HOPE THAT PURIFIETH MINISTRIES
|There is only one antidote to deception’s venom – TRUTH.|
Receiving the Love of the Truth
Text: II Thessalonians 2:7-13
By Ryan Timmons
During the course of our studies in the Revelation we have encountered this chapter and these verses on a few occasions. Specifically, we were directed to notice that Wicked individual, the Antichrist, who will take the earthly throne during the time of the Tribulation.
v. 4 – mentions his nature, that being opposed to God
v. 8 – mentions his revelation and destruction
v. 9 – mentions the nature of his work. He is empowered to work miracles WITH THE INTENT TO DECEIVE
v.10 – We see how the lying works of Satan connect with the deceivableness of man’s nature to make an unbreakable bond. Jeremiah 17:9 says “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”
This chapter unveils the Antichrist and his workings, but it also
unveils the decadent spiritual climate during the Tribulation. It is a
time strongly characterized by DECEPTION. II Timothy 3:13 says “but
evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being
deceived.” The way I understand it, there will be people who are
ignorantly deceived and those who want to be deceived. Some are lied to
by the devil. They are tricked into believing a lie. It is not their
fault (although they will still be accountable). Others allow
themselves to be deceived because they are liars and like to be lied
We can see examples of this in our government. We have an administration that is founded upon lies. You can show them the TRUTH about their policies, but they continue to press for change. You can show them the TRUTH in history. You can show them the TRUTH in other communist/socialist nations. You can show them the TRUTH in statistics and scientific studies and they refuse to stop. Many of those Americans who support this administration are ignorantly deceived by the smooth talk of prideful politicians; others like to hear the lies. They want to be lied to because they see some benefit in it for themselves. They see freedom of choice as a way to continue their fornications. They like to see businesses punished for their success because it means some of the big money can be diverted into their pockets. They will faithfully recycle, use only fluorescent bulbs, and turn their car off at the railroad crossing, and flush once a day because they have no other god but this earth. What a bunch of foolish LIES!
Verse 7 calls it “the mystery of iniquity”. It will be a dark time, darker than the blackest midnight. It will be a frigid time – “the love of many shall wax cold” (Matthew 24:12). When the Holy Ghost and the Church are taken out of the way people will be left to their own devices. They will find it the perfect opportunity to act according to their wicked imaginations. When judgment is poured out they get harder still. As the Bible reveals the depraved condition of mankind during the Tribulation I believe we can learn ONE lesson at least: If you think it’s bad now, you aint seen nothin’ yet.
Do not think that just because we haven’t entered into the Tribulation that these conditions don’t currently exist. Verse 7 says “the mystery of iniquity DOTH ALREADY WORK.” Right now the world is being conditioned to accept and follow the Antichrist. The world is being conditioned to believe lies. So, now is a critical time for ALL of us because we are living in the age of grace. We have an opportunity to reject deception and cultivate a life of truth. We have the opportunity to draw closer to the Lord every day. We have the opportunity to pray that we would be counted worthy to escape the Tribulation (Luke 21:36). “But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.”
It can be hard. As children of God we can feel the pressure. We can, if we haven’t been deceived already, sense that mystery of iniquity at work around us. In a society that is driven by a lust for pleasure and self-will we battle daily. We have the inward war with the lusts of the flesh. We have the temptations in the world around us trying to lure of from safety into the snare of the Wicked one. Here is another mystery: In spite of all the pressure around us to compromise we can stand strong. Although we’re in the minority we are more than conquerors (Romans 8:37). There is the mystery of iniquity, but there is also the mystery of godliness (I Timothy 3:16).
There is only one antidote to deception’s venom – TRUTH. One of the greatest gifts that we could ever have, one of the greatest qualities we could possess is A LOVE FOR TRUTH. Verse 10 says “they received not the love of the truth.” This is what I would like to discuss at this moment. Now, at this moment in our lives, we can either be conditioned to believe lies or we can learn how to receive the love of the truth. We must receive TRUTH if we are to be saved. Notice the wording of this verse. It is not necessarily receiving the Truth. It is receiving the LOVE of the truth. If we receive the love of the truth, we shall, in turn receive truth.
1. They receive NOT the love of the truth.
2. They did NOT welcome truth. I am reminded of Jesus, who is the Truth. When He came as a baby, there was “no room” for Him in the inn. When he came as a man, the Bible says “He came unto his own, and his own received him not” (John 1:11). The Laodicean church in Revelation chapter 3 finds Him on the outside, knocking at the door, desirous to be received, yet ignored. They received not that one thing that they needed more than anything else. They rejected Light and Love. Because they refused to receive the LOVE of the truth this left the door open to option #2 - LIES. To contrast these pictures of rejection I remind you of a certain group to whom Christ ministered in Luke 8:40 “…the people gladly received him…” I want to be one of those. I want to be like Lazarus, Mary, and Martha, some of our Lord’s closest friends where our Lord knew He would always be received gladly.
3. They refused to believe the truth. In the face of facts, in the face of evidence, they rejected truth.
4. They had pleasure in unrighteousness. Not only did they not receive the love of the truth, not only did they not welcome the truth, not only did they refuse to believe it, they took pleasure in unrighteousness. “Pleasure in unrighteousness” is the only logical conclusion for those who reject the truth. This is the characteristic spirit in our day. We love entertainment. We love things that make us feel good. We love having a good time. II Timothy 3:4 “…lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God”. Some pleasures are good and ordained of God, yet in our society we tend to love the pleasures MORE THAN God. We will either have a love for pleasure or a love for truth. According to the Bible you can’t have both. The love of pleasure will dominate any love you have for the truth.
“What is truth?” That was the question asked by Pilate when he stood face to face with Jesus Christ, Who is the truth. There are different forms of truth. Rush Limbaugh is known as “America’s Truth Detector”. As grateful as I am for the work that he does we must realize that truth goes much deeper than earthly, political facts. There are many “good” people who want truth, but only so much it. There are certain political groups who want the truth of the constitution to be upheld. They will readily defend America’s Christian heritage, yet they will not believe in the God who providentially brought it about. They will claim the existence of a higher power, but not the Lord Jesus Christ who is the ONLY way to heaven. Do you think Rush Limbaugh believes the same Gospel we do? Pilate questioned what truth was. He possibly desired to know truth, but only to a certain extent. If it meant bowing down to the disgraced, bloody, lunatic standing before him he would not accept it.
The truth that I am speaking of in this lesson is God’s Truth. Jesus Christ is “the way, the truth, and the life.” This truth that I am speaking of is two-fold.
1. The truth about yourself
2. The truth about God
“All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23)
“…without me you can do nothing…” (John 15:5)
“For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.” (Galatians 6:3)
“…what is your life? It is even a vapour…” (James 4:14)
“If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth.” (I John 1:6)
“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” (I John 1:8)
The truth about yourself can be hard to accept. Some folks will
deceive themselves into thinking they are OK. Church people will
deceive themselves into thinking they’re spiritual. They sometimes
ignore the truth about themselves when the prophet preaches concerning
the condition of their soul. They will turn away their heads, close
their eyes, and plug their ears to avoid the truth about themselves.
They will overlook certain faults and certain fleshly inclinations they
have stirring in their bosom. They will overlook their sins and
failures. Just because we don’t acknowledge the truth about ourselves
doesn’t change the facts.
Receiving the love of the truth requires a certain spirit, a certain attitude, a certain set of characteristics.
2. Teachable spirit – “…take my yoke upon you, and learn of me…” (Matthew 11:29)
3. A listening ear – “a wise son heareth his father’s instruction…” (Proverbs 13:1), “Rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee.” (Proverbs 9:8)
4. Diligence – It was said of the Bereans “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they RECEIVED the word will all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so” (Acts 17:11).
5. Love –
a love for the One who is giving the truth
1. Read the Bible constantly – make it your life’s study.
2. Meditate on the Word of God – “Oh how love I thy law! It is my meditation all the day.” (Psalm 119:97)
3. Listen to the preached Word by attending church
4. Lay aside your own preconceived ideas and opinions. Be open to accept ALL the truth and not just what is convenient to you. Realize that even though the truth comes from one of God’s servants it is still the truth. “For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, BECAUSE WHEN YE RECEIVED THE WORD OF GOD which ye heard of us, ye RECEIVED IT NOT AS THE WORD OF MEN, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.” (I Thessalonians 2:13)
5. Realize that the truth is unchanging. We cannot bargain to change it. We dare not argue against it.
6. Full reception of truth will require that you APPLY it to your life. “Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.” (James 1:22)
How do I receive the truth?
What attitude do I receive it in?
As a preacher sometimes you can feel the resistance while you’re preaching. As someone in the congregation you may experience it as well. You may feel the resistance in your own heart. I have. You then begin to make assessments from the carnal mind. “I don’t agree with that”. “Does God’s Word really mean that?” When that happens you are closing the door on truth. As a hearer sometimes the truth that is coming across is hurtful, yet you know it’s true. It makes you a little angry. What do you do? How do you receive it? (Parable of the seed & soil).
Do you smile and accept it?
Do you smile and reject it?
Do you frown and get upset?
receive preaching like water off a duck’s back. They sit and listen.
They nod in agreement, yet they have no intentions of applying it to
their lives. Why even attend church if you have no intentions of
receiving the word of God? Jesus said “if you love me, keep my
commandments.” (John 14:15).
There is a danger with those of us who have been in church for many years that we would become too familiar with the Word of God and spiritual things. There is a danger that we would lose our reverence for the Word. We can lose the sense of the privilege we have to hear the Word of God preached and expounded. This was Uzzah’s problem. He had been around the ark for some time, but he lost a sense of reverence for its holiness. I don’t believe it was just another piece of furniture to him. I do believe it was still special to him, but just not in the same degree as it was to his forefathers. When the oxen stumbled and cart began to shake he put forth his hand. Let us strive to retain a right heart for the Word of God. Let us cultivate a teachable spirit and a love of the truth.