Here is the second part of the first message I taught at our Ladies’ Beach Retreat. You can find the first part here.
I would like for you to take the time to read in your Bible the 17th Chapter of John. Take some quiet time to read the whole chapter. You will see a powerful prayer that Jesus prayed on our behalf.
In this post, I would like to go through John 17 a little bit, and see the importance of truth to Jesus. There is so much in this passage of Scripture. It is such a passionate prayer from Jesus the Son, to Father God in Heaven. It is an intimate look at the heart of a Saviour for His people. It is a declaration of His purpose and God’s plan for us. In this prayer we see the purpose of truth.
We see in this passage that as Jesus prays He declares to God that He has finished the work that God has given Him. He has taken the Word to the people so that they would become God’s people. In verses 8 & 14 He says, “I have given them your word.”
 For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.
 I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
In verse 17 He asks that we be sanctified throught the truth which is His Word; in verse 19 He says again that we may be sanctified through the truth because of His sanctification, with the ultimate purpose given in verse 21; that is that the world might believe.
 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.  As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.  And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.  Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;  That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
The truth is what he speaks of here-when we yield to it, when we make place for it, when we allow the truth to advance in us, we are sanctified, set apart, separated by God to be used for a specific purpose. That purpose is to bring GLORY to him and to spread His Word (vs. 20-21).
In that prayer, Jesus prayed for US: this bunch of people who 2000 years later would read this in His Word, and everyone in between. He prayed with his own lips thousands of years ago. He said over & over how he gave us the Truth, His Word. His word is Truth. This is what He left us: His Word, His truth. The ONLY truth. Why? That we may first believe it and then know it.
Let’s look again at John 8:31-32 so that we can see a progression here…
 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;  And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
Jesus said if they were to CONTINUE in His word, then they were his disciples. That word “continue” in the Greek is meno, and it means to remain, abide, sojourn, not depart, last, endure, live. So if we remain, don’t depart, endure, live in His Word, then we are disciples. Then it says we will know the truth.
The simplicity of the concept amazed me when I found it! Here is the equation:
BELIEVING THE WORD leads to KNOWING THE TRUTH
You can find this progression throughout scripture. One such place is 1 Timothy 2:4
 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
We see that we are first saved (through faith or belief), and then come to know the truth. He wants us to move from belief to knowledge.
He uses the words believe and know frequently in these passages in John 17
- v21 that the world may believe
- v23 that the world may know
- v25 these have known
The progression is from belief to knowledge. It is important that we believe, then we know, so that the WORLD may know.
When you look at the difference between believing and knowing, you will find that knowing implies more certainty than simply believing. While believing is important (in that you can’t know until you agree to believe), knowing is what comes when belief is coupled with experience.
So, if believing the Word leads to knowing the truth, we see how important it is to BELIEVE THE WORD!! It is urgent that we READ OUR BIBLES AND BE FAMILIAR WITH THEM.
Even as Bible-reading Christians, we have believed many, many things that are in direct contradiction to God’s Word. Oh, we say we believe the Bible. We like to believe the “fun” parts of the Bible. “I’m the head and not the tail.” “I’m blessed going in, blessed coming out.” “My God shall supply all my need according to his riches in glory.” “As far as the east is from the west so far has he removed our transgression from us.”
But then the truth gets a little more difficult…”Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding.” But I think I have a really good idea how to handle this! “Seek ye first the kingdom of God” …right after I watch my favorite tv show. “In honor preferring one another” …Well, I was here first. “Be ye kind, tenderhearted, forgiving one another.” I have my rights. She can’t just do that and expect me to forgive her…
WE HAVE TO BELIEVE GOD’S WORD. It will lead to us KNOWING THE TRUTH.
Have you ever done something simply because you knew the Bible said to do it? That’s the only reason you did it? Not because you wanted to, but strictly out of obedience? You believed the Word, put feet to your faith, and did what it said? I know I have. As a young Christian, tithing was one of those areas. I surely did not “want” to tithe, but I had heard what God’s Word had to say about it, so I chose to believe that I was commanded to give God one tenth of my increase, and, from that obedience, would flow blessing. Other areas that I simply had to believe God’s Word about were forgiving others, putting God first, and reading the Bible. These were not things that I thought would really work out, except for the fact that God’s Word told me to do them. I believed the Word, but I didn’t KNOW if it was true. I tried it, and guess what-I KNEW THE TRUTH after I BELIEVED THE WORD. Every. Single. Time. God’s Word was proven to be true, leading to knowledge, a certainty through experience, that God’s Word is the truth.
Scripture is absolute truth, truth without error. If you have never decided for yourself to believe the whole Bible, that needs to be your next step with the Lord. Even if that is the only step you take-to believe the whole Bible-from creation, to all the animals on the ark, to Sodom & Gomorrah, to a burning bush, to Jesus returning in the eastern sky. Choose to believe God’s Word! All of it. It will lead to knowledge of truth, and then to freedom.
2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
All Scripture is given by God. People may try to discredit this Book, but, if every Word in it is from the breath of God, it has to be true! God cannot lie. Since so much is riding on the truth, Satan has launched a mighty attack on the truth, the Word of God. Freedom, victory, and salvation all rest on the TRUTH.
What does the truth do?
- Truth saves us
- Truth sanctifies us
- Truth makes us free
Until we are saved, born again, the Bible says that we cannot receive the Spirit of Truth.
 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. (Jhn 14:17 KJV)
It may sound a bit like “Who is buried in Grant’s Tomb?” to say that It is impossible for a “non-believer” to believe, but that is what this verse is saying. No one can be a believer of the Word and have knowledge of the truth unless they are born again and have received the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit.
It is important to remember this in minsitering to many of our lost friends and family. You will be wearied by trying to explain the joyous truths of God’s Word to them when they don’t have the Spirit of Truth dwelling in them to enable them to begin to believe the Word. The answer we must always give to the lost is, “You must be born again.” This is urgent, because when we DO have the Spirit of Truth dwelling in us, we CAN believe the Word and come to know the truth, and ultimately begin to experience that precious freedom for which Jesus paid so dearly.
I challenge you (and myself) to begin believing the Word in ways you have not believed before, and you will begin to know the truth in ways you have not known before.
I’m A Believer!