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Watch 2022 online sermons » Dr. Tony Evans » Tony Evans - The Repository of Truth

Tony Evans - The Repository of Truth

Tony Evans - The Repository of Truth
TOPICS: Returning To The Truth, Truth

A repository is a container. It's a storehouse. The repository for our medicine is the pharmacy. It is the place we go that houses that which we need for health and healing. You go to the records building downtown, which is a repository of information about people and locations and history. You have a repository. God has a repository, a storehouse, if you will, a community location for your spiritual well-being, a place where you're supposed to be able to go to get good food, a place where you're supposed to go, be able to go and eat well. He has a place scattered throughout every community for health, healing, and well-being not only of the people who attend but, because of its location, for the people who live in surrounding vicinity. It is the repository of truth, and God's repository of truth is called the church.

The church is that place he is singled out, that does not find its first obligation in the culture, that does not find its first obligation to a person's racial identity, cultural identity, gender identity, where the commitment is not first to who you are, how you were raised, or how you live, where you live. It is a repository that is supposed to give you good food, not rotten fruit, because it is committed to one overarching issue, and that is the declaration of the truth. The church is God's spiritual grocery store.

This is what Paul says to Timothy, his son in ministry, in 1 Timothy chapter 3, verse 14: "I am writing these things to you, hoping to come to you soon, but in case I am delayed, I write so that you will know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth". Timothy is located in a very secular city, the creme de la creme site of Asia Minor, called Ephesus. A church has been established there. We'll give it a name: Ephesus Bible Fellowship. And Timothy is the pastor there, and Paul, his spiritual head, writes him, and he says, "Young man, I wanna make sure that, when people come to your grocery store, they're coming to the truth".

Ephesus is of secular culture. It is full of idolatry. You can read it all in Acts chapter 19. It is full of materialism, it is full of witchcraft, it is full of errant theology, errant teaching, and social decay even though it is an influential marketplace of ideas. And he says, "And all the stuff that the folks are hearing, Timothy, and all the ideas, ideologies, idiosyncratic perspectives that they are imbuing into their minds in spite of what the kids are being taught in school or the young adults are being taught in college, in spite of what they're hearing in corporate America, in spite of what they're hearing in the governmental regimes, in spite all of that, you make sure, when they shop at this store, they're getting the truth".

Now, we've defined the word "truth," each week, and let's define it again. "Truth" is God's absolute standard by which reality is measured. Truth sits outside of you. It is not dependent on you. You don't have to feel it, like it, or agree with it for it to be true. It just has to be what God says, then it's true, and you and I, we have to adjust. We live in a world that doesn't want God's viewpoint, therefore, it doesn't want the truth. Because it doesn't want the truth, what we wind up with is cultural consequences in our personal lives, family lives, church lives, and in our civic engagement, and yet God wants to speak truth into all of those issues. Personally, economically, socially, racially, morally he wants to speak the truth.

And so he tells Timothy in a number of places, "You make sure this grocery store is well-stocked with truth". Tells him in chapter 1, verse 3, "I urge you because some folks are gonna come with strange doctrines". He tells him in chapter 3, verse 9, "holding the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience". Why? Because, chapter 4, verse 1, "They are deceitful spirits and demons," verse 3, "who don't know the truth". We're living in a duped society. We have been duped, and because we are living duped lives in a duped world with duped thought, we're living in a chaotic environment. He says, "At this grocery store, Timothy, you make sure that, when they go shopping, when they show up, we can't change everything in society, but you make sure they are hearing the truth," meaning God's view on whatever the subject matter happens to be.

The first thing we need to remind you of since the church is the grocery store of the truth, we need to remind us all what the church is. It's not a fraternity or a sorority. Yes, it has those relational components. In fact, it's called a family in 1 Timothy chapter 5, verses 1 and 2. He says, "Treat the older men like fathers, the older women like mothers, the younger women like sisters, the younger men like brothers". He said, yeah, it is a familial environment, but it is a familial environment to equip people with God's point of view. The Bible knows nothing of an unchurched Christian. There's no such thing.

Person says, "Well, I don't have to go to church to be a Christian". You're absolutely right. You become a Christian by faith alone in Christ alone. To be part of the church is a commitment to be identified and dynamically involved with a local body of believers who are learning to live kingdom lives under the lordship of Jesus Christ. His identity and involvement, it's not just sitting, soaking, and sorrowing. It's serving a king and his kingdom like our servicemen and servicewomen serve the kingdom of the United States of an army, whatever branch they're in. We serve the King of kings and the Lord of lords as his church. Jesus said, in Matthew chapter 16, verses 18 and 19, "I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it, and I will give the church the keys to the kingdom".

God doesn't skip the church house to fix the White House. He doesn't skip his grocery store if the culture wants to eat right. And so he says, "I will give the church," and Matthew 18, "the keys to the kingdom". He says, "I'm gonna give the church the keys," that's access, "to me, have keys of the kingdom of heaven, and if they use my keys, I will give them my authority. Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven. Whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven". He says, "I am going to give you my authority on earth because you're using the keys that belong to me in Heaven". So how can we have all these churches on all these corners with all these programs, all these members, all these leaders, all these preachers, and still have all this mess? There's a dead monkey on the line somewhere.

How can you have the 11 o'clock on Sunday morning, being the most segregated hour in America, and people still usin' Jesus's name and calling themselves "the church"? Why? Well, because we usin' wrong keys. We got cultural keys, racial keys, gender keys. What we don't use are kingdom keys. He says, "and the way you know you're being the church is the gates of hell shall not prevail against you". Hell can't you stop you. So, if you know hell can't stop you, humans can't stop you 'cause you're using keys that belong to a whole 'nother order, and those keys have to do with God's view on the whatever the subject happens to be. So he says that we are to represent him as his kingdom people.

Over and over again in the New Testament, Ephesians chapter 1, verse 22 and 23, Jesus is head of the church, and we are his body to carry his viewpoint, he says, to fill everything. That's why we want each of you to become a kingdom disciple who is a kingdom servant that makes a kingdom impact. He says in Ephesians chapter 3, verse 10, he says, God checks with the church before he deals with the principalities and the powers. So if you're tryin' to deal with the principalities and the powers, and God says, "I'm not gon' skip you to help them. I'm gon' start with you 'cause, if I can't get you straight, they're sure not gonna listen to me".

And so he says to Timothy, "Timothy, you make sure the people who come to this grocery store, this food place spiritually, are people who understand the church, that you're not just showing up for a service once a week or twice a week. You're learning how to live out a divine frame of reference in all of life". And how do you do it? Well, he says, the church, how one ought to conduct himself 'cause that has to do with how you're living. In the household of God, he calls the church a family, a household, and then says, "which is the church of the living God". I hope everybody understands God is alive, okay? "The church of the living God," so we're not just out here talkin' smack and talkin' up in never-never land and fairy dust. He is the living God, and then he says, "the church of the living God, which is the pillar and support of the truth".

Okay, now, you have to understand what's going on here. Remember, I told you, Timothy is pastoring Ephesus Bible Fellowship. If you were living in biblical days and you went to Ephesus, everybody would be talkin' about one thing because located in Ephesus was one of the Seven Wonders of the World. It was called the Temple of Artemis or the Temple of Diana. It was one of the seven wonders of the then-known world. People came from all around the world to see this massive tribute and statue to the goddess of all gods, Diana or Artemis. When you read Acts chapter 19, you will see they had built a whole economy around Artemis because that was like, you know, goin' on vacation to some awesome, like, people goin' to Italy to the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and they got all the artifacts surrounding it, and people would buy and sell. It became a place of economic development and economic impact.

So it was a beast. That's why you went there. Well, in the Temple of Diana, they had a hundred pillars. You know, the pillar in a building? You know, it's holding up the roof. It comes from the floor and holds up the roof. This thing was so massive, it had a hundred pillars sitting on the foundation to carry it up to the rooftop. So Paul didn't just choose that word. He's talkin' to Timothy in Ephesus, and he says, "They got pillars to a lie". Read Acts 19. "They believin' the wrong thing and are giving it worship. They're worshipin' the wrong thing". And this hot mess we done got ourselves into with the nation, it's 'cause we got folk worshipin' the wrong thing and building pillars to it. It's a hundred pillars, and everybody's coming' to Artemis, and he says, "No, no-no-no, you build a pillar in the church to the truth".

He says, "The pillar and foundation, you lay the groundwork for the truth, and you build up people's lives, the pillar of their life, the pillar of their family, the pillar of their culture, the pillar of their society. You build up things based on the truth, not based on the pursuit of a lie. It is the ground," he says, "and pillar of the truth," he says, "because we want men to operate differently," the conduct, he says, "that men know how to conduct themselves". Guess what? God calls all of creation "God's house," 'cause all "The earth is the Lord's, the fullness thereof, the world, and all they that dwell in it". See, this whole thing is God's house.

Now, if you go out and create your own world, you can do your own thing, but the moment you insist that your rules operate in my house, we're gon' be in conflict. You're gon' be in conflict because your rules and my rules don't, well, they're not agreeing. We are going to be in conflict. We are living in a world in conflict with God, and so people are in conflict with one another 'cause folk are in conflict with God because we do not want to accept his truth, and while the world can do that out there, he says, "Believers, those who name Jesus Christ", he comes now to his final point. He says, "Timothy, you make sure, when they show up, they hear the truth, they hear it with clarity, they hear it with love, but they hear the truth". And then he says in verse 16, "By common confession, great is the mystery of godliness".

Say that again. He says, "By common confession," something we all agree on, common confession, this is somethin' everybody should be saying, "great is the mystery of godliness". Now, that statement didn't come out of nowhere. When you read Acts 19, verse 28, the people who had come to see Artemis said, "Great is Artemis". That's what they say in Acts chapter 19, verse 28. Paul picks that up and says, "Oh, yeah, there's somethin' great, but it ain't her". He says, "Timothy, when the people gather at the grocery store of truth, everybody should be saying, 'Great is the mystery of godliness.'" So let me talk about the word "mystery". In the Bible, the word "mystery" refers to "something that was concealed in the Old Testament that was revealed in the New Testament," okay?

And it's called a "mystery". That word is used throughout the New Testament, refers to something that was either unknown or unclear in the Old Testament that has been now made clear in the New Testament. When he says the word "Great is the mystery," this is a shout, "Great is the mystery of godliness". It was a confession he says. It was something they blurted out, and they said it at one time: "Great is the mystery of godliness". It was a shout, and then they sang a song because the rest of verse 16 is a hymn. It was a hymn that they would sing after they cheered and shouted. He says, "This confession will make you wanna shout: 'Great is the mystery.' I haven't even told it to you yet, and I feel like shoutin'". "Great is the mystery".

What was concealed in the Old Testament that wasn't clear or fully revealed in the sacrifices, fully revealed in the worship, fully revealed in the Jewish laws, fully revealed in the books of the Old Testament has now, bam, been made clear. So the question is what is the mystery? He said, "Let's sing a song". And he recites the hymn. Let's look at the verses. The first verse, "He was revealed in the flesh". That's called "incarnation". No, he wasn't beginning in the flesh. He was revealed in the flesh because "Unto us a child was born," but "Unto us a son is given". The Son existed before the child was born. That's called the "incarnation," God becoming a man in flesh. It's called the virgin birth.

See, what God did was he was in heaven and went, "click-click," took a selfie, and up pops Jesus Christ in a manger. Impregnated Mary by the Holy Spirit so that he's fully God, fully man in one person, and that leaves him to wanna shout. "Great is this mystery" in the Incarnation. He goes to the next verse, "was vindicated in the Spirit". So he goes from incarnation to vindication. What vindicated Jesus? Why do we not make Jesus ordinary, and we make Jesus extraordinary? Well, the virgin birth is not enough, but in case you didn't get it, he proved to be who he said he was, and the way he proved to be what he said he was, is by a sinless life, by his miracles, and by his resurrection.

So even if you didn't believe what he said, you could see what he did. So he moved from incarnation to vindication. Let's go to the next verse, "seen by angels". That's visualization. The angels showed up at his birth. The angels showed up in his temptation. Angels showed up in his death. Angels showed up in his resurrection. And whenever he ran into demons, they shook. So the spiritual world couldn't ignore him and vindicated that he was who he declared himself to be.

Let's go to the next verse, "proclaimed among the nations," that's "proclamation," that there's nowhere you can go where his name is not held in high honor, where Jesus the Christ is not given the props that are due him as the King of kings, the Lord of lords, the eternal Son of God. He goes to the next verse. He says, "believed on in the world". That's "confession". You'll hear people confessing the name of Jesus on every continent. You'll find him in every hole. You will find him in the most inconspicuous of places. Why? Because of who he was, God has made sure that people know and give attesting to the uniqueness of Jesus Christ. Then he gives the final verse of a song. Song. He says, "taken up to glory".

That's the ascension after the Resurrection. After Jesus rose from the dead, 40 days later, he stepped on a cloud in his glorified body. An angel showed up again and said, "Why do you men stand here gazing up into the heavens? This same Jesus that's gone is going to return". I don't know about you, but that makes a man wanna shout. What is the mystery of godliness? It is the uniqueness of Jesus Christ. It is God become a man in the person of Christ, so don't you apologize for Jesus Christ. Don't you be ashamed of Jesus Christ. Don't you hide him behind a bush just because his person is offensive. Anybody who gave his life for you, died for you, rose for you, ascended for you, coming back for you, you don't apologize for. You give honor to his name. He's King of kings and Lord of lords, and that is a common confession.

Everybody who comes to church ought to confess. I don't just believe in God. That's generic. I recognize his Son because the Bible says, in 1 Corinthians 1, truth is in Jesus because Philippians chapter 2, verses 9 through 11, "at the name of Jesus every knee should bow and every tongue should confess that Jesus is Lord, to the glory of the Father". So excuse me, if I stick with Jesus, excuse me, if I stick with the truth, excuse me, if I speak it to the church because he is the mystery of godliness, and he deserves our undivided and undiminished praise. Somebody, stand and give him a common confession.

God has a central location that he has created and designed to hold the truth and deposit it in the lives of people, and that central location is the church. When the church is being what God created the church to be, it lays a foundation where people can know they can hear the voice of God accurately proclaimed so that they can inculcate it into their lives for good and for the benefit of others. When you go to church, you should be going to a location that's not gonna give you what men or society has to say but what God has to say on every subject.
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