The Things We Believe

Pastor Marvin ThumbmailHave you ever received one of these kinds of emails?

“Twenty angels are in your world. Ten of them are sleeping, nine are playing, one is reading this message. Please read…. Not joking…..God has seen you struggling with something. God says it’s over. A blessing is coming your way. If you believe in God, send this message on, please don’t ignore it, you are being tested. God is going to fix two BIG things tonight in your favor. If you believe in God, drop everything and pass it on. Tomorrow will be the best day ever. Send this to ten friends, including me, if I don’t get it back, I guess I’m not one of them. As soon as you get five replies, someone you love will quietly surprise you.”

I didn’t make this one up; I received it from a friend yesterday.

The thoughts I have about this kind of thing are varied. Does my friend really believe this? How many other people saw this? Do they believe it? Who started this? Why did they start it? Do they believe it, or is this just something they thought would encourage others? These are just the general questions, but what about questions more germane to the email? Do people believe they have twenty angels in their world? If so, how do you know ten are sleeping, nine are playing, and one is reading the email?

I think what’s most troubling to me is there are probably some people who see this and buy into it without any attempt to test its validity. Once they’re ensnared by its claims, they begin to live according to it. So they build an expectation about tomorrow—“the best day ever.”

This is why truth is so important. Unfortunately our culture is fighting truth. Our culture tends to be more concerned with what makes us feel good, or chasing things we like, than determining truth. Most of our economy and politics are rooted in our base desire to “get what we want.” And yet, we all know, it’s not good for us to get everything we want.

In John 8:32, Jesus said something that is often quoted, even among non-Christians. “The truth will set you free.” We may have some argument about what is true and what is not, but one thing is unmistakable: if you take hold of truth, it will set you free. Of course we have to ask, set you free from what? Set you free from the false thing you’re holding onto. Doesn’t that make sense? It can’t be good for you to believe a lie, so believing the truth will set you free from the lie.

What’s really interesting about this quote from Jesus is the context in which He said it. The full context is found in verses 31 and 32: “To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, ‘If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’” Jesus was making an exclusive claim about Himself when He said this. In John 14:6 we see Him doing the same when He said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Truth is, whether you believe it or not, Jesus is the only way to heaven. I didn’t make the rules, God did. I’m simply here to say, Jesus made a specific claim: He is the truth, and He’s the only way to heaven. Now you have only three possibilities: 1) Jesus was lying, 2) Jesus was crazy, or 3) Jesus was telling the truth. Do you want to be set free by the truth? Jesus is the truth, and He can set you free.