Summary: This sermon begins with an affirmation of absolute truth then focuses on three absolute promises Jesus shared in in John 14
KNOWNIN’ WHERE YOU ARE GOIN’
(I began this sermon by flipping a coin several times asking folks to guess if the result would be heads or tails. After several tosses, only a few people had been right ever time.)
There is much in this world that is uncertain and unpredictable. Will the value on the markets go up or down? Which team will win the ballgame? What is the weather going to be?
We have been talking recently about dealing with our honest doubts, but today I want to talk about assurances and absolutes. About what in your life are you most certain? Are you certain that you are going to heaven?
When it comes to religion, it is increasingly difficult to convince folks of absolutes. This is because people today don’t necessarily embrace absolute truth, when it comes to religion and when it comes to eternal issues here is what you are often going to hear today. It doesn’t matter what you believe, as long as you are sincere. What is true for me may not be true for you. The only important thing is that you believe in God.
Barna Research Group recently offered some survey statistics that back that affirms this cultural mindset. Their website states that 43% of Americans said it doesn’t matter what religious faith you follow because they all teach the same lessons. In addition, it concludes that 50% of Americans believe that all people are eventually saved or accepted by God no matter what they do. While these reflect disturbing trends, lets begin by conceding a couple of acknowledgements.
Acknowledgement: There are similarities in many world religions
Most religions teach that there is a divine creator. Most religions hold that human life is sacred. Most religions affirm basic moralities (such as faithfulness in marriage and our responsibility to our family.) The Biblical principle to Do to others as you would have them do to you. (Luke 6:31) will resonate across religious lines. Also, most religions teach that there is an afterlife
Acknowledgement: Do not confuse this to mean religions are all essentially the same.
Buddists don’t believe in a God and they don’t believe in any type of final or eternal existence. Buddha taught nothing is permanent. Buddists believe enlightenment is achieved by good deeds (karma). Hindus do believe in a god but their god is impersonal and can be approached through countless sub-deities, smaller gods (300,000 of them) and through statutes or through idols. They hold to no literal “heaven” after death but reincarnation until a state of enlightenment is attained. Muslims believe in a single personal God, Allah, but Allah has no secondary deities and has a total ban on idols. Their aim is to reach heaven and avoid hell.
Christians believe in the Trinity, a three in one God who is very personal. Our salvation is possible as a gift that forgives our sins through Christ, there is the potential of supernatural help and the God is a very personal God with a promised and real afterlife.
So while we can acknowledge that different religions have similarities, at their roots, they cannot all possibly be true. And, as we see next, truth matters.
TRUTH MATTERS AND IS NOT “RELATIVE”
Something “relative” means it changes and is conditional. Truth, however is reliable, trustworthy, accurate, and dependable. We understand this in other disciplines. In music, the note “A” is always an “A” no matter what else you may want or need it to be. In math two plus two equals four no matter how much you want it to equal five.
Truth Is Not Relative To My Sincerity.
To those folks who profess, It does not matter what you believe as long as you are sincere, remember this: You can be sincerely wrong. I was driving to a local business recently and when I got to the place I was sure it would be…it wasn’t there! But I was sincere in that I really believed THAT was the location.
Truth Is Not Relative To My Desires
To those who believe that, if you just believe something enough, it will come true, or you act like something is true because I want it to be true, remember this: truth does not conform to our desires.
Let me illustrate what I mean: Let’s say that you’re going to get on an airplane this week and you’ve got a pilot who has been trained by the best and he gets in and he looks at the cockpit and there’s all of these buttons everywhere and he is thinking okay, I know that I have been instructed that this one does this and this one does this and I’m supposed to do this. But, I’m thinking today that all buttons are the same. I mean I know you tell me there’s a difference but in my mind they’re all equal. It doesn’t matter which one you push. And, there’s a guy I’m supposed to listen to at the control tower and he’s telling me I’m supposed to take off to the north, but you know what I’m not feeling north today, I’m feeling a little more southeast. You will get off that plane as quickly as possible.