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April 1, 2021

Nothing but the Truth

It is reported that electronic/digital media takes up as much as four hours of our day and television slurps another four hours from our diurnal existence.

Truly, our minds are absorbed with the times because of fear, and I fear, we — me included — have become like those in Athens who, according to Paul, always loved to hear some new thing. Notice that the quality of the “new thing” didn’t matter to the Athenians, so long as it was new.  

Why are we so attracted to bad news? Especially when that which has been entrusted to us is good news. Is it possible that we are becoming addicts of bad news because every day there’s something new in the bad news? Would we pay attention to the weather forecast if every day was a carbon copy of the day before? Intoxicated with any and all news good, bad or indifferent, we often saturate and sabotage our own mental and spiritual well-being with that which is often unsavory and un-Christlike. I am not bemoaning media itself. It is a way to propagate the good news that helps us reach people we would or could not otherwise reach.  

The Israelite sanctuary was God’s media. At the inauguration of the sanctuary service, everything was sprinkled with blood because saving mankind is bloody business. But the closer you got to the sanctuary, that which was dark was enlightened. The brazen altar, although drenched in blood, tells us God has provided a substitute for the penalty of our sins. The laver taught that God wants to wash and renew us. The altar of incense reminds us that God does indeed hear our prayers. The table of shewbread reminds us that our bread and water will be sure but, moreover, there is a Bread more important than that which we place in our mouths. The candlesticks also were a harbinger of good news. They were to always be lit since Jesus represents eternal Light, the only light that really matters. The bright glow beyond the veil were the bright beams of our Father’s mercy indicating His desire to one day be reunited with us.  

When we look through the lens of the Bible in the context of a God who died to save us, our worldview is stabilized and our fears are released. Jesus created light, but more importantly He is Light. For that reason we do not grope in darkness regarding what is real, what is truth, and what is yet to come upon a world drenched in darkness. Looking for absolute truth? The Bible itself, with Jesus providing the context for every verse, is the greatest media instrument we could ever grasp. When I don’t read it, my days are confusing, even debilitating, because a constant focus on the here and now blurs my view.  

The Word of God teaches there is a time and season for all things and each thing should be done with moderation. If we engorge ourselves on things such as the news, commercials, sports, reality programming and social media, they can serve as distractions from what’s truly important. Each day they push our mental and spiritual being to the point of causing us to lose track of what is really real.   

Admittedly, we love these things because they soothe our tired souls and/or anesthetize our internal pain. While soothing our itching ears, the greatest detriment is that they distract us from what’s truly important. Instead, we enter someone else’s reality, to ultimately escape our own.

I remember a lady whose marriage was in trouble, yet all she focused on were the marriages of everyone else. She was wearing emotional virtual reality glasses before they were ever invented. God is attempting to move us from virtual reality to virtuous reality. To look to those things that are true, honest, just and of good report. . . From stories with no morals to stories rooted in morality and integrity. 

Through the years I have loved giving Bible Studies. What we believe, while quite new, revolutionary and transformational for most, is quite honestly, old as old gets. We teach that the Godhead has always existed. God can’t be illustrated by a timeline because He has no beginning or end. No one can tell where He came from or where He is going. Yet and still, He’s not like a circle because He doesn’t repeat like a cycle. That’s why God describes Himself as the “I am.” As far as His existence and reality are concerned, past and future tense have no application.  It is one of many absolute truths in my life that originate in Scripture. Therefore, God the Father is my Anchor, Jesus my Cornerstone and the Holy Spirit, my Guide. From the Godhead all truth emanates and, according to James 1:17, in Him there is not even a shadow, shade or gradation of truth. He’s not just the embodiment of or the personification of truth. He is Truth! Apart from Him, all else is tinged or tainted by sinful lips. 

Truth is important to Jesus, or else He would not have equated Himself with truth. Jesus said, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me (John 14:7). There are not multiple roads that arrive at the Heavenly Sanctuary. If the road we are on doesn’t lead toward Jesus, it’s a dead-end road, and regardless of what we choose to believe, His truth still marches on. 

Please remember that this Good News is the reason for our existence. And the Good News is that Jesus is Truth!  Moreover, truth can’t be separated from Jesus. The truth that He made us and not we ourselves is not just truth — it’s Jesus’ truth. The truth about being baptized, becoming His disciples, and giving ourselves wholly in service is Jesus’ truth. The truth that He’s God’s only begotten Son who was born to save us. The truth that He wants to strengthen His bond with us every seventh-day Sabbath. The truth that He died and rested in the grave over the Sabbath to keep His own command, His truth. The truth about what happens after death. The truth that He wants us to turn away from the idols of this world. The truth that He lived to make intercession for us, His truths. And, as for the Three Angels’ Messages of Revelation 14 heralding His soon return, yes, this and all of the aforementioned are His truths. 

Our theme for this year is “Mission Unstoppable!” Would you pledge to continue to share the Good News of Jesus? New ways are ever opening before us as pastors, teachers and lay leaders, even administrators. We are all finding new ways to share the Truth. In these difficult days, let us spend most of our time looking in, rather than around.  Let us look close, rather than far afield. Let us look up with the full assurance that our Redemption drawth nigh. Let us refocus so we can bring hope to those who feel hopeless.