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REPSONSIBILITIES TOWARD THE TRUTH

Defend the Truth

Victor M. Eskew

 

INTRODUCTION

 

A.  Paul’s first missionary journey took him first to the island of Cyprus.

1.    The deputy of the country was named Sergius Paulus.  He called for Barnabas and Saul, “and desired to hear the word of God” (Acts 13:7).

2.    A sorcerer was there who sought “to turn the deputy from the faith” (Acts 13:8).  His name was Elymas.

3.    Paul immediately withstood this man (Acts 13:9-11).

 

Then Saul, (who is also called Paul,) filled with the Holy Ghost set his eyes on him, and said, O full of subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?  And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind, not seeing the sun for a season.  And immediately there fell on him a mist and a darkness; and he went about seeking some to lead him by the hand.

 

B.   On this occasion, Paul was a true warrior for the faith.  He would not allow an enemy of truth to turn another from the faith.

 

C.  According to Philippians 1:17, Paul was always set to defend the truth.

 

But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defense of the gospel.

 

D.  We have been discussing the subject, “Responsibilities toward the Truth” from time to time.  This morning let’s look at our responsibility to “Defend the Truth.”

 

I.         THE NEED TO DEFEND THE TRUTH

 

A.  One would think that all men would desire the truth, but this is not the case.

1.    There are many who hate the truth.  Their hatred causes them to boldly stand in opposition to it.

2.    Others think they are advocating the truth, but they are not.  They are teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.  These doctrines oppose God’s Word.

 

B.   Bible warnings against opponents to the truth.

1.    Jesus (Matt. 7:15)

 

Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

 

 

 

 

2.    Paul (Phil. 3:18-19)

 

(For many walk, whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ:  whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)

 

3.    Peter (II Pet. 2:1)

 

But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.

 

4.    John (I John 4:1)

 

Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God:  because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

 

C.  Present day examples:

1.    Atheists:  “There is no God.”

2.    Satanists

3.    Creeds of hundreds of denominations filled with the doctrines of men

4.    World religions:  Judaism, Hinduism, Islam, etc.

5.    Man-made philosophies

6.    The opinions and feelings of men

 

II.       THE MEANING OF DEFENDING THE TRUTH

 

A.  Truth involves statements, propositions, and arguments that come from the mind of God.

1.    Even though they come from God, not all men believe the truth God sets forth.

2.    Man develops his arguments and propositions against the truth.

3.    Defending the truth means that one must answer the arguments man has devised against the truth.

 

B.   Two verses:

1.    Philippians 1:17 – defense

 

But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defense of the gospel.

 

a.    Strong (627):  a plea (“apology”)

b.    Thayer:  a verbal defense, speech in defense, a reasoned statement or argument

c.    Vine:  a verbal defense, a speech in defense

2.    I Peter 3:15

 

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.

 

a.    The word “answer” is the same as defense in Philippians 1:17.

b.    Notice the words, “asketh you a reason,” an explanation based upon thinking, meditating, reasoning, and calculation.

 

III.      EXAMPLES OF DEFENDING THE TRUTH

 

A.  The Judaizing teachers were trying to convince the Christians in Galatia that the Law of Moses was still binding.  Paul makes an interesting argument in Galatians 3:2.

 

This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith.

 

1.    When Paul converted individuals, he laid hands on them and endowed them with one of the nine gifts of the Holy Spirit.

2.    The Christians of Galatia had personally experienced these gifts.

3.    He simply asks them:  “Do you get these gifts under the Old Law?  Or, did you get them as part of the New Covenant?

 

B.   The gnostic teachers said that it was impossible for deity (a Spirit which is good) to inhabit a body (flesh which is all evil).  Thus, they denied the incarnation.  John makes his argument against the gnostics in I John 1:1.

 

That which was from the beginning, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the word of life.

 

1.    John had seen the Christ.

2.    John had also personally touched the Christ while He was in His earthly body.

3.    The incarnation was real, not fake.

 

C.  Peter dealt with false teachers who said that Jesus was not coming again in his second epistle.

1.    One of their arguments was that all things had continued as they were from the beginning of the Creation.

2.    Peter answered them by noting the worldwide flood (II Pet. 3:5-6).

 

For this thy willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:  whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished.

 

a.    All things had not continued as they were from the beginning.

b.    The false teachers ignored the flood.

1)     It was a catastrophic event.

2)    It was an event involving divine intervention.

3)     It was God’s judgment upon the world.

c.    If this event happened, then the coming of Jesus in judgment was a very real possibility.

 

D.  A present day example:  Several groups teach that “Jesus is a created being.”

1.    One of their proof-texts is Colossians 1:15.

 

Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature.

 

a.    The argument is that Jesus is the “firstborn,” that is, the first to be created of all that was created.

b.    NOTE:  This is a false teaching that we must know how to answer.

2.    The answer:

a.    One way to prove that Jesus is God and not a created being is by turning to passage that affirm He is God (John 1:1; I Tim. 1:17; 3;16; Heb. 1:8).

b.    The word “firstborn” in Colossians 1:15 refers to the fact that Jesus is the “cause” of all things that have been created.  It is not reference to His having been created.

c.    This harmonizes with the next two verses in Colossians 1:16-17.

 

For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible, and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers:  all things are created by him, and for him:  and he is before all things, and by him all things consist.

 

IV.      QUALITIES NEEDED TO DEFEND THE TRUTH

 

A.  Knowledge:  of truth and error

 

B.   Courage:  to speak when the opportunity arises

 

C.  Self-control:  esp. of emotions like anger

 

D.  Patience:  we have to be able to endure others

 

E.   Love for the lost:  conversion is the ultimate end of our efforts

 

 

CONCLUSION

 

A.  As Christians, each of us will be called upon to defend the truth from time to time.

 

B.   When it is time to give an answer, we must be ready.

1.    God is counting on us.

2.    Lost souls are counting on us.

3.    The next generation is counting on us.

 

C.  Truth will exist forever and ever.  But, it will need to be defended from its enemies in every generation.