Tony Evans - The Suppression of Truth
Today, we're living in a world of confusion, chaos, and lies. We don't know what the truth is. What's up is down, what's down is up. What's right has become wrong, what's wrong is deemed as right and people need a sure place to go to learn the truth. God has given us a location for the truth, and that is his inherent perfect Word. That's why we need to return to truth, which means we need to return to the Bible. The death of truth has led to a breakdown in the cultural immune system. They hated Jesus because he was of the truth. If they are not taking me seriously, that's 'cause they don't take truth seriously. We must adjust and be people of the truth, the whole truth, nothing but the truth. So help you God.
Today we live in a day where truth is suppressed. In the name of popularity, in the name of personal preference, in the name of man's desire to be independent. We're living in a day and are paying the price tag for the suppression of truth. In Romans chapter 1 verse 18, we read these words, "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness". To suppress something means to hold it down, to restrict it, to limit it, to not allow it to be what it was designed to be. Today, we have another kind of cultural suppression, it's called cancel culture where viewpoints that you do not like, agree with or prefer are squashed, hindered, limited or canceled. It is a suppression, a form of suppression.
Paul says in chapter 1 verse 18, that there is this thing called the suppression of truth. You can actually hold truth down against its will 'cause the goal of truth is to be true. But when you don't want the truth, you force it down, you hold it down, you deny it, reject it, limit it, compromising it, 'cause that's not what you want. So you suppress the truth. This suppression of the truth, he explains exists verse 18, because men want their own way independently of God. He says the reason they suppress it is because of unrighteousness and ungodliness. They don't want God's way, they want their way so when they find God's way that they don't like they suppress the truth. They hold it down, they reject it, they deny it, they kick it out of schools. They kick it out of government, they kick it out of family, they kick it out of relationships. They hold it down 'cause that's not what they want.
He says, they hold down the truth in unrighteousness. In other words, they want to decide what's right and wrong, good and bad, up and down, yes and no and because they do not want what God wants and what God says, they suppress the truth. They hide it, they hold it, they limit it, they reject it because that's not what they want. We all have been there, haven't we where we didn't like it and so we found ourselves hearing it but dismissing it because what we were hearing, even though we knew it was true, we did not want it. We did not prefer it and so we suppressed the truth. We've all done it at different levels at different times.
The Bible declares in James chapter 4 verse 12, that there is only one law giver, only one. And that our judgments are to be made in light of the one law giver because absolute truth, let me repeat it, must have an absolute source and there's only one infinite absolute source and that's God, so he's the only one who can be absolutely true every time about everything. And so, men reject the truth because when you do not have a standard of truth, you blow with the wind. He says, men suppress the truth in unrighteousness. They don't want God's standard. The reason that the wrath of God is revealed, we'll explain that in a moment, against the suppression of the truth, is because verse 19 says, "That which is known about God is evident within them for God has made it evident to them".
He's talking about your conscience. That men are born with a truth regulator. A smoke detector, if you will. That's why you just innately know some things are wrong, you just innately know it. Because you are built with a conscience but what suppression of the truth does, is it warps the conscience. Romans 2:15 says, "In that they show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts are automatically accusing or defending them". Meaning your conscience makes you feel guilty or makes you feel confirmed. That is unless you suppress the truth and you don't feel guilty anymore. But not only that verse 20, "For since the creation of the world, his invisible attributes, his eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen being understood through that which has been made so that they are without excuse".
Not only has God demonstrated his truth in the regulator that he's placed in every human person, but in the reality of the created order. That God knows what he's doing and knows what he's talking about, is evident in creation. The fool has said in his heart, there is no God, if you are an atheist, you are also equally a fool. 'Cause you have to have lost your mind to assume that nobody plus nothing made everything. That is a fairy tale for adults. But because the truth of God is suppressed, evolution is taught as a fact because when you get rid of God, you have nothing. We live in a day when truth has been suppressed and the reason that people suppress truth is so they can get rid of God because if they get rid of God, they can get rid of guilt. 'Cause God will make you feel guilty about his truth and our actions.
What he is saying to us is, when you suppress truth, you are suppressing God who has made his reality known internally and externally in creation. He goes on and he says, verse 20. "For though they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks but they became futile in their speculations and their foolish hearts were darkened professing to be wise," college grads. "They became fools and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and a birds and forfeited animals and crawling creatures". He said they don't give God the props he deserves as God. They were darkened in their foolish speculations. In other words, the more educated they became, the dumber they got and their foolish hearts were darkened.
So here you need to know when I, when you, when we suppress the truth, things get dark. They get dark. I don't know, have you been noticing lately how dark things have been getting? The Bible makes it clear what Proverbs 11:11 says, "When a city abandons God, it tears down". Proverbs 14 verse 34. When a nation rejects God, it goes down. So the further your life, your family, this city, this nation, this world rejects God, the darker things get. But when the truth is suppressed, the absolute standard by which reality is measured, darkness set in and he says, it is replaced by idols 'cause man needs religion so what they do is, they create their own religion that frees them up to believe what they wanna believe and do what they wanna do 'cause they can't handle God's truth or don't wanna handle it.
And so what we have in America are designer idols. So we don't do that crude stuff, we get American idols. We get the idols of notoriety, materialism. We got the idol now race. We got the idols of culture. We got idols of politics. Says, neither are they thankful. They don't give God the cred that he deserves as God and so this idolatry, this cafeteria God, pick the parts of God you want, the burger king God so you can have it your way, has become the norm of the culture because if they can get rid of God as he defines himself to be, they can create God in their own image while they suppress the truth. The wrath of God is revealed. The word wrath refers to God's just retribution against sin. Wrath is God's just retribution against sin. The wrath of God is revealed. He is not talking about hell, he's talking about history is revealed and not will be revealed, is revealed right now.
What you are seeing is the wrath of God on display. What you're seeing now in our world, in our lives, is the wrath of God's on display. Now I call this the passive wrath of God, as opposed to the active wrath of God. Let me explain what I mean. In the Old Testament, the had the active wrath of God. In other words, fire and brimstone coming from heaven, Sodom and Gomorrah, you had a flood, the whole earth was flooded. The active wrath of God, he directly did it. The earth opened up Korah and his family swallowed up in the earth. He directly did it. The death of Jesus Christ shifted God's relationship to the world. So the Bible says because of the death of Jesus Christ, the world was reconciled to him. So a shift took place, praise God, because of the cross.
There it is the difference between the Old Testament and the New Testament. That's why the Bible calls it rightly dividing the word of truth. There is a shift that occurs with Christ in history and his substitute on the cross but because God must be just, his wrath still must be expressed, but now it's done differently. You don't see heaven opening up, you don't see fire and brimstone falling on cities about, you don't see that. Okay? But you see something and he describes it three times. Let's look at the three levels of God's wrath. Verse 24. "Therefore God gave them over," verse 26. "For this reason, God gave them over". Verse 28. "And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over".
So the wrath of God today is when God gives you over. That's the wrath of God. He gives you over. That is, he releases you to life without him but the point is, God says, if you don't want me, let's see how you have to make out without me. So what's the first level of the wrath of God? "He turned them over", verse 24, "To the lust of their hearts, to impurity so that their bodies would be dishonored among them for they exchange the truth of God for a lie". The first expression of God's wrath is deceptive desires. His wrath means you will begin to want things that you shouldn't want or want them at a level you shouldn't want them. Your desires will rule you. Instead of you ruling your desires and telling your desires what to do, your desires will begin to boss you around.
And that's what happens with addictions. Usually addictions start off as a desire you control, but once the wrath of God sets in because you've denied the truth, the desire is telling you now, we gonna drink all day. It's telling you now, we're gonna be immoral all the time. It's telling you now, we're gonna be a drug addict all the time. Why? Because once the truth is rejected, the desire takes over. Now all of us face the challenges of illegitimate desires. We all face the temptations. The Bible talks about that, that is to be expected, but he's talking about when it is now in charge, it's ruling you, it's controlling you.
Now we've got sophisticated psychological terms for it today. God calls it his wrath because you suppress the truth. Believing a lie. That's one level. Second level, verse 26. "For this reason, God gave them over to degrading passions for their women exchange the natural function for that which is unnatural and in the same way also the men abandon the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own person the due penalty of their era". Level two is unnatural sexual behavior. That which is against the created order. The desire for that, this was the only sin I am aware of that's called an unnatural sin. There are a lot of sins, but he says that, which is against nature. So if it's against nature, it means it's against how you were made.
Now I know this is a sensitive topic. I know that we live in a world of, but my job is to tell the truth not make folks just feel good. Now having said that, sin has affected people negatively and people need love and compassion and to be worked with 'cause sometimes it's not even their fault. Some people are abused, some people are misused. I mean, there are a lot of factors, but if you are going to fix it, you must start with the truth. What we want to do is we want to make people comfortable with a lie. He says, this is the unfolding of wrath, but that's not the worst one. The first two are bad enough. Here's the worst one. The worst one is verse 28. "And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer". They wanna get rid of God, 'cause they're suppressing the truth. God gave them over to a depraved mind.
So the first one was deceptive desires. The second one was degrading passions. But now the third one there, is a depraved mind. In other words, you've gone crazy. You have lost your mind. How do you know if you've lost your mind, that you are at the lowest level of wrath? The bottom line of wrath, that you done gone crazy. Here it is verse 32. "And although they know the ordinance of God and those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hardy approval to those who practice them". You've lost your mind when evil is approved. When you say nothing wrong with that, I don't see nothing wrong with that. And when you pass laws to justify it. So I'd like to suggest America has lost its mind and unfortunately, a bunch of Christians have lost their minds with it. Because they have abandoned the truth.
And what they don't understand is, when you abandoned the truth, you're under the wrath. You're under the judgment. You're under the passive response of God for the wrath of God is revealed. He talks about the fact that they no longer wanna keep the knowledge of God so we are in a major crisis here because now, now the church is being challenged. So we gonna see where the truth churches are. Is there a corrective for the chaos? Let me read Psalm 81 and this Psalm concludes with a concept that gives hope even if you're in the wrath, even if you've put yourself in this position of divine abandonment. Verse 11 says, "But my people did not listen to my voice, and Israel did not obey me," so they weren't listening.
So watch verse 12. "So I gave them over to the stubbornness of their heart". That's wrath. "To walk in their own devices". I let 'em loose. "Oh that my people would listen to me. That Israel would walk in my ways. I would quickly subdue their enemies and turn my hand against their adversaries. Those who hate the Lord would pretend obedience to him and their time of punishment would be forever but I would feed you with the finest of wheat and with honey from the rock I would satisfy you". All you got to do is come back. If you will come back to the truth, if you will listen to me, not the culture, not the world, not first the politicians. Yes, we must live in the world, we must react to them, but you stand on the truth.
I'm so sad for students today who have to go to universities who are gonna be lied to by science. One of the most pagan industries, one of the most necessary ones and yet one of the most pagan ones has become science. Because in the name of science, they dismiss God and are not able to attach spiritual reality to scientific situations. And that includes COVID, that includes AIDS, that includes environmental climate issues.
You say, but that's science. That's not, that's not, that's not spiritual stuff. No, no, no. Let me explain. There's only one goal of science. Let me tell you, the one goal of science, you should all study science, but science only has one goal to show you how God did what he did. So study science to learn about God and how God did what he did. He's given that task to us, but he didn't give you all this stuff so you could act like it exists without him. And that's why you don't detach the spiritual from anything and spiritual is not church alone, it's education, it's economics, it's sociology, it's politics. It's all that because God is the source of everything. He says, listen to me, come back to me.
To suppress means to hold down, restrict or even cancel. God says when his truth is held down or suppressed, then it leads to passive wrath where he will abandon us because we no longer value what he has to say, which can never be wrong because he's full of truth. So when you and I discover what God has to say, which should be our first concern on every subject and don't restrict it, hold it down, cancel it or ignore it, we're positioning ourselves for his favor but when we suppress it, we're positioning ourselves for his wrath. Better to be under his favor because we embrace the truth, rather than wrath because we rejected it.