Sermons

Summary: People ask all sorts of questions about God.

So then, putting away falsehood, let all of us speak the truth to our neighbors, for we are members of one another. Ephesians 4:25 (NRSV) [1]

You have probably never seen a more purely uncomplicated presentation of the Gospel than the scene we’re about to watch. In Disney’s 1940 animated film “Pinocchio” the heart of Geppetto longs for the relationship of a son.

Whether intended by Disney (or not), Geppetto is a fair analogy for the Father, Creator. He is a maker of toys, and the strong desire in his heart for a child causes the Blue Fairy (representing the Spirit?) to animate one of Geppetto’s creations, a wooden puppet named Pinocchio. But the little wooden toy is not a real son, only a toy who, by the end of the story, would become a real, live boy. The end of the story does indeed have Pinocchio becoming a real live boy, a true son of the father, Geppetto, but not before giving-in to temptation and needing forgiveness! How very much like the real Heavenly Father’s children!

--- Pinocchio video clip --- [2]

Pinocchio’s lies have trapped him in the cage of his disobedience (the bondage of sin). He is lying to the Blue Fairy to cover his lies; but they just keep tumbling out of his little wooden mouth – and they’re growing (along with the length of his nose!). His little friend Jiminy Cricket (Jesus Christ the Savior?) appeals to the Blue Fairy: …give him another chance…for my sake? The forgiveness Pinocchio receives wasn’t earned – it was grace! That’s the Gospel!

Now this analogy with Pinocchio representing you and me, and Jiminy as Jesus, has holes in it (as do most analogies). The chief hole is that Pinocchio wasn’t repentant; he wasn’t really heartbroken over his sinful lying – realizing how he’d broken Geppetto’s heart and desiring to be reconciled. Pinocchio is sorry he’s in the cage and he regrets his nose weighs three-hundred pounds! He has regret, but no remorse – which is the chief difference between selfishness and worship.

It is said that art (or cartoons in Pinocchio’s case) reflects the culture. Who could deny that even after receiving forgiveness, and promising never to lie again, Pinocchio still had problems telling the truth? And we do too.

We can get downright self-righteous about it all. Like the time the accountant made a mistake and Harry got an extra $20 on payday; he didn’t say a word. During the week the accountant caught his mistake and deducted the twenty bucks from the following week’s paycheck.

Harry ran to the office, “Hey, I’m twenty bucks short here.”

The accountant said, “You didn’t complain last week.”

“Well,” said Harry, “I don’t mind overlooking a mistake…but when it happens twice, then it’s time to speak-up!”

Why Is Truth So Important?

There are two foundational reasons (beside that sticky one in Exodus 20 about bearing false witness! ):

The first is that Christian fellowship is at stake. Paul had to remind the folks at Ephesus to keep truth a high priority. We also have to be reminded, because anything less than truth loosens the bonds that tie us together as the children of God. Paul said we’re “members” of each other. The word is “melos” () and means “limbs”. Falsehood makes the tendons and joints come unglued – pulls the body apart. Truth is the very nature of God; falsehood opposes God.

When Jesus was dealing with the religious leaders (Pharisees) who were looking for some premise to accuse him, the debate came down to Jesus “laying it on the line”…he reminded them of the separation between truth and falsehood:

You are from your father the devil, and you choose to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. John 8:44 (NRSV)

The second reason why truth is so important is that it has implications for eternity, not just here on earth; Heaven is also at stake. Jesus said so! He told our good friend John to write these words about the division between heaven and eternal punishment:

But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the polluted, the murderers, the fornicators, the sorcerers, the idolaters, and all liars, their place will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”Revelation 21:8 (NRSV)

The point should be made that one lie can make you a sinner, but that doesn’t mean that a momentary lapse into a lie will keep a Christian from Heaven. The use of the word in many places in scripture, and the context indicate an habitual commitment to lying – a lifestyle of lying.

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