Does it matter what we believe about God, who He is and what He says? Does it make any difference ‘which Jesus’ we accept and trust in? Is it important which ‘gospel’ we receive? If what we preach or bear witness to is incorrect, is it a problem? Do we know what scripture says about these things?
As we shall see from the scriptures in this study, it can make all the difference in the world, and therefore we ought to ensure that we put our whole heart and mind into seeking and finding the true God, the true Jesus and the true gospel. Is this possible for us?
1 Chronicles 28:9 NJB
‘And you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father and serve him with an undivided heart and willing mind; for Yahweh scrutinises all hearts and understands whatever plans they may devise. If you seek him, he will let you find him; but forsake him and he will cast you off for ever.
Where will we find the truth? Is the Father’s word the source of truth?
John 17:17 NRSV
Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth
In the above scripture the Greek word translated as ‘truth’ is Strong’s number 225 and has the definition ‘ truth, but not merely truth as spoken; truth of idea, reality, sincerity, truth in the moral sphere, divine truth revealed to man, straightforwardness’. We should also note that we are to be ‘sanctified’ in/by the truth – the Greek word used here is Strong’s number 37 which means ‘set apart as holy, purify’. So we begin to see how important truth is.
Did Jesus say it is vital to worship God in spirit and truth?
John 4:24 NRSV
God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.
The Greek word for ‘must’ is Strong’s number 1163, meaning ‘it is necessary, inevitable; less frequently: it is a duty, what is proper. properly, what must happen, i.e. what is absolutely necessary’. So from this we see we can’t take ‘truth’ casually, just assuming, we need to be certain.
Did Jesus say it was possible to worship God ‘in vain’?
Matthew 15:6-9 NRSV
So, for the sake of your tradition, you make void the word of God. 7 You hypocrites! Isaiah prophesied rightly about you when he said: 8 “This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; 9 in vain do they worship me, teaching human precepts as doctrines.’ “
Do they make God’s truth void (to make of no effect, to annul, to cancel – Strong’s number 208) by following their own traditions, man-made rules and doctrines? Does this result in unacceptable worship? Same verses.
Is this true even of the ‘traditions of the elders’?
Mark 7:5-8 NRSV
So the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why do your disciples not live according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?” 6 He said to them, “Isaiah prophesied rightly about you hypocrites, as it is written, “This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; 7 in vain do they worship me, teaching human precepts as doctrines.’ 8 You abandon the commandment of God and hold to human tradition.”
Do we need to be careful not to follow false preachers (prophets) and their own ideas, instead of the word of God?
Jeremiah 23:16-18 WEB
Thus says Yahweh of Hosts, Don’t listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you: they teach you vanity; they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of Yahweh. 17 They say continually to those who despise me, Yahweh has said, You shall have peace; and to everyone who walks in the stubbornness of his own heart they say, No evil shall come on you. 18 For who has stood in the council of Yahweh, that he should perceive and hear his word? who has marked my word, and heard it?
Jeremiah 23:21-22 NRSV
I did not send the prophets, yet they ran; I did not speak to them, yet they prophesied22 But if they had stood in my council, then they would have proclaimed my words to my people, and they would have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings.
What did Yahweh say through Isaiah regarding the difference between light and darkness (truth and falsehood)?
Isaiah 5:20-21 NRSV
Ah, you who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! 21 Ah, you who are wise in your own eyes, and shrewd in your own sight!
Shouldn’t people consult the true God?
Isaiah 8:19-20 RSV
And when they say to you, “Consult the mediums and the wizards who chirp and mutter,” should not a people consult their God? Should they consult the dead on behalf of the living? 20 To the teaching and to the testimony! Surely for this word which they speak there is no dawn.
Did Paul warn against false teaching and human tradition?
Colossians 2:8 NRSV
See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the universe, and not according to Christ.
Did Paul also warn about people who will preach ‘another Jesus’ rather than the true one, deceiving people and leading them astray?
2 Corinthians 11:3-4 NRSV
But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by its cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 4 For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you submit to it readily enough.
Did Paul warn that people will not believe the truth, but believe what is false?
2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 NRSV
The coming of the lawless one is apparent in the working of Satan, who uses all power, signs, lying wonders, 10 and every kind of wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion, leading them to believe what is false,
Did he also warn about a false perverted gospel being preached and accepted, and pronounce a double curse on anyone preaching a different gospel than the original one?
Galatians 1:6-9 NRSV
I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—7 not that there is another gospel, but there are some who are confusing you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should proclaim to you a gospel contrary to what we proclaimed to you, let that one be accursed! 9 As we have said before, so now I repeat, if anyone proclaims to you a gospel contrary to what you received, let that one be accursed!
This sounds as though it is essential to know and understand the gospel that Jesus and the apostles preached – and not some other gospel!
How does Paul describe people who preach a false gospel?
2 Cor 11:13-15 NRSV
For such boasters are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder! Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15 So it is not strange if his ministers also disguise themselves as ministers of righteousness. Their end will match their deeds.
Did Paul point out some key elements of ‘the truth’?
1 Timothy 2:3-7 RSV
This is good, and it is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all, the testimony to which was borne at the proper time. 7 For this I was appointed a preacher and apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.
Did Paul make absolutely sure that the gospel he was preaching was the correct original gospel?
Galatians 2:1-2 NRSV
Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along with me. 2 I went up in response to a revelation. Then I laid before them (though only in a private meeting with the acknowledged leaders) the gospel that I proclaim among the Gentiles, in order to make sure that I was not running, or had not run, in vain.
Should we also do the same?
2 Corinthians 13:5 NRSV
Examine yourselves to see whether you are living in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not realize that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless, indeed, you fail to meet the test!
What foundation of truth should we be built on?
Ephesians 2:19-22 NRSV
So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God, 20 built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. 21 In him the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; 22 in whom you also are built together spiritually into a dwelling place for God.
2 Timothy 4:1-4 NRSV
In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I solemnly urge you: 2 proclaim the message; be persistent whether the time is favorable or unfavorable; convince, rebuke, and encourage, with the utmost patience in teaching. 3 For the time is coming when people will not put up with sound doctrine, but having itching ears, they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own desires, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander away to myths.
Did the Father, Yahweh God say we must LISTEN to Christ, His son?
Mark 9:7 NRSV
Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, “This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!”
Luke 9:35 NRSV
Then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!”
Are we going to LISTEN to who Jesus said the Father is? Who he said he is? What he said the gospel is? DOES IT MATTER IF WE DO OR NOT?
Do Christ’s sheep hear his voice?
John 10:27-28 NRSV
27 My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me.
28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand.
If you don’t believe Christ are you his sheep?
John 10:26 NRSV
but you do not believe, because you do not belong to my sheep.
John 8:47 WEB
He who is of God hears the words of God. For this cause you don’t hear, because you are not of God.”
Do some refuse to believe because of rebellion?
9 For they are a rebellious people, faithless children, children who will not hear the instruction of the Lord; 10 who say to the seers, “Do not see”; and to the prophets, “Do not prophesy to us what is right; speak to us smooth things, prophesy illusions, 11 leave the way, turn aside from the path, let us hear no more about the Holy One of Israel.”
John 8:45 NRSV
But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me.
Jeremiah 7:26 NRSV
yet they did not listen to me, or pay attention, but they stiffened their necks. They did worse than their ancestors did.
John 5:37-38 WEB
The Father himself, who sent me, has testified about me. You have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his form. 38 You don’t have his word living in you; for whom he sent, him you don’t believe.
Are we LISTENING or rebelling? Are we LISTENING to Christ and the scriptures?
Some didn’t believe the scriptures and some still don’t LISTEN!
John 5:46-47 WEB
For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote about me. 47 But if you don’t believe his writings, how will you believe my words?”
Acts 28:24 WEB
Some believed the things which were spoken, and some disbelieved.
Some suppress the truth, and deceive themselves and others!
Roman 1:18 NRSV
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of those who by their wickedness suppress the truth.
Rom 10:17 NRSV
So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word of Christ.
James 1:22 ESV
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
Matthew 4:4 ESV
But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'”
But some accepted the truth eagerly and examined the scriptures carefully to establish whether it was true or false teaching!
Acts 17:10-12 NRSV
That very night the believers sent Paul and Silas off to Beroea; and when they arrived, they went to the Jewish synagogue. 11 These Jews were more receptive than those in Thessalonica, for they welcomed the message very eagerly and examined the scriptures every day to see whether these things were so. 12 Many of them therefore believed, including not a few Greek women and men of high standing.
How important is it that we believe the truth, rather than false teaching?
John 6:47 NRSV
Very truly, I tell you, whoever believes has eternal life.
John 3:36 NRSV
Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever disobeys the Son will not see life, but must endure God’s wrath.
John 5:24 NRSV
Very truly, I tell you, anyone who hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life, and does not come under judgment, but has passed from death to life.
Mark 16:16 NRSV
The one who believes and is baptized will be saved; but the one who does not believe will be condemned.
We can see from the scriptures that it is essential to worship the true God in spirit and in truth, to receive, accept and believe the true God, the true Jesus and the true gospel he taught. Any old version of God, Jesus and the gospel will not do, men’s traditions will not do. We need to ensure that what we receive and believe and teach to others is the pure truth of Yahweh and His Messiah (Christ) Jesus.
So, does it matter what we believe about God, who He is and what He says? Does it make any difference ‘which Jesus’ we accept and trust in? Is it important which ‘gospel’ we receive? If what we preach or bear witness to is incorrect, is it a problem? According to God’s word, the answer is absolutely YES, IT DOES MATTER! We had better make sure that the doctrines we follow are God’s truth and not traditions and ideas of men.