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Sun, Jul 24, 2005

1 - What is your Foundation?

by Robert Dean
Series:Basics 1: Foundation for Life (2005)
Duration:54 mins 32 secs

Foundation for Life Lesson 1    July 24, 2005


NKJ Acts 4:12 "Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."


I would like for you to open your Bibles to the Gospel of John.  It is the fourth book in the New Testament and is the last of the four gospels.  This evening we are starting a series I have entitled "Foundation for Life". Our Lord taught a parable about a homebuilder.  This is a story about two men who built different homes.  One investigated the soil on which he laid his foundation.  It was sandy soil.  But he went ahead and built the house and laid the foundation on sandy soil.  The other built his house on bedrock.  When the storms of life came it was the house built on the shifting sands that fell apart. The shifting sands were unable to withstand the pressures, the tests, and the real issues of life.  The man who built his house on bedrock survived.  His house survived.  The house wasn't hurt or harmed or weakened by the storm.  This is a parable to teach the fact that we all have to make a decision about what we are building our lives on.  What we build our house on is what we believe to be truth.  We all know that there are competing truth claims today.  But there has to be a way to evaluate those truth claims and to know what truth is.  Not what is true for you or true for me.  Not what works for you or makes you happy.  But what is absolutely true whether you feel like it is true, want it to be true, whether it makes you happy or sad. It is truth because it is that which conforms to the nature of reality.  That is the basic definition and idea of truth.  So I want to start this series by examining our foundation and asking you the question, what is your foundation?  I want to go to one of the most famous conversations in all of Scripture.


John 18


This is the last conversation the Lord Jesus Christ had before He went to the cross.  This conversion is part of His sixth trial. He went through six trials before He was sentenced by Pilate, turned over to the Jews and crucified on the cross.  As Pontius Pilate examines Him, he asks a question. 


NKJ John 18:37 Pilate therefore said to Him, "Are You a king then?" Jesus answered, "You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice."


Jesus says that one of the reasons He was incarnate was to bear witness to the Truth.  The very statement that He makes presupposes an absolute overriding truth by which all claims can be measured. 


That implies that those who reject His voice are not of the truth but live in self-deception. 


NKJ John 18:38 Pilate said to Him, "What is truth?" And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews, and said to them, "I find no fault in Him at all.


You have to have a sense of who this man is and his background and how he is a typical product of first century Roman culture.  So many people that we know today are products of 21st century American culture.  They are skeptical and have heard so many people make claims that aren't backed up. They might be claims about having greater sex appeal because of their toothpaste. Or they might be claims about the cleansing of you dish washing soap.  Or they might be claims of politicians  People are skeptical.  They don't think that anyone can know about truth anymore.  They think it is impossible to know truth. They think that the only thing you can do is find something within yourself that is the basis for life so you can have some measure of happiness.  At least it is true for you right now and so everything is ok and you feel good about it. 


Pilate makes a flippant remark.  And then he goes out to the Jews outside the courtroom.  He found no fault in Jesus but he still turns Jesus over the Jews.  What I want to focus on is this one interchange between Jesus and Pilate.  Actually there is a third group that is not on the scene in this conversation.  They are outside.  That is the Jews.  So there are really four different groups here who represent four different approaches to this concept of truth.  There are four different approaches to happiness.


  1. Pontius Pilate is the typical product of Greco-Roman culture.  He is the skeptic.  He doubts that there is such a thing as absolute truth.  We would call him a secular skeptic.
  2. Then you have two religious groups.  The Jews represent all other religious groups.  You may say that they aren't the same as a Hindu or a Buddhist or a Muslim, but these two groups of Jews represent all other religions in the world except Biblical Christianity.  When I talk about religion I am not talking about Biblical Christianity.  Religion is man trying to gain God's approval, God's blessing, or God's approbation by his own works.  It is man thinking that if he engages in certain rituals or has a certain moral rectitude or if he lives a good life then God is going bless him.  Whatever heaven you believe in whether it is paradise or nirvana or whatever it may be, the idea is that you will arrive there after death because you have been a relatively good person.  That concept underscores every religious system in the world except Biblical Christianity.  This was evident among these two groups of Jews.  The Sadducees represent a more liberal form of religion.  They didn't think anything was supernatural.  The Pharisees represent a much more rigorous ethical group.  The Jewish fundamentalists as it were.  If we follow the Mosaic Law and all of the other thousands of laws in our tradition somehow that will meet God's approval and He will save us.
  3. Over against the three groups you have the claims of Lord Jesus Christ. You have to catch the irony of the whole scene here. Pilate asks what truth is.  Jesus says that He is the truth.  He embodies the truth.  He is the eternal truth.  He claimed to be God.  There are those who claimed He was a good man or a prophet but that is not why they crucified him.  If He only claimed to be a good man or prophet the Jews would not have crucified Him.  That had Him there in front of Pilate because He claimed to be the God of the Old Testament.  He claimed to be full-undiminished deity.  The Jews clearly understood that.  Because they rejected his claim to be God, they were going to punish Him according to the law. It was a capital offense.  Because they were in a province of the Roman Empire, they did not have the freedom under the law to execute for capital crimes so they went before Pilate. So here you have Pilate skeptically questioning truth in the very face of the one who is Truth.  They had to go before the Roman authority.  He questions truth in the face of the one who is the truth. 


I want to start with Pilate, the classic skeptic.  Pilate represents the views of the skeptics down through the ages who do not want to accept the fact that there is some eternal truth that they must conform their thinking to.  He offers this dismissive remark.  It reveals he is a pragmatic man. He is the administrator of the Roman province.  He is the governor of Judea.  He administers the kingdom and doesn't care about getting distracted by religious claims to truth or philosophical argumentation.  As a product of the Roman Empire, he is well educated.  He is familiar with philosophers that have influenced Greco-Roman culture.  He knows about Plato, Socrates, Aristotle, the Stoics, the Sophists, and all the different views. By this time in history, most people in the Roman Empire at this time had become skeptics.  They had seen for 500 years various philosophical systems come and go making claims to offer truth.  As soon as one came on the scene, another would follow it that would demonstrate its inability to handle the real issues of life.  You would shift from one philosophy to another.  By this time they played out all the philosophical investigation and there does not seem to be any body who can answer the question of what truth is.  To understand Pilate a little bit we have to understand the history of the ideas that shape this skepticism.  The skepticism that shaped Pilate in 30 AD is the same idea that produced skepticism in the 21st century in the world today.  As we look back in ancient history and trace these ideas what we are going to see is the same issues that we have faced.  We will go back to Aristotle and Plato.


To understand what a revolution occurred in Greek in the 5th century BC, we must realize that anybody at that time lived in cultures that were polytheistic.  That means they worshipped numerous gods and goddesses. They were idol worshipers. They deified the forces of nature.  As a result of that they made men subservient to nature.  It produced cultures that were violent and destructive and offered people no hope.  It is fascinating to look at history.  In the 6th and 7th century BC there came a time when all of these idolatrous systems tended to be wiped out and men looked for answers and solutions in another direction.  This is when the Greek philosophers came on the scene.  As their thought developed it culminated in the person of Plato. So you had two great philosophers Plato and his student Aristotle 


In a picture by Raphael called "The School for Prophets", Plato has his finger pointed upward and Aristotle has his hand pointed downward.  For Plato reality was in the upper realm of ideas.  But Aristotle came along said it did not answer the question.  He said that reality was in nature itself.  Plato says that reality is above.  It is not in the world that we see and experience with our senses.  The material world for Plato is nothing more that a shadow, a reflection of these ultimate ideals. He called these ultimate ideals forms.  Later on the Apostle Paul says that Jesus Christ existed in the form of God.  He picks up that philosophical terminology to indicate that the ultimate reality was Jesus Christ.  For Plato truth is not discovered through the senses.  We don't see things as they are.  We simply see a shadow.  Truth is not discovered through the senses or through the study of what we see, taste, and feel but through unaided reason alone. 


This is the contribution of the Greeks to human thought.  After rejecting the gods and goddesses of polytheism and after rejected the idolatry that had dominated for centuries, they rejected all gods and said that man could find meaning and truth by himself on the basis unaided reason.  But Aristotle came along and said, "No, it does not explain the issues.  It does not explain why there is evil in the world.  It doesn't explain why there is suffering.  It doesn't explain why man exists and why he is different from all the other animals. It doesn't explain what is ultimately out there."  He said that reality is not what is above it is what is below.  Reality is what you see.  In other words by studying the material world that you can know directly, we can know truth.  They are opposing truth claims.  One says you can't know things directly you can only know their shadow.  The other says you can know things directly through you senses.  Truth is discovered through the senses. 


Now for most of us who have never studied a lot of philosophy or thought this may be something that is over your head, but it is important to understand because these same series of things occurred in modern times. Descartes was like Plato.  He was a rationalist.  He said you could find truth through reason.  But it was bankrupt system. He was followed by men like John Locke who were empiricists following the path of Aristotle.  They said that you couldn't come to truth by reason but you could come to it through experiences.  But then that fell apart.  Then a man came along in the late 1700's named David Hume who said you couldn't know truth at all. You can't even be sure it was there. He was a skeptic.  Man can't live as if there was no truth. 


As soon as something happens in the news - you hear some story about a father who murdered his children - you are appalled.  You think it is wrong.  And the he gets off.  You are offended.  Your sense of absolutes is offended.  What have you done?  You have just used verbiage that indicates that you believe there is some overarching absolute standard.  Whenever you get into an argument with somebody you say they are right or wrong.  You tell them they shouldn't do something.  As soon as you use the words should or ought or right or wrong, what are you implying?  The very words you use imply that there is some overarching standard.  Man can't live as if there is no standard because the Scripture says that God built that in us. 


So Plato and Aristotle set up the ancient strand of skepticism.  Plato used a very famous illustration of how we know things by using a cave.  If you have studied basic philosophy you have studied this.  It is found in his famous work "The Republic."  He uses the cave as a way to illustrate that man only knows the shadows.  The background for this is something we did as kids.  We have all made shadows with our hands.  You see the shadow on the wall.  A box represents a cave.  Somewhere behind man there is a light illuminating his knowledge and it is casting a shadow on the wall.  All you see are the shadows. You see a horse or a dog.  You do not see the ideal reality.  It is hidden from you.  It is actually outside the cave.  The problem with Greek philosophy and Plato is they couldn't get to a direct knowledge or understanding of ultimate ideals or ultimate forms because they weren't revealed to him from outside the box.  Man was stuck in the cave.  He couldn't get outside the cave to see if what he saw was true.  So Aristotle came along and said that it was bankrupt because you can't know anything for sure.  This system is known as rationalism. 


Aristotle also has a box.  That box represents creation.  Aristotle's system is empiricism.  He emphasized that truth is that which is known by the senses whether it is sight, sound, touch, taste, or smell.  This is how we learn about the world around us.  We can learn through our senses.  But our sense data is also limited.  And something must haves put everything in motion.  But we don't have any sense data about it.  So Aristotle postulated something known as the unmoved mover or prime mover.  Something got everything in motion but he didn't know what it was.  But, because all of these things exist that are in motion; there must be a prime mover because they are in motion.  This is an essential problem to Greek philosophy. 


He was followed by the Sophists who were the skeptics of the day.  They did not think you could know truth.  They didn't think that there was an overarching truth.  Everyone has to have their own truth.  Whatever works for you is okay.  But people cannot live like that. That system broke down and was replaced by the Epicureans.  They were replaced by the Stoics.  People began to give up on having an overarching truth. If you don't have an overarching truth, then your can't find meaning and purpose to life.  If there is no meaning and purpose to life, then life is meaningless and purposeless.  You are nothing more than a cosmic accident.  There is nothing more distinct or significant about your life than the life of a lizard or a rock.  Have a happy life! 


 That is where human philosophy ends.  It was bankrupt.  At the same time that the Greeks wrestle with this, something is happening over in Israel.  The answer was here.  God had revealed it to the Jews.  But the Jews rejected it and substituted the idolatrous religion that the Greeks were now in the position of rejecting.  So because the Jews had fallen into idolatry, God punished them and took them out of the land – the land that He had promised them, the land of Canaan.  He said that he would punish them for 70 years.  They would be destroyed by their enemies.  They would be removed from the land and after 70 years God would bring them back to the land.  This occurred in 536 BC when the first group of Jews returned from Babylon. 


This first group of Jews came under the leadership of Ezra.  They returned to the land.  After they returned to the land several things happened over the next hundred years.  They developed two different religious political parties.  The first is known as the Sadducees and the second is known as the Pharisees.  The Sadducees were sort of the liberal group.  They didn't think there was anything that was supernatural.  There was no after life.  Angels didn't exist.  There is no resurrection. They thought that religion was fine and good, but we must use reason and be thinking individuals.  This is their position.  They represent the group of people down through the ages who hold on to a religious form.  They like God talk.  They say things like God bless you.  They go to church on Sunday.  Every now and then they get a book on spirituality.  They read it and it makes them feel comfortable.  It takes the edge off their guilt, but they do not give themselves to a belief in god.  It makes them feel they have some level of meaning and purpose.  They can't live like the skeptic or atheist because then you are left with hopelessness. So they leap into God but they don't believe that God has spoken to man.  That is the Sadducees.  That foundation fell apart.  The foundation of Greek philosophy fell apart and left them with skepticism.  The foundation of religious liberalism that has affected all the major religions – Judaism, Islam, and Christianity – has been effected by modern philosophy. 


But then you have the Pharisees who were the Jewish fundamentalists.  They were the rigorous upholders of the Mosaic Law.  They wanted everyone to make sure that they did everything in their life exactly and precisely according to the law so that God wouldn't punish them and kick them out of the land.  They tried to earn God's favor by how many times a day they prayed and how many times a day they went to the temple. Once again that didn't work. They were trying to get brownie points with God.  It was another truth system that fell apart.  It couldn't bear the weight of the issues of life. 


It is into this context that Jesus comes.  He is the eternal God. The Scripture says that He is the one who created the heavens and the earth.  The God of the Bible is a distinct God from all these other gods or prime movers or the ideals.  The God of the Bible is distinct from everything else.  He is the Creator God. 


Genesis 1 begins with one of the most profound statements in Scripture.


NKJ Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.


The first statement says that there is a beginning but that God existed before the beginning.  He is eternal.  He is not finite.  It rejects all polytheism (the belief in many gods) and rejects the concept of atheism (the view that there is no God). 


That God created the heavens and the earth indicates that God is distinct from the universe.  He is not in the universe and He is not identified with the universe or nature.  The very first verse of the Bible separates and distinguishes Biblical teaching from every other religious system in the world. 


He said, "Let us make mankind."  "Us" indicates that is there is a plurality of members in the Godhead. There is not just one person in the unity of God but there is more than one person in the Godhead. Later revelation indicates that there are three persons in the Godhead - God the Father, God the Son and the Holy Spirit.  It is the second person of the trinity God the Son who was the actual creator of the heavens and the earth.  As the creator He is the one who established reality.  He establishes the way things are.  He established the laws that govern both the spiritual realm as well as the physical realm.  As such He has the ability to communicate to us. 


The other interesting thing about this is that when God created man, He knew first of all that He was going to want to communicate to man.  So He made man in such a way that man could receive with certainty that communication.  Man wasn't going to have to guess whether it came from God or not.  God created man so that he could know with certainty that God had communicated to him.  Man could know Him and have a relationship with Him. 


The second thing we need to observe about God's creation of man is that when God created man God in His omniscience knew that one-day He would enter into humanity.  So that He created man to function in such a way that the eternal God of the universe could incarnate Himself into the human race so that He could provide salvation.  He could come and speak truth to man so that man would have the ability to evaluate all of these other so-called truth claims.


This is a background to understanding Jesus conversation with a Pharisee in John 3.  I want to go the end of the conversation first and then go back to the beginning.  When Jesus goes through this conversation He is talking to a man named Nicodemus.  Nicodemus was probably the best Bible teacher of the day.  He knew the Old Testament backward and forward.  Nicodemus is not his actual name.  It means ruler of the people.  This was a title for the #1 teacher of the Old Testament in Israel.  Nicodemus who knew the Old Testament better than any Pharisee in the first century comes to Jesus because he heard He was doing miracles. He asks Jesus what is going on.  So Jesus explains a few things and Nicodemus just isn't catching on. Maybe you have had this experience.  You try to explain Christianity and they have a hard time grasping it.  When the conversation is nearing its end, Jesus makes a profound statement. 


NKJ John 3:12 "If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?


This is a profound statement.  Think of a graph (next page). The y-axis represents space.  It goes from smaller to larger.  The smallest thing we could perceive is part of an atom.  Then the largest thing we could perceive is a galaxy.  The x-axis represents time.  With the use of instruments we can observe things down to a nano-second.  At the other end of the spectrum we have historical observations.  They may not be our initial eyewitnesses, but there are those who lived and wrote down their accounts of what went on.  That represents the full extent of human observation.  A box inside the graph indicates the limits of what we can observe.  The box represents the boundaries.  When we get beyond these lines we can't have any direct observation anymore. We don't know what goes on there.  When we go beyond the historical observation we don't know what went on because there is no direct eyewitness account.  The smallest thing that we can observe with a microscope may be the sub molecular level.  The largest thing we could observe would be a galaxy.  We can't go beyond that.  We can't go beyond space.  So that provides limitation. This is the same box that boxed in Plato with his rationalism.  It is the same box the boxed in Aristotle with his empiricism.  Human knowledge can only go so far.  When we get outside the box we deal with deductions and conjecture.  It is pure guesswork unless there is an eyewitness who goes from outside the box into the box. Otherwise we can't know what is outside the box.  This is what Jesus is saying in John 3:12-13.






NKJ John 3:12 "If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?


NKJ John 3:13 "No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven.


What Jesus is saying is that He is the one who is the incarnate revealer of God.  So He has come from heaven into the box of human limitations so that He can accurately tell man who He is, what His purpose is, what His meaning is, and what His destiny is.  We can hear to have a relationship with God.  We can understand why there is evil and suffering in the world and that there is resolution to evil and suffering in the world. 


So He says that He is the way because He tells us how to get to God.  He is the truth.  What He says conforms to the reality of God's existence and how to get there.  He is the life because only when you have that relationship with Him do you have life. 


NKJ John 14:6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.


That is the subject of His conversation with Nicodemus.  The conversation begins in John 3:1.


NKJ John 3:1 There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews.


He came to Jesus at night. It could be that he didn't want anyone to know that he was coming to Jesus at night.  Nicodemus is a ruler of the Jews and was the most popular Bible teacher of his time.  He may have been busy during the day so that there was no other time for him to come. 


NKJ John 3:2 This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, "Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him."


He doesn't know where to start.  He knows that Jesus turned water into wine.  That is an act of creation.  This does not fit his understanding of reality.  He thought to get to God he had to do works.  Now Jesus has come along and is teaching something different from that.  He backed it up with miraculous displays and Nicodemus  was confused. All of his life all he had heard was that to have a relationship with God was through ritual, through ethics, or through morality.  And now Jesus is saying something else. This is the problem that so many people face.  They try to find truth in philosophy and it is bankrupt.  They try to find truth in religion, ethics or morality but it doesn't get you anywhere.  None of those systems deal with the basic problem.  The basic problem is what Jesus is going to point out here.  It is a problem of man's condition. 


NKJ John 3:3 Jesus answered and said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."


The problem is a problem of birth.  You were born physically alive but you were born spiritually dead. Every single human being since Adam sinned comes into the world spiritually dead.  He can't have a relationship with God. He can't do anything that pleases God.  He can do good works, but on a relative scale they are only good because they are better than somebody else. 


NKJ Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,


We are all under condemnation.


NKJ Isaiah 64:6 But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away.


The best you can do is garbage in God's sight.  Jesus is saying that if you want to have a relationship with God, you can't get there through philosophy.  You can't get there through ethical obedience.  You can't get there through ritual because that doesn't solve the problem of spiritual death.  The only thing that solves the problem of spiritual death is if are born again.  There has to be a new birth.  You are physically alive but you are spiritually dead.  There has to be a birth that gives birth to a new spirit. 


Nicodemus is scratching his head.  He is thinking of physical birth.


NKJ John 3:4 Nicodemus said to Him, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?"


He can't.


NKJ John 3:5 Jesus answered, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.


NKJ John 3:6 "That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.


The emphasis is that there is a fleshly birth that is physical birth. There is a spiritual birth that happens when you put your faith in Jesus Christ as your savior.  This has Nicodemus confused.  That is why Jesus said –


NKJ John 3:12 "If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?


Then He makes the issue clear. 


NKJ John 3:14 "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up,


This is a reference of something that happened to the Jews on their way from Egypt to the Promised Land.  They had disobeyed God and God disciplined them by sending a bunch of serpents that bit with a fiery and fatal sting.  Jews began to drop left and right because of these venomous vipers.  When they finally turn to God all they had to do was look at the serpent.  They do not have to improve their lives; they don't have to go through ritual.  They don't have to go through seven or eight steps or go through various temple rituals.  All they have to do is look at the serpent and they will be saved because to look there is an act of faith.  It is believing in what He said.


NKJ John 3:15 "that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.


What the Bible claims is that the only way to God is put your faith in Him alone.  It is not a matter of your personal morality, your failure, your success or your personality.  It is a matter of trusting in Jesus Christ alone.  It is His righteousness that saves you.  It is never our righteousness.  It is a gift of God. 


This leads to one of the most famous verses in the Bible.


NKJ John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.


This salvation is available to each and every person.


NKJ John 3:18 "He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.


What is the issue?  The issue is not works or morality or religion.  It is belief.  The question is that if you are going to build your life on something, what will it be?  Will if be on some philosophy that works for you?  Is your life being built on some religious system that makes you feel good?  Does it seem to take the edge off of life?  By going through some activity does it makes you feel more acceptable to God? 


But the Bible says all of this is like shifting sand.  It is an uncertain foundation and it will collapse. 


Up in New England where I lived there is a phenomenon of wooden covered bridges that carried wagons from one side to another.  They worked for a while.  But if you tried to take a semi-truck across one of those bridges, it would go into the water.  It is a perfect illustration of all the different thought systems and religious systems in the world.  They provide a sense of stability and seem to work for a while.  But they can't carry the load of the real issues of life.  They can't answer the questions related to the existence of sin, evil and injustice. They can't answer the questions of the meaning and purpose of man.  It falls apart eventually.  Other systems are bankrupt.  The religious systems of the Jews were bankrupt.  The religious systems of the world are bankrupt. 


The only solution is Jesus Christ.  The issue is do you believe He died on the cross for your sins?  He made an exclusive statement. 


NKJ John 14:6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.


No one, it doesn't matter how good you are, can come to the Father except through the Son.  That sounds like a pretty arrogant statement.  Some people just bristle when they hear anything about the Christian gospel because they believe it claims to be the only way.  But you see that if you understand all that the Bible says about Christianity, about God, and the sinful condition of man; then you understand that this is the only way that it could every work because it is not dependent upon a sinful and fallen creature.  It is dependent solely upon God.


Next time we will look at truth and how God's truth constantly invades history.  Yet man because he is fundamentally oriented against God consistently seeks to put his own spin on that truth.  Next time we will see how truth has been revealed from Genesis through Revelation.  We will see the issue of truth and why it is so fundamental.