The DNA of the Church: Discipleship

This sermon was prepared and preached by Pastor Mike Rose at First Federated Church in Des Moines, Iowa, on Sunday, September 9, 2007. Copyright © 2007, First Federated Church

FOUNDATIONS – they hold the utmost importance in life - A solid foundation is key whether one is building a skyscraper, house, family, education or A Life If one builds on a faulty foundation, all that is built on it is placed in Jeopardy – However, if one builds on a sure foundation, what is built on that will last Jesus taught a parable that bears this out - It’s found in Matthew 7, part of “The Sermon on The Mount” In it Jesus teaches about those who build their lives on a Sure Foundation ~ VS ~ those who build on Faulty Foundations Matthew 7:24-29 - 24“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: 25and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. 26“But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: 27and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.” 28And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, 29for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. Jesus confirms the importance building A Life on the right foundation – But what exactly is the right foundation to build our lives upon? - Jesus identifies that foundation as “His Words” – “His Teaching” – “His Truth” Let’s move from the Sermon on the Mount, to Jesus’ trial before Pilate - John, 18:33, Jesus is questioned by Pilate; “Are you the King of the Jews?” Vs 36 Jesus responds He is, but His Kingdom is not of this world – Continuing with 37-38 Jesus says; You say that I am a king, and you are right…, I was born for that purpose. And I came to bring truth to the world. All who love the truth recognize that what I say is true. - Pilate responds; “What is truth?” Jesus said He came to this world to bring truth, - Pilate responded; “What is truth? - This has been the cry of man for centuries. In this introductory message I will seek to deal with the question – What Is Truth OR Is there such a thing as Absolute, Objective Truth What is Absolute, Objective Truth? – It is that which is true for all peoples of all cultures of all times – This is a concept our world wrestles with, especially in educational institutions Go to any public High School, College, or University and you will find them teaching that Truth is Subjective, Changing, and Relative to the circumstances and situations one finds themselves in Consider the following (very brief) explanation of how man’s view of Truth has evolved through 3 specific periods of time

Life: What Foundations are You Building On? Introduction | FFC | 9.9.2007

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Evolving Views of Truth 1. Pre-Modernism – was a time prior to the Reformation when “truth claims” were accepted based solely on the declarations of those in authority, both in the government and the Church. “Truth claims” coming from those in authority were considered to be Absolute, derived from Divine Authority. Refusal to accept such claims often resulted in persecution and at times, death. 2. Modernism – was birthed from the Reformation and lasted into the early 20th Century. It was a time when the “truth claims” of Pre-Modernism were questioned and tested. Immanuel Kant (17241804) coined the motto of the era “Dare to Know.” Modernism worshipped the “scientific method” - That which held up under the “method” was proclaimed Truth – That which could not was considered Myth, Fairy-tail, or False. Therefore, “truth claims” were considered to be derived from Human, intellectual discovery, and like its predecessor Pre-Modernism, that which was “proclaimed truth” was considered Absolute. Refusal to accept Modernisms truth claims resulted in being branded as ignorant and thus unimportant to the world. 3. Post-Modernism – grew from the seeds planted in the Modernist era and is the driving force in our world today. Many of the “truth claims” made during Modernism proved less than “absolute”, thus Post-Modernism is a backlash against any “truth claim” that professes to be Absolute Whereas Modernism said that truth was Objective and Discoverable, Post-Modernism says truth is Subjective and Created In other words, truth is not something that affects all people, all cultures and all times, truth is what you make it and is relative to place and time For Example: I say “Christianity is my Religious Truth” Under Post-Modernism that’s OK as long as I am willing to accept your view that Islam is your Religious Truth This then is what distinguishes Modernism from Post-Modernism - Post-Modernity says that competing and conflicting views of truth can coexist because Truth is not Absolute – Truth is Relative. Jesus Christ is the Savior for Christians Mohamed is the Savor for Islamic Peoples Buddha is the Savior for Buddhists And a plurality of gods are Savors for the Hindu In Post-Modernity, conflicting claims of truth are not a problem because the leading ideal of PostModernity is TOLERENCE

Life: What Foundations are You Building On? Introduction | FFC | 9.9.2007

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In fact, Post-Modernity has TOLERENCE for everything except any system of belief or “truth claim” that states its position is ABSOLUTE, an Absolute Truth Claim is the only unpardonable sin in today’s culture. So the question is: Is our culture right? Is truth simply what I think or feel? – Are competing “truth claims” equally true? OR, Are there Absolutes that effect every people, of every culture, of all time I believe there are absolutes that serve as the sure foundation of our lives and in this series I will present 10 Absolutes that if we are wise, we will build our lives upon. I’ll begin with absolute #1 next week, but today I continue with the following questions about Truth: First, What are the ramifications if truth is only relative Second, What are the ramifications if Objective, Absolute Truth exists? I. If Truth Is Relative, then; A. All Spiritual Truth Claims are Equally Valid – If truth is relative then it cannot be said that Christianity is better or more correct than Islam, Buddhism, Jehovah’s Witness or Mormonism, … Now from a humanistic view, it would be nice if life were this way – Problem is; spiritual “truth claims”, by their very nature, are for the most part mutually exclusive For Example: Jesus claimed that He was the only truth and the only way to God – In fact He said, “no one can come to the Father but by Me.” Islam claims that Mohammad is the true pathway to God and Jesus is nothing more than an honored prophet Question; How can both be true? – Jesus didn’t say that I am the way, the truth and the Life for Americans, Nor does Islam claim Mohammad to be the only way for Arabs – Both claim to be the only way for everybody That’s an impossibility – you cannot have mutually exclusive viewpoints be true – Both can be wrong at the same time, but both cannot be right at the same time If Truth is Relative then: B. Persuasion is not allowed – Tolerance is King People today are proud of their tolerance and they get angry when they think others are being judgmental But there’s a problem with this; If the “tolerant” are as tolerant as they claim, then they have no right to judge another’s position as wrong, even if that position is one that expresses intolerance. Christianity is a very intolerant religion – That is to say, Christianity does not tolerate any viewpoint that denies Jesus is the Only Son of God and Savior of the world. But if all truth is relative, even the intolerant worldview of Christianity is equally valid as the tolerant worldview of Universalism

Life: What Foundations are You Building On? Introduction | FFC | 9.9.2007

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But truth is, not even those who claim to believe truth is relative actually believe it is - My observation of our culture’s “tolerance” is that it is a one-way street It preaches tolerance to the Christian Worldview, but in the same breath condemns Christianity as wrong for making exclusive claims to truth – There’s a term for that - Hypocrisy. If Truth is Relative then: C. No Moral Absolutes - If there are no moral absolutes then one cannot make moral judgments about someone else’s lifestyle choices. Now that fits nicely when your the one desiring a lifestyle that doesn’t fit societies norms. But what happens when your neighbor desires a lifestyle that directly affects you and will bring you harm For example: What about a young man who states that a homosexual lifestyle is OK because there are no Moral Absolutes therefore no one has the right to condemn him for his choice. My question is: does he continue to believe that when his neighbor chooses to join a group that advocates the harassment of homosexuals? You see – If truth is relative, and there are no Moral Absolutes then both men are equally entitled to their individual choices – neither is wrong, both in fact are right These are the consequences of Relativism - If Truth is Relative then; There are no Spiritual Absolutes, No Persuasion is allowed & Tolerance is King, and There are no Moral Absolutes. II. If Truth is Absolute, then: A. It Can Be Found - truth sometimes may be difficult to find, but not impossible, and the reason is because truth is not hidden – It has been revealed! The earth we walk on, the air we breath, the tree we take shade from and the way in which our bodies are put together and operate SCREAM out truth They all testify to the truth of DESIGN - and it cannot be legitimately disputed that where there is DESIGN there must be a DESIGNER If Truth is Absolute, then it can be found, because the Possessor of Truth has Revealed It, Therefore, we can know it If Truth is Relative then: B. It Must Be Acted Upon – It is one thing to know the truth, its another to own it - The way to own it is by living it out and this is what Christ expects of us John 8:31-32 – NKJV - 31Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in (Live In) My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” The purpose of knowing the Truth is so we can live out the truth – And we need to understand that with the knowledge of Truth comes responsibility to act on that truth – and responsibility is always followed by accountability – Christ will hold us accountable for our actions in relation to Truth Reveled.

Life: What Foundations are You Building On? Introduction | FFC | 9.9.2007

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2 Corinthians 5:10 – NLT - 10For we must all stand before Christ to be judged. We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done in our bodies. If Truth is Absolute then is must be Acted upon – If Truth is Absolute, then: C. Anything Untrue Must Be Rejected. – This is the only reasonable conclusion one can arrive at – If one has come to know what is True, then Truth is to be embraced and Falsehood is to be cast away Let’s put this in a real-time situation – Jesus said “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6 If you accept that “truth claim”, which is exclusive of all other such claims, then you must by necessity reject Islam’s claim that Mohamed is the way to God You must reject the claim that Good Works are the way to God – You must reject that “SelfImprovement” is the way to God Jesus and Mohamed cannot equally be the ONLY WAY to God – One is right and one is Wrong – One is to be embraced and one is to be rejected. Conclusion Is there such a thing as Absolute Truth? OR Are all “truth claims” simply relative to person, place and social climate Jesus says there is Absolute Truth and He presented Himself as the embodiment of Truth and God’s Word as the Record of it. If you do not regard Jesus as God’s Son then His claims mean nothing to you (they are simply the claims of another man professing truth as he sees it) However, if you regard Jesus as The Son of God – Then His “truth claims” mean much to you and you understand that Absolute Truth does exist. In the coming 10 weeks, it will be my task to present 10 Absolute Truths, revealed in God’s Word // 5 Doctrinal – 5 Practical – all 10 important to everyday living, foundational to building a life approved by God I encourage you to be present each session and to allow God’s Absolute Truth to mold and shape your heart, mind, soul and life.
The First Federated Church copyright, above, is for the sermon itself, not for any items quoted in the sermon, unless otherwise stated. All quoted items are done so in good faith, and the source is attributed when it is known.

Life: What Foundations are You Building On? Introduction | FFC | 9.9.2007

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