Truth

An article by G. C. Bingham:

The Battle For the Truth: ‘The Truth Shall Make You Free’

In 1957 William Sargent published a significant book The Battle for the Mind (Pan Books). Later a book followed this, The Battle for the Soul, whose author and publisher escape my memory. The second book was intended to correct statements made in Sargent’s book. Both books were of great value, but I want us to look at present truth and error. We are in an age soaked with deceit and error of all kinds, both evil and charming, error seeming to be truth, so clever is the seduction of lethal error.

The story of truth and deceit begins for us in the garden of Eden, where the primal couple lived in serenity and joy in the presence of their Creator. The serpent—that wily one—set out to do what today we call ‘spin doctoring’, diverting from the truth by clever means and putting forth another agenda than that of the truth. Paul said that he deceived the woman, the Man knowing the deceit and yet choosing to go along with it. The human race was henceforth involved in deceit. In Scripture a lot is spoken about deceit, especially that of false witness. Satan is said to have deceived the nations. We are told of human beings, that some use ‘deceitful wiles’, some deceive their neighbours, some deceive themselves, sin deceives Man, idolatry likewise deceives, human lusts are deceitful, false prophets deceive—and so on. All this emphasises the difference between God’s truth and evil’s deceit, the latter being called ‘error’. John speaks in his First Letter of ‘the spirit of truth and the spirit of error’, and says that ‘the Spirit is the witness, because the Spirit is the truth’.

It is imperative and urgent that we know how to discern between deceit and truth. God has always communicated the truth, Satan the lie. The final and radical break into the human dilemma of knowing or not knowing what is truth, and what is deceit or error, came when the Word ‘became flesh’ and was ‘full of grace and truth’. ‘The law’, John said, ‘was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ’. Christ, we find, had much to say about truth. He said, ‘If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free’. In Romans 1:18–25 Paul talks of the horrible change in hitherto innocent Man when he ‘exchanged the truth of God for a lie and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator’. Jesus talks of the beautiful transformation which will come to fallen Man when he comes to know the truth. James described this, ‘Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth that we should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures’. In John 14:6 Jesus described himself as the way, the truth and the life. He meant he was the way to the Father, the truth of the Father and the life of the Father whom he called ‘the only true God’. He told Pilate that he had come into the world ‘to bear witness to the truth’. He added, ‘Every one who is of the truth hears my voice’.

In John 8:31–47 he said many things in regard to the truth. He spent time exposing Satan as a liar and a deceiver. ‘He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him’. This alerts us to the horrifying nature

1of Satan and the dangers of his deceiving works. Jesus also told the Jews opposing him that they were of their father the devil. How could they be so far deceived? He told them, ‘Because I tell you the truth, you do not believe me.’ Later he said that the Holy Spirit— the Spirit of truth and true witness—would convict the world of sin, ‘because they do not believe in me’. He said of himself that he was ‘a man who has told you the truth which I heard from God’, and, ‘If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me?’

On the last night Jesus told his disciples that ‘the Spirit of truth’ was to come to them, that the Spirit would bring remembrance to them of everything Jesus had spoken, that he would teach them all things, that he would lead them into all the truth, and that he would glorify the Son and the Father. He also pointed out that because he had told the truth the world had hated him, and would likewise hate them. Also Jesus told them that when the Spirit of truth came, then he would bear witness to the truth to all who were against Jesus, showing Christ to be the true One. ‘You also’, he said, ‘will bear witness to me’ .

It was clear that the disciples had rarely understood what he taught them, though they had confidence that he was the true One. ‘To whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.’ They knew he was of the truth, but despaired in knowing that truth. Even so, three times Jesus told them they would bear witness to him. In John 15:27, Luke 24:48 and Acts 1:8 he said they would bear witness to him, that is, tell the truth of him who is the truth. For this they would need the baptism or outpouring of the Spirit upon them since the Spirit is the witness to the truth and the Spirit is the truth. Acts shows that at Pentecost when the Spirit was poured out, the apostles and all other believers came to know the truth. The whole book shows that once the truth came to the new people of God—the church—then it so gripped them that they could not but tell what they now knew so vividly, so clearly and so powerfully. What Jesus had predicted had clearly come to pass, ‘You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free’. They were a free people because, ‘Where the Spirit is, there is liberty’. Living in the truth they proclaimed the truth effectively. We see, then, that the way to fight the error and deceit of Satan was—and is—to be filled with the Spirit and thus with the truth. Just being critical of Satan, and seeking to devise ways of unseating him are not the proper way to combat evil. It is to tell the undeniable truth of the gospel. The Apostle John had the following good advice to offer. In I John 2:18–25 he wrote:

Children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come; therefore we know that it is the last hour . . . But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all know. I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and know that no lie is of the truth. Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father. He who confesses the Son has the Father also. Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is what he has promised us, eternal life.

How, then, shall we go about ‘the battle for the truth’? Firstly we must recognise that the battle has been won in Jesus Christ through his great work of the incarnation, his ministry, his death on the cross and his resurrection from the tomb, as also his ascension, his present work of his enthronement at the right hand of God, and the promise of his coming—his parousia, or appearance. Men and women who are ‘fervent in spirit’, ‘being filled in spirit’, being ‘led by the Spirit’ and ‘walking in the Spirit’ are people filled with the truth, knowing it and proclaiming it. By the Spirit they are in Christ and Christ in them. This is the way of being ‘valiant for the truth’. We, then, are witnesses to the truth, the very truth of God. Let us keep in mind the fact that the forces of error—Satan and his hosts—are working day and night to draw us into error of thinking, error of action, error within the church, error within the world, and error in our minds and hearts. The only defence against these cunning wiles of the serpent, is the presence and power of the Holy Spirit as he is always bringing us to the truth of the Word of God—Christ himself as the Word, and the Bible as the inscripturated word.

Geoffrey Bingham, 10/11/98

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World War 2

Anyone who wants to enter into some precious insight into life as an Australian Prisoner Of War during World War 2, can download this book of War Stories, by Geoffrey C. Bingham. He was himself a P.O.W. in Singapore.

Geoff was a great writer of short stories, with depth and humour combined. As I recall, he was interviewed on ABC radio, in a memorable title: “1000 days to freedom”.

Laughing Gunner is a prize winning book, and has many of his short stories to enjoy and reflect upon.  See the free PDF download below.

It has a valuable forward by Sir Edward (Weary) Dunlop (Sir Edward Dunlop, AC, CMG, OBE, MS, FRCS, FRACS, FRCS, FRCS Edin. (Hon.) FRCS Thailand (Hon.), FCS Sri Lanka (Hon.) D.Sc. Punjabi (Hon.), LL.D. Melb. (Hon.)

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333_LaughingGunner

May these stories continue to be enjoyed by many.

Trevor

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The Clash of the Kingdoms

Early in Jesus ministry, we read of ‘the Spirit’ of God driving Jesus into the wilderness, and of an encounter with Satan.

Shortly after we read of ‘a man with an unclean spirit’ (Mark 1:23) who was heard to cried out in fear of being destroyed. Jesus spoke in rebuke of this ‘spirit’, and the ‘unclean spirit’ convulsed the man, and came out. And the ‘spirit’ was silent. Jesus lived as a human being amidst such daily dynamics.

Many people limit their understanding of life to the world of human politics, and human self-seeking, and human lies, human deception and human dishonesty at play in many places. To them, that is all there is.

At the same time they often dismiss any idea of a real conflict between God and Satan.

To many, all notions of Satan or of the Devil are mere imagination and fanciful thinking. That they would exist, or have any real role in life, deploying hidden powers of evil, is seen as some sort of ancient, primitive nonsense.

A trip to some of the poorer countries of the world, can serve to raise significant questions for rational thinkers. So too, should a trip to a local church be somewhat confronting. For the truly biblical church of 2015 continues to teach the reality of the Clash of the Kingdoms of Light and that of Darkness – not as a mere idea, but as a reality, where the Living God, is at work putting down the enemies of the truth, on the basis of the Victory of God, over all powers of evil, in and through the life and ministry of Jesus Christ.

The Spirit of God is able to reveal these things to us, in a way that brings peace and confidence and genuine understanding of the true nature of the world in which we live.

It has been said: ‘There is no such thing as good and evil, there is only God and Satan’. In other words these are more than ideas, or random forces, or neutral notions. There is a battle for the truth in our midst, energised by real non-human powers. Guilt, feat and manipulation can act as ‘levers’ for evil powers to utilise. likewise a personal revelation of the God of grace, in sovereign power, can bring much peace to a troubled, anxious or tormented person.

A good book, which opens up this topic can be downloaded for reading on an i-pad, tablet, ibook or PDF file.

The Clash of the Kingdoms, by Geoffrey C. Bingham is well worth the read:

http://www.newcreationlibrary.net/books/pdf/229_ClashKingdoms.pdf

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A Story of Fire

The movement of the Spirit of God across the land of Australia—the Great Southland of the Holy Spirit—has brought about some amazing changes in the communities of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.

Some of the great stories of personal – and community transformation, are recorded in this book:

215_StoryFire    (PDF – free download)

“By far the most dramatic and spectacular of the Aboriginal Christian movements has been the Charismatic Renewal Movement, starting from Galiwin’ku on Elcho Island, spreading through Arnhem Land, and later through the Warburton Ranges and other parts of Western Australia. This began soon after the Commonwealth Government’s policy of self-management was implemented by the missions, especially when the Uniting Church handed over the work of preaching and teaching the Christian message to a trained Aboriginal pastor in 1976. There was a new confidence developing as the Christians saw their own leaders take responsibility, and develop and use gifts of preaching, teaching, healing, song writing and singing. This confidence was built up as Christian groups travelled to other communities, and saw the message received with joy and enthusiasm by their own tribal groups and by others who spoke different languages, and even by those who had traditionally been hostile.” (page 27)

It is freely available here for  download, here as a PDF file, which works ok as an e-book! Take, and read.

 

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What a Friend we have in Jesus

Are we friends with our Pastor? Are we really a friend of God? Can we be? Is this a helpful way to think and to speak.

Scripture says, ‘while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God’ (Romans 5:10). God the Son, Jesus, said to some who barely understood what he was on about, ‘I do not call you servants any longer …but I have called you friends’ (John 15:15). Centuries ago, Abraham was called the friend of God (James 2:23) Jesus was criticised for being ‘a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ (Matthew 11:19).

In the PDF file that follows—called PSG1992—the third study takes a close look at the biblical theme of friendship with God, and so with one another.

It is a friendship that is known and enjoyed, within the security of a gracious, covenant bond.  Jesus extended his friendship to others—and revelation came bursting upon some, as by faith they came to meet the God of all grace, the Holy One, …their King, Creator, Father and…friend.

There are other good studies in this file, but I am drawing attention to ‘The Pastoral Power of Friendship’, the third ‘essay’ in the file:

PSG1992    <—- Free PDF Download

It is a good, fortifying read. I trust you also may appreciate it.

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The Wrath of His Love

One of the most helpful small, but thoroughly well thought through treatments of the biblical notion of God’s Wrath, and of God’s Love, is found in Geoffrey Bingham’s book: ‘The Wrath of His Love”.

392_WrathOfLove   (<—- Free Download)

One statement which warrants close attention is the claim that:

“…the modern saying, ‘God hates the sin but loves the sinner’ is simply not true. Sin is done from the will of the sinner and it is the action of the sinner which God hates and He does not separate what is done from the doer. Evil is always and only ever personal” (p. 24).

Not many people today, teach such rich and important insights, with biblical faithfulness, and in a way which draws one to the gospel and the freedom God gives to humanity in it.

Please take a copy and pass it on.

 

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Stewards of God’s Mysteries

Those who teach the Christian faith are ‘stewards of God’s mysteries’.

Think of us in this way, as servants of Christ and stewards of God’s mysteries.  (1Corinthians 4:1)

When we say that something is a mystery, we often mean a puzzle—something we have to work out; like a murder mystery.  However, that is not what the New Testament means. A mystery is a reality in which has been disclosed. Apart from it being revealed, it could not be otherwise known. Revelation comes through faith in Jesus.

In the New Testament, God’s mysteries include the following:

  1. The Mystery of the Kingdom (Matt. 13:11, Mark 4:11, Luke 8:10)
  2. The Mystery of the Hardening of Israel (Romans 11:25)
  3. The Revelation of the Mystery (Romans 11:25-26)
  4. The Mystery of God (1Corinthians 2:1)
  5. The Mystery of Glorification (1Corinthians 2:7)
  6. The Mysteries of God (1Corinthians 4:1) –Stewards
  7. All Mysteries (1Corinthians 13:2)
  8. A Mystery (1Corinthians 15:51f)
  9. Mysteries uttered in the Spirit (1Corinthians 14:2)
  10. The Mystery of His will (Ephesians 1:9)
  11. The Mystery of Christ (Ephesians 3:3)
  12. The Mystery of the Integration of the Gentiles (Ephesians 3:6, 3:9)
  13. Marriage: the Profound Mystery (Ephesians 5:32)
  14. The Mystery of the Gospel (Ephesians 6:19)
  15. The Mystery hidden throughout the ages (Colossians 1:25-27)
  16. God’s mystery, that is, Christ himself (Colossians 2:2; 4:3)
  17. The Mystery of Iniquity – or Lawlessness (2Thessalonians 2:7)
  18. The Mystery of our Faith (1Timothy 3:9)
  19. The Mystery of our Religion (1Timothy 3:16)
  20. The Mystery of the Seven Stars (Revelation 1:20)

Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for the apostles. Help us to read and hear their words with faith, while listening carefully to you, and what you are saying. 

A great book on this topic is:  ‘The Glory of the Mystery and the Mystery of the Glory‘, by Geoffrey C. Bingham.  Free on a download… Here:

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