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

Tony Evans - The Reception of Truth

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

God is the only absolute source who can give an absolute standard about all subjects. Therefore, the starting place to know truth is what God has revealed. It is the revelation of God. We all know what it is to have abandoned truth, believed a lie, and paid the consequences for it. We're watching a world do that before our very eyes. The truth, as revealed by God, in order for it to benefit us, must be received. That's why 1 Thessalonians chapter 2, verse 13, reads, "For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really or truly is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe".

In order for the word of truth to work, it must be received. In order for the truth to do what the truth has been designed and revealed to accomplish, it must be received. If you don't receive it, it doesn't change it from being the truth. It changes it from benefiting you as the truth. He says three things in this verse regarding receiving the truth. The first of all, you gotta hear what the truth is. He says, in verse 13, "You received the word which you heard from us". You've got to receive the word. You've got to know what it is that you should be believing.

Paul told Timothy in 2 Timothy chapter 4, he says, "I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by the appearing of His kingdom, preach the word, be ready in season and out of season, reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance with their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths".

We're living in a day when people have turned aside to myths, good-sounding, popular myths because they have abandoned the truth, and one of the reasons is that the truth is not being clearly proclaimed. He says, Paul to Timothy, "You are to preach," he says, "the word," that is, the Scriptures, so that people get the truth, he says, "because there's coming a time when people will want their ears tickled". They'll want their ears scratched. They won't want the truth. They'll just wanna be placated. They will wanna be made to feel good. They will want doughnut sermons. He says, "rebuke and reprove, correct".

We live in a day when, instead of the Word being preached, culture is being preached, race is being preached, politics is being preached, theories are being preached rather than what God says being preached because nobody wants to be offended. Well, if you're believing a lie, the truth will offend you. It's gonna offend you not because we're trying to be offensive but because that's what truth does when you're believing a lie. We're living in a day when people can't receive the truth 'cause, in many places, they're not getting the truth, and when I say "truth," I'm not talkin' about what a person says. I'm talkin' about what God's Word says. He says, "Preach the Word". He says, "Be in season and out of season". The Greek word for "season" means "convenient". Preach the truth when they clap, and preach the truth when they boo.

Paul says, "Preach the word when it's convenient, when it's not convenient". Ezekiel 2:7, God says, "Speak My word to this rebellious house whether they like it or not". Jeremiah chapter 5, verse 30 and 31, says, "A horrible thing has happened to My people, and that is false prophets have taken the pulpit". Many people are not able to receive the truth because they're not being given the truth, and you measure the truth by the Word, not by the style, not by the personality, not by the popularity, not by the notoriety but by its bibliocentricity, whether it is consistent with the revealed will and revelation of God. Why should the Word trump everything else? Well, Hebrews chapter 4, verses 12 and 13, tell you, "For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of joint and marrow and is able to judge the thoughts and intents of the heart".

And there is no creature hidden from His sight, and all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do. He says, "The reason why you wanna go to the Word is 'cause it's alive, not a dead book". It's a living document because it's backed up by a living person. In verse 12, he talks about the Word of God, and then, in verse 13, he says, "and His eyes are open," 'cause the Word of God is alive. It's backed up by the person of God. The word "active" has to do with the word we get our English word "energized" from. It has a battery in it. It's alive. He says it's a two-edged sword. It's not blunt. It's not blunt. It cuts on both sides. It can cut in time and cut for eternity. It cuts on both sides. It's not blunt. It's able to penetrate to the deepest level of life. It saves and condemns. He says it's alive, but when you leave the truth and, therefore, you leave the Word, you don't experience its life. It's a book that doesn't do anything for you.

Notice what he says. He says that the Word of God, he says is able to penetrate, "piercing into the division of the soul and the spirit". That's called deep stuff. This is the physical. The soul and the spirit is the immaterial. He says, this thing cuts so deep when it's allowed to be received that it can separate what is the inseparable, the soul and the spirit. You don't even know how to divide somethin' like that. He can tell you what's you versus what's God. Soul, you; Spirit, God, and you don't know which one is God, which one is you. He said, if you get enough Word, it'll slice that. It'll get so deep. We live in a culture today that has, as we have said throughout our series, abandoned truth, and it's all over the place. Truth about life, truth about death, truth about marriage, truth about singlehood, truth about identity, truth about government, truth about race, truth about class, truth about culture.

You know, you name the subject, and the abandonment is everywhere, and the tragedy is Christians who have itching ears too, they wanna hear the latest and the greatest. Unfortunately, we're sending a generation of kids to college how to find out how to be more ignorant because of the abandonment of truth, and he says that the thing that should mark the church of the living God is the proclamation of truth so that the Word can do its work because the Word won't do its work if you're not dealing with truth. But, let's say, you are exposed to truth, as we all should be, based on the Word of God. He says then, in 1 Thessalonians 2, "You received the truth".

So the truth that is proclaimed must be received for it to work. Again, if you don't receive it, it's still the truth. It just won't do its work for you. To receive the truth is to embrace it. That's why the Bible says in Colossians 3:16, "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly". It means it must be embraced, grabbed, held onto, inculcated. So that raises the question, doesn't it? How do you embrace truth? How do you embrace truth? James helps us with that. Let's walk through this for a moment. James chapter 1, beginning with verse 19, "This you know, my brethren, my beloved brethren". So he's talking to Christians. "But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger, for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God. Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your soul".

Now, these are already Christians, so he's not talkin' about gettin' saved to go to heaven. He's talkin' about having your life transformed on earth. So he's talkin' about spiritual transformation. He says, "I want you to receive," verse 21, he says, "receive the word implanted". So, if you really want to see truth, if you really wanna receive it, that means to welcome it, embrace it. He then says, "Put aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness". He says, "Receive the word, which is able to change you to save your soul". When you bring human wisdom into the equation, you block the flow of truth, a blocker to the truth that keeps the truth from delivering you from whatever it is that you need to be delivered from or anybody else you know because you've introduced a foreign subject, and that's man's view.

That's why 1 Thessalonians 2:13, says, "You did not receive this as the word of men. You received this as the word of God". You will never be full if all you do is chew and don't swallow. It may taste good, but you'll never get great benefit. You gotta swallow. The Word must be received. And how do you help it to be received? He says, in verse 22, "But prove yourselves to be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves". You're gon' trick yourself if all you're doin' is hearing it, saying, "Amen".

"For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror, but once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten the kind of person he was". He says, "If all you do is hear it and don't take a step to act on it, which proves that you've embraced it", your action proves the embrace, in verse 25, "But one who looks intently," oh, staring at it, "looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty," the law that frees you up, "and abides in it", that means you hang out with it, the truth, "not having become a forgetful hearer," leaving the sermon at the pew when the service is over, "but an effectual doer," because that means you've really received it, "this man will be blessed in what he does".

God is after spiritual transformation, but you must hear the Word, read it, hear it proclaimed in whatever ways that happens. You must then receive it, and then, finally, because he says at the end of 1 Thessalonians 2:13, "which can perform the work for you who believe". It performs. It works. It achieves. It accomplishes. It's not a waste of time. It accomplishes the work. When you take hold of the Word, the Word takes hold of you. When you take hold of the Word, the Word says, "What goes around comes around," and you begin to change your thinking, your perspective.

Oh, it doesn't mean you're perfect. It doesn't mean you don't have struggles, but you see changes. You don't react at the same level that you used to react. You aren't defeated at the same level you used to be defeated because something is changing because the Word has been freed to take root, to lodge itself in your soul through your spirit. So let's culminate this performance of the Word by calling your attention to a psalm. Psalm 19 is a psalm that describes the revelation of God, God revealing himself. He says God reveals himself in two ways, in the world and in the Word. Verse 1, "The heavens are telling the glory of God, and the expanse is declaring the works of His hands". He says nature preaches a sermon, and a creation needs a Creator, just the way it's obvious.

And so he spends the first six verses talking about the fact, verse 3, "There is no speech", nature doesn't talk, "nor are there words. Their voice is not heard, but the information has gone out". It's clear in Creation the reality of Almighty God. Then he comes to verse 7, and he wants to conclude by telling you about the Word. First, the world, then the Word. He says, first, "The law of the Lord is perfect," and then he gives you the benefit, "restoring the soul". "The law," the law is God's rule of life, "can restore your innards". It can turn you inside out. It can give you back the life you thought you lost.

Next, "The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple". You can count on it, sure, to help you to make the right decision, wise. Wisdom is the ability to make good decisions in life, based on God's truth. It is the skill of righteous living. It is the skill of living life as was meant to be lived, and look at how many bad decisions all of us have made. He says, "But the word is sure," and you can bank on it. It'll give you right decision-making.

Next, "The precepts of the Lord are right", the precepts are the doctrines, the theology, "rejoicing the heart". You're lacking joy? He says, when you learn sound doctrine, biblical truth, and that becomes your modus operandi, it will give you joy. Now, why does he tell you it will give you joy? Because joy gives you inner confirmation that you made the right decision.

Next, "The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes," that is, helping you to see clearly. Says, "The word will help you to see, enlightening". You're gon' see. Oh, you'll see behind the obvious. The curtain will be pulled back, and you'll be able to see reality based on the Word. "The fear of the Lord is clean," he says, "enduring forever". It will bring you fear of the Lord. Taking God seriously, it will bring, you know, it endures. In other words, it doesn't change with time. "The judgments," he says, "of the Lord are true. They are righteous altogether". They are the divine verdict, judgments. It keeps you from wandering off. It keeps you from going left or shows you the road back if you've gone left because you don't know which way to take to get back to where you need to be.

Oh, and by the way, he says, "They are more desirable than gold, yes, than fine gold". The Word of God is more important than a check. The Word of God is more important than your salary. The Word of God is more important than your bank account. The Word of God is more important than your 401, not because those things are not important and don't have their place, but you show me a person whose Bible is falling apart; I'll show you a person whose life is not falling apart because they've received the truth. If there is a radical return to truth, then what the machine of transformation is designed to produce, it will produce because "All scriptures inspired of God is profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be thoroughly furnished, completely equipped to live life".

If you want to take your spaghetti to the next level, Prego Spaghetti Sauce has offered to assist you. Prego Spaghetti Sauce says they will take your spaghetti to the next level. They say, if you pour Prego Spaghetti Sauce over your spaghetti, you're gonna enter into a new level of dining. Well, what if I want tomatoes? Well, Prego is gon' tell you it's already in there. Well, what if I wanna put some garlic over it? Well, Prego is gon' tell you it's already there. What if I want some onions? Well, Prego is gon' tell you it's already in there. What about some spices? You read the jar. It's already there.

Suppose I want some mushrooms? Prego gon' tell you it's already in there. What Prego is telling you is, if you have Prego, you don't need to go and shop for all this other stuff 'cause all you need to go to the next level is already in there. If you wanna learn how to be a man, it's already in here. If you wanna learn how to be the right kind of woman, it's already in here. If you wanna learn how to stay married, it's already in here. If you wanna learn how to be a victorious single, it's already in here.

If you wanna learn how to handle your finances right, it's already in here. If you wanna know how to have peace that passes understanding, it's already in here. If you all wanna know how to live life right, it's already in here. If you wanna know how to overcome addictions, it's already in here. If you wanna know how to get past the fear of death, it's already in here. If you wanna know how to heal racial division, it's already in here. If the government only wanted to know how to run a country, it's already in here. So if you have this, you don't have to go all over the place to get life right 'cause, guess what? This book knows how to take everything to the next level for those who are committed to returning to truth.

In order for God's Word to work in our lives, it must be activated by obedience. God's Word is true whether we obey it or not, but it doesn't become our experience until we walk in that truth, until we act on that truth, until we live out that truth. Then it becomes true for us. Go to God's Word and find the truth. Do what it says do so that you can experience the truth which means you will not be living a life of falsity, but you will be living out the truth as your experience so that others can see it as you benefit from it.
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