Chardon church of Christ

Sermons from the Chardon church of Christ

Truth Be Told

Posted by Chardon in 1 John 2

Truth Be Told  
1 John 2:5

A wealthy businessman lay on his deathbed. His preacher came to visit and talked about God’s healing power and prayed for his parishioner. When the preacher was done, the businessman said, “Preacher, if God heals me, I’ll give the church a million dollars.” Miraculously, the businessman got better and within a few short weeks was out of the hospital.

Several months later, the preacher bumped into this businessman on the sidewalk and said, “You know, when you were in the hospital dying, you promised to give them church a million dollars if you got well. We haven’t received it as of yet.”
The businessman replied, “Did I say that? I guess that goes to show how sick I really was!”

1 John 2:5 But whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him:
A few years back two guys interviewed thousands of people, and they published their findings in a book called The Day America Told the Truth. Of those surveyed,
91% said that they lie on a regular basis.
86% said they lie to their parents regularly,
75% said they lie to their friends,
68% said they lie to their spouses.
50% said they regularly called in to work sick when they weren’t
Doug Sherman and William Hendricks, compared the ethics of Christian and non-Christian adults. They found that almost as many Christians steal from work as non-Christians,
almost as many Christians use company phones for personal long distance ...as non-Christians.
And they found that Christians are just as likely to falsify our income taxes, and commit plagiarism, and give bribes to obtain a building permit, and ignore construction specs, and illegally copy computer programs, and steal time from work, and exaggerate our products, and selectively obey the law.
Matthew 5:33-37 – “33 “Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but fulfill to the Lord the vows you have made.’ 34 But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; 35 or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. 36 And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. 37 All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.

--This passage reveals some important reasons why we must live truthfully: First, dishonesty undermines our relationships
When we lie and don’t keep our promises it destroys trust and trust is what healthy relationships are built upon
Honesty helps us grow in our relationships with Christ and with others
--Eph. 4:15 – Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.

Second, dishonesty is contrary to the character of God
God is a commitment-keeper
--Num. 23:19 – God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?
Satan, however, is the father of lies

--John. 8:44b – He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
There is a saying you may have heard... “Don’t fudge now.”
The slang term “fudge” in reference to stretching the truth comes from a sea captain named Fudge He became notorious for telling all kinds of lies, tall tales and exaggerations about his improbable adventures at sea.

It was said of this Captain Fudge that he “always brought home his owners a good cargo of lies.”
By the mid-1800’s the expression “no fudging” was being used in America by children to discourage friends from cheating at marbles.
--For anyone who grew up playing marbles ... I guess that’s where one would have learned the phrase.
One thing that both of my parents stressed when I was growing up: Always tell the truth
--If I did something wrong and then lied about it, I was in “double trouble” but if I told the truth, the discipline wasn’t as bad as when I ‘fessed up to what I’d done.
Being a follower of Christ means a commitment to truth
--We need to be people of our word
You want to be known as someone who keeps your promises no matter what
However, there are some common justifications that most of us give for breaking promises
I didn’t think it was all that important
I thought I might be able to keep the promise
It seemed the right thing to do at the time
I want to challenge you in three areas this evening:
1st ) KEEP YOUR PROMISES...EVEN WHEN THEY SEEM INSIGNIFICANT

When you start to justify a little dishonesty because it seems insignificant, be careful because you’re one step closer to doing what you never thought you would do
The little areas test our integrity
God takes stretching the truth very seriously
Every time a casual commitment is broken, an incremental amount of damage is done
How many of you are familiar with these common “lies”?
Honest, I only need 5 minutes of your time
Your table will be ready in just a few minutes
The check is in the mail
I will get to that 1st thing in the morning ...
If elected, I promise...
-- A busload of politicians were headed to a convention but because of highway construction, they had to take a detour down a rural road. The driver was having problems with this windy,
country lane and lost control of the bus. It ran off the road and crashed into a tree in an old farmer’s field.

The old farmer was driving to town when he noticed that that there was a gaping hole in his fence. He went to investigate and saw what had happened. He went back to his truck, got a
shovel, and buried all the politicians.
Since the politicians never arrived at their destination, a state trooper was dispatched to locate them. He backtracked their route, followed the country road, saw the wrecked bus in the field, and looked up the old farmer that owned the property. The trooper asked the farmer where the politicians had gone. The farmer informed the trooper that he’d buried all of them.

The trooper said, “Didn’t you call the coroner? After all, not all of them might have been dead.” The old farmer replied, “Well, some of them kept sayin’ they weren’t but you know how them politicians lie!”
We might be very familiar with those lies but there are other lies that destroy our integrity:
There are several ways we can be careless with the truth on a daily basis because we don’t see it as a big deal
We lie to cover up our mistakes
We exaggerate
We mislead
We give false flattery
We deceive or cheat
Rodney Buchanan, a preacher in Mt. Vernon, OH: “Who has not been startled to hear yourself say something that is an exaggeration without even thinking about it. It is not that you began the conversation with the intention of saying something that was not quite true, but before you knew it you found yourself embellishing a story.
Are you honest about your age?
Have you been thoroughly honest with your taxes?
Have you ever been dishonest about the time you claimed you worked,
or not given an honest day’s work for an honest day’s wage?
Have you ever cheated on a test?
Have you ever lied to get out of trouble?
Have you ever complimented someone when you didn’t mean it?
Have you ever kept silent when you should have told the truth?
Made yourself appear better than you are?
Lied to gain an advantage or get your way?
Misled someone to save face?”
Eph. 4:25 – Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor...
2nd ) KEEP YOUR PROMISES...EVEN WHEN YOU REGRET MAKING THEM
Maybe you regret making a promise because things didn’t turn out the way you had hoped
Maybe when you made the promise, you’d hoped that you would have:
More time
More money
More knowledge
More energy
More whatever (you fill in the blank)
Maybe you made a promise to do something because you thought you’d get something in return:
money, favors, popularity, position
--Now it looks like you’re going to have to do what you promised and not get anything.
Some people think that if they don’t commit to anything, it’s easier to get out of the obligations and responsibilities implied
However, there are times when we have to make commitments
We have to promise to do certain things whether we like it or not
It’s our commitments that define who we are
We can make promises that we don’t like but fulfill them in ways that show integrity and fortify our witness for Christ
-- Once there were two brothers who were very rich and very wicked. Both of them lived lives of sinfulness and corruption and used their wealth to cover up a lot of their wickedness. Both were
members of a local church and used their money to be in positions of influence.

The old preacher at this church had retired and a new preacher had been hired. This preacher was a man who preached the gospel with zeal and courage and lived an exemplary life. The
congregation began to grow at such a rapid rate that they needed to build a new church building.

At this same time, one of the brothers got sick and died. The new preacher was asked to do the funeral. The day before the funeral service, the surviving brother pulled the preacher aside and
handed him an envelope. He said, “There’s a check in this envelope that is large enough to pay off the new building. All I want you to do is tell all the people at the funeral tomorrow that my brother was a saint. Do you think you can handle that?” The preacher shook the brother’s hand and said, “I will do precisely what you have asked.”
The preacher immediately took the check to the bank and
deposited it to the church’s account.
The next day, the preacher stood in front of the large group of people who had come to the funeral and said, “This man in the coffin was an ungodly sinner and wicked to the core. He was
unfaithful to his wife and abusive to his children.
He was ruthless in business and a hypocrite in
the church. But compared to his brother, he was a saint!”
C. Maybe you regret making a promise because keeping your word ends up costing you more than you expected

Ps. 15:4 describes a righteous person as one “who keeps his oath even when it hurts.”
--Maybe things have not turned out the way you had hoped, but you keep your commitment anyway
There is a story told of a young minister and the suffering he endured because he kept a promise he had made to a buddy during World War I.

This friend was worried about the care of his wife and small daughter if he should be killed in battle, so the minister assured him that if that were to happen he would look after them.
As the war dragged on, the man was killed. True to his word, the minister took care of his friend’s family.
Yet no matter how helpful he tried to be, the woman was ungrateful, rude, arrogant, and domineering. Through it all, the minister kept forgiving her. He refused to let her actions become an excuse to renege on his promise.
I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Jesus follows His section on divorce with the challenge to keep your promises
--We seem to have a problem with that in our nation
We promise to love, honor, and cherish in sickness and in health, in good times and bad, until death do us part
Yet, almost 50% of all marriages in the United States end in divorce

For some reason, we have trouble keeping those wedding vows
-- Sometimes promises are tough to keep but we need to keep them to the best of our ability.
Another problem is that we have trouble keeping our promises to Jesus
a. We stand in front of a group of people and proclaim: “I believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
The civic club meetings become more important than fellowship with the Body of Christ
Watching TV or going to sporting events becomes more important than studying the word of God
Talking to friends or business colleagues becomes more important than spending time in prayer
Our business becomes more important than God’s business
Dr. Seuss, in Horton Hatches an Egg, tells the story of an elephant, named Horton, who promises to sit on an egg and hatch it for it’s mother, lazy Miss Mayzie. As the days and weeks go by, Horton just keeps sitting there on that nest up in a tree. All his friends encourage him to forget his promise and play with them.
Do you remember his response? “I meant what I said, I said what I meant. An elephant is faithful, 100%.”
What could God do with a congregation that had that commitment?
3rd) KEEP YOUR PROMISES...EVEN WHEN YOU’RE THE ONLY ONE WHO KNOWS
When you can keep a promise to yourself, you will tell the truth to others
Promises to ourselves are sometimes the hardest ones to keep
There is no accountability and seemingly no consequences
Once you start breaking promises to yourself, it becomes much easier to break a promise to others
Jesus makes it clear in Matthew 5 that whenever we make a promise we do so in the presence of God

When we break a promise, we’re not just lying to others or ourselves
--We’re also lying to God
Back in Jesus’ day, the Pharisees had developed elaborate rules governing when a man was bound by his word and when he was not.
If I swear by Jerusalem, I am bound by my words. If I swear towards Jerusalem I’m not bound.
Any promise I make using God’s name binds me, but if I can avoid using God’s name when I
make a promise, maybe I don’t have to keep my word, they thought.
--So they began to swear by anything that sounded like it might mean something
c. In fact a whole book of their law-code dealt with making vows and promises – which ones you had to keep, and which ones you didn’t.
We have similar oaths to swear we’re telling the truth:
Cross my heart and hope to die (stick a needle in my eye)
--Oops, sorry. I had my fingers crossed
I swear on a stack of Bibles
If I’m lyin’, I’m dyin’!
May lightening strike me if I’m not telling the truth
I swear by my mother’s grave....
With God as my witness...
Some people try to reason by saying , “If you know you’re lying, and the Lord knows you’re lying, it’s the same as telling the truth.”
Jesus said in Matthew 5: 34-35 – “But I tell you, Do not swear at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King.”
What Jesus is wanting is truthfulness. all the way around
If you’re one of God’s people, then whatever you do reflects on God
Someone once said: “However hard you try, Jesus said, you cannot avoid some reference to God, for the whole world is God’s world and you cannot eliminate him from
any of it.”
God takes lying very seriously
Prov. 12:22 – The Lord hates liars, but is pleased with those who keep their word.

Rev. 21:8 – But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars–their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”
C. How do I get better at keeping my promises?
1. Admit your struggle
--At one time or another, we’ve all struggled with the truth. Sometimes it’s just easier to fib
The down side is that our culture despises dishonesty coming from people who claim to be
Christians
--We can do some terrible damage to our witness and even the cause of Christ when we’re not
people of our word.
People are looking for authenticity wherever they can find it.
Admit that truthfulness can be a struggle
--But recognize that Jesus says, “No matter what, tell the truth!”
Monitor your promises
Reliability builds credibility
--Can other people count on you to follow through and do what you say you will do?
Do you ever say, “I’ll pray for you,” just because it sound like the right thing to say?
--Do you ever actually pray for that person?
What about in business?
--Is what you advertise what you deliver?
The Message paraphrase of our text is don’t say anything you don’t mean.
This counsel is embedded deep in our traditions. You only make things worse when you lay down a smoke screen of moral talk, saying, ’I’ll pray for you,’ and never doing it, or saying, ’God be with you,’ and not meaning it.
You don’t make your words true by embellishing them with religious
lace. In making your speech sound more religious, it becomes less true.
Just say ’yes’ and ’no.’
When you manipulate words to get your own way, you go wrong.”
Just say, “yes” and “no.”
It sounds simple enough. And yet we know speaking the truth is anything but simple.
Examine your motives
--Why am I making this promise? What do I really want?
Do I want success at the cost of relationships?
Do I want acceptance, even if it means being less than truthful?
“The test of character comes when being truthful endangers what you want.”
Living an honest life, keeping our promises can be difficult
Did you know that several of the Bible’s greatest “heroes of the faith” were liars?
Abraham lied to the Egyptian Pharaoh saying that his wife Sarah was actually his sister.

Jacob lied to his father Isaac saying that he was actually his brother Esau, so he could receive the blessing meant for the eldest son.

Peter lied to the servants and soldiers surrounding the fire outside the trial room where Jesus-Peter’s friend, teacher and Lord-was being tried, convicted and sentenced to the cross, saying, “I tell you I never knew the man!”
However, the Holy Spirit can work miracles and change a liar into a person of integrity

Abraham came to a point and place in his life when he was able to trust God for everything, even the life of his beloved son Isaac.
Jacob, after a night of wrestling with God, was able to trust God with everything he had, and so he returned to face his brother Esau whom he had cheated and betrayed.

Peter was able to trust God before the same crowd that had called for Jesus’ crucifixion when he stood up at Pentecost to proclaim the same name he had denied a mere 50 days before.
Jesus faced the gut-wrenching choice of keeping a costly promise.
God had been promising for thousands of years to send His Son to save the world through His death and resurrection.

But when the moment of truth came in the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus felt the weight of the difficulty of keeping this promise.
In fact, He asked His Father, “If there is any other way, please let this cup pass from me.”
--Jesus knows what it’s like to face a promise you don’t want to keep
But in that moment of truth, when He realized there was no other way to save us, Jesus became the ultimate promise-keeper.

--Jesus kept His word to die in our place, to absorb all of our sin,
so that we could live and be forgiven and be reconciled to the Father.

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