Hervey Bay Presbyterian Church

When the truth becomes a lie, and the lie becomes the truth

Bible Readings

  • 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12
  • Romans 1:18-32

Introduction

Dear brothers and sisters in the Lord,

During the next three weeks Australians will have the opportunity to have their say in the battle to redefine marriage. Pressure from the world is mounting against Christians to separate what they think as Christians when they attend church from what they think when they go to the ballot box. Without a thorough Biblical worldview Christians stand and fall

The church as an institution does not participate in political processes, because we believe there should be a separation between church and state.  The Church as institution, and likewise the state, have boundaries or spheres to which they must stick.  This was the original intent behind the principle.  However, when Christians vote they do not stop being Christians.  Christians do not represent a denomination when they cast their votes; they stand in the ballot box as representatives of the Saviour.  This is the challenge.

In the Sermon on the Mount our Lord said:

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. (Matthew 5:13, NIV)

The modern cry for separation between church and state is an aberration of the original principle and is reduced to mean this:

  • (Individual) Christians need to keep their principles at home when they vote.
  • Adherents to all other religions are exempt.
  • Atheists are always neutral, because they don’t worship a specific god.

A Biblical worldview

The question then is what is the Christian of Biblical worldview?

The Bible teaches us that we must

… not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  (Romans 12:2, NIV)

Without going into too much detail, let’s sum up what the Bible teaches about the world and those who live in it.

When truth reigned over the lie

1. God created the world out of nothing, without the aid of anything outside of Himself, by the power of his word. We therefore do not believe in the idea that everything come about by nothing; that everything exists by chance, and there is not really any purpose in life. This notion makes all meaningful life impossible, because it rejects absolute values and truths, while it only relies on subjective truths and values to determine right and wrong.

2. Although created without defect, but now stained by sin, God can be known through the works of his creation.  We read about this in Romans 1:20

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. (Romans 1:20, NIV)

3. Created things were made according to its kinds, but mankind was created after the image of God. All people should be treated as such. This we know from Genesis 1:27

So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female He created them. (Genesis 1:27, NIV)

Our Lord also taught this truth:

“Haven’t you read, that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ … (Matthew 19:4, NIV)

4. God created the first human beings male and female.  They were made to be one another’s companion and helper. Adam and Eve stood as equals before God, complementing one another according to God’s design. God gave them the command be fruitful, because they were created male and female with that capacity, the only basis on which other created things too could multiply.

5. Mankind was created for the purpose of ruling over God’s creation in a way which pleases the Creator.  Creation does not belong to man, but we are placed over it as stewards to look after it and develop it according to God’s design for it.

When the lie are presented as truth

Our first parents rebelled against God and dragged all of creation into misery.

1. What God created to be good—yes, very good—fell from its perfect design to a miserable state: man’s nature became corrupted, nature itself became corrupted and subject to death. Our reading from Romans 1 helps us:

For although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. (Romans 1:21, NIV)

Another manifestation of how sin corrupted man is the foolishness of worshipping created things rather than Him who created all things:

Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles. (Romans 1:22–23, NIV)

Why does the Bible call this foolishness?  Creation itself is corrupted by sin.  Romans 8:20-21

For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. (Romans 8:20–21)

2. When mankind fell in sin they lost their innocence and freewill, but are still under the grace of God who provide in our everyday need. This is called common grace.

3. This misery affected the relationship between Adam and Eve and all human beings born after them, it affected relationships between members of families, and between nations on earth.  The result is idolatry, distrust, lies, hatred, jealousy, war, stealing, envy, diseases, pestilences, etc., and ultimately death. Romans 1:29 spells it out

They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. (Romans 1:29–31, NIV)

4. Diseases and abnormalities became part of human life on earth.  Paul writes in Romans 6:23 that “the wages of sin is death.”

5. We don’t accept cancer as normal just because it exists; on the contrary, we keep researching ways to eradicate it. Purely because they exist, we do not regard abnormalities as normal. Just because everyone lies, we still need to speak the truth, and we don’t introduce laws making it unlawful to demand the truth in a court of law.

6. Irrespective of what post-modernists say, the truth can be known.  This is the basis for the command of God:

“You shall not give false testimony against your neighbour. (Exodus 20:16, NIV)

This is something the mass media needs to understand:  half truths and fake news are not normal—it is just as abnormal as cancer, and with truth we need to combat lies in the same way as we battle against diseases. For this reason we are called, as Romans 6:12 puts it:

Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. (Romans 6:12–13, NIV)

5.Sexual desires became deeply affected.  As a result of our fallen state these desires may manifest itself in ways humans rebel against their Maker in an effort to normalise what was not according to God’s original design. Once again we read Romans 1:26-27

Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error. (Romans 1:26–27, NIV)

Reflection

Just before we move on, let’s just pause for one moment and ponder what we have just learned.  It is important to know that Romans 1 does not refer to “them” sinners; it refers to sin and “us” sinners in general. In other words, before we begin to think that we are not included into the description of sinful corruption as Romans 1 spell it out, we have to understand it is not about “us” and “them”—it is about all of us.  How do we know this?  Let’s just read Romans 2:1

You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. (Romans 2:1, NIV)

It might be true that not all of us committed all of the sins mentioned in Romans 1, however the fact remains that one human being cannot claim higher moral ground above others based on inborn qualities.

So, when you find yourself exercising your vote, pray about it, remember were it not for saving grace in Christ, we would all fall short of the glory of God.  As you vote, do so with a prayer that God would show our nation mercy, and pray for those who still do not know Christ, that they would turn from their rebellion and find salvation in Him.

When truth destroys and exposes the lie

1. The message of the Bible is one of hope:  sinners are saved by grace.  Jesus Christ, the son of God, was God’s gift to the world as perfect redemption.  By faith in Him alone all sinners, irrespective of the kind of sin they have committed, are forgiven and restored as God’s children. Although not perfect, relationships between forgiven people have a good chance of success as we forgive one another as we are forgiven in Christ. The Word states:

Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. (Galatians 6:10, NIV)

Let’s heed to this verse too:

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. (Philippians 4:8, NIV)

2. Christ being the Head of both, husband and wife now should live submit to Christ in reverence of Him; in faithfulness to one another they must strive to live for the glory of God. By God’s design they bring up children for the glory of God within the confines of marriage.

The Bible sees marriage as a reflection of the relationship between Christ and his church. Paul writes:

This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. (Ephesians 5:32–33)

3. Family relationships are sanctified in Christ.  Children must obey their parents, “for it is right.  Honour your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise—“so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” (Ephesians 6:2–3)

4. Christ’s grace, which reconciled sinners to God, calls them to gather as his people, the church.  Until Christ returns according to his promise, the Holy Spirit dwells with us as we fellowship with one another.

5. When Christ returns all people will be called to judgement where there will be a separation between those who were made righteous and those who rejected Christ’s righteousness.  The restoration in Him we know and experience now, will then be made complete as we will live on a new earth where sin will not enter to destroy the work of God.

Conclusion

These are the basic aspects which make up the worldview of Christians.  We don’t grab these out of the air; we base them on the Scriptures, which are the infallible and inerrant Word of God. These principles should be your guide when you vote.

Next week, Lord willing, we will endeavour to point out the principles of those oppose the truth of the Gospel in an effort to present it as the new truth.

Sermon preached by Rev. D. Rudi Schwartz on 10 September 2017

 

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