John 8:32 JUST WHAT IS THE TRUTH ANYWAY?
Intro: We live in a day when truth is under attack. Our society has become
pluralistic in that truth is now seen to be relative. In other words, people say
things like, "You have your truth and I have mine." What our society has
come to believe is that what is true for you might not be true for me. Is that
the way things really are, or is that just wishful thinking on the part of a
people who do not want to admit that God and the Bible are the truth? This
attitude toward the truth in nothing new. When Jesus stood before Pontius
Pilate, Pilate demonstrated his lack of knowledge concerning the truth, John
18:37. While the attack on truth has been afoot for many centuries, the
trend seems to be worsening in our day. In fact, many in our society hold
to the opinion that there is no such thing as "absolute truth". I don't know
how you feel about it personally, but I believe that there is such a thing as
"absolute truth", and I believe that this "absolute truth" can be found in the
Bible, John 17:17; Psa. 119:160. Therefore, if the Bible is true, then it must
be the standard by which all opinions either stand or fall. In other words, I
say as Paul said, "Let God be true and every man a liar.", Rom. 3:4.
This morning, I would like to deal with some issues that were raised a
few days ago by Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura, (a.k.a. Jesse "The
Body" Ventura; Jesse "The Mind" Ventura; Jesse "The Mind Is A Terrible
Thing To Waste" Ventura). In a recent issue of Playboy magazine, Ventura
was interviewed. During the course of this interview, he was asked a
question about the legalization of prostitution. His response indicated that
he was in favor of prostitution being made legal, because, he said, it would
be in the best interest of the "girls". The Playboy interviewer responded by
asking, "This isn't a very popular position in America, is it?" Ventura's
response was as follows, "No and it's because of religion. Organized
religion is a sham and a crutch for weak-minded people who need
strength in numbers. It tells people to go out and stick their noses in
other people's business. I live by the golden rule: Treat others as
you'd want them to treat you. The religious right wants to tell people
how to live." Later, when the interview was published, and it became
apparent that Ventura had offended many with his remarks, he said that he
considers himself to be a Christian and that he believes that Jesus Christ is
the Savior. However, he also said, "I don't believe necessarily that I need
a church to go to. My religious beliefs can be by a lake, they can be on
a hill, they can be in the solitude of my own office. And I believe that
there's no set example of what people's beliefs should be." There's
plenty more that could be said about Ventura's comments, but these are
sufficient to show us that the Governor of Minnesota holds to a different
version of truth than that presented in the Bible.
Now, with Ventura's statements on the table for us all to consider, this
question comes to mind: Who's right? Does Jesse Ventura hold the truth
about religious activity and religious people? Or, do we need to look
elsewhere for the truth? Since you and I believe that the Bible is true, and
that it the standard by which everything claiming to be true must be judged,
let's lay Governor Ventura's remarks alongside the Word of God and let's
just see you is telling the truth: Jesse Ventura or God.
I. WHAT IS THE TRUTH ABOUT RELIGION?
"Organized religion is a sham..."
A. Is organized religion a sham? I will concede the truth that much of
what goes on in religious circles is nothing more than a money racket
and that is built on personalities and not on the Word of God.
Therefore, in the case of faith healers, those who are always peddling
their wares and promoting their agenda, the answer is yes, it is a
(Ill. However, Ventura's remarks were directed primarily against the
"religious right." In other words, he was speaking about people like
you and me who have morals and biblical values. He was pointing
the finger at people who believe God and want do the things that are
pleasing to the Lord. He was attacking us. Now, I'll be honest and
tell you that I do not believe that what we are doing is a "sham". I
believe that we are sincerely seeking to please and honor the Lord.)
B. Religion has its good points, but it cannot save. (Ill. The word
"sham" means "a trick that deludes, cheap falseness, hypocrisy.")
In the sense that religion promises what it cannot deliver, it is a sham.
Most religions in the world tell those who follow their system of belief
that doing so will result in salvation. This is a flat out lie! Religion has
done much good for many millions of people, but religion has never
saved one single soul from dying and going to Hell. Religion has
never made anyone holy or right with God. Simply put, you can be as
religious as you want to be, but you will still die and go to Hell if
religion is all you have, Eph. 2:8-9; Titus 3:5.
C. Christianity is a living faith and not a lying religion. While religion
promises salvation to those who follow after her, she simply cannot
deliver. Therefore, religion is a sham, that is, when it is divorced from
the truth. Genuine, biblical Christianity, on the other hand, is all about
faith. We do not encourage people to join our fellowship and follow
us. We encourage people to put their faith in Jesus Christ, alone, for
salvation and to follow Him. Our motto is, "Believe on the Lord
Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved!", Acts 16:31. What makes
Christianity so powerful and so beautiful is that it does everything it
promises to do. It does save the soul. It does change people's lives.
It does make a difference in this world and in the world to come.
(Ill. We don't want you to get religious this morning. We want you to
be sure that you are saved by the grace of God. We want you to
come to the place where you are trusting nothing but the shed blood
of Jesus Christ and His resurrection from the dead for you soul's
salvation. We want you to do what Jesus said to do and not one thing
more, John 3:16. We don't want you to follow a bunch of rules and
regulations that will do nothing but make you miserable, we want you
to get right with God, through Jesus Christ, do that you might go to
Heaven when you die, Acts 4:12.)
II. WHAT IS THE TRUTH ABOUT BELIEVERS?
"Organized religion is a...crutch for weak-minded
people who need strength in numbers..."
A. Do we need a crutch? - According to Governor Ventura, people of
faith are merely seeking something on which to lean. He feels that
because we look to God for our help that we are weak. Is it true to
believers need a crutch? All I can say is "Guilty as charged!" If you
look at the Bible, it quickly becomes apparent that we are a helpless
people. According to the Scriptures, we are all bon in sin, Rom, 3:10;
3:23, and cannot get to God on our own., Isa. 59:2. We are all
spiritual cripples and are in desperate need of a spiritual crutch. (Ill.
Some are in worse shape than that an need a wheelchair. Others,
like myself, are in such bad shape that we must be carried.)
Therefore, if we expect to enjoy anything in the area of salvation and
a relationship with God, then we are going to have to lean on Jesus
Christ, Rom. 6:23, for the salvation of our souls. I will be the first to
admit that I am weak. I cannot save myself and I cannot make it day
by day under my own power. I need someone who is greater than I
am to give me the strength I need to make it through. I need Jesus
and I am not ashamed to say so, Matt. 11:28, 1 Pet. 5:7.
B. Are we weak-minded? - Jesse Ventura says that people of faith are
"weak-minded." He says that we are stupid because we feel like we
need a relationship with the Lord. Do being a believer in Jesus Christ
mean that you are weak-minded? When you place your faith in the
Lord for salvation, does that mean you are simple and have problems
dealing with life? Is it dumb to place your faith in a man you've never
seen, Who died 2,000 years ago, and promises to give you
everlasting life if you will only receive Him? Is that dumb? I think not!
I think that placing faith in Jesus Christ for salvation is the single
smartest and wisest thing that a person can ever do. If I am weak-minded because I don't want to go to Hell, then so be it! If I am
categorized as "simple" because I enjoy my relationship with God and
want to go to Heaven when I die, so be it! Call me a fool, but when
Jesus comes for His church, call me gone! When the Christ rejecters
end up in Hell, they can call me missing, because while they burn in
a lake of fire, I'll be rejoicing in the presence of Jesus. I'll tell you
what stupid is, stupid is knowing that there is a Hell and doing nothing
about it. Stupid is knowing that Jesus loves you and died for you and
not coming to Him. Stupid is living for this world and missing out on
Heaven? The weak-minded are those people like Jesse Ventura who
willingly close their eyes to the truth and reject the salvation that can
only be found in the Lord Jesus Christ, 1 John 5:12.
C. Are we cowards? - Ventura says that Christians
"need strength in
numbers." His thought is that we do not have a backbone, that we
cannot stand on our own, but that we must gang up to have the
courage to stand against evil and the things we think are wrong. Is
that cowardice? I think not! I admire those who are willing to fight
against evil in our day. I would like to submit to you this morning that
true cowardice is manifested by those who refuse to acknowledge
their sinfulness before the Lord and who steadfastly refuse to admit
that they are in need of a Savior. In my mind, the bravest people are
those who will come to an altar, fall on their knees and call out to God
in utter brokenness and dependence. Any coward can try to hide his
condition, but it takes a brave person to admit that they cannot make
it on their own. It takes a brave person to come to Jesus Christ for
salvation. Jesse Ventura is the coward, not you who believe in Jesus
III. WHAT IS THE TRUTH ABOUT OUTREACH?
"It tells people to go out and stick their
noses in other people's business.
I live by the golden rule:
Treat others as you'd want them to treat you."
A. Should believers stick their noses in other people's business? -
Mr. Ventura feels that religion exists for the sole purpose of
encouraging its members to go out and make others miserable. I
suppose that h is referring to our trying to win people to Jesus, or to
our standing up against things which we see as being evil. The
question is, should we be out there, in the world, reaching out to those
around us? The answer is a resounding "Yes!" In fact, Jesus Himself
gave us the order to do just that, Matt. 28:19-20; Mark. 16:15; Acts
1:8. Our duty to those around us is to stick our noses in to their
business and to tel them of a better way of life through the Lord Jesus
Christ. I encourage you, no, I challenge you to get out there and tell
everyone you can. It will honor the Lord and it will prove that you
aren't weak-minded after all - Pro. 11:30.
B. What will happen if we don't? - If the people of God, who know
the way of God, do not go out into the world and tell others about the
plan of salvation, then the people around us have no hope of ever
being saved. God has chosen to send His message through His
people our duty is to go, Rom. 10:14-17. If we refuse to go, people
will die and go to Hell and we will give an account for their blood -
Eze. 3:18. Governor Ventura needs to understand that people who
are saved by grace and have the love of God in their hearts for the
lost have no option but to go and tell others about a God who saves
sinners. (Ill. We need to be far less concerned with people who may
feel that we are invading their privacy and that we are sticking our
nose into their business, and more concerned with the fact that those
same people are headed tp an eternity in Hell!)
C. Who will do it if we do not? - If those who have been saved by
grace will not go and tell a lost and dying world about Jesus, then we
might as well face the fact that no one else will ever do it for us. Oh,
there are plenty of false religions about who are always ready to
promote their lie, but if the people who know the truth do not share the
truth, then it will not get done.
IV. WHAT IS THE TRUTH ABOUT PROMOTING BIBLICAL VALUES?
"The religious right wants to tell people how to live."
A. Do we have the right to dictate morality to others? - The answer
to this question is "no." We, as individuals, and as a church do not
have the right to establish moral standards for the rest of the world.
People should never be forced to live to meet someone else's
standard of morality. However, that having been said, Christians
everywhere are called on by the Lord to live lives that are a head and
shoulders above those around them. We cannot tell others how they
should live, but we have the obligation before the Lord to show them
how men ought to live, 1Pet. 1:16. (Ill. The reason many people will
not go to church today is because they do not want to turn out like us!
That is a sad, but true fact!) While we cannot tell the world how to
live, we must ever show them and we must be quick to take our stand
with the right and stand up for what the Bible says is true. We cannot
force our standards on the world, but we must let them know that
there is a better way!)
B. Do we have the obligation to tell men that God has a better way?
- Absolutely! People like the good Governor would have us to believe
that we are just weak-minded, cowardly people who should keep all
of our religious drivel to ourselves. Well my friends, we have a duty
to tell this world that Jesus Christ changes men, 2 Cor. 5:17. We are
to tell them that Jesus will dry out the drunkard, clean out the addict,
make respectable the harlot, put the criminal on the right path. We
have an obligation to this lost and dying world to tell them that Jesus
makes a difference! If we don't then they will die in their sins and we
will be to blame!
C. Do believers really make a difference in the world? - Since we are
so out of step with the world, or at least we should be, do the children
of God really have any impact on the world around them? Are we
making a difference, or is Ventura right, and we should just keep to
ourselves? I think the answer is "Yes, we are making a difference in
the world today!" How? Through our prayers, through the
proclamation of the gospel, through the presence of the Holy Spirit in
our midst, and through the chaste conversation of the believer in the
midst of a dark world. When we stand out as salt and light in this evil
day, God is glorified and some will be turned to the Lord, and that is
making an eternal impact, Matt. 5:13-16.
V. WHAT IS THE TRUTH ABOUT GOING TO CHURCH?
"I don't believe necessarily that I need a church to go to.
My religious beliefs can be by a lake, they can be
on a hill, they can be in the solitude of my own office."
A. Does God expect it of His people? - Of course! One only has to
read Heb. 10:25 to know that the Lord intends for His people to be
regular and faithful attenders of services at the church. When we
study the early history of the church, it is quiet clear that the first
believers place a high priority on their church attendance, Acts. 2:42-47. Even the Lord Jesus felt the need to be a regular worshiper at the
House of God, Luke 4:16. If the Son of God felt this need, then how
much more do you and I need to be in our places when the church
doors open? God expects it of all His children, sadly, He is often
disappointed by most!
B. Do believers need to go to church? - Again, the answer is "Yes".
When we gather ourselves together at the church, the body of Christ
comes together to worship. While we are there, we can learn more
about the Bible. We have the opportunity to join other believers in a
time of corporate worship. We can sing to the Lord, e can worship
the Lord, we can come apart from the world and meet with the Lord
in His House with His people and praise His name. I need that! If you
don't you probably need to check up on your salvation. A salvation
experience that will not take you to church probably can't be trusted
to take you to Heaven either!
C. Does it matter whether you go to church or not? - This one is
easy: "Only if it doesn't matter whether or not you please the Lord!"
If you don't care about pleasing the Lord, then stay home, or go do
the things that please you during church time. If it doesn't matter that
it is God's will for your life to be in church then go find every excuse
under the sun as to why you can't be here and just stay home. Maybe
you fee like Jesse Ventura and believe that you can be just as
religious at the lake or wherever. Truth is, you can! However, you
can't be obedient to the Lord neither can you expect His blessings to
upon your life!
VI. WHAT IS THE TRUTH ABOUT THE BIBLE?
"And I believe that there's no set example
of what people's beliefs should be."
A. Is it the standard for living? - Governor Ventura says that there is
no standard for living. He must mean that there is no standard for
absolute truth. Apparently, he doesn't believe that he Bible, the Word
of God, is the standard for all faith and practice. What is the truth
about the Bible, is it a reliable Book that must be accepted as the
truth? Well, the Bible makes this claim for itself, 2 Tim. 3:16. This
verse tells us that every single Word in the Bible is the Word of God.
If this is true, then the Bible is the absolute standard for life. Anyone
who is found in disagreement with the Bible is wrong, regardless of
what they say, feel, believe or do! If you disagree with God, then you
are wrong, Rom. 3:4.
B. Can the Bible be trusted? - If the Bible is what it claims to be, then
it is a perfect Book. If we understand that God breathed His Word, 2
Tim. 3:16, through the prophets of old, 2 Pet. 1:21, then we must
believe that God has given us His Word. However, most people
believe that this is as far as it went. I believe God has perfectly
preserved His Word and has given it to us in the form of the King
James Bible, Psa. 12:6-7; Matt. 5:18. If this is true and God did give
His perfect Word and has kept that perfect Word until this very day,
then we do have an authority for life. We have a standard of absolute
truth. If we have a standard for absolute truth, then anyone who is in
disagreement with that standard for absolute truth must be absolutely
wrong! Can the Bible be trusted? Absolutely!
C. Will it matter if people ignore the Bible? - Men will certainly rebel
at the truths I am preaching today. However, they can do as they
please for one day they will face the same standard of truth that I am
exalting this morning in judgment of their own lives - John 12:48; Rev.
20:12. People can live like dogs if they choose, but they need to
remember that there is a price to pay for rebellion against God. Part
of that price will be paid in this life, Gal. 6:7-9, Pro. 13:15, but the rest
will be paid, with interest in eternity, Psa. 9:17; Luke 16:19-31.
People like Jesse Ventura can kick and cry against the truth all they
want to, but they'll never change God's mind about it! The Bible will
still be the Word of God, it will still be true and it will still be the
standard for faith and practice for those who want to please God
ahead of their flesh.
Conc: Jesse Ventura offended a lot of people with his insensitive and foolish
comments in Playboy magazine. I am glad he did! It shows that America
still has the semblance of a conscience. Why did I preach this message?
Because I felt that the truth needed to be told. I do not have as large an
audience as Governor Ventura, but if the Lord can take these scattered few
thoughts and use them to stir your heart, then I have accomplished that
which God has laid on my heart.
I wonder if perhaps the Lord has spoken to you this morning? Are you
saved? Maybe you are religious and as good as anyone else, but you know
that you do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I would like
to invite you to come to the Lord this morning. The Gospel has been
preached and you can be saved if He is calling you. Others may need to
come before the Lord and repent of a cold heart. The things of God and the
House of God just aren't as important to you as they used to be. Why not
come and get those things straightened out with Him right now? Maybe
you'd like to come and pray for America. Things like this are just going to
get worse and worse as the years progress. Unless there is a great spiritual
awakening in this country, then the church in America is headed for
persecution and suffering. This Jesse Ventura thing is just the tip of the
Where do you stand in relationship to the truth? Why not come and
be sure you are where the Lord wants you to be?