Faith and Counterfeit Truth


February 7, 1999 ~ Pickering Standard Church


Deuteronomy 6:1-15 - These are the commands, decrees and laws the LORD your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the LORD your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life. Hear, O Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the LORD, the God of your fathers, promised you. Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. When the LORD your God brings you into the land he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you-- a land with large, flourishing cities you did not build, houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant-- then when you eat and are satisfied, be careful that you do not forget the LORD, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. Fear the LORD your God, serve him only and take your oaths in his name. Do not follow other gods, the gods of the peoples around you; for the LORD your God, who is among you, is a jealous God and his anger will burn against you, and he will destroy you from the face of the land.


Zechariah 8:16-17 - These are the things you are to do: Speak the truth to each other, and render true and sound judgment in your courts; do not plot evil against your neighbor, and do not love to swear falsely. I hate all this," declares the LORD.


What is a lie? "A lie is an untrue statement purposely made in order to deceive" (The Complete Christian Dictionary). A lie is "an intentional violation of the truth" (Easton's Bible Dictionary). A lie is a deception that is intentionally made in order to deceive.


Those deceived may be willing or unwilling to be deceived, or they may even be uninformed and simply believing.


Two reasons why we might believe a lie:


1) We believe a lie because it is what we want to hear and to believe its opposite would be undesirable.


2 Timothy 4:3-4 - For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.


2) We believe a lie because we have not examined that statements of the lie to determine their truthfulness.


Acts 17:11 - Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.


Though He is the creator of all God is not the source of lies:


James 1:13-18 - When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full- grown, gives birth to death. Don't be deceived, my dear brothers. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.


But rather, every lie finds its source in Satan and is the result of his rebellion against God:


John 8:44 - You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire. 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.


What is the purpose of a lie? There are four primary reasons why a lie is told:


1) A lie may be told out of ignorance of the truth:


Job 4:7-11 - Consider now: Who, being innocent, has ever perished? Where were the upright ever destroyed? As I have observed, those who plow evil and those who sow trouble reap it. At the breath of God they are destroyed; at the blast of his anger they perish. The lions may roar and growl, yet the teeth of the great lions are broken. The lion perishes for lack of prey, and the cubs of the lioness are scattered.


2) A lie may be told because we cannot face the truth:


1 Samuel 20:1-3, 9 - Then David fled from Naioth at Ramah and went to Jonathan and asked, "What have I done? What is my crime? How have I wronged your father, that he is trying to take my life?"


"Never!" Jonathan replied. "You are not going to die! Look, my father doesn't do anything, great or small, without confiding in me. Why would he hide this from me? It's not so!"


But David took an oath and said, "Your father knows very well that I have found favor in your eyes, and he has said to himself, 'Jonathan must not know this or he will be grieved.' Yet as surely as the LORD lives and as you live, there is only a step between me and death.."


"Never!" Jonathan said. "If I had the least inkling that my father was determined to harm you, wouldn't I tell you?"


3) A lie may be told to deceive others for our benefit or the benefit of others:


Exodus 1:16-21 - "When you help the Hebrew women in childbirth and observe them on the delivery stool, if it is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl, let her live." The midwives, however, feared God and did not do what the king of Egypt had told them to do; they let the boys live. Then the king of Egypt summoned the midwives and asked them, "Why have you done this? Why have you let the boys live?"


The midwives answered Pharaoh, "Hebrew women are not like Egyptian women; they are vigorous and give birth before the midwives arrive." So God was kind to the midwives and the people increased and became even more numerous. And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families of their own.


4) A lie may also be told for no other reason than to cause harm to others:


Genesis 3:1-5 - Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?"


The woman said to the serpent, "We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, 'You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.'"


"You will not surely die," the serpent said to the woman. "For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."


While the first two reasons for telling a lie are rather innocent, the last two are deliberate and the final one is quite definitely malicious and is in keeping with the intensity of the hatred that our enemy Satan has for the children of God. It is his nature to deceive and devour, his very name means accuser:


Job 1:6-12 - One day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them. The LORD said to Satan, "Where have you come from?"


Satan answered the LORD, "From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it."


Then the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil."


"Does Job fear God for nothing?" Satan replied. "Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face."


Zechariah 3:1 - Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right side to accuse him.


He is also constantly seeking to destroy those whose allegiance is to God:


1 Peter 5:8-9 - Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.


Satan is "the constant enemy of God, of Christ, of the divine kingdom, of the followers of Christ, and of all truth; full of falsehood and all malice, and exciting and seducing to evil in every possible way" (Easton's Bible Dictionary).


There are many lies that confront us today, many of them we believe because we are either misinformed or we want to believe what we know in our hearts is untrue. We must be always on our guard against lies for with our believing them Satan's goal of weakening our faith in God is realized. Here is an example:


Job 40:15-24 - Look at the behemoth, which I made along with you and which feeds on grass like an ox. What strength he has in his loins, what power in the muscles of his belly! His tail sways like a cedar; the sinews of his thighs are close-knit. His bones are tubes of bronze, his limbs like rods of iron. He ranks first among the works of God, yet his Maker can approach him with his sword. The hills bring him their produce, and all the wild animals play nearby. Under the lotus plants he lies, hidden among the reeds in the marsh. The lotuses conceal him in their shadow; the poplars by the stream surround him. When the river rages, he is not alarmed; he is secure, though the Jordan should surge against his mouth. Can anyone capture him by the eyes, or trap him and pierce his nose?


At first glance this passage appears to identify some animal which is either no longer upon the earth or is hidden away some where, in either case the description is of an awesome beast. Yet the behemoth so vividly described in this passage has been interpreted by many modern scholars to be either the elephant or the hippopotamus. The text notes in many bibles also show this interpretation. Yet neither of these can truly be the animal intended since their tales can hardly be compared to a swaying cedar. More likely is the interpretation that this description refers to one of the larger dinosaurs such as the Diplodocus or Brachiosaurus both now believed to be extinct. Yet the former interpretation has taken hold because of unquestioned belief in the theory of evolution which postulates that dinosaurs were extinct millions of years before mankind walked the earth.


By accepting without evaluation such statements made to us by persons believed to be trustworthy we have forced ourselves to a reinterpretation of the Bible itself. The effectiveness of this lie is such that anyone who believes that God created everything there is in only six days is considered a fool. But the Bible directly contradicts this attitude by making the following statement::


Hebrews 11:1-3 - Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.


One of the reasons why lies such as the lie of evolution are accepted is that they tend to satisfy our need for explanation. As humans we have been created by God with a powerful sense of curiosity that is only satisfied when an explanation has been given regarding something previously understood as a mystery. Other reasons lies are successful is that we want to believe them. The man or woman caught in the web of pornography is often also caught up in the lie that looking at attractive members of the opposite sex is ok as long as you do no more than look. To this Jesus says:


Matthew 5:28 - But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.


and so testifies that it is a lie after all. A shocking truth in this current society where sex is used casually for almost every purpose.


What ought we to do then knowing that such lies exist and that their purpose is to cause us to fall away from God? Paul addresses this very question in his second letter to Timothy:


2 Timothy 4:1-5 - In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage-- with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.


Paul is encouraging Timothy to keep his head, to fix his mind on the things of God that when deceptions do come he will not only be able to withstand them but also to rebuke them and encourage others in their own struggles against Satan. Elsewhere in this letter to his friend Paul writes that:


2 Timothy 3:16-17 - All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.


And through Moses God told the Israelites to concentrate on the word of God day and night:


Deuteronomy 11:18-21 - Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land that the LORD swore to give your forefathers, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth.


The only way in which we will be able to withstand the lies that are told to us are concentrate on the truth. If we bury ourselves in the study of the word of God and concentrate on its teachings night and day then the lies of our enemy will be far less likely to overtake and confuse us.