David Jeremiah - Overcoming Falsehood With Truth
This is what Jesus said of Satan. He said: "He does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him". Wherever you find something that's not true, it came from Satan. Non-truth is Satan inspired. In the core passage that was the basis for this series of messages, which is Ephesians chapter 6, the Bible tells us that we're to, "Stand, having girded our waist with the truth". It seems strange that the belt of the armor which is in Ephesians 6 is the first item that Paul mentions. He says, "Wrap yourself around with the belt of truth".
It wasn't a piece of armor. I mean, a belt's not gonna keep you from being wounded, but the belt had a central function that was vital to the soldier's armor. The soldier had all of this equipment that he wore, and he had a shirt that draped from his shoulders to his knees. And the Roman soldier wore a metal torso armor that was long and protective, with leather strips that hung from his waist to his lower thighs around his whole body, very cumbersome. But his belt was a band of wide thick leather with loops and slots that clamped over these items. And from this belt, there was a sword that hung, and a rope, and a ration sack, and money, and darts.
Everything the soldier needed in hand-to-hand combat was on his belt, right there at his fingertips. But when the soldier had to run, he would pull his tunic up, which was down around his legs, and he would pull it up and he would tuck it in that belt and free his legs for speed and maneuverability. And when you read about it in the Bible, here's what it's called: "Girding one's loins". That's what that means. It means to pull your clothes up and tuck them into your belt so you can move rapidly. Now, the belt didn't have any offensive function of its own. It was a piece of equipment that essentially held everything else together, keeping the soldier ready for anything that he might face. And here's what that means for us today in our lives.
Ladies and gentlemen, truth holds everything together. Truth makes us ready. At the center of our lives, we place the truth in Jesus, and everything we do is drawn from that all-encompassing center. Listen to me, if we don't have the truth, we don't have anything. Without the truth, we are empty. We have nothing to offer the world. We have nothing to give anyone if we do not have the truth. But when we know the truth, and we live the truth, we can assess our weapons quickly and confidently, and we don't have to fear anything being out of place in our lives. How many of you know how much better and simpler it is to just live in the truth? Have you ever caught yourself livin' in somethin' that's not true, and you're always lookin' over your shoulder to see if somebody knows what the truth is? And when you don't tell the truth, you have to tell another lie to cover up the lie you told, and it just weaves itself around you until it just debilitates you. I just love it. Truth is simple, you know? It's just, "Tell the truth, and always tell the truth".
2 Corinthians chapter 4, verse 2 says this: "We have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the Word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God". Truth gives us the courage to stand against our enemy. Why is truth to be our primary concern? Because the weapons of Satan are the exact opposite. Do you know what Satan's weapons are? Here they are. They're falsehood and deception. Satan wants to deceive you. He wants to destroy you. He wants to take your influence away in this world. And what he works against is the truth of God in your life. John 8:44 says of Satan: "When he speaks a lie," listen to this, "he speaks from his own resources, for Satan is a liar and the father of lies".
Lies come from the enemy. If you've caught yourself in this little innocent lie, let me tell ya, it didn't come from God. It came from Satan. Satan is the author of all falsehood. Falsehood does not come from God. And when we stand in the truth, we never speak from ourselves. We speak from the truth revealed to us through the Bible and the Holy Spirit. Speaking truth is not always comfortable. How many of you know it's always right? Almost 2.000 years ago, a Roman governor asked a profound and familiar question of a man who was about to be executed. He said to him, "What is truth"? We have no way of knowing whether Pilate's question was a serious question or just sarcastic, but we do know that minutes later, he turned Jesus over to an angry crowd to be crucified. Isn't it interesting, Pilate judged the Truth? He sentenced the Truth. He scourged the Truth. He mocked the Truth. He crucified the Truth.
When he asked Jesus, "What is truth"? Truth was standin' right in front of him. Jesus Christ was the Truth. And the irony is that the very moment he asked this question, he was staring at the pure incarnation of Truth. The one who was the Truth had just said to him, "Everyone who hears me, he is of the truth". And you know what? Ever since Pilate asked that question, "What is truth"? everybody's been askin' that question, haven't they? "What is truth"? And today, truth is up for grabs. According to Os Guinness: "Truth in any objective or absolute sense, truth that is independent of the mind of the knower, no longer exists".
A simple way to illustrate what's happened to truth lies in a story I read about three baseball umpires who were debating their different style of umpiring. One of 'em said, "There's balls and there's strikes, and I call them the way they are". "No," said the second umpire, "that's arrogant. There's balls, and there's strikes, and I call them the way I see 'em". "That's no better," said the third umpire. "Why beat around the bush? Why not be realistic about what we do? There's balls, and there's strikes, and they ain't nothin' till we call 'em". Now, watch this. The first umpire represents the traditional view of truth: objective, independent of the mind and of the knower, there to be discovered as it is. What did he say? "We call balls and strikes as they are". The second speaks for moderate relativism: truth as each person sees it.
Here people say, "Well, I don't see that as true. You see it as true, but I see that as false". So everybody has their own truth. Can I get a witness? And the third umpire bluntly expresses the radical relativists, the postmodern position: Truth is not to be discovered. It's for each of us to create of ourselves. According to the relativists' position, all of us, we just get to create our own truth. There is no such thing as objective truth. What's true for you is not true for me. I get to have my truth, and you get to have your truth, as if there is no real truth. In the final analysis, truth corresponds to the first umpire's position, to what actually is, and that's why truth is found in God. God is the great I AM. He is the Truth. Do you know, when the Bible says, "In the beginning God," that's the answer to everything? Because God is the ultimate reality.
So, what is true? It's God is true. "In the beginning God was". He is the self-existent one. He's the Creator of everything that exists. God is Truth, and all truth is God's truth. In the Bible, he is called, "The God of truth". The Father, the first person of the Trinity, is Truth. Psalm 31:5 says: "Into your hand I commit my spirit; you have redeemed me, O Lord God of truth". And you know Jesus Chris is the second person of the Trinity. How should we be surprised to discover that Jesus Christ is Truth as well? The Bible says, "Jesus Christ is full of grace and truth". And because he is full of grace and truth, he can say, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life". And not only is God the Father Truth, and God the Son Truth, don't be surprised, God the Holy Spirit is Truth as well.
We read, "When the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, he will testify of me". The next time somebody talks to you about their truth, "Well, this is my truth," don't get caught up in that discussion. There's only one truth, and it's the truth of God. When we get connected with God, we're in his truth. But if we're anything else, we're in error and falsehood. There is not many divisions or versions of truth. There's only one truth, and God himself is that truth. So, if that's the case, and we wanna overcome falsehood with truth, how do we do that?
I wanna give you some thoughts about how we go about overcoming falsehood with truth. First of all, we overcome falsehood with truth by seeking the truth ourselves. To do battle with the enemy, the believer needs to know the truth about God, the truth about Christ, and the truth that is in this book we call, "The Bible". There's two things we can take out of this that we just do. First of all, we need to study the truth. You know what, folks? I've grown up in a culture of ministers who minimize the truth of the Word of God. If you can get five or six sentences that come from the Bible in some of their messages, you've had a lucky day. People don't take their Bibles to church, because they say, "Oh, you don't need all that Bible stuff".
Well, if you don't need all that Bible stuff, why are you a pastor? Why are you a minister? If you don't need the Bible, what purpose do you have? You see, the truth is so critical because we have nothing else. Our whole life is based upon the truth of God, We need not to be ashamed that we study the truth. There's no premium on ignorance in the Christian life. You can't go around and brag about how much you don't know about the Bible. So, in order to overcome falsehood with truth, you have to study the truth. And the truth is written in the Scripture. It's systemized truth. I urge you to answer for yourself this question that a friend of mine by the name of Stu Weber asks: "Are you involved in a regular, rigorous regimen of Bible study? If not, what in the world are you doing? Your mind, your most critical weapon in battle, is braced by doctrine. Your soul is strengthened by biblical knowledge".
If God's people will make the knowledge of God and his Word the pursuit of their lives, Satan gets discouraged and defeated when he comes to divide and deceive and destroy. To seek the truth, you must diligently search the Scriptures. That's why we put Bible teaching on the radio, Bible teaching on television, and on the Internet, and in books, because the truth of God is what protects us. It's what gives us hope for the future. With all this stuff floatin' around, and fake news, and all the other stuff that's happenin', I know the Truth. The Truth is my blessed Savior the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. So, you study the truth. And not only do you study it, you have to submit to the truth. Counterfeit truth is never more on display than in the way we often hear people speak of God in today's world.
Listen to this. You've heard it before. "My God wants me to be rich". "The God I believe in, he'd never send anybody to hell". "How dare your God claim to be the only one in heaven"? When somebody says to me, "My God would never do that," I tell 'em, "You're absolutely right 'cause your God doesn't exist," you know? "Your God doesn't exist". You know why? We don't have a whole bunch of gods. You know, we create a little God that makes us comfortable in the way we live, but there aren't many gods, you guys. There's just the one God, the God of truth. And you don't get to choose your own God. You don't get to make your God to be who you want him to be.
If you wanna live immoral lives, you can't just say, "Well, my God's okay with that". No, he's not, 'cause you don't have a God. Your God is somebody in your imagination. God is who he is. We don't get to change him. His purpose is to change us. We don't get to change him. We live in this crazy time, and unfortunately, in this time, there's this form of lying that is used by some people to justify not telling the truth. It's called, "Spin". "Spin" is "the recasting, reinterpretation, revision of the truth to make it more palatable". The point is not to be truthful. It's to reinterpret facts to take the edge off of the truth and make it more politically correct and less offensive for your own goals. But in God's sight, spin is lying. You don't get to say, "Okay, well it was 90% of the truth, so it's the truth". It's either 100% true or it's a lie, you know? Here's what the Bible says about God in Proverbs 6: "These six things the Lord hates, yes, seven are an abomination to him".
Now, listen to this. "A proud heart, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift to running to evil," here's another, "a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among the brethren". Now, let me just say it out loud. The Bible says, "God hates lying". Proverbs 12:22 says: "Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who deal truthfully are his delight". Our words, men and women, as Christians, that are spoken or written, cannot be taken back. Once you tell a lie, it's out there. It has its own life, and even if the effects can be stopped or reversed, the reputation of the liar is forever damaged. Instead of lying, the overcomer has to learn how to speak the truth.
How do we overcome falsehood with truth? We start with ourselves. We start speaking the truth. We stop coloring the truth. We stop making up things that make us look better when it's not the way it is. We just tell the truth. It's such a freeing thing to be people of truth, and God has called us to speak the truth. That's the first thing. Number two, we not only have to speak the truth, but the Bible says we have to speak it lovingly. You know, have you ever been around people that say, "Well, I just tell people the way it is"? Then they eviscerate you for three hours and it takes you a couple weeks to get over it. The Bible does say we're to speak the truth boldly, but we're also to speak it with love. The Bible says we're to speak the truth with grace.
I heard about a 4th-grade teacher who was recovering from surgery, and got a get-well card from her class. It read: "Dear Mrs. Fisher, your 4th-grade class wishes you a speedy recover by a vote of 15 to 14". I don't know if that story's true or not, but that's not truth in love, is it? Jesus said, "By this everybody will know that you are my disciples, if you have love one for another". We need to speak the truth, absolutely, but we need to speak it with love, don't we? And Jesus modeled that for us. Jesus was full of grace and truth. So that's how we should be as well.
So, we overcome falsehood by seeking the truth and by speaking the truth. And thirdly, we overcome falsehood by living the truth. The overcomer has to be clothed with truthfulness integrated into his or her own life. Listen to the words of the Apostle John. He said, "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth". God wants us to walk in it. He doesn't want us just to study the truth. He doesn't want us just to speak the truth. He wants us to live in truth. Be true to ourselves. Be true to God. You know, every once in a while, you read stories of people who lived double lives. You know, somebody's got two wives, and they're scattered all over the country. They're living two lives. How in the world could you ever allow that to happen in your life? And how could you ever survive it? Truth is the integrating center of who we are in God, and we're to live the truth. You know, the Lord illustrated that for us in such a perfect way.
Listen to this. "When his enemies came to arrest him, he said to them, 'Which of you convicts me of sin?'" Nobody said a word. Do you know why? Because they didn't have anything they could say. They had nothing legitimate to convict him of because he was absolutely everything he claimed to be. Jesus went to the cross. The centurion overseeing the execution said, "Truly, this Man was the Son of God". How'd he figure that out? He simply watched Jesus die as Jesus had lived. He saw that Jesus was who he claimed to be, exhibiting attributes that only the Son of God could possess. And the thief who hung on the cross next to Jesus, remember what he said? "This man has done nothing wrong". Why would he say that? Because he saw the truth exhibited in Christ, even under the stress of horrendous circumstances.
Men and women, what's killing the impact of the church today is men and women who are in the church who aren't living the faith. They live two lives. They have their church life, their religious life, and then they have the life that they live in the world, and the world sees that. The world's not stupid. The world sees the inaccuracy and the lack of integrity in our lives. Why would they want that? They got that without Jesus. They don't need Jesus for that. So, if we're gonna change this whole issue of falsehood taking center stage instead of truth, we have to seek the truth. We have to speak the truth. But most of all, we have to live the truth. We have to be who we are all the way through to the core. And God is allowing that to happen. And a lot of churches that I know about now are starting to have some kind of revivals that are bringing that about through prayer and sometimes through fasting. We're getting back to who we should be.
And when the church of God is who it should be, there's nothing that can stand against it. You know, I wonder what would happen if we had that spirit of truth about our churches, what difference that would make. And I just wanna urge you guys, let's be a part of that something, that good something, that true something. Let's shun the falsehood that's runnin' around trying to destroy us, and let's get back to the truth. You say, "Well, where do I find that truth"? The Word of God is truth. And you know what the Bible says? "The truth will set you free". It'll set you free, amen? It'll set you free from lookin' over your shoulder to see who's following you or what you said the last time. The Bible says, "You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free". Let's be overcomers. Let's overcome falsehood with the truth. Let's tell people the truth about Jesus Christ. Let's turn up the volume, amen.