Truth or Consequences

Bible Book: Colossians 
Subject: Truth; Colossians; Danger of Lies; Satanic Disinformation

Truth or Consequences

Dr. J. Mike Minnix, Editor, www.pastorlife.com
Introduction

Colossians 1

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, and with the eternal soul.

In today's world it is said that truth is hard to find. One would think that all the sources of information we possess would make the truth easier to discern, but the opposite is happening. Fake news on every side makes it very difficult to know if one is reading or hearing the truth. Fortunately, God has a truth that never changes. This doesn't mean that the enemy will leave God's truth alone - no even God's truth is always under attack. It was that way from the beginning and it is so today.

Pilate had a problem with the Truth when he faced Jesus and had to make a decision about what to do with Him. 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." Yes, Pilate had a problem with the truth and that was long before the internet and social media.

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.” Of course, like so many, Pilate simply didn't know the truth and likely didn't really want to know. He was acting on what was expedient at the moment and on what would profit him in the short term. People still do that today.

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 in his hand. "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, and Paul knew how disastrous that could be. The consequences were not going to be good, so 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 concerning Christ and Christian responsibility began to arise in his church at Colossae. Epaphras wrote to Paul and told him of the problems. Paul wrote a letter to Colossae which is the New Testament letter titled Colossians.

What did Paul say about the truth, and the danger of denying the truth? First note ...

I. A Great Presentation of the Truth - Chapter 1

A. Who We Are In Him 1-14

Paul began by sharing who we are in Christ, for he knew that If we don’t know the truth about who we are in Christ we will never be what we are meant to be or accomplish what we are meant to accomplish.

A boy whose father and mother abandoned him was struggling with his school work and was so shy and backward that he had very few friends. In an IQ test it was discovered that he had great intelligence, but due to the fact that 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, and 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.

As Christians, we are a lot like that young student. We are God’s children, we have divine, royal blood in us, we have a mansion waiting on the other side of this life, we possess spiritual gifts through the Holy Spirit, we are more than conquerors through him who loved us and gave himself for us. You see, we are kids of the King! Paul wanted the Colossians to start acting like the people God declared them to be.

Note how he describes the truth of God's nature in 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. The approach that Paul took in this portion of Colossians is very interesting. He began by discussing position and possessions, and only then does he move on to show the Great Provider of all these blessings.

Who is the One who makes us who we are and provides all we need?

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 and I see in the known Universe 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 - for all things were made by Him.

Then notice ...

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

The Lord who made this world stepped out of heaven and 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.

Also, we see ...

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

The Creator became the Crucified - He died for us - to take our place in judgment that we might take our place with Him in glory. In essence we can say that tomb became a womb, for He was raised as the firstborn from the grave. He rose to give us the assurance of life as well. o wonder we sing, "Hallelujah, what a Savior."

We see as well ...

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

He did it all to redeem to Himself a holy people. He intended to take that which is unholy and make it holy through His blood shed on the cross. He came to seek and to save that which was lost. This is the truth about who He was, is and ever shall be.

Paul was adamant that these truths regarding Christ be known and maintained. Thus, we see next ...

II. A Guarded Preservation of the Truth - Chapter 2

In chapter two of Colossians Paul reminds the reader that the truths just stated 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. He did it in that early church and the old serpent is still doing that in the church and world today.

How does it do this?

A. Through 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, which I will say more about in just a few minutes, but first lets look at the second set of lies.

B. Through Empty Practices
  • Legalism

“I will do enough to please God in myself”

  • Mysticism (Spiritualism)

“I will know more and experience more spiritual truth and joy than others”

  • 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 (Ephesians 2:8-10)

Then notice in chapters 3 and 4 of Colossians the following ...

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.

7. 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
  • What He Has Done
  • 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 of your failed belief system. 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 can kill you and even kill those you love. 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.