Do you consider yourself an honest person? Honesty is important for a Christian and vital to personal growth. The Bible has a lot to say about it. Watch as Robert shows us the truth in love.
ROBERT >> Would you consider yourself an honest person, or is this something you struggle with? How does God view dishonesty? And is honesty the best policy? And how can you be an honest person? Stay tuned as we see what God’s word says about this subject of dishonesty.
SINGING>> Speaking the truth, speaking the truth, speaking the truth, speaking the truth in love.
ROBERT >> The last several weeks we’ve been looking at Problems Of The Heart, problems like anger and discouragement. And today we want to discuss the problem of dishonesty.
Long ago, the wise man of old wrote by inspiration in Proverbs chapter 4, verse 23, “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.”
It’s important that we keep our hearts, because we know that the heart is the source of many of our problems.
Where is your heart in regard to dishonesty?
And how does God view dishonesty? Let’s take a look together at some passages of scripture that will help us with this subject, help us to look at our hearts, to examine our hearts, to see if we have the kind of heart that God wants us to have.
First of all, take a look at Proverbs chapter 6, verses 16 through 19. In this passage we see a number of things that God hates, that God looks upon with great displeasure.
The Bible says in Proverbs 6:16, “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, feet that are swift in running to evil, a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren.”
You can see from this passage that God truly hates dishonesty. For example, the lying tongue and the false witness who speaks lies; these are dishonest. And you see that this is not only something that God hates, but it is an abomination to him. Certainly then we ought to check our hearts for dishonesty and root out any dishonesty that might be there.
Look with me again also in Romans chapter 12 and verse 17, where the apostle Paul is telling us how to live the Christian life and the kind of attitudes that we ought to have as Christians. “Repay no one evil for evil; have regard for good things in the sight of all men.”
We need to do those things that are honorable. We need to realize the importance of doing all things above board, to be honest people.
Ephesians chapter 4 and verse 25 also reminds us of the importance of honesty, especially in our relationships. Here the Bible says, “Therefore putting away lying, let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor; for we are members of one another.”
Paul here tells us to put away lying. We’ve got to get rid of it. We’ve got to cast it out of our heart and out of our life. We must make a conscious effort to keep this out of our life, to be honest rather than dishonest. Don’t speak lies to your neighbor. And here he’s especially concerned about our relationships with one another in the body of Christ as Christians; but certainly we see how this principle ought to be taken everywhere that we go in every relationship of our life. Particularly is this true in the home between husbands and wives, between parents and children. It’s impossible to have a close and a good relationship with one another if we can’t trust one another, if we’re constantly lying to one another. And so the Bible emphasizes over and over again the importance of honesty. God hates dishonesty. He knows that it is absolutely essential in our relationships in life that we be honest not only with one another, but honest also with our God.
Let me ask this question, because it’s often debated. Is honesty the best policy?
I know that there are some who’ll say it’s all right to be dishonest, and that really, if you really want to get ahead in this world, you need to learn how to lie, you need to learn how to be dishonest; but the Bible teaches us that honesty is always the best policy. Let’s take a look at a couple of scriptures together. In Proverbs, again we go to the wise man of old, and we see his wisdom in this matter of dishonesty.
Proverbs chapter 19 and verse 1. Here the Bible says, “Better is the poor who walks in his integrity than one who is perverse in his lips, and is a fool.”
You see, you may not get ahead in this material world, it may not benefit you always physically or materially, but honesty is always the best policy, because God will reward your honesty. It is greater than riches, the Bible tells us.
Look at Proverbs chapter 28 and verse 6. “Better is the poor who walks in his integrity than one perverse in his ways, though he be rich.”
Yes, there may be many of those who get ahead because they’re willing to be dishonest, to scam others, to do what they can to cheat others, or maybe even to steal from others; but we need to understand that when God looks upon our heart and upon our life, he is telling us that it’s much better that we be honest. And is it not true that those who are looking for employees to hire and to promote in their companies, that they’re looking for those that would be honest, those that they can trust to do what is right?
And so in many cases, you might be rewarded materially and physically, but most importantly, you’ll be rewarded by God when you hold to honesty. There are some other proverbs I want us to consider.
Look in Proverbs chapter 10 and verse 9. “He who walks with integrity walks securely; but he who perverts his ways will become known.”
You know, when you’re lying, when you’re not really the kind of person you ought to be, when you’re being dishonest, you’re always looking around the corner, looking behind your back to see if you’re getting in trouble, if somebody’s catching up with your dishonesty, and you always have to be concerned about that. But the man who is walking in integrity walks securely. He’s not concerned about that. He doesn’t have to think about what did I say before and make sure that I get it right this time. No, he knows that he’s always telling the truth.
Look at Proverbs chapter 11 and verse 3. “The integrity of the upright will guide them; but the perversity of the unfaithful will destroy them.”
Is it not true that if we will stick with God’s word, if we’ll be honest, if we’ll be truthful, then we’ll know what to do in every situation, in every decision, in every step of life? Not only will honesty protect you from the stress of always looking over your shoulder, but it will guide you in every decision of your life. Honesty will in fact help us in many other ways. It is lasting in its effectiveness.
Look what it says in Proverbs chapter 12 and verse 19. Here the Bible says, “The truthful lip shall be established forever; but a lying tongue is but for a moment.”
You may get by with it for a little while, your dishonesty, your lying, your cheating, your stealing; but it’s going to catch up with you. Integrity, integrity is a foundation you can stand upon. It’s stable, it’s lasting, it’s firm. The Bible says that truthfulness is lasting in its effectiveness. And so let us learn to be honest. Not only that, but it will bring increase and it will bless your family.
Go on in chapter 13 and verse 11 of Proverbs.” Wealth gained by dishonesty will be diminished; but he who gathers by labor will increase.”
Oh, you may go out here, and you may get rich on somebody some way, being dishonest; but again, it’s going to catch up with you, and in the end, you’ll lose it all. On the other hand, those who work hard, they’re going to be blessed, and nobody will be able to take that away from them because they’ve earned it honestly.
Go a little bit further in Proverbs, in chapter 20 and verse 7, where the Bible says,” The righteous man walks in his integrity; his children are blessed after him.”
Yes, it’ll be a blessing to your family. When your children look upon you and see that you’re a good, honest person, then they’ll walk in your steps. They’ll come to honor honesty. And not only will it bless you, but it’ll bless all of those who see your example, those that you inspire in your family by your goodness, by your honesty, by your hard work.
So certainly we can see that honesty is the best policy all the way around. Take a look at these passages from Job and Psalms and Revelation that teach us not only that honesty will bless us here materially and physically, in our families, in our relationships with one another, but it’s also necessary to our eternal hope.
Go back with me to the book of Job, chapter 4 and verse 6. Here the Bible says, “Is not your reverence your confidence, and the integrity of your ways your hope?”
The integrity of your ways is your hope. Your reverence is your confidence.
What is he saying?
He’s saying that we can have assurance in our relationship with God, assurance of our eternal life, eternal home with God based upon the integrity of our heart, whether or not we’re truly an honest, honorable person.
Look at Psalm 101 and verse 7. The Bible says, “He who works deceit shall not dwell within My house; he who tells lies shall not continue in My presence.”
We wouldn’t allow them in our house, and God’s not going to let them in his house. A lying, a stealing, a cheating individual, a dishonest person, a person who is void of integrity is not going to spend eternity with God. And so it’s eternally important that we keep our heart in regards to this matter of dishonesty.
Look at Revelation. This last book of the Bible warns us about those who would be dishonest. Revelation chapter 21 and verse 27, the Bible says, “But there shall by no means entereth anything that defiles or causes an abomination or a lie; but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”
If we want our name written in God’s book and kept there, then we must not be liars. We must be people of integrity. Those who are dishonest will not be allowed to enter into the eternal home that God has prepared for us.
You see it again in Revelation 22:14-15. “Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. But outside are dogs and sorcerers, and sexually immoral, and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie.”
It’s interesting that the writer of the Revelation mentions the liar in both of these passages as one who will not enter into the gates of that eternal city with God.
How then can you and I be persons of honesty?
What can we do to help us to grow in this particular virtue of God?
What are some practical things that would help us to deal with this struggle and this temptation in our heart, in our life?
Just a few things I want to leave with you today. First of all, ask God to test your heart for honesty.
And look with me in Psalm 139:23-24, where the Psalmist did this very thing. And I think it’ll help us as we take a look at our own hearts and ask God to take a look as well. You know, some of you may have had heart trouble, I mean your physical heart. And you may have had a doctor who wanted to take a look at your heart, to run an EKG, to test it to see is your heart beating the way that it should, is it healthy, is it in good condition. And so we need to test our hearts and let God test our hearts as that great physician of the heart.
Here’s what the Psalmist said in Psalm 139:23-24. “Search me, O God, and know my heart. Try me, and know my anxieties, and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
Certainly this is a prayer that all of us ought to pray every day. Ask God to look into our hearts, and if there’s anything that needs to be removed, to take it out, to bring us where we need to be with him. God will keep us honest; but we must ask him to test our hearts for honesty. There’s a second thing that I would leave with you today. Don’t let circumstances cause you to lose your honesty. Many of us want to be honest, and we’re striving to be honest people, but sometimes we get ourselves in situations and circumstances where we are tested and we are tried, and we fail that test. Well, let’s prepare for that, and let’s learn from one of the greatest, that old man Job, who was righteous before God, who suffered tremendously, but kept his integrity, that we don’t lose our honesty. Let’s take a look at this together.
Look at Job. Job chapter 1 and verse 8 describes the kind of man that Job was. Job chapter 1, verse 8. “Then the Lord said to Satan, Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth; a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?”
Yes, Job was a righteous man, a man of great integrity. Oh, to have God say something like this about us. That’s what we would all desire. Read it again in chapter 2 and verse 3. After Satan tempted Job, after Satan took away his property, after Satan took away his children, God says this about Job in chapter 2, verse 3. Then the Lord said to Satan, Have you considered My servant Job; that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil? And still he holds fast to his integrity, although you incited Me against him to destroy him without cause. There was no reason why these things should have happened to Job. He had not done anything to provoke the Lord to do such things. But the Lord allowed Satan to tempt Job’s integrity, to test it, to try it. And Job passed the test. He kept his integrity in spite of all these awful things that happened to him. Do you remember what Job’s wife said to him on that occasion in Job chapter 2 and verse 9?
His wife said to him, Do you still hold fast to your integrity?
“Curse God and die”. She said Job, you need to forget about it. I mean, look what’s happened to you.
Are you still going to stand in your integrity, in your honesty?
Just forget about it and give it up. And sometimes we feel like that, and we listen to those voices that tell us it’s not worth it. But Job still kept his integrity. Look at Job chapter 27 and verses 3 through 6. By this time, his friends had gathered around him, and they, too, were telling him to give it up.
But here’s what the Bible says in Job 27:3-6. “As long as my breath is in me and the breath of God in my nostrils, my lips will not speak wickedness, nor my tongue utter deceit. Far be it from me that I should say you are right. Till I die, I will not put away my integrity from me. My righteousness I hold fast, and will not let it go. My heart shall not reproach me as long as I live.”
We need to have that same determination towards honesty as we see in this old man Job.
You look at the end of this book in Job chapter 42 and verse 12 and verse 13, And now the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning. He had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, one thousand yoke of oxen, and one thousand female donkeys. He also had seven sons and three daughters. God blessed him with more after than he had before.
And verse 16 and 17 says, “After this Job lived one hundred and forty years, and saw his children and grandchildren for four generations; so Job died old and full of days.”
You see, we must hold to our honesty no matter what happens. But then finally, let me tell you, don’t allow others to persuade you to give up your honesty. In Mark chapter 12 and verse 14, the religious leaders of Jesus’ day were envious of him, and they sought to deceive him by flattery, and they would do what they could to get him to give up his integrity.
In Mark chapter 12 and verse 14, this is what they were saying. “When they had come, they said to Him, Teacher, we know that You are true, and care about no one, for You do not regard the person of men, but teach the way of God in truth. And they go on then to test him and to try that integrity.”
They were using flattery to set him up. We know you’re a man of integrity. We know you’re not swayed by men, because you pay no attention to who they are. Well, that’s the kind of attitude that we ought to have. It’s not what others think that counts, but it’s what God thinks.
“Do not follow a crowd to do evil,” Exodus 23:2.
Before we leave today, I want to ask you, not only are you an honest person, honest in your relationships with one another, in your family, and with those with whom you live each day, not only do you strive to be a person who is a person of integrity, an example before others, but most importantly, have you been honest with God?
Have you been honest with God about who you are? Have you been honest with God about what’s in your heart?
You know, the Bible teaches us that we have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God. If we’re truly honest, we’ll admit to the fact that we are all lost, hopeless, helpless in regards to our relationship with God and to eternity. But we also need to know that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes on Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. Yes, God loves us, and he’s made a way for us to be joined, to be reconciled with him once again, and to be with him for all of eternity. He’s made that way through Jesus Christ. Some of you are Christians today, but you haven’t been honest about your sin.
The Bible teaches us, If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourself, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He’s faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. So let’s all be honest before God, and let’s come to him in faith, in obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ so that we might be rewarded for all of eternity.
SINGING>> Each day I’ll do a golden deed
by helping those who are in need.
My life on earth is but a span,
and so I’ll do the best I can.
Life’s evening sun is sinking low, a few more days,
and I must go to meet the deeds that I have done,
where there will be no setting sun.
To be a child of God each day,
my light must shine along the way.
I’ll sing his praise while ages roll and try to help some troubled soul. Life’s evening sun is sinking low,
a few more days,
and I must go to meet the deeds that I have done,
where there will be no setting sun.
While going down life’s weary road,
I’ll try to lift some traveler’s load.
I’ll try to turn the night to day,
make flowers bloom along the way,
the lonely way.
Life’s evening sun is sinking low,
a few more days,
and I must go to meet the deeds that I have done,
where there will be no setting sun,
no setting sun.
SINGING>> Sing to me of heaven tenderly and low
till the shadows o’er me rise and swiftly go.
When my heart is weary, when the day is long,
sing to me of heaven, sing that old sweet song.
Sing to me of heaven,
let me fondly dream of its golden glory,
of its pearly gleam.
Sing to me when shadows of the evening fall.
Sing to me of heaven, sing the sweetest song of all.
ROBERT >> I want to thank you for watching our program today, and we would really like to hear from you. If you have any questions, comments, or requests, if you would like a personal home Bible study or special prayers, if you would like to order today’s lesson or any other lesson on CD, DVD, or in manuscript form, let me encourage you to write The Truth In Love at P.O. Box 865, Hurst, Texas 76053.
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We just want to do what we can to help us all towards heaven, so let us know how we can help you, and please join us next time right here on The Truth In Love.
SINGING>> Unto the hills around do I lift up my longing eyes.
Oh, whence for me shall my salvation come,
from whence arise?
From God the Lord doth come my certain aid,
from God the Lord whom heaven and earth hath made.
From every evil shall he keep thy soul,
from every sin.
Jehovah shall preserve thy going out,
thy coming in.
Above thee watching,
he whom we adore shall keep thee henceforth,
yea for evermore.