Love the Truth
By Danny Russo
My phone rings and after we have exchanged greetings, the caller informs me that he has decided to end his fellowship with the UPCI and go another direction. He assures me that he will still preach the plan of salvation but that there are some things concerning holiness that he no longer will adhere to or teach to his converts. I try to convince him not to do this. I cite instances where others have made the same decision and eventually compromised the plan of salvation. My pleadings come to no avail. What has made him do this? Was it an outside influence that he allowed that began to slowly erode his stand for truth? Was it family pressures? Was it his thought that if he did not teach biblical lifestyle changes he would have a larger congregation? Was it because he felt isolated and alone? I could go on and on with suppositions, but I must conclude that somewhere in his experience, he had not developed and maintained a love for truth. A love for truth would have overshadowed every obstacle and every wrong influence.
Developing and maintaining a love for the truth should be among our highest personal and spiritual priorities. Jesus and the Apostles warned that deception would be prevalent. Every generation of Christians since the birth of the church has had to contend with this onslaught by Satan to deceive the elect. We must love truth and pass truth on to the next generation. Truth is only one generation away from being lost. When Pilate asked Jesus, “What is truth?” ( John 18:38), he asked a question that resounds in every generation. Pilate was standing in the very presence of truth made flesh. God is truth. His Word is truth and He cannot lie. Jesus is the Word (Truth) made flesh. Many times He declared Himself to be the truth. The Holy Spirit, which is Christ in us, will guide us into all truth. Truth is not limited to the plan of salvation, but embodies all the Word of God. Truth will save us from sin and lead us to conform to the image of Christ.
It is up to us to walk in truth and develop a love for truth. Love is the most powerful force that exists. God is love and He manifested that love to us when He robed Himself in flesh to redeem us from our sins ( John 3:16). Paul said in I Corinthians 13 that love is greater than faith and hope. Jesus said that the greatest commandment is to love the Lord with all our soul, heart and mind and to love our neighbor as ourselves. Love always prompts action. When we say we love our Lord Jesus Christ, our actions should confirm it. Jesus simply stated that if we loved Him, we would keep His commandments. Those who love Him will love their enemies, love each other, love their spouses and their families, and love the truth.
Our greatest defense against deception is to love truth and let it guide us in every area of our lives. In II Thessalonians 2, the Apostle Paul dealt with apostasy and the remedy. He was very adamant that there would be a falling away or apostasy (II Thessalonians 2:3). Random House Dictionary defines apostasy as a total desertion of or departure from one’s religion, principles, party, cause, etc. According to Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary apostasy is generally defined as the determined, willful rejection of Christ and His teachings by a Christian believer (Hebrews 10:26-29; John 15:22). Those who knew the truth but never developed a love for truth will be the ones who will be deceived to the point that they believe a lie and be forever lost (II Thessalonians 2: 10-12).
Deception was present in the church in Paul’s day as well as in the day we are living in. Paul grieved the loss of Demas, who loved this present world. We cannot love the world and love the Father at the same time. We cannot serve two masters. A love for truth will put a strong desire in the saint of God to want to do all that the Word of God commands. Those who love the truth will live a life in constant pursuit of holiness. Ministers who love truth and love people will declare the whole counsel of God. Real love is demonstrated when a minister loves the flock of God enough to tell them the truth and lead them into a life that conforms to the image of Christ. Every saint of God who loves truth will love a leader who tells them the truth. They will feel his compassion for them as he breaks the Word of Truth to them in love. Paul’s remedy for victory over deception was to stand fast and hold the traditions that had been taught (II Thessalonians 2:13-15).
The last question we have recorded that Jesus asked Peter was this: “Do you love me?” That question is being asked today to every one of us. The response to the affirmative answer that Peter gave demanded an action: “Feed my lambs; feed my sheep.” In 2009, let us do as the writer of Hebrews commanded in Hebrews 6:1-3 and love the foundational truths that we are built upon and go on to perfection. We must follow the admonition of Jude and earnestly contend for the faith that was once delivered to the saints. We cannot afford to let the deception of our world change us, but instead we must change our world with truth (Romans 12:1-2). We must walk in truth and love truth (II John).
From, “Apostolic Sentinel”/January-February 2009, by Danny Russo
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