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June 3, 2023 34 mins

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"What is truth?" has been a question asked throughout the ages. This sermon explores the meaning of truth, the possibility of relative truth, and the ramifications in human lives.

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Speaker 1 (00:00):
Good morning.
I'm so glad to be here.
Thank you to Abraham forinviting me.
It's a pleasure to be here andto meet different of you all
over the course the next day orso.
My name is Anush and I'm fromthe US.
We live in Maryland, which isabout an hour north of

Washington DC and became ayesterday, and I'm glad to be
Imagine that you're a sailorhundreds of years ago and you're
out in the open water at night.
What would you do?
I mean, how would you find yourway around?
What you would do is that youwould look up into the sky and

look for a constellation ofstars called as the Big Dipper.
This is a constellation ofstars that looks like a big
saucepan and it is the back endof another constellation called
the Great Bear.
And so you look for the BigDipper and opposite the handle
of the Big Dipper you see twostars.
And then you draw a linestraight from the two stars and

it reaches another saucepan Andthis saucepan it touches a star
on the handle end of this second, smaller saucepan called the
Little Dipper, and where ittouches another star that's
called the North Star or thePolaris.
Now, this star is not thebrightest star in the sky, but

it is a more stable star becauseit is directly above the North
And so, if you wanted tonavigate out in the open seas,
you look for the Polaris and youare able to guide your
navigation, because you knewthat the Polaris did not move.
This morning, in a sermonentitled The Moral Polaris, i

want to look at the issue oftruth.
How do we navigate using anon-movable idea of truth?
I've divided this sermon intofive parts.
In the first part, we will lookat the question what is truth?
Second, we will look at theissue of relative truth, and
here is where I hope to spendmost of our time together.
Third, we will look at can weknow the truth?

Then we will look at relevanceand responsibility of knowing
the truth And then, very quickly, we will look at truth revealed
First, let's look at what istruth.
Now I want you to open yourBibles to some passages.
Let's turn to the first one,which is John, chapter 18.
And I will read for us verse 33, about five or six verses John,

chapter 18 and verse 33following.
All right, so let me just setthe scene for this.
This is a scene about 2,000years ago.
Jesus was arrested in theGarden of Gethsemane, he was
taken first to the house ofAnnas, who was the father-in-law
to the high priest, and then hewas taken to the palace of
Caiaphas And there he stayedovernight.

By morning they had confirmedthat he deserved the death
penalty, and so in the morningthey took him to the palace of
Pontius Pilate.
And so it is here in PontiusPilate that we pick up the story
John, chapter 18, verses 33following.
So Pilate entered hisheadquarters again and called
Jesus and said to him are youthe king of the Jews?

Jesus answered do you say thisof your own accord Or did others
say this to you about me?
Pilate answered am I a Jew?
Your own nation and chiefpriest have delivered you over
to me.
What have you done?
Jesus answered my kingdom isnot of this world.
If my kingdom were of thisworld, my servants would have
been fighting That I might notbe delivered over to the Jews,

but my kingdom is not from thisworld.
Then Pilate said to him so areyou a king?
Jesus answered you say that I'ma king.
For this purpose I was born Andfor this purpose I have come
into the world to bear witnessto the truth.
Everyone who is of the truthlistens to my voice.
Pilate said to him what istruth?
This is a very, very large,fundamental question that Pilate

is asking.
There are various theories oftruth that I'm not going to go
into the different theories oftruth.
I'm just going to go into themost commonly accepted view of
what truth is.
It's called the correspondencetheory of truth, and the
correspondence theory of truthsays that truth is a statement,
a proposition, an affirmation orjudgment that accurately

corresponds to reality.
There is reality And then thereis a statement about that
So, for example, if you lookoutside, it's a sunny day
Now, if I said it is rainingoutside at this campsite in
Bancroft, that statement is alogically coherent statement,

but it is a factually untruestatement, you see, because that
statement does not correspondwith reality.
The reality is that there issun outside.
And if I say it's rainingoutside, it is an untrue
Or let's say that this halfbottle of water that I have here
, let me just drink the rest ofit to make it an empty bottle of

Let's say that this emptybottle.
I say it is an empty bottleBecause that corresponds to
That is the truth.
Now, if you said oh, there is abottle there filled with
lemonade, that is a logicallytrue statement, but it is a
false statement Because thatproposition does not correspond

with reality.
If a statement corresponds toreality, it is true.
If it doesn't correspond toreality, it is not true.
Now, in the Bible, the Hebrewand the Greek words for truth
mean something similar to this.
The first meaning of the Hebrewand Greek words mean

correspondence to fact.
So let's read a verse John,chapter 4, verse 16.
John, chapter 4, verse 16.
It says Jesus said to her gocall your husband and come here.
The woman answered him I haveno husband.
Jesus said to her you are rightin saying I have no husband,

for you have had five husbandsand the one you now have is not
your husband.
What you have said is true.
You see, she was telling thetruth, regardless of what her
moral life was.
That statement was a truestatement because it
corresponded to reality.
So truth corresponds to reality, but it doesn't create reality.

Okay, and we will talk about ithere in a minute.
The second meaning of truth inthe Bible has to do with
So let's turn to John, chapter7, verse 28.
John, chapter 7, verse 28, justthree chapters before, and it
says So Jesus proclaimed as Hetaught in the temple You know me

and you know where I come from,but I have not come of my own
He who sent me is true and Himyou do not know.
He who sent me is true.
So in talking about God, god isfaithful to His name.
It's not that God correspondsto some other reality.
God is faithful to His name.

So the two meanings of truth inthe Bible, in terms of the
Greek and Hebrew words for truthis correspondence to fact and
Now in John, chapter 17, verse17,.
You don't need to turn to it.
It says Jesus said sanctifythem in the truth.
Your word is truth.
So there Jesus declares thatthe Bible is truth, which means

that the Bible corresponds toreality.
Secondly, let's look at absoluteand relative truth, absolute
and relative truth.
Let me just talk about what arelative truth is.
Maybe you all know about italready.
We are living in a postmodernculture And one of the things
about postmodern culture is theidea that everything is relative

, the idea of relative truth.
Here the claim for truth isdependent on the community that
believes it.
So if I said it is rainingoutside and we all said it is
raining outside, then for us itis true.

And you're wondering well, howdoes that make sense?
Well, that is the issue withrelative truth.
In absolute truth, realityexists.
Truth discovers reality.
In relative truth, truthcreates reality.

So, if you said that there is abottle full of lemonade on the
table, and if we all believed it, it is true.
You see the problem with thatThere are subjective opinions
and there is objective truth.
There is subjective, relativeopinions and then, on the other

side, there is absolute truth.
Now, we all have opinions.
What is your favorite food?
Sushi, yeah, sushi, you likesushi.
What is your favorite song?
Country, okay, some country,some country song Okay.
So those are subjectiveopinions, right?

You cannot say sushi has to bethe favorite food of everybody
in the world.
I mean, that is her favoritefood.
Some people like sushi, somepeople don't like sushi.
Some people like raw fish inthe sushi, some people don't
like raw fish in the sushi,right?
So that is a subjective opinion.
The problem is that culture hastaken absolute truth and made it

subjective opinion, and takensubjective opinion and made it
absolute truth.
Whatever is absolute, they willsay oh, it's up to you.
Whatever you want, whatever youthink about it is true.
Let me show you a differencebetween subjective opinions and
absolute truth.
Who is the tallest person inthis room?

Who is the tallest person inthis room?
Listen, what's your height?
I want to say 6 feet 6, 1.
6, 1.
Okay, so that is a objectivequestion, right, and that is an
objective, absolute answer.
Okay, who is the most handsomeperson in this room?

You see, you see, this is asubjective opinion.
Each person thinks they'rehandsome.
Each person thinks that they'rehelpful.
So that is a subjectivequestion and that is a
subjective opinion.
There is an objective truth andthen there is a subjective
The problem is that whatpost-modernism has done is that

it's taken an objective truthlike right and wrong.
They've taken it and said it'ssubjective.
You can.
If it's true for you, it's truefor you.
If it's right for you, it'sright for you.
If it's wrong for you, it'swrong for you.
It's whatever you want it to be.
This is the view in thecultural marketplace, this is
the secular view, where it saysthat everything is relative.

Nothing is absolute.
So I want to give you fiveproblems that I find with
relative truth.
Five problems with relativetruth.
The first one is that it isself-refuting.
The first problem with relativetruth is that it is
Let me ask you a question Isthe concept of relativism true

or false?
That's the question.
Is the concept of relativismtrue or false?
If you said it's false, there'snothing to discuss.
It's false.
But if you said that theconcept of relativism is true,
what you are saying is anabsolute statement.
You are saying absolutely, theconcept of relativism is true

and you cannot see it any otherway.
Once you make that into anabsolute statement, you have
self-refuted it.
You see, it is a self-refutingargument to say that everything
is relative and make it anabsolute statement.
The second problem with relativetruth is that it does not

follow the three fundamentallaws of logic.
The three fundamental laws oflogic talk about the nature of
truth and they are fundamentallaws from the time of Aristotle.
So it's like the laws ofmathematics 2 plus 2 is 4.
In any culture, in any tribe,in any language, in any people
group, the laws of logic are thesame, just like the laws of

mathematics, and there are threefundamental laws of logic.
That well, i'm not going to gointo it.
But it is a law of identity, itis a law of non-contradiction
and the law of the excludedmiddle.
So these three fundamental lawsof logic is not followed by the
concept of relative truth.

The third problem that we havewith relative truth is that it
equates the knowledge of thetruth as truth itself.
It equates the knowledge of thetruth as truth itself.
Let me just explain thisWhether we know the truth or not
doesn't change the reality,right?
So, for example, in the pastpeople thought that the earth

was flat.
Now we know, obviously we haveplenty of evidence that the
earth is not flat.
The earth is round.
What relativism says is thatbecause the ancient people
thought that the earth was flat,it's true for them, and because
we think that the earth isround, it's true for us.

It's true for them and true forus.
So what they're saying is thatthe knowledge of the truth is
truth itself.
Their knowledge of the earthwas that the earth was flat.
That was their knowledge.
So that made truth itself.
And that is not true, isn't it?
If I woke up in the morning andI didn't look outside and it

was a sunny day outside, itdoesn't matter whether I know
about it or not, the knowledgeof the truth doesn't matter, it
is still a sunny day outside,whether I know about it or not.
The fourth problem we have isthat relative truth equates
belief with reality.
It equates belief with reality.

So it says what you think istrue is true for you.
What I think is false is falsefor me.
So, for example, if you saidthat this bottle is full of
lemonade, if y'all think it'sfull of lemonade and half the
group thinks it's an emptybottle, what relativism says is

that it is lemonade for half ofy'all and empty for half of
So essentially, what youbelieve about it creates reality
, and that doesn't make sense.
How can a bottle be two thingsat one time?
How can it be fully sunny andfully rainy at one time?
The fact is that reality exists, whether I believe about it or

The fifth problem we have withrelative truth is that it is
incompatible with normal living.
You cannot live life if thereare no absolutes.
So yesterday we drove up fromToronto up here, took about
three hours, and some of y'allhave gotten speeding tickets in

the past.
So y'all are driving a littlegingerly and making sure the
cops are not on your tail And sosuppose, let's say, that the
concept of relativism is true.
You're going it says it goesfrom 100 km an hour to 80, and
then 70, and then up to 100,back and forth, back and forth,
and you lost sense of where youwere.
You're enjoying the beautifulscenery outside and you're

driving, and as you drove youwent over the speed limit by
about 30 km an hour.
And the cop comes behind you,pulls you over and says sir, you
are going above the speed limit.
What can you say?
You can say well, that may betrue for you, but it's not true
for me.
I was going at 80 km an hour.
You see, it doesn't work.

Or let's say you went to astore to buy something and you
say, well, i want that.
That costs about 50 bucks.
I want that, and thestorekeeper says, no, that's
actually $70, because it's truefor me, it's 70 bucks.
Or I go to the airport tomorrowto go back to Maryland and I go
there at 4.30, when my flight issupposed to go, and they say

the flight's already gone.
I say what?
I came on time.
No, no, no, according to ourtime, the flight was the right
time and we left.
You see, your truth and mytruth is incompatible with life.
That is the biggest problemthat we have with relative truth
Third, let's look at thequestion Can we know the truth?

Can we know the truth?
Now I'm not going to go into awhole bunch of theories about
evidentialism andpresuppositionalism and
revelationism and all this otherstuff.
I want to tell you three thingsabout whether we can know the
truth or not.
Now I'm not going to delve intothe region of knowledge.

I'm still going to stay in theregion of truth.
Let me tell you three thingsabout whether we can know the
truth or not.
First is some truth can beknown.
Some truth can be known,especially in terms of human
A lot of truth can be known.
But, in general, some truth canbe known In terms of finite

human beings.
Because we are finite, there'sa good chance we can know a lot
of truth, or the whole truth.
So, for example, i want you all,on the count of three, to give
me your biggest smile.
I assume that I'm going to takea picture, okay, and give me
your biggest smile on the cut.
Not yet, not yet.

Just hold that smile, okay.
On the count of three one, two,three.
She was yawning, let's, let'sredo it.
Okay, on the count of three,one, two, three.
Biggest smile, biggest smile,everybody.
Okay, now, when we smiled, whatmuscles of the face came into
Okay, there are several musclesof the face that came into

There's the orbicularis, ocularmuscle, which is around the eye
, that gives you those crow feet.
Then there's a zygomaticus,major Zygomaticus minor levator,
labia superiores, levator labiasuperiores, alexuinesia,
levator, anguli, oris, and thenmaybe the Depressor, labia
Sometimes people who smile withtheir nose flaring, the nasalis

may come into into view.
So there are certain musclesthat are involved in your smile,
whether you knew it or not.
But that is a finite number ofmuscles.
Let's say that they found abouttwo more muscles that help you
to smile, but it is still afinite number in respect to
Most of the time, we can knowthe whole thing, but also

because of human limitation,there are many things that we
cannot know.
So, for example, how many treesare there in the world right
See, that is a finite number.
That's not an infinite number,correct?
That's a finite number, butbecause of human limitation, we
cannot know the entire number oftrees in the world.

How many grains of sand are onour Sandshores is?
it is a very, very high number,but it is not an infinite
It is still a finite number.
So, because of humanlimitations, there are certain
things that we won't know interms of God, because God is

infinite, we can nevercompletely know him Because we
are always finite.
In terms of God, we can nevercompletely know him.
We can only know some truthabout him.
Second, i'll call it as indirectknowledge of truth.
Now, most of our knowledge isindirect knowledge.

Have you heard about a warthat's going on in Ukraine?
All of you have heard about it.
Anybody hasn't heard about thewar in Ukraine that's going on.
Okay, how did you know aboutthe war in Ukraine?
Did anybody visit Ukraine?
No, so it's not direct knowledge, it is indirect knowledge.
It is knowledge that has beenreported by somebody else about

the truth, and This comesthrough eyewitness accounts, the
people who went to there,people who took videos there.
They broadcasted it, and wedepend on those eyewitness
accounts to know indirect truth.
But there's also the fact ofdirect knowledge of the truth.

We can have direct knowledge ofthe truth.
this comes to us directly, fromdirect observation.
So, for example, if I ask youhow many fans are in this room,
no fans in this room, right?
that is direct knowledge.
How many lights are turned onin this room?

It is an objective answer Nine.
So there are nine lights turnedon in this room.
Right, this is directobservation.
If somebody in the other roomasked us how many lights were

turned on, we can say nine, andfor them That is indirect
knowledge, but for us it isdirect knowledge because we
directly observed it.
Now, in relation to God, i wantto go through these three things
and give you three differentverses in relation to God.
In relation to God, some truthcan be known.
Let's turn to John, chapter 8,verse 31.
John, chapter 8, verse 31.

It says so.
Jesus said to the Jews who hadbelieved him if you abide in my
word, you are truly my disciplesand you will know the truth,
and the truth will set you free.
So we can know some truth aboutGod.
We can know some truth aboutGod.

Second, let's turn to 2nd Peter,chapter 1, verse 16.
2nd Peter, chapter 1, verse 16.
It says for we did not followcleverly devised myths when we

made known to you the power andcoming of our Lord Jesus Christ,
but we were eyewitnesses of Hismajesty.
This is Peter who walked withhim for three and a half years
talking And he said we wereeyewitnesses.
So this is indirect truth thatwe learn about God.
We didn't see Jesus, we didn'tlive in the time of Jesus, so

what we know in the Bible iseyewitness accounts about Jesus.
So what we know about Godthrough Jesus is through
eyewitness accounts.
But also we can have directknowledge of God.
So turn to 1 Corinthians,chapter 2 and verse 12.
Now we have received not theSpirit of the world, but the

Spirit who is from God, that wemight understand the things
freely given us by God.
We have been given the Spiritto understand the things of God.
So that is a direct knowledge.
Yes, we have indirect knowledgeof Jesus through the Bible, but
once we become believersbecause of the Spirit of God in

us, we have direct knowledge ofGod because of the Holy Spirit.
Fourth, let's look at therelevance and the responsibility
of knowing the truth.
Now there is reality and thenthere is truth about that
We can know the truth, but whatis the relevance of knowing the

Is there any relevance toknowing the truth?
Back when I was studying for mysurgical boards, there was an
instructor that his specialty inthe field of surgery that I'm
in is to realign jaws.
So we do a surgery calledorthognathic surgery where if
your jaw is too far forward ortoo far in, or the upper jaw is

too far forward or too far in,or it's moved to the side, we
can open up the mouth, cut theupper and lower jaws into
smaller pieces and move them inthree dimensions to where we
want it to be.
So we can move the whole jawforward or back or sideways or
whatever way.
So that field in my surgicaldepartment is called

orthognathic surgery.
So this professor who wastraining us for a board exam for
orthognathic surgery told usthat there are three kinds of
things to know for this exam.
He said the first category isneed to know.
You absolutely need to knowcertain things about this kind

of surgery so that you can passthis exam.
First is a need to know.
Second is nice to know.
There are some things that it'snot essential to know.
It's not need to know, but it'snice if you know it.
If you know it you can passthis exam.
And the third category, he saidit's nuts to know, you don't

need to know about it.
It's not necessary for you toknow about it for the exam.
So it's need to know, nice toknow, nuts to know.
So I've based the next couplethings loosely on this category.
What are the outcomes of knowingthe truth?
The truth pertains to medirectly.

The truth pertains to medirectly.
It is need to know, i need toknow.
Truth pertains to me directly.
So, for example, let's say thatthere was a new law passed in
Canada that said that your taxrate is going up by 5% starting

the next fiscal year.
Does that matter to you?
I mean, it doesn't matter tothe kids.
It never matters to the kids.
It does matter to the parents.
It absolutely matters If yourtax rate is going up by 5%.
That is knowledge that pertainsto us directly.
For example, let's say that yougot a notification from your
school before your last day ofschool and it said starting your

next year in school, we aregoing to start classes on
Saturday as well, just like wedo in India.
We want to be like India, sowe're going to start classes
Monday through Saturday.
Does that knowledge of thetruth pertain to you?
It absolutely does, doesn't it?
So there is knowledge of truththat pertains directly to us,

but there's also knowledge oftruth that pertains to us
So, for example, the war inUkraine.
Now, if you're from a countrythat gives financial aid to
Ukraine for the war, it pertainsto you directly.
But if you're not a countrythat gives financial aid to

Ukraine, it doesn't pertain toyou directly.
It pertains to you indirectlybecause, yes, we feel sad for
the people that are goingthrough this and suffering
through this tragedy.
So it pertains to us indirectly.
There's a third kind ofknowledge.
So the first one is need toknow.
This one is nice to know.
And the third one it does notpertain to us directly.

This is nuts to know, the nutsto know category.
There is a lot of truth thatdoes not pertain to us.
So let's say, as the folks weredriving their cars yesterday
from Toronto to Bancroft, youcame across a small bridge And
just before the small bridgethere is a sign that says if

your vehicle is over 1.5 tons,don't go across the bridge.
And you're driving across.
Does that truth matter to you?
It does not, because no matterhow much of schnitzel and
poutine we had, we're nevergoing to get to more than 1.5
So that truth does not matterto us.
Or if you found out that thetax code in China has gone up by

Does it matter?
No, it doesn't.
So it's truth that does notpertain to us.
Now, if truth pertains directlyto me, i am responsible for it.
If truth pertains directly tome, i am responsible for it.
Now, what I'm going to say nextis very important.

The things of God pertaindirectly to us.
It is need to know.
And the reason why it pertainsdirectly to us is because it
affects our destiny.
For every human being, thethings of God is not a nuts to

know or nice to know, but it isa need to know kind of truth.
And if we know that truth, wehave the responsibility of
acting upon it.
Let's read a verse Luke, chapter12, verse 47.
Following Luke, chapter 12,verse 47, following The servant

who knows the master's will anddoes not get ready or does not
do what the master wants, willbe beaten with many blows.
But the one who does not knowand does things deserving
punishment will be beaten withfew blows.
From everyone who has beengiven much, much will be
And from the one who has beenentrusted with much, much more

will be asked.
The more truth we know, themore we are liable to act upon
that information.
Let's come back to the originalsetting that we started off
with, and then we will wind thissermon down.
Turn your Bible to John,chapter 19.
John, chapter 19,.
This is Jesus in front of PontusPilate again, but it's a little

later on in that day.
John chapter 19, verse 6.
When the chief priests and theofficers saw him, they cried out
Crucify him, crucify him.
Pilate said to them take himyourselves and crucify him, for
I find no guilt in him.
Jesus answered him we have alaw and according to that law,

he ought to die because he hasmade himself the son of God.
When Pilate heard this statement, he was even more afraid.
He entered his headquartersagain and said to Jesus where
are you from?
Jesus gave no answer.
So Pilate said to him you willnot speak to me.
Do you not know that I haveauthority to release you and
authority to crucify you?
Jesus answered him you wouldnot have authority over me at

all unless it has been given toyou from above.
Therefore, he who delivered meover to you has the greater sin.
He who delivered me over to youhas the greater sin.
What is Jesus saying?
That the Jews who gave Jesusover has a greater sin because

they had more knowledge aboutthe upcoming Messiah.
They knew for thousands ofyears that there was a Messiah
that was coming And so, becausethey had that extra knowledge,
they were more guilty thanPilate, who didn't have that
extra knowledge.
And then we come to truthrevealed.

Pilate asks this fundamentalquestion what is truth?
And he turns and walks away.
He didn't stick around for theanswer.
If he had stuck around for theanswer, he would have found the

truth in the person that wasstanding right in front of him.
Because you see, ladies andgentlemen, truth is not a
Truth is a person, a person whocomes into a personal
relationship with humans.
That is who truth is.
Other religions purport to showthe truth.
Jesus says in John, chapter 14,verse 6, i am the truth.

He is the accuraterepresentation of the Father and
the truest eyewitness.
He is the moral polaris.
When the ancient Hindu saintcries a Satoma Satgamaya, lead
me from lies to the truth, anddoes not know how to go from
lies to the truth, jesus standsup and says I am the truth.

Thank you.
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