What are values? Values are our core beliefs that shape everything we do in life.
Forty years ago, there was almost universal agreement about what was true, what was right and what was wrong. That didn't mean everybody did it -- they didn't. But at least when they did wrong, they knew they were doing wrong. They chose. They said, "I know this is wrong, but I'm going to do it anyway." And they would do it. However, there was no disagreement about what was right or wrong or what was true.
Today it's very different. We have an entire generation of young people and children who don't even know the difference between right and wrong. There are parts of our society that say "There's no such thing as right and wrong. What may be right for you; may be wrong for me. What may be right for me; may be wrong for you." So there are no standards by which you can evaluate your life and behavior.
I. The Cause: We have embraced three very destructive philosophies that have replaced truth in our society.
A. Individuality or individualism.
1. I live for myself, only I can be the standard of my life
2. Only I can judge what's really true.
3. Only I can judge what's right and wrong
4. No one has the right to tell me what's right or wrong or true.
5. I basically am my own god and I live for myself and I've got to do what's best for me. That's called individualism.
6. Note: A recent survey by the Wall Street Journal of executives across America discovered that when executives in America have an ethical crisis about 44% of them say, "I consult with myself." and only 3% say, "I consult with God." They're saying, "I set myself up as the standard.
EC 1:9 THE THING THAT HATH BEEN, IT IS THAT WHICH SHALL BE; AND THAT WHICH IS DONE IS THAT WHICH SHALL BE DONE: AND THERE IS NO NEW THING UNDER THE SUN.
7. Individualism has gone on for centuries.
JG 21:25 IN THOSE DAYS THERE WAS NO KING IN ISRAEL: EVERY MAN DID THAT WHICH WAS RIGHT IN HIS OWN EYES.
8. If there are no judges, no standard, no rule, no law, no absolutes, people will do whatever they want to do.
9. That's an easy philosophy to hold onto because it means I never have to feel guilty.
B. The second philosophy that we've bought into is called Secularism.
1. Secularism can be summarized in three words: God is unnecessary.
2. It doesn't mean that I don't believe there's a god.
3. I believe there's a god, I just don't need Him in my life.
4. For years we have watched as our country has been systematically removing God from every area of public life -- schools, government, media, newspapers, all the different areas of public opinion in life.
5. Now, we have basically relegated God to Sunday mornings…but that is eroding away as well.
6. Even among Christians, secularism is taking hold of our lives.
a. We believe in God, but He's just a part of our life.
b. We really don't think He is necessary to the rest of our life.
c. At times we think it is intrusive for the church to expect members to come to worship.
d. We become so busy with the secular side of life, that we are convinced that God isn't necessary there we've got it all together on our own.
7. For all intents and purposes, God has been removed from the main stream of life.
RO 1:25 WHO CHANGED THE TRUTH OF GOD INTO A LIE, AND WORSHIPPED AND SERVED THE CREATURE MORE THAN THE CREATOR, WHO IS BLESSED FOR EVER. AMEN.
8. When we begin to worship things instead of the God who created everything.
a. That's why there will be more people at the lake or the parks today than there are at church worshipping God.
b. We hear about all of these uneducated tribes in some dark forest and say, "Isn't it sad that these tribes get a little piece of wood and carve it into an idol and then they bow down in front of it and worship it? How uneducated!"
c. But we have idols that we worship; the difference is our idols have chrome on them.
d. A lot of folks worship their boat, their house, their career -- anything that's created rather than worshipping God.
e. So God is unnecessary and I live for myself…that is secularism.
1. We can summarize relativism in two words: No absolutes.
2. The idea behind relativism goes like this: Nobody can say what's right or wrong because all truth is relative; it's all vague.
3. Relativism comes up in a lot of familiar phrases: "It doesn't matter what you do, as long as you're sincere and it doesn't matter what you believe as long as you sincerely believe it." Really?
4. There have been many groups who were sincere -- very sincere -- in what they were doing. But they were deluded and they were wrong.
a. What if, after church, you get on highway 37 and go up what you sincerely believe is the northbound lane, but the truth is, it's really the southbound lane. Is sincerity enough to keep you from having an accident? No.
b. Now, while you're driving north on the what is actually the southbound lane, some guy rolls down his window and yells to you, "Wrong way!"
c. Relativism says, "Who are you to tell me what's wrong? Who made you the judge of my life? It may be true for you, but it may not be true for me. Don't judge me!"
5. When people tell you the truth, they're not judging you, they're being kind; and very few people will be honest with you today.
6. People who tell you the truth are those who love you!
7. Another phrase that relativism uses: "There are no absolute truths in life. There are no absolutes!" The next time someone makes a statement like that ask them, "Are you absolutely sure?"
8. Our daily lives are filled with absolute truth.
a. Natural laws such as 'gravity' are absolutes.
b. Civic laws are also absolutes.
c. There cannot be any law unless there are some absolute things that are right and wrong.
9. Where do people come up with such ideas as 'individualism', 'secularism', or 'relativism'?
EPH 4:17-19 THIS I SAY THEREFORE, AND TESTIFY IN THE LORD, THAT YE HENCEFORTH WALK NOT AS OTHER GENTILES WALK, IN THE VANITY OF THEIR MIND, HAVING THE UNDERSTANDING DARKENED, BEING ALIENATED FROM THE LIFE OF GOD THROUGH THE IGNORANCE THAT IS IN THEM, BECAUSE OF THE BLINDNESS OF THEIR HEART: WHO BEING PAST FEELING HAVE GIVEN THEMSELVES OVER UNTO LASCIVIOUSNESS, TO WORK ALL UNCLEANNESS WITH GREEDINESS.
a. Paul says that their minds are empty, and their understanding is darkened.
b. They are alienated from the Life of God because of ignorance.
c. Their hearts are blinded to the Truth.
II. The Cost: is our culture is collapsing.
A. Look at the magazine covers. They put this stuff on the cover because it sells and every one is moral issues.
1. Lying and Violence
2. Marriage and Children
3. Divorce and Hoplesness
4. Science and Evolution
5. Faith and Belief in God
B. With no God there is no truth, and as a result we have a collapsing culture.
1. In the next thirty minutes...
2. Today in America, adult bookstores outnumber McDonald's three to one.
3. Every day in American...
4. That's the cost.
PR 29:18 WHERE THERE IS NO VISION, THE PEOPLE PERISH: BUT HE THAT KEEPETH THE LAW, HAPPY IS HE.
a. What we are witnessing today in the collapse of our culture, is a direct result of an ignorance of God.
b. This verse is literally saying that without the declaration of the Truth of God's Word the people will perish.
c. If there is no God, then there is no standard of truth. And if there is no standard, anything goes!
5. But there is a Standard!
a. God's word the Bible, tells the truth.
b. It is the truth, because it came from God.
c. It is the truth, and if someone says something contrary to this; guess who's wrong?
ISA 5:20 WOE UNTO THEM THAT CALL EVIL GOOD, AND GOOD EVIL; THAT PUT DARKNESS FOR LIGHT, AND LIGHT FOR DARKNESS; THAT PUT BITTER FOR SWEET, AND SWEET FOR BITTER!
PS 11:3 IF THE FOUNDATIONS BE DESTROYED, WHAT CAN THE RIGHTEOUS DO?
III. THE CURE: rebuild the foundation of our life.
A. We begin with God, because He is Truth.
1. What makes something wrong? Not because we say it's wrong but because it's anti-God. It's anti His character.
2. God is honest. So when we're dishonest, it's wrong.
3. God is faithful. So when we're unfaithful, it's wrong.
4. God is just. So when we're not fair, it's wrong.
5. When we are different from the character of the creator who made us, it's wrong.
6. When we're like the character of the creator who made us, it's right. That's how we decide what truth is.
PR 2:8-9 HE KEEPETH THE PATHS OF JUDGMENT, AND PRESERVETH THE WAY OF HIS SAINTS. THEN SHALT THOU UNDERSTAND RIGHTEOUSNESS, AND JUDGMENT, AND EQUITY; YEA, EVERY GOOD PATH. 2TI 3:16 ALL SCRIPTURE IS GIVEN BY INSPIRATION OF GOD, AND IS PROFITABLE FOR DOCTRINE, FOR REPROOF, FOR CORRECTION, FOR INSTRUCTION IN RIGHTEOUSNESS:
B. How do we know when something is truth and when it's just an opinion?
1. Truth is universal.
a. If it is true, it applies to everyone, everywhere around the world in every culture.
b. If it does not apply to everyone everywhere, it's not truth, it's an opinion.
2. Truth is unchanging.
a. It's always the same. It doesn't change.
b. It isn't impressed by fads or fashion. It is unchanging.
c. For instance, if adultery was wrong 4000 years ago, it was also wrong 2000 years ago, it is wrong today and it will be wrong 2000 years from today no matter what anybody else says.
d. Truth is unchanging and it is universal.
3. Facts change but truth doesn't.
a. For instance, years ago, science used to tell us the smallest particle of life is the atom.
b. The fact is since then we've discovered five layers beneath that. So that is not true.
c. It was a fact but it wasn't true. Now we know there are even smaller things.
d. When something changed it was a fact but with more discoveries we learned that wasn't really correct.
C. That's the benefit of building my life on absolute, universal unchanging truth.
PS 119:105 THY WORD IS A LAMP UNTO MY FEET, AND A LIGHT UNTO MY PATH.
1. If I build it on unchanging truth, I won't stumble so much.
2. I won't make so many mistakes.
PR 16:20 HE THAT HANDLETH A MATTER WISELY SHALL FIND GOOD: AND WHOSO TRUSTETH IN THE LORD, HAPPY IS HE.
3. It all comes down to a choice.
4. Newsweek understood this when it did the cover: "Whose values?"
5. Whose values are we going to choose to live by?
6. What's going to be my standard by which I make my decisions in life?
7. We only have three choices.
a. An internal source
b. An external source
c. An eternal source.