time that forked tongue begins to speak, it is speaking lies to you and over you and about you. They're not always really in your face lies. Some of them are extraordinarily subtle, just like he did in the garden with Eve. Did God really say.

He is nothing but a Peyton boldfaced liar and everything he does is saturated in lies, and our problem is that if we don't know Jesus, if we haven't buckled up for this turbulence that's going to come after us, whether it's a cultural narrative that's trying to say something to us, whether it's somebody who is saying something about us that's a lie, whether it's us believing things that are lies about us or believing lies about other people, whatever form it takes, if we don't know who Jesus is, what Jesus has done, what Jesus loves, what Jesus hates, what Jesus wants, what Jesus has called us to, then we are going to be sitting ducks for the lies of the enemy.

That's why it's foundational. You're just not prepared if you're not a person of truth. You're not prepared for what's happening in the world that we live in if you're not putting on Jesus. If you're not standing confidently in who he is and what he has said we will be sitting ducks for the enemy and it happens sometimes even in those of us... in the kind of Christian community. It happens here too, man. Ladies, I'm not just talking to men. It happens here too, right? Sometimes we give the worst counsel in the world that's not even remotely close to the truth of God. We listen. Somebody's going through a struggle and here's our counsel to them and we're believers. Here's our counsel to them. You just need to follow your heart. What? What are we saying?

First of all, for that kind of idea in the world that we live in, in an unregenerate world that we live in, follow your heart is a horrible, horrible idea for counseling. Do you know why? Because Jeremiah 17 tells us that the heart is deceitfully wicked who can know it. When we are not regenerate before God. We've got a deceitfully wicked heart. Notice it says deceitfully wicked. It doesn't say openly wicked. It doesn't just go, hey... roar... I'm evil. It doesn't do that. It deceives you by its wickedness. It's deceitfully wicked. When we tell people who don't know Jesus, just follow your heart. We're basically saying you have an unregenerate heart that is deceitfully wicked, and we hope you run after that, and then sometimes even in Christian community, even though when we've been changed, everything has been made new, right? We're a new creation. The old is gone. All things have been made new. Our hearts, our souls, our minds, everything's been made new but we do allow the poisons to get in, don't we?

And sometimes when we tell people to follow their heart, here's the... listen to this. That statement is just code for this, follow your feelings. That's what we're saying. When we tell people to follow their heart, we're just saying, follow your feelings. Now, it could be good. It could be good counsel if somebody is really submitted to the Lord, Jesus. Is seeking him in all, trusting him in all their ways seeking not anything but his way and his plan, right? Acknowledging him in all their ways, not trusting in their own understanding. When they're doing that here's what God said he would do. I will give you the desires of your heart. I'll put them inside of you because these are the things that are going to glorify me. I will put those desires inside of you so desire can be a beautiful thing that God has given us, but that's only if somebody really submitted to the Lord.

Because if not, all we're saying is follow your feelings, which is in effect what an entire post-truth culture does that doesn't know or care about Jesus. That's what they do already. We're not any different at that point than they are, right? We have to make sure that we reject the lies of the enemy by knowing the truth of the gospel of who Jesus is. There's other pieces here while I'm on the culture and I am on it.

There are some phrases that have been used in our culture about truth that can be confusing. Dr. McLaughlin kind of noted that through both the Me Too movement and then through some of kind of the action activity of the LGBTQ+ community that some phrases have arisen to cultural popularity. Phrases like my truth and your truth. Now, if we're using the phrase my truth when... for a woman is using that phrase who has been taken advantage of by a man who was in power. Who's abused his authority, we've read all about it haven't we. Who's abused his position of power to sexually take advantage of a woman.

This has happened in reverse by the way also, but predominantly we're talking about men and we're talking about taking advantage of women even though it's happened in reverse like in school systems, but you've got a person of power who's taken advantage of this woman sexually and she's kept it hidden for a very long time and finally speaks about it and calls it to light. I'm grateful to God that that's happening. That's a good thing because we should not have, listen to this, closeted evil that is oppressive to people, particularly people who lack power. That's not a good thing.

Jesus is not happy with that. He's not going, oh yeah, just keep it down. But listen, when she says, I spoke my truth, I can appreciate that because listen, this whole thing was very personal for her. It was personal. To that extent, I get what's being said but make sure we understand something. We're not commending these women coming forward. We are commending them, but what we're not commending them for is speaking their truth. We're commending them for speaking the truth, because if your truth is not the truth, it's a lie. There is no my truth, your truth. There's just the truth. I understand truth can be personal and I acknowledge that, but ultimately it has to be something that we know is the truth but there's another one culturally for those of us who say, yeah, this post-truth thinking is not my problem at all.

Maybe you should examine your heart. I have examined my own to the extent that I'm able, because we live in a extraordinarily politically divided culture. Is that fair to say? We're really politically divided as a culture and I can understand that and sometimes the media feeds into that in ways that aren't helpful. They're hurtful. Candidates and leaders and all kinds of people they feed into it in ways that aren't helpful. They're hurtful, but in this really politically divided culture that we live in, is it possible that maybe whoever we support, either for president, you do know we have an election coming up. Everybody's aware of that? Yeah. Just making sure.

Whoever you support for president or to be a governor or to be a senator or a congress person, it's possible that we even in the Christian community can do some things that aren't consistent with the belt of truth. That we can overlook. We overlook the lies of the person or persons or party that we support because we have a preference. I was looking at my own life so this isn't me. I'm not pointing a finger. Right? If I've got one pointed at you, I've got a few pointed back at me. We're all looking in that regard, right? We have to pay attention to that because if we're not careful, we're acting like the rest of post-truth culture that makes our preferences and emotions of highest order and puts objective truth on the bottom shelf.

That's a dangerous place, right? We excuse lies for the sake of our preferences, or we'll even defend lies for the sake of our preferences. You know why? Because we've bought a bigger lie and the bigger lie is that power through politics can save us. That's a lie. I'm not suggesting don't be engaged, be engaged. We want the best we can have for the sake of as many as possible through the lens of a biblical worldview. Do you have... listen to this. In 2020 are you going to have perfect choices for the presidency and for senators and all that stuff?

No, you're not and we're going to have to pray. You're not going to have those choices. It's going to be a difficult choice, but if you as a believer overlook and pass by for the sake of your preference, you just go ahead and pass by their lies. Whoever you support, you just pass by their immorality. You pass by their dehumanization of people. You pass by their willingness to murder infants. You pass by their Peyton hypocrisy and even make excuses for it.

Listen to me, that's not a good look for the people of Jesus. Not a good look. We are people of truth because Jesus is truth, and at the very least, what the people of Jesus ought to be able to do in this extraordinarily politically divided world that we live in, what the people of Jesus ought to be able to do is to be able to say, if my brother or sister votes differently than I do, I don't categorize them, I don't dehumanize them but what I can do is discuss with them the places we both agree where our candidates are inconsistent with the heart of Jesus Christ and the kingdom of God.


50% of you, and I say this to you in love because it's just a bad look for the people of Jesus. Some of us are apologists for our particular candidate, and listen, I'm fine. I'm fine with engagement and action and all those kinds of things. That's wonderful, but you have to have the belt of truth on and understand even when the person you support supports things that Jesus hates and you have to be able to speak to those as well because don't believe the bigger lie that it's all about power through politics that will save us. It is not. We have a king and he is the truth and before him every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the father.

He is the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the father except through him. Leaders will come and leaders will go. Jesus sits on an eternal throne with an eternal dominion and he will always and forever be the truth and I longed for the day when the government will be upon his shoulders just as Isaiah says, but until that day, we must behave as people of the truth. This is good preparation for November, and here's why. Because we live in an age of spiritual turbulence so ladies and gentlemen, listen carefully. Buckle up, put on Jesus and allow him, listen to this, allow him to evaluate your own heart and places where you may have slipped in to believing a lie or putting preference and emotion ahead of objective truth.

He wants to reshape us. He wants to sanctify us by the truth. His word is truth. His person is truth. Jesus can be trusted when nothing else seems sure and if you've never put your faith in him, I want to remind you of this. When you turn from sin and put your faith in Jesus, here's what you can know. Every promise that he's made, everything that he spoken he has done and he will do and when he says, I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the father except through me, count on that. Count on it but here's the truth for you. You may have believed the lie that you're forgotten. You're not seen. Nobody loves you. Think again, here's the truth.

God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son that whoever would believe him would not perish but have everlasting life. That means you. He sees you, he knows you, he loves you and he wants you. Let's bow our heads together. Before we're dismissed. If you know that your need is to receive Jesus, to turn from your sin and put your faith in him and to begin a relationship with him. When we dismiss in a moment, I hope you'll come right across the atrium into the fireside room. We'd love to talk to you about what it means to embrace Jesus. There's no other decision you'll make that's more important than that.

I hope that you'll go. I'm not going to pressure you or manipulate you, but I am going to contend with you that you would do that because it has eternal ramifications. Maybe you just need somebody to pray with you about some things in your life that you realize are lies that you've been believing and that you want Jesus the truth to have full sway over your life. You want the belt of truth buckled around your waist.

Father, would you help us to by your own spirit be introspective enough to ask questions before you laid out before you... laid bare before you of where we have allowed lies to creep in, lies that we believed and would you sanctify your people by your truth? May you help us to buckle up in this turbulent world that we live in so that we are prepared and we are ready to be truth tellers and to live as people of truth in the image of Jesus. We pray this for Christ's sake. Amen.

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