I changed my tagline earlier last year because I realized that truth was not being told in our culture, and often it wasn’t even being shared in church. The bedrock of understanding life is the truth, and the Bible says that the truth will set you free. So, in other words, no truth, no freedom.
Evil has many faces in our world, and some evil is front and center. Let’s take murder, for example. Everyone would say that someone like the mass murderer, Ted Bundy, was evil and there is no debate. There are other forms of evil operating in our world today, but many people just don’t see it.
I believe when Jesus said having eyes to see and ears to hear, this had to do with discerning truth and uncovering evil:
Matthew 13:15 For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.
The evil that is often overlooked is the evil of rebellion and insubordination, which are both sins relating to obedience. King Saul demonstrated this kind of evil:
1 Samuel 15:23 Rebellion is as sinful as witchcraft, and stubbornness as bad as worshiping idols. So, because you have rejected the command of the LORD, he has rejected you as king.
If God’s ways never change, then how does this apply to us today? Let me suggest a few ways.
If we rebel against God’s Words, it is as if we are practicing witchcraft and worshiping idols. Both practices are against God and the foundation of their practice are spirits of evil. This is where we have become blind and deaf. We will identify certain elements of evil such as murder, but ignore the elements of evil that affect the soul as we ignore obedience to God.
The truth of God’s word is designed to guide us to see and hear.
It has to be the foundation of our understanding of God and what He expects from those who choose to obey Him. Yet, there are large groups of people who pick and choose various elements of truth to follow, but ignore the whole. The key for Christians today is to regain a love and pursuit and passion for God’s word.
More than half of American adults, including 30% of evangelicals, say Jesus isn’t God but most agree He was a great teacher. ~2020 State of Theology Survey
This, of course, reflects how the culture has influenced church going people, and obviously made them rethink their absolutes. Recently, I was texting a person I often have debates with over political issues. This person surprised me by telling me I should stick to preaching Jesus because He was a safe discussion. I have wondered since that discussion what made Him safe in this person’s mind? I suppose to some people Jesus is just there, loving people and being presented as someone who is hopeful and in their corner. However, Jesus is far from being safe. If you really read about Him in the Bible, He requires His followers to forsake all, clean up their lives through integrity, forgiveness, and mercy. He tells them also to love their enemies, and do good to them. He doesn’t condone divorce, hatred, or adultery. All the things we as humans have become accustomed to doing, Jesus just doesn’t allow. So, how safe is He? Jesus is not safe and, in fact, is rather radical, and He demands His followers to become servants to everyone else.
Of course, when we talk about Jesus, we are talking about the truth. When we distort the truth, then we are really distorting Jesus. As the above-mentioned survey revealed, He is really a good teacher, but He is not God. The one thing that distinguishes Jesus Himself from all other religions was His claim that He was God and the only way to get into heaven. That’s the kicker isn’t it? We just can’t have only one way. If our modern world has taught us anything, we know that we have choices in everything we do, so why does religion have to have only one way? There has to be more to this story of God than Jesus’ claim of being the only way. The biggest mistake 52% of Americans and 30% of Evangelicals make, is to deny Jesus of His deity. Remember, Jesus said we needed to be careful about denying Him anything:
Matthew 10:33 But everyone who denies me here on earth, I will also deny before my Father in heaven.
This is another reason why Jesus is not safe. C. S. Lewis brought this out in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, when he was talking about Aslan the lion. (Jesus)
“Aslan is a lion-the Lion, the great Lion. “Ooh” said Susan. “I’d thought he was a man. Is he-quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion.” “Safe?” said Mr. Beaver …”Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”
Truth gets distorted because Jesus gets distorted. We make Him into a great teacher, a prophet, and even name a religion that has good values. But, if He is not God, all of this means nothing. Unless Jesus is who He said He is, all truth will remain distorted and untrue. He is the way, the truth, and the life.
Challenging the Culture with Truth … Larry Kutzler