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
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
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
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
“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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.