But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. John 16:13
To Tell the Truth was a television game show that featured a panel of celebrities who would ask questions of a group of three unfamiliar contestants to try and determine which one, for example, was the youngest guy ever elected governor of West Virginia or which one actually played Big Bird on Sesame Street.
The rules of the game were fairly simple: the real Big Bird had to answer each question truthfully; the two Big Bird imposters, however, were allowed to lie.
It was obvious none of the celebrities on the panel had any experience in interrogation — the show was just meant to be fun and sell bottles of Geritol. Sometimes the panel got it right and sometimes they didn’t. As a result, the imposters could win a lot of money simply because their answers sounded good.
Which begs the question: how can you know without a doubt that something is really the truth? Just like on the TV show, To Tell the Truth, it isn’t always easy; and once you turn off the TV, determining what is really the truth isn’t all fun and games. Unlike the panel of celebrities, you and I can’t always judge that something is the truth just because it sounds good.
Just ask Eve.
There she was in the Garden of Eden, the most beautiful place imaginable, with not a care in the world. Good stuff to eat everywhere, no laundry to do, perfect marriage, when she heard…
“Ssssssssssss… Did God really ssssssssssay…?”
One minute she was listening to the snake tell her what she wanted to hear and the next she was wearing fig leaf underwear and trying to hide from God. And take it from me — that never works. (The hiding from God part, that is — I don’t have much any experience with botanical underwear.)
It is possible to tell if something is the truth, however, if you know the one speaking it to be trustworthy. In my experience with the Holy Spirit, a.k.a. the Spirit of Truth, I’ve found Him to be all that and more when it comes to truthiness.
And while I don’t recall any deities ever appearing as contestants on To Tell the Truth, if the producers were looking for a contestant who would tell the truth no matter what, they couldn’t find anyone better than the Holy Spirit. He, of course, would have to be contestant number three. (I’ll wait…)
As long as we’re casting, they could recruit the devil to play one of the imposters, as he has no problem not telling the truth. (However, he’s pretty busy these days, so I don’t know if he would have the time.) He would have to be contestant number two, though — no way he could be number one (not on my show). Contestant number one would be someone used to shooting from the hip, like a politician.
I imagine that particular episode might go something like this…
• • •
[Camera close-up revealing three individuals in silhouette. Lights up on each individual as they speak.]
Announcer: “What is your name please?”
Contestant number one: “My name is the Holy Spirit.”
Contestant number two: “My name is the Holy Ssssssssssssssspirit.”
Contestant number three: “My name is the Holy Spirit.”
Announcer: “Two of these individuals are imposters. Only one is the real Holy Spirit — and He is the only one sworn…To Tell the Truth.”
[Cue theme music.]
“Geritol, America’s number one tonic, presents: To Tell the Truth. Now here’s your host, Joe Ravioli.”
• • •
Now that’s a show I would like to see. If the Holy Spirit starts making appearances on TV I may have to call and have my cable service hooked back up. Imagine the impact He would have as a guest on a show like The View.
He certainly had an impact on me when He started making appearances in my heart. Even in the days before I came to faith in Christ, He began whispering truth to me. (If you’ve read my testimony, This is my story, you are already aware of some those truths.) He showed me that:
- I was indeed lost and in desperate need of a savior. (True)
- Nothing I could do — go to church faithfully, tithe regularly, sing in the choir, be the son of Christian parents — made one bit of difference in where I would spend eternity. (Definitely true)
- The enemy was using my “pridefulness” to keep me from surrendering my life to Jesus. (True — unfortunately)
At the time, however, I found His truths to just be annoying. I was having a blast wallowing (or “wallerin’” as my Granny would say) in the muck and the mire of sin; plus, contestant number two was good at telling me exactly what I wanted to hear: “Fuhgeddaboudit — you’re ssssssaved already.”
But wallerin’ in sin wasn’t God’s plan for me (for any of us, actually). His plan was for me to see the truth of my spiritual situation and surrender heart, soul, mind, and strength to Him.
And that’s when the wallerin’ ended and new life began.
When I surrendered everything to Christ, the Holy Spirit immediately took up residence in my life, as Paul describes in 1 Corinthians 6:19…
…Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you…
…and in His doing so, I saw John 16:13…
But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth.
…come to life. The Holy Spirit began to influence everything I thought or did or even thought about doing. He became sort of like a spiritual barometer dwelling in me. In 1 Corinthians 2:10 Paul refers to this influence as “the things God has revealed to us by the Spirit.”
But don’t think that He works independently of God. In fact, as Henry Blackaby writes in his study course, “Experiencing God”:
An encounter with the Holy Spirit is an encounter with God. Because the Holy Spirit is always present in a believer, He can speak to you clearly and at any time.
As a result, the Holy Spirit began to reveal the truth — the true truth, God’s truth — of the life I had been living:
- The things I was medicating myself with — whether via my mouth, my eyes, or my ears — were leading me down a self-destructive path. As a result, when the Spirit of Truth moved in He helped me clean house, both physically and spiritually.
- The company I was keeping just helped enable my sin habit. Once I became a Christian, though, the Holy Spirit guided me to actively seek out and — for the first time ever — enjoy the company of other believers. (I’m convinced that instructions in Hebrews 10:25 about “not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together” includes hanging out with my friend Greg at Denny’s after choir rehearsal, diving deep into some tantalizing bit of theology and annoying the server by occupying one of her tables until really late.)
- I was using the gifts and abilities God had given me — musical, writing, intellectual — for my own glory and selfish use. But the Holy Spirit guided me to my current church home before I was even a Christian (you know, just getting a little jump on things) where I began playing piano and singing in the worship ministry. Post-salvation, He inspired me to start this blog and share what God is doing in my life. Without God speaking to me through the Holy Spirit, though, anything I write here would be nothing more than typing practice.
So speaking of truth, let’s see how the Holy Spirit is faring back on To Tell the Truth…
• • •
Host: Now panel, you will each ask questions of our three contestants. Remember — only the real Holy Spirit is required to answer your questions truthfully. Let’s begin tonight’s questioning with the lovely and talented Catty Carbuncle.
Catty: Thank you, Joe. Contestant number three, does God speak to us mainly through you, or through other methods?
Number three: Through me. Even when He speaks to you through the Bible He uses me to reveal the truth in His word to you.
Catty: Thank you, number three. Number two, same question.
Number two: Occasionally He speaks through me. Sometimes, though, He speaks through psychics, mediums — even tarot cards or the horosssssscope.
Penny Crass: Really? The horoscope? I knew it!
Catty: Thank you, number two. Number one, your answer?
Number one: I’m sorry — I was tweeting my PAC. What was the question?
• • •
Since the real Holy Spirit (contestant number three) is being His usual truthful self, I imagine He’s going to receive few, if any, votes. Not because He isn’t convincing, but because the truth He reveals doesn’t sound good to the panelists…
• • •
Host: Let’s continue our questioning with Sipsey Rivers.
Sipsey: Contestant number three, when Jesus said, “No one comes to the Father except through me,” was he really saying there is only one way to heaven?
Number three: Yes — Jesus said He was “the way and the truth and the life.” The Apostle Peter later said, as recorded in Acts 4:12, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” Salvation by faith in Jesus is the only way.
Sipsey: Interesting. Number two?
Number two: Well, of course, times have changed since Jesusssssss said that. He is definitely one way to heaven, but there are others, like being a really good person, being kind to animals, and doing your part to save the planet. In Abominations 66:6 the Bible says, “God helps those who help themselves.” Only really bad people like child molesters or murderers won’t go to heaven.
Sipsey: Thank you, number two. By the way, I love that verse.
Number two: One of my favoritesssssssssssssss…
• • •
The book of “Abominations” — you’ll find it right after the book of “Malfeasance” and right before “1 Qualms”… Contestant number two, the old ssssserpent, is doing just what he does best — distort God’s truth. In this case though, what he’s saying goes way beyond a fib to fool a panel of celebrities. The denial that Jesus is the only way to God is a lie straight from H-E-double-hockey-sticks. Proverbs 16:25 actually warns us of hearing what we want to hear and its repercussions:
There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.
Every bit of truth I need to know has already been recorded in God’s word. The Bible (the real one) is many things — history, poetry, action/adventure, romance novel, guide to living the Christian life, manual on how to be saved, warning instructions — but in all these, in every word of every verse of every book, from cover to cover, it’s about truth.
And the revealer of that truth? The Holy Spirit Himself. And if He can do it for hard-headed me (and He can, and He has) He can do it for anyone.
Sounds easy, huh? But in the spirit of total honesty, it’s not. Sometimes the truth is hard to accept. Sometimes I struggle to listen with my spiritual ears and not with the ears that hear what I want to hear. Without the Holy Spirit guiding me into all truth, I may end up voting for the wrong contestant…
• • •
Host: OK, panel – it’s time to vote for contestant number one, number two, or number three. Are you all marked? Catty, for whom did you vote?
Catty: Well, Joe, I voted for number two, because he gave us so many more options for reaching God; and I know God isn’t so holy that he would keep a long-time animal lover like me out of Heaven.
Host: Sipsey, what about your vote?
Sipsey: I’m forced to agree with Catty. I voted for number two because I liked the way he quoted scripture. Abominations 66:6 is a verse I live by daily.
Host: Penny, your vote?
Penny: I voted for two as well. Anybody who knows that God speaks to us through the horoscope has got to be the real thing!
• • •
Ssssssomebody’s gonna win a lot of money.
So my question for you is this: Who would you vote for? Is the Holy Spirit guiding you into all truth? If you’ve trusted Jesus as your Savior He should be. If you haven’t, let me share what may be the most important truth in the whole Bible with you:
If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9
And that’s the truth.
Now — will the real Holy Spirit please stand up…
• • •
Click here or on the Facebook logo below and follow me. (I promise you’ll always find the truth.)