TRUTH or CONSEQUENCES; Put on the Belt of Truth

Psalm 25: 2-15
Ephesians 6: 10-14a
JOHN 8: 31-47

October 18, 2020 – DRESS for SUCCESS SERMON SERIES #4

The names Noel Neill, Jack Larson, Jack Hamilton, and Kelly Groucutt might not ring a bell for you right now … perhaps not even George Reeves but I am sure that all of you have heard of Lucille Ball. Well, this week as I consider the TRUTH or CONSEQUENCES of our faith life and what it means to put on the belt of truth, which is an essential element of our faith walk for and with God and Jesus Christ, those names crossed my mind.

Friends, over the last few weeks we have begun a journey onto a path for living that I have been referring to as DRESSING FOR SUCCESS with God. You can rediscover my sermons on our website, and you can watch the worship services again on FACEBOOK. You can open up your Bibles to reread the Scripture lessons of these past weeks contemplating why I chose them but the overriding message that I have tried to share is that amongst the myriad of choices we have to make in our lives the most important one is related to God and to each of us as individuals. It is the essential choice and one that cannot be faked. It requires looking at ourselves honestly in the mirror of faith knowing that God already knows who we are; it requires us to tweak our diets of thoughts and actions so that we align with God’s expectations; and as we talked about last Sunday, we are required … REQUIRED by God to be people who counter the world by loving all of our neighbors IF … that is IF we truly believe Jesus Christ is our Savior and that God is alive and well. If we are Christians from God’s perspective not just our own then we actively choose to follow God’s directives, which Jesus taught by the way and if you read the Gospels daily you can find out what they are. Otherwise if we reject God then we are just fitting into the world rather than caring about or living for God’s Kingdom.

Today’s Psalm lesson has a call from David that you and I should be incorporating into our daily lives … “MAKE YOUR WAYS KNOWN TO ME LORD; TEACH ME YOUR PATHS. LEAD ME IN YOUR TRUTH. TEACH IT TO ME.”

And, if you had your Bibles open while Molly was reading that passage or if you listened carefully you heard the next absolute and clear truth from God’s Word … “BECAUSE YOU ARE THE GOD WHO SAVES ME.” Not the world, not the world’s leaders, not our friends not even our family members … only God through Jesus Christ.

And, my friends as the calendar days fly by and the season’s leafs change color beginning their descent to their resting place we each need to have the confidence of the salvation of God not just for our passing minutes of life when we connect with church but for our eternity. GOD is the GOD who saves us but we have to fulfill God’s requirements for that salvation not just pass a quiz we ourselves casually put together on a scrap of paper or in our casual conversations where we get to decide. We need to take Jesus seriously. His lesson in Matthew chapter 7, “the gate that leads to life is narrow and the road is difficult, so few people find it” was not designed to scare us away but instead to encourage us to find that narrow road so we can live sensing the embrace of God’s love complete with hope-filled and peaceful days. Eliminating our fears because we are alive in God’s perfect love. God’s truth, the voice of truth says DO NOT BE AFRAID …

So, this morning are you on the journey with Jesus Christ? Are you willing to sacrifice the world’s interests for the sake of the Creator of the universe’s truths? Get on board friends for that journey will bring us into the realm of God for eternity; face-to-face with Jesus … can you imagine? Will you dance in His glory or sing for Him in His presence? Will you bow down on your knees?

And, that brings me back to those names of interest … Noel, Jack and Jack, and George and Lucy. We’ll hold Kelly out of the conversation for a moment. This past Thursday marked the 69th anniversary of the debut of I LOVE LUCY and as I sorted through the top ten episodes there was one where Lucy pretends to be Superman only to get stuck on the balcony where the real Superman, George Reeves, rescues her for Little Ricky’s birthday. That made me think of Lois Lane Noel Noelle, Jimmy played by Jack Larson, and Perry White Jack Hamilton. A TV show … where Superman’s theme was TRUTH .. JUSTICE … and the AMERICAN WAY but sadly one day I found out that the man in tights who I watched on my black and white tv was not really Superman just an actor and then that meant the scene where Lucy was rescued from the balcony was likewise fiction … not truth in the least. Entertainment … escapism … perhaps even denial of what’s real because living in the fantasy world is just a click away when we have to make choices. And, sometimes we enjoy not facing the truth. How often do we choose to ignore God’s truth for the sake of the world’s false promises? Clicking our World remote to change from the God directives to the world’s ever demanding choices?

If we are to take our faith lives seriously, which means we are also taking our very existence and eternal lives seriously, then placing the BELT of TRUTH around our waists only makes sense since our waists represent our point of balance. The prophet Isaiah tells the world that our Savior, Jesus the Christ, would have “the belt of righteousness around his hips and faithfulness would be the belt around his waist.” Righteousness and faithfulness ever true to those who believe.

Paul tells us, “Be strengthened by the Lord and His powerful strength!” Paul shares a truth that when we actually pause to consider what surrounds us in the world that truth should be a “duh” moment because it is so obvious, “We are fighting against spiritual forces of evil not human enemies. THEREFORE PICK UP THE ARMOR of GOD so we can stand our ground on the evil day.”

If you are honest with yourself can you deny we are living in one of those evil times? God gives us directions on dealing with what’s out in the world and, it begins friends, with God’s truth, which again makes sense … because God is the antithesis of evil; God’s rules … Jesus teachings … THE TRUTH of FAITH are obviously the directions we should be focused in on if we want this life we lead from birth to our autumns to be ones of peace, filled with hope, and fearless. God has shown that if we have love of the Holy that path is clear and simple but the spiritual forces of evil that get unveiled daily in various forms are like a magnet pulling us away from God … for the sake of popularity, power, and wealth …

Jesus in speaking to the gathering of individuals who believed in Him challenges them and us because Jesus knows that it is so easy to say I BELIEVE … to quietly walk in a parade … to print out a membership card … to use the adjective Christian Dave but then not really pay the dues to truly belong … Jesus says, “You are my disciples IF … darn it there is that word IF again … You are my disciples IF you remain faithful to my teaching. THEN THEN YOU WILL KNOW THE TRUTH and the TRUTH will set you free!”

“So, stand with the belt of truth around your waist …ready to deal with the forces of evil, rulers, authorities, and forces of cosmic darkness” that are attempting to block the light of Christ!” The TRUTH will set us free! The TRUTH comes from being faithful to the teaching of Jesus Christ and that first step as we discussed last week is wearing LOVE out on our sleeves. Jesus clearly addresses the issue in Matthew’s Gospel when asked about the law He said, “You MUST … yep the word is MUST … You MUST love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And, the second is like it. You must love your neighbor as you love yourself. ALL the LAW and the Prophets (THAT IS ALL) depend on these two.”

So, when we get back to that belt of truth, which we need to be wearing if we are going to deal with the world’s evil and believe me, evil is out there. I think that each of us are fully capable of identifying evil from good and perhaps it starts with the realization that if all the laws require love then the truth about evil is that evil chooses to selectively love or to out and out not love others, which in itself is a pure rejection of love of God. If we are to walk in the truth and live as people of faith and to DRESS for SUCCESS in our walk with God then our belt of truth must begin with the love that we need to be wearing on our sleeves for ALL and for GOD!

And, if we look honestly into our mirror of faith we know if there are some groups or some individuals we don’t love. But, if we want to be set free to be on that narrow road of salvation then we need the belt of truth to keep us balanced and it begins in today’s Gospel reading, “YOU ARE TRULY MY DISCIPLES IF YOU REMAIN FAITHFUL to my teaching … then you will know the truth and THE TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE. THE TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE! THE TRUTH of JESUS CHRIST will set you and me free … LOVE GOD and LOVE OUR NEIGHBORS ALL OF THEM … reject and avoid those who teach us not to love all because they want to rip the belt of truth away with their deceptions.

Jesus adds, “God’s children listen to God’s words … you don’t listen to them because you aren’t God’s children.” A reminder of that road … He was speaking to believers or at least people who claimed they believed in Him but He was telling them that some of them weren’t God’s children because they weren’t listening to God’s Words. THE VOICE OF TRUTH …

So, this week the ELO song SWEET TALKIN’ WOMAN can across my playlist and as I listened to the lyrics hearing “You better slow down, sweet talkin’ woman” I thought about the late Kelly Groucutt and his honest love of Megan whom he referred to as “my sweet beautiful girl.” Kelly was an amazing musician. He could make a guitar speak to you whether he was playing bass, which he was most known for or rhythm guitar. And when ELO became ELO 2 Kelly added more vocals showing that he was a complete musician. But, when I consider people I have known in my life Kelly’s love for my daughter was honest and sincere. He met Megan when Donna couldn’t go to a concert and after party one year. Something magnetic happened between this British rock star and my sweet talkin’ daughter Megan. From that forward every time I spoke with Kelly he always was asking about his sweet beautiful girl Megan. Honest no pretense … Megan and he hugged and he was hooked. Love on his sleeve … a man with millions of fans caring for my girl.

So friends, you better slow down … consider your walk with God and Christ. When others see you are they seeing an honest reflection of God because you are wearing the belt of truth around your waist. Yes, love is on your sleeves but where is your truth. If the truth you live for is not God’s truth; not the truth of Jesus Christ then you will be facing the consequences later when you approach that gate because the road is narrow.

We are living in times when the world needs people of faith to step up … to be real and honest in revealing what Jesus taught because the name Christian has been turned into a spotlighted lie in our world … so many people have attempted to use the adjective for power and personal glory while debasing and rejecting the essential teaching of our Savior.

Simon Sinek in START with WHY writes about the possibilities for people, [1]With a group of believers all rallying around a common purpose, cause or belief, amazing things can happen. But it takes more than inspiration to become great. Inspiration only starts the process.” He then writes that believers need to amplify the source of inspiration.

That source of inspiration for us friends in JESUS CHRIST … THE VOICE OF TRUTH … are you ready today to buy into the VOICE of TRUTH? Are you ready to join the movement forward and DRESS for SUCCESS with GOD rejecting the world? Do you. Know you need Jesus in your life? In your world?

It comes down to choice … we know that evil is in the world but are you ready to be set free … IF YOU REMAIN FAITHFUL TO THE TEACHING OF JESUS CHRIST Only then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free!

Free to experience peace, toss aside fear, and discover the hope of the future God has for you because if you reject Christ and God you will never have that hope. Let’s together be people who are free living in God’s Truth! Put on the belt of truth friends and move forward led by God’s Spirit!


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