Truth Matters

Transcript:

Jesus said, “Therefore, everyone who hears these words of Mine, and acts on them, will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. “And the rain fell and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. “And everyone who hears these words of Mine, and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. “And the rain fell and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell - and its collapse was great.”

Let’s look today at why this Truth Matters

There should be little doubt in anyone’s mind that today we live in a society where their very concept of Truth is up for debate. There are those who claim that absolute truth doesn’t actually exist. They might say that truth is an idea or construct which individuals can make for themselves. “You have your truth. I have my truth.” Truth is whatever a person decides. No one should decide my truth for me, except me.

And while this sounds like magnanimous, a statement of fairness in the name of equality, it actually has very short mileage. For a while it may sound good in the world of ideas or thought, but it truly doesn’t work in the real world.

I want to begin today by talking about the premise behind Truth Matters. The premise comes out of the Scripture I read earlier. As you may have noticed, the title (Truth Matters) is a bit of a play on words.

With every broadcast I want to look at Matters of TRUTH. The subject of Truth itself is a topic which can occupy many people’s minds and conversations today. And we’ll be looking at that.

And when discussing the matter of truth and what it is, brings up something that is at the core of the premise behind Truth Matters. Simply put, The Truth Matters. And Truth Matters in many very important ways.

I read earlier from Gospel of Matthew 7:24-27. In chapters 5-7, we have in the Bible the longest recorded sermon by Jesus. We know it as the Sermon on the Mount. Now, in this sermon, Jesus lays out many of His teachings and instructions for His followers. They are pointed and very direct and cover a multitude of situations for the followers of Jesus.

He speaks about Anger, Lust, Oaths, Retaliation, how to react to enemies, Giving, Prayer, and Worry. He also teaches about judging others and about asking God for the needs in our lives. In this sermon is where we find the well-known and famous “Lord’s Prayer”.

Now, the world is familiar with parts of this sermon. It has even taken and quoted parts of the sermon without really understanding the full implications of what they are saying when they quote it. You might have even heard people that otherwise would not have connected themselves with Jesus’ quote from it. One example is the Golden Rule, which comes from this sermon. And, of course, it’s not uncommon for portions of the sermon to be misquoted and misused.

Let me encourage you to invest some time to read and study this sermon on your own. It is a life-changing treasure of truth.

Jesus concludes the sermon in dramatic fashion. I read it earlier. He tells two short comparative stories or illustrations to make His point.

He says that the person who hears His words and acts on them will be like a wise man who builds his house on the rock. Rains falls, rivers rise and winds blow and pound against that house. Yet, the house doesn’t collapse because they built its foundation on the rock.

In comparison, he says that the person who hears His words and does not act on them is like a foolish man who builds his house on the sand. Rains falls, rivers rise and winds blow and pound that house. And it fell. And great was its fall. ---- End of sermon.

No explanation. The illustration speaks for itself.

Now Jesus made the claim that He was, in fact, the Truth. I believe Him. Therefore, His words in my mind and life are more real and important than any other words ever spoken.

Now you might say, “I don’t believe that. I think you can determine your own truth.” Fair enough. And so, I suppose you can create your own podcast and espouse the truth you believe. But I believe that Truth in fact exists and can be known. But not only that, Truth Matters.

Jesus, in His concluding point, declares that what a person does with truth is significant. To hear truth and act upon it or to hear truth and not act upon it, both have consequences.

It has consequences on a foundational level. The very foundation of a person’s life is determined by their response to truth. The very ground upon which we built every bit of life upon is affected by the substance it’s built on. Truth is a foundational issue.

For instance, if you never learned or can recognize the letters of the alphabet, you’ll never learn to read. If you never learn to recognize and know the value of numbers, you’ll never be able to solve mathematical problems. If you never learned the language I’m now speaking, you can’t understand a word I’m saying.

If the foundation of a life is weak, that life cannot stand against the inevitable harsh circumstances of life. That tells us is that the substance of that foundation matters.

But if the foundation is sound and enduring, then that life will stand against the inevitable harsh circumstances of life. And again, that tells us that the substance of a foundation matters.

But there is more. Jesus also points to the fact that a person’s response to His words, to truth, has inevitable consequences. It determines how a story ends.

I am a writer. I have traveled to many places around the world. The thing I have discovered is that wherever I’ve gone, I could use of stories to connect and communicate with people. I believe the reason for that is that everyone has a story. Your life, my life, every life is a story. But no stories end the same. And it is not a matter of how long that life is. It is something else.

I have lived long enough to see and know that not all stories end well. There are lives that are lived and built on lies, terrible circumstances compounded by poor decisions, incorrect paths, selfish and wrong-headed life-choices. Books, plays and movies have provided added illustration to such stories. Step by step, piece by piece, they lead to what we call tragedy. But a great ending can avert even tragedy. Such an ending is one where before the conclusion of the story it takes a different path, where different decisions lead to a different place, to a different conclusion.

What makes the difference?

Well, Jesus said that it had to do with responding correctly to what He said. He claimed He is Truth itself. This, of course, means that what He has said it is of utmost importance.

But He said that it isn’t enough to know about what He said, to hear it. No! He said that a person needs to act upon it, to agree with it, to believe and follow it, to put into their life. And He said that how a person responds to the Truth He declares will determine how a person’s story ends.
Now, Jesus’ words carry an invitation and a warning.

The invitation is to hear and build your life on the truth He declares. He said that if we hear and do that then our life will be strong, enduring and will stand all the way to the end.

The warning likewise is that if we deny, ignore or disregard His words, then our life will be weak and will not stand up under the weight of life. And in the end will in tragedy.

It doesn’t have to be that way. It can be different. There’s still time.

This is the reason I am compelled to begin Truth Matters. In the weeks ahead, I want us to explore and discover the Truth that God has provided. That truth, when applied to life, makes a difference. It provides a foundation for a strong and enduring life in these troubling days. All of us can sense and fell the storms and waves crashing in around us. How are we to stand in such days? Jesus said it is in hearing and applying His truth in our lives. Jesus invites us to do just that. He also warns us to not ignore what He says. He has told us that Truth Matters.

Over the last year, in the neighborhood next to mine, a new subdivision was born. They gradually filled bare land in with houses. First, they plowed the land, then they laid in the utilities, then the streets. And then one by one they built houses on individual lots. One day as they were driving by, my grandson asked my wife, “Why is that house broken?” He saw the skeleton frame of the house and thought it was broken. She then explained to him it to him. They were still building the house. It was a house still being built.

Thinking of that incident and houses under construction made me consider something. Building a house involves foundation workers, framers, roofers, carpenters, plumbers, electricians, dry wallers, painters and landscapers. What do you suppose would happen if each group and the persons within each group individually decided that they would on their own define the blueprints, the measurements, the rules and standards on how they accomplished their individual tasks? Every person within each group created their own rulers or measuring devices for their own tasks. What do you think the house would look like? How reliable would the outcome be? Is the house level? Does the plumbing work? Would the electrical system work? Would the windows open and close? How long would the house stay together before everything came apart? Would you want to live in that house?

Who’s building your house? Who’s deciding the blueprint and measurements for your life?

You see, in the real world, in your world, Truth Matters.

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