Have you ever been told a lie?
Maybe you received an email promising $5 million from the prince of Nigeria if you just give your bank account number. Perhaps someone promised that you could make $97 an hour working from home for Google. But maybe the lies you’ve been told were much worse. As a pastor, I not only hear and sometimes believe lies, but I witness the lies many other people believe.
Here are a few lies that many of us believe:
- Money can buy happiness.
- Real men drive trucks.
- Real men eat meat.
- Real men are idiots.
- Real women are sex objects.
- You’ll never measure up.
- You’re not adequate.
- God can’t love you.
- You don’t know enough.
- You’re too short, too tall, too fat, or too skinny.
- You’re not strong enough.
- God can’t use you.
- You’re too bad.
- You are the exception (to truths like God loves everyone).
- Life is meaningless.
- Success equals significance.
- There is no hell.
- We all worship the same God.
- It doesn’t matter what you think just what you do.
- My good works will outweigh my bad works someday.
- Everyone ends up in heaven.
- Good people go to heaven.
- God doesn’t care about our bedroom or bank account just our heart.
- The New England Patriots don’t cheat.
All lies! One innocent, the rest dangerous. Some even deadly and all, except one, has the potential to ruin our faith. What we believe changes the way we live. Any lie we ever believed has changed the way we behaved. We have an enemy that wants to steal, kill, and destroy us (John 10:10). We also know that his primary means is through deception (Genesis 3:1; John 8:44). How do we battle the lies? The answer is with God’s truth (Ephesians 6:17).
God’s truth is the primary tool He uses to transform our lives.
But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:14-17
Verse 16 is one of the central verses in the Bible about the Bible. However, it is sandwiched between two verses that talk about transformation. Verse 15 tells us how God used the Scriptures (Old Testament) to make Timothy wise for salvation.The gospel in the Old Testament pointed Timothy to salvation in Jesus Christ. Verse 17 shows how God uses the Scriptures after salvation to do a work of transformation by equipping Timothy (and by implication us) for the good works He has planned for us (see Eph 2:8-10). What does He use? Verse 16 tells us that it is “All scripture.”
The scripture Paul refers to most likely just includes the Old Testament, but we can apply this verse to the New Testament as well. We know Jesus considered His own words to be God’s Word (John 14:10) and told the apostles that they would be guided into all truth (John 16:13). We know they would teach based on Spirit guided truth (1 Corinthians 2:13). We even see Peter equating Paul’s writings to Scripture in (2 Peter 3:16). We are told here that all Scripture is God-breathed and we are told how this happens (2 Peter 1:20-21).
All of the Bible is from God and inspired by God. Even Leviticus. It’s there we see many of the Old Testament sacrifices that point us to the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Leviticus first taught us to love our neighbors as ourselves (Leviticus 19:18). Even those hard names to read in genealogies are God’s Word to us. It is through those genealogies that God shows us that He keeps His promises. He shows us that His timing is not always our timing. He shows us He can use all kinds of people. Read the characters in Matthew 1, the genealogy of Jesus. You’ll find names like Solomon and Rahab. God shows us His grace and that He uses all kinds of people. All Scripture is useful and profitable.
I remember the first Bible I was given after Jesus saved me. It was given to me by the man who told me about a relationship with Christ and shared with me from the Scriptures how I could be forgiven of my sins and brought into a right relationship with God. Inside the cover of the Bible, he wrote a note about God’s Word and two verses.
How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word. I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Psalm 119:9-11
Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Joshua 1:8
There are numerous verses to look at to better understand God’s Word (Psalm 119:1-176; Ephesians 6:17; Hebrews 4:12; Psalm 19; James 1:18-24). Jesus prayed that God would use His word to transform us. But the Word of God is not just great literature. It is not just a good book, or a best seller, or contain great stories, poems, and songs. It all points to the Word in the flesh, Jesus Christ. Read John 1:1-14. God uses His truth to transform our minds (Romans 12:1-2), to defeat the lies (Luke 4:4), and to make us like His Son (John 17:17). How does God do this? Look back at 2 Timothy 3:16 to see four things He does through the Word.
God’s Truth Teaches Us.
We can’t do what we are supposed to do, if we don’t even know what we are supposed to do. We have to know God’s Word. God uses His Word to teach us.
my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge. Hosea 4:6
God’s Truth Rebukes Us.
A rebuke is being told what is wrong that needs to be changed. King David is rebuked by Nathan in 2 Samuel 12. Peter is rebuked by Jesus in Matthew 16:23. We need to be rebuked because there are things in our lives, sometimes sinful like David, but often things we think are good and right like Peter but they are not of God. Most of us don’t set out to believe a lie that will destroy us. Instead, we are deceived into thinking what we believe is right. When we do this, we need to be rebuked.
God’s Truth Corrects Us.
To be rebuked is the negative, to be corrected is the positive. God’s Word doesn’t simply tell us when we have gone wrong. He also uses His Word to show us the right path. He uses His Word to restore us.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9
God’s Truth Trains Us in Righteousness
We all need to be trained. Everyone reading this blog had to be trained how to read. In fact, everyone reading this blog had to be trained on how to use the toilet (weird thought). We all had to be trained how to eat. Your career requires training whether you’re a teacher, mechanic, sniper, parent, pastor, professor, insurance salesman or assembly line worker.
Everything in life requires training. So why is it that Christians think that somehow when they trust Jesus as their Savior and they will be zapped with Jesus juice and become godly? You won’t. You have to be trained. The primary tool God uses to train us is His Word. You have to know it. You have to read it. You have to study it. You have to meditate on it. You have to let it get in you and transform you. If you have any chance at victory over the lies that will ruin your life you must be transformed by God’s truth.
To help you get into God’s Word daily, you can download a copy of our Bible reading plan.
Watch the message on Making the Most of God’s Truth