We Can Know the Truth
I. Objectivity is not a strong point in our society
A. Objective means the existence of something outside of oneself.
B. Our society prefers things to be subjective – belonging to one’s own mind – especially when dealing with matters of right and wrong.
1. “It doesn’t really matter what I believe, as long as I believe in something.”
2. “As long as your beliefs help you, then that is all that matters.”
C. I suspect we are reluctant to define something as true, right, or correct because it means labeling those who do not accept the position as being wrong.
II. We can know the truth because its denial is contradictory
A. Pilate asked Jesus a famous question, “What is truth?” - John 18:37-38
1. By this Pilate indicated his belief that truth could not be known.
2. Yet, Jesus said he came to witness the truth.
B. What is truth?
1. It is that which conforms to reality.
2. Yet we find people trying to wiggle out of such a restrictive definition.
a. Anita Jeck, in an article she wrote called “The Error of Fundamentalism” arbitrarily divided truth into three categories:
(1) Objective truth is declared to be black-and-white, judged by science, verifiable by observation and reason.
(a) Notice then that her objective truth is only true if it is measurable.
(b) I find this funny because Carl Sagan once said “Science thrives on errors, cutting them away one by one. False conclusions are drawn all the time, but they are drawn tentatively. Hypotheses are framed so they are capable of being disproved . . . Science gropes and staggers towards understanding.”
(c) In other words, science does not have the truth presently and will not have it in the future, though they believe they are getting closer.
(2) Metaphorical truth is described as fuzzy. Her definition is fuzzy as well, since she never defined what she meant by a truth that is not literal.
(3) Moral truth - A truth based on commonly accepted axioms.
(a) Here truth is based on what the majority accepts as true
b. I know her definition of truth is arbitrary because later in the article she adds a fourth truth: transcendental, which she describes as “a sense of oneness.”
(1) Basically the idea that something is true because I feel it is truth.
c. Notice that the division of truth is not only arbitrary, but it also expands the definition of truth to include things outside of reality.
C. Is truth unknowable?
1. To deny absolute truth is knowable, places us in a dilemma.
2. A dilemma is position where a person is stuck between a set of choices, of which none are acceptable.
a. For example, the chief priests and elders challenged Jesus’s authority.
b. Jesus responded by placing them in a dilemma - Matthew 21:23-27
c. The Jews reasoned correctly that Jesus’s question only left them with two choices. Either answer would place them in a difficult situation.
3. A person who says truth is not knowable is placed in a similar dilemma.
a. He is stating that he knows that truth is not knowable.
b. Yet, if truth is not knowable, then he cannot know even this one fact.
c. If he claims to know this one fact, then at least some truth is knowable.
D. The Bible instructs us to contend for the faith
1. Philippians 1:7 - Paul defended and confirmed the gospel
2. Jude 3 - Contend earnestly for the faith
3. How can we if cannot decide on that which we are contending?
4. If we earnestly contend for something that is not objective, then we will have bickering and strife.
a. It is interesting that Ms. Jeck charges religious fundamentalism as the cause of wars and the loss of life.
b. Yet it is her position that there are different truths that leads to conflict.
III. The Bible teaches us that we can know the truth
A. Truth comes from God. It is not the invention of mere man
1. God is the God of Truth - Isaiah 65:16
a. His nature is such that always acts and speaks truth. He cannot lie. - I Samuel 15:29; Hebrews 6:18
b. From this solid source of truth, God has taught us truth - James 1:17-18
2. The laws of God are truth - Psalm 119:142, 151, 160
3. The ultimate revelation of that truth was Jesus, the Christ - John 1:17-18; 14:6
4. The word that Jesus brought is the truth - John 17:17
5. It is the truth, contained in God’s revelation, that saves us from our errors - John 8:31-32
B. Notice what this means: Truth is attainable.
1. We can know the truth.
2. When we read the Bible, we can understand it - Ephesians 3:4
3. We can know what God’s will is for us - Ephesians 5:17
4. By diligent study, we can become wise to salvation - II Timothy 3:14-15
5. The Bible teaches that the mind of man can grasp Truth.
C. Yet, there is another implication: Truth is objective
1. Have you noticed that the passages we have read talks about the truth. Not the 3 or 4 categories of truth (if she can make up her mind) that Ms. Jeck talks about.
2. In fact, in Ms. Jeck’s system of reasoning, the holding of one truth prevents the use of another truth.
a. Transcendental truth (feelings) prevents the examination of objective truth (rational) because you can’t argue with a feeling.
b. The mistake is to accept a person’s feelings as truth.
3. Truth does not change based on the acceptance or rejection of the hearer; it remains the truth no matter how a person chooses to receive it.
4. Truth stands on its own. It is objective – outside the mind of the individual and independent of a person’s feelings, preferences, or prejudices.
a. When Paul spoke of God to Athenians, his audience followed him until he spoke of the resurrection - Acts 17:32
b. Did the reject of Paul’s message change the truth of the resurrection? No, because it is an objective fact, born out by many witnesses.
c. Truth isn’t established because a hearer accepts it, not is it diminished because a hearer rejects it.
D. Truth is absolute
1. By this, I am saying that it is complete and unchangeable.
2. It doesn’t change with the passing of years. Time doesn’t make truth any truer than what it already is.
3. Again, it is the idea expressed by being the truth
4. To a moral relativist, the expression that lying is wrong means I and others disapprove of lying.
a. But in the terms of the Scriptures, the Truth, lying is wrong in and of itself. - Revelation 21:8
b. Lying is always wrong and this truth is independent of a person’s opinion on the matter.
5. Romans 3:3-4 - disbelief does not nullify the truth
IV. We must love the truth
A. Proverbs 23:23 - Buy the truth and don’t give it up.
B. We will be judged by the truth - John12:48-49
C. If we do not respect the truth that God has taught us, how can we say we love Him?
1. If we do not respect and obey the words of Christ, how can we say we love Him? - John 14:15
2. The fact is they cannot make such a claim - II Thessalonians 2:11-12
3. We cannot be indifferent to the truth and claim to love God.
D. Loving and respecting the truth means we will not mishandle it.
1. We will not alter it - Galatians 1:8-10
2. To do so would prove us to be liars - Proverbs 30:5-6
3. So we study it diligently - II Timothy 2:15
E. We understand this is not so of others - Jeremiah 9:4-6
F. If we reject the truth, we are calling God a liar - I John 5:9-10
V. What the Christian does with the truth
A. We purify our souls with the truth - I Peter 1:22
B. We gird our loins with the truth - Ephesians 6:14
C. We are born of the truth - James 1:18
D. We worship in truth - John 4:23-24
E. We serve in truth - I Samuel 12:24
F. We walk before God in truth - I Kings 2:4
G. We write truth on our hearts - Proverbs 3:3
H. We rejoice in truth - I Corinthians 13:6
I. We speak the truth - Ephesians 4:24
J. We meditate on truth - Philippians 4:8