One of the favorite places we all love to go to is the dentist! Ok, that’s a lie, but we all know tooth decay is what happens when you neglect to take proper care of your teeth.
“Truth” decay is what happens when we neglect the truth of God’s word.
Truth decay is what’s been happening in our society in the last fifty years. Slowly there has been an erosion of the value of truth in our society.
Forty-fifty years ago people genuinely agreed on what is right and what is wrong.
If people didn’t do right at least they knew right. They knew what they were doing was wrong.
Today a lot of people even claim there’s no such thing as truth.
When Jesus said “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free” He’s talking about The Truth will set you free. Not a truth, not any truth, not the truth you make up for your own agenda. That’s not the truth that sets you free. It is THE TRUTH that sets you free.
As we continue the Restoring Your Worldview series we’ll look first at the damaging effect of truth decay. What it does to our personal lives when we let go of truth. Then we’re going to look at the some ways you can know the truth.
What happens when we throw out truth for tolerance? And all of a sudden we value tolerance more than the truth?
- Immorality is a mark of truth decay.
When I say the word “immorality” most people think of sexual immorality. But that’s only one kind. Immorality just means no morals.
It means I do whatever I want to do. If there is no standard of right or wrong then anything goes.
The Bible tells us back in the book of Judges there was no king, no ruler in Israel and it says “Everyone did what was right in their own eyes.” In other words everyone did their own thing.
It sounds like our culture today. If there’s no standard of right or wrong, anything goes.
Ephesians 4:19 “They don’t care anymore about right and wrong and they’ve given themselves over to immoral ways. Their lives are filled with all kinds of impurity and greed.”
Here’s how truth decay works. When you do something wrong every time you do it, it gets easier. All of a sudden it just doesn’t bother you any more that you’re lying to your husband/your wife or somebody else. It just gets easier and easier.
How do you know when there’s truth decay in your own life? You start rationalizing things. Rationalize is when you make up excuses in your mind what you heart tells you is wrong.
In your heart you know it’s wrong but you want to do it anyway so you rationalize.
You make up an excuse in your mind to overcome what your heart is telling you, “Don’t do this.”
How do you know when there’s truth decay in your life? Ask yourself: what am I trying to rationalize? What am I trying to rationalize in my life?
That is a sign of truth decay.
When people stop believing in truth, they’ll believe anything. When they stop believing in right or wrong, true and false, they’re gullible. They become extremely gullible.
I meet people who are more likely to put faith in a crystal than in God.
They’re more likely to trust a rock than Jesus.
I meet people who are more likely to trust tarot cards, or their horoscope.
I know people who don’t believe in God but they believe in UFOs.
2 Thessalonians 2 “Since they refused to trust truth, they’re banished to their chosen world of lies and illusions.”
What illusions in our culture have you fallen for?
We often buy into lies. When a culture stops valuing objective truth, people feel free to believe in all kinds of stuff.
Here’s the third one.
Idolatry is a symptom in a culture of truth decay. We idolize the wrong things.
I Idolize things like wealth, or success, or physical beauty. Or I idolize intelligence. Or I idolize popularity. Or I idolize cars and homes.
Or I idolize any number of different things, which may not be wrong in themselves, but they don’t deserve worship.
Romans 1:25 “Instead of believing what they knew was the truth about God they deliberately chose to believe lies. They worshipped the things [that’s called materialism] God made but not the creator Himself.”
Here’s the question for you: what have I been idolizing? What has become a little bit too important for me?
It’s not wrong but it’s all of a sudden at the top of my life, it’s the number one goal of life. I’ve been idolizing the wrong thing. I’ve been worshipping the wrong thing.
Those are just some of the signs of truth decay, but how do we know what’s true?
Jesus said you can know the truth and it will set you free. And you can know what’s false.
Truth can be discovered. How do we discover it?
- Through creation, simply by looking around at the world.
We learn a lot about God, a lot about truth, just by looking at nature. This is why science is so important. It helps us understand how things work. It helps us understand truth. It helps us understand God and His universe.
Romans 1:20 says “Since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities, His eternal power, His divine nature have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so men are without excuse.”
In other words, I can learn a lot about God simply by looking around. When I go out and start walking around creation I can learn a lot about God.
I can figure out real quickly God likes variety. Have you noticed that? Just look at your family or friends…there’s not anybody like you in the world.
I can look around real quick and figure out God is powerful. I know God is creative. I know God likes diversity. Just by looking at nature.
I know God is organized. In fact, the more we know about nature the more we realize how much He is. The whole earth is an ecosystem. It’s all delicately balanced.
Romans 1:19 “The basic reality of God is plain enough. Open your eyes and there it is.” It’s just all around you.
That’s why throughout history up until about the last hundred years almost all of the great scientists were also believers. Many of them were theologians.
It was their love of God that drove them to discover why do we do what we do.
Here’s the real issue. It’s not what you don’t believe. It’s why you don’t believe it. The truth is you don’t want to believe in God because you’d have to change your ways if there was.
It’s not that you can’t believe in God. It’s that you won’t believe in God. Because you’d have to change some things that you do and you want to be your own god.
We know what’s true through creation.
- We know what’s true through conscience.
There are some things hard wired in us by God that we know are always right and always wrong no matter what anybody else says. Our conscience tells us this.
Romans 2 “Some people naturally obey God’s commands even though they don’t have the law This proves that the conscious is like a law written in the human heart and it will show whether we are forgiven or condemned.”
You don’t have to be a “Christian” or Jew or Muslim or even a spiritual person. Inside, you know what’s the right thing to do.
The problem with conscience is it can be weakened. It can be warped. It can be hardened. In fact, it can be killed. The more I violate my conscious, the more out of whack it gets.
It just gets easier and easier to do the wrong thing. Just because my conscious lets me get away with it doesn’t mean it’s right.
Again, there are some things that are hard wired in us around the world that says that we know what is right and what’s wrong.
- The third way you can know truth is through God’s commandments.
Through what God tells us and the direction He gives us in the Bible.
As true as the Bible is the truth of the matter is if it stays on my shelf it doesn’t make much of a difference in my life. The Bible has no shelf life. I’ve got to pull it down off the shelf so it can get it in my life.
- The fourth and highest way we know the truth is through Christ.
God came to earth in human form to personify truth. The Bible says that Jesus was full of grace and truth.
He incarnated truth.
He personalized truth.
Truth is not a principle.
Truth is a person.
Truth is relational.
Truth is someone you can relate to.
Truth is Jesus.
One of the clearest and the most well known verses in the Bible is “Jesus said, I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but by Me.”
Notice He says “I”.
Not a religion.
Not a race.
Not a ritual.
Not rules and regulations.
It’s a person. Truth is a person.
I am. Not I might be. Not I hope to be. Not I wish I could be. Not I’d like to be.
“I am the way, the truth and the life.” He says, I am the truth. Not one truth. Not part of the truth. He didn’t say I am a little bit of the truth. He said, I am the truth.
This is what separates Jesus from every other person on the planet. Every other leader, every other faith.
Mohammed said “I am a prophet of the truth.” Buddha said “I am searching for the truth.” He made a very famous statement at the end of his life he said “ I am still searching for the truth.”
The Hindu scriptures say truth is very illusive. You’ve got to look for it. You don’t really know if it’s here or there. It’s postmodern actually.
So you get all these different leaders saying I’m looking for the truth. I’m teaching the truth. I point to the truth. I’m a prophet of truth.
Jesus comes and says, “I’m it. I am the truth.”
That is an incredible divisive statement. It’s either right or it’s wrong. He’s either who He says He is or He’s the biggest liar in history.
A lot of people say I think Jesus was a great teacher. He couldn’t be. He couldn’t be a great teacher. It’s impossible for Jesus to be a great teacher. Because no great teacher would claim to be God if he wasn’t. That’s not good.
Those are the options. He says “I am the way, the truth and the life. Nobody comes to the Father except through Me.’ He’s either conning 2.3 billion people in the world right now who totally believe a lie. Or He was nuts. He didn’t know what He was talking about. Or He’s who He said He was. It doesn’t leave a lot of wiggle room.
What do I do with the truth once I’ve discovered it? Four things.
- Believe it. The Bible tells us continue to believe this truth. Stand in it firmly. Believe it.
- Do it. Truth is not just an intellectual exercise. It’s something you do. You practice it. You apply it. You live it. You obey it. The Bible tells us, Obey the truth that we’ve learned already.
- Stand for it. Don’t be ashamed in a relational, postmodern world that says it doesn’t really matter. Stand for truth. The Bible tells us our responsibility is to never oppose the truth but to stand for it at all times.
- Share it. Spread the truth.
What are you betting your life on? Whatever it is you better have a good reason for it. Have you examined the evidence? Have you checked it out? Have you seriously given it thought? Jesus said I am the way, the truth and the life!