"Are you defending God with lies? Do you make your dishonest arguments for his sake? Will you slant your testimony in his favor? Will you argue God's case for him? What will happen when he finds out what you are doing? Can you fool him as easily as you fool people? No, you will be in trouble with him if you secretly slant your testimony in his favor. Doesn't his majesty terrify you? Doesn't your fear of him overwhelm you? Your platitudes are as valuable as ashes. Your defense is as fragile as a clay pot. -- Job 13: 7-12 (NLT)
The truth is a dying commodity in our culture. This is to be expected as we continue our march into the end times. Honesty is no longer a virtue in a society that cares more about shock than virtue. Presidents and politicians are expected to lie. Spouses are expected to cheat. Our once vaunted media has been reduced to a battle of talking points that are entirely dishonest and could have been crafted by the fifth grade bully we would avoid in the playground. We recently saw the collective outrage towards the lies of Brian Williams expressed by people who watch "news" stations that lie every single day. Beloved, I understand that we all have our pet politics and collective outrages but they all must be secondary to our citizenship in heaven. They all must be secondary to the truth. There is no Machiavellian logic to our faith. The ends do not justify the means. Do not be caught telling, tweeting, posting, or spreading lies in the name of Jesus. If the people of the world cannot look to us for truth, who can they turn to?
Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. - Ephesians 4: 25 (ESV)
Do you realize how many lies people must navigate daily? Just from the world system regarding God alone? They cannot then turn to people who are supposed to represent truth and find more deception. This is no small matter to God beloved. To illustrate this let us turn to the key verses from the Book of Job. As many will remember, Job has lost everything. His friends have started to try and "comfort" him by essentially blaming him for his woes. As Job starts to rebuke them we come across this very interesting set of verses which we can apply directly into our own lives as well. The first thing Job asks is if they are defending God with lies? Are they making dishonest arguments for His sake? Here are some thoughts from the Pulpit Commentary:
"We are not to suppose that Job's friends consciously used unsound and untrue arguments in their disputations with him on God's behalf. On the contrary, they are to be regarded as convinced of the truth of their own reasonings - as brought up in the firm belief, that temporal prosperity or wretchedness was dealt out by God, immediately, by his own will, to his subjects according to their behaviour. Holding this, they naturally thought that Job, being so greatly afflicted, must be a great sinner, and, as they could not very plausibly allege any open sins against him, they saw in his sufferings a judgment on him for secret sins."
It is important to recognize that not all who lie on behalf of God are even aware of their lies. We see this often in the realm of false teaching where some are conscious wolves devouring the sheep and others are themselves deceived and go on deceiving others as well. Both are wolves but one is aware while the other is not. Job here cuts his friends to the quick and it is something we need to be careful about as well. God does not need us to lie on His behalf. He is a big God and He actually does not need us at all. We need Him. Yet that is not what is sold from pulpits every week. Instead we hear about this wallflower God hoping someone will ask Him to dance at the prom. I listened to a sermon this week that was completely devoid of any discussion of sin and repentance yet there was this "altar call" at the end:
"Do you wanna make Jesus as part of your life? All you have to do is ask"
Really? Is that all I have to do? God is just sitting there on the sidelines waiting for me to ask Him to dance? Seriously? Will you defend God with lies and make dishonest arguments for "His sake?" Will you slant your testimony in God's favor and will you argue His case for Him? We hear this all the time from seeker friendly pastors and purpose driven CEOs. They mangle the Word to "reach as many for Christ as possible." They do so however with a false Christ. The Pharisees were renowned for doing just this and one day Jesus warned them too:
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves. - Matthew 23: 15 (ESV)
I have seen mega church statistics that stagger the mind. Claiming tens of thousands of salvations for the year. No. You had tens of thousands of people who came up to the altar to ask Jesus to be a part of their life. No sin. No repentance. No regeneration. No salvation. Twice as much a child of hell as the man who is lying on God's behalf. Who is slanting their testimony in God's favor. Making dishonest arguments for His namesake. How bad are some of these dishonest arguments? Here are two examples just from this week alone. First Andy Stanley actually preached in a sermon that even if you do not believe Jesus is the Son of God you could still improve your life if you applied the "life principles" Jesus taught during His ministry. Are you serious? So for a handful of decades someone may have more temporal happiness but then they suffer eternal damnation? And this is not only acceptable to a man who claims to preach the Gospel but it is a sermon point? Talk about defending God with lies! In the very same week, Rick Warren preached a message about the profound sadness of never discovering the "purpose" God intended for you. While that is not shocking coming from the purpose driven guru, the more disturbing thing this week is he stated in the sermon that of all the potential messages he could give to a congregation, this one was the most important. That if he only had one sermon to preach, this tripe about our purpose would be the one. Salvation? Nope. The atoning work of the cross? Nope. Give me that drivel about how God has this marvelous plan for everybody. Sorry beloved but He may not. Everyone has a part but most of these parts are not these grand designs Warren would sell you. Some are for noble purposes but many are not. The rest of the key verses are statements and questions for the Andy Stanley's and Rick Warren's of the world.
What will happen when God finds out what you are doing?
Can you fool Him as easily as you fool people?
Doesn't His majesty terrify you?
Your platitudes are as valuable as ashes!
I look out across the sea of Christendom and am astonished that so many operate without the fear of the Lord. How many twist the Word of God for shameful gain and seemingly do not care that they will answer for it one day. It is not just Andy Stanley trying to undermine the Bride of Christ this week or Rick Warren thinking the most important sermon someone can hear is that God has awesome plans for them in the security ministry at Saddleback Church. It is for Joseph Prince selling a false grace and claiming divine revelation for it. It is for Joel Osteen selling a false prosperity. It is for Rob Bell claiming we should stop using the Bible. It is for Perry Noble who thinks nothing of rewriting the Ten Commandments and Perry Stone who has turned Israel into an idol. What will happen Mike Murdoch - when God finds out that you are robbing His sheep blind? Doesn't His majesty terrify you?