Summary: What is the truth? Is there a truth? Who knows the truth?
Biggies. Those are big questions asked to Christian leader Ravi Zacharias at the University of Michigan. “Biggies” has been our series for the last few weeks.
Two weeks ago, Designer genes. Did God really create the universe? The case for a Creator.
Last week, Rolling stone. Did Jesus really rise from the dead? The case for a Savior.
Today, Nothing but the truth. Are the Scriptures really true? The case for the Bible. There is a Truth who wants to give you direction and set you free. But truth is under fire in this world. Let me explain why this is so important.
For Maryanne’s birthday, I decided to sign us up for dance classes down the hill at CVCC. A little German lady was our instructor. You’ve got to practice 100 times a day!
I had to listen and learn to follow the directions. Don’t follow the directions and you will be stepping all over the toes of your partner. Follow the directions and you will be free – free to dance. Following the directions and finding your freedom go together.
Be honest. Some of us don’t feel so free right now. We are tied up. Maybe you’re not free to be all you want to be at work, at home, at school. Maybe you’re enslaved to shopping or to drinking or to working. Or you can’t quit fighting with your spouse or friends or kids. You’re trying to find your own way – follow your own directions – and it’s not working. You’re stepping on toes everywhere. Where are you not free?
I want to introduce you to a claim made by a leader almost 2,000 years ago. This leader talks about direction and freedom. It’s a radical statement. It’s stunning. It’s especially relevant for today.
If you abide in My word, you are truly My disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
John 8:31-32 (ESV)
Who’s speaking? It’s Jesus!
Now, based on this statement, what’s His goal for me… for you? You can see it in the very last word of the verse. He wants us to be free. Freedom. Jesus is saying, “I want you to be free to dance in this world. I don’t want you stepping all over everyone else. That’s no fun for you or for them. I want you to be free to dance.”
A misconception about Jesus is that He’s all about saying “no.” “Don’t do this! Don’t do that! No!” He’s not like David Spade on the commercial on TV. (“C E No! E I E I No!”) Jesus is really about setting people free. Sure, He says “no” to certain things, just like our dance teacher said “No, don’t put your foot there, but here.” But the “no” from Jesus is to make room for a greater “yes.” He’s all about us being free to be the best we can be.
How do we get this freedom? Look at the verse. It’s by knowing the truth. That leads us to ask some questions: What is the truth? Is there a truth? Who knows the truth?
77 times in the Bible Jesus is quoted as saying, “Truly, truly I say to you…” or “I tell you the truth…” Was He really telling the truth?
When you think about truth today, you’ve got to understand something about the world in which we live. Experts in the fields of education, theology, and philosophy are recognizing a cultural shift. It’s a cultural earthquake of monumental proportions.
We have moved from modernity to post-modernism. And it’s not going away. Modernism is coming to an end. We’re no longer in the age of reason and linear logic. Modernism said that by human reason we can come to the truth. Postmodernism challenges that.
What is it? A definition is in your worship guide.
Post-modernism says that external, absolute truth – that is, a truth that is true for all people, in all places, and at all times – cannot be known through reason or science. Truth is either non-existent or unknowable. Reason is… contaminated by… prejudices, environment, and upbringing. The idea of truth is created rather than discovered. (Taken from In Search of Certainty by Josh McDowell and Thomas Williams, p. 6.)
Postmodernism is in the movies. Think Matrix.
It’s influencing business. Think Starbucks.
It’s influencing architecture. Think the Lewis Building at Case Western right here in Cleveland. The inside of the building is just as postmodern as the outside. Here’s what the website says, “No two classrooms are exactly alike, so students are constantly faced with changing perspectives.” That’s postmodernism at work.
At the risk of oversimplifying a very complex issue, let’s just compare a modern world-view with a postmodern worldview.
… reason (think!) … experience (feel!)