Self-Inflicted Wounds

Text: Matthew 7:1-5


I.         I’ve mentioned to several people an interesting book by Gregory Koukl called Tactics.

            A.        It discuss how Christians can discuss the gospel with others, especially those who might be hostile to the ideas of Christianity.

                        1.         It is about not only presenting points, but getting the other person to think about what they are saying.

            B.        One class of arguments people make is labeled as “Suicidal” by Mr. Koukl.

                        1.         These are arguments that when applied to the argument itself contradict it.

                                    a.         A simple example is, “All English statements are false.”

                                    b.         Since the statement is in English, then by its own rules it must be false.

                        2.         Suicidal arguments are always false.

                                    a.         “The statement on the back of this shirt is false.” “The statement on the front of this shirt is true.”

                                    b.         We don’t have to get caught up in trying to figure out which part is true or false. The contradict falsifies the whole and that is all we need to know.

                        3.         Suicidal arguments lead to a contradiction

                                    a.         “Authentic Mexican food cooked in the traditional Chinese way”

                                    b.         You cannot have “authentic Mexican” and “traditional Chinese” applied to the same items of food.

II.        Truth

            A.        Pilate once asked Jesus - John 18:38

                        1.         He wasn’t looking for an answer because he left.

                        2.         There are people who claim, “There is no truth!”

                                    a.         Ah! So it that the truth of the matter?

                                    b.         By the statement’s claim, the statement is false.

            B.        There is truth - John 17:17

                        1.         Psalms 119:151-152; 12:6

                        2.         But people don’t like set rules – especially rules that point out their errors. “There are no absolutes!”

                                    a.         Are you absolutely sure about that?

                                    b.         You can’t make an absolute assertion to rule out absolutes

                        3.         “You can’t know anything for sure!”

                                    a.         Are you sure?

            C.        People want to deny that there is a source to truth outside of themselves.

                        1.         “You can only know truth through experience!”

                                    a.         What experience did you have that led you to that conclusion?

                        2.         “Only science can determine truth!”

                                    a.         Can you scientifically measure this statement?

                                    b.         No? Then how can it be determined to be true?

                        3.         Truth is something taught - John 8:31-32

            D.        Statements dealing in absolutes: “only,” “never,” “always,” etc. are the hardest to prove and defend. When you hear an absolute, ask yourself it that absolute applies to the statement itself.

            E.        More subtle are faulty comparisons.

                        1.         “People make mistakes. People wrote the Bible. Therefore, the Bible is flawed.”

                                    a.         Could you be mistaken about this claim?

                                    b.         After all, you are only human.

                        2.         There are flaws in this argument. People do make mistakes, but people don’t make mistakes constantly.

                                    a.         To claim there is a potential for mistakes is not the same as proving a mistake was made.

                        3.         There is an assumption that God cannot inspire a book to be written

                                    a.         II Timothy 3:16-17 - From the mouth of God

                                    b.         Not from man - Galatians 1:11-12

                                    c.         Words given to the writers - I Corinthians 2:13

III.       Disagreements

            A.        “All religions are true!”

                        1.         Then that would include Christianity. But Christianity says other religions, such as idolatry is false. - I Corinthians 8:4

                        2.         All religions can’t be true when they teach ideas that conflict

                                    a.         Do people go to heaven or hell after death?

                                    b.         Are they reincarnated?

                                    c.         Do they just cease to exist?

                                    d.         All can’t be true at the same time.

            B.        What people are trying to do is avoid disagreement or coming to a conclusion – especially one that might indicate they are wrong

                        1.         “God doesn’t take sides!”

                                    a.         Would God agree with that? Then, you are saying God took a side.

                                    b.         The false assumption is that all sides are right. But conflicting ideas are not compatible with a single idea of truth.

                                    c.         The reality is that God wants us on His side - Matthew 11:28-30

                                                (1)       There is a yoke (limits) and there are burdens.

                                                (2)       Comparatively easy ones, but there nonetheless.

                        2.         “You can’t judge other people!”

                                    a.         Is that your judgment?

                                    b.         Usually people have Matthew 7:1-5

                                                (1)       Notice that it doesn’t condemn judgment.

                                                (2)       It warns that when a judgment is made, it applies to you as well - Romans 2:1-3

                        3.         What people want is to make rules, but given exceptions to themselves

                                    a.         Proverbs 24:23 - Judgments can’t be partial, even to yourself

            C.        The truth is that we are to make judgments - I John 4:1

                        1.         The knowledge that wrong exists means I need to determine what is right.

                        2.         Righteous judgment - John 7:24

IV.      Teaching

            A.        “Talking about God is meaningless!”

                        1.         But are you not talking about God? Is your statement then meaningless?

            B.        People might concede that they disagree, but they don’t want people attempting to persuade them.

            C.        “You shouldn’t force your morality on others!”

                        1.         Yet, this is a moral statement. Are you saying I must accept your view?

                        2.         Moral relativism is the idea that what might be wrong for you isn’t necessarily wrong for me. This returns to the problem of partiality in judgment.

                        3.         What is interesting is that statements about what is right or wrong really isn’t forcing anyone.

                                    a.         It is a statement of what is. Whether you accept it is your choice.

                                    b.         But it is amazing how many people get offended if you say “Abortion is wrong.”

                                                (1)       “That is just your belief. You should be inflicting such on others.”

                                                            (a)       Is that your belief that you are inflicting on me?

                                                (2)       I Timothy 4:1-4 - Whether people want to hear or not

                                    c.         II Corinthians 10:2-6 - Bringing thoughts captive

            D.        “Don’t proselytize! Don’t try changing another person’s religious views.”

                        1.         Yet my religion says - Matthew 28:19-20

                        2.         So, are you trying to change my religious views?

            E.        People don’t want the boat rocked. They don’t want to consider that they might be wrong - Matthew 21:23-27

                        1.         “Who gave you the right ...” admits that authority comes from a higher source. A source, if acknowledged, then must have authority over the questioner – something the questioner doesn’t want to admit or face.

V.        It is such a simple concept.

            A.        Arguments cut two ways, so does an argument being used against you apply to the arguer?

            B.        Beware of empty philosophy - Colossians 2:8

            C.        Keep watch for arguments that wound themselves.