When 'Truth' Does Not Belong To Your Feelings, Opinions, Or Thoughts - But Christ

Text: John 15:26-16:4

In the name of Jesus. Amen. 

Jesus has much to say about ‘truth’ in our reading from the Gospel of John.

But what is truth, though?  

Well, truth is reality. Truth is based upon facts. Truth is free from falsehood, deceit, agendas, personal feelings, and personal opinions. Truth does not hide facts; it does not twist reality; it does not play word games, mind tricks, or pull a sleight of hand. Truth cannot blend with falsehood, just as light cannot mix with darkness. 

Furthermore, truth may be spoken by a political party, but it does not belong to a political party. Truth may be shared on TV by a television anchor, but it does not originate from a television anchor. Truth may be posted by a TikToker on social media, but it does not come from the TikToker. 

In a word, truth is not based upon you and me, and it certainly is not based upon our feelings. Frankly, how you feel about truth really does not matter. Emotions do not dictate truth, but truth will properly shape emotions.  

It is this way with truth because truth is founded upon the One who is ‘the way, the truth, and the life.’ Truth belongs, originates, and comes from Christ, for He is truth.  

Now, dear friends, if you listen closely, you may be able to hear the old Adam sneering at the thought that truth is tied to Jesus. You may also be able to hear the devil stomping his feet with a temper tantrum. And the world, well… if you listen in the distance, the world laughs at the idea that truth belongs to Christ.  

Nonetheless, it is this way with truth because, through Christ, all things were made. And without Him, nothing was made. Through Christ, all things have been created, and so all things on heaven and earth – visible and invisible – all powers, authorities, morality, and nature are submissive to Christ. Let me say this as blunt as possible: created things do not get to make up the rules; created things do not get to define what is true - Christ does.  

Keep in mind, though, that truth is not hidden in the heavens. Indeed, Christ – who is truth – does not keep truth concealed from you and me in the glory of heaven. Instead, as we hear in our reading from the Gospel of John, Christ sends the Spirit of Truth to testify on His behalf. Yes, the Holy Spirit is sent and speaks truth to you and me through the Word of God.  

Perhaps this might all sound a bit philosophical. So, let’s make it rather simple. 

1) Christ is truth.  

2) He sends the Spirit of Truth to testify to the truth through the Word of God – through the Bible.  

3) You and me - we hear the truth about sin, the truth about the righteousness of Christ, and the truth about the judgment of evil.  

4) As a result, we become children of the light – children of truth who walk in a world full of lies – a world full of darkness. 

Now, you would think that this is all good. Well, it actually is. But there is a hang-up. Never forget that Jesus is light that comes into darkness. And darkness, it does not like light. It cannot comprehend light. That is to say, a world full of lies can certainly tolerate other lies, but it cannot tolerate truth and light. This is the reason why Jesus was murdered and killed on a tree. Darkness does not like light. And the same is true for you and me, who walk in the light of truth.  

Again in our reading from the Gospel of John, Jesus tells us that the world will throw the children of truth out of meeting places and even kill them, thinking that they are doing a righteous deed. In other words, being a Christian – being a child of truth – means that you will collide with the world. And when this happens, you will be ridiculed, attacked, and possibly murdered, for the world has no tolerance for truth and light.  

Tragically, many Christians do not like the thought of colliding with the world. They don’t like the idea of being ridiculed, attacked, or possibly murdered. They like the idea of being popular and well respected by the world and its elites. And so, what we see with these individuals are whole churches and denominations that work very hard not to collide with the world. In fact, they work so hard not to collide with the world that they befriend the world. But there is a problem with this. When you and I become friends with the world, well… we end up losing truth. The truth doesn’t go away, but rather, we lose sight of it. Being a friend of the world leads you and me to blindness as we become cloaked with darkness and saturated with lies.  

Dear friends, darkness is not of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit does not dabble in lies. Where you find darkness and lies, mark this, you may find a spirit but not the Holy Spirit. And where you do not find the Holy Spirit, you do not have Christ.

And so, beware of Churches that want to cozy up to the world to avoid persecution, suffering, and mockery!  

Beware of spiritual leaders that worry more about what the world thinks than what the Spirit of Truth testifies to!  

Beware of any theology that tries to adjust its message at the first sign of trouble from the world!  

Beware of fear that stirs within you that would cause you to tuck tail and run at the first sign of conflict with a world walking blindly and stumbling over its own lies!  

Beware of the temptation to want to be more successful than faithful, more popular than steadfast, and more well-liked than truthful!  

Dear friends, this is all a bit sobering to hear. Nonetheless, we need to hear it because this is how it is. You and I cannot divorce Christ from the Holy Spirit. And we cannot separate the Holy Spirit from Truth. And we cannot eliminate persecution from the world against truth itself. Jesus knows this is how it is in life. And so, He speaks truth to us so that when the time comes, and the world starts in on you and me, then we will be well-warned and ready.  

But how can we be ready? Well, it is quite simple. Think of it this way: As Christians, we are not the way, the truth, and the life. Therefore, when truth is attacked, we know that people are really attacking Christ and the Holy Spirit. They are attacking the testimony of God’s Holy Word. They are attacking their Creator. They are attacking reality. They are fighting to stay hidden in the dark. They are fighting to stay concealed in lies.  

And so, do not take it personally when you are attacked. Remember that truth does not belong to you, originate with you, or come from you – truth is Christ, not you. Yes, you possess truth but only as a gift. Through the Word of God, the Holy Spirit reveals truth to you constantly as a sheer gift. And so, again, when you are attacked, it isn’t your opinions or feelings that are being attacked – it is Christ.  

But there is more; when the world laughs and claws at you, know that your Christ has already endured the world’s scorn and is now raised from the dead. And because your Jesus is risen from the dead, you are neither easily triggered nor defensive when challenged or attacked by the world. If the world has issues with truth – so be it. Let the world take it up with the risen Jesus Christ, who sits at the right hand of the Father in power and might. In fact, let the world take it up with Jesus on the last day when every knee and head will bow to His glory and majesty.  

And so, perhaps, when the world blows a gasket and attacks truth, you and I can weep for the world. Perhaps we could even pray for a world that has located their perception of truth in their own ideas buried in lies. Indeed, we can lament for the world because the world is suffocating in darkness and has become an arena of the blind, leading the blind further and further into a treacherous ditch.  

And as we mourn and weep for the world, we still keep confessing to the truth. We keep confessing because the Holy Spirit keeps testifying to you and me about Jesus. 

And last but not least, the Lord forgives you and me for the times that we let go of truth and wandered into the darkness. The Lord forgives you and me while calling us back to truth where He will continue to sustain you and me by His Word and Sacraments. The Lord will strengthen your faith and your love for your neighbor as He sanctifies you with the truth, for His Word is eternal truth for you. 

In the name of Jesus – your truth and light - amen.

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