Summary: 6 of 10 of the series, Supernatural Transformation. God delights in honesty and detests lies. Dishonesty is one of the strongest deterrents to the work of God. This message explores the effects of a dishonest person and the reasons for God’s hard stance
NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH
Read at beginning of service:
Ephesians 4:25 (NIV)
25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body.
Some of us may be able to sympathize with the fellow who received a call from his wife just as she was about to fly home from Europe. "How’s my cat?" she asked."Dead."
"Oh, honey, don’t be so honest. Why didn’t you break the news to me slowly? You’ve ruined my trip.""What do you mean?"
"You could have told me he was on the roof. And when I called you from Paris, you could have told me he was acting sluggish. Then when I called from London, you could have said he was sick, and when I called you from New York, you could have said he was at the vet. Then, when I arrived home, you could have said he was dead."
The husband had never been exposed to such protocol but was willing to learn. "OK," he said. "I’ll do better next time.""By the way," she asked, "how’s Mom?"There was a long silence, then he replied, "Uh, she’s on the roof." (Just like Jesus, by Max Lucado, p. 108)
Acts 5:1-11 (NIV)
1 Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. 2 With his wife’s full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles’ feet. 3 Then Peter said, "Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? 4 Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God." 5 When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened. 6 Then the young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him. 7 About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8 Peter asked her, "Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?" "Yes," she said, "that is the price." 9 Peter said to her, "How could you agree to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also." 10 At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11 Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events.
Today, I’d like to speak with you about something that I think all of us are challenged by at one level or another. We all have times where we’re faced with the choice of being honest or being dishonest. Oh, but to be honest (!) we don’t really call it a lie, after all it causes no real harm does it? We merely call it, an exaggeration, a story, or a joke.
I remember growing up that there was the phrase we tossed around a lot that I guess hasn’t really gone away. When you finished telling another kid about something really out of this world the conversation would go something like this:
They would say: "No Way!"
You would say: "Yup!"
They: "C’mon you’re kidding right?"You: "Nope, it’s the honest truth! I’m not lieing!"They: "Yeah, right"
You: "I swear, it’s true!!""I swear it’s true!" We live in a world where it is becoming increasingly difficult to take someone’s word as truth! In fact, it is expected that a person is lying (oh sorry, I mean kidding) unless they indicate by some adamant exclamation that what they are saying is honest.
Is it no wonder, though, that we have this expectation? From television ads to politicians we’re inundated with a mindset that schemes, manipulates, and, yes, lies to convince us of something we should believe. Daily on television we are confronted with commercials that would convince us of the validity of their product in solving all life’s problems – from the perfect automobile to weight loss we’re swamped with the message that buying this product will magically increase your satisfaction in life. But what is the truth? The truth is – that there is really nothing magical about their particular product at all – all it really does is empty your wallet. I find myself sometimes laughing at the lengths commercials will go to in trying to convince me to buy their product!