SINCERITY AND TRUTH

By David J. Riggs


Intro.

   A. John 4:21-24

      1. Thus, we are to worship and serve God in sincerity and      

         truth.

         a. We are to be sincere; we are to follow the truth.

      2. The requirement of spirit and truth was also taught in the

         O.T. Joshua 24:14

   B. Let's look at some passages which teach the importance of

      sincerity and truth.



I. FIRST, CONSIDER PASSAGES REGARDING SINCERITY.

   A. Phil. 1:9-11

      1. The English word "sincere" comes to us from the Latin and

         means literally, "without wax."

         a. The word was used among sculptors and potters to

            describe a flawless piece of work that hand no "wax

            patches" to conceal any defects, such as a crack.

         b. The original Greek word carried the same idea and

            meant literally, "tested by sunlight."

         c. Testing something by sunlight would reveal if there are

            any flaws.

      2. Christians are tested by fiery trials. 1 Pet. 1:6-7

      3. In the early 1970s the firefighters of Fairfax County,

         Virginia, received new helmets. They were sharp looking,

         colorful, size-adjustable, made of high-impact plastic, and

	 scuff resistant. There was only one problem with the        

         helmets: when they were worn near the heat of a fire, they  

         melted. This, of course, made them useless to firefighters; 

         they needed helmets that could take the heat.

         a. In the same way, we need a faith that can take the heat -

            a faith that endures the fire and protects us in the     

            midst of the blaze. (From 1,001 Contemporary             

            Illustrations - Adversity)

   B. Godly sincerity branches out in different directions.

      1. First, and foremost, we are to be sincere in our love toward

         Christ. Eph. 6:24

         a. Love must be from a pure heart. 1 Tim. 1:5

            (1) Consider Nathanael. John 1:47

                (a) He was without "guile," without deceit or

                    hypocrisy. He was a genuine and true

                    individual.

            (2) The Scribes and Pharisees were the opposite. Matt.

                15:7-8

         b. 1 Pet. 3:15 - (See chart below)

            (1) SANCTIFY - Isa. 8:13

            (2) BE READY - Col. 4:6

            (3) REASON  FOR  HOPE - Heb. 6:18

            (4) WITH MEEKNESS & FEAR - 2 Tim. 2:25; Jude 22-23

      2. Secondly, we are to be sincere in our love toward our

         brethren. 1 Peter 1:22

         a. We are to love one another even as Christ loved us.

            John 13:34-35

            (1) It is our sincere love for each other that identifies

                us as disciples of Christ. 1 John 4:20-21; 2:10;

                3:14; 4:7,12

            (2) Someone told the story of the pious church member

                who thought he was an outstanding Christian. He

                was asked one day to say a few words in the young

                people's Bible class. Pompously, he stood before

                them and asked, "Why do you think people call me

                a Christian?" For a moment there was an

                embarrassing silence, then finally one young person

                from the back of the room innocently said,

                "Because they don't know you!"

         b. To truly love is "much easier said than done." 1 John

            3:17-18

            (1) "Whoever has this world's goods" - Ability.

            (2) "And sees his brother in need" - Opportunity.

            (3) "And shuts up his heart" - Responsibility.

                (a) Thus, ability, plus opportunity, equals

                    responsibility.



II. CONSIDER PASSAGES REGARDING TRUTH.

   A. We should desire truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the

      truth. (See chart below)

      1. TRUTH

         a. Truth comes from God's word. John 17:17

            (1) It does not come from some burning sensation,

                feelings better felt than told, religion of parents,

                traditional practices, etc.

         b. False teachers have worked since the beginning. 2 Pet

            2:1-2

         c. Deceivers and false teachers abound in our time.

            (1) Our duty is to know, teach, and follow the truth.

                Eph. 4:14-15; Col. 2:8; 1 Tim. 6:20-21

            (2) Fossil experts have revised their opinion about an

                object found last year in New Mexico. At first they

                thought it was a fossilized egg up to 16 million

                years old. Now they think it's a stomach stone from

                a cow who threw it up five years ago. How did this

                misunderstanding arise? Explains a U.S.

                government scientist, "Mother Nature fooled us."

                (From Servant Magazine, September 1990, p. 4)

            (3) Of course, Mother Nature did not fool them

                because there is no such person as "Mother

                Nature." They were fooled by their own theories

                which are based on fantasy rather than truth.

                Indeed, "Professing themselves to be wise they

                became fools." (Rom. 1:22)

      2. THE WHOLE TRUTH

         a. Partial truth is very dangerous. Acts 15:1-2,5; Gal.     

            5:2-3

            (1) Rat poison contains less than 1 per cent poison, as

                low as .005%. The rest is filler, grains and other

                things that rats normally eat, as high as 99.995.

                Yet, this small amount of poison is enough to get

                the job done.

         b. Partial obedience is not acceptable. 1 Sam. 15:20-23

         c. We need the whole truth even when it hurts. Acts

            20:26-27

            (1) While working with a congregation in Kentucky, I

                was tempted once not to preach against smoking

                because several of the brethren in the congregation

                smoked.

            (2) I mustered up the courage to preach against

                smoking.

                (a) Some of the smokers received the sermon well

                    and tried to quit.

                (b) However, one older man began to bitterly

                    oppose me from that point forward. He had

                    been a heavy smoker all of his life.

      3. NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH

         a. We don't need the addition of creeds, manuals, decrees

            from councils, the book of Mormon, etc.

         b. The Scriptures alone are sufficient - 2 Tim 3:16-17

         c. Anything else is not only unnecessary, but brings

            destruction. Gal. 1:6-9

         d. Let us have a genuine love for truth and abide in it.



Concl.

   A. This was written by William Temple:

      True worship is:

      To quicken the conscience by  the holiness of God. 

      To feed the mind with the truth of God. 

      To purge the imagination with the beauty of God. 

      To open the heart to the love of God. 

      To devote the will to the purpose of God.

   B. Of course, modern man has many different ideas regarding what

      constitutes acceptable worship, some are good, some are evil.

      1. Jesus summed it all up in one simple sentence. John 4:24

      2. Our worship must be from the heart and in accord with the

         truth.



Chart #1

"But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to

give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is

in you, with meekness and fear." (1 Pet. 3:15)



SANCTIFY - Isa. 8:13



BE READY - Col. 4:6



REASON FOR HOPE - Heb. 6:18



WITH MEEKNESS & FEAR - 2 Tim. 2:25; Jude 22-23



Chart #2

TRUTH, THE WHOLE TRUTH, AND NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH



I. TRUTH

   A.  God's word - John 17:17

       1.  Not some burning sensation, feelings better felt than     

           told, religion of parents, traditional practices, etc.

   B.  Deceivers and false teachers abound in our time - 1 John 4:1

   C.  Our duty is to know, teach, and follow the truth - Eph.       

       4:14-15; Col. 2:8; 1 Tim. 6:20-21



II. THE WHOLE TRUTH

   A.  Partial truth is more dangerous - Acts 15:1-3; Gal. 5:2-3

   B.  Partial obedience is not acceptable - 1 Sam. 15:20-23

   C.  We need the whole truth even when it hurts - Acts 20:26-27



III. NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH

   A.  We don't need the additions of creeds, manuals, decrees

       from councils, etc.

   B.  The Scriptures alone are sufficient - 2 Tim 3:16-17

   C.  Anything else is not only unnecessary, but brings destruction.

       Gal. 1:6-9



Concl: Let us have a genuine love for truth and abide in it.