Truth has Fallen on Hard Times
INTRODUCTION: Psalm 120:2 reads “Deliver my soul, O LORD, from lying lips, and from a deceitful tongue.” The unsettling reality is that in our culture lying has become a customary way of life. We are easily deceived and we readily deceive.
Speaking about politicians someone said, “Lying: everybody’s doing it, Honest.” It appears that from the President on down, our government speaks nothing but a pack of lies. Every scandal in government, business as well as in religious societies is built on lies to deceive. And what is worse, many of the populace believe them.
Progressives don’t only live in a post-American world; they live in a post-Truth world. A world without facts and without truth is one in which the America that was cannot exist
Someone else said in a recent study that 91% of Americans admit to lying regularly. We lie to protect ourselves; we lie to promote ourselves; and we lie to profit ourselves.
The cost of our deception is incalculable — both in monetary terms, and in terms of our national character and conscience. The prevailing "climate of mistrust" has resulted in the erosion of many precious values.
When our words and our motives cannot be trusted, everything else is up for grabs. Relationships that are not characterized by mutual trust…are doomed to deteriorate. Every structure erected apart from a foundation of uncompromising, unswerving loyalty to truth is precarious at best.
On a personal level, our deception takes many forms. We lie with our words and we lie by our silence. We lie with the impressions we leave and, in some instances, we actually live a lie.
Mark Twain once quipped, "When in doubt, tell the truth. It will confound your enemies and astound your friends."
Telling the truth has fallen on hard times. Since our culture has shifted to the ethics of expediency and self-advancement, falsehood is commonly seen as a virtue. As a result, many of us have come to feel better about lying.
To the modern American, lying is not always wrong and telling the truth is not always right. Unfortunately, this undermining of the absolute value of truth has devastating consequences.
Truth has valuable allies. Trust, confidence, integrity, faith, security, and stability are unflinchingly loyal to her. When truth is disposed of, her allies leave with her.
Conversely, falsehood is allied with suspicion, doubt, withdrawal, insecurity, conflict, resentment, and anger. When non-truth replaces truth, the friends of falsehood will always be present.
Someone said, "When truth has been broken down or even slightly weakened, all things will remain doubtful."
This erosion of trust touches every relationship into which non-truth is injected. Homes are victimized, governments become suspect, media information is viewed with skepticism, and business relationships wear the shrouds of suspicion.
No relationship can succeed, let alone survive, if it is based on that which is false. Scripture demonstrates the serious spiritual consequences of tampering with the truth.
A moratorium on lying is included in the Ten Commandments where we read in Exodus 20:16, “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.”
A lying tongue is included in the infamous list in Proverbs 6:17 where we read, “A proud look, a lying tongue…”
When describing those whose lives will be judged in the lake of fire we read, in Revelation 21:8, “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
The psalmist, in aligning his life with truth, affirms in Psalm 119:104, "Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way.” And so do I.
Unfortunately, those of us who profess to know and follow "the Truth" those of us who alone have the capacity to live with "full authenticity" — frequently choose instead to live in webs of deception.
And all the more so, is lying and deception among believers – church people. I would be a rich man if I could have a $1.00 for every lie I have been told by God’s people over the years. I might be joking with that statement, but the truth of it saddens my heart and in some cases makes me very skeptical of believers – thinking now are they telling me the truth or lying through their teeth.
This message is an appeal to God's people to resolve to live truthfully and to be known as people of truth. For some becoming a person of truth may require major, costly steps. The only way to be "whole," to get our "life back," is to humbly face the truth about ourselves, about our ways, and about our relationships with God and others.
That truth, the truth that sets us free, is revealed in Christ, the Truth, and in His Word. To walk in the truth may or may not require some major, dramatic revelation or confession.
It will require of each of us that we bring everything about us — our words, our motives, our prayers, our relationships — into the searching spotlight of His truth.
It will require that we purpose to live guileless lives, filled and empowered by the Spirit of Truth.
It will require that we adopt as our standard, not the worldly, shifting sands of relativism and pragmatism, but the secure, immutable foundation of the God who cannot lie and with Whom there is no "variableness, neither shadow of turning."
It will require that we solemnly purpose to "speak the truth to every person in every situation, regardless of the cost," and to humbly go back and acknowledge every failure to do so.
This return to the truth must be the beginning place of any experience of personal or corporate revival. But why is truth so important to God? God's intense concern for truthfulness, centers in His very nature.
All the ways of God are true. Psalm 33:4 reads, "His works are done in truth." And in Titus 1:2 we read that, “God cannot lie.”
Jesus Christ is according to John 1:14 "full of grace and truth."
The Holy Spirit is the "Spirit of Truth," and according to John 16:13 His mission is to guide us into the truth.
Our very purpose in existing as God's children is to be conformed to the image of His Son. We are redeemed to reflect His character. When we participate in falsehood, we abort the purpose of our redemption and tarnish the reflection of His glory through us. If God is Truth, then we, too, must portray truth to accurately reflect God's image in our lives.
God's Word commands us to speak the truth regardless of the cost.
Proverbs 13:5 we read, "A righteous man hateth lying…”
Paul wrote in Ephesians 4:25, “Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.”
Paul also wrote in Colossians 3:9, "Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;…”
Nowhere in Scripture does God grant exemption from these commands. They are absolute. Our consciences cannot be clear before God and our joy cannot be full if we get involved with that which is false. Telling the truth is a matter of submission to God's will.
For our study, let's look at four categories of truth distortion that we need to understand.
FIRST, Beguilement: Beguilement is the sin of sharing false conclusions. And though often done innocently, it is devastating. It plants seeds of mistrust, doubt, confusion, and irreparably destroys reputations.
There are indeed two sides to every story. Being careless with the details and insufficient facts are the stuff of which false accusations are made. Even our secular system of justice claims a man innocent until proven guilty.
We must learn to resist the temptation to draw conclusions until sufficient information is in. How can we fortify ourselves against this temptation to misjudge and pass along false information? We must develop as we see in:
Galatians 5:22 a patient spirit that suspends judgment until sufficient facts are verified.
I Corinthians 13:6-7 a love that believes the best until facts prove otherwise.
I Peter 1:17 a faith that prays the situation into the courts of heaven where an "all-knowing God" promises to judge all men righteously.
I Corinthians 13:1 a willingness to protect others by encouraging those who are sharing false accusations to reserve judgment until sufficient facts are in.
Matthew 18:15 a boldness to go directly (if necessary) to those involved to clarify the facts.
SECOND, Deceit: Deception is a widely used technique for manipulation, self-advancement, and self-protection.
From the businessman who carefully words the fine print to cloud the true commitment being made on the dotted line;
To the pastor who purposely uses Scripture to manipulate a congregation;
To the professor who selectively chooses statistics to prove his own point; deceit is a prevalent reality.
It is evident in those who, living in known sin, carry the facade of pious behavior through the halls of the church. Putting on a Holier than thou front in words and actions seeking to impress everyone that you are a saint, but in reality you are (if you are saved) nothing more than a lukewarm to cold carnal Christian; more worldly than godly in thought, words and action.
Legal restraints such as "truth-in-advertising," "truth-in lending" and "truth-in-testimony" demonstrate how prevalent deceit is in our way of life. The "credibility gap" is a result of the undermining of our confidence through deceit in media, government, business, politics, and tragically, even in the church.
Proverbs 20:17 tells us, “Bread of deceit is sweet to a man; but afterwards his mouth shall be filled with gravel.”
Proverbs 12:20 read, “Deceit is in the heart of them that imagine evil: but to the counsellors of peace is joy.”
THIRD, Lying: Both beguilement and deceit twist and distort the truth. On the other hand; lying is the direct communication of non-truth.
Someone said, “Those who cook up stories usually find themselves in hot water.” Scripture relates several realities about a lying tongue that should give every believer cause for concern.
Lying — the Base of Satan's Strategy. One of the devil's greatest weapons has always been lying. It is the way by which he entices men to disobedience. He wove a web of lies around man in the Garden of Eden, and he has been doing so ever since.
He lied to man about his position as a sinner. In Genesis 3:4 he said, “…unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:” There is nothing to worry about: you can eat of the tree with impunity.
He also lied to man about God when he imputed to him His prohibition with regard to the tree. In Genesis 3:5 we read, "For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” He flattered man and maligned God.
The tragedy was that man believed the lie and acted on it, with all the tragic consequences of the Fall of man that we know. And the devil is still weaving his web of lies about us today.
He still tells us that we are good people and devoted Christians, and that there is nothing to be concerned about in our lives.
He still tells us that God is not all that holy and uncompromising, or that God does not love us or treat us fairly.
And the tragedy is that we still believe him. The result is that we have lost sight of things as they really are, and are now living in a realm of complete illusion about ourselves.
We must not, however, blame only the devil for all this. He has a ready ally in our hearts. In the first chapter of the first Epistle of John, we have the three steps in the building up of this world of illusion about ourselves.
The first step is in verse 6, where we have the words, "If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:” In other words, we give an impression of ourselves which is not the truth. We act a lie, even if we do not actually tell a lie. Some of us, perhaps, have been doing that for years, playacting, wearing a mask. And little wonder for in John 3:20 we read, for "every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither Cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved." There is much about ourselves that we want to hide.
The second step is in verse 8, where we read, "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." This means that we have acted a lie for so long that we have come to believe our own lie. We begin by deceiving others, and end by deceiving ourselves.
The Pharisee who thanked God that he was not as other men were, honestly thought he was telling the truth. He was, however, just as covetous, unjust, and adulterous as anybody else, but his own heart had deceived him. He was living in this same realm of illusion as we are.
The third step in the process is in verse 10, "If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us." All this leads us to the place where, when God comes to show us our sin and our real selves, we say, "Not so, Lord." God, we feel, has made a mistake. He is pointing to the wrong man.
Of course, we all admit theoretically we are sinners, but when God comes close, to show us that our hearts are as we read in Jeremiah 17:9 "deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked" and to do so on specific points, we cannot see that it is right. To say that we have not sinned, when God says we have, is to make Him a liar. While we live in this blindness, God can do little for us.
It is clear then, that our first and basic need is to know the truth as God sees it.
The breaking in of the truth about ourselves and about God, and the shattering of the illusion in which we have been living, is the beginning of revival for the Christian as it is of salvation for the lost.
It is just here that Jesus Christ is made to us what we need, for He says in John 14:6, "I am . . . the Truth." It is important to understand that Jesus is not saying here that He merely teaches us the truth, as if the truth were something apart from Himself; but that He Himself is the truth. Because as John 1:17 puts it "grace and truth came by Jesus Christ."
Lying — Part of the Believer's Past. Lying is a product of the flesh. It is a part of what we used to be.
Again in Colossians 3:9-10 we read, "Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; (10) And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:” Our newness aligns us with Christ and with His truth.
No wonder Proverbs 12:22 says, "Lying lips are abomination to the LORD: but they that deal truly are his delight.”
Why do we lie so readily? Lying is a quick and easy way to catch people’s attention to gain advantage, protection, and promotion of personal interests. We lie to get rich and we lie to get elected. We lie to protect our reputations and we lie to escape punishment. Most lies are dedicated servants of self.
FOURTH, Bearing False Witness: Though the term false witness can be applied to any false testimony, it specifically refers to those who bear false testimony against another person, often for some personal gain.
This sin is of particular consequence in that it strikes injury, often irreparable, to innocent people, their reputations, and their families. It is a violent use of the tongue. Is it any wonder that God says in Proverbs 19:5, "A false witness shall not be unpunished, and he that speaketh lies shall not escape.”
Beguilement, deceit, lying, and false witness are all means whereby Satan can defeat God's glory in us and through us. It is through these patterns of falsehood that he enlists us into the network of his "non-truth system."
Lying begins in childhood. Passing years should see its demise, but often it only matures in adults. Many, hardened by deceit, become masters. Almost unconsciously they learn to bend and stretch, turn and twist the truth.
Most Christians pride themselves on their truthfulness. But, in reality, we are masters too. We lie by what we say and don’t say. Even silence can be a form of grave deceit. We lie by what we do and don’t do. We live our lies.
We are liars. Our great enemy, the devil, is the source. Jesus calls him in John 8:44 the "Father of all lies."
He has successfully taught us that lying will produce some benefit . . . we will be more respected, more appreciated, live more comfortably if we will just cover the truth. At all costs, we must never admit who we really are. "Think of how it would ruin your reputation!".
The enemy is lying about lying! His very nature keeps him from telling the truth about the benefits of truthfulness.
In reality, the well-spring of truthfulness yields a river of redemptive results. Honesty is as refreshing as a mountain stream and is God's intended means to wash and purify our hypocritical lives.
King David discovered honesty's value . . . the hard way. Once a man of integrity, he fell into grievous sin. Instead of choosing truth's prompt path to God's presence, he chose the deadly descent of deceit… he kept silent about his sin. Only later, prophetically confronted by God's pointed finger of conviction, did truthfulness find its home. The value of honesty is given in his account in Psalm 32.
Number 1: There is the “Blessing of Full Forgiveness.” in verses 1-2a where we read, “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. (2) Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity…” David explodes with a cry of thanksgiving for the forgiveness that is available for the honest man. His sin is "forgiven . . . covered . . . not imputed" to his account. These three phrases express the completeness of God's forgiveness.
In I John 1:9 the Apostle John confirms the cleansing of confession: "If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness"
Truthfulness about our sin demands confession. The truthful Christian consistently accepts God's evaluation about sin. Such a vision will break his heart and pave the way for true repentance. Seeing the filth of his wickedness, in helplessness, he must turn to the only source of cleansing. Looking back to the cross, he realizes the priceless payment for his justification. Oh, the sweetness of forgiveness!
Have you known the taste of forgiveness lately? If not, perhaps it is a clear indication that you are lying to yourself. The crusty layer of an unexamined life has covered your eyes, blinding you to the cross. Brutal truthfulness brings godly sorrow, repentance without regrets, and the blessing of full forgiveness.
Number 2: There is the Blessing of Decreased Deceit in verses 2b, “Blessed is the man… in whose spirit there is no guile.” Guile means deceit.
Deceit grows quickly. When a believer is unwilling to get honest about his sin, the spirit of deceit multiplies in his heart. David committed one sin in an unguarded moment. If he had quickly responded in humble confession, his descent would have been averted. Continued resistance to truthfulness led him deeper and deeper into duplicity.
In a matter of hours he had lied to Bathsheba's husband, Uriah. He complicated his sin by living a lie before his family, friends, and colleagues (acting like a godly, righteous leader when he was not). He even lied to himself thinking there would be no consequences of sin. Deceit exploded in his heart.
Have you found yourself lying more? Have you noticed a deceitful spirit growing in those around you, your life becoming their example and excuse? This sinking cycle of deceit can only be stopped by truthfulness . . . today!
Number 3: There is the Blessing of Canceled Conviction in verses 3-4, “When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long. (4) For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer.” Untruthfulness regarding sin yields deteriorating results brought about through God's loving but powerful hand of conviction. David describes the difficulties that come to the deceitful.
A lack of truthfulness brings the possibility of physical deterioration. David's silence caused his "body (to be) wasted away." He is describing the physical stress true guilt can produce. Wise doctors would agree that many illnesses are psychosomatic and often caused by the weight of guilt from unresolved sin. Although not every sickness is directly related to sin, a possible connection should always be considered.
When sin and God induced conviction are the cause of physical deterioration, the prescription for healing is truthfulness itself.
A lack of truthfulness and transparency about sin can cause grave emotional deterioration. David said that he "groaned all day long." Have you ever known a groaner? They walk in a cloud of complaint, a sea of sorrow. Often this evidences the incredible emotional heaviness that can only be lifted with absolute confession and honesty.
A lack of truthfulness and transparency about sin can cause grave spiritual deterioration David described the source of this spiritual malady as God's "hand" upon him day and night. God's hand is very helpful when it uplifts, but it is awful when it presses down. Such conviction to the spirit is like pain to the body. Continued inattention to sin will yield continual spiritual decay.
What about you? Are you totally truthful?
When you sin, are you quick to respond to the truth?
Do you immediately look to God for His evaluation of your life and embrace it enthusiastically?
Is confession a frequent part of your daily walk?
When was the last time you sat before Him and cried with the Psalmist in Psalm 139:23-24, “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: (24) And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
Will you continue to cover your sin?
God's Word is clear from Proverbs 28:13, "He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.” Are you willing to become transparently truthful? If so, a shower of forgiveness will wash over you, and you will travel on the ascending spiral of integrity and joy. Break the silence that deceives!
If God has spoken to your heart after reading the sermon “Truth has Fallen on Hard Times” right now talk to God about what He has spoken to you.
Do you have the assurance that one day you will go to heaven? If you have no assurance that you know Jesus Christ, then I trust you will decide to accept Him as your personal Savior. The Bible tells us in
Acts 16:31, “…Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved…”
Romans 10:13, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
This prayer is here for those who need to ask Jesus to be their personal Savior: “I do want to go to Heaven. I know I am a sinner, and I do believe Jesus Christ died for me. I realize I cannot buy this great salvation, nor can I earn it. Knowing Jesus died on the cross and arose from the grave to pay my sin debt and to purchase my salvation, I do now trust Him as my Savior, and from this moment on I am completely depending on Him for my salvation.”
If you made the decision to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, please let me know. Please send an e-mail to pdmikBBM@aol.com and I will send you some literature that will help you in your Christian life.
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