Alfred Place Baptist Church

6:14 The Belt of Truth

Ephesians 6:14 “Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist,”

Paul raises and explains the subject of the Christian war in this section. He describes for us our enemy, and the nature of the Christian armaments supplied by God. Every believer is called to be a good soldier of the Lord Jesus. All of us are being told to stand tall and erect. On three previous occasions Paul has told us to stand, and he does so once again in our text, “Stand firm then!” When I was a little boy the ashman would call at our street with his horse and cart tipping our ashes into his cart. He would back the horse into our lane to turn it round on its way to the dump. Negotiating the horse backwards into the narrow lane was a challenging task. He would cry at the horse, “Stand back.” I watched him do this many times until I thought the name of the horse was ‘Standback’ and I called my wooden horse ‘Standback,’ and even addressed it with the same fruity language that I had learned from the ashman until told that we didn’t use those words. “Stand back!” shouted the ashman. “Stand firm,” cries the apostle. We are going to meet all sorts of difficulties and opposition, and the danger is that we will buckle under it and collapse. “Don’t do that,” says Paul; “Stand firm! Put on the whole armour of God.” Then he sets out the panoply of a completely decked-out soldier, six pieces of armour. This is what we are going to consider in these next chapters; the first piece we must put on is the belt of truth.

Paul begins with the belt; it holds together the pieces of armour and a man’s under garments. The belt prepares a man for vigorous activity. There is a place for a flowing bridal dress and a train which might be yards in length. A wedding day is one of joy and celebration, not conflict; a ball is another place for full-length gowns, but they are not suitable wear for someone engaged in armed combat. When you are getting ready for vigorous activity you need to gather your clothes together. You must be unimpeded in the marching and the final charge into the battle. When the bugle sounds you attack the lines of the enemy. The belt gives you firmness and a sense of security, strength and confidence. “Tighten your belts. We are in for a fight. Get ready for action!” We need to say that to ourselves Sunday after Sunday. Our forefathers said, ‘Gird up your loins!”

The Christian’s belt is truth. The primary thing about Christianity is not that we feel better from religion but that the message is true. If it isn’t true it is meaningless. Christianity isn’t true because it works for me. Because Christianity is true it works mightily to change lives. It tells me what life is all about, who God is, what the good life is, and what lies after death. It gives rational answers to ultimate question. We must never stop telling people that the Christian faith is true. Its truthfulness is the belt which holds together everything else. It tempers the zeal and fuels it. It is the foundation for our joy and peace; it tells us what our response should be and motivates us in all our activities. If you know little about what the Scripture teaches you are extremely vulnerable. A soldier cannot fight properly with his armour and underclothes swinging in the wind or his trousers falling to his ankles. He’d be dead before he could swing a single blow.

How important is the truth? Truth is vital in every area. The truth tells us that we have an eternal future; the truth protects us from the deadly lie that ‘this life is all there is.’ Truth tells us who God really is and what God is really like, saving us from idols and false gods. Truth tells us who we are as creatures made in God’s image and as fallen sinners, protecting us from having too low an opinion of our value and too high an opinion of our virtue. Truth shows us ultimate reality in Jesus Christ, protecting us from putting anything else on the throne of our hearts. Isn’t truth uppermost? Zeal without truth is fanaticism. Warmth without truth is a forest fire. The difference between truth and lies is the difference between God and Satan. Scripture speaks of the Lord as “the God of truth” (Isaiah 65:16) and of Satan as “the father of lies” (John 8:44). Satan uses error to attack us; God uses truth to protect us. The first thing we have to put on is the belt of truth.

1. WHAT IS TRUTH?

[I’ve had some help in answering this question from an article written by R.B. Kuiper appearing in the Presbyterian magazine Christianity Today, back in March 1931] That is a crucial question. There are several religions, each of which will give a different answer to the question, what is truth. To mention just a few religions, there are Christianity, Liberalism, Humanism, Islam, Darwinism, Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Buddhism. How do you find out which one has the truth? How do you know that all other answers are essentially false? The question is extremely difficult, and people everywhere, if left to themselves, would never be able to answer it. The reply is far beyond the reach of the sin-darkened minds of men. The only reason why we can answer it is that God has seen fit to explain it to us. Apart from divine revelation agnosticism would be reasonable.

When Jesus of Nazareth stood before Pilate the Roman governor sneered at Christ and the preposterous claim which the Nazarene prisoner had made, “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” (Jn. 18:37). “What is truth?” asked Pilate. Would that the Roman had been willing to listen to the Jew! Would that the judge had come down from his throne, had invited the defendant to take his place, and then had humbly sat at his feet to listen to his words! Then Pontius Pilate would have learned the answer to his own question. He’d have been delivered from the bondage of error into the glorious liberty of the children of God, but Pilate was too proud for that and too afraid of the Roman Emperor. Let’s not be so proud. Let us even now very humbly, as little boys and girls, mere school children, sit down at the feet of this great Teacher to hear from his lips what is truth.

God is truth. Let’s begin there. About that there can be no reasonable doubt. It is a truism. To be sure the gods of ancient mythology rather frequently committed dishonesties, but that very fact is proof that they were no gods. If there is God, if God is God, the eternal One must be truth. It follows that the truth doesn’t change. God himself is the same yesterday, today and for ever; in him is no variableness, no shadow of turning. So also is his truth. It is often suggested that the holy men who wrote the Scriptures did indeed write the truth for their day, but, these men claim, the truth has changed so radically over the years that by today the Bible is hopelessly out of date. The fact is that if the Bible ever were true then it must be true today.

God’s revelation is truth. That is another truism. If God himself is truth, then his revelation cannot but be truth. God has carefully supervised the whole process of the composition of the Bible so that the writers, prepared over many years, came to write in prophecies and psalms, gospels and letters and histories exactly what God intended them to write. So the enscripturated word is true. Jesus said it could not be broken; its words will endure longer than the heavens and the earth. He and his truth are inseparable. Christ is infallible and so is his word. By the phrase ‘the word of God’ we mean both the enscripturated word, the Bible, and the personal Word, Jesus Christ. Both are truth. Said Jesus: “Your Word is truth,” and “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”

We shall not weary you at this time with the traditional dozen or more proofs that the Bible is the Word of God. But allow us to shed a little light by means of an illustration on what has been called the most conclusive reason why Christians honour the Bible as eternal truth, as the very Word of the living God. We refer to the testimony of the Holy Spirit within the Christian.

Let us assume that my father is in an adjoining room, the door to which is closed. I know him; I do know him. Some of you have perhaps a superficial acquaintance with him, but not one of you knows him as I do. Now he is speaking in his natural voice. Listen! At once I say: “That’s my father speaking.” If you ask me how do I know my simple reply is: “Don’t I know my own father?” You, however, do not recognize his voice because to you it is the voice of a stranger. Listen! The Christian is a regenerated person, and every one who is born of the Spirit knows God. Consequently he recognizes God’s voice as a matter of course, let us say intuitively. When he opens his Bible he knows at once that God, his heavenly Father, is speaking.

Let me tell you of the exemplary experience of a man called Michael Phelan, the author of a number of books, one on the inspiration of the Pentateuch. I have spoken to him this past year; he lives in Hove . Some years ago he bought a book called Good News for Modern Man. He didn’t know when he bought it that in fact he was purchasing the New Testament. This is what happened; he says, “As I read its pages, I was drawn more and more deeply into the heart of its teaching until I reached a definite point when an event of recognition occurred. Without the aid of any other human, immediately and comprehensively, I was granted the realisation that what I was reading was absolutely and eternally True. The impact this recognition made upon me was life-changing, and brought a feeling of joy combined with wonder and awe. For me there could be no going back: from that moment on, I knew I was reading words that forever were true, and must be lived by, and, if need be, died for. This most potent power of the Scriptures, of witnessing for the Truth of God, is for me a genuine property or attribute of the Scriptures, and is equally present in all Scripture” (M. W. J. Phelan, The Inspiration of the Pentateuch, Twoedged Sword Publications, ISNB 0-9547205-6-3, 2005, p.17). The Christian is given an inward witness by the Spirit of God that the word of God is true.

Not all truth is contained in the Bible. Don’t let that statement alarm you. The whole Bible is true, but there is much truth not recorded in Holy Writ. That William the Conqueror invaded England in 1066, and that the Second World War lasted from 1939 to 1945 are facts about which the Bible says nothing. There is a general revelation of God in nature and history as well as a special one unto salvation in the Bible. The former is as true as the latter. Surely, it behooves us Christians to study the two books of God, the one as well as the other. The proper study of creation should not lead people away from God, but let’s be on our guard against science falsely so called, and yet at the same time remember that the truly scientific pursuit of any branch of learning must of necessity lead the student God-ward.

“But,” someone protests, “those who accept the Bible as the Word of God frequently differ from one other in their interpretations.” That is true and it accounts in large measure for the rise of the various denominations. There are Roman Catholics and Protestants, Calvinists and Arminians, Paedobaptists and those who would baptize those people alone who make a credible profession of faith. Now how are we going to decide which of the various interpretations is correct, which has the best claim to being truth?

The problem is not altogether so bewildering as some would have us think. One frequently hears the remark that there is hopeless confusion regarding the interpretation of Holy Writ. That is by no means the case. For example, all those churches which hold unqualifiedly to the Bible as the truth can make the common confession of the Apostles’ Creed, “I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth . . .” It’s an ancient concise statement of certain fundamentals of the Christian faith, all of which are obviously taught in the Bible, but the preacher and the church which rejects such doctrines as the Trinity, the Deity of Christ, the Virgin Birth of Jesus, and so on, forfeits its claim to the name Christian.

Maybe you’ve said, “If the churches can’t agree on every point, then I’m not going to join any of them.” I plead with you not to make too much of minor differences among Bible-believing Christians who agree on those basic truths concerning God’s nature, human nature, salvation through God’s grace in Christ, and how Christians should behave. If you really love truth, don’t allow disagreements about smaller truths get in the way of your sitting in the midst of an ordinary, limping staggering church of sinners saved by grace. There will be problems in that assembly as there are in Christian families and Christian organizations. There is no escape from differences of opinion until we get to heaven.

If we refuse to join any church because “the churches don’t agree on every point,” then the Puritan, William Gurnall, says that we are “as foolish as the man who refused to eat his midday meal until all the clocks in the city struck twelve at exactly the same time.” Think of it: twelve o’clock arrives, and various clocks start chiming all over town, but they’re a few seconds apart from each other. They don’t chime in perfect unison. Is that a good reason to deny that it’s noon or to refuse to eat your midday meal? Likewise, many good churches may not agree exactly on all points, but if they are sound on the basic truths, we will benefit from whatever Bible-based, Christ-honouring church we join, and we’d be foolish to say we’re waiting for all churches to be perfectly the same. As we put on the belt of truth, let’s be sure to join the community of truth, the forces of truth united under the leadership of Jesus.

But let me go a step farther. Christ promised that the Holy Spirit would lead the church into the truth throughout the centuries. It goes without saying that this promise has been kept. Consequently there runs through the history of the Christian church a stream of orthodoxy, a line of truth. In the days of the apostles the church stood on the solid foundation of the truth. Almost at once error crept into the church. You see it in the letter to the Galatians, false teachers quickly infiltrated that congregation. Their errors began to prevail, and so the long battle begins which has lasted for 2,000 years. The Saviour warned us it would happen, wolves disguised as sheep would ravage the flock of Christ, but the great Shepherd and Head of the church at the right hand of God, mindful of his promise, would be sending one man after another, and equipping him to discern and defend the truth, expose error and summon the church back again to the Bible. These men were filled with the Spirit of truth, and the church would give heed to them. There is a new reformation and revival, but the years go by and once again error creeps in; a tide of unbelief using God-words begins to prevail. Again the great heavenly Shepherd sees his flock being led astray so he prepares another man. He fills him with the Spirit of truth, with wisdom, courage and energy. Again the church gives heed to his message and returns to the truth of the Bible.

Such has been the history of the Christian church from the beginning to this day, and thus no doubt the course of its history will continue until Jesus comes again. The line of orthodoxy runs from Paul to Augustine, to the great reformers of the sixteenth century such as William Tyndale and John Knox. In Wales there was Bishop William Morgan the translator of the Bible, Rawlins White a South Wales fisherman who was burnt at the stake in Cardiff for declaring the truth to Welsh sinners; there was Christopher Love the Cardiff-born Puritan, Howell Harris, and especially Daniel Rowland whose ministry was not far from here; Thomas Charles, Seth Joshua and Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones. Scotland and Ireland have had their own great champions, and in England there has been J.I. Packer and Alec Motyer and Alan Stibbs in the Church of England, while in the Netherlands there was Kuyper and Bavinck and Schilder in the Reformed churches, while in the USA there was Jonathan Edwards, and then C.F.W. Walther and Robert D. Preus amongst the Lutherans, with Charles Hodge, Warfield, Machen and Edward J. Young the Presbyterians. In the last years Al Mohler has led the reformation going on in the Southern Baptist Church.

All these men have interpreted the Bible in essentially the same way. In essence they have all reasserted the doctrines of the apostle Paul. Every one of them has been an apostle of the truth. We want to call special attention to one truth which each of these teachers have stressed with all the powers at their command. It is the doctrine of salvation, not by works or by character, but by the sovereign grace of God in Jesus Christ. The Bible has been rightly called the Book of Salvation, and on this point in their interpretation of the Book they were an absolute unit. And don’t all Christians in all denominations agree on this all-important point? Every sincere Christian, no matter what his theoretical theology may be, in his heart of heart he is convinced that the one way to be saved is by sovereign grace. When he is on his knees before God he doesn’t pat himself on the back for his wisdom in saving himself. He thanks God for saving him. Salvation is of the Lord. Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners – that is a faithful saying. Of all the sins and errors that can harm us, none are worse than errors about what it takes to save us. Various religions claim to offer different ways to salvation, but only the blood of Jesus can bring pardon for our guilt, and only the divine life of Jesus can make us alive. That’s the truth. Religions that ignore or deny this truth may offer other cures, but those cures kill. No sin is as deadly as a false teaching about salvation. Truth is a belt of protection against false teachings and against all of Satan’s lies. The way to buckle truth in place is to believe with all our heart the vital truths God reveals in the Bible.

To put the matter somewhat differently, the truth is expressed in all the great historic creeds of Christendom, the 39 Articles of the Church of England, the Augsburg Confession, the Heidelberg Catechism and such monumental expressions of the faith as the Westminster Confession, the Savoy Confession and also the 1689 London Confession of Faith which is the basis of what we preach and believe in this congregation. My friend Trevor Rogers had an interview to be headmaster of a Church of England school. He is a Baptist and during the interview he was asked about his faith. “I believe in all the 39 Articles but three, I think,” he said. The vicar chortled, “I believe in six of them,” he said and thought it was a great joke. “I was more of an Anglican than he was,” Trevor said to me.

I don’t need to add that the creeds are not of equal value or authority with the Bible. Of course that is so. The holy men who wrote the Bible were guided infallibly by the Spirit. That is not the case with the writers of the great church confessions. It is just as far as those confessions of faith teach the system of doctrine taught in the Bible then they are true. So we can say that the London Confession of Faith is over 300 years old but it is true. Truth does not change with the changing of the years.

The history of the Christian church is evidence that the Spirit is progressively leading the church in the truth. To be sure, this progress is by no means uninterrupted. Picture it as a zigzag line, rather than by a straight line angling upward, but the zigzag line too tends upward. Today God has been pleased to give the church in Wales we pygmies as its leaders, yet we stand on the shoulders of the great giants of the past.

Now then, let us suppose that all of us are agreed on this definition of what is truth in the light of the Bible. Does it follow that we are Christians? No! It follows that we are orthodox. But orthodoxy is not synonymous with Christianity. Orthodoxy is indeed essential to Christianity, but it does not constitute the very essence of Christianity. What the bones are to the human body that orthodoxy is to Christianity. Imagine a body without bones. Is it really a body? Hardly. It is just Mr. Blobby, a lump of flesh, not Mr. Christian. So Christianity without orthodoxy is not really Christianity. On the other hand a body consisting solely of bones is orthodoxy without Christianity. There is such a thing as the orthodoxy of demons. James tells us that they believe that there is but one God. About that they are absolutely right. But he adds that they tremble; there is no rejoicing that God is. For all our orthodoxy you and I might conceivably be demons trembling on the brink of hell.

What then constitutes one a Christian? Not merely to know about the truth, but to know the truth of the Bible and to know him who once said, “I am the truth.” Not just to know some, or for that matter many things about God, but to know God personally. We must be able to say with the psalmist of old: “I love the Lord.” We must sing from the heart:

“My Jesus, I love Thee, I know Thou art mine;
For Thee all the follies of sin I resign.
My gracious Redeemer, my Saviour, art Thou;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ‘tis now.
I love Thee because Thou hast first loved me
And purchased my pardon on Calvary ’s tree;
I love Thee for wearing the thorns on Thy brow;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ‘tis now.” (William Featherston, w. 1864).

That constitutes Christianity. And to such knowledge Christ referred when He spoke those mysteriously deep words: “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent” (Jn. 17:3).

2. HOW DOES THE CONGREGATION PUT ON THE BELT OF TRUTH?

You understand the image you have here of a belt which holds everything together. It facilitates the soldier fighting properly. It is hardly noticeable at all, a mere belt, but without it everything would hang out and flap about and that soldier is dead meat! How can I turn that to apply it to the congregation which is the body of Christ. In three ways

i] Let me say, first of all, that there is a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes that is indispensable in making the congregation effective in proclaiming the truth. You look at a Roman soldier and you notice maybe his helmet first of all, and his breastplate, and his sword, and his shield, but you don’t notice his belt. No one says, “Look at that magnificent belt!” It was a bit of cured leather tied around his waist. When people went to hear John the Baptist preach we know that he wore a leather belt, but no one at all raved about it. You heard his preaching; you experienced the power of his truth, but he had to wear a belt as we all do.

Let me apply it in this way, that in order for the truth to be preached powerfully here then this building needs to be maintained and heated and lighted and cleaned. We have discussions about how best to use the money we are given to serve that end. When the first members turn up on a Sunday morning they open the doors and they have to check if there is any litter or filth in the entrance or on the steps. If people who have been out drinking on a Saturday night have urinated against the wall at the entrance to the room downstairs then that needs to be washed away and the area made sweet. Then before but particularly after the services there are people in need and they have to be talked to, and later during the week; time is spent sitting with them and listening to their concerns. Christians explain the sermon to visitors; they are defending and vindicating the truth when visitors say that they didn’t understand something. Maybe you don’t notice that this is going on but it is, and it is crucial. These wise people are not the breastplate or helmet wearers; they are not wielding the sword; they are wearing the belt of truth. They are happy to play their part, and I am most happy. We could not survive as a church as effectively as we do without this belt.

ii] Secondly, every true congregation of Jesus Christ has a certain way of doing things, of leadership, and times and orders of service, and hymns sung, and frequency of communion. That’s merely the belt that holds things together, that is maintaining the unity of the Spirit of Jesus Christ. Don’t make a fuss over changing the belt for another. Consider rather witnessing to the world, and bearing the burdens of the weak, and praying for those in need, and growing in your fellowship with Jesus Christ. Don’t lead the congregation into a flap about a belt. If you know that a change in belt is going to create lots of argument and division in the congregation then don’t insist on it. They are matters we can talk about personally. They don’t seem to me to be resigning issues, and everyone knows this. That is why when people leave a church they don’t write out the reasons. They are too shame-faced to do so. “You left that church because you didn’t like the belt?” In other words, “You are leaving because you oppose acknowledging Easter and Christmas services? You are leaving because you do not want be called ‘pastor’, but rather a ‘teaching elder?’ You are leaving because the church joined a certain new grouping of churches? You left because of a new translation of the Bible?” You can live with the belt that we’ve got in this congregation as long as the great body of truth is not tampered with, if there is reverence and godliness in our meetings, if word-centred preaching is being maintained, if the great hymns are sung and much is made about Jesus Christ, then you can keep silent about the mere belt which you don’t like.

iii] Thirdly, let’s make sure that we are joined to other congregations by the belt of truth. I hear students praying and they’re saying, “O God unite us. Make us one;” but I never hear them praying, “O God, save us from false teaching and heresy and bad doctrine and wolves in sheep’s clothing. Give us courage to stand against error.” If we are joined to those who preach another gospel then we’re in big trouble aren’t we? Remember how Paul speaks to the church in Galatia and he says to them, “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!” (Gals. 1:8&9). These heretics were moral men, commandment-keeping men, who yet had come to believe and preach another gospel. “Let them be condemned eternally!” cried Paul. The truth of the gospel was that important to an apostle of Jesus Christ speaking under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Do you want to share in the divine condemnation that comes upon those who preach another gospel? Then come apart from them! Have nothing to do with them. Don’t pray, “God bless them.” Don’t give them a penny. Don’t encourage them on their way until they start repenting and confessing their error. Did Jesus pray that he and the Pharisees should be one? Did he do or say anything to attempt reconciliation with them while they promoted their heresies? Of course not. The Galatian heresy and the allied pharisaical heresy were deliberate perversions to break with the heart of divinely given religion. They were attempts to promulgate a teaching that undermined the gospel. They destroyed the unity of the Christian Church; to regain it they must be removed from all the teaching and evangelizing and pastoring offices of the church. Students who cannot distinguish heresy from truth, or, even worse, ministers who no longer think this is worth doing, are people who have lost the right to bear witness to the transforming gospel of Jesus Christ. We may only be joined by the belt of truth to another pulpit, or to a theological seminary, or to a network of churches. Consider the Anglican denomination today and the way that error and immorality constantly tears it apart. What is wrong with it? There is no belt of truth uniting the preachers in that association.

Have courage to resist ecclesiastical bureaucrats who threaten to snatch you congregation’s property or your minister’s pension. Don’t let the fear of fragmentation drive you to support policies and positions that you know are wrong – from Scripture and in your heart. Do not accept the lie that truth and falsehood can coexist for the sake of unity. Do not call that which is evil good, or even worse, “not too bad,” or, worse still, “not bad enough to warrant division in the church.” Make sure you are wearing one single belt, the belt of truth. Don’t be afraid at the sound of truth’s trumpet that walls come tumbling down. Hold fast to what the Word of God and the testimony of his people through the centuries are telling you is true. Don’t allow yourself to be beguiled by empty words from short-term ecclesiastics. Listen to the truth of God that has been implanted in your heart. Be faithful! Trust in the Lord. Whatever comes, do not be afraid.

3. HOW DOES THE CHRISTIAN PUT ON THE BELT OF TRUTH?

Let me ask you whether you are wearing the belt of truth? In other words, are you convinced that the Bible is God’s truth? Do you believe Scripture is the message of the Lord who cannot lie? Then how often do you come to hear the word of God? Twice a Sunday? Tuesday night to the mid-week meeting? Friday nights (if you are students) and attend the Christian Union meetings of the U.C.C.F. ? How much do you read the Bible? How well do you know it? How much of it have you memorized? Do you study the Bible with others? Do you take knowledge of the truth with you wherever you go and whatever you do? Do you count on God’s truth in Christ to keep other things in place?

As David Feddes says, “Truth is the basis for lasting success. If you want to succeed as a car mechanic, you must learn the truth about cars. If you want to succeed as an architect, you must learn the truth about construction design. If you want to succeed as a history teacher, you must learn the truth about history. If you want to succeed as a surgeon, you must learn the truth about anatomy. If you want to succeed as a pilot, you must learn the truth about flying. In one area of life after another, success depends on knowing the truth, and this is supremely true in relating to God and succeeding as a follower of Christ. I wouldn’t want to live in a house designed by an architect who didn’t know any principles of safe construction. I wouldn’t want to be operated on by a surgeon who knew nothing about the inner workings of the body. I wouldn’t want to get on an airplane with a pilot who didn’t know how to fly. And I wouldn’t want my eternal life to depend on someone who didn’t know God or the way to God” (David Feddes, Radio Pulpit of the Back to God Hour, “The Belt of Truth”, July 2003, p. 39).

For eternal life are you depending on Jesus as the way, the truth, and the life? As you live by trusting in Jesus and helping others, base everything on the teaching of Jesus and have as much of the mind of Christ as you possibly can. We can’t afford to be careless about truth; it is crucial for our eternal future and for the future of the people we influence – children, friends, neighbours, fellow workers. You can’t be saved without truth, and you can’t help others to be saved without truth.

Belonging to a religious group is no substitute for knowing truth personally and buckling the belt of truth firmly in place. If you don’t know the truth personally you may never notice if the religious group you belong to has no real truth. If you don’t have a deep love of truth, if you aren’t constantly seeking to gain more truth and to understand it better, you may lose what little truth you had and not even know it.

You dress in the morning; you belt and buckle and button things securely on your body. You can’t afford accidents and embarrassments during the day. Do you also put on the belt of truth? Do you do this at the beginning of each day? Do you read the word of God daily? Is the newspaper more important to you than the Scripture? Do you read with your family each day? Maybe that is not possible, but would it be your goal if it were possible? Are you sitting under the best ministry you can? If you can find a more biblical ministry than this pulpit shouldn’t you seriously consider sitting under it? Life is so short and a powerful ministry of the Word of God is rare and indispensable. You need the belt of truth. It is not a fashion accessory but an essential piece of equipment. Study the truth. Ask God to increase how much you know. Go to my website and see the list there of the best books that can help you grow as a Christian. Pray that the Spirit of God will give you greater love for the truth. “Stand firm them, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist.”

15th January 2006 GEOFF THOMAS