Two years back, during worship, I was talking about Jesus is the Truth and no falsehood is found in Him. I asked our believers to take up a challenge: that for one week, they would not tell a single lie. They may choose not to speak; but whatever they speak, it has to be absolute truth. To my utter dismay, only 6 people were ready to take up the challenge. When they came the next week, only 4 of us had not told any lies at all in a week. I explained to them that devil is the father of all lies and whenever we tell a lie, we become his children (John 8:44), and hence exhorted our church believers to desist from telling lies.
Yesterday, January 15th, 2017, the worship was based on Matthew 1:21, wherein the angel says to Joseph in his dream, “And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” The emphasis was on “He will save His people.” And I cross-referenced that verse to Isaiah 63:8: For He said, “Surely they are My people, children who will not deal falsely.” So He became their Saviour. When I explained that this is how the Lord sees us, as His people, children who will not deal falsely, the church was so excited; everyone were clapping their hands and shouting “Hallelujah! Praise the Lord!”
Then I told the church that one of the translations (NKJV) actually says that “children who will not lie.” So, I asked the church to raise hands if they had not told any lie since the beginning of the new year. I was expecting quite a few hands to be raised as it has been only 15 days, right? And to my utter chagrin, it was the same 6 people who raised their hands this time too.
It is really sad that Christians do not consider telling lies as a sin; it is a peccadillo at the best. Oh, God won’t punish you for small lies; He understands them. It is the big sins He is after – idolaters, sexually immoral, people who are into witchcraft – these people, yes, the Lord will deal with them severely. But, liars, you know, it is just a weakness. I heard a preacher consoling one of the believers when she was convicted in her spirit, when I spoke about lying.
Revelation 21:8 says: “But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and ALL LIARS shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” (NKJV, emphasis mine). Oh, may the Truth of God prevail among Christians and we truly become “children who will not lie.” Amen.
When we lose hope in the promises of God, when our faith struggles, when situations roar against the promises of God, we tend to think that the Lord has forgotten His promises. But the LORD never forgets a Word that He spoke. For He does not speak like we do. His every Word has the power to create a new universe. So, He would never say a Word unless He means it.
So, the problem is not with God. Then with who? The devil and his minions? Of course, not. They also don’t forget the promises of God. If God has made a promise to you, they know that God will fulfil that promise to you. They know that the Word of God is a hard currency. It is like a gold bar.
When Jesus was tempted by the devil, he kept asking Jesus, “If You are the Son of God…”, as if he is not sure of that fact. But we see that when Jesus was doing His ministry, the evil spirit confesses that Jesus Christ is the Son of the Most High God. (Mark 5:7)
Yes, they know. That is why they are trying so hard that you forget the promise or you lose your faith on those promises. Let us hold on to the promises of God. The due time is nearer than we think. Those promises will be surely fulfilled. Amen.
Whenever the Lord God gives us a promise, we see that the devil is more at work than we are. The circumstances will lead us to think against the promise of God. We will hear a whisper, saying, “But didn’t God promise the exact opposite of what is happening to me?” Our faith will struggle.
The good news is Jesus knows. Yes, He knows our struggles of faith.
In Luke 3:22, we see the Father declaring His love for Jesus Christ. A voice from heaven declared, “You are My beloved Son; in You, I am well pleased.” This is the assurance the Father gives to His Son, as Jesus was about to start His ministry.
Now look at what happened some 40 days later. Jesus fasted for 40 days and we always assume that Jesus was praying for 40 days. But the Gospel according to Luke says that He was tempted for forty days by the devil (Luke 4:2). After 40 days, Jesus Christ was exhausted and now the final temptations come. And the very first words the devil says is: “If You are the Son of God…”
When we are exhausted, the final temptations come. Questions will arise on the very Foundation on which we believed. And when our faith struggles, everyone, including our own self will accuse us for not trusting our Lord completely.
But we have a High Priest, Who was tempted in all possible ways; a High Priest, Who knows our weaknesses. Since Jesus was tempted just like us, He knows the ordeal. Of course, He never sinned. But He knows that we are made of dust. And HE is interceding for us, at this very moment, so that our faith remains strong and we hold on to His promises. Yes, the cunning one will be defeated yet again, and this time by us. May our LORD alone be glorified. Amen.
This Sunday, I was watching a sermon on TV from a pastor in Chennai. He is the leader of one of the biggest churches in the world. He was preaching about “peace”. As he was preaching about living peacefully, he said something that bothered me.
“If there is a problem with someone, even if you have not done anything wrong, even if the mistake is entirely because of the other person, you should go and tell that other person that you are sorry and you should ask for their forgiveness. If you can not ask forgiveness, then you are not a true Christian and you surely are going to burn in hell.” (Paraphrased)
Really? I understand that as a Christian, one of the first acts that I need to do is repent for my sins and seek the forgiveness of the LORD. And also I should seek the forgiveness of those who are wronged by me. But… am I going to burn in hell because I am not seeking the forgiveness for something that I did not commit and from the person who did commit it? Really?
God willing, I will deal with the topic of burning in hell in another blog. But I want to point out one of the biggest stumbling block in Christian life – being overly righteous.
Yes, we are called to be peace-loving and peace-seeking. But does that mean we need to say, “I am sorry, please forgive me” when we have not done something? Let us see how many things are wrong in this one statement when we have not done anything that is wrong – according to the Word of God.
I am sorry. Yes, we all can say that. But honestly, are we really sorry? No, we can not be really sorry when we have not done anything wrong that we regret. So, in essence when we say “I am sorry”, we are lying. And guess who is the father of all lies? In John 8:44, our Lord Jesus Christ clearly says that devil is the father of all lies. So, even though we are saying something that is really good and polite, when we don’t mean it, it is a lie and we have fallen into the web of lies that the devil has woven.
Please forgive me. How can anyone ask forgiveness for themselves for something they didn’t commit? (Okay, here I am not talking about interceding with God for the sins others’ have committed, like Nehemiah and Daniel did; nor I am talking about you interceding on behalf of someone who is close to you, like Abigail did for her husband Nabal.) So, the only reason we are asking forgiveness is to appease the other person. But aren’t we Christians have a different calling? Not to please men, but to please God. (1 Thess. 2:4)
Just one statement that sounds polite and so correct in human terms. But that will make us the children of devil and pleasers of men. So, instead of being overly righteous and seeking peace in ways that the Bible does not advocate, let us seek the peace that surpasses all human understanding (Philippians 4:7), the peace that our Lord Jesus Christ has given us by His sacrifice on the Cross (John 14:27). Let us not forget what the Bible tells about following the LORD (Proverbs 4:27):
|Psalm 119:130“The unfolding of Your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.”
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