Summary: A sermon about truth in postmodern society. How Satan perverts the truth and how we can protect ourselves from the lies. With hand-out notes at the end.
Truth or Consequences?
Mapleton, Jan 3, 2010
Scripture: Genesis 3 & 4
How many of you remember the game show, “Truth or Consequences”? It was a show that actually started out as a radio show in 1940 and then went to television as well. Bob Barker made his television debut on Truth or Consequences after it had already been on the air for 17 years. When it came on tv in 1950, people were invited from the audience to perform various outrageous, usually rather messy stunts, because most of them could not answer the question correctly before Beulah the Buzzer, buzzed. Do you remember that? And the Truth or Consequences logo had a little halo over the word truth and there was a devil’s fork running up through the word Consequences. And Bob Baker ended the show with, “May all your consequences be happy ones!”
Well Truth or Consequences happened long before Ralph Edwards or Bob Barker were ever born. Genesis 3 & 4, is the first ever Truth or Consequences, but it is NOT a game show. It’s real life. And the consequences would NOT have been happy ones. But the truth is, if you select the right drawer (like the contestants used to do from Barker’s Box), it’s not money you will find and a bonus prize, but you’ll find nothing less than joy unspeakable and full of glory, and the bonus prize is eternal life in relationship with the one true and living God.
I promised you last week I was going to preach what I feel are the most important messages of ministry. Today we’re going to talk about truth. And we’re going to look at how Satan, since the beginning of time, perverts the truth. And how we succumb to the perversion. But we’re also going to look at how the consequences, much to Satan’s fury, can be happy ones. What we can do to protect ourselves from the lie.
First of all, “What is Truth?” Pilate asked that question of Jesus. Today, our postmodern age is questioning that there even is such a thing as truth. They say truth lies in our experience. And if my experience is different than your experience, then my truth is different than your truth. And what does it matter anyway as long as we get along and love each other? But that kind of love is a mile wide and an inch deep and it will never stand the test of time.
Josh McDowell tells about a question he asked Amber, a 16 year old girl in their Christian youth group. “Is it wrong to engage in premarital sex?” “Well, I believe it’s wrong for me.” “But do you believe that the Bible teaches that premarital sex is wrong for everyone?” Amber’s eyes shift back and forth as she weighs her answer. “Well, I know it’s wrong for me, and I have chosen not to have sex until I’m married. But I don’t think I can judge other people on what they do.”
McDowell’s conclusion is that Amber has been conditioned to believe that truth is not true for them unless they choose to believe it. That’s why over 80% of our kids today claim that “all truth is relative to the individual and his/her circumstances.”
In two national surveys conducted by Barna Research, people were asked if they believe that there are moral absolutes that are unchanging or that moral truth is relative to the circumstances. By a 3-to-1 margin adults said truth is always relative to the person and their situation. Among teenagers, 83% said moral truth depends on the circumstances, and only 6% said moral truth is absolute.
I want to tell you this morning, there is absolute truth.
Truth, plain and simple, is the standard God has set for his people.
And Amber is right - we don’t judge. GOD HAS ALREADY JUDGED. HE has set the standard. And it’s not a judgement when we live by that standard and expect our Christian brothers and sisters to live by that same standard.
And He gives us his standard in two ways:
a. His Son Jesus Christ
b. His spoken word - the Scripture
The truth is still truth - even if we don’t believe it.
Even one of this church’s denominations, the UCC, calls for a balance between freedom of conscience and accountability to the apostolic faith.
Accountability is not a likeable word, or action, these days. And we don’t see much balance in lifestyle in our postmodern culture either. We want it all and we want it now.
And Satan continues to pervert the truth. And it’s not so alarming that the world buys into the lies, but people who call themselves Christians are being hoodwinked into the relativism, and whole denominations are giving themselves over to the cultural norms so that to the world, a Christian doesn’t look any different than the rest of society and so we get labeled hypocrites, and unworthy of consideration because what difference could it possibly make in our lives to be one.