Truth or Consequences

Bible Book: Colossians 
Subject: Truth; Colossians
Introduction

There used to be a television program called Truth of Consequences. If you did not tell the truth, the consequences were not good. The truth is always important and absent the truth the consequences are never positive. This is especially true in spiritual matters because in this case we are dealing with eternity, with heaven and hell, with the eternal soul. Some people would say that it is hard to know the truth. That is what Pilate said when Jesus appeared before him and a decision had to be made regarding what to do with this man named Jesus. In John 18:36-38 we read, “Jesus said, ‘My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.’ 'You are a king, then!’ said Pilate. Jesus answered, ‘You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.’ ‘What is truth?’ Pilate asked."

If only Pilate had listened to Christ and heard Him clearly when He said, “All those who are on the side of truth listen to me.”

In fact, one can bite into a lie and think it is the truth. Let me illustrate. An absent-minded professor strode into his freshman zoology class with a brown bag in his hand and a twinkle in his eye. His broad grin projected the delight he felt in knowing he was about to initiate his rather squeamish students in the methods of animal dissection. In his typical stilted English and professorial style he proudly announced, "For you I have brought, fresh from the pond, a frog, that we might together study its outer appearance and later dissect it." With that he opened the bag and carefully unwrapped the contents. To his complete puzzlement, there was a ham-on-rye sandwich. "That's strange," he said. "Quite distinctly do I remember eating my lunch." In a sense, Adam and Eve were like that professor. They also found out too late what they had eaten. They thought they were biting into the fruit of truth, but instead they had swallowed Satan's lie and its bitter consequences.

I seldom preach a sermon covering an entire book, but this book deserves to be seen in its overall context and content. The entire purpose of Letter to the Colossians was to present and preserve the truth regarding some eternal, divine matters. The Colossians had begun to bite into a lie and call it the truth. The consequences were not going to be good and Paul wrote to spare them the sorrow of making a mistake by turning the truth into a lie. To understand this and how it relates to us, lets look at Truth Or Consequences.

Paul wrote the Book of Colossians from prison in Rome sometime between 60 and 63 A.D. During a three year ministry in Ephesus, Paul met and influenced a young man named Epaphras. Epaphras was from Colossae and later went back to his hometown and started a church there. As time passed, Epaphras watched as false teaching began to arise in his church at Colossae concerning Christ and Christian responsibility. Epaphras wrote to Paul and told him of the problems. Paul wrote a letter to Colossae which is the New Testament letter titled Colossians. 

I. A Great Presentation of the Truth - Chapter 1

A. Who We Are In Him 1-14

Paul begins by sharing who we are in Christ. If we don’t know the truth about who we are in Christ, we will never be what we are! A boy whose father and mother abandoned him was struggling with his school work and was so shy and backward that he had few friends. In an IQ test it was discovered that he had great intelligence. Because he had been abandoned, the boy had felt he was no good, unloved and worthless. When told that he possessed the ability to become anything he wanted to be and learn anything he wanted to learn, a sudden change took place. He stood differently, walked differently, acted differently. His grades shot upward and he was soon a leader in his class. It all began when he discovered who he was and what great gifts he had. We are a lot like that. We are God’s children. We have divine, royal blood in us. We have a mansion waiting on the other side. We possess spiritual gifts. We are more than conquerors through him who loved us and gave himself for us. We are King’s Kids! Paul wanted the Colossians to start acting like the people God declared them to be. Note how he describes us!

B. Who He Is 1:15-29

We are who we are because of who He is. Paul quickly moved from the Saint to the Savior! He began to describe the glorious Lord who made us all that we are. This is an interesting approach that Paul took. He began by discussing position and possessions, and only then does he move on to show the Great Provider of all these blessings.

1. His Creation - The Nonexistent Became Existent (16-17)

Look at the glory of the Universe and recognize that Jesus made it all! He took a handful of stars and threw them into a dark sky to create a light show for us to see night after night. He scooped up the ocean bed, then poured into it the great seas rolling and tossing about, finally lapping up on the gentle sands of the seashore. He made a worm and a whale, an eagle and a hummingbird, a tom cat and a leopard, a snail and a gazelle. He made flowers of yellow, red, blue, purple, white and every color in between. He made all things beautiful. The truth is that all you see did not just develop on its own, rather it was created for your enjoyment and to reflect the beauty and wonder of the Savior who made it all.

2. His Incarnation - The Invisible Became Visible (15)

Then He stepped into the world He had made. He took on flesh and dwelt with us. He robed himself in flesh and spoke with a human tongue. He came to show us that He loved us and to reveal the truth.

3. His Exaltation - The Tomb Became the Womb (1:18)

Then He died. He was crucified and placed in a tomb. But, praise His name, the tomb became a womb. He was raised as the firstborn from the grave. He rose to give us the assurance of life as well. hallelujah, what a Savior!

4. His Reconciliation - The Unholy Became Holy (1:19-29)

He did it all to redeem to Himself a holy people. He came to seek and to save that which was lost. This is the truth about who He was, is and ever shall be.

II. A Guarded Preservation of the Truth - Chapter 2

The truths I have just stated to you have been and will be under attack. Satan knows that his greatest defense is a good offense, so he just rushes forth with one lie after another. He seeks to destroy God’s truth day by day and in every way.

A. From Empty Philosophies

One way Satan seeks to destroy is through the development of philosophies which deny God’s truth as taught in His Word. What can we do? We must realize our source is Christ and we must take our stand for Him. But more about than in a minute. Lets look at the second set of lies.

B. From Empty Practices

1. Legalism “I will do enough to please God in myself”

2. Mysticism (Spiritualism) “I will know more and experience more spiritual truth and joy than others”

3. Asceticism “I will deny myself pleasures and make myself more acceptable to God”

Each of these practices is rooted in selfishness and ignorance. You cannot be good enough for the Lord.

III. A Grand Persuasion of the Truth - Chapters 3 and 4

A newspaper article said that in Sweden the government was considering a proposal that would make it unnecessary for witnesses in a courtroom to swear on the Bible. The old tradition would be replaced by a binding statement based on one's honor and reason. According to the source, a strong argument for the proposed change is that placing the hand on the Bible no longer means very much to a great number of citizens. And those who do hold it in honor are confident that they would speak the truth and nothing but the truth anyway.

There was a time when the Word of God persuaded people to tell the truth, and still should persuade all of us to not only tell the truth but to practice the truth. That is what Paul says here. He states that we should not only believe the truth and protect the truth but that based upon the truth we should be persuaded to live differently. Look at three truths which should persuade us to obedience in every area of life.

A. Persuaded to live differently because of our Resurrected Life
B. Persuaded to live differently because of our Protected Life
C. Persuaded to live differently because of our Glorified Life

1. It should effect our moral life

2. It should effect our church life

3. It should effect our married life

4. It should effect our vocational life

5. It should effect our prayer life

6. It should effect everything we are, not because we must live differently, but because we want to live differently. It should come as a result of our love, not our fear of being lost. We should live for Him because of Who He Is, because of What He Has Done, and because of What He Is Going To Do For Us!

To deny the truth of who He is and what He came to do for you, is to accept the consequences. That is something you really don’t want to do. Deal with the truth today, come to Christ and accept Him as your Savior. If you are saved, renew your commitment by renewing your love for Him. Set your affections on things above, not on things on the earth!

Conclusion

During the early days of the Senate Watergate hearings, Chairman Sam Ervin received a phone call from a minister in Kentucky. The clergyman claimed that God told him to give the committee the real facts in the alleged cover-up. The senator said he couldn't allow it, but would be glad to have the Lord come and tell them Himself. Mr. Ervin added that if the preacher did come, somebody might call his testimony only hearsay. Discerning spiritual truth was thereby inadvertently brought into the political picture.

The Lord did not show up at the Watergate hearings, but He has shown up in a much greater way. He came to tell the truth, live the truth, die for the truth and rise so that all of us might embrace the truth. Ladies and gentlemen, He is the Truth!

Linda Welch had the painful experience (at age 35) of seeing her mother die from cancer. The suffering was horrible. Linda nursed her until the end. She did all she could to make her mother more comfortable, but mostly she had to just sit and watch her slowly getting worse. As the disease progressed, Linda was affected by it as well--in her emotions and thoughts.

A few months later, Linda had a severe and persistent sore throat and became convinced that it was cancer. She knew she couldn't go through the pain and suffering her mother had endured. She reasoned that this world was a cruel place and that she and her two children would be better off in heaven. Notes that she left indicated that she was extremely anxious about the cancer in her throat. So one day Linda took a gun and shot her five-year-old daughter, her ten-year-old son, and finally herself.

Her actions were based on what she believed to be true. No doubt she could have given anyone who asked a number of reasons why this was the ONLY solution to her dilemma. The tragic thing is that an autopsy revealed that Linda's throat condition was not cancer, but simply a strep infection. [Financial Peace by Dave Ramsey. Penguin Books, 1997. Pages 68-69.]

Acting on a lie that you think is the truth could kill you. Have you ever accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior? Why not? Do you not believe He is who He said He was? Do you not believe the testimony of hundreds of witnesses who saw Him alive after His death on the cross? He is the Son of God. He died for you! He rose from the grave. He will save you NOW! Turn to Him and receive Him. You will know the Truth and the Truth will set you free.

Christian, you and I must live our lives differently than the rest of the world. We must act like and live like who Jesus says we are. We must protect the truth by living it and upholding it. Some of us need to make a new commitment today, a commitment to be the people God has saved us to be and says we are!

Extra Material:

In chapter four he states, "The Devil, or Satan, is not a living being but is a symbol of evil." Then asking that segment of his survey respondents who have identified themselves at being Born Again, he states, "Do you agree strongly, agree somewhat, disagree somewhat, or disagree strongly with that statement?" The Born Again population reply with 32 percent agreeing strongly, 11 percent agreeing somewhat and 5 percent did not know. Thus, of the total number responding, 48 percent either agreed that Satan is only symbolic or did not know! Should it then be surprising that a few pages later Barna would receive some very startling responses? His next question, "Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, and others all pray to the same God, even though they use different names for that God." Again, the respondents were asked to agree strongly, agree somewhat, disagree somewhat or disagree strongly. Of that population surveyed who identified themselves as Born Again, 30 percent agreed strongly, 18 percent agreed somewhat and 12 percent did not know. That is a total of 60 percent! (What Americans Believe, pp. 206-212). Watchman Expositor, Vol. 10, No. 4, 1993, Page 31

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A pastor I know, Stephey Belynskyj, starts each confirmation class with a jar full of beans. He asks his students to guess how many beans are in the jar, and on a big pad of paper writes down their estimates. Then, next to those estimates, he helps them make another list: their favorite songs. When the lists are complete, he reveals the actual number of beans in the jar. The whole class looks over their guesses, to see which estimate was closest to being right. Belynskyj then turns to the list of favorite songs. "And which one of these is closest to being right?" he asks. The students protest that there is no "right answer"; a person's favorite song is purely a matter of taste. Belynskyj, who holds a Ph.D. in philosophy from Notre Dame asks, "When you decide what to believe in terms of your faith, is that more like guessing the number of beans, or more like choosing your favorite song?" Always, Belynskyj says, from old as well as young, he gets the same answer: Choosing one's faith is more like choosing a favorite song. When Belynskyj told me this, it took my breath away. "After they say that, do you confirm them?" I asked him. "Well," smiled Belynskyj, "First I try to argue them out of it." , Tim Stafford, Christianity Today, September 14, 1992, p. 36.

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Once, when a stubborn dusputer seemed unconvinced, Lincoln said, "Well, let's see how many legs has a cow?"

"Four, of course," came the reply disgustedly.

"That's right," agreed Lincoln. "Now suppose you call the cow's tail a leg; how many legs would the cow have?"

"Why, five, of course," was the confident reply.

"Now, that's where you're wrong," said Lincoln. "Calling a cow's tail a leg doesn't make it a leg." Bits and Pieces, July, 1991

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Two brothers were getting ready to boil some eggs to color for Easter. "I'll give you a dollar if you let me break three of these on your head," said the older one. "Promise?" asked the younger. "Promise!" Gleefully, the older boy broke two eggs over hs brother's head. Standing stiff for fear the gooey mess would get all over him, the little boy asked, "When is the third egg coming?" "It's not," replied the brother. "That would cost me a dollar."

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Scripture Helps regarding Truth:

Saints should worship God in truth, John 4:24, God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth." Also Psalm 145:18, The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.

Christians should walk before God in truth 1 Kings 2:4, and that the LORD may keep his promise to me: `If your descendants watch how they live, and if they walk faithfully before me with all their heart and soul, you will never fail to have a man on the throne of Israel.' 2 Kings 20:3, "Remember, O LORD, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes." And Hezekiah wept bitterly.

Christians should love the truth Zechariah 8:19, This is what the LORD Almighty says: "The fasts of the fourth, fifth, seventh and tenth months will become joyful and glad occasions and happy festivals for Judah. Therefore love truth and peace."

Christians should rejoice in the truth 1 Corinthians. 13:6, Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

The wicked are destitute of the truth Hosea 4:1 Hear the word of the LORD, you Israelites, because the LORD has a charge to bring against you who live in the land: "There is no faithfulness, no love, no acknowledgment of God in the land.

Truth is in Christ 1 Timothy 2:7, And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle-- I am telling the truth, I am not lying-- and a teacher of the true faith to the Gentiles.

Truth Is sanctifying, John 17:17-19, Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.

Truth is purifying, 1 Peter 1:22, Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart.

Truth Is part of the Christian armor, Ephesians 6:14, Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,

Christians should obey the truth Romans 2:8, But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger.

The wicked resist the truth 2 Timothy 3:8, Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these men oppose the truth-- men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected.

The devil is devoid of the truth John 8:44, You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.