Jeff Gillie - Truth - Parma ID 2006

There was a simple question asked of Jesus, only three words, "What is truth?" John 18:38. Some feel that Pilate was a bad man. He was hated throughout history. He was described as being corrupt and pleasure seeking, and if that is true then he is like other rulers of this time. Try to put yourself in his shoes as he stood before Jesus. He saw that what the Jews were doing was wrong, there was corruption among them. Their walk and their talk were going in two different directions. His own people, the Romans, were corrupt and full of hypocrisy and if he looked at himself he would see a product of a corrupt, man-made system. There was corruption in his life--in him, all around him--everywhere. Jesus spoke the truth. Pilate asked, "What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and saith unto them, I find in him no fault at all." He didn't wait for an answer. Maybe he felt there wasn't one. If God has revealed to us what is truth we can be thankful for the miracle of an open heaven. This is a way of miracles because God's truth is still the same. The world today is so much like it was in Bible days. There is corruption all around us. When we are going door to door to invite people to the gospel meeting and we explain what our purpose is, a lot of times people will get these looks on their face, "We've done that." "We've been there." "What is truth?" They have already experienced the disappointment of seeking and not finding so when the true opportunity came they closed the door and turned away. There are also testimonies of those who looked for years and kept looking for right in a world that was so wrong and light in a world that was so dark. Pilate would have trembled if he knew how Jesus could see his heart. Jesus could see the thoughts that would form words that were not yet spoken. He would have trembled if he knew that Jesus knew more about truth than any who had ever been born. He would have trembled if he knew that Jesus was the son of God. Pilate went out and said that he found no fault in him. That was an amazing thing for a man like Pilate. It would have been much easier for him to have accepted the accusations. There was something in his character that allowed him to see that there was no fault in Jesus, that he was the truth. Pilate could see that the accusations were just envy. 

There is a dark thread that runs through the Bible. It is a thread of envy and jealousy. It comes from the darkest corner of the human heart. It brings suffering, loss, and death. Gen. 4:9 "And the Lord said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother's keeper?" The Lord could have said, "No, you don't even have a brother because he is here with me and he had help from you in getting here." That is the starting point of the dark thread; the low point was when Jesus was on the cross. There is also a bright thread that is woven throughout the Bible and it is a thread of joy, gladness, good things, rejoicing, and happiness. It comes from the center of the heart of God. The dark thread is like the darkest night that won't end and the bright thread is like the goodness of God. It's like trying to look at the noonday sun. Often they are woven side by side as a reminder that God is in control. In the life of Joseph there are many dark threads, but there is also a very bright thread that speaks of the goodness of God. In the stories of David and Saul there were many dark threads in the life of Saul, but there were some very bright threads in the life of David. There are bright threads on every page of the gospel. There were even bright threads when Jesus was on the cross, when you think of what was accomplished there. 

Pilate went against his own will. He wanted to release Jesus but he didn't know how. He was living for the things of this world-place, position, and power. If you were to ask him why, he would have said, "What else is there?" Anything that we are living for in this world is a vain thing. Others can use that to make us go against our will. The truth is a rock that can help us stand against intrigue. John 8:32 "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth will make you free." This verse could have helped Pilate. The truth sets us free from all that is not truth, all that is false, all that is illusion. Life without truth is just one big illusion. Where I work there is a city that is known as the city of entertainment, but it is also the city of illusion. There is no expense spared to create the power of illusion. You see two groups of people at the airport there, those that are coming and those that are going. The ones who are coming are so happy and they are full of plans and the ones who are leaving are unhappy, they have been disillusioned, they are disgusted, but even in that moment of disappointment they are already planning their next trip back. There is a danger that even if we have been bitterly disappointed, we can already be buying into the next illusion. All that you have to do to buy into the next illusion is to come and be willing for the price. That city is a place of broken dreams and broken lives where illusions have turned into ugly reality that people cannot face, but it is fruitful for the gospel for that very reason. People come to the end of themselves and need change. There was a couple coming and we had some visits with them but there just didn't seem to be much of a need. After they came to a few gospel meetings they disappeared and that was pretty much what I expected. After a little bit they started coming again. The man would come in with a big smile on his face and when he left that smile would still be on his face. When we visited with them he said he had already made his choice in his heart, and he had, but his wife felt like she was too much of a sinner so she sat my companion and I down and told us all of her sins. We didn't really want to hear them, but she was trying to turn us into judges. She was waiting for us to tell her that she couldn't have a part in this, that she was too sinful, but I could tell that she was already halfway in the door because no one else could be so honest and so convicted of their sin. When she professed if you asked her, "Are you ready?" she would have said, "No." But God was ready for her to take that step. When she gave her first testimony if you had asked her, "Are you ready to take this step?" she would have said, "No, I am not ready." But God was ready for her to take that step. Sometimes we feel that we are not ready for the next step but if God is ready, it must happen. 

The opposite of illusion is revelation. Illusion is something of the world, revelation comes from God and even a child can understand it. It brings God's people into the same understanding across cultures and countries. It takes the power out of illusion. 

Time proves truth. A sister worker said, "All time needs is truth. All truth needs is time." Somewhere we were working on one of the buildings on a convention grounds and we had to make the barn bigger so we tore down the old barn. The cement foundation was 40 years old and there wasn't a crack in it-it was just perfect. We were just going to put a border around this to make it bigger and then we were going to build the barn on top. The day we were going to lay the cement it was really hot but we had planned to lay it, so we went ahead even though it wasn't the right conditions. When we got done that cement that was 40 years old looked like it was brand new and our brand new cement looked like it was 150 years old. The first cement had been laid with care and it was still true, didn't change. 

241 -The Truth of God so Precious. This is a man's testimony and even though it was written 97 years ago in another generation and another place, it is still true today. 

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Our faith gets tested in all situations,... both prosperity and poverty too Its a poverty of thinking the thoughts that keep our hearts aflame. Matt 5 Jesus says blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness for they SHALL be filled. Blessed are they who are kingdom minded, spend every spare moment to be in touch with the friends and Workers, who see small needs like printing notes that are a help to them and giving or reading them to someone who don't have these blessings. I remember once that I used to visit some old ladies often, but I realized that I was still missing something. So I asked them when I called for a visit if there was something I could get them on the way or if I could take them somewhere to get what they needed. 

Are we hungry? Its only when we are filled with SPIRITUAL FOOD that we will be filled with FAITH. The disciples said to Jesus: Increase our faith. Most times we might think our faith is ok. We go to the meeting and speak about faith with confidence, but we are mistaken because the test is there. People think that faith is something that you believe in and will see soon. Like believing that a child would yield to God. So many died without seeing things fulfilled. Look at Abram. Even he had to wait 100 years to see his promised son and then was told one day to go and sacrifice him. David must have been on the run for around 14 years. Joseph had to wait many years to see the promise he saw in his dreams. Jesus had to wait until the age of 30 for his ministry to begin. It must have been a trying time. He could have chosen so much that the young people of today choose. He could have been the best in anything he would have wanted to become, but instead he refused it as Moses did. 

In Hebrews 11, I pointed out to my companion once that all the people mentioned in those chapters lived in fellowship meeting times. They had no temple to glory in. Most of them were few in small fellowship meetings like we are in today. It takes faith when we are only a few who gather together when maybe across the road there is a church with a few hundred people. Most people are willing to give a donation but very few are willing to give their all and lay their lives on the altar. 

The disciples who benefited the most from their time with Jesus are the ones who stayed the closest to him. Their faith was tested over and over, but it did not matter because they were close enough to see his face and behold his glory. It takes a whole lifetime to build faith in these vessels of clay and 5 minutes to break it all down. Some have made shipwreck of their faith because they go and read books which sow doubt, books written by people who have never had a walk with Christ, who have never met him. 

How do we increase our faith? 

It says Faith comes by hearing.... hearing the Word and voice of God... that's why we need the meetings. We cannot sit at home and listen to that negative voice all the time. Jesus said that by the words he spoke to his disciples they are now clean. So hearing increases our faith and cleans us. Are we feeding others in the meeting and talking fear and doubt when we are out of the meeting. I catch the friends often with this, talking about the drama in the country, how the political and social systems are failing and even sending and receiving so-called patriotic emails making people want to stand up for their rights and fight. These are not of God, he does not put us up against the principalities that he has set up. I think of Daniel and the honour that he showed to the worldly king, even saying Oh king, live forever. 

Our place is in the kingdom of heaven and be lead by the same spirit that led Jesus. The worldly religions always talk politics, money and theology, mixing God and mammon. This world is not our own. Jesus prophesied the degeneration of man and we are not to fight it but accept it. The more we focus on the troubles of time, the more we will fear, the less we believe in good We will then even treat the very elect with suspicion because that's the way we are programming ourselves. Jesus kept trying to focus his disciples on heavenly bread, not earthly. He was willing to become the poorest to show us the true will of His father in heaven. When two people really love one another, there is no fear, therefore they trust one another. Its when one person begins to love someone else that the trust diminishes. Its because our love for the world is growing that our faith in God and maybe His faith in us diminishes. 

John the Baptist found his own desires diminishing and been filled more with Christ he found no lack in anything. I too have experienced that in the Work. Many people have a lot to say, and yes its true, that if we have not yet learned to be good at anything, the world has taught us to be good critics, to condemn something or someone due to their shortfall in pleasing our desires. Everything is measured by the flesh and the lust thereof. Everyone is competing with the other, trying to have a better car, bigger house, more possessions, constantly looking for better jobs with better conditions and then putting on a humble face when they come to the meeting. God has entrusted many of our friends with money, but most people that look good today are diseased with debt, having sleepless nights and so stressed that they treat their own family and loved ones like cast aways. 

Faith without works is dead faith... In fact, you cannot then call it faith, but fear! which is dead faith. Fear paralyses people and makes them unproductive today because they are fearing the future because of past failure. Jesus had to constantly comfort his disciples and reassure them that He was powerful and almighty. Not just this but in all things that were happening to them it was in fact for a good purpose, it was in fact strengthening their faith. When someone calls you in distress, you try and comfort them and strengthen their faith. I ask myself the question in return.... Does Christ have faith in me... and the answer is often very negative, but he knows what we can achieve with his help and that is more than what we think. Don’t give up on yourself, don't give up on what your Father in heaven would like to do in you before he works in those around about you