Buying the Truth – Proverbs 23:23

During my year at university, one of my required courses was basic economics. It was a subject about which I had no interest whatsoever, and not applying myself, I didn’t learn much. According to Proverbs 23:23, my attitude was probably sinful, because even though I was buying that information through my college tuition, it was wasted money. I certainly didn’t get enough out of the class to sell it later. But a few principles and details did sink in – through some kind of educational osmosis.

For example, I learned that there are different ways to measure a country’s economy. And depending on the commentator’s objective, he many use those different measures subjectively. Some talk about the United States trade deficit as an indication of our economic condition. Others point to the relative strength of the United States dollar compared to other currencies. Some talk about the New York and American stock exchanges. How many T-bills have been sold? How are the “big ticket” items selling – houses and new cars. With my non-accountant and un-economic mind, it appears to me that all of these measures use buying and selling as their criteria – buying stocks and bonds; buying foreign currency; buying foreign products and selling American goods.

Solomon gives us something which might be used as another measure of national or personal well-being. Buy the TRUTH and sell it not.” Don’t let the spiritual trade-deficit destroy your personal economics. Don’t be giving away your hard earned resources for heathen, foreign philosophies and ideas. We have the truth right here, and there is instruction available to use. With understanding should come wisdom. “Buy the truth and sell it not.”

When professing Christians buy new cars every year for no other purpose but pride, there is a problem. When they are buying two and three condominiums in various parts of the world, there is a problem. When their faucets have to be made gold, and they have a stable of 400 horses in garage – problem. These things indicate a love of the world and thus, “the love of Father is not in them.” But if those Christians are buying and investing the truth and selling it not, the spiritual economy of nation will be truly healthy.

It is this purchase of truth that is our consideration here this morning. Have YOU ever bought it for yourself, or are you satisfied with a cheap imitation? Are you willing to pay whatever the seller demands? What would it take for you to sell it, and if you did would it be at all profitable?

The COMMODITY we are considering is TRUTH.

If I told you that this week I bought a new used car, your first question would probably be, “What kind?” At this point the color of the car is of no importance, & you are probably wise enough not to ask the price. There are dozens of different car manufacturers and probably hundreds of different models. There are gasoline cars, diesel cars, electric cars and hybrids – maybe that would be your first question. There are so many choices.

And similarly, when Solomon says, “Buy the truth,” he opens the door to the question, “What kind of truth?” Or it might be Pilate’s version of the same – “What is truth?” There is truth in advertising and honesty in business, things which are under serious attack these days. And there is the even more precarious subject of political truth, which seems to be a moving target. There is the modern form of truth which permits deception if the end results are good. There is the absolute rejection of all kinds of lying, deceitfulness and fraud. Then we come to various forms of Truth as found in the Bible. There is the “breastplate of righteousness and the girdle of truth” in Ephesians 6. There is the written Word of God as truth.

But I don’t think the word “truth” in Proverbs usually applies to any of these. Despite the fact that the letter “T” is not capitalized, I believe this is referring to the Son of God. It’s like the word “wisdom” in this book – the word is living and special – divine. And even if you’d like to debate that point, please, for the sake of this message, try to agree with me. There is the written Word of God as truth. And then there is the living Word – “in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” Let’s agree to let this “truth” be the “excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus the Lord.” The Lord Jesus Himself said, “I am the way, the truth and the life.” And speaking of Christ Jesus, John said, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” Later he said, “For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” The Holy Spirit is called the “Spirit of Truth,” just as he is called the “Spirit of Christ.”

Perhaps we can’t confine Solomon’s thoughts to the Son of God, but we can certainly apply the truth as it is found in Christ and the Word. In Romans 1:25 Paul said that sinful man “changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever.” Turning that statement around, he said, “sinners have begun worshipping and serving idols, rejecting Jehovah Who is true and who has revealed the truth.”

Obviously, there are fakes and frauds when it comes to truth. And when it comes to gods and Christs there are myriads of false truths. There are churches who preach a Christ who is not virgin born. That is a false Christ. Others preach a Christ who cannot save people from their sins without the sinner’s help – that is lie. There are Christs who wait for their mother to tells them what to do. There Christs who didn’t die well enough on Calvary that they must die again and again every week. There are Christs who seem to live only in baby cradles or on golden crosses. There are Christs who are mere angels or who are brothers to Lucifer. These are all false Christs – not the Christ and the Truth of the Bible. Beware of the jewelry salesman whose goods carried inside his overcoat. And beware of religious salesmen who pull their products from their coats rather than from the Bible. The commodity here is the Christ of the Bible and the Truths which are found only in Him. “Buy (this) truth and sell it not.”

From WHOM must we buy this product – Truth?

The Book of Proverbs is not a sales pitch, and Solomon was not a salesman. He was not saying, “I, alone, have the Truth. Bring me your gold and silver, and I’ll sell you some truth.” One of many recent medical scandals involved the life-saving medicine in Epipens. Many people are allergic to such things as bee stings, shell-fish and peanuts. As their throats close, hearts race and other potentially fatal problems arise, if they can stab themselves with an Epipen, they can administer life-saving medicine. But the company manufacturing the pen decided to raise their price to hundreds of dollars. They appeared to think they were the only solution to these dying people’s problem, so they decided to make an economical killing.

Similarly, the truth to which Solomon refers is proprietary – it is owned by only one company “Jehovah.” This company is an equal partnership between the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. And these three have given license to no one on earth to sell the Truth on behalf of the corporation. And they have never raised their price since Adam left the Garden. There are hundreds of saints commissioned to introduce a potential buyer to Lord. But I, for example, have no license to sell or to receive your payment. If you want the truth, you must go directly to its source – Jehovah.

And yet the instruction is to BUY this truth.

I know some people who are expert window shoppers, and shoppers in general. That is an art form which I have never mastered. When I shop, it is to buy something, I don’t go store just to look and lust. And we not encouraged to do that in this case. “Buy this Truth” says the word, and let’s not quibble about the price. We are not encouraged to shop around and investigate other manufacturers, varieties and colors.

We need the truth of Christ, so badly, that we should be willing to pay whatever the Lord demands. You need the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, and a moment from now, it may be too late to buy Him. You may be dead third seconds from now, or the Lord’s return may instantly change the market. There is not a moment to loose if you own not the truth – the true Christ. Today, “today is the day of salvation,” not some future day or the day of your death.

And here you are in the Truth Store today – Christ’s church. Did you know that this place and these people collectively are called “the pillar and ground of the truth.” Our business is to advertise and invite folk to the Truth – Jesus Christ. We have no other responsibility beyond that, except to glorify that Truth. Yet at the same time, we can’t take your money, because it’s not our product to sell.

Buy the Truth; buy the Truth — but what is THE COST? What is the PRICE of Truth?

Christ Jesus gave us a parable of a man who discovered a huge treasure in a neighbor’s field. He went home and sold his donkey, his seed corn, his sheep, and his household furniture – all that he had. The man liquidated his assets in order to buy that field wherein lay the great treasure. Christ was using that story to illustrate one truth – the Truth is worth every penny we possess.

But in reality it is beyond our resources – all our resources. Every once in a while I’ll see a rare stamp which I’d like to add to my collection. But the price is beyond my budget – some times beyond the budget which I have in my dreams. So I forget about it, and my life goes on. Then again, every once in a while there are needs which are absolute; without them life would not go on. Perhaps its something medical. Those things, and they are few, must be purchased at whatever price the seller dictates. Despite what our post-modern society says, Christ’s truth is an indispensable – a necessity.

And yet, its value is beyond our resources. If someone tells you that the for $100 you may have this truth, the man has not been sent by Jehovah. If he says that Christ can be yours for $1000, the man is a liar, a cheat and a spiritual criminal. The money you drop into the offering box cannot buy Christ, His truth or His eternal home. If someone has told you otherwise, then he is a liar and a friend of Satan. Peter when speaking to some who possessed the Truth said, “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without spot or blemish.”

But this confusing, if I can’t buy Truth, why does Solomon tell me do just that? Because although our money, our works and our resources can’t buy Christ – there is still a cost. Despite the fact that “Christ Jesus paid it all and all to Him I owe” ALL to Him I owe. Even though the Lord doesn’t ask us for our dimes and our dollars, there is a price. Besides the price which He Himself has paid, this Truth costs sinners like us our pride. To become the proud owners of Truth, we must relinquish our self-pride. We must repent before the owner and dispenser of this truth. Truth, spiritual Truth, the Truth which is in Christ – is one the most hated commodities in the world today. And to possess it ourselves, we must cast aside our prejudice against it. We must be willing to give up our ignorance, and our self-righteousness. The truth may cost us our friends and even our families – our jobs and some of our former joys. Thousands of sinners who have turned to the truth have lost their place in the family burial plot. To buy this Truth, we have to mean business about giving up sin. “Seek holiness, without no man shall see God” – said the apostle. “Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish” – forever in the Lake of Fire.

We are instructed to KEEP that Truth and SELL IT NOT.

Why? For one reason, because its value is constantly increasing. One of the lessons of economics which I have learned – came outside of university. When something is rare it is valuable, and if it can become more rare, it becomes more valuable. If you buy car for $10, and each week, week after week, its value grows by $10 – keep that car. But that is not the way of cars – they decrease in value every time we take them on the road. But the value of God’s Truth will never depreciate. Not only can it never loose its intrinsic value, its relative rarity increases its value. With every passing day, there are fewer and fewer saints of God in this world. Oh, there are plenty of imitations and lots of religious hucksters, but fewer people possessing the Truth. And, one of these days, the Truth of God will no longer be displayed on this store’s shelves. The signs of the times suggest that the Lord will be coming soon to collect His people and to pour out His wrath upon this world. That could take place this week. And if it did, there could be people, perhaps some of you, you will come to this place next Sunday morning and find no one here. This pulpit will be empty and there will be no one here to preach the Truth to you. The first Sunday after the rapture – the translation of the saints – the value of the Truth should be seen more clearly than it ever has been before. Oh, there will still be Bibles laying around – like this big one on the table here. But the value of the truth contained in its pages will reach astronomical heights.

Why should we keep the truth and sell it not? Because it has no value in its resale. Imagine yourself falling off a bridge into the overflowing Spokane River. You hit the water headfirst and your weight and clothes carry you down into the current. That current sweeps you along and pulls you further down, despite your efforts to swim to the surface. As the seconds pass into the first minute, and the first minute blends into the third, you quickly learn the value of air – oxygen. Clean, breathable air is one of the most precious of all physical commodities. It is ordinarily free. All we need to do is stretch the muscles of our chest and suck in the air. Air is meant to be free.

Why are we instructed to buy the truth and sell it not? Because the moment we put a price on it for resale, it ceases to be valuable. The Truth, Christ, the salvation from sin which has to be purchased from churches and priests has no value whatever. Those who teach that sinners must buy favor with God by their generosity and charitable acts are liars – deceiving others and deceiving themselves. Why are there more and more Bible versions coming off the presses every year? Despite what some say, it is not because each is more accurate – more filled with truth. Actually, they possess less truth. Those Bible version keep appearing because there are foolish people who will pay the money necessary to buy that corrupt manuscript. In the things of the Spirit – in the ministry of the Truth – money sucks away the value.

But a word of caution at this point. Although I believe our King James Bible to be true, I don’t want you to think that my primary application of our text is in reference to our Bibles. Again I stress that Christ Jesus is “the way the truth and the life.” The truth of which I am speaking is not to truth as compared to error, or truth compared to deceit. “Seek ye out the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the truth, buy Him and sell him not.”

“Buy the truth, and SELL it not, but be aware that the truth can be given away. It can be – it must be shared and given away because most people are unaware of how valuable it is. In sharing it and giving it, the giver in no way loses what he possesses. But the implication is – if you sell it, it will no longer be yours.

I close with one more point – Knowing that the Truth of God is not confined to the words of Solomon, or to David, or to Paul. Knowing that the author of the Truth is Jehovah – it means that every part of that Truth is linked somehow to every other part. And Isaiah 55:1, even though it doesn’t use the same terminology, refers to the same principles. It says, “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.”

If you are willing to possess the truth and to be possessed by the truth, the Lord will pay the cost on your behalf. If you will willingly to repent in total surrender to the Lord, believing and trusting the One who is the Truth, it should prove the riches of God’s grace toward you. If you will repent and trust Christ, I guarantee that Jehovah has granted to you the full blessings of His eternal truth. Receive the truth today and never give it up.