Tony Evans - The Source of Truth
Today, I want to talk a little bit about the source of truth. We have looked at truths through a lens that has taken us in a lot of different areas. But just to remind you, truth is an absolute standard by which reality is measured. It is God's view on any subject matter. Truth lives outside of you. In other words, if it's true, it doesn't matter whether you agree with it. It doesn't matter whether you like it. It doesn't matter whether you feel it. It is true because God says it. And so the challenge of our lives and of our world is to adjust ourselves to God's point of view on all subject matters. Jesus says in John 17:17, "Sanctify them in the truth, your Word is truth". Sanctify them, grow them, change them, transform them in the truth. Your Word is truth.
Jesus said in Matthew 4:4, "Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God". Man does not live by bread alone, but he lives by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. This is your life. It is your personal life. It is your family life. It is your church life. It is your cultural life. It is your political life. It is your racial life. It is your academic life. It is your economic life. This is your life. And if you want to live well in any of those arenas, or any one that I did not mention, man does not live merely by the physical that he takes in, bread alone. But if you're going to live life, he lives by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.
The source of truth, the place you go to find truth, the place you run to to discover truth is God's Word. It is the location that God has established where truth can be located. It is your first place that you go. Before you buy what anybody else says the question is, does it agree or disagree with God's Word? For God is true and therefore, as we have seen, let every man be a liar. But we live in a day of lies. We live in a day where people in general and even Christians are being duped by errant information or by partial truth. In fact, it is couture to lie today, whether it's personal or whether it's systemic, to promote ideas, ideologies, philosophies, perspectives that are errant and false in their presuppositions. And the problem is today, when you come with the truth, you are the one rejected.
There was a time when if you came with the truth, there would be respect for the truth even if the person didn't like it or didn't agree with it. But today, the truth is canceled. God says in Amos chapter 8, verses 11 and 12, he says, "There was a famine in the land and the nature of the famine was that there was a famine for the Word of God". And so he said, "And the people staggered". Because they had no divine truth and so they staggered. You're looking at a staggering culture. We are staggering on every possible subject matter. We're staggering in our relationships. We're staggering in our orientation. We're staggering with this channel having one view, this channel having another view, this person coming at it this way, that person coming at it this way, enough to drive you out your natural mind. That is because there is a famine in the land, and he says it is the famine of God's Word. Because God's Word is no longer viewed as absolute truth, but merely one of many other opinions.
We find ourselves living in a duped society and being duped by it, and that is because we do not, many do not have a clear understanding of scripture. The Bible is not merely words about God. Many people will quote it, relate to it, be inspired by it, who don't treat it like it ought to be treated. The Bible is not merely words about God. It is the voice of God in print. It is as though God was here talking, and he just happened to have it written. It's the voice of God in print. And until you decide, I decide, we decide that we're gonna treat it as the absolute source of truth, then it will simply be one of the many ideas that come across your path, and you will look at it, read it, listen to it, but be unaffected by it. And so it is absolutely critical that you get the right view of scripture.
When God's Word has clearly spoken on a subject, that is the end of the debate. That is the end of discussion. The discussion from then is understanding and applying, not accepting. But until you and I and we develop this radical understanding of scripture, it will be of little use to us. Scripture is the revelation of God. I want to give you a few concepts so that you grab scripture with the right mindset. It is divine disclosure. By revelation, we mean divine disclosure. It's where somebody, if you're in a theater, pulls back the curtain so you can see what's behind it. Revelation is when God gives the content of what he wants you to know.
This is spoken of in Isaiah 55, beginning with verse 8, "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there without watering the earth and making it bear and sprout and furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so will my Word be which goes forth out of my mouth. It will not return to me empty without accomplishing what I desire and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it". He says, "The reason why you need to pay attention to me and my Word is I don't think like you. My thoughts are not your thoughts. I don't roll like you. My ways are not your ways. In fact, they not even close. As high as the heaven is above the earth, that's how different we are".
So that's revelation, it's divine disclosure. Inspiration is the recording of what he has disclosed. Revelation is the content, inspiration is the recording of the content so we can get it. The Bible says in 2 Peter chapter 1, where Peter is describing how we got the Bible, he says, beginning with verse 19, "So we have the prophetic Word made more sure to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place," pay attention to the Word, "until the day dawns and the morning star rises into your heart". So stick with the Word until your heart can grab it. "But know this, first of all". Let's get first thing straight. "No prophecy of scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God".
So how you got revelation, what God wanted to say, was through inspiration where the Holy Spirit moved in the minds of the Old and New Testament authors of scripture to write what God wanted written and nothing more and nothing less. The Holy Spirit oversaw what was being written that would make up the canon of scripture so that what we have in the Bible is what God wanted to be in the Bible. He says nothing in his Word came 'cause folk made it up by human will. It came because God oversaw what was in the head that flowed to the hand that came out of the pen. And it was all overseen by him. It says, "They were moved". The Greek word "move" has the picture of a sail on a sailboat being blown by the wind, and the wind determines where the sailboat goes. It's a picture of a leaf being blown by the wind, and you've seen leaves fly all over the place.
And so, the Holy Spirit blew on Paul, and he wrote this. And he blew on Peter, and he wrote that. And he blew on John, and he wrote that. That's why Peter's style is different than John's style. And John's style is different than Paul's style. And Paul's style is different than Moses's style because he blew on different personalities. But you object, you say, "But wait a minute. How can it be a perfect book when it was written by imperfect men"? I regularly hear this, "Man wrote it, so it cannot be viewed as a perfect document". But with that argument, Jesus could not be viewed as the perfect Son of God. For Mary's egg was fertilized by the Holy Spirit, and Mary was a sinner. But the Bible is clear that Jesus was sinless.
So how could Jesus be sinless when the fertilized egg came from a sinful mother? Because the scripture says that she was impregnated by the work of the Holy Spirit. So the Holy Spirit protected Jesus's birth from taking on a sin nature that his mother possessed so that birthed in the virgin birth could be the sinless Son of God, because while Mary was his human mother, God was his divine Father. And the divine Father protected the sin nature of the human mother from being transferred to the pure child. In the same way that God protected Jesus from the sin nature of his mother, he protected the living Word, the written Word, from the sin nature of its authors.
So you can have a perfect Savior and a perfect scripture because you've got a perfect Holy Spirit blocking out anything errant to get into the mix. Scripture is the voice of God in print. But let's back up for a moment. Let's take away its divine authorization, let's just call it a history book. Let's just say it's religious history. The only way you know anything in history that you weren't around to see and nobody else was around to see is because of the record. There's a record. We know about George Washington, not 'cause you met him, talked to him, entertained him. No, you've got a written record, and that record tells us about George Washington. You've got documents. But I don't hear anybody saying, "George Washington didn't exist 'cause I ain't see him".
I don't hear anybody saying, "Abraham Lincoln didn't exist 'cause I didn't see him". No, what you saw was the record, and the record was legit. And because the record was legit, you believe it is true history. And pick anything else that nobody alive today was around the see, you will appeal to the record. If you just look at the Bible as history, it meets the test of a good record. Over and over again, the Bible authenticates itself as great history. Well, if we believe what the Bible says about other things, why shouldn't we believe what it says about itself? He says, "This Word is so accurate and so complete and so comprehensive that the smallest strokes in the alphabet are going to be fulfilled".
God warns in Revelation 22:18, "Anybody who adds to this book or takes away from this book will get plagues," for messing with this book. Because God is protecting, covering, his Word. Matthew 24:25, "Heaven and earth will pass away before God's Word does". Matthew chapter 11 says these words by Jesus as he prays. Verse 25, "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants. Yes, Father, for this way was well pleasing in your sight. All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, nor does anyone know the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son will reveal him". He says in verse 25, "You have hidden these things from the smart people, from the wise and intelligent".
You ever met anybody too smart for their britches? The wise and the intelligent, that is, they've got human wisdom. They have educated themselves into oblivion. And he says when you choose human wisdom over divine inspiration and God's disclosure, when you choose human perspective over that, God hides himself from you. God's revelation is not equal to everybody's ability to grasp it because it must be grasped on his terms or else he'll hide it from you, because God doesn't want to waste words. Scripture is prominent and scripture is inerrant. Inerrant means without error. When it was given to the writers of the Bible, it was given with perfection.
Jesus said in John chapter 8, verse 31, he says, "Those who abide in my Word are truly my disciples". You cannot be his disciple and reject his Word, you can't. So to say, "I'm gonna be a kingdom disciple," and to not hold his Word in high esteem, Jesus says you not true. You not for real. What's missing today are Christians who will stand on his Word with the right attitude and the right spirit, but with crystal clear clarity because it is flawless. It makes no mistakes on anything it talks about, and it talks about everything we need to know about. But in our post-Christian environment, this is not what you're gonna get. You may get some respect for the Bible, but that's about it. You won't get yielding to it because human intelligence will take over. And therefore, God's power and presence will be hidden from you.
In John chapter 10, these profound words, verse 35, "If he called them gods to whom the Word of God came," and then it concludes with, "and the scripture cannot be broken". Let me tell you what that means. It can't be canceled. To be broken means to be annulled or canceled or rendered inoperative, okay? You can try to cancel it, but you'll be canceled by it. The world tries to cancel it all the time, only to find out that when they do, the repercussions of the cancellation attempt is gonna revert back on them, and it won't be good. The scriptures cannot be broken. They cannot be canceled. They cannot be annulled. It can look like it. It can look like God's Word is losing, but give it time, and it will demonstrate its authority.
2 Timothy chapter 3, verse 16. I'm gonna read from verse 14, "You are ever to continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of knowing from whom you have learned them. And that from a childhood you have known the sacred writings," the Bible, "which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus". Verse 16, "All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training and righteousness so the man of God may be adequate and equipped for every good work. All scripture is inspired," and then he says, "by God". From the first verse in Genesis to the last verse in Revelation, it is all God breathed. And when you treat it like it is the Word of God, not the Word of men that just makes you feel good on a Sunday morning or inspires you, but you treat it like it is the Word of God, he said, it is able to save you.
Now, Timothy's already saved. He's already on his way to heaven. So he's not talking about it will make you a Christian. That's where you start, but he says it will deliver you in your life. The word "saved" means to be rescued. It will give you wisdom. It will show you how to make better decisions. I'm sure if all of our hands were raised from up here to down there and back again, we could say, "I wish I would have listened to God earlier because I wouldn't have had this happen, that happen, this happen, that happen".
The Bible is the source of truth. You and I are to be people of the truth and if you're going to be a person of the truth, you must be willing to be a person of scripture. You must willing to be a person who says, "I don't just want to own God's Word, I don't just want to have God's Word, I want to know what he says about the subjects that I'm dealing with. And if I can't find it, I'll find somebody else who can find it, so that I can begin to use it so that I can see that the Word works". It is not merely information about God. It is the voice of God in print. And may we never wander from the centrality of the Word of God, because if we hold tight to it, it will demonstrate it wants to hold tight to you.
Where do you go to find truth? Not just opinions or perspectives, but a final Word that you can trust? God has deposited truth in his Word, the holy scriptures. Jesus made it plain, "Sanctify them in the truth". John 17:17 says, "Thy Word is truth". All scripture is written with divine imprint and inspiration, without error. If you really want to know the bottom line on all subjects, you want to go to God's inerrant, without error, Word, then you'll have the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God. The truth is in the Bible.