Summary: In the midst of a cynical world; cynical about politics; cynical about moral values; cynical about religion; we need a foundation of truth to sustain us.
“What Is Truth?”
CLBC March 28, 2004 a.m.
Theme: Living in Truth
Passage: John 18:28 - 38
Text: John 18: 38
Do you hear the note of cynicism in Pilate’s question?
He has just asked Jesus, “Are you the King of the Jews?” 18:33, and Jesus has replied that “My kingdom is not of this world.” 18: 36. “Are you a king then?” asks Pilate and Jesus answers, “You say rightly that I am a king, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice.”
I can almost see Pilate shake his head in a measure of despair. “What is truth?”
Poor Pilate, raised in a pagan society, where the Roman gods and the Greek gods were more like superhuman men, with all the same lusts and desires of human beings; and where Caesar claimed worship as a god;
- living in a day of many opposing philosophies;
- appointed a governor by ruthless Rome to whom might was right, and the empire must
be controlled by force;
- appointed to rule over the Jews with their strange and fanatical religion;
Yes, poor, Pilate - he was portrayed quite sympathetically in Gibson’s film but his life, his
background and his career had all combined to make him cynical about life, and unable to believe that there was such a thing as truth.
I have chosen to speak on Pilate’s question today, because it reflects so perfectly the spirit
of our age.
1. There is a terrible cynicism gripping our society today.
a. It is reflected in every newscast dealing with politics and government. Political leaders try to convey the impression that they are the ones who can be trusted, even when their history ties them into scandal and deceit. They try to convince us that they of all people are going to tell us the truth when their history is full of lies and coverups. And the people are justified in asking “What is truth?”
b. This cynicism is reflected in the lack of moral values in our society.
What does society tell us? Kids cannot be expected to remain pure and refuse to engage in sex until marriage. The stats tell us how many youth are engaging in sex by such and such an age, so therefore we must put condom machines in school washrooms, and prescribe birth control pills for the girls, even without their parents’ knowledge, because after all, we must protect them against aids and other diseases.
And of course, this will result in unwanted pregnancies, so therefore, we must provide publicly funded abortion clinics, and the people who are really in the wrong are those people who dare to suggest that life begins at conception, and that abortion takes a human life. What is truth?
And of course we must not speak about homosexuality, because if we speak about it, it shows that we are homophobic and involved in gay bashing. To protect this “alternate lifestyle”, we must add a clause to our criminal code so tha t we may guard against hate propaganda. Does the Bible say that this practice is wrong, in the same way that adultery and fornication and lying and stealing and murder is wrong?
What is truth?
I could go on and on, couldn’t I? Every moral value appears to be turned upside down and what is right is wrong and what is wrong is right and in it all, the world is asking in the most sceptical manner “What is truth?” But is it willing to receive the Bible’s answer to the question?
The Bible says in Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown [it] to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible [attributes] are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, [even] His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,
Romans 1:24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen....28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy,murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, 30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; 32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.