Sadness to gladness as this weekend marked the start of the new sermon series Frequently Asked Questions about doctrinal matters. In his excellent first message, Pastor Ed, addressed a long standing question asked by non-believers, skeptics, the curious and believers who wonder, “Is the Bible Completely True?” Instead of adding to the abundance of data to support the reliability of the Bible as first intended, I now plunge down this tangent: If the Bible and its principles, commands and guidance are true, then what are you going to do with the truth? In a dramatic movie about a military tribunal, Tom Cruise portrayed a military lawyer who demanded to know the truth. Jack Nicholson’s character, a crusty and well-seasoned general, shouted back, “You can’t handle the truth.” Truth be told, I never saw the movie, I just remember this particular scene from the trailer.
A rich young ruler came up to Jesus one day and wanted to know how to obtain eternal life. He had kept many important rules so he thought. To his chagrin, Jesus told him to do one more thing – sell all he owned, give the proceeds to the poor and come follow Me. The young man walked away. We live in a world where many people want life to the fullest. Young and old pursue wealth, professional success and respect, longevity and beauty, a fulfilling relationship with love at its core, and some just want sex. I venture to guess, many have tried “religion” and some have tried Jesus in this pursuit but in the end, they walked away. The reasons may be many but allow me to propound this one – they could not handle the truth.
The truth demands that you do something with it. Either you accept and live it or you deny and avoid it maybe even denying that it is truth. Jesus saw the truth of the rich young ruler’s heart and whatever it was; Jesus saw it was keeping him from a personal relationship with Jesus. The young man was unwilling to let go and accept the truth. I think on a deeply interior level the “World” knows the truth of the Bible but will not let go of its own self-seeking view of life. Whether one is an intellectual, leftist, conservative, liberal, Christian, scientific, patriot, or whatever label is attached, acknowledging Jesus and the Bible means something has to be done in response. In the face of overwhelming evidence (Ed merely scratched the surface in his sermon) many people have walked away. They don’t want to change their behavior and thinking to align themselves rightly with the truth of God.
How do we change the “World?” How do we turn people around? How do we convince those who are genuinely seeking answers? Legislating the truth is ineffective. Protests by Christians are simply protests largely ignored. I have seen from time to time the expression that our “life may be the only ‘Bible’ a person reads.” This notion fits my bias in thinking. The way we go about this is one life at a time, face to face, person to person. Living out the truth of the Bible in daily life, in our relationships, in the workplace, in the casual encounters in our community speak volumes of truth. A redeemed life well lived speaks to hearts longing for the truth. If we Christ-followers do not live out the truth of the Bible, indicating we don’t believe it either, who in the World would bother. As Pastor Ed stated, one form of external evidence sustaining the reliability of the Bible is transformation. Do we have lives that are transformed by God’s redemption?