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RESPONSIBILITIES TO THE TRUTH (4)

 

Believing the Truth

Victor M. Eskew

 

INTRODUCTION

 

A.  It is imperative for individuals to hear the truth and to learn the truth.

 

B.   Once it has been learned, it needs to be believed.

 

C.  In this lesson, let’s talk about our responsibility to “Believe the Truth.”

 

I.         THE NEED TO BELIEVE

 

A.  Mark 16:15-16

 

And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.  He that believeth…

 

1.    Jesus said that the gospel must be believed.

2.    Until a man believes, there will be no further action taken by the individual.

 

B.   II Thessalonians 1:10

 

When he shall come to be gloried in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.

 

C.  Hebrews 11:6

 

But without faith, it is impossible to pleas him:  for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

 

1.    Notice the need to believe is set forth.

2.    The writer also stresses two essential truths that must be believed.

a.    That God is.

b.    That God is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.

 

II.       WHAT IS BELIEF?

 

A.  Belief defined:

1.    Conviction that is based upon truth, facts

2.    A confidence in a teaching that is definite, solid, and sure

3.    An assurance deep within one’s heart that a body of facts is true and right

 

B.   One of the best examples is the apostle Paul.

1.    There was a time when he was a staunch unbeliever (Gal. 1:13).

 

For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it.

 

2.    Once he saw the risen Christ, and was told by Ananias what he needed to do do be saved, he became a staunch believer.

3.    Paul was convicted, confident, and sure of the Lord’s resurrection.

a.    An eyewitness (I Cor. 15:8)

 

And last of all he was seen of me also, as one born out of due time.

 

b.    The resurrection became one of the common themes of Paul’s preaching.

1)     Antioch of Pisidia (Acts 13:30)

 

But God raised him from the dead.

 

2)    Athens (Acts 17:31)

 

Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.

 

3)     Before the Jewish council (Acts 23:6)

 

But when Paul perceived that the one part were Sadducees, and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, and the son of a Pharisee:  of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called into question.

 

III.      WHAT BELIEVE IS NOT

 

A.  Belief does not involve doubt.

1.    Doubt means that one is uncertain.  It considers what is believed to be questionable.

2.    Example:  Peter as he walked upon the water (Matt. 14:31).

 

And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?

 

B.   Belief does not waver.

1.    Wavering involves vacillation, indecision, and hesitation between choices.

2.    Israel in the days of Elijah (I Kings 18:21).

 

And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions?  If the Lord be God, follow him:  but if Baal, then follow him.  But the people answered him not a word.

 

C.  Belief does not involve constant change.

1.    Belief is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

2.    There is absolutely nothing that will cause it to change.

a.    Persecution will not cause it to change.

b.    Threat of death will not cause it to change.

3.    The Galatians began to change their positions when Paul wrote to them (Gal. 5:7).

 

Ye did run well, who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?

 

D.  Belief does not involve the personal opinions of men over the truth of God’s Word.

1.    Opinions are just personal views, judgments, and appraisals.

2.    They are the “think so’s” of man.

3.    Israel of old (Isa. 47:10)

 

For thou hast trusted in thy wickedness:  thou hast said, None seeth me.  Thy wisdom and thy knowledge, it hat perverted thee; and thou has said in thine heart, I am, and none else beside me.

 

E.   We see even “faithful” members of the church involved in some things that conflict with belief.

1.    Doubts about baptism and the oneness of the church

2.    Wavering when it comes to how worship should be conducted:  instrumental music, praise teams, the day of week for worship

3.    Changing things:  woman’s role in the church, views on homosexuality and M-D-R.

4.    Personal opinions:  “Who is saved?”

 

IV.      WHAT BELIEF DOES FOR US

 

A.  Belief undergirds many of our responsibilities in Christ.

1.    Belief lights the fire of obedience.

2.    Example:  Abraham (James 2:21-22)

 

Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered up Isaac his son upon the altar?  Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?

 

3.    Application:  withdrawal of fellowship (II Thess. 3:6)

 

B.   Belief allows us to live a life of consistency.

1.    There is a lot of spiritual agnosticism in the body of Christ.  “I am not sure of this.  I am not certain of that.”

2.    Belief is sure.  It does not change.  It is the same from day to day.

3.    Paul’s preaching was consistent (I Cor. 4:16).

 

For this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus, who is my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which be in Christ, as I teach every where in every church.

 

C.  Belief causes one to be a person of trust.

1.    A person who vacillates and constantly changes his views cannot be trusted.

2.    Proverbs 24:21b

 

…and meddle not with them that are given to change.

 

3.    Jesus is someone in whom we can put our full and complete trust (Heb. 13:8).

 

Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.

 

D.  Belief will ultimately save us.

1.    John 3:18

 

He that believeth on him is not condemned:  but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

 

2.    Belief is the fire, the motivation, the drive that moves man to obey the gospel of Jesus Christ (See Acts 16:33-34).

 

And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his straightway.  And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, believing on God with all his house.

 

a.    The jailor was told to believe and he would be saved (Acts 16:31).

b.    Paul knew that belief would be the impetus that would cause him to repent and be baptized.

1)     These actions were the culmination 0f total belief in God.

2)    When he did these things, his faith saved him (See Rom. 5:1-2).

 

CONCLUSION

 

A.  Hearing the gospel is essential.

 

B.   Hearing moves us to have faith (Rom. 10:17; Eph. 1:13).

 

In whom ye trusted, after that ye heard the word of the truth, the gospel of your salvation…

 

C.  This belief must be firm, settled, and secure.

 

D.  If there is no belief, then there is only condemnation (II Thess. 2:12).

 

That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.