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Pontius Pilate asked Jesus, “What is truth?” when Jesus said to Pilate, “You are right in saying I am a King. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to Me.” If you do not know what truth is, how then can we define or know what is a man of truth?

If you define truth by your own knowledge and understanding without listening to Jesus, does that mean you are on the side of truth and does that mean you have spoken truth? According to Jesus’ definition that He gave Pilate, the answer is no. For according to Jesus, it is what He testified to that is the truth and therefore, that which Jesus did not testify to is not truth and anyone who does not listen to Him is not on the side of truth.

So then anyone who does not listen to Jesus is a false person in the making, for such a person is not on the side of truth. He may not lie or be a liar, but is a false person in the making, because he is not on the side of truth. At any point a person does not listen to Jesus is the point in his life that he is made false.

Look at the twelve as an example… at the feeding of the 5000 again, it is written: Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of Him to Bethsaida… but they did not listen and someone suggested that they should go to Capernaum as it is written: When evening came, His disciples went down to the lake, where they got into a boat and set off across the lake for Capernaum. However, they never got to Capernaum but landed in Gennesaret instead… so that whoever suggested Capernaum was made a liar, for that which he thought, said and purposed to do did not eventuate. A liar not because he lied when he thought of going to Capernaum and they agreed to go and when they got into the boat to go… no, but they were made liars because what they thought, said and put into action never came to be and as such, their thoughts, plans, words and actions were proved false. Their plans did not eventuate, their words were proved false and their efforts did not give them entry to Capernaum but to Gennesaret.

And so it will be for all who have heard the words of Jesus, but have not listened to Him… they will be proved false, be they disciples, believers or non-believers. For anyone who does not listen to Jesus is not on the side of Truth and therefore is false.

Anyone who has heard the words of Jesus, including those who believe in His Name, but have not listened to Him, so that their thoughts, words and actions are modified accordingly, will be proved false. False because whatever the plans may be, whatever the words may promise or propose, even state, and whatever their actions are will come to nothing… nothing that Jesus should be concerned about, for it has nothing to do with His words.

So then, elect, look again at why Jesus said to those who drove out demons in His Name, prophesied in His Name and did miracles in His Name, “Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from Me, you evildoers!’ “ For they are those who said what they said and did what they did without listening to Him.

Again, take the twelve… if they had succeeded in going to Capernaum and there in Capernaum did miracles just like Jesus did and drove every demon out of Capernaum, not a single one of their words or actions would be considered acceptable, but would be considered evil doing, for they would have been in Capernaum by not listening to Jesus. They may have gone there in His Name and driven out demons in His Name and did miracles in His Name, but because they got there by not listening to Him, nothing would count, for nothing said or done in such a circumstance is on the side of truth.

Only that which is said and done on the side of truth has value in the eyes of the One who is the Truth. And since to be on the side of truth, you have to listen to Jesus, then anything that is done without listening to Jesus, even if they are miracles, is false… real, but false so that they have no value at all in Truth’s perspective.

Of course anyone can argue that such a definition of truth is too narrow, too fundamental… that is correct, yet this is not a definition from the writer but from the words of Jesus who said, “Everyone on the side of truth listens to Me,” and He is the final Arbiter of the eternity of every individual.

Certainly, those who do not believe in Jesus or have never heard of Jesus are not subject to this definition. It is those who say they belong to Jesus, who use His Name or part of His Name to designate their place, position, faith and organisation who have to face up to this. For if you say that you believe in Jesus, you work for Him, you are related to Him and He is your Lord and Saviour, and yet you do not listen to Him, then be warned, you are not on the side of truth even if you have all the facts correct, even if you never lie, even if you are a ‘good’ man. No matter what, when you are not on the side of truth, then you must be on the side of the false.

Those who have not heard of Jesus or His words cannot listen to Jesus, so they are not under the same judgment. Those who have heard of Jesus and His words but reject them, as Jesus said, there is a Judge for them and they stand condemned for judgment.

However, for those who believe in Him and were beheaded holding onto their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God, though they died they will be raised at the first resurrection because of the way they honoured Jesus in their testimony for Jesus and because of the Word of God who said, “Those who honour Me I will honour…”

Now, in the NIV, see that John wrote he saw those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus not of Jesus. What is the difference? The difference is this: Even demons had a true testimony of Jesus when they said, “I know who You are—the Holy One of God!” and another said, “What do You want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?” and others cried out, “You are the Son of God.” All true testimonies of Jesus – for He is the Holy One of God, the Son of God – from the mouths of demons, but they were not testimonies for Jesus. They were not spoken out of love for Him, out of honour for Him or out of gratitude for Him. They may have been spoken out of ‘fear of Him,’ but there was no respect or honour in that fear, just fear of punishment by rebellious persons who had no intention of repenting.

Likewise, there are many who testify of Jesus truthfully, saying, “He is the Christ, the Holy One of God, Son of the Most High God,” and so on so that people would listen to them, honour them and lift them up… without teaching those they speak to the meaning of this testimony and command of God: “This is My beloved Son… listen to Him.”

Even if they were beheaded testifying of Jesus, they may not be raised in the honour of the first resurrection, for their testimony of Jesus may not be for Jesus, even if what they said of Jesus is true… their testimony may have been said to be against Jesus, just like those demons. Certainly, as Jesus said, “…by their fruits you will know them,” those ones who testify of Jesus without listening to Jesus. By what fruits? By their lack of patience for those who do not accept their message immediately; their lack of goodness to those who are meant to be saved by their message; their lack of kindness to the ungrateful; lack of gentleness to the weak; lack of joy at the repentance of a sinner; lack of love of enemies; lack of peace that surpasses knowledge and understanding; lack of faithfulness to those assigned to them, let alone to the Lord; lack of self control so as not to give over to greed for fame, power, honour and glory for themselves; lack of righteousness in honouring the One who sent them so that they are without truth and the sacrifice of praise will never be found on their lips. This was how Jesus warned about the false prophets in Matthew 7.15.

So you see, the false prophet who must come as part of the preparation for Jesus’ glorious return is a man who will have a true testimony of Jesus Christ, saying, “I know who He is, the Holy One of God, Jesus, the Son of the Most High,” just like those demons, but he will not have a testimony for Jesus Christ. His deception of many of those who believe, but are deceivable because of their ignorance of the Scriptures or the power of God, is carried on successfully because he has a testimony of Jesus Christ but not for Jesus Christ.

It is only those who have a true testimony for Jesus Christ who can begin to be considered men of truth… begin, I say, because many have a testimony for Jesus but they are too lazy to work for His honour. You see, a man of truth is not one who speaks for the honour of the one who sent him, but one who works for the honour of the one who sent him. As such, one who listens but does not work may be on the side of truth… however he is still not a man of truth.

For those who are honoured with the first resurrection because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God, all died and not one of them was able to be witness to the truth of John 11.26, but are returning as witnesses of John 11.25. The power of God that is needed to fulfill John 11.26 was withheld from them. And if we are to avoid their fate, then we must learn from them as much as we need to listen to Jesus without regard for them. That is the paradox – to regard and honour them, but yet at the same time disregard them. Why? Not because of the truth. They were great heroes of the faith, holding onto their testimony for Jesus and the word of God, as well as great men and women of truth who sought to work for the honour of the One who sent them, even laying down their lives, but for all their efforts, for all that they achieved, they are only witnesses of John 11.25. They are useful for anyone who wants to emulate them and join them in the first resurrection, and they should be honoured rightly. However, the truth is this: They are of no help to those who seek to be witnesses of John 11.26 for the honour of Jesus. All that they have done and said achieved for them the honour of being just witnesses of John 11.25 as they return with Jesus, but not of John 11.26.

However, for those who desire to bear witness of John 11.26 and remain alive until Jesus arrives, to witness the raising of the dead in Christ first, to hear the voice of the archangel, to rise and join with Jesus in the clouds to be with Him forever as Paul said we will, then we need to learn from these martyrs to see what they did not do, what they did not think, what they did not believe or practise, for it is their omission that can give us the answer to fulfilling John 11.26.

To follow them in all they have accomplished without seeing what they omitted can at best give you a place at their side to await the first resurrection. It is to see what they accomplished and what they omitted that will surely grant you a place amongst those who will remain alive until Jesus arrives to greet them. So even for those who seek the honour of the first resurrection, there is a choice – you can join them to return or you can greet them on their return.

Since those who were martyred were great men and women of faith, then we know their doctrines, the vocabulary of faith, are insufficient for John 11.26, for Jesus said, “I am the Resurrection and the Life. He who believes in Me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?” When we answered, “Yes,” to this question, we committed our faith. Now how do we bring out the fruit of that commitment so that we will have what we believe for, we will have what we hope for, what we speak of and what we work for? The answer lays in the manifestation of the man of truth within us, the one who works for the honour of Him who sent us and in whom is nothing false!

So when God first restored to us the command “Listen to Him,” the journey, the process, for the production of the man of truth in us began. Why? Because to be on the side of truth, one must listen to Jesus according to Jesus… but to be a man of truth, you must be one sent by Him, and how can He send anyone who has not listened to Him? And to complete the process, having listened, having been sent, you must be prepared to work for His honour, not yours. When that man of truth is fully formed in you, then in you there is nothing false.

You see, having nothing false about you does not make you a man of truth. An honest man, a man who does not lie, is only just that, an honest man having nothing false… but it does not make him a man of truth. For when Jesus said what He said in John 7.18, “He who speaks on his own does so to gain honor for himself, but he who works for the honor of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him,” have you noticed there is a semicolon before He said, “…there is nothing false about him”?

The reality then of having nothing false about you does not manifest for an honest man who does not listen to Jesus, who has not been sent by Him, who does not work for Him and who does not work to honour Him.

That is why a man of truth is such a rare creature, for indeed Jesus Christ alone is the Man of Truth who listened to the Father who sent Him and who worked for the Father’s honour. As such, this creature, this man of truth who fulfills John 7.18, can only come from those who have listened to Jesus, who are listening to Jesus and who will be listening to Jesus, for he must emerge from the side of Truth.

So know and understand then, elect, your obedience to the command, “Listen to Him,” has placed you on the side of truth, and it is from this side that a man of truth can emerge. Having listened you can be sent, and being sent you can work if you choose, and work to honour the One who sent you if you choose.

So then the beginning of knowledge and understanding of what constitutes a man of truth gives also a better understanding of what a man of falsehood is, a man in whom there is nothing true. Such a man is a dog who loves and practises falsehood, even though he may not be a liar.

So pause and consider now that which you are elected for, for you have listened and soon you will be sent and what will become of you will depend on whether you will work for the honour of the One who sent you, so that in you the vessel that can contain the full power of God and not the corrupted can manifest.

It is one thing to have power, but what good is power if it corrupts and destroys the vessel that holds it, both are worthless, like salt that lost its saltiness… what is it good for except to be cast out and trampled on?

But when you can be a vessel that power does not and cannot corrupt, then truly you are the most formidable weapon, worthy of the invincible God to use as He pleases.

So then “What is truth?” Only those who listen to Jesus will live to find it out. Amen.

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