Aug25ThuKnow the truth August 25, 2022
“But the Jews who did not believe became jealous and, taking some evil men from the marketplace, gathered a crowd, stirred up the city, and attacked the house of Jason, trying to bring them out to the mob. But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some brothers to the city officials, crying out, “These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also, and Jason has received them. They are all acting contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus.”” Acts 17:5-7 MEV
Turn the world upside down! It is what we need. To be shaken out of our preconceived ideas, out of slumber, out of darkness.
This is what the truth will do. It will always pierce through the darkness and shine light on the lies. It will expose deception. It will turn the world as you know it, upside down.
Jesus came and the world as the Jews knew it was forever changed. Jesus came and with boldness declares that He was the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except through Him. To the Jews, this was blasphemy. For them, the way to God was through the temple, through sacrifices of bulls and rams, through the Holy of Holies. And Jesus coming and saying that He was the only way shook the very foundation that they were standing on.
What are we standing on? What is the foundation of my faith? Is it Jesus? Is it man made religion? Is my way to the Father paved by the traditions of "the temple” or paved by the blood of Jesus? Don’t be quick to answer. Don’t be quick to dismiss the question. Search through your actions, they will tell you what you stand on and what you believe. Whatever we argue for the most is what we believe to be true in our hearts. What do we take a stand for? Fight for? Each day, live for the most?
The Jews were saying they believed God was their Father and that they were children of Abraham. But in John 8, Jesus quickly exposed their hearts and says “You are doing the works your father did.” They said to him, “We were not born of sexual immorality. We have one Father—even God.” Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but he sent me. Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” John 8:41–44 ESV
Do you know what is most astonishing about these verses? Jesus was speaking to the Pharisees. These were the religious leaders of the Jewish people. They formed the largest and most influential party in New Testament times. Everyone looked up to and respected them. They were experts in the Jewish law, scholars in the scripture, holy men who pursued purity. They were sincere in their faith, albeit sincerely misguided. The Pharisees held themselves separate from the common people because they considered these as religiously unclean. They taught that the way to God was by obeying the law and they had many. Jesus scolded them for the unreasonable burden they placed on the people. In Matt 23, in a scathing rebuke, Jesus calls them hypocrites: ““Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and of all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.” (Matthew 23:27-28). Can you imagine being in the crowd and hearing Jesus speak these words? In today’s world, this would be front page news.
The Pharisees cared more about outward religious form than genuine faith, and because of this, they missed seeing the long awaited Messiah. They were so blinded by the law, by the temple, by arrogance and pride, they didn’t see that the Son of God was walking amongst them. This is hard for us to grasp because how could you not see the signs and wonders, hear the teachings, and not be convicted? Some were, like Nicodemus. Others had hardened their hearts so much that no seed of God could penetrate much less grow. They couldn’t bear the truth of Christ’s teachings and so sought to destroy both his influence and Christ himself. They thought they had succeeded when they crucified him, but what they really did had the opposite effect. This was only the beginning of the world being turned upside down.
I guess, I believe, that where Jesus appears, where he lives and abides, in that place and person there will always be a shaking. Jesus comes with purpose. His purpose is to manifest and grow the Kingdom of God. And often this clashes with what we believed and lived previously. Jesus warns us about this and says that in this world we WILL face trouble and tribulations. Most often these come when we are standing for truth and fighting for what is right. For His names sake, we will suffer, but be of good cheer, He says, for I have overcome the world and I am greater than your enemy.
Sometimes, the hardest thing we’ll have to do is come face to face with the truth. The Pharisees did, and couldn’t bear it, so they killed the Truth to avoid dealing with the falsehoods in their hearts. Jesus before crucifixion, told Pilate," I have come to testify to the truth and everyone who is of the truth listens to My voice.”
Pilate facing Jesus, then asked,"What is truth?” Truth was standing right in front of him and he didn’t even know or see it. I pray we will not be found guilty of the same. I pray that when truth comes to have a conversation with us we’ll sit down and heed its voice. Most of all, I pray that our eyes and hearts will be able to recognize and acknowledge truth. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. When we are born again, we are born in Jesus or in Truth. And if we are OF THE truth, we automatically listen and obey the voice of truth, for you cannot deny the very thing that you are. If you do deny the truth, may it make you question, "Am I of the truth? Is God my Father?”
In Ephesians 6, Paul calls us to put on the whole armor of God so that we will be able to withstand in the days of evil, so that we will be protected in the war and from it’s effects. The first thing Paul says that we need, is to have truth, like a belt, around our waist. See, truth holds the whole armor together. It holds the breastplate which protects the heart. It holds the sword, which you need to slay your enemy. If you don’t have this belt, the rest of your armor will fall apart once you’re in battle. It’s the glue. Imagine having to use both hands just to hold your armor in place and all around you are flying arrows. Your arms need to be free to wield the sword and hold the shield! Make truth, which is Jesus and the Word, your best friend and you’ll never fall apart.
Don’t loose ground, Soldier of God! Instead, expand your territory. Grow the kingdom of God. This should be our first priority! Seek FIRST the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you. Do you believe that as you entwine your heart with the heart of truth, which is Jesus himself, you’ll be remarkably blessed and changed? You’ll see wonders. You’ll walk in blessing. You’ll see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! Make time with God a priority. Choose intimacy and He’ll reward you with the secrets of His heart. Do it now. This is the season!
May we be known as a chosen people who know the truth and are set free by the same truth. Like the disciples in Acts, may we turn the world upside down!
"And all these blessings will come on you and overtake you if you listen to the voice of the Lord your God. You will be blessed in the city and blessed in the field. Your offspring will be blessed, and the produce of your ground, and the offspring of your livestock, the increase of your herd and the flocks of your sheep. Your basket and your kneading bowl will be blessed. You will be blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out. The Lord will cause your enemies who rise up against you to be defeated before you; they will come out against you one way and flee before you seven ways. The Lord will command the blessing on you in your barns and in all that you set your hand to do, and He will bless you in the land which the Lord your God is giving you.
The Lord will open up to you His good treasure, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season and to bless all the work of your hand. You will lend to many nations, but you will not borrow. The Lord will make you the head and not the tail; you will only be above and you will not be beneath, if you listen to the commandments of the Lord your God, which I am commanding you today, to observe and to do them.” Deuteronomy 28:2-8, 12-13 MEV