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Living the Truth

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Living the Truth

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Ambassador Bible Center students have a great blessing of spending approximately seven months learning in-depth the Bible and its principles. This is a unique opportunity that many during the Middle Ages would have desired to have, but could not.

John Wycliffe in the 1380s produced the first handwritten English-language Bible manuscripts. The pope was so infuriated by his teachings and his translation of the Bible into English, that 44 years after Wycliffe's death, he ordered Wycliffe's bones be dug up, crushed and scattered in the river!

In 1415, John Hus was burnt at the stake because he promoted the idea that people should read the Bible in their own language and opposed the tyranny of the Roman church that threatened anyone possessing a non-Latin Bible with execution.

In the 1500s William Tyndale was forced to flee England because of his efforts to translate and print the New Testament into English.

A Time to Learn...

In complete contrast to the Middle Ages, today God has blessed us with the opportunity to be instructed about His Word, in peace and safety, with the clarity that only His servants can have. Do we really appreciate this blessing, or do we take it for granted? Who knows if in just a few years people will again be prohibited from studying the Bible as we can do today?

It seems God inspired an educational program as early as the times of Elijah and Elisha (2 Kings 2:15; 4:38). In this end-time, Elijah-type work (Malachi 4:5), God used Herbert W. Armstrong to institute Ambassador College, after which ABC is modeled today.

Those of us who have the opportunity to attend ABC are indeed blessed and wish that all in the Church would have such opportunity. For this purpose some of the classes are taped, and these tapes are sent to congregations and put on the Web site so that the brethren may benefit to a great degree from these classes.

...and Apply...

ABC has been based on the premise that "the Word of God is the foundation of knowledge." The motto of the 2005 ABC class is "Living the Truth," which brings to our minds the critical step in the process of actively applying the knowledge and truth learned in God's Church. Our growth in God's truth is progressive and directly related to how we apply the knowledge we learn.

James, Jesus' half-brother, instructs us to "be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves" (James 1:22). We need to learn the truth with such a heart that we critically examine ourselves so that we apply it in our daily lives. This is part of the self-evaluation process and self-judgment that we all have to do (1 Corinthians 11:31).

We need to apply what we learn to ourselves, to be introspective and change ourselves accordingly, with God's help through His Spirit. As we live the truth, God produces another amazing miracle in our minds. He makes us understand other deeper truths about the very knowledge we have learned and are applying.

Part of the learning and application is the consciousness of how we come across. We clearly don't want to come across as "know it alls" or arrogant. As some have said, is not just "the what" but "the how." How we apply any principle is the crux of the matter.

This point is further illustrated by the common statement in society which states that "truth hurts." Yes indeed, at times the truth can hurt, particularly if some of us say, "Well, it's the truth, so I am going to tell him just as it is!"

Paul instructed us to speak "the truth in love" (Ephesians 4:15). That emphasizes "how" we apply the knowledge we have learned. We are blessed in God's Church today to have the knowledge we have. As we apply this knowledge—this truth, the "what"—we have to be conscious of the intent of the heart behind the application. For us to be pleasing to God, we need to apply it with a right intent from the heart. Then, and only then, can we live the truth in a genuine, outgoing and caring love and concern.

...to Become Like Christ

It is only when we apply and live the truth in love, in genuine sincerity, from the heart, that we begin to really grasp the mind and character of Christ. This is the character that we are to grow into. This is the goal that we are to strive for until we come to "the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" (Ephesians 4:13).

This mind-set of love, care and gentleness is what is meant by us becoming gracious like God is gracious toward us. This is an important aspect of what growing in grace is all about. It is what we must put on: "Above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection" (Colossians 3:14). It is how we need to conduct ourselves toward one another. Paul and the apostles had a clear conscience that they had conducted themselves "in the world in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom but by the grace of God, and more abundantly toward you" (2 Corinthians 1:12).

Here is a question for all of us to stop and meditate about: Are we, as God's ambassadors in His Church, improving ourselves by "living the truth" with graciousness and love?

"Living the Truth" in love is the most excellent way to show appreciation to God for the opportunity we have at this end time to learn the truth, whether be it at ABC or in the Church. Because we believe the foundation of all knowledge—the Word of God—we live it in love with the help of God's Spirit.

The 2005 ABC motto, "Living the Truth," is but a gentle reminder to us all that we are not just to learn the truth, but that we are to live the truth in love, so that we "grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 3:18) till we come to the "measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ"! UN

The author, Jorge de Campos, is a 2005 graduate of ABC.