Someone wrote Billy Graham with the following question:
Q: “I’m new at going to church, so I apologize if my question is too simple. But several times our pastor has talked about the blood of Jesus saving us, and I don’t understand what he means by that, (and I’m too embarrassed to ask). Is he quoting from the Bible?”
A: “Don’t be embarrassed to admit it if you don’t understand something; your brothers and sisters in Christ won’t look down on you, because at one time they didn’t understand it either. Let the psalmist’s prayer become yours: ‘Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth’ (Psalm 86:11).
What does the Bible mean when it talks about the blood of Jesus?
Those words point us to the cross, where Jesus Christ shed his blood for us. He was innocent of any wrongdoing, and in fact he was without sin—but on the cross all our sins were placed on him, and he died in our place.
What must we do?
We must respond by trusting him as our savior and committing ourselves to him as our Lord. Make your commitment to Christ today—and then thank him for loving you so much that he was willing to shed his blood for you.”
Dr. James T. Draper, Jr. and Dr. Kenneth Keathley explain the following in Biblical Authority: “According to the worldview of the postmodernist, since there is no absolute truth, then there must be complete tolerance of all religious truth claims. In such a pluralistic framework, the only sin that still exists is ‘intolerance.’ It is important for evangelicals to remember that the early Christians were not martyred simply for worshiping Jesus as Lord. The rulers of the Roman Empire prided themselves on their acceptance of all religions. Then why were the Christians persecuted? The early church was perceived as dangerous because it held that Jesus alone is Lord. In pluralistic Rome, such a belief was considered to be extreme, narrow-minded, and bigoted. In a word, the early Christians were persecuted for being ‘intolerant.’
Since today’s postmodernist advocates a similar type of pluralism, it is not surprising that postmodernism views any claim of biblical authority to be equally intolerant. When ‘tolerance’ is considered to be the greatest virtue, then any claim to hold the final authority of truth is seen as the greatest sin. This is why conservative Christians are castigated by modern culture for our refusal to accept homosexuality as a viable lifestyle. According to the postmodernist, we are not just in error for our presumed intolerance we are immoral.
When dealing with a postmodernist, it is possible for conservative evangelicals to strangely wish for the classic liberal of the past. In the old debates between conservatives and liberals, even though neither side thought the other side had the truth, at least both sides agreed that such a thing as truth existed. Today, postmodernists consider ‘truth’ to be merely a word—nothing more, nothing less. They see any attempt to adhere to the final authority of the Bible to be a grab for power and an attempt to control others. Postmodernists see truth claims entirely in political terms, and that ‘truth’ is used as a weapon by those in positions of authority to oppress the weak.
One disturbing trend is the level of acceptance of postmodern thinking among the young people in conservative churches. Recently a study was conducted in which teenagers who attend Bible-believing churches were surveyed. An alarming 53 percent agreed with this statement, ‘There is not such thing as absolute truth.’ This may explain why today many young people react so indifferently to any kind of truth claim. The challenge posed to biblical authority by postmodernism is obvious. The attack is not just on the truthfulness of the Bible, but on the very concept of truth itself.”
“Teach me Your way, O Lord; I will walk in Your truth; Unite my heart to fear Your name”, (Psalm 86:11).
Notice David addresses God three times: “Your way . . . Your truth . . . Your name”. From Psalm 86:11 we discover that living God’s unshakable truth requires three things:
I. We must make a truehearted request for God’s ways, (Psalm 86:11a).
Truehearted means, “faithful, loyal, honest, sincere; an unwavering devotion to friend or vow or cause.”
We read in 2 Chronicles 16:9a: “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.” Hanani, the prophet of God, spoke these words to King Asa followed by a divinely inspired rebuke. Major W. Ian Thomas comments, “Asa was a good man, but Asa, King Asa, was a fool.” Truehearted Asa foolishly ignored God’s leadership in his life with heartbreaking consequences.
A “man after God’s own heart”, King David, made the following request, “Teach me Your way, O LORD”, (Psalm 86:11a) and on another occasion, he prayed, “Teach me Your way, O LORD, and lead me in a smooth path, because of my enemies”, (Psalm 27:11). David also prays, “Cause me to hear Your loving kindness in the morning, for in You do I trust; Cause me to know the way in which I should walk, for I lift up my soul to You”, (Psalm143:8).
George M. Cohan penned these words in his song titled, “You’re a Grand Old Flag”. . . ev’ry heart beats true to the red, white and blue where there’s never a boast or brag. . .” Cohan encourages a “truehearted” patriotism.
II. We must confess a lionhearted resolution about God’s truth, (Psalm 86:11b).
Lionhearted means “very brave; brave and magnanimous” not “cowardly, mousy, timid.”
Do you remember “Linus, the Lionhearted”? K. K. Publications featured him in a Gold Key Comic book in 1965. He was also the character in a cartoon bearing his name that premiered on CBS on September 26, 1964 and aired until September 3, 1966, and then aired on ABC from September 26, 1966 to August 31, 1969.
Linus, “King of Beasts”, ruled the jungle from his barbershop throne and he was also the mascot for Post® Crispy Critters cereal. A “Linus the Lionhearted” balloon appeared in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade several times, the last of which was 1991.
The King of England from 1189 to 1199 was known as “Richard the Lion-hearted” because of his fighting skill and bravery. In 1189 his great seal featured a single rampant lion and his shield contained three lions representing England, Normandy and Aquitaine. Sir Walter Scott heroically portrayed Richard in his classic titled, Ivanhoe.
British native, Dr. John Phillips, writes, “One of the most stirring pages in English history tells of the conquests and crusades of Richard I, the Lionhearted. While Richard was away trouncing Saladin, his kingdom fell on bad times. His sly and graceless brother, John, usurped all the prerogatives of the king and misruled the realm. The people of England suffered, longing for the return of the king, and praying that it might be soon. Then one day Richard came. He landed in England and marched straight for his throne. Around that glittering coming, many tales are told, woven into the legends of England, (One of them is the story of Robin Hood). John’s castles tumbled like ninepins. Great Richard laid claim to his throne, and none dared stand in his path. The people shouted their delight. They rang peal after peal on the bells. The Lion was back!
Long live the king!
One day a King greater than Richard will lay claim to a realm greater than England. Those who have abused the earth in His absence, seized His domains, and mismanaged His world will all be swept aside.”
“I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back, no turning back.”
Solomon explains, “The wicked flee when no one pursues, But the righteous are bold as a lion”, (Proverbs 28:1).
His father, David, confidently resolves, “I will walk in Your truth”, (Psalm 86:11b).
At the “trial” of Jesus we read, “Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?” (John 18:38). Previously, Jesus told his disciples, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6).
Dr. James T. Draper, Jr. and Dr. Kenneth Keathley observe, “In this day of relativism in a ‘post Christian era’ few believe in absolute truth. ‘Postmodernist philosopher John Caputo sums up the position of postmodernism with eight words, ‘The truth is that there is no truth.’ They also point out, “Perhaps you notice that his statement is self-contradictory, because if he is telling us the truth when he says that there is no truth, then he is contradicting himself, (this is known as ‘the Liar’s Paradox’). But logical consistency is not a concern to the postmodernist.”
Dr. Edward J. Young (1907-1968), professor of Old Testament, Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, wrote a book in 1957 titled Thy Word is Truth. The following description is on the front cover: “A forthright defense of the Bible as the infallible and inerrant Word of God, with explanation of apparent contradictions, based on the evidence of the Bible itself; and a pointed refutation of some modern theories that reject a verbally inspired Bible.”
Jesus prayed, “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth”, (John 17:17).
The Baptist Faith & Message 2000 makes the following statement on the Scriptures:
“The Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired and is God’s revelation of Himself to man. It is a perfect treasure of divine instruction. It has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter. Therefore, all Scripture is totally true and trustworthy. It reveals the principles by which God judges us, and therefore is, and will remain to the end of the world, the true center of Christian union, and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and religious opinions should be tried. All Scripture is a testimony to Christ, who is Himself the focus of divine revelation.
Exodus 24:4; Deuteronomy 4:1-2; 17:19; Joshua 8:34; Psalms 19:7-10; 119:11,89,105,140; Isaiah 34:16; 40:8; Jeremiah 15:16; 36:1-32; Matthew 5:17-18; 22:29; Luke 21:33; 24:44-46; John 5:39; 16:13-15; 17:17; Acts 2:16ff.; 17:11; Romans 15:4; 16:25-26; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; Hebrew 1:1-2; 4:12; 1 Peter 1:25; 2 Peter 1:19-21.”
III. We must have a wholehearted reliance upon God’s name, (Psalm 86:11c).
Wholehearted means “Marked by unconditional commitment, unstinting devotion, or unreserved enthusiasm”.
Dr. Reuben Archer Torrey, (1856-1928), shares an excellent illustration of “wholeheartedness” in a message from 1 Peter 1:8 titled “How to be Inexpressibly Happy”. Torrey begins the sermon with the following account: “A young woman in England many years ago always wore a golden locket that she would not allow anyone to open or look into, and everyone thought there must be some romance connected with that locket and that in that locket must be the picture of the one she loved. The young woman died at an early age, and after her death the locket was opened, everyone wondering whose face he would find within. And in the locket was found simply a little slip of paper with these words written upon it, ‘Though I have not seen Him, I love.’ Her Lord Jesus was the only lover she knew and the only lover she longed for, and she had gone to be with Him, the one object of her whole heart’s devotion, the unseen but beloved Savior.”
David writes, “Unite my heart to fear Your name”, (Psalm 86:11c).
The psalmist is literally asking, “Give me a singleness of heart.” Single-hearted means sincere, dedicated. This is a heart in harmony with God.
Luke offers this commentary on the early church: “And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,” (Acts 2:46, KJV).
Paul exhorts believers in Ephesus: “Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ” (Ephesians 6:5). Similarly he writes to those in Colosse, “Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eye service, as men pleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God” (Colossians 3:22).
Every believer must beware that there is a danger of a divided heart. Note the evidence of David’s wholehearted reliance upon God recorded by Samuel: “Then David said to the Philistine, ‘You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied’,“ (1 Samuel 17:45).
The Bible also says, “The name of the LORD is a strong tower; The righteous run to it and are safe” (Proverbs 18:10).
George Williams concludes, “Jesus is the greatest name of God,” because “all nations will bow before Him.” He cites Philippians 2:9 to support his statement. Williams also states, “God’s name will be glorified by the eternal felicity of the redeemed and by the everlasting punishment of the lost.”
“Fear” in this verse, (Psalm 86:11), does not refer to terror or dismay but to love. The late Adrian Rogers said, “The slave fears the master’s lash; the son fears the father’s displeasure.”
Frances R. Havergal (1836-1879) penned the words to the hymn titled, “Truehearted, Wholehearted, Faithful and Loyal” in 1878. George C. Stebbins (1846-1945) set these words to music in that same year. At one time this was known as the Young Women’s Christian Association Hymn. The version below comes from “Our Own Gazette,” Y. W. C. Association News, Volume III, 1887:
Truehearted, wholehearted, faithful and loyal,
King of our lives, by Thy grace we will be;
Under the standard exalted and royal,
Strong in Thy strength we will battle for Thee.
Peal out the watchword! Silence it never!
Song of our spirits, rejoicing and free;
Peal out the watchword! Loyal forever!
King of our lives, by Thy grace we will be.
Wholehearted! Savior beloved and glorious,
Take Thy great power and reign Thou alone,
Over our wills and affections victorious—
Freely surrendered and wholly Thine own.
Truehearted, wholehearted! Fullest allegiance
Yielding henceforth to our glorious King!
Valiant endeavor and loving obedience
Freely and joyously now would we bring.
Truehearted! Savior, Thou knowest our story,
Weak are the hearts that we lay at Thy feet,
Sinful and treacherous! yet, for Thy glory,
Heal them, and cleanse them from sin and deceit.
Half-hearted, false-hearted! Heed we the warning!
Only the whole can be perfectly true;
Bring the whole offering, all timid thought scorning,
Truehearted only if whole-hearted too.
Half-hearted! Savior, shall aught be withholden,
Giving Thee part Who has given us all?
Blessings outpouring, and promises golden
Pledging, with never reserve or recall!
Half-hearted? Master, shall any who know Thee
Grudge Thee their lives, who has laid down Thine own?
Nay! we would offer the hearts that we owe Thee,
Live for Thy love and Thy glory alone.
Sisters, dear sisters, the call is resounding,
Will ye not echo the silver refrain,
Mighty and sweet, and in gladness abounding?–
“Truehearted, whole-hearted!” ringing again.
Jesus is with us, His rest is before us,
Brightly His standard is waving above!
Sisters, dear sisters, in gathering chorus,
Peal out the watchword of courage and love!
The prophet Samuel spoke these words to Saul, the king with a divided heart: “But now your kingdom shall not continue. The LORD has sought for Himself a man after His own heart, and the LORD has commanded him to be commander over His people, because you have not kept what the LORD commanded you” (1 Samuel 13:14).
Luke offers the following divinely inspired commentary: “And when He had removed him, He raised up for them David as king, to whom also He gave testimony and said, ‘I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will’” (Acts 13:22).
Like David, we must make a truehearted request for God’s ways; we must confess a lionhearted resolution about God’s truth; and we must have a wholehearted reliance upon God’s name; if we are to enjoy living God’s unshakable truth!
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