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Can You Tell Me The Way?

Getting Back on Track

The book of Deuteronomy gives us two pictures. One is of God, the other is of mankind. Chapter 32 vv 3 and 4 is the picture of God; and vv 5 and 6 the picture of man. Here the "they" means the people of all times and places. We have tried to see how and why people have turned from God to follow their own inclinations or worship false gods. Usually it is failure and disaster that turn us away from a lifestyle based on these. Only brokenness or deep dissatisfaction, the feeling that there must be something better, can bring the desire to turn back to God. Once we have this desire we are ready to move on. Read now what has been called the parable of the Prodigal Son. It is in Luke chapter 15 vv 11 to 31. In the father we have a picture of God, loving and forgiving. In the younger son we have a picture of sinful man, wilful until he seeks forgiveness. In the older son we have a picture of self-righteous man, bitter and jealous. Who do you more easily identify with? Both need God's forgiveness.

Read and consider
Psalm 14
Matthew 23 verses 27 and 28.

Part Three

Openness to the Truth of the Cross

We are going to begin by considering further the nature of God, especially the understanding that he is the One who encompasses all truth. Pilate's question, "What is truth?" (in John 18 v 38) reflects man's puzzlement when seeking the absolute. Many people today would deny the possibility of absolute truth. The generally accepted wisdom of the age seems to be that truth is what applies in any one particular situation, time and place, and has no relevance to any other. That does not prove that absolute truth (that is truth that applies at ALL times, in ALL places and in ALL situations and circumstances) does not exist, only that it is difficult to discover.

If we believe that God really exists, and that he is the God of truth, then absolute truth exists. For us to know this absolute truth depends on two things, God's willingness to reveal it, and our openness to receive it. How do we know that God is the God of truth? We have the affirmation of Scripture. "Redeem me, 0 Lord, the God of truth" (Psalm 31 v 5). "Send forth your light and your truth" (Psalm 43 v 3). Psalm 40 v 11, Isaiah 45 v 19, Isaiah 65 v 16 are other references, and there are many more. Try to count the number of times Jesus said, "I tell you the truth". If you read Psalm 119 or any part of it, you will see how God reveals his truths, his laws and his commands, and how the psalmist pleads to be taught how to understand and obey. Have we got the same desire to know, to accept and to live in accordance with the truth? All truth is to be found in the Scriptures, but to know means more than just to read. We have to be open to the Holy Spirit, and allow him to be our teacher. He reveals to us the meaning and all the implications of God's word.

The reason for believing this is found in two passages in John's Gospel; chapter 14 verses 15 to 27, and chapter 16 verses 5 to 15. Do read these passages thoughtfully and prayerfully, and understand that what Jesus was saying to the disciples then, needs to be applied equally to us today. Notice particularly that Jesus calls the Holy Spirit, the Counsellor, and says that he is the Spirit of truth. Jesus also says that the Holy Spirit will teach you all things, and "will remind you of everything I have said to you". In chapter 16 Jesus says, "But when he, the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth". The Holy Spirit is to be our teacher and guide.

How does this happen, and for it to happen, what do we have to do? We have to ask, and we have to ask believing. Then believing, we have to be open, ready and willing to receive. In regard to this, an important passage of Scripture to read and take to heart is Luke 11 vv 9 to 13. Understand what this is saying, and use these verses as the basis for your prayer. We have to show God the genuineness of our search, and of our desire for the truth. We have to tell him that we are knocking, believing that he will delight in opening the door to reveal his truth. We have to ask that the Holy Spirit will reveal to us what we need to know. As we ask, we must be open to receive and to believe.