The text from a sermon presented at Akron Alliance Fellowship Church on March 17, 2013:
Each one of us has had an experience with what we would characterize as a moment of truth. A moment of truth is the time when you have to make a decision or take an action because there are no other options under the circumstances. The moment of truth is the ultimate enemy of one who procrastinates, or the person who has trouble with commitment. It is when the person who normally puts things off realizes there is nothing else to do but to finally take action.
The word “truth” is relevant in “moment of truth” because it stands for something that is factual and is undeniable—it is the ultimate reality. Remember what Pontius Pilate said when Jesus stood before Him…
37 “You are a king then?” Pilate asked.
“You say that I’m a king,” Jesus replied. “I was born for this, and I have come into the world for this: to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to My voice.”
38 “What is truth?” said Pilate.
There are moments when we may have asked that same question—“What is truth?” When we reflect upon moments like this, we may have denied that the truth was right in front of us all along, but it doesn’t change the reality. Aldous Huxley, a famous writer, was quoted in his writing of Complete Essays, “Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.”
Author Flannery O’Connor stated, “The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.” Many people choose to ignore the truth or just flat out can’t deal with it.
A moment of truth can bring out the best in a person, or the worst in someone. It is often accompanied with some degree of pressure, and it is usually at a very high level at this point. Some people can handle pressure very well, while others seem to shrink when things get tough. The best response to these moments is when the right decision is made. But what if the wrong decision, or even no decision is made at that time? Pontius Pilate also had his moment of truth when Jesus was brought before Him.
1 Then Pilate took Jesus and had Him flogged. 2 The soldiers also twisted together a crown of thorns, put it on His head, and threw a purple robe around Him. 3 And they repeatedly came up to Him and said, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and were slapping His face.
4 Pilate went outside again and said to them, “Look, I’m bringing Him outside to you to let you know I find no grounds for charging Him.”
5 Then Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Here is the man!”
6 When the chief priests and the temple police saw Him, they shouted, “Crucify! Crucify!”
Pilate responded, “Take Him and crucify Him yourselves, for I find no grounds for charging Him.”
7 “We have a law,” the Jews replied to him, “and according to that law He must die, because He made Himself the Son of God.”
8 When Pilate heard this statement, he was more afraid than ever. 9 He went back into the headquarters and asked Jesus, “Where are You from?” But Jesus did not give him an answer. 10 So Pilate said to Him, “You’re not talking to me? Don’t You know that I have the authority to release You and the authority to crucify You?”
11 “You would have no authority over Me at all,” Jesus answered him, “if it hadn’t been given you from above. This is why the one who handed Me over to you has the greater sin.”
12 From that moment Pilate made every effort to release Him. But the Jews shouted, “If you release this man, you are not Caesar’s friend. Anyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar!”
13 When Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus outside. He sat down on the judge’s bench in a place called the Stone Pavement (but in Hebrew Gabbatha). 14 It was the preparation day for the Passover, and it was about six in the morning. Then he told the Jews, “Here is your king!”
15 But they shouted, “Take Him away! Take Him away! Crucify Him!”
Pilate said to them, “Should I crucify your king?”
“We have no king but Caesar!” the chief priests answered.
16 So then, because of them, he handed Him over to be crucified.
Think about what it means to make a critical error at the moment of truth. There is often not the opportunity to get a do-over or to correct any mistakes. The stakes are high, and the consequences can be devastating and regrettable.
Life is a series of decisions, and life progression is a part of our decision-making. On the surface, it is fair to conclude that a person who makes good choices can benefit from those choices, but we should also remember that one bad decision could undermine a lifetime of good decisions. That one bad decision may be the “moment of truth” that comes down to a test where you will either pass or fail. While there’s no changing the past, we can learn lessons from our previous life experiences to help us to be able to handle these situations better.
1. Be calm, cool and collected. The best decisions come from those who don’t lose their cool and get panicked. Notice in this passage where the true focus is:
1 Lord, my heart is not proud;
my eyes are not haughty.
I do not get involved with things
too great or too difficult for me.
2 Instead, I have calmed and quieted myself
like a little weaned child with its mother;
I am like a little child.
3 Israel, put your hope in the Lord,
both now and forever.
The person who is calm is able to focus on and draw their energy upon Jesus Christ in the midst of a difficult situation.
2. Be patient. Your patience prevents you from making a hasty decision, and it also allows you to see how God is working in the situation. He does not want you to miss his blessing and how He receives the glory from a great outcome.
1 I waited patiently for the Lord,
and He turned to me and heard my cry for help.
2 He brought me up from a desolate pit,
out of the muddy clay,
and set my feet on a rock,
making my steps secure.
3 He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear
and put their trust in the Lord.
A patient person shows great understanding,
but a quick-tempered one promotes foolishness.
Therefore the Lord is waiting to show you mercy,
and is rising up to show you compassion,
for the Lord is a just God.
All who wait patiently for Him are happy.
3. Be humble. Humility is the key to being open to good suggestions, wisdom and knowledge, and the realization that God may be speaking to you in your time of need.
When pride comes, disgrace follows,
but with humility comes wisdom.
1 If then there is any encouragement in Christ, if any consolation of love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, 2 fulfill my joy by thinking the same way, having the same love, sharing the same feelings, focusing on one goal. 3 Do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves.
Your exercise of calmness, patience and humility will help you to perform at the optimal level when it is time to make an important decision in your moment of truth. Don’t miss the fact that calmness, patience and humility are all godly attributes. In order to exercise these godly attributes, you need to rely upon the One who provides each of these things for us—Jesus Christ. Without the Holy Spirit operating as the Helper for Jesus Christ, we are incapable of success in the moment of truth.
Relying upon Jesus Christ leads to the one moment of truth that has a direct impact on where you will spend eternity. In your moment of truth, will you make a decision for Him, or will you put it off?
In order to live for Jesus Christ, it is necessary to acknowledge the following:
Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.
16 “For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.
2 Corinthians 5:15
And He died for all so that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for the One who died for them and was raised.
When you make a decision for Jesus Christ today, it is the beginning of a beautiful, rewarding relationship that will help you to grow and develop your life for today and into eternity. Make today your moment of truth.
Copyright © Melvin Gaines. All rights reserved.