Summary: Attacks the folly of relativism, exposing where it leaves us.
1. Title: It All Depends
2. Text: Several
3. Audience: Villa Heights Christian Church, AM worship crowd, February 5, 2006, 3rd in the series “A Clear and Present Danger”
4. Type: topical
• For the people to understand the meaning of relativism, be able to cite several ways it shapes our current age, and to be convinced of the dangers it presents; to understand how to apply biblical standards to every day decision making more consistently
• For the people to feel that relativism is harmful and to feel convicted that their lives should oppose it.
• For the people to speak against relativistic ideas and to apply biblical standards to their decision making more consistently
6. Dominant Thought: God’s word speaks in absolutes that are applicable to all moral choices that face a person
7. When I’m finished with my sermon, I want my audience to understand how relativism is harmful and to oppose it by clinging to what is true and using it to make choices every day.
Intro: (2nd worship hour: (after the band gets up and starts with something that sounds just horrible) What was that? That was the sound of chaos. Music shows us pretty quickly how important it is to have a standard. In fact, music is all about standards. Look in the hymnal in front of you and you’ll notice it’s the same as the others. That’s because unless everyone is singing from the same book, it won’t make much sense. And every page has numbers on it. That’s so that everyone can sing off the same page of the book. Every song has at the very beginning, a key signature. Unless everyone’s in the same key, it won’t be right. You’ve heard musicians tuning before they play. That’s because there’s a standard. I have a tuner. It plays a perfect “440 A.” When every instrument is tuned to a standard, they can sound like they go together, but it they’re out of tune, it can sound horrible. Then there’s tempo – unless everyone is going the same speed, it won’t be together. It won’t end together. It’s all about standards, in the interest of making a pleasant sound. Take away any of these standards and you get what we had a moment ago.)
Imagine for a moment a world that denies standards; a world where there are no absolutes; where everyone makes up their own rules and where no one accepts something to be true unless they decide it’s true on their own. Imagine a world where people believe there’s actually no such thing as objective truth. Imagine a world where no one is really in charge – where everyone just does as he sees fit – what’s right in his own eyes.
Judges 17:6 In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit.
Judges 21:25 In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit.
I imagine it would be pretty chaotic. I imagine you’d have stories about people bouncing back and forth between doing what’s right and failing miserably. I imagine you’d get stories about treachery and rashness and espionage. I imagine you’d hear about people who at times seem godly and then at others turn around and mess up terribly. I imagine you’d have the period in Israel’s history recorded in the book of Judges, when Israel had no king and everyone did as he saw fit.
Try to picture a world that doesn’t accept absolutes – a world where someone might say, “What’s right for you isn’t necessarily right for me,” where medicine commercials say, “Ask your doctor if it’s right for you.” Picture a society where everyone becomes afraid to speak up because they feel they have no right to impose a standard on anyone else. Just envision this culture where, rather than trying to teach what’s right and wrong, teachers just tell students that the important thing is that they decide for themselves what’s right and wrong, because, after all, everyone’s situation is different. Imagine a world where telling the truth is a good thing to do, sometimes, but where lying is also considered a good thing to do sometimes too. If you have a hard time picturing a world like that, then, tonight, watch TV for one hour; tomorrow, visit your kids’ school; read a newspaper; get out more. We’re in it!
The Clear and Present Danger I want to speak about this morning is relativism. Now, that’s a term from philosophy. It describes, in a general way, the belief that there are no absolutes in life. Every thing depends on circumstances; it’s all “relative” to the situation in life. Take that into your day-to-day, and it becomes what’s known as “situationism” or “subjectivism.”