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1776. Tell the Truth

The Daily Platform / Bob Jones University
The Truth Network Radio
May 20, 2024 5:00 pm

1776. Tell the Truth

The Daily Platform / Bob Jones University

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May 20, 2024 5:00 pm

Dr. Steve Pettit continues the series entitled “New Life in Christ,” with a message from Ephesians 4:25.

The post 1776. Tell the Truth appeared first on THE DAILY PLATFORM.

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Welcome to The Daily Platform from Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina. Today on The Daily Platform, Dr. Steve Pettit is continuing a study series from Ephesians, entitled New Life in Christ. Today, Steve will show us in Ephesians 4, 25, how to speak the truth.

Ephesians chapter 4, this morning, last week we took just a simple break from our study in our new life in Christ, and so we will pick up where we left off as we continue studying through the book of Ephesians. There is an American television show that has been often on the air since 1956. Can you guess what it is? It's not Jeopardy. It's not Wheel of Fortune. It's called To Tell the Truth.

Have you ever seen that TV show, It Comes and Goes? Well, it features a panel of four celebrities whose object is to correctly identify a contestant who has an unusual occupation or has undergone an unusual experience, whose story is read in the beginning of the show. The main character, the true character, is accompanied by two imposters who pretend to be the true character. The panelists question the contestants, and the imposters are allowed to lie. But the central character is sworn to tell the truth.

After questioning, the panel attempts to identify which of the three challengers is telling the truth. This morning, my message is entitled, Tell the Truth. And when you consider real life, telling the truth is no game show. Because telling the truth is absolutely fundamental to living out the new life in Christ.

Let me say it again. Telling the truth is absolutely core to the Christian life. You cannot live for God and at the same time lie. So we read this morning in Ephesians chapter four and verse 25, these words.

That's what we're going to look at this morning. Notice what it says. Wherefore, putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor. Why?

For this reason. We are members one of another. Now Paul is essentially saying to us as Christians, stop lying and start telling the truth. And I believe that since lying is the very first area we are told to change in our new life, this is the first area, then lying has to be recognized as one of the most common sins among believers. And given the fact that Bob Jones University is a community of Christians, Christians at all different stages of life, then I personally believe that lying is the foremost sin of Bob Jones University.

It is the number one problem within our student body. That is, many of you lie all the time. So let's look at this sobering and serious statement Paul says. Look at what he says in the beginning of verse 25. He says wherefore.

Now whenever you see the word wherefore, you always ask the question, what's it there for? And everything that Paul is about to say going forward, verse 25 to the end of the chapter, is actually pointing back to what he has been saying since the start of the chapter. The book of Ephesians emphasizes the community of believers called the church. In chapter four and verse three, Paul says that the key for the church to experience genuine community is based on the believers keeping the unity of the Spirit or keeping the unity that has been created by the Spirit. Or if you want to simply say it this way, if you want to experience community, you have to have unity. Now, this unity requires a commitment.

It just doesn't come naturally. It's a commitment on the part of each believer to walk in a way that properly reflects the worth and the value of your salvation. That is, you are to walk in accordance to the salvation that God has worked in your heart.

And in the section that we are studying, it's one of five walks we find in Ephesians chapters four, five and six. And that walk is this, we are to be different from the Gentiles. We're not to live like our former life. And the reason why we're to be different is because we've been converted. The old life of sin has been put off and the new life of righteousness and true holiness has been put on. We have been saved.

And when did this take place? The initial experience of salvation involves two things, repentance and faith. Putting off, that's repentance, and faith, putting on. And this act of putting off and putting on is not only the way that you're to be saved, but it is the process or it is the way spiritual growth happens. Spiritual growth continues throughout the whole of the Christian life as you follow the commands to put off the old and to put on the new. Or you can say it this way, we are to be living out in daily experience what happened to us at the very moment that we are saved. So spiritual growth is living out your salvation.

Now, starting in verse 25, to the end of the chapter we have eight verses. And Paul expands that put off, put on model by covering five different areas of conduct. And that's what we're going to look at for the rest of the semester. And what he is saying is these are areas where our behavior has to change or you could say it needs to be sanctified.

But what I want, the point I would like to make is this. We are not to change for the sake of change, but we are to change in order to maintain a unity within the community of, of God's people. It affects the people of God. And by the way, it affects the campus of Bob Jones University. The atmosphere, the temperature of this university, what we experience here is based on the way you individually live your Christian life.

So, what is the first area of our life that needs to change? And that's what he says in verse 25. He says we are to put away lying and we are to speak the truth. Now just a few thoughts about this idea of lying. If we look back to verse 22, Paul says that lying is the disposition of the old man.

Look at what he says in verse 22. Seeing that you have put off the old man which is corrupt according to deceitful lusts. He is saying this, that the moral disposition of your old life before you're saved is a disposition of deceit. And primarily the deceit is this, that our natural heart is controlled by a nature that produces deceitful desires. You say what do you mean by deceitful desires?

Our heart produces the desire to sin and that desire is deceitful because it promises to satisfy you. It promises to make you happy. It promises to bring you fulfillment.

It promises to meet your needs. However, your heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked because those desires do not satisfy you. Giving in to those desires do not make you happy. It does not bring you fulfillment.

It does not meet your needs. Instead, it corrupts you. It makes you worse and ultimately living in sin leads to hell.

So question, why is it that we're this way? We're not just talking about something that you do. You don't just, you don't just lie. You're actually a liar. You're actually naturally that way. So why?

Why are we that way? Well it goes back to the original liar. Who's the original liar? His name is Satan. Jesus said in John 8, 44, you are of your father the devil and the lust of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning and abode not in the truth because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh out of his own character. That is the very heart and nature of Satan is that he's a liar. For he is a liar and the father of it. That is, he's the one that gives birth to all lies. And here's what the Scripture is teaching. That when Adam fell into sin by believing the lie of Satan, the character of Satan became the character of Adam. And when the first Adam fell, he passed on that nature to his descendants.

That's us. So that when you and I are born, we are born with the nature that just automatically tells lies and believes lies. Psalm 58, 3, the wicked are estranged from the womb. They go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies. You know, your mama never taught you to lie, but you lied. Your daddy never taught you to lie, but you lied. Your preacher never taught you to lie, but you lied. Where did you learn that? You were not educated to lie, you were born to lie.

That's human nature. Now, when you get saved, what happens? Well, you embrace the truth. Jesus said you shall know the truth and the truth shall what?

It shall set you free. Jesus said I'm the way, the truth, the life. No man comes to the Father but by — through me. When we confess our sins through repentance, we're confessing the truth about ourselves. We're sinners. When we believe, we embrace the truth that Jesus Christ is God's revelation and man's redeemer. We believe that. That's truth. So from the very start of your Christian life, you have essentially put away the old life of lying and you put on the new life of truth. That's what happened when you were converted.

So, how do we live? Wherefore? Therefore. He gives us a negative injunction. He says put away lying. Stop lying. And that's written in the aorist tense.

That means once and for all. Make up your mind. You're not going to be a liar. The Greek word for lying is the word pseudos or pseudos. Pseudo. False. Fake. Not real.

Not legitimate. So you could say lying is fake words. It means to make a statement that's not — that's intentionally false. For example, in the Garden of Eden when Satan came and tempted Adam and Eve to sin, he did two things. Number one, he contradicted God's truth and he misrepresented God's truth. God said to Adam, if you eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall die. What did Satan say?

You shall not die. He contradicted the truth. God said you will know good and evil and Satan misrepresented the truth and said you will be God's. You will be your own God.

You will run your own life. In both cases, he lied. He misrepresented the truth. Here's what lying is. Lying is saying words that seeks to create a reality that is simply not true. So how do students lie at Bob Jones University? How do you create a reality that is not true? Well, in a university culture of expectations and accountability, it's really easy to lie here because we have this thing called an honor code. So you're asked questions.

And the answer is real simple. It's yes or no. Like, did you do your reading assignment yes or no? Did you attend church yes or no? Because either you did or you did not. Did you attend the artist series yes or no?

Look, there's no phantom you. You were either here or you weren't here. Did you go off campus legally yes or no? Are your spiritual growth assessments accurate? Is this true yes or no? Is this reality? Are you manipulating reality to say something that's not really accurate about you? Have you signed something you said you were going to do and did you do it yes or no?

Now here's the issue. If your answer is based on an honor code and you lie, then where is your honor? Do you not have any honor? Do you not have enough respect for yourself appropriately that you're not going to lie?

You're going to tell the truth? But these are not the only ways students lie. There are many other ways we can speak falsehood. For example, we can make a problem bigger than it really is. That's called exaggeration.

That happens a lot. Can we be evasive by avoiding giving a direct answer or not dealing with things when they come up? We can be silent when we should be speaking up. We can tell a half-truth which in reality is a whole lie. We can make slanderous insinuations about one another, thus discrediting others' reputations. Think about it. Three times in the Bible the devil spoke.

That's three times too many. Every time he spoke, he lied and essentially he slandered the reputation of somebody else. So in Genesis 3, he slandered the reputation of God to man. In Job chapter 1 and 2, he slandered the reputation of man to God.

And in Matthew chapter 4, he tried to slander the God-man, Jesus Christ. Shakespeare said that the way you destroy a man's reputation is by slight praise. He's a good guy but. You ever heard that?

He's a really good guy but. I want to say just keep your butt to yourself. Don't tell me that doesn't go on around here. It goes on around here all the time. So you speak evil about one another. And you judge one another by the words that come out of your mouth. We can keep silent when we should speak up and tell the truth.

We make promises and then we fail to keep those promises. And here's the sad thing is, the sad thing is, and this is the worst thing of all, is that when you lie, you actually are lying to yourself because you think you're going to get away with it. And that's the biggest lie of all.

Nobody gets away with lying. Numbers 32, 23 says be sure your sin's going to find you out. Your sin will find you out in your conscience.

You know why? Because your conscience is going to bother you. Your sin's going to find you out in your character because you are starting to allow dishonesty to seep into your own heart and that becomes a part of who you are as you develop the habit of lying. It will find you out in your relationships because you reap what you sow. If you lie today, you're going to lie tomorrow.

If you're lying to your girl today, you're going to lie to her tomorrow. It's going to find you out in your reputation. People will know that you're not a true person. And sadly, for some of you, it's going to find you out in eternity. If somebody perpetually lies, what does that say about them?

Could it be simply exposing the reality that you've never put off the old man and put on the new? Where do perpetual liars go? Revelation 21, 9, all liars shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.

Here's the bottom line. If you lie, then what Paul is saying is that's not who you are. You're a Christian. You've embraced the truth.

Now tell the truth. And so what are we to do? Well, he gives a positive exhortation. He says, speak every man truth with his neighbors for we are members one of another. I think Paul here is actually reflecting back to an Old Testament injunction. Zechariah chapter 8 verse 16, it says, these are the things that you shall do. Speak every man the truth with his neighbor.

So really, Paul is actually quoting the Old Testament. And so what he's saying is the whole of the scripture is saying to us, his people, we're to be truth tellers. So how do you overcome lying?

Well, the only way to overcome lying is you have to start telling the truth. And truth telling affects different relationships. So for example, it affects our relationship to the church. It is imperative that we communicate honestly with one another.

Why? Because we're part of the body of Christ. We are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. Ephesians 5, 30, we are members one of another. Ephesians 4, 25.

Paul uses the image of the body to illustrate how important it is to tell the truth. I mean, what would happen if your eyes did not communicate honestly to your mind when you were walking near a dangerous cliff? Could you imagine some of you going up to hike at Caesar's Head? It has cliffs there. You can fall off and die real easy. And your mind is telling you that though your eyes see the cliff, there's really not a cliff there. Don't worry about it. And you walk off. Let me think about it. What would happen if one hand is lying to the other hand when you're trying to play a violin?

Could you imagine what it would sound like? The human body can only function when its members cooperate truthfully with one another. Almost every problem Christians have is rooted often in some kind of lie, some falsehood, some kind of deceit. Are you willing to be candid with each other? Or are you afraid of how others will respond to you? Open rebuke is better than secret love. Do you become defensive when somebody points out something that is truthful about your life and then somehow you cast blame on them to hide your own pride and insecurity? Secondly, we're to be truthful in our relationships with unbelievers.

It is highly crucial that we live in all honesty. I learned something. I didn't grow up in a Christian home. I was the first Christian in my family.

I went to a school where almost everybody in the school were unsaved. And you know what I learned? I learned that the world does not expect Christians to be perfect. They really don't, but they do expect them to be honest. The quickest way to lose your effectiveness as a witness is to be found in a lie or discovered to be deceitful in your character.

If you were to go into the business world and you're to work with unsafe people it is absolutely essential that you be honest and above board in all things. The world is watching you and they are holding you to be accountable to being honest. And then finally, this matter of speaking the truth and telling the truth is essential to your relationship with God. You're to tell God the truth about yourself when you lie.

Do you know what we call that? We call that confession. The Bible says if we confess our sins the word confess means to say the same thing. It means to say what God says about what you're doing. If you're being deceitful then you just say it.

I was deceitful. I really actually think that a lot of you have gone a long time without a spiritual bath. Because when we confess our sins God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Could you imagine what it would be like if your chapel buddy sitting next to you had not taken a bath all semester?

It would be really bad. And just like that's what happens when we don't bathe, it's also true when we don't seek cleansing. Because our hearts are to be broken of our sin and there's only one thing that can take away sin. It's not you deciding to be better and do better.

That's called self-righteousness. It is you getting on your face before God and say God I lied. And tell the truth. Tell the truth.

And then go back and make it right. My junior year of college I was a cadet at the Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina. I was also a sergeant in my rank position. I was invited to come up to Bob Jones University for a weekend and on Friday night I had tickets to go to the artist series. It's a three and a half hour to four hour drive to get up here and so I had to leave by a certain time in order to be here on a certain time in order to go. But I had one obstacle and that is every Friday afternoon there is a parade. You have to march in the parade and you can't leave until the parade is over with. Well I went to my first sergeant and told him what I wanted to do and he literally gave me the opportunity not to march. He let me out of marching in the parade. But there were actually two permissions I had to get.

One is I had to get permission from my own sergeant and secondly I had to get permission from the school to be able to leave and I couldn't get that permission. So actually I couldn't leave until the parade was over with. But I knew if I waited until the parade was over with I wouldn't make it to the artist series.

Now I know this is hard for you to believe that I was that earnest to come to this artist series. But I was. And so I decided to take a risk. I got in my car with my uniform on and I drove to the front gate. I decided that I was not going to verbally lie. And the guy at the gate was a sergeant who was also one of my classmates a junior and he saw me he knew me he said hey Steve how you doing? I said fine. He said what are you doing?

I said I'm going to Greenville, South Carolina. And he said do you have a pass? And I said I was given permission to not march in the parade.

That's actually true. And then I stopped. Because I didn't have a pass. And he looked at me and I looked at him. And he said okay you can go.

Now some of you would go yes. And I drove off the campus of the Citadel and my conscience screamed at me. You liar! And my conscience screamed at me the whole weekend. I sat here at Bob Jones University over in Rodeheaver and I don't remember what it was it was a Shakespeare play.

I didn't listen to the play. My conscience was screaming at me. As I was driving up here I thought God was going to kill me. Have you ever thought God was just going to kill you? I mean you know you're really no good you're done.

It's over. And I got back to campus. And I walked around campus and all I could think about was that I lied. I'd been a Christian for a couple years, two years, year and a half. God was sanctifying me. And I asked God to forgive me.

I bet I asked God to forgive me you know 50 times. Lord I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I've never done it again. I'm sorry. I lied.

You know? But I wasn't really fully honest because I needed to go back to the guy and turn myself in. And that's what I did. I went back to the guy's room, walked in, told him what happened, turned myself in.

You know why? Because I lied. And I walked away knowing this that whatever I have to take for lying, lying is worse than whatever I have to take.

And God gave me freedom and a good conscience. And I said by God's grace I don't want to lie. Stop lying.

Tell the truth. Father we pray for your blessing that we will stop lying and we'll start telling the truth. Lord I pray for every student in this room who's been lying. I pray God that they'll get their conscience right. In Jesus name, Amen. You've been listening to a sermon from Ephesians chapter 4. Thanks again for listening. Join us again tomorrow as we study God's Word together on The Daily Platform.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-05-20 19:46:55 / 2024-05-20 19:56:25 / 10

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