I was privileged to be able to give another talk for the AWANA program. I called this one “Know The Truth” and it was given to a group of kids aged 5-12 and their leaders. I believe it has a message we all need to hear, no matter what age we are.
Here’s the audio (11 minutes):
Spot The Difference
Do you ever play Spot The Difference? Great! You guys are very good at this!
There’s something important I want to tell you today and I’m really glad that you are good at “Spot The Difference” because you need a keen eye and ear to notice some of this stuff.
Did you know that there are some people in the world who talk about God, Jesus, and the Bible… who even call themselves Christian… but actually are not? It’s true!
Did you know that there are even some preachers and teacher who stand behind pulpits in churches, and who say they know the Bible, that they know Jesus, and that they know the Gospel… but they really don’t? Unfortunately that’s true too.
When they talk about Jesus, they are not talking about the True Jesus because they teach things that aren’t in the Bible. When they talk about God, they are not talking about the True God because they teach things that are not in the Bible. And perhaps saddest of all, when they talk about the Gospel… the Good News that is supposed to lead them to being saved from their sins… they are not talking about the True Gospel because they teach things that are not in the bible.
And it’s really important that we are able to Spot-The-Difference between people who are telling the truth, and people who are not!
You are all very blessed to come to AWANA in a place like this that teaches the True Gospel, with leaders who know the True Jesus, who love the True God, and who love you so much that they are willing to tell you the truth from the Bible!
Know the Truth
The Big Idea I want you to know today is how important it is that you know the Bible so that you can be able to know if people are telling the Truth! You need to know, when they start talking about Jesus, or God, or the Gospel that they are talking about the True Jesus, the True God, and the True Gospel.
Why would people do that? Why would they tell people about a different God, a different Jesus, and a different Gospel? Why would they pass along lies?
Sometimes these people don’t know any better. Sometimes they are just repeating things they have heard. Have you ever done that? Have you ever told someone something that you thought was true… you really did… but it turned out it wasn’t?
- Have you heard the one that if you eat a bunch of pop-rocks and then drink a coca cola really fast that you will explode? I’ve heard that one! Some people think it’s true, but it’s really not…
Do you ever eat at McDonalds? There are LOTS of made up stories about McDonalds! They actually set up a special website, and pay someone to write to people who ask questions, just so they can tell the truth about their food!
- Have you heard the one that says that McDonalds ice cream is actually made of chicken feathers? I’ve actually heard that from people who believed it! How gross would that be?
- Have you heard the one that says McDonalds is the world’s largest buyer of cow eye-balls and they use them in their burgers? That’s not true either.
Sometimes people teach wrong things about God, Jesus and the Gospel because they are just passing along something they were taught, but they’ve never checked it out themselves! That’s why it’s so important to be good students of the Bible and to ask lots of questions of your leaders, pastors and Christian friends. That way you won’t be passing along things that aren’t true.
They Want To Believe
Sometimes people teach wrong things about God, Jesus and the Gospel because wrong that’s what they want to believe, even though it isn’t true. But when you think about it, just wanting to believe something doesn’t make it true, does it?
I can’t believe that I can fly and then jump off of a cliff and fly away, right?
But some people talk like that! Have you ever heard someone say, “Well, that’s just what I believe!” as though that was enough to make it true.
That doesn’t work at school does it?
Can you imagine walking into school, or up to your parent if you are homeschooled, and saying to the teacher, I’ve decided to believe that 2+2 equals FISH… I’ve decided to believe that the capital city of Canada is Tokyo, Japan… I’ve decided to believe that grandpa lives on the moon and likes to eat green cheese! It doesn’t work, does it?
These people who want to believe something usually give the reason that it makes them feel good, and therefore it’s ok to believe it. But believing something that isn’t true doesn’t help, does it? In fact, believing something that isn’t true actually leads to feeling bad!
Imagine walking into the kitchen and saying, “I want to bake a cake! But I don’t like the way the recipe book says to make it, so I want to use all MY FAVOURITE ingredients and then call it cake!
What’s your favourite food?
Ok, lets mix all that together… burgers, fries, bacon and eggs, oysters, fish sticks, peanut butter and jelly, olives, potatoes and gravy, tacos, sugar, hot-sauce, pickles, hot dogs, mustard, lobster… and we’ll blend it up in the food processor… and then stick it in the oven… no wait, the microwave will be faster, and everything should be FASTER, right! We’ll stick that goop in the microwave and then call it a cake. That will work, right? It’ll look and taste like a perfect cake, won’t it?
You see, just wanting to believe it’s going to be good, and adding all of our favourite things, does not make it a good cake. We need to use the right ingredients to make a cake.
Only God has the right recipe for being saved, and it is only found in the Bible. That’s why it’s so important to read the bible, study the bible, and talk to Jesus about it. That way, instead of just coming up with things we think are right about God, Jesus, and the Gospel… we will be able to know things that really are right!
Know Your Bible
And so, as I said before, the Big Idea here is that I want you know your bible so well that you will not be fooled by anyone who wants to tell you something wrong about God, Jesus or the Gospel. I want you to love your Bible and love good teachers who want to teach you what is really in the Bible because they know that in the Bible are the words that will lead you to everlasting life.
AWANA is amazing because it will help you fill your mind and heart with Bible verses that teach you the truth. So that when someone comes up and says:
– “God only loves you when you do good things!”
You can say, THE BIBLE SAYS God loved us before we had ever done anything good, before we were even born, and sent His only Son to save us. (John 3:18, Ephesians 1:4-6, 2:1-9)
– “You are not strong enough to serve God because you’re just a kid.”
You can say, THE BIBLE SAYS, “I can do all things through him who gives me strength!” (Phil 4:13) and “God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.” (1 Cor 1:27)
– “I don’t need to be saved by Jesus because I’m a good person.”
You can say, THE BIBLE SAYS, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Rom 3:23)
– “God won’t forgive you because you did something too bad to forgive.”
You can say, THE BIBLE SAYS, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)
– “I have a different way to go to heaven, I don’t need Jesus.”
You can say, THE BIBLE SAYS, “Jesus answered, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)
I want you to learn and love your Bible… and you are in the right place to do it!