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Summary: Those who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ are assured of eternal life.

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Believing II

Title: Truthiness (Part 2)

Text: I John 5:11-13

Thesis: Those who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ are assured of eternal life.

Series: Belonging, Believing and Becoming

I invite you to journey with us as people who value:

• Belonging to a caring faith community. (Making everyone welcome and cared for…)

• Believing the truth of God’s Word. (The Written and Living Word of God…)

• Becoming more like Jesus Christ.

Background to the term Truthiness

Stephen Colbert coined the word “truthiness” to describe the intuitive, not always rational feeing we get that something is just right.” The word caught-on and “truthiness” was chosen as the “Word of the Year” in 2006. The Dialect Society defined truthiness like this, “Truthiness is “the quality of preferring concepts or facts one wishes or thinks to be true, rather than concepts or facts known to be true.”

Truthiness describes the current way many Christians feel about their faith. It seems most Americans do not feel their religion is the only way to eternal life… even if their faith tradition teaches otherwise.

People have been having gut feelings about Jesus for a long time… we generally refer to most of those intuitive gut feelings or concepts as heresy. Those who espouse error are not necessarily raving maniacs… they are likely sincere people who follow their own gut feelings or inclinations rather than the shared knowledge or conventional wisdom of the larger church.

Introduction

Historically, just as there have been truthiness issues about the Written Word of God, and there have been truthiness issues about Jesus, the Living Word of God. People who have skewed beliefs about Jesus today likely fall into a category of heresy shared by those who have historically shared the same ideas. In other words, modern day truthiness has its counter-part in ancient theological history.

For example…

• Deists and Adoptionists deny that Jesus is truly God. They believe Jesus was a great and godly man but he was not God.

• Modalists believe that God the Father and Christ are the same person. Modalists believe that God became Jesus Christ. This is not unlike the theory that God assumes one of three identities depending on the occasion… God the Father may also appear as God the Son and as well as God the Holy Spirit. (I think in Native American Culture they might call this “shape-shifting.”

• Arianists believe that Jesus was the created Son of God and as such, not equal with God and is not eternal. If Jesus is created and not divine then God did not become human.

• Gnostic-Docets believe that Jesus was not really subject to all the things humans experience but merely assumed the appearance of a human body, i.e., they deny the reality of the humanity of Christ. This heresy stands in tension with those who believe Jesus was just a human being.

• One modern day heresy purports that there is a one-person God and Jesus was the first thing God created. Another believes a man progressed to godhood and he and his wife, Heavenly Mother had a spirit child named Jesus.

In the year 325 the First Ecumenical Council was held in the city of Nicea specifically to hammer out the truth of Jesus’ humanity and deity. They met to confront the Arian controversy which held that Jesus was the created Son of God (not the begotten Son of God) and therefore, not equal with God. The second paragraph of the Nicene Creed states the official doctrine of the church that holds true to this day. The third paragraph affirms the death and resurrection of Christ.

The second and third paragraphs of the Nicene Creed go like this:

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,

the only Son of God,

eternally begotten of the Father,

God from God, Light from Light,

true God from true God,

begotten, not made, one in Being with the Father.

Through him all things were made.

For us men and for our salvation

he came down from heaven:

by the power of the Holy Spirit

he was born of the Virgin Mary, and became man.

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate,

he suffered, died, and was buried.

On the third day he rose again

in fulfillment of the Scriptures;

he ascended into heaven

and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,

and his kingdom will have no end.

So just as we believe that the Bible is the Written Word of God, we believe Jesus is the Living Word of God.

II. The Living Word of God

A. Jesus had Purpose

But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God… So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the father’s one and only Son. John 1:12-14

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