Today, the truth is under fire, so here are 4 ways to keep you standing firm on the truth.
Know the Word
I notice people that have a lot of discernment, spend a lot of time in the Bible. One man is reading the Gospel of John over and over again, and I think, like anyone, he’s going to find a lot of Jesus’ best teaching in that gospel. My friend who has memorized large portions of Scripture has a knack for finding error in some people’s teaching. He notices the differences between the gospel Jesus presented, which included the necessity of repentance and faith, and “God loves you just the way you are.” When he heard a TV preacher say that, he was mad. He said, “That isn’t the full gospel.” He’s right. Immediately “after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:14-15). The Apostle Peter said we must repent and believe. That should be followed by believer’s baptism. The point being, the more we read the Bible, the quicker and more easily we can spot something that doesn’t square with the Bible.
Believe the Word
When we read the Bible, we might memorize certain parts of it, but head knowledge is not enough. We must believe what it says, and then act on what we know is true. For example, we know we’re to be His witnesses to everyone we meet (Matt 28:18-20), and that we must attend to strangers, the poor, the hungry, the thirsty, the sick, and those in prison (Matt 25:34-39; James 1:27), so reading the Word of God it isn’t enough. When I read Matthew 25:34-40, I thought to myself, “Since this is true, and when we do these things, we do it for Jesus (Matt 25:40…or not Matt 25:41-46), why aren’t we doing them now,” so we birthed a nursing home ministry, and later, a prison ministry. It’s not enough to know what Jesus commands. He said, if we love Him, we will obey Him and keep His commandments. Most of us know the Word, and we know it’s true, so it’s time to do!
Speak up for the Word
If we don’t speak up for the Word of God when it’s under attack, who will? We are to give everyone a reason for the hope that’s within us, but it must be done with gentleness and respect (1st Pet 3:15). I remember reading about a missionary who actually said, “The Holy Spirit spoke to me and told me that I need to divorce my wife to go and preach the gospel.” Would the Holy Spirit contradict the Word of God? Never! The Holy Spirit always points us to Jesus Christ and helps us understand Scripture, so He would never deviate from what Scripture says. This man was deceived. We know divorce is not God’s will, besides, the man didn’t have grounds for divorce, according to Jesus, and why would the Holy Spirit go against what Jesus taught? The fact is, He wouldn’t. The Holy Spirit always agrees with Jesus’ teaching and Jesus’ teaching is brought to clarity by the Spirit of God. It is impossible that “The Holy Spirit…told me to divorce my wife.” That may have been a spirit, but not the Holy Spirit. Scary isn’t it? Do we realize how dangerous it is to speak for God the Holy Spirit? That can lead to blaspheming God by assuming you are speaking for Him. This man who wanted to be a missionary had several people tell him that this is not God’s will, but he refused to listen, and his mission trip, and marriage, all ended badly. When someone is doing something contrary to the Word of God, it is our Christian duty to show them their error. Stand up for your brother or sister by standing firm on the Word of God, and speaking up in love.
Stand Up for the Word
When someone tells me that the Bible is full of contradictions, I ask them to name the chapter and verse. Most of the time, they can’t, but even for those that do, I can usually explain to them why it might seem like one, but in fact, it isn’t. If I don’t know the answer to that, I’ll say, “Let me get back to you on that, okay?” However, most of those who say such things are not really interested in believing the Bible. They simply want to discount it so they won’t have to believe it, and if they don’t’ believe it, they don’t have to obey it. The error rate for those who copied the manuscripts is said to be less than one percent, but these differences are only things like “Jesus Christ” rather than “Christ Jesus,” so the essential doctrines of the Bible are simply not affected, so everyone who rejects God has no excuse at all, because “the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse” (Rom 1:18-20).
You cannot stand for something you do not know. If you don’t know the Bible well, come up with a daily Bible reading plan. Why not read one chapter out of the Old Testament, and one out of the New Testament. That only takes about 10 minutes out of your day. Do it again at night. That way you’ll know the Word, and since you already believe the Word, now you can speak up for the Word, and stand up for the Word of God.