Summary: Relativism is the idea that all moral (rights and wrongs) statements are grounded in the urge and individual taste of each person or culture. Is this a biblical perspective?
Does Relativism Work?
Intro: Are all religions the same?
Are all religious beliefs aspects of truth?
What does the bible say about this?
Bigger questions is-- What is Truth? Is there a “truth perspective for all people – irrespective of belief? i.e. Is there a hidden force that determines right and wrong -- whether we believe in/or recognise this force to be God?
Or is it just a free for rule and it doesn’t matter what you believe?
Next few weeks we will talk about what truth is—tonight we will talk about relativism and whether it works.
Relativism is the idea that all moral (rights and wrongs) statements are grounded in the urge and individual taste of each person or culture.
If it is true for you and no-one else—it is true. Even if what you believe completely contradicts what someone else believes—it can still be viewed as being true.
Illustration: Although many people like Relativism at first, as soon as we go beyond face-value, drastic and terrifying problems emerge. For instance, Hitler’s murder of Jews in the Second World War is as morally acceptable as Mother Theresa’s work with the poor in Calcutta (India).
READ: Joshua 24:14-28
Joseph: Great Grandson of Abraham (Son of Jacob/Grandson of Isaac)
Become Prime Minister in Egypt
Egyptians became suspicious of the Hebrew people
Forced them into slave labour to control them
Moses lead Hebrew people out of Egypt in search of the promised land (promised to them by God)
After Moses died Joshua replaced him as leader
Before he died he pleads with the people to recommit themselves to God
1. To serve/worship
Notice the verb “to serve” in this passage
It occurs more than 10 times in this passage
This word is often translated as, “worship” or “Honour” in OT
It is a call to entrust our whole selves God in reverence and loyalty
cf. v. 14 and Psalm 100:2
God promised to be the sovereign protector of his people—in return his people to declare allegiance and service to him.
Other nations held to polytheism – belief in many gods
God sets an explicit choice before his people: choose whom you will serve
vv. 1-13 a reminder of God’s faithfulness
v. 24 starts, “Now fear the Lord ...” or “and now fear the Lord...”
This means that God’s past actions reveal him to be true and faithful: therefore our response should be to devote our allegiance and trust to him.
Has God shown himself to be true and faithful to you in the past? Maybe you haven’t experienced this yet—maybe tonight you can.
2. Make your choice
v. 15 “But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve ...”
“undesirable” literally reads, “evil (or bad) in your eyes”
If you think that belief in anything or anyone else is better than trusting in God – Go for it! By the way—is are those other gods working for ya? Have they made life better for you yet—or is life still miserable with them? Because you have forgotten what I have and am willing to do for you.
Joshua comes to his own conclusion, “... as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”
Who will you choose to serve?
3. God’s jealousy
One problem occurs in vv. 19-20
19 Joshua said to the people, “You are not able to serve the Lord. He is a holy God; he is a jealous God. He will not forgive your rebellion and your sins.”
How can God be a jealous God? Does he feel insecure about himself that he can’t stand people believe in other gods other than himself? Surely God could be above all that.
People don’t understand this about God: that he is a jealous God
Illustration: Making robots (Android)
CONCLUSION: People charge the bible as imposing views on people that are not right for them—it also does not permit people to believe anything not in the bible as being true.
But does this view work—that you can believe anything you want to be true?
Ultimately – for something to be true—the opposite cannot be true
To the people of God waiting to enter the Promised Land, God demonstrated that he was the only true God who could be relied.
Knowing him and being certain of him does not suggest that we know everything there is know about him. Nor does it mean that we will never experience doubts about him. It does not also mean that we claim arrogantly that we have arrived, we have the answers.
What it does mean is that God has gone to great lengths, despite our inability to comprehend and understand his intentions. And he asks for us to trust him implicitly and seek to follow him for all the days of our lives. On that journey he will reveal all we need to know.