It's not always easy to be faithful to the truth of God's Word. In fact, sometimes it can hurt or put us at a disadvantage in the world's eyes. Truthfulness can take a toll but strengthens our soul.
In Acts 26, the text from this past Sunday's sermon, the Apostle Paul was nothing, if not truthful. Here's a story on truthfulness I came across last week while studying and some application points on truthfulness that didn't make it into the sermon.
A few days after the birth of Isaac Watts, his father began a jail sentence in Southampton because he believed he had the right to worship in the fellowship led by the Reverend Nathaniel Robinson rather than in the established Church of England. His stand for truth did not disgrace or divide his family. Quite the opposite! Every day Mrs. Watts took tiny Isaac to the prison and, seated on a horse block outside, fed him in sight of his incarcerated father. When Isaac was nine months old, his father began another six month’s imprisonment for the same cause—religious freedom! Was it not love of truth, love of freedom, love of family, and love of Christ that impelled Watts to demonstrate such demanding integrity? Was young Isaac absorbing homilies of truth to be expressed later in his magnificent hymns?
Truthfulness about God's Word makes us less intimidated by our circumstances. Paul wasn't intimidated by the pomp and position of Agrippa. He was confident that the Lord was on his side. Don't ever forget that He that is in us is greater than he that is in the world. (1 John 4:4)
Truthfulness about God's Word makes us both kind and confrontational. Paul showed respect to Agrippa, but he also confronted him with the gospel. When we are truthful to the Word we are able to show kindness to those who disagree with us. We are also emboldened to share truth with them. Don't get sidetracked in gospel conversations with your own opinions; share biblical truth with people, and God will bless.
Truthfulness about God's Word sets us free. Even though Paul was in physical chains, he was freed from the bondage of sin by the grace of Jesus. Remember, the people you speak with may be freer than you in their physical circumstances, but you have a freedom in your soul that they desperately need.
Truthfulness about God's Word unifies and divides. Paul's obedience to the heavenly vision brought people together in Christ. Those who would not believe were left bitter and divided. When we are faithful to the Word of God we can expect similar results. Although not everyone will believe, the gospel has the power to unify and transform people from all backgrounds.