George Washington once owned up to cutting down a cherry tree with saying, “I cannot tell a lie.” We look for honesty in our leaders…even if we are not honest all the time ourselves.
In recent years, Konrad Kujau sold what he said was “Hitler’s Diaries.” This find was sold for 2.5 million dollars! It was later proven to be a lie! Konrad and his partner in crime served 42 months in jail for fraud and embezzlement. After his release, he ran for mayor – and lost miserably! His lies had altered his reality.
A lie identifies the liar as following the wrong leader! (Remember, Satan is the father of lies - John 8:44.) The liar insanely pursues life down the path of death! At rocket pace, the liar runs after the one who declares his desire to destroy his family, destroy his career, and in short destroy his life!
“There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” Proverbs 14:12
The lifestyle of a liar is deceiving. A liar has chosen to embrace the lie that says, “this lie will be more satisfying and freeing than the truth.”
Each of us are surrounded by situations that aren’t always easy to tell the truth. What do you habitually do with a “truth moment?” The believer must be known by truth.
“He who permits himself to tell a lie once, finds it much easier to do it a second and a third time till at length it becomes habitual.” Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) Third president of the United States.
“Every violation of truth is not only a sort of suicide in the liar, but is a stab at the health of human society. “ Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) U.S. poet, essayist and lecturer.
“The liar's punishment is not in the least that he is not believed, but that he cannot believe anyone else.” George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) Irish writer.
Let’s consider the account of Ananias and Sapphira one more time.
Acts 5:1-2, 7 says, “But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles' feet…..And it was about the space of three hours after, when his wife, not knowing what was done, came in. And Peter answered unto her, Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much? And she said, Yea, for so much. Then Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband are at the door, and shall carry thee out.”
the Lying Process –
The collaboration. This husband and wife team (Acts 5:1-11) chose to collaborate on the details of a lie. These partners in crime sold their land for a certain price and decided to keep part of the profit. There is no sin in this. Right? However, they agreed to say they gave the church all the profit. There was really no reason for this lie…other than perhaps, pride. Barnabas (and other believers) sold land and gave all the profit to the church (per the end of Acts 4). A generous, sacrificial gift for sure! Enter Ananias and Sapphira. This was a premeditated lie…they planned on not telling the truth to the church leaders!
The confrontation. Peter was not inside their tent when they had this collaboration meeting. Peter did not “happen” to walk by their tent and over hear this discussion (after all, tents are not known for being sound proof). It was God who revealed the truth of this claim of a generous gift to Peter.
Have you ever felt like your parents seemed to have eyes in the back of their heads to be able to discern you were lying? As a parent of 5 children (mostly grown up now), I have realized that the look of a lie is found in the eyes of a child. God gives the parent a discernment to sniff out a lie in His perfect timing. Sometimes we think we have gotten away with our lie(s). The Bible tells us a different story…
“…be sure your sin will find you out!” Numbers 32:23b
“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” Galatians 6:7
According to an article by Vivian Giang and Jhaneel Lockhart in the May 7, 2012 Business Insider, there have been numerous high profile people who have lied on their resumes. They embraced a lie in the hopes of finding a better way, but it only worked for a time. Consider the hurt, embarrassment, and destruction a lie brought to their lives!
“Marilee Jones had been with MIT for 28 years before the university realized that she never received the undergraduate or master's degrees that she said she got on her resume. In fact, Jones never received any college degrees.
In 2007, she resigned stating on the university's Web site that she had "misrepresented her academic degrees to the institute" and explained that she "did not have the courage to correct [her] resume when [she] applied for [her] current job or at any time since."
“In 2008, British chef Robert Irving was fired from his own show on the Food Network's Dinner Impossible when it was uncovered that he didn't actually design the royal couple's wedding cake, but that he only attended the school where it was made and contributed by picking fruit for the cake.”
“Five days after being named as Notre Dame's new head coach, George O'Leary was forced to resign for lying about a master's degree in education from New York University that he never received. The university did verify that he was a student there in the '70s, but that he never graduated.
Furthermore, O'Leary told his employers that he played college football for three years at the University of New Hampshire, but, in actuality, he never even played a game of football
O'Leary is known for his coaching success with Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets from 1994 to 2001.”
The “truth moment” confrontation will eventually come! Be sure your sin will find you out. We don’t hear enough about lying today. It is considered “not a big deal” and “there are bigger problems than lying.” But that is not the truth about lying!
This is an offense that strikes at the core of the person of God and His Word. Jesus says, “…I am the truth…” in John 14. It is declared “…thy Word is truth…” in John 17.
This is why something “so small” like lying is included in the 10 commandments…the believer is told if he is to follow Jesus --- “let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” (Luke 9:23)
Being a man or woman of truth is a reflection of Jesus in me and through me!
The catastrophe. Ananias and Sapphira did not lie to men. Peter declares they have lied “unto God” (Acts 5:4)! Wow. Can you just imagine the horror of reality tingling down Ananias’ spine at that moment? The con was over. He had been found out. The declaration was one of lying to God…the One who delivered Israel from their Egyptian captors, parted the Red Sea for their escape, and then crashed the walls of that parted sea to destroy their pursuing enemies. Peter just announced Ananias had lied to the One who did many miracles during His recent earthly ministry…to the One who recently died for his sins and rose again. This was a devastating moment of regret. But it was only a moment, for God required Ananias’ life ( and we would soon learn his wife’s life as well), and he dropped down dead. His own way brought literal destruction (Proverbs 14:12). No one touched him, or drove a knife through his abdomen, or fought him to the death…he just. dropped. dead. Lying IS a big deal. God will not be mocked. Look at the these verses for God’s thoughts on not telling the truth: Proverbs 6:16-19; 19:9.
The restoration. Did you notice that Peter gave Ananias and Sapphira an opportunity to confess? He asked them both a pointed question about the financial profit from their sale of land. They both made the decision to go down with the ship. They kept to the script. Refused to confess their sin…and swift judgment followed. However, YOU have opportunity to confess, repent, and begin the process of rebuilding trust — choose God’s path BEFORE you are found out! Click here to consider the importance of confessing, repenting, and rebuilding trust in your relationships: Proverbs 12:19, 22; 28:13; Ephesians 4:25
2 brief conclusions about lying from Acts 5:4-5 – “thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God”
The liar’s real target is God (v. 4)
The people’s clear response was fear (v. 5). We must fear God more than man when faced with a “truth moment” (as well as any other moment) in life!
“The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe.” —Proverbs 29:25
This is a valuable lesson…fear God more than man!!
Let’s end with …3 Foundational Truths to Live By:
1. Mean what you say -- that “yes” means “yes” and your “no” means “no” (Matthew 5:37)
2. Say what you mean – “speak the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15). Truth will include love as God is both TRUTH and LOVE.
3. Live what you say and mean – “love God, but hate your brother” (I John 4:20). You cannot claim to “love God” and hate your brother in Christ!
Are you finished with school? That’s a question my wife or I would ask each of our kiddos at the end of a home-school day or when one child isn’t busy doing school work. The answer is often, NO. However, there have been times through the 19 years (& counting) of homeschooling that we discovered a child was saying “Yes, Yes, Yes” when the real answer was “no No NO.” Sometimes weeks had passed before realizing that a specific class had been skipped altogether – lie after lie was required to skip it. Punishment, make up work, and bad grades then followed. “But it was too hard…but I really don’t need this class…” was the justifying reasons provided.
Justifying or logical reasoning doesn’t change the command of “Thou shall not bear false witness.” It does apply to us all. The believer must be known for what is truth!