This radio broadcast answers to some degree the general question on the importance of truth. The transcript is submitted in its entirety for the consideration of the reader.
It seems the political campaign system has not started early this season. It seems like it never stopped since the 2000 elections.
There is a joke about how you can tell a politician is lying. His mouth is moving.
Dr. Ford, this seems a good time for us to talk about the subject of truth.
You certainly are correct about that brother Boling. Some people do not think a man can be in politics and be a Christian. But the truth is that the American system was originally set up to be a Christian based government. It was supposed to be a system based on truth. People have been erecting what we call "a house of cards" which are ideas and concepts based on lies. But you know what happens to a house of cards?
Yes I do, it falls down with the first puff of wind.
Do you have an example of how people trying to manipulate our government has lied to erect this house of cards?
Yes I do. They lie about people like Thomas Jefferson. In fact, he is one of their favorite people to smear. They say he was a deist who did not believe in the God of the Bible. What they do not tell you is that he introduced a bill into Congress to have the government to pay for the printing and distribution of Bibles to people living on what was then the American frontier. At one time Thomas Jefferson was the leader of a Bible Society. That is pretty active participation for a man who did not believe in the God of the Bible.
That is very interesting information, but what is the place of truth in the Bible?
The place truth holds in the Bible is both plain and in need of some explanation. First of all let us talk about what the Bible says about the opposite of truth, lies. The Bible lists liars among the people who will be found in the Lake of Fire. Let me give you that list and you can see what kind of company liars keep in God's Holy Word. In Revelation 21:8 it says, "the fearful and unbelieving, and the abominable (that includes homosexuals and other perverts), and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
Wow, I would not want to be keeping company with a crowd like that.
Apparently God takes the subject of lying pretty seriously doesn't He?
Yes, He does. In the Bible, He equates truth with who He is, and He expects Christians to be truthful people.
Can you give me an eample of how He requires that of believers?
Let me do that in the negative. I will give you an example of how the Lord Jesus Christ brought an unbeliever to a confrontation with himself around the subject of truth. And, I will show you how the failure of that man to make a decision to follow the truth all the way brought about his eventual downfall.
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The person I am talking about is Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor. The Lord Jesus Christ was sent to Pilate because Caiphas and the liberal religious leaders wanted Him put to death, and they did not have the power to do it themselves at that time.
They had to have a charge that would get the Lord executed so they fabricated a lie to make the Lord an enemy of the government.
But Pilate was no dummy. He saw through the lie and pronounced that he found no fault in the Lord, but he was politically afraid of what the religious apostates of the day could do to him with the Roman government. After all, he was a career public official, so he was more concerned about doing what was politically correct than the truth.
When the Lord Jesus Christ appeared before Pilate, Jesus told Pilate that He had come to bear witness to the truth, and that everyone who is of the truth hears His voice.
Pilate asked Jesus, "What is truth?" But Pilate did not wait for an answer. He immediately turned and walked out of the room. He did not wait to hear truth. He was not seeking truth. He was doing what was expedient for the moment, and he did not wait to hear Jesus voice and come to the truth.
Ten years later Pilate, after a decade of misfortune, would die by his own hand, a suicide. He dies without ever coming to the truth. That is the penalty of following a lie.
That is really something. Choosing the lie instead of the truth not only had a result in the world, but it had a tragic outcome for Pilate personally.
That's right pursuing a lie always has a personal penalty.
Unfortunately the world prefers lies. It not only indulges in lies but it teaches succeeding generations to prefer lies to the truth.
For instance when I was raising my children, Public Broadcasting was the source for children's television programming on the Armed Forces network. One day, I heard one of the episodes which had muppets playing out a story say, "Sometimes it is alright to tell a little lie." The point they were making was it was better to tell a lie than to tell the truth and hurt a person's feelings.
I immediately turned off the television and explained to my children that it is never alright to tell a lie, not even to spare someone's feelings. A lie is a lie and the result of lies are more lies until the day the lies are found out.
Well I know you cannot trust children's programming to do what is right for the children and I know that you cannot trust many people in public life to be telling the truth.
The Bible is full of stories about people who told lies and what happened as a result as well. What do you think the true Christian is supposed to learn from all this?
The Christian is supposed to learn that God expects us to be truthful in everything, even when it is not convenient to do so.
In the Bible, God is called the God of Truth. So people who say they are God the Father's children have to be people who are distinguished by telling the truth.
If God is the God of truth and the very personification of truth, then those who are His must reflect that fact.
Now, the Bible tells us and warns us that we are not to put confidence in men, but we are supposed to put confidence in the sure promises of God.
Truth is very important, for if the promises of God were not sure or truthful, we would have nothing else to believe in. I feel sorry for people who are unbelievers for they have no certainties in this world on which they can depend.
Wasn't that where Pilate was? He really did not have any confidence in anything?
He wasn't even sure there was such a thing as truth was he?
Brother C.W., you sure hit that nail right on the head. Pilate was a product of what the world considered the best educational system of his day, and he had been taught that things were relative, that there were no absolutes. Our children are being taught the same thing today. That lie of the devil has not gone away. It is growing in strength right now.
Guess what? When Pilate was faced with a decision that required him to either acknowledge truth or commit an act of personal damnation he chose the convenience of a lie. Pilate betrayed the Son of God to the masses and we have allowed our society to develop the same attitude toward truth Pilate had. We have a generation of people who will betray parents and siblings alike for convenience sake because they do not believe there is really any such thing as truth.
So a Christian who lives with truth in all things as the goal of his life is really different from people in this world isn't he?
Yes He is. Being different from a lost and dying world should be the mark of every true believer. Unfortunately this is not the case. Many people who pronounce themselves Christians lie a lot, and they lie even when they do not realize they are lying.
Unfortunately, all too often even preachers lie. Maybe sometimes they do not mean to, but all too many of them do.
I want to clear up something.
When we began the program you said there would be no liars in heaven.
Now you are saying Christians, even preachers do sometimes lie.
Are these people then damned to hell?
No they are not damned, not if they are genuinely a Christian.
But not everyone who says he is a Christian really is. Lying is not supposed to be a characteristic of a Christian's life. A man who is a habitual liar probably is not a Christian no matter whether he says he is a Christian or not.
Let me tell you about some of the common ways Christians get caught up in a lie:
First, Christians usually lie by stretching the truth.
Even preachers, when telling a story, should be careful that they do not embellish the story. That is what the world does, and we have to be careful not to lie by exaggerating or even appearing to do so. I think we should be so careful to avoid the appearance of evil that we even avoid situations where telling some things that have happened might appear to some present to be a stretching of the truth.
For example it is better to not tell people who have no experience of the military some of the things that happen in the military because the accounts can seem so fantastic to such a person that they might think you are lying. If you are a Christian you do not want other people to think you exaggerate in any thing, because an exaggeration is a lie.
Second, Christians often lie by making promises they cannot keep
It is a fact of life that circumstances often intervene to interfere with keeping promises
The Lord has given us an out when we make a promise. We should say that if the Lord wills we will do what we say we will. But we should never do that and make a promise we do not intend to keep. Making a promise you do not intend to keep is not only a lie, but when you say that if the Lord wills you will do something and do not intend to, you are taking the Lord's Name in vain.
When we make promises we should be reasonably certain we are able to keep them otherwise we should not make them. Some Christians are notorious, like other people, of promising more than they can deliver. But they should take notice of what this does to their own reputation and especially their Christian witness.
Sometimes Christians lie by making promises they do not intend to keep.
I have already referred to this in the last category. So I do not have to say much more about it. I have known some Christians who would otherwise have sterling reputations if it were not for the fact that they lie in these ways. The truth is that most people who tell lies in the ways I have just described would be scandalized to be faced with the reality that people have come to consider them liars because they have developed these habits.
I can see that a lot can be said about the subject of lying and truth telling. Is there one central point that you would like to make as we near the end of this broadcast?
Yes there is. The Devil, the evil being we call Satan and Lucifer, among other names has a title. He is called the "father of lies." Of him the Scripture says he was a liar always. This is the exact opposite of how God presents Himself. Whether you are speaking of God the Father, God the Son, or God the Holy Spirit, every Person of the godhead is connected with truth in His very being. Not only that each Person of the godhead has a particular interest in truth in connection with the believer. For instance it is part of the ministry of the Holy Spirit to lead us into all truth. There is quite a contrast between God and the devil in the matter of truth.
I bet a lot of Christian people do not know that. Is there more?
Yes there is. Truth has a quality that does not get preached much from pulpits and I think it should. Truth has the quality of setting people free. I have seen this happen in my counseling ministry many times.
When people get honest about themselves or something they have gone through in life it has a freeing effect.
- I have seen people take responsibility about their family problems and be set free to work at the healing of relationships in marriage.
- I have seen people face and acknowledge their addictions and be set free from them as they turned their reliance on the Lord Jesus Christ.
- I have seen people who were molested as children face the fact of that molestation and place responsibility where it belongs and be set free to get on with their lives.
- I have even seen people who had been saying they were Christians get honest about their lost condition and kneel down in my office to ask the Lord Jesus Christ to come into their hearts and save them.
I could go on about how I have seen truth set people free and from that I have gotten the proof of what God's word teaches about how closely truth is connected with the Persons and power of God.
Thank you Dr. Ford. I know we have certainly got a closer look at the subject of truthtoday than is usually available to us .
I also realize that we could go on and talk about the subject of truth a good deal longer than the time allotted for this broadcast.
We have just scratched the surface. Maybe one day we can take up this subject again.
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