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GLMX #181: You Can Handle the Truth and the Truth Will Set You Free

Truth

Truth

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In the iconic courtroom scene from the movie “A Few Good Men”, Colonel Nathan Jessup, played masterfully by Jack Nicholson, tells his cross-examiner Lieutenant Daniel Kaffee (played by Tom Cruise), “YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH!” That line has gone down in film history as one of the most famous lines ever delivered.

At different times in our lives, each of us have been or will be searching for the truth about something — Not only for the the truth in legal matters, but the truth in family matters, the truth in job matters, the truth in educational matters, and the truth about our past. We all want to know the truth as to why things happened the way they did and the truth about how things turned out the way they did. We also want to know the truth about our future so that we can make the right decisions and take the right steps.

Perhaps, the most important area in which we seek the truth is in spiritual matters — or what some would call metaphysics. Great philosophers and thinkers of the past, such as Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Anselm, Descartes, John Milton, Immanuel Kant, and others, spent much of their lives struggling with these questions. They wanted to know: What is truth? What is the truth about human origins? How did we get here? What is our purpose? Where do we go when we die?

Nearly 2,000 years ago, a man named Jesus Christ was unjustly put on trial under the Roman government. Pilate, who was the governor of that region and who was presiding over the trial, asked a question that many people have asked since. The Bible tells us in John 18 that Pilate simply asked Jesus, “What is truth?”, and then he left the Judgment Hall and went to address the crowd that had gathered to see the proceedings. Numerous Biblical scholars have lamented the fact that Pilate did not wait for an answer from Jesus Christ regarding this all-important question of truth. The British Methodist theologian Adam Clarke wrote, “Among the sages of that time there were many opinions concerning truth; and some had even supposed that it was a thing utterly out of the reach of men. Pilate perhaps might have asked the question in a mocking way; and his not staying to get an answer indicated that he either despaired of getting a satisfactory one, or that he was indifferent about it. This is the case with thousands: they appear desirous of knowing the truth, but have not patience to wait in a proper way to receive an answer to their question.”

Dear friend, I will tell you in a few minutes what Jesus Christ said about truth.

In the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Michael Glanzberg writes, “Truth is one of the central subjects in philosophy. It is also one of the largest. Truth has been a topic of discussion in its own right for thousands of years.” Even today, skeptics, men of faith, and men of science take the time to wrestle with these “big questions” of life. The truth about these spiritual matters — and what we choose to believe — shapes our worldview, helps us to determine our purpose in life, helps mold our passions and motivations, and informs us on how to face the end of our lives. These are important questions that every human being deserves to know the truth about. And I believe that you can handle the truth because the truth will set you free.

That latter phrase — “the truth will set you free” — is a quotation from Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who declared Himself to be, “the way, the truth, and the life.” All truth, no matter what it applies to, is God’s truth and is freedom-giving. But it is only the truth that Jesus Christ offers that frees us from the grip of the curse that has enslaved humanity and gives us the ability to live life freely, abundantly, and forever.

MUSICAL SELECTION: “Voice of Truth” by Casting Crowns

GLMX #180: Dr. King and the King of Kings

 

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This message is important to me because I came to faith in Jesus Christ through the efforts of a white, independent Baptist church in Ocean Springs, Mississippi, that for many years did not accept black members, but in the late ‘70s was led to start a black church while I was in the Air Force and stationed at Kessler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi, at the age of nineteen. As I interacted with the leaders and members of that church, and even the pastor of the black church plant, I heard some negative things about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that I had never heard before. Some people tried to discredit him by suggesting that he was not a true minister of the Gospel, and even that he did not have a genuine relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. They viewed him as just a mere social worker, with some even claiming that he was a Communist. Even some of the blacks in that young church did not think too highly of Dr. King.

I must admit that I did have concerns and questions about this matter because I was raised in the black Baptist church and the black Pentecostal Holiness church, with my dad being a Baptist preacher and my mother being a Pentecostal preacher, and yet I had never heard a clear presentation of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ on how to be saved until I was nineteen-years-old, and a young man named Michael Lewis, who had gotten saved through this church plant that an all-white independent Baptist church had started, came to my dorm room and showed me what was commonly called the Romans Road to salvation from the book of Romans in the Bible. Up until that point, no one had asked me the question, if I were to die today, where would I go, heaven or hell?

Thankfully, the Lord allowed me to keep an independent mind about the matter through all of that, and I came to see Dr. King as God’s man for that particular time in this nation’s history to help deliver both blacks and whites in this country from the ignorance of racism and prejudice. I even learned later that Dr. King tried to get into a white conservative Christian seminary, but he was rejected because of his race. However, based on his words and his life, it seems as though Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. did know the King of Kings — the Lord Jesus Christ. Not only that, but the faith, courage, and fortitude that he showed (and that he inspired others to have) as he led the very dangerous Civil Rights movement speaks of a man who knew Jesus Christ as his Savior and had an abiding faith in God.

According to the book, Parting the Waters: America in the King Years, by historian Taylor Branch: In 1934, when a guest minister at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta made a strong pitch for the salvation of young souls, Martin Luther King Jr. watched his sister rise to make the first profession of faith in Christ. Impulsively, as he later confessed, “I decided that I would not let her get ahead of me, so I was the next.”

Also in his book, Strength to Love, Dr. King wrote: “Bound by the chains of his own sin and finiteness, man needs a Saviour (Jesus Christ). Man cannot save himself, for man is not the measure of all things and humanity is not God.” We see here that, contrary to what some thought of King, he did not believe that man could get to Heaven by doing good works. He believed that he and everyone needed a Savior — Jesus Christ.

He also said, “Only through an inner spiritual transformation do we gain the strength to fight victoriously the evils of the world in a humble and loving spirit.” That sounds like what Jesus Christ called being “born again” when He told Nicodemus in John 3:3 & 7, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God…Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.”…

GLMX #179: Young Aitzaz’s Sacrifice

 

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This past week, the world saw an example of incredible sacrifice.

Fourteen-year-old Aitzaz Bangash was on his way to school in northwestern Pakistan when he and his classmates spotted a man hiding a bomb underneath a school uniform. When the man asked directions to the school, Aitzaz (A-zaz) knew for sure that he meant to bring death and destruction to him and his classmates.

While the other students backed away from the suicide bomber, Aitzaz followed him and challenged him. When the man didn’t stop his approach to the school, Ait-zaz tackled the man at the school gate. There at the gate, the suicide bomber’s bomb went off. He was killed. Ait-zaz was also killed.

Ait-zaz’s brave actions — and his death — prevented the deaths of dozens of students that day.

Ait-zaz’s actions are a modern-day picture of the sacrifice that Jesus Christ paid for all men so that they would not have to die and go to hell.The Bible tells us that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came to be the Savior of the world. Jesus came to save us from the consequences of sin,which is Hell. In His work as a Savior, Jesus Christ, took our place offering His own life as a sacrifice.

Romans 5:8 says, “But God commendeth (or showed) his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” In John 15:13, Jesus Christ said, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

Dozens of children were able to live another day because of Ait-zaz’s sacrifice.

Jesus Christ laid down His life so that you and I can live forever in Heaven with God But, we cannot gain this eternal life unless we make a decision to accept this gift of salvation. Allow me to show you how you can accept the free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world.

+ Plus, listen to Hillsong singing “Mighty to Save”

GLMX #178: A Reminder About Resolutions

 

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Here we are at the beginning of another year. Like so many others have done, you probably took the opportunity during the past few days to look back over how your life has gone over the past year, and you have made up your mind about some things you want to change going forward. In fact, you probably have one or two “new year’s resolutions” that you intend to keep over the next twelve months.

Friend, I wish you all the best.

However, I want to encourage you not to leave God out of the equation. The Bible does not say much by way of new year’s resolutions. However, in His Word, God does encourage us to examine our lives and seek God’s help as we try to become better people each day. Lamentations 3:40 says, “Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the Lord.” Haggai 1:5 says, “Now therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts; Consider your ways.” This means we ought to look at and examine our lifestyle. The ancient Greek philosopher Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Thus, it is wise to look back on our lives, and then to look forward with the determination to make changes for the better.

One reason why many people fail to keep their new year’s resolutions is because they try to reach them in their own strength instead of with God’s help. They try to do it all on their own. However, they quickly realize their own shortcomings while trying to make this effort on their own. Despite their best intentions, they just can’t do it on their own.

One of the best things you can do is turn to God for help. God’s Word tells us that the reason why we fail so often, not only in keeping our New Year’s Resolutions, but in many other things as well, is because we have a sinful nature. Sin is the bad or wrong things that we do, and the Bible says that “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

If you want to truly make a change in your life, something must be done about your sin problem. If nothing is done, you will continue to stumble, fall, and make mistakes despite your best intentions. Thankfully, God has already done everything that needs to be done to take care of our sin problem. The Bible says in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Those who accept Jesus Christ as their Savior from sin and the punishment of sin are transformed from the inside out. Their lives are changed, and the Bible says they become “new creatures.” They are no longer slaves to sin, but the children of God who have their ultimate destiny and future in Heaven with Him and His Son the Lord Jesus Christ.

Right now, at the start of a fresh, new year, may I encourage you not to go another day without Jesus Christ in your life. He is the Friend you need to lead you, guide you, and walk alongside you on the road of life. Would you like to trust Him today? Allow me to show you how you can do that.

+ Plus, listen to Maurette Brown-Clark singing “I Have Decided to Follow Jesus”

GLMX #177: Aristotle and True Happiness

 

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In his classic titled, “How to Read a Book”, Mortimer J. Adler summarizes the Greek philosopher Aristotle’s views on happiness. He says:

“Aristotle’s definition of happiness is the happiness of the whole life both in the temporal and the eternal. Happiness is the whole of the good, not the highest of the good. It does not consist in self-perfection or self-improvement. For Aristotle, happiness is a quality of a whole life — whole not only in a temporal sense, but in all the aspects of a life. A happy man is a man who puts it all together and keeps it together. This is the controlling insight of Aristotle’s writings.”

According to Merriam-Webster, happiness is: a state of well-being and contentment; a pleasurable or satisfying experience; it is the feeling of pleasure and enjoyment because of life.

If there is one thing that people desire in life, perhaps more than anything else, it is happiness. We know that money cannot buy happiness. Just recently, a Wall Street investor gave away his fortune of $800 million and then jumped from a building, committing suicide.

Numerous books, television shows, radio broadcasts, articles, and studies have been done on how people can be happy. Some people say that happiness comes from having everything you want. Others say happiness comes from being in loving relationships. Still others say happiness comes from doing good.

Aristotle, and other great philosophers of the past, spent much of their time thinking about the big questions of life. What is the meaning of life? What is man’s purpose in life? How can man be happy in life? Where did man come from? Where does man go after he dies?

I believe that on the issue of happiness, Aristotle might be on to something. Let’s take a look again at how Adler summarizes his views. He says, “happiness is the happiness of the whole life both in the temporal and the eternal.” In other words, it is impossible to be happy in this temporal life if you do not already have the guarantee of happiness in eternal life.

In other words, if you are going through this life constantly worried about what will happen after you die, you will never be happy and you will never be able to enjoy this life.

Today, allow me to show you how you can set your mind at ease about what will happen after you die so that you can enjoy your life right now. Or, as Aristotle might have put it, allow me to show you how you can have a happy eternal life so you can have a happy temporal life.

+ Plus, listen to Joy Williams singing “Beautiful Redemption”