By Robert Wayne La Coste
The Apostle Paul was willing to “suffer all things lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ” (1 Cot. 9:12). The servant of the Lord possessed this attitude about truth. He was well aware of the value of truth. Truth is in-dispensable to our salvation. Jesus said one must know it to be “made free from sin” (Jn. 8:32). Paul echoes this sentiment when he wrote how it made the Romans “free from sin and the servants of righteousness” (Rom. 6:18). Therefore God desires that all men “come to a knowledge of it that they might be saved” (1 Tim. 2:4). Truly as Peter wrote, “God is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9).
Satan knows the value of truth and hat’s why he has many ways to hinder it and keep it from the hearts f men. We only mention a few in his brief discourse.
There appears to be a dangerous trend relative to telling the truth these days. In the past several years it has been common to hear folks talking about “one’s perception” of a mat-ter. It has even been said, “One man’s lies is another man’s reality. It just all depends on your personal perception of the matter. This type of mentality is not far abreast from Such statements as “that’s just your own interpretations” It even smacks Of the days of the judges, when every rnan “did that which was right in his own eyes” (Judg. 11:6).is not to be able to discern (perceive) truth from error. He often judges er roneously based on very superficial and subjective evidence. Of course the definitive standard to assist us in every walk of life where judgments must be made is the gospel of God’s Son. God’s word directsas from every aspect of our living from the cradle to the grave. By it we discern the good from the evil, the false prophet from the teacher of righteousness and a lie from the truth (I Jn. 2:1; 4:6): As we sharpen our spiritual senses by the sword of the Spirit, so we may discern truth from error (Het). 5:12-14), may we never fall in-to the snare of “personal perception.” Solomon said that “whosoever trusteth in his own heart is a fool” (Prov. 28:26). Sure, it is true we will have some perception on any given matter, and from this perception we will make a judgment. Let’s just make. sure our perception and subsequent judgment coincide with the righteous judgment of God. No man is allowed his own personal private perception when it doesn’t harmonize with obvious facts. If facts are presented and you believe it a lie and I believe it the truth, either the facts are in error or we are in error. It can’t be both!
Judging “righteous judgment” (Jn. 7:24) is not an exercise perfected overnight and only with time and experience can it be our spiritual treasure. By following God’s mind as our guide, we shall not fail.
When one is confronted with a statement or action of another, howwe perceive it to a great degree depends on how our mind has been taught or programmed. Many hear the gospel preached constantly. They know it is the truth but prejudice; i.e a prejudgment has been existent for sometime and this hinders them from acceptance.
Therefore, if a man’s heart has not been taught right and he hears the word of God, quite often there is a changing of the Word so there will be harmony between the preconditioned mind and the word. This is a Colossaltragedy. When one recognizes that he has been taught wrong on a matter, the mind of man should be changed, not the revealed mind of
God. This is the situation in the parable of the sower, often also called the parable of the soils. As the soils (hearts of men) are under discussion, we might do well to call it that; This type of heart or soil is somewhat like the first one Jesus mentions. “When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart” (Matt. 13:19). The word of God never has a chance to be planted because the person cares not to even try to understand it. His heart is cluttered with other “seed” that has been sown there, so the pure seed is never even given a chance. “Don’t confuse me with the facts, my mind is made up,” is the type of soil that hinders truth from being sown in that person’s heart. The solution is t4 treat the soil, recondition it and make it ready to receive the pure seed. Without that reconditioning, sowing is futile.
No sincere person likes one who is “two-faced.” Have you ever met an individual that was “schizophrenic”? This is one who is one person at one time and then another person on a different occasion. It is literally defined as “split-personality.” In the spiritual realm, when a person is righteous part of the time and then unrighteous, then back to righteous, we term that as being hypocritical. The “hypocrite” during Shakespeare or Moliere’s day was an actor! On the theatrical stage, one was portraying a fictitious character. Everyone knew that in “real life” this actor was not this clown or king or whatever he was pretending to be.
When people pretend to be Christians or put on an act, this manner of life is wholly detrimental to the cause of the Lord and to truth. People see in this person that truth is not really important to them and if it isn’t important to them, why should any-one else really take it seriously? Jesus wanted his disciples not to reject truth because of the hypocrisy of the Pharisees. He wanted them to do as they said, but Jesus did not want them doing as they did. Jesus said the Pharisees “say, but do not” (Matt. 23:3). In that same chapter therefore Jesus calls them hypocrites no less than seven times and in closing wants to know how they shall escape the damnation of hell? (Matt. 23:33) There is no escaping God’s punishment for hindering God’s truth. Because of such hypocrisy in the early church, the apostle said that “the name of God was being blasphemed” (Rom. 2:24). You and I need to make sure that as people look at our lives, our lives “becometh (makes comely, i.e. beautifies) the gospel of Christ” (Phil. 1:27).
Why does God hate division or discord? (Prov. 6:19) The same reason he hates divorce! (Mal. 2:16) In both instances, there is a separation taking place of an entity God has created. The church belongs to Jesus Christ (Eph. 1:22-23; Col. 1:18). He prayed for and died for his church (Jn. 17:20-21) “to be of the same mind and judgment” (1 Cor. 1:10). A united people is a formidable foe against any would be adversary. However , “a house divided against itself will not stand” (Matt 12:25).
Satan knows the power of a united people. This is why he does all he can in his power to divide the body of Jesus Christ. Dividing means conquering! No physical family, nation or local church will be existent for long where division reigns. How the Devil loves it,
The disgruntled Christian who figures the local church would do better following his ”wisdom” than anyone else’s, places himself in the fore ground and seeks the preeminence. This ”Diotrephes” (3 Jn. 9) is going to rule or ruin. I-fe always does the latter. Such a Christian is nothing more than a “patsy” who has played into the Devil’s hands. With the tools of arrogance, pride and envy, Satan uses, of all people, the Christian, to destroy Christians! This is nothing new. Satan used Jesus’ own apostles to betray, deny and destroy the Lord Jesus! Satan yet ”sifts” the Christian as wheat (Lk. 22:31). We must determine in our own hearts that we will not be the devil’s tool. We must have a resolve that truth will not suffer because of us. “Woe unto that many by whom offences conieth” (Matt. 18:7).
“Preacher, you need to lighten up. Give a little, just preach the gospel and leave others alone” Today, those who would dare to preach the whole counsel of God are under fire to compromise in their preaching. Many churches never hear lessons on denominational error, marriage, divorce and remarriage, social drinking and dancing or the issues that have divided brethren on the work of the church, the PMA (positive mental attitude) brethren would hinder the truth with their spirit of compromise if we let them. I understand full well we are to “preach the truth in love,” but love for whom and what? Our first love (Rev. 2:4)is the Lord and his word. His word is absolute truth and when it comes to this truth, there is no room for compromise. We should only “feel good about ourselves” when we have fully “reproved, rebuked and exhorted with all longsuffering and doctrine” (2 Tim. 4:2). The tickling of ears and the scratching of backs keeps from being said what needs to be said concerning many matters that relate to our soul and its salvation. Iris never an easy task, but God forbid we should ever place convenience over conviction. Maybe that’s the problem. Too many have little or no conviction and it is in this seedbed that compromise blossoms, blooms and bears!
Brethren, a watered-down, soft- soaped “positive only” gospel is not the kind of gospel Paul preached. It is “another gospel” and those who preach it have the curse of God upon them (Gal. 1:6-9). Brethren, keep your eyes and ears open. Men are parading themselves as gospel preachers, when there are many things they won’t preach which are gospel! Some of these same ones advocate “unity in diversity” and hinder truth by being more interested in the quanthy of their membership, rather than the quality! Compromise on important matters of truth may build church numbers, but it doesn’t save souls.
It is a serious matter to have a part in the cutting of the only life line that God throws to the sinking souls of men. Truth is that lifeline. Let’s help ”throw out the life line.” If a man is drowning, you don’t throw him a thread, and neither if hunting elephants do you take a B-B gun! The souls of men will need all the truth if they are to be what God expects of them. Gospel preachers will need all the truth to expose error for what it is. There should be no cost too great, no sacrifice too demanding for the cause of truth. Truth can save man here and deliver him eternally to God, but it will take all the truth to accomplish that noble task.
Guardian of Truth XXXVII: 6, p. 16-17
March 18, 1993