Lamb-right Lamb-left

Finding the Truth in the Bible

From All-Creatures.org
Sermons Archive

Each sermon is published in large print for use in preaching, and for easy reading by several people gathered around the computer monitor.

Finding the Truth in the Bible
 
A Sermon Delivered to
The Compassion Internet Church
 
2 December 2012
 
Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor

Scripture References:

Psalm 25:1-22
Jeremiah 33:14-18
Luke 21:25-36
1 Thessalonians 3:9-13

Contrary to what we may have been told, not everything we read in the Bible is in accordance with the heavenly will and truth that we are to follow, for a lot of it reflects the ways of the world which we are not to follow.
 
One such case is what we are told in Jeremiah 33:14-18.

14. 'Behold, days are coming,' declares the LORD, 'when I will fulfill the good word which I have spoken concerning the house of Israel and the house of Judah.
 
15. 'In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch of David to spring forth; and He shall execute justice and righteousness on the earth.

The righteous Branch is Jesus Christ, and God fulfilled the first part of this message some 2,000 years ago.
 
We know that this wasn’t the complete fulfillment, because the earth is far from being filled with justice and righteousness, for millions of our fellow human beings and billions of animals suffer and die every year to satisfy human greed and pride.
 
Thus, we await the second coming of Jesus Christ for this final fulfillment, which we celebrate during this Advent season.
 
Note what Jeremiah tells us next:

16. 'In those days Judah shall be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell in safety; and this is the name by which she shall be called: the LORD is our righteousness.'
 
17. "For thus says the LORD, 'David shall never lack a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel;
 
18. and the Levitical priests shall never lack a man before Me to offer burnt offerings, to burn grain offerings, and to prepare sacrifices continually.' " 
NASB

As we talked about last week, we know that this didn’t happen, because of the unrighteousness of David’s earthly descendants.
 
Furthermore, following Jesus’ death and resurrection, the Temple was destroyed, and with it all sacrifices, as it is to this very day.
 
And since Jesus is the last sacrifice, it will not happen in the future in accordance with God’s heavenly will, for we cannot scapegoat an animal and sacrifice him, and still have true justice and righteousness.
 
For, in order to have true justice and righteousness, we can no longer cause any living being to suffer and die.
 
We must live in peace with all others, whether they are humans or other animals.
 
And understanding these things can help us separate the things of God from the ways of the world.
 
Let’s compare this to what Jesus tells us in Luke 21:25-36, where Jesus is telling us about His second coming.

25. "And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and upon the earth dismay among nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves,
 
26. men fainting from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
 
27. "And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
 
28. "But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near." 

It often seems that these things are beginning to take place all around the world.

29. And He told them a parable: "Behold the fig tree and all the trees;
 
30. as soon as they put forth leaves, you see it and know for yourselves that summer is now near.
 
31. "Even so you, too, when you see these things happening, recognize that the kingdom of God is near.
 
32. "Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all things take place.
 
33. "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.

The generation that will not pass away until all is fulfilled is the generation that is alive when these things start to take place.
 
This parable is also telling us to use our common sense when discerning the things of God and the way He wants us to live.
 
Fear and violence are not of God.
 
Love and compassion and peace are from God.
 
Understanding these things helps us to see clearly.

34. "Be on guard, that your hearts may not be weighted down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of life, and that day come on you suddenly like a trap;
 
35. for it will come upon all those who dwell on the face of all the earth.
 
36. "But keep on the alert at all times, praying in order that you may have strength to escape all these things that are about to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man." 
NASB

Did you notice that even though all these horrible things will take place, the Lord never advocates arming ourselves, or to fight, or in any way or form to cause violence.
 
We are simply to pray for strength, and trust in the Lord.
 
And did you also notice that nothing is said about killing or eating animals, even for food, for it is the way of a violent and ungodly world of which God does not want us to be a part.
 
We are to be the peacemaking children of God, no matter what happens around us.
 
David, as we have seen did many things wrong; but he also understood these truths about God, even if he didn’t always follow them. Note what he wrote in Psalm 25:1-22.

1. To Thee, O LORD, I lift up my soul.
 
2. O my God, in Thee I trust,
Do not let me be ashamed;
Do not let my enemies exult over me.

This is the kind of end times prayer that Jesus was talking about.

3. Indeed, none of those who wait for Thee will be ashamed;
Those who deal treacherously without cause will be ashamed.
 
4. Make me know Thy ways, O LORD;
Teach me Thy paths.
 
5. Lead me in Thy truth and teach me,
For Thou art the God of my salvation;
For Thee I wait all the day.

This is the waiting and trust we are to have in the Lord in the wake of disaster.

6. Remember, O LORD, Thy compassion and Thy lovingkindnesses,
For they have been from of old.
 
7. Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions;
According to Thy lovingkindness remember Thou me,
For Thy goodness' sake, O LORD.

And the Lord will remember us who have been struggling to live in His holiness and righteousness as His peacemaking children.

8. Good and upright is the LORD;
Therefore He instructs sinners in the way.
 
9. He leads the humble in justice,
And He teaches the humble His way.
 
10. All the paths of the LORD are lovingkindness and truth
To those who keep His covenant and His testimonies.

This verse is critical to our understanding of finding the truth in the Bible, for all the paths of the Lord are lovingkindness and truth.
 
For the Lord’s lovingkindness is directly opposed to any form of violence, no matter how it may be expressed by the writers of the Bible.
 
And because we have been given the Holy Spirit as a guide, we should easily be able to discern these differences.

11. For Thy name's sake, O LORD,
Pardon my iniquity, for it is great.

David recognized these things within himself, just as we must recognize our own iniquities.
 
And this is why Jesus made it a part of the Lord’s Prayer; for in order for us to live in righteousness, we must confess our sins to the Lord and resolve in our heart and soul to live according to God’s heavenly will.
 
And if we want God to forgive us, we must be willing to forgive others for what they have done against us.
 
Note how this all ties together in the following verses:

12. Who is the man who fears the LORD?
He will instruct him in the way he should choose.
 
13. His soul will abide in prosperity,
And his descendants will inherit the land.
 
14. The secret of the LORD is for those who fear Him,
And He will make them know His covenant.

In these cases, the reference to “fear” really means to have a “reverent respect” for the Lord; one in which we would not knowingly do anything against His will.

15. My eyes are continually toward the LORD,
For He will pluck my feet out of the net.

This is the net of the evil worldly ways around us.

16. Turn to me and be gracious to me,
For I am lonely and afflicted.
 
17. The troubles of my heart are enlarged;
Bring me out of my distresses.

People write to us all the time about feeling this way, for it is quite common for anyone who has a soft heart and soul in the face of all the evil around them.
 
And they often feel helpless, but they are not; for the Lord is here to help us either directly, or through those who minister for Him in truth and righteousness.

18. Look upon my affliction and my trouble,
And forgive all my sins.
 
19. Look upon my enemies, for they are many;
And they hate me with violent hatred.
 
20. Guard my soul and deliver me;
Do not let me be ashamed, for I take refuge in Thee.
 
21. Let integrity and uprightness preserve me,
For I wait for Thee.
 
22. Redeem Israel, O God,
Out of all his troubles.
NASB

And the Lord will help us.
 
Our peace of mind is also a part of our understanding the truth of the Bible even in the face of all the evil around us, even in our churches.
 
In 1 Thessalonians 3:8-13, Paul writes about the people who are truly seeking to live in the heavenly will of God.

9. For what thanks can we render to God for you in return for all the joy with which we rejoice before our God on your account,
 
10. as we night and day keep praying most earnestly that we may see your face, and may complete what is lacking in your faith?

Then Paul closes in a thankful and prayerful benediction.

11. Now may our God and Father Himself and Jesus our Lord direct our way to you;
 
12. and may the Lord cause you to increase and abound in love for one another, and for all men, just as we also do for you;
 
13. so that He may establish your hearts unblamable in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints.
NASB

This is the assurance that comes from living in the truth of the Bible and in the heavenly will of God, where there is no longer any pain, or suffering, or death, for all will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea (Isaiah 11:9).
 
Amen.