31
Aug

Three Important Truths for Spiritual Clarity


Have you ever felt frustrated by the number of denominations religions, philosophies, and opinions that demand your attention? Did you ever have confusion about how to discern whether something or someone had the truth? How do you know if what I’m saying here on A Voice in the Desert is the truth. And how can you work out if opponents to this channel are telling the truth or not? In this video, I’m going to give you three solid and irrefutable points for spiritual clarity By irrefutable, I mean that if you accept the first point (or premise) as being true the next two points are the logical conclusions that follow. These are the three points that all sincere Christians would agree with, or at least give lip service to. And if you actually take them seriously and apply them in your day-to-day life they will eliminate any spiritual confusion that you might have particularly when it comes to working out what God’s will is and who is working in unity with God’s will versus who is fighting against it. Now some people think the solution is found by studying the Bible. There’s some truth to that, but it’s not the whole picture. The Bible has been used to justify a great number of things and virtually every Christian denomination in the world claims to be based on the Bible. That’s why just trying to work out if something is biblical or not is not good enough when it comes to determining what God really wants of us amidst all the spiritual confusion that abounds. Thousands and thousands of preachers, teachers, pastors and YouTubers all claim to be teaching things that are biblical. Tithing is biblical. Circumcision is biblical. Water baptism is biblical. Resting on Saturdays is biblical. Meeting on Sundays is also biblical, and so is virtually anything that anyone wants to preach. Want to own slaves? Don’t worry. It’s biblical. How about going to war? Yep, that’s biblical too. And many denominations and armies quote the Bible to support the practice. Hey, you want more than one wife? Guess what? That practice is also a biblical. Get the picture? Just asking yourself whether something is biblical or not is not good enough especially when we have centuries of religious tradition that has brainwashed us into thinking that everything the churches are doing is biblical just because they can point to some obscure passage from the Bible to support their practices. Ironically, many other things that are also biblical like selling everything you have and giving the money to the poor working for God full-time instead of money, living in community and sharing all things in common are often strongly argued against on the basis that they are not biblical even though there are more scriptures in the New Testament to support those practices than any of the other things I mentioned before. But there are three concise, solid, and irrefutable statements that can help you eliminate all the noise and give you a great spiritual clarity. Now, the first statement is really the premise for everything that follows. Technically, non-believers could say that it is refutable. But I’m supposing that you’re a Christian, and that, for you, as a Christian, You will consider this statement as an irrefutable statement of Christianity. The statement is simply this: Jesus is the truth. This simple statement can clarify many things for you if you’ll just believe it. Jesus himself said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father, but by me.” But do you believe it? Do you really believe that Jesus is the truth? Don’t quickly dismiss this statement as another religious cliche, you quickly spout out with your mouth without giving it the significance it deserves. This is actually the first point you will have to resolve if you are ever going to have spiritual clarity. But it’s not enough to simply say, “yes, I believe it”, or to agree superficially. It requires a decision on our part. Either Jesus is the truth, or he is not. There are no two ways about it. Jesus doesn’t give us that option. When Jesus was questioned by Pilate Jesus said, “to this end was I born…” “And for this cause came I into the world: that I shall bear witness unto the truth.” “Every one that is of the truth hears my voice.” So according to Jesus, he primarily came to earth to give witness to the truth. And anyone who wants to know the truth listens to Jesus. Do you hear that? Is it getting through? After hearing this statement by Jesus, Pilate walked off saying, “what is truth?”. He lived in a cynical world of politics where there was no truth. Where it was just one opinion over another. And when he was faced with the truth, he couldn’t recognize it. Is that what is happening to you? This is a fundamental point that you have to accept or reject. But if you accept it–if you truly accept that Jesus is the truth– then you will see that the 2 following logical conclusions that result from this first fundamental premise are solid truths that will give you great spiritual clarity if you’ll just make the effort to use them to filter out all the religious noise that you are bombarded with each day. The first logical conclusion that follows from believing that Jesus is the truth, is this: If it contradicts what Jesus teaches, it cannot be true. When we believe that Jesus is the truth then there is no possibility that some false message can deceive us, if we use Jesus as a filter. Any teaching (it doesn’t matter from whom) that contradicts the clear teachings of Jesus simply cannot be considered as truth. With this second point (that is, that if it contradicts what Jesus teaches, it cannot be true) we can eliminate the many false doctrines and traditions that we had accepted for many years in the religious system. No matter how many theologians agree with each other; if it contradicts the message of Jesus, it is not the truth. Can you see that? As a result, we have to question everything we’ve been taught. From our focus on money and material things religious rituals, public prayer and fasting, building luxurious buildings, and leadership titles. Everything has to be filtered through the teachings of Jesus. Even Paul taught that if he or an angel contradicts Jesus’ message we should regard them as cursed heretics, instead of disobeying Christ. He said that learning about Christ meant hearing Jesus’ teachings and being taught by him, since the truth is in Jesus. And that anyone who does not conform themselves to the wholesome words of Jesus knows nothing. He is proud, has a corrupt mind, and is destitute of the truth. The first chapter of John says that the law came through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. And Jesus himself said that his wisdom was greater than that of Solomon’s and that it was pointless to search the scriptures and think that by doing so you will find the key to eternal life if you won’t come to Jesus: the truth. The one to whom all the scriptures point. So if you know that Jesus does, in fact, teach that you must give up everything you have to be his disciple and you know that he did teach that we must sell our possessions and give to the poor that it wasn’t just a teaching for the rich young ruler, but that he taught it to his disciples (like in Luke 12 verse 33) and that he sent his disciples into all the world to teach others to obey everything that Jesus had commanded them to do then why listen to anyone who wants to teach you against obeying that teaching? Why tolerate a teaching that amounts to saying that obeying Jesus is optional. That God only wants you to be willing to obey it but that you should never listen to anyone like me, telling you to actually obey it. Do you really want to do what others have done, and continue in your double mindedness lukewarmness, and confusion by looking for Bible verses that contradict the clear teachings of Jesus just because what Jesus said requires a radical change in your life? If you would just start by accepting that Jesus is the truth and that any teaching that contradicts the teachings of Jesus cannot be true it would eliminate so much of your confusion, and it would open doors ro spiritual clarity in a genuine faith that would truly satisfy your soul. So the first fundamental, solid, and irrefutable truths that you can rely on, is that Jesus is the truth. And the second one is that if it contradicts what Jesus teaches, it cannot be true. However, aside from the many false doctrines that the devil has invented to contradict the teachings of Jesus there is another area where people are easily confused and that is when people look to anyone other than Jesus as their role model. So the following third statement can eliminate all of that confusion. The statement is simply this: If the example is not consistent with the example of Jesus, it is not to be followed. You see, Jesus is our greatest example. God wants to create us in the image of Jesus, and not in the image of any other person. Paul said that this is what God had predestined us for: to be conformed to the image of Jesus. Our whole Christian walk is about dying to our old self and putting on your new self created in the image of Christ. So what does the Bible say about Jesus’ example? Philippians 2 says: “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” “who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God” “but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant “and was made in the likeness of men.” “And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient unto death.” “Even the death of the cross.” Hebrews 12 says, “Look to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.” “Who, for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame.” “And is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” 2nd Corinthians 8 says, “for you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. That though he was rich” “yet for your sakes he became poor. That you, through his poverty, might be rich.” And 1st Peter 2 says, “for even hereunto you were called, because Christ also suffered for us” “Leaving us an example, that you should follow his footsteps.” Can you see how Jesus was the first one to forsake everything he had and distribute to the poor? Jesus’ command for us to give up everything we have and give to the poor is a miniature imitation of what he already did on a much grander scale. He forsook his position in heaven and made himself poor by taking on human form; Coming as a servant, and allowing himself to be spat on rejected, tortured, and killed so that we could be rich, spiritually. He calls on us to not store up treasures on earth but to store them up in heaven, because that is what he himself did while on the earth. He calls on us to love our enemies because he loved us while we were his enemies. And he calls on us to take up our cross because he took up his for us. Having Jesus as our ultimate example to follow doesn’t mean that we can’t learn from be inspired or even follow the example of others when those examples are consistent with what Jesus taught and did. Peter James, John, Andrew, Matthew, and the rest of the apostles all gave up everything they had to follow Jesus. And their examples are recorded in the Gospels as examples for us to follow. Look at how the early Christians responded to Jesus’ command to sell everything and give to the poor. “And all that believed were together, and had all things common, and sold their possessions and goods” “And parted to all men, as every man had need. And then, in another chapter of Acts, it says: “and the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and one soul.” “Neither said any of them that any of the things which he possessed was his own” “but they had all things in common.” “And with great power the Apostles gave witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus “and great grace was upon them all.” “Neither was there any among them that lacked” “for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them” “and brought the prices of the things that were sold and laid them down at the Apostles’ feet.” “And distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.” That’s right! All that believed forsook everything they had in obedience to Jesus. And they all shared all things in common. We can learn and be inspired by that example. We know that this is an example that we can safely follow because it is consistent with the teachings of Jesus and with Jesus’ own example. But all the Apostles and all of those early Christians were still fallible. We are not to follow them in areas which appear to contradict the clear teachings of Jesus and his example. I know that even with all my own attempts to follow Jesus, I still fall short. I would hate to see anyone use my own failings as an excuse to justify themselves not striving to follow Jesus 100% of the way. So while we can be inspired and encouraged by the example of others we must only take the example of Jesus as our primary goal. We want to be like him more than any other person. If we see a religious leader show an example contrary to Jesus then we have the responsibility as disciples of Christ to reject the inferior example, and follow Christ ourselves. Ironically, people often do the opposite. They want to follow the examples of people who did things that seem to be contrary to the teachings and the example of Jesus, while arguing that we are not obliged to follow the Apostles or the early Christians in areas where their examples are consistent with what Jesus said and did. That’s why it’s important to pay attention to what Jesus said about the false prophets and teachers. By their fruits you will know them. Just make sure you know what fruits you need to be looking for because some people have argued that if you get bad press, that’s bad fruit. Or if you’ve ever been arrested on false charges, that’s bad fruit. Or even if you are accused by others of being evil and manipulative, then that is bad fruit. Ironically, Jesus said that others speaking badly of you casting your name out as evil and falsely accusing of things, is a sign of good fruit. Because that is the way the true prophets of God have always been treated. So the third ,solid, and irrefutable statement is this: If the example is not consistent with the example of Jesus, it is not to be followed. So if you have Jesus as your primary example then you should be able to work out who is genuinely trying to follow him and who is not just by comparing his example to the example of others. As John put it in his epistle: “Whoever says he abides in Jesus should live the same way that Jesus lived.” Now, if you really want to reject what Jesus said about forsaking all you can probably find some example in the Bible of someone who perhaps didn’t do it the way Jesus taught. Or the way that every single believer did it in Acts 2 and 4. You may find some apparent exception to the rule. Like the demon-possessed man, who has been used as a justification for not following Jesus on the grounds that Jesus told him to go back to his family. Or you can use some double minded person like Nicodemus or Joseph of Arimathea as your role model and argue that if they seem to have gotten away with not obeying Jesus’ teaching to forsake all then you can get away with it too. Hey, you could even go as far as to use some obscure mention of Dorcas making clothes for widows and and twist it into a justification for selling clothes at a department store Or claim that Paul had a tent business and therefore you were totally justified in working for money and having a business yourself. But who would you be fooling? Certainly not God. He’s not going to ask you whether you followed Paul, Joseph of Arimathea, or the demon-possessed man. He’s going to ask you to show evidence that you followed Jesus/ Jesus is the truth. If it contradicts what Jesus teaches, it cannot be true. If the example is not consistent with the example of Jesus, it is not to be followed These three solid points are so simple that most people dismiss them and go in search of some other way to discover the truth. But those of us who take them seriously will develop spiritual clarity, and a faith that will be difficult to shake. Because it will be built on the solid rock of Jesus and his teachings. God bless you.

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