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To Tell The Truth


"12 But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath; but your yes is to be yes, and your no, no, so that you may not fall under judgment."
Good Morning my beloved,
Welcome to worship this Lord's day! Let us rejoice for another day to worship and praise our Lord.
We're so glad to have you here with us today. Please know, that we continue to lift all of you up in our prayers.  
Ask anyone today, "What is truth?" and you’re certain to start a very interesting and often controversial conversation. It our culture today, the concept of truth has been dying a slow death, and the consequences of rejecting it, are literally ravaging human society.
There seems to be no absolute truth. The truth by definition cannot contradict itself. Truth is the self-expression of God. And because the definition of truth flows from God, truth is theological. In Scripture, the unregenerate world is designated as the children of the devil. And the devil is the father of lies!
Because truth has become whatever, you or I say that it is, and that becomes our truth. There is no shortage of endless debates, that all boil down to "my truth" versus "your truth." This has become a prevalent issue on platforms such as social media, because everyone has their own version of the truth, with no absolute truth as the standard. If you choose to disregard that, try defining truth without reference to God, and see how quickly all definitions fail. As soon as you begin to ponder the essence of truth, you are brought face to face with the requirement of a universal absolute truth.

Once you remove the eternal reality of God, conversely, the entire concept of truth instantly becomes nonsense, subject to every imagination of the human heart and mind. Furthermore, whenever someone tries to dissociate truth from the knowledge of God, there are serious moral implications. Once a society has abandon a biblical definition of truth, God's Word, complete unrighteousness becomes the inescapable result.
We are literally witnessing it unfold, right before our very eyes, in every facet of contemporary society. In Romans chapter 1, the Apostle Paul says "For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their reasonings, and their senseless hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and they exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible mankind, of birds, four-footed animals, and crawling creatures."
The the widespread acceptance of all forms of iniquity and open rebellion that we see taking place in our society, is the literal fulfillment of what Romans 1 says always happens when a society denies and suppresses the essential connection between God and truth.
If you reflect on the subject with any degree of sobriety, you will quickly come to the conclusion that even the most fundamental moral distinctions, good and evil, right and wrong, or honor and dishonor cannot possibly have any true meaning apart from God. That is because truth and knowledge themselves simply have no coherent significance apart from a fixed source, which is God. Since God is the quintessence of the very definition of truth. Therefore, any claim to truth apart from God is ludicrous. Truth is not subjective to the current cultural construct.
In John 14:6, Jesus said "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me."
God's Word is truth, and is not gainsaid because of the ignorance of a person or society. The word "ignorance" is defined as "destitute of knowledge; uninstructed or uninformed; untaught; unenlightened." 
We have all heard the expression that "Ignorance is bliss." Some people choose to be ignorant because they want to avoid the added pressure and responsibility that comes with having knowledge. Others, choose to be ignorant because they have no desire to learn anything more than what they know. Dr. Martin Luther King once said, "Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity."  
There are many that choose to be ignorant of God’s Word, which leads to eternal damnation. There are times when we must humbly admit that we do not know everything, and submit to the wisdom of God.
The process of swearing and oaths is a device of men, primarily based upon the predisposition of his dishonesty. Essentially, we have learned that man cannot be trusted to keep his word. It has become even more evident in the last or so. In fact, I believe that the more passionately a person swears he is telling the truth, the more it speaks to their lack of credibility.
When a person takes an oath or vow appealing to the name of God, that person is placing the value of God’s name on that promise. It doesn't take long to realize what a fearful position we put ourselves in when we take part in such vows.
Let us pray
Heavenly Father,
Father, we are so thankful for Your Word, for the opportunity to read and study together and for the honor and great privilege of worshiping You. Lord, I pray for those who struggle to speak the truth, living a life of lies and deception, hiding and covering up their sin. Father, convict their hearts, that would have no peace, until they have come to You in true repentance, that would be found trustworthy.
Lord, speak to every heart with us today, cause us to examines our lives, that we would confront lies, as Christ did, in truth, with love and compassion, that we would demonstrate a transformed life before the watching world. Father, touch the hearts of the lost, awaken them to the truth, that they would come to Christ and receive true saving faith. May it all be for Your glory and for Christ's sake
In His name we pray

Today's Message: To Tell The Truth

When I was growing up, your handshake or your word was as good as a written contract. And, if you made a commitment, it was expected that you would honor that commitment. A promise was a statement, a declaration, the assurance that one will do a particular thing. 
I believe that everyone would agree that there is a crisis in our culture today. Lying, once a sin that was repudiated by society, is now accepted as normal, worse, it's celebrated and rewarded. The media  openly praises the President for how well he was able to lie. Lying has gone from being universally scorned, to a White House spectator sport. In our world today, there is a pervasive culture of deceit. But is that really a surprise? 
A 2017 study found that forty percent of employees have called in sick to work when they were not. Eighteen percent misstated facts on their resumes for job applications. Nearly thirty percent lied to their spouses about a relationship with another person; and more than seventy percent lied to their friends or family members about their appearance to avoid hurting their feelings.
Because we no longer belong to Satan, who is the father of lies, God demands that His children be people who are honest, of integrity and reliable. When the people of God, give their word, whether to deny that it will act in a given manner or whether to promise certain action, those hearing that word should be able to rely on them fulfilling their word. As Christians, we should be people who keep their word. A a follower of Jesus Christ, your speech should always be so honest, you should have such integrity and credibility that all that people ever want is a yes or a no; and they never would feel the need to ask for anything more. May I remind you, that God doesn't judge on the curve. 

Open your Bibles with me to the book of James. Because I know, that you have all been enjoying our study of this wonderful epistle, I've chosen to only study one verse, to extend our study even longer. Just kidding! Since the beginning of our study of the book of James, a book that has much practical teaching on so many areas of our life, James once again returns to the subject of how we speak.

I'm sure you will recall, that in chapter 1, verse 26, he says "If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless."
In chapter 2, verses 12-13, he says "So speak and so act as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty. For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment.
And, in chapter 3, James taught us about the power of the tongue, the hurt and destruction it can cause, when used in a sinful manner. In verse 6, he tells us "And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell."
In chapter 4, James he warned us not to slander one another, in verse 11. "Do not speak against one another, brethren. He who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks against the law and judges the law; but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge of it."
And now, here in chapter 5, James highlights another sin of our lips. James has been dealing with the issue of speech in every chapter.  As Christians, our speech should reflect and will reflect our hearts. The tongue, is an indicator of our true spiritual state.
I invite you to follow along with me as I read, to set the text in our minds, as we prepare our hearts, for what I believe is a very critical message, for those of us who belong to Christ, one I believe that we cannot afford to ignore. I pray that by the end of our message, that we all can see just how careful we must be with our speech. Listen for the voice of our Lord.
"But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath; but your yes is to be yes, and your no, no, so that you may not fall under judgment."
James begins verse 12 with "But above all." Here, he is reminding us, that the most telling, the most revealing bodily member as to the reality of our spiritual state is our tongue. In fact, we sin more with our tongue, than any other way. We cannot possibly do everything sinful, however, we can easily say everything sinful.

In Luke 6:45, Jesus said "The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart."
Where the Spirit of God has transformed the heart, there will be pure and honest speech. I find the next phrase to be encouraging, "my brethren," he is identifying with them, indicating that he has compassion for them, as one who needs to guard his own mouth and speak truth. In other words, the heart is the storehouse, and the mouth reveals what you have stored there. Our tongue is the greatest offender. James is making the point, that in the Christian life, patience is not manifested by eloquently phrased grand promises, but by words of honest truth, that follows through.
In Exodus 20, Moses, under the inspiration of the Spirit of God, had written a strong admonition that touches on this very subject when he delivered the Ten Commandments. Verse 7 says "You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain."
It is easy to imagine some of the ways in which take the Name of God in vain. Not only the ubiquitous “Oh, my God," then there's "As God as my witness," and "May God strike me dead!" God this, Jesus Christ that, all of these are a sinful misuse the Name of God. Then, there is what is called minced oaths; that is substituting a word for another word, people substituting the word "gawd" for God. Misusing the name of God, profaning the name of God, blaspheming the name of God, all are invoking the name of God illegitimately.
Let's go back to James, where he moves from the distinction, to the restriction, and I believe that it’s very, very important that we understand this. "do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath." James is focusing on the single issue of swearing. Most people, when they think of swearing, they think of illicit speech. What Paul calls in Ephesians 4:29, as "unwholesome." 
In Hosea chapter 4the Lord warned Judah against profane swearing as Israel was prone to do when they said, “As the LORD lives.” In other words, that simply mouthing the words of a righteous person would not make them righteous; in fact, it would actually serve to condemn them, of the wickedness of which they were obviously guilty.
Here, James is talking about something completely different, it has to do with oaths. An oath, or swearing, essentially has three parts. The first is attesting to the truth, second is calling for God to witness, and thirdly, invoking God’s punishment if you violated your word. That is the premise of an oath. By the way, the Bible does not tell us that all of it is wrong, only when it is misused.
In James' day, there weren’t binding contracts, authoritative documents or court rooms to enforce them, like there are today. So, they would swear by God. And, believe me, it was a solemn thing to call God to witness and invoke the judgment of God on yourself, if you defaulted. It's like when Jesus said to Peter in Matthew 26:52, "for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword." In other words, if you kill somebody, and they have every right to take your life. That's capital punishment.
And, in Deuteronomy 6:13, "You shall fear only the Lord your God; and you shall worship Him and swear by His name." So, the Old Testament also gives us some wonderful illustrations of people who swore before God to do certain things. There are a number of others, like Numbers chapter 5, Exodus 22 II Samuel 19 and Genesis 24, there's more, but you can explore that on your own, if you'd like. The point is, that God allowed them to swear to truthfulness and invoke His witness and His punishment, if they broke it, on those special occasions. 
To better understand this, let’s go back to the source of James’ teaching, which is Jesus Sermon on the Mount, Matthew chapter 5, when He is confronting the Jews as to their sinfulness. Verse 33, "Again, you have heard that the ancients were told, ‘You shall not make false vows, but shall fulfill your vows to the Lord." The point is, "Fulfill your vows to the Lord." 

So rather than to swear to the Lord, they would say "I swear by Jerusalem. I swear by the temple. I swear by heaven and earth, therefore, when they didn't keep their word, it didn't really count. That's how liars think! It's like when kids cross their fingers. 
Now, look at Matthew 23:16, "Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘Whoever swears by the temple, that is nothing; but whoever swears by the gold of the temple is obligated."
They had this incredible way of getting close to things that related to God, thinking that because they swore by heaven, by earth, that they could break it because they didn’t use the name of God. It's basically the same today, when people say "I swear on a stack of Bibles. It's OK, because I didn’t swear by God" What a perverted way of thinking! What a distorted way to look at it. 
Let's look at Matthew 5 again, "But I say to you, make no oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is the footstool of His feet, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. Nor shall you make an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. But let your statement be, ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no’; anything beyond these is of evil." In other words, Jesus is saying that you are still bringing God in to that transaction when you swear by anything that touches His dominion.  
So many people tend to become sidetracked on the secondary issues of this passage, however, in doing so, they miss the "meat" of James teaching. A true Christian, who is committed to holding the Bible as the Word of God, should be of such character and honor that it is unnecessary to place him or her under oath. Christians must be marked by integrity. Ultimately, James is addressing not just a simple matter of dishonesty, but a fundamental lack of faith and denial of grace in Christians. James is again, pointing out an essential difference between genuine and false faith. If you are trusting in God’s grace, you can be at peace with speaking honestly. Integrity should characterize the people of God, and integrity will flow from wholehearted reliance on grace.
Let your yes always mean yes and your no always mean no.
In Closing...
Because God is unchanging and honest, us who walk with Him, will likewise be honest and reliable. We must be people who speak the truth, just as our Lord speaks the truth. 
Many people today, think that they can manipulate the Lord through bargaining with Him, and therefore lessen their suffering or somehow improve their situation. It is through a lack of faith that we disbelieve God’s compassion and mercy, and attempt to bargain with Him. Any attempt to bargain with God cuts at the very heart of the Gospel message, God’s grace.
The greater issue has more to do with your individual integrity than it does with whatever vows or oaths or promises you make. Above all things, if your promise is worthless, your word is worthless. And if your word is worthless, your integrity is worthless. And, if your integrity is have no integrity.
Because you're are a Christian, never assume that you won’t struggle with the sin of being deceptive. We all need to work at truthful, first with God and ourselves, but also with others.  If people would only say what they meant and meant what they said, there wouldn’t be a need for any such oaths at all.
As Christians, we need to consider our words carefully, prayerfully, and then we need to be conscientious to follow them through. If we are unable to keep our word, then we should confess it to God and to anyone that we have wronged. And,to take it a step further, we should seek to make restitution in ways that reflect genuine repentance. Bringing honor and glory to God.
May it be so.. 

And now may the Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.

Now and forever, in Jesus' name
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The Brian Monzon Ministries



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