Summary: A foundational message for this series, to establish the essential nature of truth
(precede with video bumper intro - "Landings")
If you watch gymnastics, you know how important the ending is; the landing. An athlete can go through the whole routine flawlessly, and then comes the landing. If she “sticks it,” the crowd goes crazy. If she waivers, everyone groans. You have to land on your feet. You don’t have to be a gymnast or a fan to appreciate that, do you?
We’re starting a new series today.
The Apostles were once accused of being men who had “turned the world upside down.” Well, whether they did it or something else happened, one thing’s for sure: we live in an upside down world. And for us to land on our feet in such a world is going to take some work. So we’re going to work on that through September and October.
What I’m hearing and seeing are people who are searching for answers, for wisdom. We need an authoritative word about how to approach life in this upside down world. So we’re going to look for that together over these coming weeks. What do I do about issues of identity, marriage, human life, ethics and morality? God has a lot of help for us in His word. And my goal is to help us see it and use it. I want us to land on our feet on these challenging subjects.
That brings us to the subject that is the foundation to the whole thing. Take away TRUTH, and everything else is pointless, so that’s where we begin our journey.
I need to give credit where credit is due. I’ve drawn the framework for this message from some of the work of Jack Cottrell, rather than reinvent the wheel. Jack has spoken and written a lot on this subject. Let’s start in…
Romans 1:18-25 (NIV)
18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. 24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator--who is forever praised. Amen.
Paul is framing the scene here for the greatest news of all time/space history. But before the story of redemption is good news, it’s bad news. These verses we just read are about what has happened to get us where we are.
Men “suppress the truth.” God can be seen and known, in part, just from the things that have been created. But rather than acknowledge God, mankind has chosen the futile thinking and foolish hearts route. Mankind has “exchanged the truth of God for a lie.” The outcome is that the wrath of God will be cut loose and is being cut loose against all this.
Don’t be surprised by what you see around you. It’s what life on postmodern, post-Christian planet earth looks like when mankind rejects truth.
Her name is Rachel Dolezal. You’ve seen her in the news a few months ago. Rachel was born in 1977 to Lawrence and Ruthanne Dolezal. Her parents are clearly Caucasian in appearance. What does that mean? It means that they are a lighter color of brown than some people. You see, we’re all a shade of brown. Some are just lighter than others. The same pigment that makes some peoples’ skin dark brown is what makes others’ skin a lighter brown. We use the terms “black” and “white.” Neither is technically accurate. What we mean by that is that our genes have caused our shading to be lighter or darker. It’s our parents fault! Then there’s Rachel Dolezal. As she grew up, Rachel’s appearance resembled that of her parents – a white, Caucasian, born in Lincoln County, Montana. At some point in her life, Rachel determined that she wanted to be associated with the African-American culture. Inwardly, she considered herself more a “black” person than a “white” person, whatever that means. She talks about the difficulty of being “socially conditioned to be limited to whatever biological identity was thrust upon me.” So, she altered her appearance, and pursued a course in life that somehow was in line with what she was trying to be. Ultimately, she ended up being the president of the NAACP in Spokane, WA. Rachel stepped down from this position in shame this past June, because it was disclosed that she is actually a “white” person. The problem isn’t that a white person can’t be in that position. The problem is that Rachel has been living in a non-reality about who she is. She has been lying about her ethnic background. When questioned how she could be a black person when her parents are clearly not, she said, “I haven’t had a DNA test. There’s been no biological proof that Larry and Ruthanne are my biological parents.” In an interview on NBC, Rachel said, “I am more black than I am white. So, on a level of values, lived experience, currently, I mean, in this moment, that’s – that’s the answer. That’s the accurate answer from my truth.”