The Sanctity of Truth (Part II)
Text: The Gospel of John
Proposition: God is the source of all truth and He communicates truth to us in the Word, in Christ and through the Holy Spirit, making truth sacred.
Introduction: A man got into his car, put the key in the ignition and turned it but nothing happened. So he gets out and puts more air in the tires and the car still won’t start. So he takes out a rag and polishes the car for two hours but the car still won’t start. The fundamental problem is that battery needs to be hooked up to the engine, nothing else he does will make that car run until he believes in the power of the battery, believes in the design of the engine and believes in the need for those two things to be connected. That’s the simple truth but it’s an absolute truth. Opinions and preferences can’t alter that basic reality called the truth. We have been looking at a number of things that are sacred, set apart for a higher purpose. We’ve looked at Creation, Life, Sexuality, Freedom, Speech and Truth which is inherent in them all. In this second part on the sanctity of truth we want to look briefly at what truth isn’t . Norman Geisler in hisbook onChristian Apologetics lists five things that that truth is not.
1. Truth is not what works. Just because it works doesn’t make it true. You can lie and steal and it works to get what you want but it’s not what’s true.
2. Truth is not what feels good. Feelings can be misleading and very subjective. What one person feels to be right and true may not be the same as you.
3. Truth is not whatever you want it to be. There are absolutes, like a red light at an intersection is an absolute and there will be consequences if I try to deny that.
4. Truth is not just what we perceive with our senses. Truth involves things like justice, holiness, love which.
5. Truth is not based on the majority view. Truth is truth no matter if no one believes it and a lie is a lie no matter if everyone believes it.
These five basic guidelines of what truth is not, help us to navigate a lot of the moral pluralism of our day but truth is also a concern when it comes to the various world religions. There are six major religions in the world today, Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism. These are religions which can have off shoots called sects and each religion will not only have sects but will have breakaway groups from their core beliefs. These breakaway groups are referred to as cults. Christianity like all the other world religions has sects, groups that hold to basic Christian belief but also hold other beliefs in addition to that. Then there are cults, groups that have an appearance of being Christian but have broken from the core beliefs of Christianity. Every world religion has sects and cults. All of these religions, sects and cults are tangled up in those five things that truth is not. It’s been said that the best way to tell how crooked a stick is, is to lay a straight ruler beside it. Let’s do that with John 17.
I. The Standard of Truth Does Not Come From Man But From God.
That’s a rather fundamental beginning point because it agrees with the fact that man is flawed by sin and any truth he generates will also be flawed. So in the first three verses of John 17 we see a paradigm shift in terms of the origin of truth. These verses say that truth comes from God and the purpose of truth is so that man would know God, that he would gain eternal life by a belief in Jesus Christ. These verses glorify or reveal Who God the Father is and Who Jesus Christ the Son of God is. So here’s the starting point, God came to mankind, we didn’t succeed in getting to Him. He taught mankind the truth, not a man of the earth. He demonstrated who Deity is, nobody else could do that. Eternal life was given to Christ to give to as many as the Father would choose to give to the Son, it was apart from the need of man’s efforts or worthiness. These are distinctives of the Christian faith that set it apart from every other world religion, sect and cult.
Let’s look back at the various world religions. Hinduism began about 2000 BC but there is no founder or one person that it is attributed to. It is polytheistic having thousands of gods. It is a religion founded on good works which believes if diligently followed will bring a final escape from the cycle of reincarnation to being released into one spiritual reality. Buddhism is an off shoot of Hinduism, it’s leader was born around 520BC. The thrust here too is good works so as to avoid suffering the endless cycle of reincarnation. Islam was begun in 620 AD by Mohammed, a man who lived and died. It is based on the efforts of man to do good works none of which can be really known to be sufficient until after you die. Sikhism was founded in 1469 by a man named Nanak Dev. It also was an offshoot of Hinduism with many of the same deities and practices.
In all of these the standard of truth was begun by man who developed a complex set of rules and practices in order to try to attain some form of eternal existence. Jesus Christ is God incarnate, coming into existence in mortality as a man. He manifested the very character of God, He demonstrated by supernatural means that He was no ordinary man, He lived, He died and He rose again for the express purpose of paying out the cost of man’s sin before a holy God. He did all this apart from any deservedness on man’s part, it was all an action of grace that as many as believed in Him would have eternal life. That standard of truth about sin and righteousness, the Person of God and the purposes of God came from outside man, it came directly from the source of truth itself, God the Father. The very oneness with God that all the other world religions seek after, Christ came to give to mankind here, now. Look for a moment at verses 20, 21, “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, arein Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.” What this means is that being free from sin, free to be with and in God is a present day reality because of Christ. You can know this for sure now. You can live your life in the full assurance that Christ is good enough to have paid for your sin, agree with Him that you could never do this on your own. Apart from Him we can do nothing when it comes to earning eternal life through righteousness. This is the truth.
II. Truth Is Not Just Good To Know, It’s Crucial For Your Life Today.
Have a look at the last three verses of John 17, “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me. And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.” What Jesus is saying is there is a heaven, it’s where He was about to go and He prayed that the atoning work of the cross which He was about to experience in just a few hours from this prayer would open the door to that glory for all mankind. Jesus clearly states that before the world was ever created He and the Father existed and that the Father deeply loved the Son from eternity past. That’s crucial to understanding the depth of love that motivated the Father to send the Son for you and I. The only One who knew the Father, who was loved deeply and absolutely by the Father was now going to be sent to experience the most agonizing death for you and I because of our sin. If there was another way to bring man complete, sinless, holy before God He would have done that. It was the very observation Christ made in Gethsemane. Here’s the most amazing point, when Jesus Christ becomes your Lord and Saviour the love that the Father has for the Son is now made resident in you by the Person of the Holy Spirit. You now have the capacity to love that is beyond your human nature to love. The point is simple, the world has not known Who God the Father is. They have made Him out to be everything from a space alien from the planet Kolob to a hideous snake creature to a distant thunderbolt- wielding, angry, mad man. The world has not known God the Father but Jesus Christ has and Jesus is the exact image of the invisible God. Christ came that you would know three things. 1. That you would know the Father sent Him here to earth for you. 2. That knowing this you would grasp hold of the truth that God loves you. He doesn’t hate you, He’s not absent nor unconcerned. He loves you to the extent of being willing to experience death for you. 3. That knowing the love of God for you would lead you to believe in Jesus name, Who came in the Fathers name. What this means is that you would indeed one day behold the glory of Christ, the breath taking beyond comprehension glory of Christ that He had with the Father before the world was ever created. That is heaven, to see that is to have eternal life, to be there is to be saved, to be glorified, to be with Jesus. That is the most crucial truth you and I could ever know. It’s this truth that steadies your life. It’s the sanctity of truth.