In the hurry and bustle of our lives, we often fail to see how we allow the enemy to attack us.
Consider the story of Ananias and Sapphira in Acts chapter 5. They lived in the early days of the church, when the Spirit of God had fallen on the people and many were converted. The result of some of the conversions was that the rich folk sold their lands. They would then take the funds from the sale, and bring them to the Apostles. The money was then distributed to those in need...
Ananias, and his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property and brought some of the money to the Apostle Peter. The were not under obligation to do so, for, as we later learn, they were free to do as they pleased with their own money. Their sin was in lying about the amount they had gotten from the sale. They indicated to Peter that the money they were donating was the entire amount they had received for the sale of their property.
For the sake of the illustration, you could say they got $1000 for the land. However, they donated $500 to the church. Their deception lay in the fact that they led Peter to believe that they had gotten 500 - not 1000, for the land. This was their sin.
Peter confronted them with their sin. And then he said something to them that is very disturbing: “Why has SATAN filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the proceeds of the land?”
Wo. Think about this for a moment. Peter sees their act as a result of being filled with the power of Satan!
Have you ever considered the fact that when you lie you are doing so because the devil himself has - at least for that moment - filled your heart?
We have different names for lies. We call them “while lies,” or “half truths.” But God doesn’t allow such a vocabulary in his kingdom: he says they are LIES. And it is downright frightening to realize that we do so because the power of Satan has filled our heart.
Suppose you came to church to hear me preach. As I stand behind the pulpit, however, I began to tell you that I am too sad to preach today. Why? I miss my dad who died in 2007. I am simply too sad, filled with grief, to the point that I just can’t deliver a sermon.
But, I tell the crowd, I have recently done some research and have learned how to summon the dead. “It’s a seance,” I tell the crowd, a meeting at which people contact the dead, with the help of a medium.
You hear me say this and immediately you are very offended - and rightly so. You’re about to walk out of the sanctuary, but before you do, you stand up and shout at me: “Jimmy, a seance is satanic. You’re practicing witchcraft!”
And you are right. That’s exactly what I would be doing. I am simply practicing witchcraft, a sure way to invite devils and demons into a house of worship. And you would be spot on to walk out in disgust.
I would never conduct such a meeting - but I have done something similar: I have lied. And when I lie, I am doing so under the influence of the devil. The same devil that would have me conduct a seance has helped me...lie.
We have grown so accustomed to telling so-called “half truths” that we have come to accept it as no big deal. But that is not the truth.
Peter told Ananias that he had not lied to men, BUT TO GOD. Have you considered the fact that when you lie, you are not sinning against humans: you are standing in front of God, looking him straight in the face, and lying...TO HIM...
Years ago I needed a new car for my family. My wife and I had 5 children, and needed a vehicle that had enough room. I soon found such a car: a beautiful, big, long station wagon. That thing could easily hold 9 passengers.
I saw the car in the front yard of a resident, with a “For Sale” sign attached. “Sir,” how much for the car” I asked him. “$2500.00” he replied.
I fell in love with this car and came up with 2500 bucks and bought the thing.
But, I would now need an additional 212 dollars to pay the taxes and obtain my updated registration. However, I found a way around having to pay taxes on 2500 dollars...
I told the man who sold me the car, “Sir, I am going to give you 1000 dollars for the car, and since you are ‘helping’ my family find a car, I am going to ‘donate’ an additional 1500 dollars to you.” He smiled and indicated that he understood. I soon drove off in my new car (actually a used car).
I would go to the tax office and purchase my new tags. And when the clerk asked me what I paid for the car, I would tell her: “1000 dollars.”
But, I am a Christian. And my conscience troubled me. I explained my dilemma to my dad, soliciting his opinion. “Son,” he replied. “Look at it this way. If you pay taxes on 2500 you will never wonder if you did the right thing.” That got me. I went to the tax office and paid taxes on 2500 - and the peace of God flooded my mind.
But, consider for just a moment what I was going to do, and what was taking place in my heart. I had, though only for a while, allowed Satan to fill my heart to lie. It is troubling to realize that that course of action would have been...DEMONIC!
And ponder this: when questioned by the clerk about the price I had paid, I was going to lie. But she would NOT have been the one I would have lied to. On the contrary, the victim of my lie would have been ... God himself!
Scary, is it not, when we consider how many lies we have told God (who KNOWS all things)?
Troubling, to say the least, when we consider that we told the IRS we made $50,000 last year, when we know in fact we made much more. We reason that it’s no big deal - “the government doesn’t need my money,” we conclude. And when we do this, we fail to realize that in that moment we have been filled with the power of Satan. And it is not the IRS we lied to - but God.
And our hypocrisy is awful. We have contempt for the politicians when we lear of how they committed “tax evasion.” But that is the SAME SIN we are guilty of.
And we sometimes see this in the church that boasts of having 5000 in their membership, when they know good and well that that the “active” membership is probably half, or less, than that amount.
I agree with the saying that we should “Drain the Swamp.” Let us start with us, the ones who profess faith in Christ.
Long ago God told us in one of the 10 Commandments: “Thou shalt not lie.” And they are called THE 10 Commandments - not the 10 SUGGESTIONS.
UPCOMING SHEEPDOG SEMINARS
Birmingham, Alabama - September 28-29. Click here. Stephen Willeford will be with us in Birmingham. Stephen is the man who shot, and stopped, the killer at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs last November (where 26 worshipers were murdered).
San Diego, California - October 6. Stephen Willeford will be with us in San Diego. Stephen is the man who shot, and stopped, the killer at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs last November (where 26 worshipers were murdered)