Summary: A sermon on the importance of truth: Its reality, the ability to know it and the difference it makes.
At one point in the history of the world, truth was very important and people sought to know truth and thereby gain wisdom. It used to be that people who searched after truth were called “lovers of wisdom”: Philosophers (phileo meaning to love, and sophos meaning wisdom). Today, philosophers are those who question truth. In our culture, we question whether truth really even exists or not. If there is such a thing as truth, is there anything we can call “absolute truth”. Others want to know, if indeed truth does exist, is it knowable at all? Can anyone know truth with any kind of certainty? Is truth even important? We have become people who live according to their feelings rather than their minds. We base our decisions (moral and otherwise) by what we “feel” is the right thing to do, not necessarily because we have carefully thought it through. Our feelings have become more important than our ability to think.
I always wish one of these people who do not believe in truth would ask me directions to Cleveland. I would have fun directing them to Columbus and then to I-70 West. And then if they should complain, I would say, “But I thought you didn’t believe in truth. I thought you believed that there was no such thing as right or wrong. And now you are complaining that I did not tell you the truth, and that you believe that what I did was wrong. Now which is it? Is there such a thing as truth, and nothing is really right or wrong, or not?” These people who say there is no such thing as right and wrong, surprisingly do not want you to lie to them, steal from them or harm them.
I was recently reading an article by Chuck Colson where he said : “Relativism is so rampant that in a Barna poll, 71 percent of the American people said there is no such thing as absolute truth. But don’t get smug: In that same poll, George Barna surveyed evangelical, born-again Christians — those who go to church regularly, who pray regularly, who believe in Jesus Christ, who have had an experience with Christ — and 40 percent of evangelical Christians responded the same way: There is no such thing as absolute truth! In a 1992 Gallup poll, 69 percent of the people said they believe there are no moral absolutes.” As a pastor, I have seen this many times. A church I once served hired a youth pastor who told me one day that he did not believe in absolute truth. I learned that when he left the church he embezzled money from his next employer. He was just living according to his beliefs.
What I want to say to you today is that truth is important. What you believe to be true is important, because it will determine how you see life and how you live your life. It will determine your ability to understand life and obey God. Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31-32). Civilizations have grown and advanced as they have sought truth, discovered truth and lived according to the truths they found. And civilizations that did not understand truth, and live according to it, did not advance, and in some cases they perished.