GOOD NEWS BROADCAST
July 6, 2022
TODAY’S SCRIPTURE REFERENCE:
“Paul said, ‘The Holy Spirit spoke the truth to your ancestors when He said through Isaiah the prophet: Go to this people and say, ‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.’ For this people’s heart has become calloused, they hardly hear with their ears and they had closed their eyes. Otherwise, they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn so that I would heal them.’‘” (Acts 28.25b-27)
Partial truths. It would seem that the world thrives on partial truths. It is a matter of convenience and intellectual censorship. Its impact is severe. While there is debate as to the inclusion of “…so help you God…” in the swearing in of witnesses in a court of law, there is no turning away from the oath of “…to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth….” Yet, it would seem that there is no lack of deceit even when the consequences of contempt are explained. Why is that? Could it be that if we told the whole truth and nothing but the truth, we ourselves would be convicted? I am not speaking of being convicted of the crime being discerned in court. I am not speaking of any accusation of complicity as an accomplice; at least not directly. Yet, in the larger picture, we are guilty of living by partial truths to protect the guilty with little to no regard for the “innocent.” Living by partial truths allows only what we desire to be true to become authoritative and beyond reproach. What partial truths do you and I live by, mighty ones of God?
In the late first century and early second century of the modern era, a son of a bishop of the early Church named Marcion practiced the teaching of theology. He was credited with the first textual criticisms of the New Testament canon. While he believed that Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ and that Paul, or Saul of Tarsus, was the chief apostle. His “new testament” canon consisted for ten Pauline epistles and a seriously modified version of Luke’s gospel. It could be ascertained that since Luke had been a travelling companion of Paul, his writings were elevated to a different level of authority. However, Marcion did not agree with all of Luke’s gospel and did not include the “Gospel of the Church: the Acts of the Apostles” in his collection. His decision to live and teach partial truths concerning the gospel of Jesus the Christ put him in conflict with other Church leaders. He was eventually condemned as a heretic, a threat to the Holy Roman Church and expelled from “The Church of Rome.” He lived out his days in Asia Minor continuing to preach and teach his version of “the truth.” Why did he reject the other gospels and writings which are found in our modern-day canon of scripture? While there are several arguments proposed, the general theme was one of maintaining the contrast from the Old Testament teachings and any connection to them and the New Testament of the Church apart from Catholicism. His distaste for Judaism and Catholicism empowered the separation of Christianity from them but at what cost?
As I glean from the variety of sources of “truth” available today in the various venues of media, I cannot help but sense there is a growing separation from Christianity in the world today. Even within the Church, the “partial truths” of theology both intellectual and practical are rending the body limb from limb. The Church in its disarray has made itself easy prey for those who wish to dissolve it and dilute its authoritative presence in the modern world. This will not ultimately succeed because the truth will survive. Jesus said, as recorded in the twenty-four chapter of Matthew’s gospel, “Heaven and earth may pass away but My word will never pass away.” I can even hear these words coming from the mouth of God as He would speak of His own Son who is “the Word” and “the Way, the Truth and the Life.” His resurrection from the dead and the grave as well as His resurrection ministry for forty days in the presence of believers before His ascension back to Heaven speak succinctly to “My Word will never pass away.” Not only is God not dead, He is alive and well. But, why is there such skepticism and doubt? I believe such exists because only partials truths concerning God’s revelation of Himself through history, the Law and the Prophets, the gospels and epistles and Jesus Himself are allowed to be authoritative. They are allowed because if the whole truth is known we would either be redeemed or condemned. Strangely, one cannot be redeemed if one is not condemned. Therefore, it is of vital necessity that “the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help us God” be maintained and pursued with all diligence.
Now, I am not proposing that I have a corner on the market of truth. Nothing would be further from the truth. But, those who are blessed with the gift of the Holy Spirit are compelled, as was Paul the Apostle, to confront what was being said with what “has been said.” At the close of Luke’s “Gospel of the Church,” the words of Paul continue to speak loud and clear. They are not words original to him but are an echo of the prophet Isaiah who shared what he heard from the mouth of God under the very same Spirit. Paul spoke of eyes that could see but would not, ears that could hear but remain closed, hearts that could perceive the depth of the truth but turned cold and the mind that could understand the truth but abandoned all reason. Paul was committed to bearing the truth at all costs because the gospel deserved a full hearing in the presence of its detractors and naysayers. Mighty ones of God, are we afraid of the truth? Will we add “mouths to speak the truth but remain silent”? I dare say, the very reason why “My Word,” as Jesus declared it, “will never pass away” was simply because it was a spoken word delivered verbally and non-verbally into the vast expanse. Its presence will continue to echo against the walls of eternity with no diminishing return. The same is true then of the Church, the body and its members, who will commit themselves to speaking the truth in love and pursuing the truth at all costs. That is what I believe is meant by living “in that day.” That day is now!
OUR CALL TO PRAYER:
Father, thank You for abiding in us but also calling us into accountability by Your Word of faith. May our eyes, ears, hearts, mind, spirit and soul be wide open to the leading of Your Spirit in these troubled time. May Your freedom ring in and through us so that the good news can be broadcast into all the world for their salvation. We ask this through Jesus our Christ in whose name we live, serve and pray. AMEN.