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 (Manna 70: Discerning the Truth)
Steadfast in the Truth
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Steadfast in the Truth

Adapted from a sermon by Lin Yung-Ji—Taichung, Taiwan

Our faith is precious because we have the immutable truth. This truth is the word of God which guides us through our lives. Following the truth keeps us from getting lost in our journey through life and will eventually lead us into the heavenly kingdom.

In contrast, the devil is a liar and the world’s greatest swindler who wants to lure man into corruption. He is relentless and tireless in his attempts to deceive mankind. He alters the gospel of salvation, thus causing man to lose their faith in the church that belongs to God.

It is thus imperative for us to have a deep and clear understanding of the truth we preach, both for ourselves as well as for the sake of those whom we teach. Without the right understanding, we will lead others astray.

In this modern age where both information and misinformation abound, believers of the true church must undertake the following in order to remain steadfast in the truth:

Know where the truth comes from

First, we need to understand where the truth comes from. The author of the book of Hebrews indicates the source of truth: “…which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him” (Heb 1:1–2, 2:3).

The Truth Comes from the Lord’s Teachings

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (Jn 14:6).

Everything that Jesus taught while He was in the world is from God. His words are immutable truth and carry life; no wonder Peter said to the Lord: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God" (Jn 6:68–69). Through the cross, the Lord opened up a new and living way for us; those who trust in Him will overcome sin and death.

The Truth Comes from the Disciples’ Teachings

Having been taught personally by the Lord, Jesus’ disciples went on to faithfully teach others. Thus, Apostle John said, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life—the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us—that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ” (1 Jn 1:1-3).

The apostles’ words carried spiritual authority and power; the truth that we have received was once for all delivered to the apostles (Jude 3). Paul boldly declared: “Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle” (2 Thess 2:15). There is thus no need for further revelations.

Remain Steadfast in the Truth that We Were Taught

Interpret the Word of God Correctly

The Bible is the truth. However, exegesis is needed so that others can understand it. When we explain the truth, we need to interpret the word correctly, i.e., look at the intended meaning, which is what God intended to reveal (2 Tim 2:15). We ought to rely on the guidance and inspiration of the Holy Spirit, rather than the wisdom of man, to understand the Scriptures (1 Cor 2:4–13). We ought not rely solely on our own experiences to interpret the Bible. Also, it is important to understand the background of that biblical event, the situational circumstances and the intended meaning.

The intended meaning of the Bible is based on God’s will and not man’s will. God’s will is true. As such, God’s word will never contradict itself. If there is any contradiction, it must be man’s will, as God does not cause confusion (1 Cor 14:33).

Occasionally, in a Bible study session where we share our views, a random thought may occur to us, which we may mistake for the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Some may even compound this error by insisting that they had been inspired by the Holy Spirit when their views are questioned. Relying on their limited Bible knowledge, their narrow theological concepts, or by taking a Bible passage out of context, they defend their views even up to the point of strife, thinking they are right. Such behavior should set alarm bells ringing. If we are truly resolved to interpret the Bible based on the intended meaning, we will continue to study in greater depth with humble and honest hearts, sincerely relying on the Holy Spirit to open our minds and increase our understanding. In this way, our hearts will naturally be renewed and transformed and we shall receive the assurance of the spiritual truth.

The Importance of Interpreting the Bible Correctly

The truth leads people unto Christ, repentance, forgiveness of sins, rebirth, righteousness, and holiness. For this reason, we must “rightly [divide] the word of truth” (2 Tim 2:15) and hold fast to the truth. We should not alter the truth for the sake of pleasing man, for if we do, the church will be divided and those who preach a different gospel will be cursed (Gal 1:6–10).

Sources of Misinterpretation

A thorough knowledge of the Bible, which allows us to correctly apply the word of God, is a prerequisite for being steadfast in the truth. Knowledge of the Scriptures, in turn, requires diligent study of the Bible. This will help us to avoid misinterpreting the word of God. The most common reasons for the misinterpretation of the Bible are as follows:


Misconceptions arise when believers are unclear whether the source of their belief is scriptural or tradition. For example, a common traditional misconception among many Christian denominations is that believers receive the Holy Spirit when they believe; there is no need to pray for the Holy Spirit. However, a passage in John tells of some people who had believed in Jesus but had not yet received the Holy Spirit:

“But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” (Jn 7:39)

So some of these Christians who had been traditionally taught that they had received the Holy Spirit when they believed begin to doubt the passage in John 7:39; they conclude that it is impossible for the disciples not to have the Holy Spirit at that time. Clearly then, such people go astray because they have taken the (erroneous) concept taught to them to be the truth, and have rejected the Bible passage that contradicted their understanding.

The right approach should be to always choose to believe in the word of God; we must choose instead to reject human or traditional concepts if these are contrary to the truth in the Scriptures.

Misuse of exegetical principles

Usually, parables or symbolism cannot be interpreted literally. For example, David said, “But I am a worm, and no man” (Ps 22:6). Does that mean that he really was not human, but a worm? If we read the latter part of this verse, we will see that David was “[a] reproach of men, and despised by the people.” The humiliation from others had caused David to feel and say that he was a worm and not a man.

Similarly, Ecclesiastes 1:4 is a metaphor: “One generation passes away, and another generation comes; [b]ut the earth abides forever.” When we compare one human generation with the earth, the earth seems to abide forever. It would be wrong to use this verse to prove that the world will not be destroyed. Moreover, 2 Peter 3:10 states that the earth will be destroyed, and given that the Bible does not contradict itself, Ecclesiastes 1:4 should thus not be taken literally.

Over-emphasis on reason, neglecting faith

During the time of Noah, God told him: “The end of all flesh has come before Me, for the earth is filled with violence through them; and behold, I will destroy them with the earth” (Gen 6:13). In the Great Flood, Noah’s family of eight were the only people saved because “[b]y faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household” (Heb 11:7). Although some may find it inexplicable how out of the many people who had lived back then, only such a small number of people were saved. But the author of Hebrews tells us why—only these eight believed God’s warning, and they were saved by their faith!

Today, some question how the True Jesus Church can be the only church that is saved since the church has a relatively small membership. To human reasoning, this appears unacceptable. But we must not apply only human reason; instead we should accept God’s teachings with faith.

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.” (Mt 7:21)

Matthew 7:13–14 also reminds us to enter by the narrow gate: “because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” It is with faith that we accept such teachings and remain steadfast in the truth. We need to interpret the truth correctly, so that we may know God, experience Him, and live out His life.

Use the Pure Truth to Admonish

The Importance of Admonishing Others

Using the pure truth to admonish is key in correcting those who have deviated from the faith. Erroneous concepts could happen. For example, the church in Thessalonica did not have the correct concept about where man would go after death; many grieved like those without hope (1 Thess 4:16–18; Rom 15:14). Similarly, the church in Crete was influenced by false teachers; their lives were corrupt. Therefore, Paul reminded Titus to instruct the shepherds in Crete to teach the pure truth to the local believers (Tit 1:11).

Method of Admonition

Pure teachings are correct teachings that promote spiritual health. When “impurities” creep in, we have to remove them from within our midst. Members promoting these teachings ought to be counseled firmly, yet in a spirit of gentleness (Gal 6:1). As Jude 22–23 advises, “on some have compassion, making a distinction, but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.”
Finally, “[h]e who hears, let him hear; and he who refuses, let him refuse” (Ezek 3:27).

Three Principles of Protecting the Truth

In order to protect the truth, workers should uphold the principles agreed within the church that apply to situations where workers hold a different view about the truth. This is similar to the apostolic church. When differences arose (Acts 15:1–32; 16: 4–5), these were brought before the elders in the Jerusalem council. Thereafter, when an agreement had been reached through the Holy Spirit’s guidance, the final position was sent to the churches in other locations and everyone submitted to the agreement.

Likewise, today, the church has prescribed principles of protecting the truth that we have to follow:

·       If the issue is directly related to the common faith, it must be discussed in the Truth Research Committee and should not be made public until there is a common consensus.

·       If the issue is not directly related to our common faith but affects the understanding of the truth, it should be sent to the Truth Research Committee. In this case, it is acceptable to raise the issue at discussion platforms such as the theological seminary, workers’ seminars, or other such special gatherings. However, it must be made clear that this new finding is purely the personal opinion of one individual; and that the issue has yet to be studied in depth.

·       If the matter concerns only textual research or assumptions, it can be discussed or mentioned in discussion platforms, but it must be declared as one’s personal opinion or finding.

Refute Those Who Argue Against the Truth

In every era, distortions of the truth exist. This is not surprising because Satan is always waiting for an opportunity to destroy the work of God. Therefore, as God’s children, we need to fight to protect the truth. The following are key strategies for the robust defense of the truth.

Rely on the Guidance of the Holy Spirit

A consistent and earnest emphasis on praying in the Spirit is of paramount importance. Not only will the Holy Spirit’s guidance enable us to receive spiritual wisdom to understand and interpret the word of God correctly, He will also give us spiritual power to live out and defend the truth.

Church history will give us a glimpse of the flaws of various exegetes and serve as ample warning to us: some of them were extremely subjective and biased; some others were too conservative, stressing tradition and convention. Today, we have the help of the Holy Spirit and therefore, should defend the truth with humility and courage.

Take up the Commission to Lead Other Churches onto the Right Path of Salvation

While we have to prevent savage wolves from entering the flock, we must also fulfill our mission to lead other churches onto the right path of salvation. We must not think highly of ourselves, but instead humbly train up more workers to fulfill the commission that Jesus has entrusted to us.

Raise the Quality of All Church Workers

Good teachers will naturally be able to provide more solid training and train up even better students (2 Tim 2:2).

Today, if we want to fight against the evil one, we have to equip ourselves with the truth. We need to increase the emphasis on raising the quality of our workers. If the theological seminary has a group of good teachers, they will in turn produce workers who are also good teachers of the truth. Over time, the quality of the entire church’s spiritual life can be raised by relying on the power of the Holy Spirit.

Strengthen the Literary Ministry

The gospel that the church preaches today is limited by its four walls; people outside the church building cannot hear the gospel—what a pity! The writers of the four gospels that describe Jesus’ entire life knew very well that while the church was persecuted, the oral transmission of the gospel could only be a short-term plan. In order to preserve the four gospels, it was only logical to write them down.

In the past few years, the church’s growth has benefited from the publication of written material. In this way, the true gospel can be preached throughout the world; literary resources have become very important tools of evangelism. We must therefore encourage more members with literary talent to write for the gospel.


Over the years the True Jesus Church has often been misunderstood and attacked as being heretical. This is part of Satan's work to oppose the truth of salvation and to make us waver in our faith. As members of the true church, we must always have a clear understanding of the truth that we have received. We must know where the truth comes from and how to interpret it correctly. Only then will we be able to remain steadfast in the truth, defend it and lead others onto the true path of salvation.




Box text:

Deadly Deception

There was once a widow who missed her deceased husband very much. Wanting to see him again badly, she went along with a friend to consult a medium. To her delight, she did ‘see’ her husband. But she did not know that this was purely the work of an evil spirit. Worse, the demonic spirit continued to torment her and eventually drove her to suicide. This story shows the consequences of not having a deep knowledge of the truth and not knowing what secular practices are abominable to our God.


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Author: Lin Yung-Ji