Stand for Truth
What is truth?
We can all agree that gravity causes objects to fall to the ground, fire is hot, and multiple other unquestioned truths.
The second paragraph of the declaration of independence begins with the sentence, “We hold these truths to be self-evident…”
But we live in an age when truth is no longer considered self-evident. Truth is under attack and Biblical truth is under attack.
The apostle Paul challenges Timothy to preach the truth in 2 Timothy and then he speaks of a time when truth will be subjective (2 Timothy 4:3-4), that time is now.
As followers of Jesus Christ, we must not only know the truth, but we also must stand for the truth and proclaim the truth.
In Malachi 2, God rebukes the priests for their lack of holding to the truth, and he warns them in verse 2, that if they do not honor His name, He will curse them. God warns them to take the truth to heart. To take something to heart means more than simply hearing the truth, it means applying it to our every day lives. Hearing and then believing.
When we don’t take God’s truth to heart, we can hear it all day long, but we will continue to live in sin. It has been said that, “right belief produces right behavior.”
In verse 3, God says that he will rebuke their offspring, and this principle still applies today. The way you live your life today, affects the lives of those who are coming after you. If you choose to walk in sin and not follow the path that God has for you, it will affect your children and their children. There are generational blessings and curses that we enact by our daily walk. Even our “secret sins”, which is an oxymoron because there are no secret sins, these affect the lives of those who will come after us.
God warns the priests that He will embarrass them publicly, He will shame them by smearing their faces with the dung from the offering animals, and then throw them out along with the scraps and leftovers. God cursed them not simply because of their laziness and poor offerings, God cursed them because they rejected the truth and misled others. They were not living according to the high standard of their calling as priests.
In verses 4 to 7, God reminds the priests of the covenant He established with Levi. The Levites had a greater honor, they were set apart by God and His covenant with them was one of life, peace, fear and awe (Malachi 2:5).
The problem in most Christian circles today is that we no longer have reverence for the almighty God. We do a good job of portraying the loving Heavenly Father, full of grace and truth, but we seldom grasp the God who holds the entire universe in the palm of His hand, while at the same time holding every atom in our bodies together. We need to develop an awe, reverence, respect and fear of God. Most people do not fear God.
Oswald Chambers wrote, “The most remarkable thing about fearing God is that when you fear God, you fear nothing else, whereas if you do not fear God, you fear everything else.”
The role of the priests was to guard the truth and then to declare the truth (Malachi 2:7). The priest is God’s messenger, declaring the truth of God’s word. This word from the Lord is equally relevant for us today as we are all priests who are called by God to proclaim His glory and majesty (1 Peter 2:9). The purpose of this proclamation is to turn people away from their sin and towards a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
Wherever God has placed you, that is where He calls you to be a proclaimer of the truth. We do this as we disciple people in our lives.
We must be a people who know the truth, stand for the truth and declare the truth.
We live in a time when truth itself has been despised – devalued. Truth has become a set of subjective statements and if you claim that there is objective truth, then you are criticized as being narrow minded at best or even prejudiced and bigoted. But truth, objective Biblical truth, is what holds society together.
President George Washington during his Farewell Address: “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens.” “Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.”
We are seeing the consequences of a drift from truth all around us.
In Malachi 2:8, we see that because of the priest’s compromise, laziness and weakness, many had been led astray. God takes this seriously (Mark 9:42).
This sounds like a message that will preach well at a pastor’s conference, and yes, it is much needed in our culture where so many pastors are so concerned about numbers and finances that they will make any accommodation to culture, just to keep the people happy. But this applies to all of us. We as a church are called to be ambassadors for Christ, to stand for the light and truth of the Gospel, and at times this stand will require us to swim against the stream of our culture. We are all called to be priests, standing for the truth in a culture of relativism (John 17:17, and John 14:6).
We are not talking about a culture war, we are talking about life or death, eternal life or eternal separation and punishment. Our interactions with people, have eternal consequences.
The church will also suffer the consequences of turning away from the truth. Every denomination or church that has compromised the truth to accommodate culture, will eventually be dismissed and disregarded by society.
Do you stand for truth?
Do you fear God, or do you fear culture?