"Hearing of how the New Covenant is superior to the Old in many ways; and one of the ways we read in Psalm 51, David said when he had sinned and was repenting of his sin, he says in verse six, "Behold, Oh God, Thou doest desire truth in the innermost being...." He didn't have it. I don't believe anybody in the Old Covenant could have it. But he knew that God desired it. Truth, reality, in the innermost being. And that means that one's external life, or the impression one gives others of one's life, is exactly what one is inside. That's the meaning of that verse. Truth means reality. God desires reality in the innermost being. That means whatever impression you are giving to your fellow believers about your spirituality must be exactly the same, no difference. And David realized that that was not possible in his time. He said, "Lord, you desire it." That's one of the blessings of the New Covenant. That, that which David could not have, that which these great saints of the Old Covenant could not have, we can have..... And if we don't have it, then it's because we don't want it. And it's because of one reason.....that we seek the honor of men, more than the honor of God. It's amazing the number of Christians, who never think of this, as a serious sin - to seek the honor of men, to try to impress people.
I remember many years ago, when I was young and I started preaching, and the Lord asked me this question - "Do you want to impress people or do you want to help them?" I said, "Lord I want to help them." And the Lord said, "Then stop trying to impress them." You have to make a choice. Particularly when you get up in a pulpit. I know how it is for all of us, because our flesh is the same. When we stand before people, whether it's before a group of ten people or a thousand. Whether it's giving a message or a testimony. Whether it's even in private conversation with other believers. We want to come across in an impressive way. Because we seek honor, from created beings. It's a terrible sin. God desires truth in the inner being. And I pray that we shall all become Lovers of the Truth - of reality. That we hate unreality. That we hate lying, in any form. The Bible says Moses brought the Law - he could give commandments. Many many rules and regulations, it's easy. Throughout the ages religious people have been giving their followers rules and commandments. Every religion has got leaders who give their followers rules and commandments. The Law came through Moses but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. What does that mean? It means their was no grace that anyone could receive, ‘til the Lord Jesus came. It means that truth, which Jesus brought, was not possible for anyone to have, ‘til He came. Wasn't there truth in the Old Covenant? What does it mean when it says that grace and truth came through Jesus Christ? This life of reality was not possible under the Old Covenant. And I don't want to judge others, but I must say that the vast majority of born-again believers that I have come across are not real; they are not genuine. And that's why the flow of Living Water through them is hindered. And that's why God cannot walk with them. That's why God cannot be with their mouth when they speak, because they are not real.
I want to say to you my brothers and sisters, the most important instrument that God uses, the most important part of our body that God uses, in the New Covenant age, is the tongue. And that's why when the apostles were filled with the Holy Spirit there were Tongues of Fire on top of their heads. And they spoke in other tongues, but the meaning of this Tongues of Fire was, that from now on you would have a tongue that was completely under the control of the Holy Spirit. And Jesus called the Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, who will lead you, He said, into all the truth. And He's going to control your tongue, so that your tongue will always speak the truth. Your "yes" will be "yes", and your "no" will be "no". And Jesus said you don't have to swear anymore. Every word of yours will be as good as an oath. That's how God is. Every word He speaks is truth. And in the New Covenant, we can partake of His nature.
I don't know whether you have a great intense desire to cleanse yourself from all lying, of every form. But I believe, that that is something so necessary in the day and age in which we live, if we are to be the light of God in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, shining as lights for Him. If we love the truth, God will show us more and more. I want to show you a verse in Jeremiah 15.... If the tongue is the most important instrument God is going to use, why is it that there are so few tongues that God can use? Why is it, that there are so few in every country, on whose tongue God can put His Word? His prophetic Word. Here is the reason. Many, many years ago, God spoke this to me. Jeremiah 15:19, the Lord says, "If you return, I will restore you and you will stand before me. And if you extract the precious from the worthless, you will become my mouth. You will become my spokesman." There is a condition for becoming God's mouth, and I want to say to you, to any brother or sister here, yes, even the sisters..... In the New Covenant the Holy Spirit is being poured out on the sons and daughters of God. Every brother, every sister can be filled with the Spirit of Truth. Every brother and sister can be a witness for Jesus Christ. And the condition is this - if in your conversation, you extract the precious from the worthless, you will be my mouth. And there is no respecter of persons with God. If you fulfill the condition, and you stand before Him, it says, "before me, you will stand." Get rid of that spirit of accusation that comes forth through your tongue. Get rid of that criticism, backbiting, finding fault....get rid of that complaining spirit that you have in your home. Complaining about this, that and the other. Get rid of fellowshipping with other people in your place of work who are criticizing the boss, and criticizing the government. Extract the precious from the worthless.... Throw away the garbage! Be upright! Speak the truth - always the truth - even if it goes against you, even if you have to lose your life for it. And God says, "You will be my mouth." Is it worth it? It certainly is. The work of God suffers loss, because God does not have many men and women like that; who are upright, honest, absolutely one-hundred percent truthful in their business, and in every aspect of their life.
It's very common in our country, in India, we used to have very high customs duty, if you brought anything in from abroad. And when Indians go abroad they buy many things - electronic goods and various things. And it's a very common practice to cheat the customs when you enter the country. I suppose it's true in every country. But I remember once when I was coming in, back to India from somewhere and I had a few things, and the Lord said to me, "Everything you bought must be right on top of your suitcase, not hidden anywhere, like other people do, so that when you open it, they can see it, (the customs officers) and if you have to pay duty on it, pay duty on it. Whatever it is." Then the Lord said this to me, "I have no shortage of money, but I have a great shortage of upright people." So if you do something crooked, tell a little lie to save a little money - you're going to add to the shortage of upright people God has in His church. Don't ever do it. Don't do it in your business. Don't do it when you file your tax papers. Absolute truthfulness. Do you want to be God's mouth? Is it too big a price to pay? He has no shortage of money. He has a shortage of upright people.
It was not possible in the Old Covenant. But under the New Covenant, grace and truth are realized through Jesus Christ. And that's why it's very, very important for us, to teach our children from very early in life, to speak the truth. That was far more important for me, than whether they broke something in the house. I didn't care if they broke something. I didn't care if they turned the furniture upside-down when they were playing. That was their home, they could do that. But, they must speak the truth. I believe that's very important in the day and age in which we live.
Now I want to turn to 2Thessalonians 2. It's more than speaking the truth. It says about Jesus in Hebrews 1:9, that "He was anointed with the Oil of Gladness" for one reason.....There are many times in Hebrews where it says, God didn't do this, because He was His Son, but because of some other reason. It says, for example in Hebrews 5, that His prayers were heard because He feared. And although He was His Son, he learned obedience through the things He suffered. Why was Jesus anointed? Hebrews 1:9 says, "He was anointed with the Oil of Gladness because He loved righteousness and hated iniquity more that His companions." That's why He was anointed more that His companions. The measure of the anointing oil being upon our heads..... The measure of the anointing in the power of the Holy Spirit being upon us, and especially the Oil of Gladness, of continuous joy, of an overcoming spirit, depends on the measure in which we love righteousness and hate sin. Now there is a difference between avoiding sin and hating it. A thief may avoid committing a crime because he sees a policeman around the corner. It doesn't mean he hates it. When we avoid sin, we haven't reached great heights. It's when we hate sin, that we are following Jesus. When we do righteousness, we haven't reached great heights. It's when we love righteousness that we are following Jesus. It's not speaking the truth, it's loving the truth. And that's what we read in 2 Thessalonians 2. In 2 Thessalonians 2, it says here about the last days, when there's going to be tremendous activity of Satan, the Great Liar - verse 9, "With all power and signs and false wonders....", Wonders that are a deception. Healing done in the name of Jesus. Demons cast out in the name of Jesus. And when they stand before the Lord in the final day, He will say, "Depart from me you workers of iniquity....." These people who did this, (he is referring to) it's an amazing verse in Matthew 7:23 and 24. He says, "Many,..", not just one or two, "Many will come to me in the last day and say, "Lord, we prophesied in your name, we cast out demons in your name....." It wasn't in the name of some heathen god, it was in the name of Jesus, "We did miracles in your name..." And He will say, "Depart from me, you who work iniquity.." Isn't that amazing? That people who heal the sick in the name of Jesus are finally going to hell. Now I've contrasted that with another passage where Jesus said about people who stand before Him in the last day - Matthew 25, where He speaks about separating the sheep and the goats; and He says to the sheep, "Come, you righteous, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was sick and you visited me," You never healed me.....because you didn't have the gift, but you visited me. You didn't pretend to have the gift. You just encouraged me, and went away, and I was still sick....come in, the kingdom is for you... Isn't that amazing that the man who healed the sick goes to Hell, and the man who visited goes to Heaven? There are going to be a lot of surprises when Jesus comes again. The first will be last and the last will be first. It's not all these supernatural things God is looking for. He's looking for uprightness, honesty. Do you know what is the first sin mentioned in the Bible? It's not Adam's, by the way. Not the first sin - that of course was Lucifer, but the first sin mentioned in Genesis; it's Satan telling Eve, "You will not die.." That's the first sin mentioned in the Bible; a lie. The first sin mentioned in the Bible is lying. Do you know what's the last sin mentioned in the Bible? I never went to Bible school, that's why I know - I study the Bible, not what other people said about the Bible. Revelation 22:15, it says about people who are outside the Kingdom, many many things and finally, those who practice lying. Lying is the first sin mentioned in the Bible and it's the last sin mentioned in the Bible. Jesus said, Satan is the father of lies. You may be a born-again Child of God; when you speak a lie, something that is false, something that is not true; it doesn't matter who you are, the devil is the father of that lie, and you're the mother. It's through a union of the devil with your mind, at that moment that that child was born, a lie. The devil was the father and you were the mother. Imagine the number of times, when we've allowed the devil to have that type of union with our minds. No wonder, when we stand to speak God's Word, God is not with our mouth. We can say a lot of clever things, we can say a lot of eloquent things; but when God is with your mouth, He will take that word like an arrow to people's hearts and convict them. That's what we need! In all of our churches! We don't need more clever sermons. We don't even need wonderfully arranged sermons, we need things that will go straight to people's hearts. And for that, God says, get rid of the garbage. Take out the precious, be careful about what you speak. Any brother, any sister, any age, doesn't matter. You can be sixteen years old and a prophet of God, and you can be sixty years old, and just an ordinary preacher.
Now lets turn to 2 Thessalonians 2, it says here in the last days there's going to be a lot of these lying wonders....deceptive miracles. And there's going to be "the deception of wickedness." How can we overcome this deception? You're not going to overcome it by Bible study. We're going to overcome it by God giving us discernment. And the more we love the truth ourselves, in every area of our being, the more we will have discernment on what is true and what is false outside of us. But we've got to love the truth inside of us first, if we want to see what is true and false, in Christendom today. This is an age of deception. "The Holy Spirit speaks expressly.." 1 Timothy 4:1, "that in the last days there will be a flood of deceitful spirits." That means the Holy Spirit has underlined that verse. All scripture is inspired by God, but that verse has been underlined. That's the meaning of 1 Timothy 4:1, "The Holy Spirit speaks expressly.." He's underlined it, that there's going to a flood of deceitful spirits in the world in the last days. How are we going to avoid deception? We must love the truth. There's a lot of deception floating around today. There are a lot of gospels being preached today which sound right to those who don't have discernment. There are preachers going around the world, who appear to be men of God, who are humbugs and hypocrites; but who are fooling undiscerning people. How shall we give these people discernment? So that they can see through these crooked men? Teach them to love the truth in their own life. And then the anointing within them will tell them, "There's something wrong with that man. There's something wrong with that gospel." They don't need to be believers for twenty or thirty years. If they are born-again yesterday and they love the truth, God will show them, "This is wrong..." Remember this, brothers and sisters, I'm not against supernatural gifts, I believe God can heal. Every time I'm sick I pray to God to heal me. Whenever our children were sick at home, I would always lay hands on them and pray for them. I'm not against medicine I would always give them medicine. But I believe that the thing I should do is commit them to God, to heal them. So I believe in that. I believe in the gifts of the Spirit. But I say there is a lot of counterfeit. I believe in speaking in tongues, but now I'm not being critical.....Most of the speaking in tongues I have heard in my whole life, in many, many churches, this is my opinion, is not of God. It's psychological manipulation of people...Now that's not because I'm against that gift. I speak in tongues. So you know I'm not against the gift. But ninety percent of what I've heard, is not from God. There's a lot of deception around. By their fruit you shall know them, and their fruit is not Christ like. It's not Godly. And a lot of sinful people are being deceived. They're being manipulated, because they don't love the truth. There's a lot of healing, which is just mental, psychological, psychosomatic healing. Which is supposed to be some miracle which Jesus did. It's a deception! There's a lot of it going on in the world. And because people don't love the truth, they're being deceived. I know, in my country, thousands of believers are being deceived by what's happening. And when you get deceived, you begin to think anything supernatural is of the Holy Spirit. There are people falling down in my country and barking, and everything is supposed to be of the Holy Spirit. It's amazing how, I can't imagine but that a man without any understanding of the Bible would say that's not the Holy Spirit. And here are people who are supposed to be born-again, who are thinking this is all the Holy Spirit. It's not. The primary ministry of the Holy Spirit, is to make us like Jesus Christ. And if He does not do that in our life, everything else could be counterfeit. There are spirits in the world. There are spirits that can heal, and spirits that can make people speak in tongues. There are spirits that can do all types of things. The Bible says here, about the activity of Satan, "with powers, signs, and false wonders, with the deception of wickedness." And why did they get deceived, all these people? Here is the reason.... "They did not receive the love of the truth, so as to be saved. And for this reason, God will send upon them a deluding influence..." Just listen to this! It's one of the most scary verses in the whole Bible! Do you know what it says? Now earlier on it speaks about Satan deceiving people with false wonders, that's not what's referred to here. Here it says God will deceive people. Just think of that dear brothers. The Bible says in Ephesians 4, that I've got deceitful lusts in my flesh. Lusts that can deceive me. And you know that as well as I do. Lusts that tell me, "You'll get a kick out of this" and "You'll enjoy this"; and ultimately brings me to remorse when I've yielded to that lust. That's deception. Lusts - the lust for more money. People think they'll be happier if they get it. And ultimately they get more miserable. The lust in the area of sex, thinking that you can get some pleasure out of it and ultimately it's remorse. This is deceitful; deceitful lusts. Satan is also a deceiver. He's called a deceiver of the whole world in Revelation 12. And here I've got these two great enemies out to deceive me. The lusts in my flesh and the devil himself. And can you imagine, if in addition, God also is out to deceive me - I'm finished. I've got to be careful, at least God is on my side. Then I can stand the deception, against the deception of the lusts of my flesh, and the deception of Satan. But here it says that, "God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they may believe what is false." They will believe that is the gospel, when it is not the gospel. They will believe that the gospel is a way of making money. The prosperity gospel. The health and wealth gospel. They'll believe that's it. Why does God allow thousands and thousands of people to believe what is false? Why does He allow people to believe that so many of these preachers who appear on television are men of God when they're not? Why does God allow so many thousands of people, to send their hard-earned money to many of these deceivers? Why? The reason is here. "They themselves", the people who are watching and listening to these people, verse 10, "did not receive the love of the truth, so as to be saved." Now that applies to you and me, there is no respecter of persons with God.
I remember many, many years ago, as a young Christian, you see I came out of a Syrian Orthodox Church, which is pretty close to the Roman Catholic Church, and I didn't know much of the Bible when I was converted, forty-one years ago. And as I grew up I saw so many groups of Christians all holding the same Bible, and saying, "We're speaking the truth. We're the right group. Everybody else is wrong." And through the years, through the last forty years I've seen those groups multiply, so many groups, many more groups have come holding the same Bible and saying, "We've got the right thing and everybody else is wrong." And you can imagine how confused a young Christian is when he sees all this, because he doesn't know. He's not smart to answer this cult group, and that group and the other group; they're all quoting from the same Bible the things that look so convincing! And this is what helped me. Jesus said, "You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free." And I saw, that if someone was speaking the truth to me, it would set me free from sin. Whatever doctrine it is, if it did not set me free from sin, it's not the truth. Secondly, whatever doctrine a person preached, if it brought me in to him, it cannot be the truth. A man who preaches the truth, will not only set me free from sin, he will set me free from being his slave as well! He will set me free from rules and regulations and laws to follow Jesus in freedom. "You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free. If the Son shall set you free, you shall be free indeed." Jesus came to set people free. The devil is always seeking to bring people into . There are lots of believers sitting in to overbearing pastors and leaders and charismatic people, charismatic in terms of personality, leaders who have such a hold on people. That's not the truth. The truth will set people free. If you're in to any man, you're in to rules and regulations, you can be sure that's not the truth. The truth will set you free. So, that became a guideline for me. That's the way for me to test the truth; is it making me more free? More free from sin. More free from fear. More free from the devil. More free from the world. Well then, it's the truth. Is it bringing me more into to sin, more into to some person, more into to a system? Then it cannot be the truth. And this is the other verse. The Lord said to me, if throughout my life I would love the truth, which He showed me about myself, and acknowledge it, so that I want to be saved from my sin, I would never be deceived. God would guarantee, He'd never allow me to be deceived. Because this verse says, it's those who don't receive the love of the truth so as to be saved who are deceived.
A close friend of mine, he's not in our church, who went to a healing meeting. He was suffering from a serious sickness, and he said he got some experience there and he went up on the platform in that meeting and testified that he was healed. Now I never knew about this, I read it in the magazine put out by that healer who conducted this crusade. And I saw this photograph of my friend there with his testimony. I knew he was seriously sick with an incurable disease, and here was his testimony that he was healed. Well, I'm like Thomas, unless I see, I don't believe. So I said, "Well, I've got to find out this." And I met him some weeks later, and I found he was much worse, much worse. And I thought, "Supposing he sends another testimony to that healer now, and says "What I said earlier was not true, actually," Would they publish that in that magazine, with his photograph? Never. That's what I mean by deception. That's what I mean by fooling people. That's a firsthand example that I came across, of the deception with which lots of people are being fooled today. They don't love the truth. Now if that person really loved the truth, he would publish that second testimony, that this fellow was not healed. There's a lot of that going on. It's not only in the area of tongues and healing, it's in many, many areas.
What was the first sin, that we read God judged publicly in the early church? It was a sin of lying. Again, first sin mentioned in the Bible is lying, last sin mentioned in the Bible is lying, the first sin God judged publicly in the early church, is also lying. Not adultery, not murder.....Ananias and Sapphira, they were not guilty of adultery or murder, they were guilty of a sin, which millions of Christians are practicing today! What was that? We read in Acts 5 that at a time when many people were selling their property, there was no command to sell property. This is something people did voluntarily, and they felt like doing it. If there was a command like that, it would have been mentioned in the epistles. It's very dangerous to follow examples in the acts of the apostles if they're not mentioned in the epistles, I just want to mention that to you. There are many things in the acts of the apostles like, Paul quarreled with Barnabas, these are not doctrines for us to follow. Paul shaved his head, and certain good things too, but it was done voluntarily. They sold all they're property, and they gave it. And in the midst of that, Ananias and Sapphira, they sold some property; let's say they sold it for $50,000, and then Ananias and Sapphira sat and discussed it and said, "Well, we'd like to keep a little bit back for ourselves for the rainy day, and we'll give $25,000 to God." Now tell me, today if somebody sold his property for $50,000 and gave $25,000 to God, we'd call him a whole-hearted believer! How many people would give $25,000, fifty-percent of their sales proceeds to God? That wasn't wrong. It was excellent! But, it was this impression he was trying to give when he stood in the cue, in that meeting place, that he was giving everything. That was the sin. God never told him to sell his property. It was his property, he need not have sold it at all! He could have kept it! God loves a cheerful giver. There's no law in the New Testament that says you must even give ten percent. Everything is voluntary. And he need not have sold his land. And even after he sold his land, he need not have given even one-percent to God; it was still his. And Peter made that very clear to him. But Peter said, " Ananias, (Acts 5:3) why has Satan filled your heart to tell a lie?" Now what lie did Ananias say? He didn't even open his mouth. Do you know you can tell a lie without even opening your mouth? Here was a cue of people coming up to Peter and laying the money at the feet, and Ananias also, with a pious look, that all the others had, he also stood in the cue, and quietly left the money there, without saying one word, and as he was going, Peter said, "Come back"- My, we need more men like Peter in our churches today. I really believe that's the greatest need. And if we love the truth, we will be like that, we can be like Peter; who can have discernment, who can see through the humbugs, the deceivers. And he called Ananias and said, "Why have you told a lie?" He hadn't opened his mouth. It was an impression he gave, that "I'm also wholehearted, I'm also giving everything.." And Peter said, "You've not lied to men, (verse 4) you've lied to God." And his wife came later, and did exactly the same thing.
Now, let's just examine our hearts. Have we ever been guilty of this sin? Have you ever tried to give an impression when you talk about prayer, that you're a great man of prayer? Have you told people honestly that your thoughts also wander when you pray? Mine does. Even after forty-one years of being a believer. It's a battle. Do you give people a wrong impression, when you talk about fasting? Do you give people the impression that you're a great faster? One who fasts and prays..... What a lot of lying there is. In testimonies, in reports of Christian work. I come from a country, that there's a lot of mission work going on. There are hundreds of thousands of reports, being sent from India to the United States and other places, and everywhere, there's supposed to be revival! I live there, and I know it is not true. But I see all these reports going on and all these gullible people in the West just believing it all and sending money back. I'm amazed. I've seen so many people come from Western countries to India. With a great lust, to start an organization, to start a mission. And to start something which they can go back home and report was a success. And when you come to a country like India where there is such a lot of unemployment, even among Christians; there are multitudes of people ready to believe any doctrine you preach, to agree with everything you say, provided you pay them, and willing to give you any report you want. They're happy, you're happy, the devil's happy, only God is not happy. This is what's going on. And why is it? It's because of this lust for statistics. I heard it said by someone, there are three types of lies: Black lies, white lies and statistics. You know, there's a tremendous lust for statistics in the Christian world. To impress people with the size of our work, the number of people there are in our church, how it's growing, this is all basically the sin of Ananias - wanting to impress. It may not always be exactly the same way, but it's the same spirit - wanting to impress. Why? Because we seek the honor of men, more than the honor of God. We care for the approval of men, more than the approval of God. We want to be known as "Men of God". Do you want to be known as a "Man of God"? I tell you, I don't. I look at Jesus, who called himself the Son of Man; an ordinary man, that's what He meant. He became like his brothers in all things, in order to save us. It's the first principle of Christian ministry, to become like other people in all things. That's why he said to his disciples, "Don't even take a title, don't be called "Rabbi", "Reverend", "Pastor", nothing. Just be a brother, just be a servant. That's our calling. To be like our brothers in everything. But, do you think Christian preachers and leaders want to be like that? No - they want to give the impression of being "Great Men of God...." One who brings a sense of awe upon other people. "Great Prophet", "Great Preacher", who's admired; who cannot mingle with the ordinary people. Have you seen in these great meetings and crusades, the preacher - he just came on the platform before the meeting and disappeared after he'd spoken. You can never meet him. He's not an ordinary man - he's a "Great Man of God". This is not Christianity. This is some other religion. It's some other Jesus. And so many are being deceived. Jesus became like us, in every way. He mingled with ordinary people. He never disappeared after preaching a message. He never appeared suddenly on a platform just before he spoke. This is all the spirit of the film star, of the actor and the actress. It's not the Spirit of Jesus. Why is it Christians don't see through this? Because they don't love the truth about themselves. There's deception in many, many, many areas. What did we read here? 2 Thessalonians, let's look at that verse again, chapter 2, "For this reason, they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved, for this reason God will send upon them a strong deception, a deluding influence." I want to ask you my brothers and sisters, when you study the scriptures, and you find something there that does not seem to fit with the doctrine you have believed for the last thirty years, are you willing to change? There your honesty is tested. And there you can be tempted to squeeze that scripture until it fits into the mold of the doctrine you have believed for thirty years, or the doctrine your denomination has believed for thirty years, and you're not willing to change. And in that moment, God has seen, that you don't love the truth. And He'll allow you to believe that lie!
I had a friend who worked for Kodak, and he was in the Research Department. And he was doing a number of experiments, I think it was about ten experiments and nine of them, the results came out right, as expected. And the tenth one, the results did not come out right in the laboratory, and he said he found a great temptation to fudge the results and make it similar to all the other nine. He could have done it, but he decided to be honest, and he went for a swim. And while he was swimming, he suddenly thought, "Hey, this must be the reason why that tenth experiment didn't work out like that." And He went out and he discovered something, and it was a new discovery that Kodak patented and used. And he says how he never would have made that discovery if he had not been honest.
You know when you come to scripture, and you read something and it doesn't seem to fit with what you always believed; you're at a fork-in-the-road. You can get a new revelation from God that can change your life, or you can fudge the results, and just believe what you always believed, because that's safer. You don't want to be different from the crowd. I know the times in my life, where God has tested me on this very point, and I said, "Lord, I don't care what church I get thrown out of, I don't care who rejects me, I don't care where I never get called back to preach again, I don't care what anybody thinks. If this is your word, I'll believe it." And it's opened up new areas of revelation; things that have changed my life! Be open - Love the Truth! Don't love the honor of your denomination, or the people. Don't seek comfort and security in people. Find your security in God. When we are secure in God, we don't need a thousand people telling us we're right - let them say you're wrong. It doesn't matter. These are areas where we discover whether we love the truth or not. And if you don't love the truth, I assure you, you will be deceived. You may not go to Hell, but you'll miss out on God's best. And you're going to have a lot of regret, when you stand at the Judgment Seat of Christ, and the Lord points out to you, saying "At that particular point in your life, when you were thirty-five years old, I showed you something that could have revolutionized your life and ministry, but you didn't want to accept it, because the church you were in didn't accept it, your leader said it was all wrong..." Well, you can have your choice. I want to love the truth. And I want to be honest with scripture. God's Word is true. Let God be true and every man a liar. Heaven and earth will pass away, but this Word will not pass away.
What about honesty in the impression we give about victory in our life? Particularly those who preach holiness. If you study the holiness movement through the years, we find that some of them preached "entire sanctification", which means you couldn't possibly sin again. But the honest people among them later discovered that they were sinning. The dishonest ones sort of pretended that they didn't. But the honest ones discovered they were sinning and wanted to know what to do about this. "Because we already testified one year ago, or last week, we're not sinning anymore." So they called it a mistake. Now the sad thing is, the Blood of Jesus does not cleanse mistakes..... it only cleanses sin. So if you've made a mistake, well, I don't know what you're going to do with it brother, you've got to live with it. If it was sin, you could confess it and the Blood of Jesus would cleanse it away. And that's where dishonesty crept into the "Holiness Movement". And what's the result? We have lots of people, entirely sanctified, making mistakes everyday. It's tragic! If it were not so tragic, we could laugh at the whole thing, but it's tragic. God allows them to be deceived because they won't honestly admit that was a sin. "I yielded to my lust", "I sinned in my thoughts", "That was an unkind word, that was not the way I should have spoken to my wife, that was a sin and I have to go to her and say, "Darling, please forgive me, that was sin." The Blood of Jesus cleanses us. I can be justified. I am declared righteous by God, but not if I call it a mistake. Not if I'm dishonest. When we give people the impression, "We don't have any fears! We don't have any depression!" Well, you must be better than the apostle Paul. Because Paul said in 2 Corinthians 7:5, he says, "When we came to Macedonia, our flesh had no rest. We were afflicted on every side. With conflicts outside and fears inside my heart." Fears? Inside the apostle Paul's heart? This mighty apostle and a prophet had a fear in his heart? He was an honest man. I thank God for the honesty of the apostle Paul. Haven't you had fears my brother? Why are you ashamed to admit it? Why you do you lead those poor young brothers astray? By pretending to have a life which you don't have and perhaps is not possible in this world. That's why you can't be a mouthpiece of God. God loves honest people. God loved Paul, He was with Paul, because he was honest. He said, "I have fears." This is what God has shown me. God has taken me through situations where cult groups have taken me to court in India, because I expose their wrong doctrines. And the first time I went, I've never been to court in my whole life! Never knew what the inside of a court looked like. And naturally when you go into some new situations, there are some fears. And the Lord showed me something about fear at that time. He said "It doesn't matter if there are fears, it's only a temptation. Don't act on that fear, then you are okay." And so I decided, "Well I can't do anything about these feelings, but I'm not going to act on my fear, I'm going to act in faith, in God. He's my father, and He's going to take care of me." So the fact that you have some fears in your heart doesn't meant anything! Be honest about it! Don't act on them. Paul was honest. And not only fears. He says in the next verse he was depressed! "God, who comforts the depressed, comforted us." And the interesting thing here is, He didn't comfort Paul with a verse from scripture. He comforted him, by giving him the fellowship of a younger brother, called Titus. And that perhaps may be the way God will comfort you; if you can value that younger brother. It may not be through some older brother. Maybe through a younger brother. But Paul felt that, but he was not going to act on the basis of his depression, he was not going to pass on his depression to others. That's the point.... I praise God for the honesty of these men of God. They did not give people the impression, that they lived a life that is impossible to live on this earth. A victorious life, does not mean a life that we will never face any pressure, where we will never face any temptation. Jesus was tempted as we are...we're going to be tempted and face the pressure of temptation ‘til our dying day... What is temptation, how does temptation come to us? Let's be honest. A thought flashes into our mind. That's temptation; it's not sin. It's when I yield to that in my mind that it's sin. If I'm going to expect to live a life where no thoughts will flash into my mind, I've got to be in heaven! It's not going to be here on this earth! Now let me say that to all of you young people who've got a wrong understanding of the victorious life. I don't have to yield to it - that's the point. It's like, somebody said, "I can't stop the birds from flying over my head, but I can stop them from building a nest in my hair." That's the point! I can't stop temptation from flashing into my mind, but I can stop them from building a nest in my mind. I say, "No, I don't want it!" So don't get condemned because some thought flashed into your mind. Just say, "No, I don't want it!" It could be a filthy thought, it could be an evil thought. Say, "No, I don't want it, that's not me. I'm a new man in Christ." So many people are being condemned because of the unreality of people preaching a false type of victorious life and they're not honest enough to tell them that they're struggling. Is the Christian life a struggle? I'll tell you it is. It's a struggle for me today. But I'm not struggling with the same things I struggled with twenty-five years ago. Think of a student studying mathematics. He's struggling when he's five years old, in the first grade. He's struggling when he's doing a doctorate in mathematics at the age of twenty-eight; but he's not struggling with the same thing. When he was five years old, he was struggling with addition. When he's twenty-five years old, he's not struggling with addition, but he's still struggling. That's how the Christian life is. We go on, we're struggling all the time. Remember, Jesus struggled in Gethsemane. What about perplexity? A lot of people think, if you're a Christian, you're never confused about anything. You always know God's will perfectly... Well I tell you, I don't. Most of the time, I'm perplexed, I don't know what to do. That's the honest truth. After forty-one years of being a born-again believer, many times I seek God and I say, "I don't know what to do." And I say, "Okay, well Lord, I'm doing the best I know how." And I step forward. And then I look back years later and I find God somehow led me. That's all I can say. That's guidance. I don't hear voices from Heaven saying, "Now go right"...or... "Go left". Don't be fooled by all these testimonies and biographies and books written nowadays. I find that most of these biographies that are written in the last fifty years are not honest. There were more honest testimonies written before the second World War. There were more godly people. There's a shallow, empty Christianity in the world today, that's fooling lots of people. It's a deception. If you love the truth, you will be saved from it. There's a lot of it floating around, all over the world. And I believe God needs many people who are bold enough to expose it. And if you're honest, I believe God can make you his mouthpiece too. Never give an impression, particularly to young people. I remember when I was a young Christian. And you know how young men, one of their biggest problems is in the area of sex. And I used to go to an assembly, where I never heard a single message on that subject. I heard about justification, and I heard about glorification, and I heard about sanctification. But my problem was not these things, my problem was sex. But they never spoke about that. Everybody pretended that they never had a problem with that. They kept quiet about it. And you know what the result was for me as a young Christian? I thought I was a sex maniac. I'm just being honest with you. Years later I discovered I was perfectly normal. But all these preachers were just dishonest and trying to fool me, and I decided one thing - and I practiced that the last twenty-five years in our churches in India. I decided I would speak straight to young people, in this matter, and show them that Jesus can give them victory, but it will be a battle. And there will be a struggle. And if you have a struggle in this area, even as a married man, if you have a struggle, that's not abnormal. All I say is, don't give in. The Lord will help you. You can be an overcomer. I suffered because people wouldn't tell me the truth! Don't let people suffer, my dear brothers, preachers. Don't make your poor congregation suffer, by being dishonest with them. By not telling them the struggles you're going through yourself! The struggle is not sin! It is the clearest proof that you hate sin...that you don't want it...that you're standing against it, you're fighting against it. Be honest with people. I believe one of the greatest needs in the pulpit today is Honesty. Absolute honesty. Loving the truth. Total one-hundred percent truth. Your "yes" is "yes", and your "no" is "no". That's how it must be. You know that verse.
I just want to say one more thing before I close. You know, a lot of people also give people the impression; we have this logical understanding, this mathematical way of thinking, many people, that makes them "pigeon-hole" various things. You know, to put the Bible down into neat little doctrines, and I discovered the Bible is not written that way.
I remember preaching in a seminary once, and those students said, "Brother Zac, you have broken every law of preaching that we were ever taught in this seminary. You don't have an introduction, you don't have three points, you don't have a conclusion, you don't have a subject matter.... But you speak to our hearts!" So I said, "Well when Jesus spoke He didn't give any introduction, He didn't say what subject He was going to speak on, He didn't give three points, He didn't have a conclusion, but people's hearts burned within them." And so I said, "When I was a young Christian, I decided not to make any preacher my example, but look at Jesus and see how did He speak, and try to speak like Him." And one of the things I've seen is that many people give the impression, that say, "God's got a perfect plan for our life", that's true, you heard me say that yesterday, or the other day. God's got a perfect plan for our life. So now therefore, logic tells me, that if at a particular point I miss that plan, say I took the wrong turn, then for the rest of my life, it's finished, I can never get God's perfect plan again. It has to be God's second-best, and if I missed another turn again, then it will be the third-best, and if I miss one more turn, by the time I'm a believer for five years, I'm probably only going to get the hundredth best of God's plan, because I made so many mistakes already. Is it like that? No, it isn't. The first page of the Bible shows me a world which God created perfectly in verse one, which came chaotic in verse two because of Lucifer's sin, and which God remade. That's the message of the first chapter of the Bible! That that which was messed up by sin, God remakes, and at the end of it, He says, "It's very good." And then we go to the third chapter of the Bible, Genesis chapter 3, and there we see God had a perfect plan for Adam. Now let me ask you a question. Was the cross of Calvary part of God's eternal purpose or not? Yes - we've no doubt about it. Was it part of God's perfect plan for man? Are you doubtful? Yes or No? Okay. Now I'm going to catch you. That perfect plan was necessary because man failed. So are you implying that Adam had to fail, for God's perfect plan to be fulfilled? Otherwise there would be no need for Calvary. I'm just trying to show you, you can use logic and mathematics, but you can't use it when you come to scripture. God says, "My ways are not you ways. As the Heaven is high above the earth, so my ways are not your ways." What am I trying to say? Even if you've messed up your life brother, you can still fulfill God's perfect plan. Logic doesn't seem to fit with that statement, but it is true. You know, when Adam and Eve sinned, God immediately came and said, He didn't tell them, "Well, I ‘m sorry, you fellows have missed my perfect plan", He said, "Long before this I've already made plans. The seed of the woman is going to crush the serpent's head." I praise God for that message. Jesus said about those people who came at the eleventh-hour; that means, they messed up ninety-percent of their life doing nothing! Ninety-two percent to be exact. And they had only one hour left. And they got their reward first. God can pick up people who've messed up their lives in so many ways, for so many years. Maybe even after becoming a believer! And you've backslidden, you've gone astray. I want to say to you the message of the Bible is a message of hope. You can turn to God today, and He can make your life so glorious! From the mess of your life, He can create a new heavens and a new earth! That's the message of the gospel. I want to say brothers and sisters, let's love the truth. Let's be honest with this generation that's growing up. And as we love the truth, God will give us discernment on all the false gospels, the false preachers, the false Christianity, another Jesus, another spirit, another gospel, that is abounding in the world today. There's a great need for men and women who have discernment.
May God help you and me to be among that number. Amen.