Text: Jeremiah 32:37-41
I. I’m sure you have heard people who in matters of right and wrong express this belief
A. “I feel it is wrong for me, but other people have to decided for themselves whether it is wrong for them. I can’t push my beliefs on others.”
B. The statement is called “moral relativism.”
1. The standard of right and wrong appealed to is one of self.
2. Since there are multiple selves, there is no on correct view
C. It is a belief that people can define truth in contradictory ways and still be correct.
D. The relativeness of right and wrong can vary by
a. The argument that Paul did not allow women to address assemblies because of his current culture.
b. The argument that baptism once was by immersion only, but today we can have other methods.
c. The acknowledgment that instrumental music was forbidden in the early church, but we can allow it today.
d. The argument that homosexuality was once wrong, but times have changed.
a. The popular “situation ethics”
II. Relativism is popular in our culture and it is creeping into the church
A. A strong drive is being made to deny the Creator in our government.
1. Hence our laws are no longer viewed as being founded on principles handed down by a higher being, but, instead, they stand alone.
2. Since there is nothing to be conformed to, they can be altered by the whim of the people.
3. All connections between the government and God are being steadily abolished.
a. This why you had groups suing to have plaques containing the Ten Commandments removed from public places
4. This drive has reached our schools, where any reference to Christianity and its ethics is forbidden.
B. Moral relativism is the natural result of attempts to explain and enforce ethics without an appeal to an ultimate source of right and wrong.
1. The standard taught is one that appeals to a person’s feelings of right and wrong - in other words a person’s conscious.
2. This might work with a society that holds a consistent standard of right and wrong, passed from generation to generation, but we have cut off the distribution.
a. We are entering the result. Things are happening that we could not imagine happening: school shootings, violence against children, violence in the streets with the approval of government officials.
b. We also see it in the church when children trained in relativistic thinking grow up and apply relativism to the Scriptures
C. Moral relativism is popular, because we fail to explain why something is right or wrong
1. Why is it wrong to lie?
2. Why shouldn’t I hit my brother?
3. How can sex be wrong if I love the other person?
4. Without understanding “why,” the immediate pleasures of sin obscures the reality of the consequences.
III. There is an absolute right and wrong because God is the source of truth
A. John 14:6 - Jesus is the way and the truth (singular)
1. He holds this universe together - Colossians 1:16-17
2. He holds all authority - Matthew 28:18
3. God is therefore the definer of right and wrong
B. God does not change
1. There is no variation in God - James 1:17
2. He is a solid foundation - Deuteronomy 32:4
3. He remains the same - Hebrews 13:8
4. His word, like He, Himself, does not change - Isaiah 40:7-8
5. Since God is the source of truth and God does not change, then truth does not change over time.
C. Even people who believe in moral relativism prove there is an higher, absolute standard
1. A liar is outraged when someone lies to them.
2. An angry person doesn’t like being yelled at.
3. If everything was relative to an individual, then no one should feel bad when they are mistreated. Yet since they do, they realize that other people, at least, are required to follow a moral guideline.
4. We say that the Holocaust was evil, but the Germans argued that it wasn’t evil for their society (relativism)
a. If morality was relative, no one could be condemned for doing what they felt was right.
IV. God’s laws are not arbitrary
A. His commandments reveal His character - Psalms 19:7-11
B. Notice verse 11: There is a benefit to keeping God’s laws
1. They are given for the good of his people - Jeremiah 32:37-40
2. His commands are not burdensome - I John 5:3
3. Deuteronomy 10:12-13 - The commands are for His people’s good. Therefore, violating them would be detrimental to us.
C. This does not mean that a keeper of God’s law will never have bad things happen to them, but, rather, that the quality of life becomes better.
1. We learn multiplication in school. It gives us benefits, such as being able figuring wages or the amount of wallpaper we need to buy.
2. Yet, 5 x 4 is 20 – not because I receive benefits from that knowledge, but because it is reality
3. God’s truths are absolute because they reflect the way things are.
D. God tells us why things are right or wrong. He explains what happens in the long run.
1. Why is sex outside of marriage wrong? - Proverbs 6:32-33
2. Why should I help others? - Proverbs 11:25-26
3. Why is it wrong to lie? - Proverbs 12:19
4. Why can’t I hang around with the class fool? - Proverbs 14:6-7
V. The acceptance of truth requires a relationship
A. This is why Deuteronomy 10:12-13 talks of loving the Lord God
B. Absolute truth does not change, but it does a person no good if it is not accepted.
C. Like a parent with a rebellious teenager, you can state the way things are, but it will not sink in unless the child loves his parent - Ephesians 6:1-4
D. The fear of God is the beginning - Proverbs 1:7; 9:10