Today’s fortune cookie declared, “In the province of the mind, what one believes to be true either is true or becomes true.” Isn’t this what we are witnessing in the world around us? We all decide what is true for us, and if something is not yet reality, our belief that it is true results in it becoming true. Our thoughts are powerful which is why God is clear on where we should focus (see Philippians 4:8).
In Proverbs 23, we read, “For as he thinks within himself, so he is.” This is why it is so important for us to be right with our thinking. It is easy to listen to other people and miss the truth. We have an overabundance of self-proclaimed experts in our midst. We also live in a time period with an oversaturation of data, some of it true and some not true at all. Plus, in this age of social media, we have all found ourselves playing the game of comparing lives which has only reinforced and grown our personal insecurities.
John 17:17 says, “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.” This verse reminds us that when we are seeking truth, we should look to God for truth. When you want to know who you truly are, see what God says about you. When you want to know what is true, ask Him. He will open your eyes to what is true. Today, may you fix your eyes on what is true.
“For as he thinks within himself, so he is.” – Proverbs 23:7a [NASB]
Week 6 – Iron Low Heat
[Proverbs 1:32, Revelation 3:14-22]
CARING WITHOUT COMPLACENCY
Romans 12:11 – Do not lack diligence (enthusiasm); be fervent in spirit (hot enough to boil); serve the Lord. [HCSB]
John Stott – The Laodicean church was a halfhearted church. Perhaps none of the seven letters is more appropriate to the twentieth-century church than this. It describes vividly the respectable, sentimental, nominal, skin-deep religiosity which is so widespread among us today. Our Christianity is flabby and anemic. We appear to have taken a lukewarm bath of religion.
Proverbs 1:32 – For the simple are killed by their turning away, and the complacency of fools destroys them; [ESV]
Complacency – self-satisfaction, unawareness of deficiencies
Amos – Religion without Repentance (4:6-13), Religion without Reformation / No change (5:11-12)
Revelation 3:14-22 – Church of Laodicea – Had religion, lacking RELATIONSHIP
verse 18 – Buy three things (v. 17 notes “wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked”)
- Gold purified in fire – Laodicea banking industry – know Jesus & be truly rich [FAITH]
- White clothes – Laodicea black wool industry – be dressed (shameful nakedness not exposed) [RIGHTEOUS]
- Ointment – Laodicea medical school famous for producing eye salve – spread over eyes to see [WORD OF GOD & ANOINTING OF HOLY SPIRIT]
verse 19 – God’s purpose of discipline – not to punish, to bring us back to Him
ALL ABOUT RELATIONSHIP
Breakout Session Questions
1) Read Psalm 51:10-12. What is the cause of complacency in this passage? What can we do to fight the complacency?
2) Read Ephesians 1:15-16 and Revelation 2:4. What is the cause of complacency in these passages? What can we do to fight the complacency?
3) Read John 17:17 and 2 Timothy 3:16-17. What can we do to fight the complacency? Why is this so important?
4) Read Jeremiah 29:13. What can we do to fight the complacency? Why is this so important?
5) Read Acts 2:46-47. What can we do to fight the complacency? Why is this so important?
Handle with Care is a 6-week series focused on studying God’s Word and responding with care. The six weeks of messages may sound like instructions for laundry care — but you will soon find Handle with Care beckons you to examine within, to gauge how you truly love God and love others, and to grow inward and outward. Caring starts with the heart and pours out into the community.
- Week 1 – Stain Removal – Caring for God’s glory
- Week 2 – Do Not Bleach – Caring for Truth
- Week 3 – Add Fabric Softener – Caring like Barnabas
- Week 4 – Fasten the Zipper – Caring for Unity
- Week 5 – Empty Pockets – Caring for Treasures
- Week 6 – Iron Low Heat – Caring without Complacency
Matthew 27 / Mark 15 / Luke 23 / John 18-19
Pontius Pilate – Roman Governor –Procurator.
- He was in charge of appointing the high priest and controlling the Temple and funds.
- He had full control of the province.
- He had full powers of life and death as he could reverse capital sentences passed by Sanhedrin.
- He had a bad reputation with Jews and Samaritans.
- He was guilty of slander, robbery, violence and murder – and at least twice was called to account by the Roman imperial authority.
- Because people threatened Pilate, that they would inform the emperor that Pilate hadn’t eliminated a rebel against Rome, Pilate went against what he knew was right. He didn’t do the right thing.
- He was later removed from his office for unnecessary and brutal treatment of his subjects.
- Pagan historians only mention Pilate when mentioning his authorization of the death of Jesus (Tacitus).
- Historians documented that Pilate was forced to commit suicide during reign of Gaius (AD 37-41).
1) DISCOVER THE TRUTH – What is Truth?
Jesus told Pilate, “In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth” John 18:37 (NIV). The question that Pilate and many others have asked is “what is truth?” (v. 38 NIV). The Bible mentions the word “truth” over two hundred times. God revealed truth to us through Jesus. Jesus says in John 14:6 that He is “the way and the truth and the life” (NIV).
I believe absolute truth is God’s truth. The Bible is God’s Word and God’s Word is Truth. The Bible says that God cannot lie (Titus 1:2), which therefore means that He speaks only what is true. The Psalmist writes “Teach me your ways, O LORD, that I may live according to your truth” (Psalm 86:11a NLT). God is the source of all truth. I believe Jesus is “the way and the truth and the life” and I believe that Jesus is infinite, living Truth.
When we read the garden scene in Genesis 3, it is quite clear that God presents absolute truth with regard to this tree of knowledge of good and evil to Adam and Eve. Satan challenges God’s truth, and deceives Adam and Eve into questioning what God says as well. Even today, Satan attempts to get us to challenge God’s Truth, to ask “did God really say” when we encounter His Truth. God’s Truth does not change; though we may attempt to misrepresent or skew His Truth, it still remains as Truth, as absolute reality. We can choose to accept His Truth and live by it, or to deny it and live as a fool, lost and wandering in search for another alternative which just is not there.
Some people believe that there is truth and it can be found through science and logic. Anything claimed of God that has no scientific or logically basis is not seen as being true. Other people reject the idea of absolute truth and believe that what may be true for one person is not necessarily what is true for another person. Truth is what we make it to be and we each will find our own truth. That means one person can claim God to be God and that is seen as Truth for that person. Another person may claim that there are three gods and that is truth for that particular person.
Many people will spend their lives asking the same question as Pilate, and will never get the true answer because they are seeking for answers in the wrong place. I cling to the promise found in John 16:13, “But when he, the Spirit of Truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth” (NIV). Only through a relationship with God, as a result of Christ’s redemption and the working of the Holy Spirit are we able to understand Truth. If only Pilate realized that he was speaking to the Truth, he would have seen the answer was right before him.
Truth is God’s Truth
Jesus is God’s Truth – John 1 says Jesus is full of grace and TRUTH.
God’s Word is Truth (John 17:17) – We find truth when we read & study the Bible. We need the belt of Truth in place (Ephesians 6:14)
We are to correctly handle/explain God’s Truth (2 Timothy 2:15)
To be a disciple of Christ, you must continue in His Word and you will KNOW the truth and the truth will SET YOU FREE. (John 8:32)
Pilate said, “So you are a king?” Jesus responded, “You say I am a king. Actually, I was born and came into the world to testify to the truth. All who love the truth recognize that what I say is true.“ – John 18:37 [NLT]
Every child of God knows the truth as Jesus, and is on the side of truth, and stands by it.
Pilate avoided the truth:
- Tried to get out of the situation? Sent Jesus to Herod (Luke 23:6-17)
- Tried to get someone to side with him?
- Tried to put responsibility on someone else – Told Jews “judge by your own law” – a mockery (John 18:31)
- Tried to escape – offer to release “criminal” (John 18:39)
- Tried to washed his hands – though it didn’t cancel guilt (Matthew 27:24)
- Tried to compromise – Had Jesus flogged (John 19:1-3)
- Tried to appeal to sympathy – Shall I kill your King? (John 19:15)
All this despite Pilate never having doubt of Jesus’ innocence – 3 x’s said NOT GUILTY!
2) DOING THE RIGHT THING EVEN WHEN IT COSTS EVERYTHING
When you know the Truth – then you must make a choice – what will you do with the Truth?
James 1:23-24 speaks about person who stares in the mirror and walks away, forgetting what he looks like. The mirror becomes useless after you walk away from it. James was saying that if we simply hear the word but don’t act, it’s useless just like the mirror.
St. Augustine said, “Wrong is wrong even if everyone is doing it. Right is right even if no one is doing it.”
Right choice could mean
Social Rejection / Career Loss / Public Ridicule
“Teach me your ways, O LORD, that I may live according to your truth” (Psalm 86:11a NLT).
Here’s my heart, Lord
Speak what is true
Here’s my life, Lord
Speak what is true
When the Gibeonites came before God’s people, claiming to be from a distant country, “The Israelites sampled their provisions but did not inquire of the LORD” (Joshua 9:14). The people of Gibeon made the false claims and had items to make their words appear to be true. They had the worn-out sacks and old wineskins. The bread was dry and moldy. The people sampled the lies, but never went to the Truth. As a result, because they believed the lies presented to them, they made an oath to the Gibeonites which became a burden to them.
There are times when we are presented with what appears to be factual information. We are to use good discernment to make decisions. But are we to approach God with everything? Should the Israelites have inquired of the Lord? Again and again God tells the Israelites to not make treaties with others, to not intermarry with others, to not allow themselves to get too close to the outsiders because they would then dwindle towards following their ways. Making a treaty, an alliance with someone, is a big deal.
Truth is God’s truth. In a day when people continue to try to twist the truth, it is important that we keep seeking the Lord for Truth. Just recently, I have seen someone bring up the topic of slavery in the Bible in a false manner to challenge the biblical definition of marriage. These people were sampling the lies rather than truly reading the word of God. So many today are sampling lies and making up their own truth. Today, stand firm in the truth. Seek the Lord rather than sampling the lies of the world.
“Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth.” – John 17:17 [NLT]