MISSION WOODS CHURCH
Worship July 3, 2022
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        2 Cents a Meal Offering

        December 9, 2018 - 9:00 AM - 10:00 AM
        This offering goes towards providing food for those in need. It supports our local foodbank.
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      • Bible Trivia
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      • Download

        2 Cents a Meal Offering

        December 9, 2018 - 9:00 AM - 10:00 AM
        This offering goes towards providing food for those in need. It supports our local foodbank.
      • Bible Trivia
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  • He Has Made Me Glad
  • You Are My All In All
  • I Will Call Upon the Lord
  • Now I Belong To Jesus
      • John 8.31-33ESV

      • John 8.34-37ESV

      • John 8.38ESV

  • “We hold these truths to be self-evident…”

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident…” so wrote Thomas Jefferson in that amazing creation document that began this great experiment we call the United States of America. 56 signatures now are indelibly linked to that document, pledging: “the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, mutually pledging to each other their Lives, their Fortunes, and their sacred Honor.” And as Nicolas Cage’s character said in the movie National Treasure, “People don’t talk like that way anymore.” What we don’t remember is that there were those that disagreed with such a declaration. In fact there were those who voted against the declaration, and after the vote signed their names to it as well. Clearly it was a different time.;
    Tomorrow we celebrate this country’s 246th birthday. As in most country’s history there is much to celebrate and much to repent of in those 246 years. Like any institution in this fallen world sin has left its mark on our country. Still, it’s not all bad, and any honest reflection of our country’s and perhaps any country’s history must come to such a conclusion.
    Today, we begin a journey for the next several weeks in search of truth, examining the claims of Jesus, of the Bible itself, and reflecting on the culture in which we now live.
    As we begin we must start with the very basics: we must ask the question, “What is truth?”:

    “What is truth?”

    A tyrannical leader might tell us, “Truth is what I say it is!” Admonishing us against even the slightest challenge to this assertion. Some people with honest questions have sensed this from the church, and as a Christian leader, as a pastor - a shepherd of the people, this pains me to see people feeling turned away because they didn’t feel that their questions were taken seriously or even considered by those in leadership in their local congregations.
    So we all have this question out there. So let’s look at how truth has been defined:
    TRUTH: that which is true or in accordance with fact or reality.
    That makes sense to most of us. Truth is based in fact, and reality. Yet there is another definition that is listed in the dictionary right after this one:
    TRUTH: that which is true or in accordance with fact or reality
    TRUTH: a fact or belief that is accepted as true.
    Now as we read these, we sort of get caught in a quandary. What is accepted as true, is not always true. Is it?
    There was a time when people believed the world was flat, when people believed that if a person could swim they were a witch, a time when (and sadly believed by some to this day) certain races were superior to other races, a time when flower petals in one’s pocket protected you from the plague. These may have been generally accepted as true, but were they in accordance with fact or reality? Clearly, the answer is, “no.”
    In our world today, and particularly in our own post-modern, post Christian culture this is the quandary with which we continue to struggle. Truth has become that which is generally agreed upon. If this is true though, how generally?
    Is truth something simply determined by the majority? Such reasoning has led to horrendous consequences throughout history (certain dictators come to mind).
    When one considers it, this sort of reasoning is totally subjective.
    Truth cannot be subjective; truth must be objective. Truth cannot be decided on a whim, it must exist outside of ourselves. Indeed, it must exist outside the masses.
    In the 80’s a phrase gained popularity that was often mocked, but versions of persist today. That phrase was,
    “It’s your own reality.”
    Today you might hear, “Whatever works for you.” or “You be you.” or “This is my truth.”
    The question we had back in the 80’s and the question we must ask now is, “if it’s ‘your own’ reality (or your own truth) and your’s alone, how then can it be reality?” How can it be true? Yet there’s an unwritten rule to not question another person’s (quote) “reality” (unquote).
    So today it seems we have both this self-defined reality which no one is allowed to judge, and we have at the same time the ‘majority defined’ reality. Both are struggling to establish themselves as the predominant pervayer of truth making the authoritative declaration of what is and what is not truth. At the same time by their own pronouncement they are in direct conflict to one another.
    There has to be something greater. So, to look for truth we have to look outside of ourselves. Truth must exist outside of ourselves, and it must exist separate from the majority’s whims of the day.
    The challenge of today is we are all seeking to know the truth. And I would contend that most are looking the wrong direction.
    Humankind has long sought to look anywhere other than God as the source of truth. Why? Because if I deny God exists, I can deny sin exists; and if sin doesn’t exist I am free to do whatever I want. A belief in God has been seen as an uneducated, superstitious idea that has long been dis credited. Two verses come to mind:
    Judges 21:25 ESV
    In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.
    Romans 1:22 ESV
    Claiming to be wise, they became fools,
    John 8:32 ESV
    and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
    Knowing the truth sets us free. Doing whatever you want isn’t freedom; it’s license. Even so, the populace has determined there is not a freedom to do whatever you want; even those who would deny the existence of God would put limits on your freedom. Their idea is you can do whatever you want so long as it doesn’t bring harm to another person. But that’s not true either. The culture creates even greater boundaries - you can do whatever you want as long as it doesn’t have the potential to harm someone else. That’s getting closer to it.
    You can’t drink and drive - you might cause an accident or hurt someone in your impaired state. You can’t smoke in a building anymore because second hand smoke has been shown to be dangerous. You can’t drive as fast as you want because you could hurt someone, so you must obey (or at least be close to) the speed limit and obey other traffic laws. You need to wear your seatbelt because, well we just don’t like cleaning up human projectiles and you might hit someone else as you fly freely through the air.
    And how are these limits to freedom determined? Well, by general consensus... but also by the individual themself.
    If a person takes what you say as insulting or demeaning (intended or not) it’s now not allowed. You are free as long as you’re not denying another person their freedom. It’s like our culture wants to insulate everyone against any kind of pain or hurt. But that’s not true either, because in making such limits we are denying freedoms. No, the freedom they might describe is clearly not absolute.
    It’s not determined by the masses and it’s not self determined.
    So clearly we have to look somewhere other than ourselves or our culture for the truth of what is freedom.

    “We hold these truths to be self evident...”

    Jefferson wrote, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
    Jesus said, John 8:31-32
    John 8:31–32 (ESV)
    “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
    Jesus was speaking to a jewish audience who very quickly answer, John 8:33
    John 8:33 (ESV)
    They answered him, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?”
    I have to laugh at their response, it’s like they forgot all about what they celebrate at the Passover, making their exodus from slavery to Egypt. And as usual, Jesus goes deeper. He goes to the heart of the matter.
    John 8:34 ESV
    Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin.
    Do we recognize this? We’re all a slave to something, some sin that pulls us from God, some selfishness. As a friend of mine puts it, “We’re all enslaved to something, because we’re all addicted to ourselves.” Our freedom has been stifled.
    Most people, even in the church, do not see themselves as sinners. Perhaps its because we live in a comparative culture. Since we’re not as bad as another person, we must therefore be good (in our own estimation). There we go again with that self-defining righteousness. It’s hard to get away from. Perhaps that’s our biggest sin, self-reliance.
    Jesus began, John 8:31-32 “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
    Truth is unchanging. Truth is fact. We encourage children to tell the truth. Mark Twain said, “If you tell the truth you don’t have to remember.” Perhaps something our politicians might remember.
    We began with the question:

    “What is truth?”

    It was Jesus who said, John 14:6
    John 14:6 (ESV)
    “I am the way, and the TRUTH, and the life...”
    How do you determine truth in your life? What is the truth? There is only one person who has lived to compare to, and that is Jesus. What did Jesus say about you and me as those seeking the truth? What did Jesus say about Himself? Jesus is the truth, but we’re jumping ahead a bit. Yet without such truth we cannot be truly free.
    As we celebrate our country’s Independence Day, and all the “freedom” that rings in our country, let us not forget the freedom we receive in the truth that is Christ.
    John 8:36 ESV
    So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
    Free indeed. Not because of anything we have done. Not because we have determined it to be so, or that the masses have told us so. No. We are free because of the truth; free from our sin that entangles us because of the truth that Jesus died for those sins; free to follow Christ because the truth showed us the way; free to live the life that we were created for because the Truth, Jesus Christ has freed us from the tyranny of sin and death. For the next several weeks, we’re going to go in search of truth. We’ll seek answers to such questions as:
    Is There a God?
    Can I trust the Bible?
    Why is there evil?
    and more!

    In Search of Truth

    If you have questions, feel free to give them to me. The sermon series is not complete yet, so your question may just find it’s way in!
      • Judges 21:25ESV

      • Romans 1:22ESV

      • John 8:32ESV

      • John 8:34ESV

      • John 8:36ESV

  • Let Us Break Bread Together
  • In His Time
  • My Country 'Tis Of Thee (America)
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