The Other Side of Truth

by Jeffrey W. Hamilton

Text: II Thessalonians 1:3-10


I.         People tend to focus one aspect, one characteristic when they deal with another person

            A.        We have a tendency to categorize people, to pick out a dominate trait

            B.        When people talk about God or Jesus, they will focus on the love of God.

                        1.         God is love, but people wish to believe that God is only love

                        2.         They don’t wish to think about the justice of God - Romans 11:22

                        3.         People want to see God as an indulgent parent who never scolds, who gives His children everything they want, and shields them from all discomfort.

                        4.         Matthew 10:28 - Jesus warned us to fear God

            C.        The picture of Jesus is not much different. He is portrayed as quiet, soft-spoken, and harmless. A good buddy who is always there to support you in whatever you decide to do. A friend to lean on no matter what happens.

                        1.         I have people read Matthew 7:22-23 and you can see the puzzlement on their faces as they try to explain it.

                        2.         It doesn’t match their idea of Jesus.

            D.        Worse are the denominational pulpits which promote these watered down views of our Father and our Lord.

                        1.         Their aim is growth, so they avoid offense

                        2.         They present but one side to attract those who will not change

II.        A Fair, Balanced, and Accurate View of God

            A.        God is love

                        1.         Without a doubt God is the embodiment of love - I John 4:8, 16

                        2.         He demonstrated that love in His willing sacrifice of His son - John 3:16

                        3.         He showed the strength of that love in that He did it while we wallowed in our weakness - Romans 5:6-10

                        4.         But there is another side to that love. God will not willingly let go of what is His - Deuteronomy 4:23-26

                        5.         This is the same God!

            B.        God wants everyone to be saved

                        1.         It is God’s desire - I Timothy 2:1-6

                        2.         Salvation is offered to all men - Titus 2:11

                        3.         But what is offered is not always accepted. The majority will reject the offer - Matthew 7:13-14

                        4.         Which brings us to the other side. God will destroy those who reject Him - II Thessalonians 1:7-9

            C.        God is impartial

                        1.         God made a promise to bless all nations - Genesis 12:1-3

                        2.         It was to be done through a descendant of Abraham - Genesis 22:18

                        3.         That promise was fulfilled in Jesus - Galatians 3:14-16

                        4.         The message started with the lost sheep of Israel - Matthew 10:6-7

                        5.         And spread to all nations - Matthew 28:19-20

                        6.         Thus salvation is offered to all men impartially - Ephesians 2:11-16

                        7.         So everyone is saved, right? Wrong.

                        8.         Only those in the church, those who accepted the offer and are willing to meet God’s terms are saved - Acts 20:28

                        9.         Those who are ignorant or disobedient will be lost - II Thessalonians 1:8-9

                        10.       Impartiality doesn’t mean complete acceptance.

III.       Intolerant

            A.        Jesus was intolerant.

                        1.         Intolerant of those who sinned or promoted sin

                        2.         His warning against the Pharisees and Sadducees - Matthew 16:6-8, 11-12

                        3.         What was wrong with their doctrine? - Matthew 23

                                    a.         He calls them hypocrites - Matthew 23:13-15, 23, 25, 27-32

                                    b.         He calls them blind and fools - Matthew 23:16-17, 19, 24, 26

                                    c.         He calls them serpents and vipers - Matthew 23:33

                        4.         They wouldn’t see what others could - Matthew 11:21-24

                                    a.         Imagine being told that Muslims were better than you!

                                    b.         Imagine being told that the people of Sodom were better than you!

                        5.         The Pharisees put their doctrine ahead of God - Matthew 15:3-9

                        6.         Jesus told the Sadducees that they were ignorant - Matthew 22:29

            B.        Jesus’ followers demonstrated intolerance

                        1.         Ephesians 5:11 - No fellowship with sin

                        2.         Large dissensions over doctrine - Acts 15:1-2

                        3.         They won’t put up with it - Galatians 2:4-5

                        4.         Those who taught falsely were named and their false teachings were openly discussed - II Timothy 2:16-18

                        5.         And consider their language!

                                    a.         Acts 7:51-52 - Stephen to the Jews who would not believe

                                    b.         Acts 13:10 - Paul to a man trying to talk another away from the gospel

                                    c.         Acts 20:29 - Concerning corrupt elders

                                    d.         James 4:4 - And even double-minded Christians

            C.        Truth does not have equal weight with sin. Christ and His followers do not tolerate that which opposes truth

IV.      Confrontational

            A.        Jesus was confrontational

                        1.         He confronted those who rejected the truth

                        2.         Jesus, at times, purposely provoked the Pharisees - Luke 13:10-17; 14:1-6

                        3.         As a result, they turned more solidly against him - John 5:16-18

                        4.         Jesus rocked the boat – HARD!

                        5.         John 8:57-59 - Jesus certainly wasn’t afraid of a confrontation

            B.        Jesus’ followers were confrontational

                        1.         The apostles were arrested and told to stop preaching about Jesus - Acts 4:18-20. They told the judges “No!”

                        2.         Then they went right back doing what needed to be done and were arrested again - Acts 5:27-33

                        3.         Stephen’s sermon in Acts 7 certainly wasn’t gentle to his audience - Acts 7:51-54

                        4.         Even to the point of getting into an apostle’s face - Galatians 2:11-12

            C.        Why? Because many won’t listen unless it is blunt and even then they will not listen.

V.        Exclusionary

            A.        Jesus excluded people by his teachings - John 6:60-66

                        1.         His words offended. When pointed out, he offended them further.

                        2.         Jesus knew people would take offense - Matthew 11:6

                        3.         He refused to do miracles in his own home town - Matthew 13:55-58

                        4.         The disciples were shocked that He offended the Pharisees - Matthew 15:12-14. And Jesus let them go!

                        5.         But such was prophesied of the Christ - Isaiah 8:14-15

            B.        Jesus’ followers were just as exclusive

                        1.         Their teachings were rejected by Jews and Gentiles - I Corinthians 1:23-28

                        2.         Paul was not about to modify his teaching to ease offense - Galatians 5:11-12

                        3.         Factions are going to have to exist - I Corinthians 11:19

            C.        There is a distinction - II Corinthians 6:14-17

VI.      God is love. God shows love. But what people ignore is that God’s love is conditional

            A.        God loves the obedient - John 14:21

            B.        Jesus saves those who follow his voice - John 10:27-28

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