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Desire, Deceit, and the Descent of a Nation, Part 1

Selected Scriptures January 01, 1998 80-191A

1998

It was, well, a number of weeks ago that I had prepared to speak to you on a subject that had arisen in my heart, I think by the prompting of the Spirit of God because of all that's going on currently in Washington and with out President, I felt like, in the midst of all of the opinions that are being given, someone should stand up and offer what the Word of God says about such things, and so I've prepared a message on the destructive sin of lying.

In the last several weeks, as a nation and certainly across the world, we have been overexposed to the extensive pattern of deception and lying engaged in by our President. Now, to put it mildly, this is greatly disappointing to all of us who would have hoped a man of character and a man of conviction and a man of integrity would have arisen to such a prominent and critical place of leadership.

What we have come to find out; however, is that we have a man in the White House, who has, for his life, a habit in which he has engaged, and that habit is a habit of lying and deception and hypocrisy. Some of that evidence is known to all of us, and there is even other evidence that is known to some of us because of private conversations with people behind the scenes. Suffice it to say, everybody across the world now, to one degree or another, is aware that this is a leader who is a liar. The extent of the lying is amazingly widespread.

The President, on a number of occasions, has denied ever encouraging anyone else to lie, and yet in seeking the aid of everybody close to him to help him carry out the deception, he has brought all the people who touch his life into the potential category of joining him in the lie. His wife has lied for him; his friends, his cabinet, his White House staff, loyalists; the media has lied for him. Congressmen have lied for him; senators have lied for him. He has lied and deceived, and he has embroiled all kinds of people in lied and deception.

There has been a great cry in this country about Kenneth Starr, who, by the way, is a very strong and faithful Christian. There has been a cry about the fact that Kenneth Starr has been spending $40 million in this investigation, and we need to be reminded that he wouldn't have had to spend a cent if everybody just told the truth. It's taken $40 million to get through the barriers of deception. In some cases, the people around the President, I really believe believed him, and they, themselves, thought they were affirming the truth. There were others who knew he was lying, and they knew they were lying as well, so what you have is a mass of people who, either wittingly or unwittingly, have become co-conspirators in the deception.

Now, the people in this country don't seem to think this is serious, but I'm not really interested in their opinion for the moment. What I would like to know is what does God think about this. What has He said about it? To put it simply, to have a ruler who is a liar is an extremely serious matter.

In Proverbs 29:12, God says, "If a ruler is given to lies;" this is translated a number of ways, but this is the basic Hebrew of it. "If a ruler is given to lies, all his servants become wicked." We would put that in the simple category of birds of a feather what? Flock together. When a ruler is given to lies, he will accumulate around him people who can tolerate lying. A corrupt leader draws around him corrupt people. Allow lies, and you will be tolerated and surrounded by liars.

It's frightening to think about the possibility that the President might remain in office, and then to ask the question, "What kind of people, given the knowledge of his deception and lies, would want to be a part of his staff, people of truth, people who loves honesty, people who have integrity, people who speak the truth?" Those kinds of people don't tolerate hypocrisy. They don't tolerate deception. They don't tolerate duplicity, saying one thing to one person and another to another. They don't tolerate lying.

Proverbs 13:5 says, "A righteous man hates falsehood. A righteous man hates lying." Proverbs 29:12 is very important. "A lying ruler accumulates wicked ministers." That's why Proverbs 17:7 says, "Lying lips are not fitting for a prince."

It is not appropriate for someone in high levels of leadership responsibility to lie. A known liar, a known deceiver, a known hypocrite, one who can go on an Easter Sunday with a Bible in hand, ostensibly to worship the resurrected Christ in the church, and then return to the White House for an illicit sexual relationship; that's hypocrisy of the worst kind. This is a pattern of deception lifelong, and such a person does not attract around him, honest people, so what you eventually have, according to Scripture, is corruption everywhere in association with that deceiver, and liars always protect themselves at the expense of others.

Proverbs 26:28 says, "A lying tongue hates those it crushes." Liars want to crush those who would accuse them. They despise them. They despise those who bear the truth. They despise those who speak honestly. They despise those with integrity. Now, you asked a question, "Given the fact that we all know of this kind of character, why is it that everyone is in such favor of this man? How is it that whenever a poll is taken, there is such high approval? Why is it that when interviewing people on the street, they say, 'We don't care what he does; we don't care about any of that; we think he's done a good job.'" Why does this not matter?

I think the answer is in Romans, Chapter 1. I want you to turn to it. Romans Chapter 1, in Verse 32; we're going to start there, and then kind of back up and just get a little bit of an overview here. I know some of you are sitting and thinking, sort of incredulously, as you watch this scenario play itself out on every television station, every radio program, every newspaper, news magazine and in general conversation, and you keep asking the question, "How is it that people can approve of this?"

Well, there's a pattern in Scripture that's clearly outlined that leads to this, and Romans 1:32 is there you start. It speaks of people who, knowing the righteous judgment of God . . . now, we are in a nation that has had a Christian heritage, and, for the most part, we know the righteous judgment of God. We know about the Ten Commandments. Most people in our society, if they've been a part of this society any length of time, understand the ethics of the Sermon on the Mount. We know what is called the "Judeo-Christian ethic." We understand the difference between right and wrong. We understand there is a God. We understand that he has written a Book called the Bible. We understand that God punished sinners. We even understand that Verse 32 says, "That those who practice such things are deserving of death."

The Bible is not alien to us. It is in the very fabric of our society. While it has been systematically pushed out, it is, nonetheless, there in the knowledge of this culture. We are those, who, knowing the righteous judgment of God; we understand that the Bible says there is sin and that sin will be punished righteously by God and that the ultimate punishment is death. We understand that. Our society has heard it from preachers and pastors. They've heard it from evangelists, in the media. We're not ignorant of that. We know that the wages of sin is death. As a society, that message has come across to us. We're not locked in Hinduism or Buddhism or any other thing. We, basically, have a Christian background. We know those things, and we know that the people who practice sins that violate God will experience, as Scripture says, "his judgment," and we know that.

What are the things they practice? Go back to Verse 29, "unrighteous." That's sort of the general term; "sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness, envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness, and they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful," all those kinds of things. But people who do those things . . .we know what the Bible says, as a society. We know that those are violations of God's law. We know God's law because we have had the Word of God as a part of this nation for many years, since its inception.

We know that the Bible promises judgment and that that judgment is death. We know that, so we are the society, Verse 32, who, "knowing the righteous judgment of God; that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same." Even though we know all of that, we ignore it all, and we do all those things . . . then notice this; we also approve of those who what? Who practice them. I'm not surprised that the President's approval rating is so high because the people who approve of what he does are the people who do what he does.

And that's largely the way out nations is. That approval rating is tantamount to the percentage of Americans who do what e does. That's what we have. If we have a 62 percent approval rate, then 60 percent of Americans approve of that because they practice those things, lying, deception, fornication, adultery or whatever. We shouldn't be surprised. That's us. In fact, I don't want to be unkind. That's not my intention, but I would say that Bill Clinton is the man for this culture in every sense. He is a reflection of the morays of this society. He is the man who represents what these people practice. That's why they're not offended by it.

And how did we get to this place? Well, because of what it says in Verse 24 of Romans 1 down to Verse 32. Let me show you how we got here. Verse 24: "Therefore, God also gave them up." Verse 26: "For this reason, God gave them up." Verse 28: "Even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over" or "gave them up."

We've got a problem here. God's given us up. That's what it says. When a society reaches the place where all the sins in Verses 29-31 are normalized, where all those sins are practiced, even though we know the righteous judgment of God and that those who do those things are deserving of death, we not only do them, but we applaud the doing, and it's not just on the Jerry Springer show that we applaud it. We approve of it in the White House. Why? Because it's a reflection of how we behave. That's why I say he's the man for this culture. He's the man for this society, pro-infidelity, pro-adultery, pro-abortion, pro-feminism, pro-lesbianism, pro-homosexuality; that's we he supports. Why would we be surprised of his behavior? Why would we be surprised that the society, which he's a product of, approves of that behavior?

It's like a great, huge national confession that this society doesn't care about God's Law. How have we gotten here? Because God gave us up. You say, "What do you mean by that?" Verse 24, when God gives up a society . . . this is what this is talking about, not an individual, but a society because no individual would commit all of those sins in Verses 29-31 himself or herself; we're talking about a society here. Here's how it happens. When God gives up a society, there's the progress. Here's the three-step fall.

One: God gave them up to uncleanness. That's the word for sexual sin. It starts with the lust of their hearts; ends up in dishonoring their bodies among themselves. Talk about sexual sin. So, the first thing that happens when God gives up a society is a sexual revolution. It begins to honor fornication and adultery.

The sexual revolution came to America in the 1960s, didn't it? It's well-chronicled in our sordid history that the '60s were the time of the sexual revolution, and, supposedly, we were to be liberated from the repressive Biblical mandates of virtue. The sexual revolution came. That was the first indication that God had stepped back. God had just let us go. "God gave them over" means He removed restraining grace. He removed His restraints and constraints and let the culture go, let the sinner go to the consequence of His own choices without restraint. It didn't stop there. There is a second step in Verse 26. "God gave them up to vile passions."

Now, we go beyond heterosexual sin, "And the women exchange the natural use for what is against nature;" that is, lesbianism. "The men, leading the natural use of the women, burned in their lust for one another, men with men, committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due;" that, in our time, would be a reference to AIDS, the venereal disease that goes as consequence to that kind of behavior on an individual level. But you have in Verse 26 and 27, a description of homosexuality, clearly, first women, and then men.

When God gives a society up, the first thing that happens is the sexual revolution on the heterosexual level. The second is a sexual revolution on the homosexual level, and now, homosexuality is not only tolerated in our society; it is advocated; it is mandated. It is exalted into the highest places. One of the representatives in the House, who stands most firmly with the President, Barney Frank, is a stated homosexual. They're exalted to places of nobility in our society. That's an indication that God has given up.

Finally, in Verse 28, "Because God gave them over finally to a debased mind or a depraved mind, they wind up doing things that aren't even fitting," and then it goes on to describe them. The third step is a reprobate mind, a useless mind. It's one thing to plunge into iniquity at the sexual level, but it's even . . . you say, "Well, is that worse?" Sure. You go from fornication and adultery; passion run wild in a sexual revolution. You sink deeper into the muck of homosexuality. You would think that might be the bottom. No, the bottom is when you get down to a reprobate mind because when the mind is gone, you can't recover.

You keep waiting for somebody to stand up with some sanity in the midst of this. You keep waiting for some congressmen or some senator or some leader or some judge or some somebody to stand up and articulate with clarity, reason in the midst of this, but it doesn't happen. The mind is reprobate. The mind is debased. We can't think right in this country anymore. We don't know how to think. Nobody rises to say what's right or wrong anymore; they just take a poll. Polls just grease the slide to hell. That's all they do. They just justified the sinner's sin because they normalize it and make it seem like everybody's doing it. It must be right.

When the mind goes, we're gone. When the leaders of the country; when the president of the country and the congressmen and senators of this country; when they have accepted immorality, and when they, in their own lives, have acted out; when they have accepted homosexuality; when they have accepted the contemporary thinking, and they're the products of the debauched university system of our nation; when they have accepted all of that and the mind is gone, everything's gone. I believe the reason that our country is reacting to this iniquity the way it is, is because Romans 1 is being fulfilled right here. God, I think, has removed his restraints.

You say, "Is this a form of judgment?" Yes. Go back to Verse 18. It's a form of wrath. Verse 18: "The wrath of God is revealed from Heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men here, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness." Now, we would have to agree that this nation has had the truth, and we have suppressed it, right? We've put it out of the schools; we've put it out of the courts; we've put it out of the universities; we've tried to put it out of everything. We have suppressed the truth. We are classic Romans 1, and God's wrath is revealed against us. Now, there are all kinds of ways in which God's wrath is manifested. I can divide it into five categories.

One: Eternal wrath. That's eternal hell, where sinners, who do not know Christ, who are not converted and not saved and forgiven and redeemed, will spend forever feeling the wrath of God. That's eternal wrath.

Two: There is eschatological wrath. That's the wrath that will come upon the earth at the end of time, just before Jesus comes, and it's described in Revelation 6-19.

Three: There is cataclysmic wrath, like the wrath of the flood, when God drowned the world or like the wrath of Sodom and Gomorrah, when he destroyed the cities of the plain or the wrath on Capernaum or Korazim and Bethsaida or the great cataclysmic events that wipe out whole cities through human history. Those are cataclysmic acts of God's wrath.

Four: There is sowing-and-reaping wrath, which is what I saw there in Romans with the homosexual situation, where there's a penalty built into the behavior. You do a certain kind of behavior, and what you sow; you reap. There's a consequent problem that comes with that kind of iniquity, and that's true of all sin. All sin has built-in person consequence.

Five: But we're not talking about that. What we're talking about here is the wrath of abandonment. That's the fifth kind.

Eternal wrath, eschatological wrath, cataclysmic wrath, sowing-and-reaping wrath and the wrath of abandonment: When God just steps back and says, "You've got it; you want it; it's yours." And He leaves the society to the consequence of its own choices. He removes restraining grace. Why does He do that? Verse 18; they "suppress the truth; that which may be known of God is manifest in them." God write His law in their hearts, Romans 2 says. He gave them a conscience, and what can be known of God around them from the creation of the world. "His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so they're without excuse."

You can know the truth of God from conscience and from the law written in your heart and from the creation outside. Just conscience and reason would lead you to the truth of God, and, more than that, we've had the revelation of God, the Scripture. Verse 21 says, "When they knew God, they didn't glorify him as God. They weren't thankful. They became futile in their thoughts. Their foolish hearts were darkened. They thought they were wise; they were actually fools." That's us. We've bought the evolutionary lie; we've destroyed God; we've rejected him. We thank Him for nothing; we do not glorify Him; we've suppressed the truth; we have changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man.

The President said some weeks ago that nobody should be concerned about his sexual sin. It was an issue, he said, between himself and his family, he said, "and our God." Let me tell you something about his God. His God is not the God of the Bible. The God of the Bible is not pro-feminism, pro-homosexual, pro-lesbian and pro-fornication, pro-adultery. That's not the God of the Bible. He's not pro deception. He's not pro-lying.

You see, he has the same god that all who reject the true God have, and you can meet him every morning. He's there in your mirror, and he espouses exactly what you believe, and his rules are the rules you want him want to have, and his approach to life is just exactly the way you want to live it because you've created him in the form of corruptible man. Unregenerate people meet their god in the mirror, but he's not the true and living God. That's why we're where we are in this society today, and I'm not a bit surprised to see the ratings and the approvals as high as they are for the President because we are a society, I believe, experiencing the wrath of abandonment by God, who has stepped back and let us go the way that we have wanted to go. The universities here complied; the schools have complied; the courts have complied, and the slide continues. This is the wrath of abandonment, so it doesn't surprise me at all.

You know, at this point, I think I need to say this doesn't mean it's hopeless. This just means it's real dark, and the darker the night, the brighter the light. What a great time to proclaim the Gospel. If ever you prayed for the salvation of your President, pray now because if ever a there's been a time in his life, and he knows the Gospel clearly from start to finish, but has chosen to reject it as evidenced from his lifestyle. If ever there was a time to pray for the Spirit of God to be gracious and to save that man, it's now because the likelihood that he would feel some strong conviction now is probably greater than in the past, and we are called upon to pray for those who are over us, right; to pray for their salvation?

When I was being interviewed by ABC television the other day, the reporter said to me, "What is your attitude toward the President?" And I said, "Well, I don't think he should be the President. I think he has breached every position of dignity and integrity that that office would call for." But I said, "Secondly, I pray for his salvation. I pray for him to come up to a true knowledge of the true and living God through Christ."

He said, "Well, do you believe that he is genuinely repentant?" I said, "No, I don't, because you're not saying you're repentant over here, while across town, your lawyers are writing a 75-page paper denying you did anything." He said, "Well, what would indicate to you a true repentance?" "Falling on his face before God, a crying out for mercy and an immediate confession of sin and deception before God, and then, he would turn and say, 'I'm not worthy to be in this role, and I step down.'"

That would indicate to me that there was really a God-wrought work in his heart because he would understand. As Jesus said to those Pharisees, "Show me the fruit of repentance." And there's probably a lot more than that, but this is the time we're in. We are in the time when Satan is flourishing in this nation. God has stepped back, and I really believe he is Satan's man. He's the man who fits the time. There are many antichrists in the world, and this is one who feigns a faith in Jesus Christ that is not real, who appears as a peacemaker, who appears as a great leader, who can win the confidence of people, but underneath is a deceiver. This is an antichrist-type person. We can only pray that his rejection of the true Gospel is not so far gone that grace is no longer available. Pray diligently, folks, for the conversion and salvation of this man and those around him. My heart grieves for him deeply.

Now, notice in the list of sins in Verses 29-31, you see "deceit," Verse 29, and being "untrustworthy" in Verse 31. Let me go back to the issue of lying here. Nothing is more germane to human depravity than lying. We shouldn't be surprised that depraved people lie. Psalms 58:3: "The wicked are estranged from the womb." The go astray as soon as they are born, speaking lies. That's the first expression of depravity. You know that. You say to your little child as they're capable of a conversation, "Did you do that?" Something somewhere is broken or shattered of whatever, and, inevitably, they'll point to somebody, to a little sister or brother; "No, he did it." I mean, lying is just endemic. Nothing is more germane to human depravity than lying. The wicked are estranged from the womb; they go astray as soon as they are born, and it first shows up because they speak lies.

In Romans, Chapter 3, if you go over a couple of chapters, in Verse 10, there's a description of depravity here that has several borrowed verses from the Old Testament sort of strung together, most of them out of the Psalms. It says, "There is none righteous; no, not one. There is none who understands, none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; together, become profitable. There's none who does good; no, not one." That's sort of a general description of the broad sweep of the condition called fallenness or depravity, but its first expression comes in Verse 13, "Their throat is an open tomb, and with their tongues, they have practiced," what? Deceit. They open their mouth, and it's like the poison of a snake. The mouth is where depravity shows up most clearly, and it shows up in deception. I'm not surprised that unregenerate people are liars and deceivers. That is the most germane behavior to human depravity.

Taking it further, you're not only dealing with human depravity in this matter of lying, but you're dealing with an identification that Jesus makes in John 8:44 that's very familiar. God identifies Himself always with truth. God is truth, but there is one who has a kingdom and subjects and children, who is known because he is a liar, and Jesus identifies him in John 8:44. He's talking to the religious leaders of Israel. This was an incredible assault on their self-righteousness. He says to them in Verse 44, "You are of your father, the devil." That's something they probably thought they would live their whole lifetime and never suppose that anyone would say to them, "You are of your father, the devil."

And then he describes further what that identification means or what the resemblances are. "He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it." You're liars because you're part of Satan's family, and he's the arch-liar. God is truth, and Satan is a liar. To lie is to identify then with the worst of human depravity. To lie is to identify yourself with Satan. This is a deep and endemic problem here. Wherever you have a child of Satan that's an unregenerate, unconverted person, depraved, you're going to have a person prone to deception and lying. This predisposition to lying fits the proud, sinful heart of a child of Satan.

And, of course, to keep a façade, there's an effort to cover up, to avoid embarrassment, to find honor, to be self-protective, to avoid shame and accountability, while, at the same time, engaging in the sin that is loved. Now, we're not surprised. I'm not surprised that you find lying and deception. I'm not surprised that you find a society that tolerates it. That's the Romans 1 society, so lying distinguishes men as wicked from birth. Lying identifies men as belonging to Satan's family. Lying is an essential part of fallenness. Lying also demonstrates utter disregard for God.

I won't take the time to go through it, but throughout the Old Testament, you have this little phrase, "lying lips," and wherever it appears, it's linked with disdain for God, disdain for God. You could really care less about God, about God's love for truth, about God' requirement for truth. There's a disdain for that and a love of lying and deception. It is an abomination to God. It is a blasphemous thing.

In Exodus, Chapter 20, Verse 16, God was giving the Ten Commandments. He said, "Thou shalt not bear false witness." Perjuring yourself is a violation of the Ten Commandments, a violation of God's law. It is disdain for God. Turn over to Proverbs for a minute. I want to show you a couple of Scriptures in addition to the ones we commented on earlier in Proverbs, Proverbs, Chapter 6 being most notable because it just kind of pulls it all into one brief test. Proverbs, Chapter 6, Verse 12 describes wicked people, basically, and it says, "A worthless person," Proverbs 6:12, "a wicked man walks with a perverse mouth." I mean, that's just it. That's how it is. That is the dominant characteristic. Show me a worthless, wicked person, and I'll show you someone who doesn't speak the truth.

And his deception is carried out in a myriad of ways, not only out of his mouth, but with his eyes and his feet and his fingers. This is the deceiver, using whatever body language, giving signals with eyes and hands and shuffling feet, winking, whatever it is, to deceive one person in the presence of another. Deception is most characteristic of wicked people, and I'm going to tell you something next Sunday too. It's a very, very important thing to remember. Listen to this.

This is only a preview of what you're going to hear next Sunday when we get to Jeremiah 5, but listen carefully. If a person will lie; if a person will lie and if a person develops a pattern of lying; if a person is comfortable with lying, that person will fall to any temptation because he never has to fear being discovered because he's so adept at deception, whereas, a person who loves truth and hates the lie and feels guilty about lying is; therefore, restrained from doing certain sins that they would have to admit if confronted. The worst thing that can be said about a person is that they are a habitual, inveterate liar because a person who is adept at lying and who has run roughshod over conscience and no longer feels the shame and remorse that normal people feel about lying, someone who has developed such a skill as a liar, the worst thing about that is that their ability to cover up things makes them vulnerable to every temptation. That's why we have so much to fear from people who are chronically deceptive.

Now, Verse 16: "These six things the Lord hates. Yes, seven are an abomination to Him, a proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, plotting simple things, feet that are swift in running to evil, a false witness, a perjurer who speaks lies and one who sows discord among brethren." Pride, lying, bringing about suffering and disaster to innocent people, devising wicked schemes, running fast into secret places to commit evil, perjuring, creating chaos and discord. All these things that we see going on are the things that are an abomination to God because God is truth.

Proverbs 12: This is the last one that we'll look at in Proverbs, Verse 22. "Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord;" same thing, "but those who deal truthfully are His delight." "Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who deal truthfully are His delight." That wonderful Psalms 119; just two comments. Verse 29, Psalms 119, the psalmist prays, "Remove from me the way of lying." Now, folks, you need to pray that prayer. I don't want to apply this to somebody else. I want to apply it to you. "Remove from me the way of lying," and in Verse 163 of that same Psalms: "I hate and abhor lying, but I love Your law." Let me tell you, as a Christian, you ought to speak the truth every time your mouth opens, no deception, no hypocrisy. Lying is contrary to everything that represents God. Lying is contrary to God's nature. God, Titus 1:2, "who cannot lie." John 1:14, "Jesus Christ was God in human flesh, full of grace and truth." John 14:6: "I am the way, the truth and the life."

Scripture calls God the "God of truth," Psalms 31:5. It says in Exodus 34:6, "He is abundant in truth." It says in Psalms 108:4, "His truth reaches to the clouds;" that is to say, He is universally and limitlessly true. John 17:17 says, "His Word is truth." Psalms 119:160, "Your Word is true from the beginning," and 2 Samuel 7:28, "You are God, and your Words are true." You know, it goes even beyond that. To say that someone is truthful is more than just to say they speak truly. Truth, in the Bible, is a quality of persons primarily and of propositions secondarily. Truth means stability, reliability, firmness, trustworthiness, the quality of a person who is entirely self-consistent, who is sincere, who is real, who is undeceived and undeceiving. God is such a person, primarily, and then, secondarily, everything He says, propositionally, is a reflection of that consistent truthfulness. That's why God can't lie.

Sinful man, on the other hand, is a liar, and listen, all of human life is just filled with lies. Our whole society is built on lies. They're starting to begin to find out that as this backlash comes and they start investigating everybody else in Washington, they just uncover one thing after another. Well, if they keep going, folks, I hate to tell you this, but the whole thing could come down. Telling the truth could grind this nation to a halt. Our society, frankly, is so dependent on lying that if it's suddenly turned to telling the truth, our way of life would collapse. If all the politicians immediately spoke the truth; if all the advertisers immediately spoke the truth; if all teachers everywhere spoke only the truth; if all people in business told their customers and all salesmen told their buyers the truth about everything, you know what would happen? The whole system would come apart.

You say, "Well, I'll never live in a world like that." Yes, you will. If you're a Christian, it's called the Millennium. Christ will rule with truth. Boy, that'll be different. So many lies are piled on top of lies on top of lies on top of lies. So many organizations, businesses, economies, social orders, governments, treaties are built on lies; that if everybody started telling the truth, the whole system would disintegrate, and everybody would be so mad at the truth they heard, they'd kill each other. We'd fall into an unbelievable anarchy of resentment and animosity that would know no bounds, and it'd be a worldwide massacre in the chaos. It would be unimaginable.

I guess what I'm saying is mankind, in his fallen condition, has always been a liar. There's never been a time; however, in my lifetime, and I've been around a while. I'm still in my 50s, but barely. I've been around a while. I've never seen a time in my lifetime where lying has been so acceptable. It doesn't even matter at all.

Beloved, let me tell you something. In the darkness of this time, the light better shine clearly, right? So let's be honest. Let's get rid of the hypocrisy of our lives. Let's not be part and parcel to all the myriad of endless deceptions that make up the world in which we live. Let's speak the truth. Let's not be double-minded or duplicitous, saying one thing to one person and another to another. Let's be truthful. Let's be honest. Let's have integrity. If we say we believe it, then let's hold to that conviction strongly enough to live it and proclaim it. Be truthful. God is true, though every man a liar, and God loves truth, and you are people of the truth, are you not being sanctified by the truth?

Let's take the truth. Let's live the truth, and let's proclaim the truth to a world that's just literally held together by lies. This is our calling. I just am praying that maybe this whole thing could be an unbelievable wakeup call to this society to chase it back towards truth when the house of cards built by lies begins to collapse. But let's be people of the truth, and let's pray for those who are in leadership that God would, in the marvelous, powerful movement of grace, expose their sin to their own hearts and grant them faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Well, that was the introduction. Now, next week is Jeremiah 5, so you be here. Fabulous chapter. Read it this week, and you'll be ready for it next week.

Father, thank You for Your Word and giving Your Word to us. These are shocking times, times of grave disappointment to us, who had hoped better things for our children and our grandchildren and ourselves, who had hoped that all this Christian witness, all this Christian proclamation, all the books and tapes and radio and television and all of this would have had some effect, and yet, we can sense that You have just turned this nation over. This is not eschatological judgment. This is not eternal judgment yet, so this is still an opportunity for us against the blackness of this hour to be people of the light, people of the truth.

Help us to speak truth in love, with grace, in the midst of this lying world, and thereby demonstrate that we have been transformed from children of the devil to children of God; that no longer does sin have dominion over us so that we are helpless deceivers, but that dominion has been broken by the mighty power of Christ, and that we can now speak the truth. Raise us up as a great generation of people of the truth to bring the message, God's message, the message of salvation to this deceived and deceiving world. We thank You for that privilege; in Christ's name, Amen.