DEVOTIONS AND SERMONS

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Honesty
 

Dictionary meaning of honesty is : Upright, Sincere, faithful, fair

Dictionary meaning of dishonesty is : Fraudulent, Knavish

Complete honesty is undoubtedly painful, but loved by God. Dishonesty is easy, but hated by God.

Proverbs 6:6-19
6 Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise!
7 It has no commander, no overseer or ruler,
8 yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.
9 How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep?
10 A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest--
11 and poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man.
12 A scoundrel and villain, who goes about with a corrupt mouth,
13 who winks with his eye, signals with his feet and motions with his fingers,
14 who plots evil with deceit in his heart-- he always stirs up dissension.
15 Therefore disaster will overtake him in an instant; he will suddenly be destroyed--without remedy.
16 There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him:
17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood,
18 a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil,
19 a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.


'These are the things that Lord hates.. a lying tongue ... a false witness who pours out lies..."

In short, dishonest people are nor only disliked but hated by God (Worst thing that can happen to man is to get HATED by God)

In fact the very first recording sin in the life of the early church was the bad example of dishonesty set by Ananias and Sapphira.

Acts 5:1-10
1 Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property.
2 With his wife's full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles' feet.
3 Then Peter said, "Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land?
4 Didn't it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn't the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God."
5 When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened.
6 Then the young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him.
7 About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened.
8 Peter asked her, "Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?" "Yes," she said, "that is the price."
9 Peter said to her, "How could you agree to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also."
10 At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband.


How we see a couple who were :
• Little bit God fearing
• Had some knowledge about doing good
• Had an inclination to sacrifice. Some thing (a piece of property)
• Had courage to face the leaders

But what went wrong?

They pretended to be generous. They were DISHONEST in their claims. They had a right to keep back whatever they chose, but to make if appear that they had given all when they had not was Dishonesty (Sinful)

Dishonesty : is DECEIT, Saying what you do not mean / Half truths "satan filling your heart' (v.3)

Comparison with v4 means 'dishonesty towards men, is dishonesty towards God."

Dishonesty is often followed by fear (v11)

On the other hand we see a bold example of honesty which led to a miracle and joy.

Mark 5:24-35
24 So Jesus went with him. A large crowd followed and pressed around him.
25 And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years.
26 She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse.
27 When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak,
28 because she thought, "If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed."
29 Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.
30 At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, "Who touched my clothes?"
31 "You see the people crowding against you," his disciples answered, "and yet you can ask, 'Who touched me?'"
32 But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it.
33 Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth.
34 He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering."
35 While Jesus was still speaking, some men came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue ruler. "Your daughter is dead," they said. "Why bother the teacher any more?"


This definitely was an remarkable miracle but what is even more striking is her honesty and openness before Jesus and every one else. (a large crowd).

This woman was not afraid of the humiliation she would have to face in front of such a large crowd and moreover Jesus, by openly telling about her personal weakness and frustrations.

The most convicting thing here is (v33) that She "told him the Whole Truth"

Honesty : is Whole truth

Not hiding our weakness (even though it pains)

Speaking the thoughts / Being real and plain

It requires lot of boldness to speak the Whole truth (Honesty).

It's so easy to fall in to the trap of being decitful and speaking half truths.

Consequences of Honesty : v34. "go in peace and be freed from suffering"

The greek of 'healed' actually means 'saved".

Here both physical healing ('be freed from your suffering") and spiritual salvation ('go in peace') are meant.

Conclusion

If you have a problem with lying, here are four good reasons for changing your behaviour :

1. God's Word commands us not to lie

Exodus 20:16
"You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

Leviticus 19:11
"'Do not steal. "'Do not lie. "'Do not deceive one another.

Colossians 3:9
Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices

2. Lying is often an attempt to cover our feelings of insecurity, but in the long run it makes us look worse, not better

Genesis 12:10-20
10 Now there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to live there for a while because the famine was severe.
11 As he was about to enter Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, "I know what a beautiful woman you are.
12 When the Egyptians see you, they will say, 'This is his wife.' Then they will kill me but will let you live.
13 Say you are my sister, so that I will be treated well for your sake and my life will be spared because of you."
14 When Abram came to Egypt, the Egyptians saw that she was a very beautiful woman.
15 And when Pharaoh's officials saw her, they praised her to Pharaoh, and she was taken into his palace.
16 He treated Abram well for her sake, and Abram acquired sheep and cattle, male and female donkeys, menservants and maidservants, and camels.
17 But the LORD inflicted serious diseases on Pharaoh and his household because of Abram's wife Sarai.
18 So Pharaoh summoned Abram. "What have you done to me?" he said. "Why didn't you tell me she was your wife?
19 Why did you say, 'She is my sister,' so that I took her to be my wife? Now then, here is your wife. Take her and go!"
20 Then Pharaoh gave orders about Abram to his men, and they sent him on his way, with his wife and everything he had.


Genesis 20:1-18
1 Now Abraham moved on from there into the region of the Negev and lived between Kadesh and Shur. For a while he stayed in Gerar,
2 and there Abraham said of his wife Sarah, "She is my sister." Then Abimelech king of Gerar sent for Sarah and took her.
3 But God came to Abimelech in a dream one night and said to him, "You are as good as dead because of the woman you have taken; she is a married woman."
4 Now Abimelech had not gone near her, so he said, "Lord, will you destroy an innocent nation?
5 Did he not say to me, 'She is my sister,' and didn't she also say, 'He is my brother'? I have done this with a clear conscience and clean hands."
6 Then God said to him in the dream, "Yes, I know you did this with a clear conscience, and so I have kept you from sinning against me. That is why I did not let you touch her.
7 Now return the man's wife, for he is a prophet, and he will pray for you and you will live. But if you do not return her, you may be sure that you and all yours will die."
8 Early the next morning Abimelech summoned all his officials, and when he told them all that had happened, they were very much afraid.
9 Then Abimelech called Abraham in and said, "What have you done to us? How have I wronged you that you have brought such great guilt upon me and my kingdom? You have done things to me that should not be done."
10 And Abimelech asked Abraham, "What was your reason for doing this?"
11 Abraham replied, "I said to myself, 'There is surely no fear of God in this place, and they will kill me because of my wife.'
12 Besides, she really is my sister, the daughter of my father though not of my mother; and she became my wife.
13 And when God had me wander from my father's household, I said to her, 'This is how you can show your love to me: Everywhere we go, say of me, "He is my brother."'"
14 Then Abimelech brought sheep and cattle and male and female slaves and gave them to Abraham, and he returned Sarah his wife to him.
15 And Abimelech said, "My land is before you; live wherever you like."
16 To Sarah he said, "I am giving your brother a thousand shekels of silver. This is to cover the offense against you before all who are with you; you are completely vindicated."
17 Then Abraham prayed to God, and God healed Abimelech, his wife and his slave girls so they could have children again,
18 for the LORD had closed up every womb in Abimelech's household because of Abraham's wife Sarah.


Genesis 26:6-16
6 So Isaac stayed in Gerar.
7 When the men of that place asked him about his wife, he said, "She is my sister," because he was afraid to say, "She is my wife." He thought, "The men of this place might kill me on account of Rebekah, because she is beautiful."
8 When Isaac had been there a long time, Abimelech king of the Philistines looked down from a window and saw Isaac caressing his wife Rebekah.
9 So Abimelech summoned Isaac and said, "She is really your wife! Why did you say, 'She is my sister'?" Isaac answered him, "Because I thought I might lose my life on account of her."
10 Then Abimelech said, "What is this you have done to us? One of the men might well have slept with your wife, and you would have brought guilt upon us."
11 So Abimelech gave orders to all the people: "Anyone who molests this man or his wife shall surely be put to death."
12 Isaac planted crops in that land and the same year reaped a hundredfold, because the LORD blessed him.
13 The man became rich, and his wealth continued to grow until he became very wealthy.
14 He had so many flocks and herds and servants that the Philistines envied him.
15 So all the wells that his father's servants had dug in the time of his father Abraham, the Philistines stopped up, filling them with earth.
16 Then Abimelech said to Isaac, "Move away from us; you have become too powerful for us."


3. Lying doesn't work. People lie to protect themselves or to cover their deeds. But God always makes sure the truth comes out anyway

Numbers 32:23
"But if you fail to do this, you will be sinning against the LORD; and you may be sure that your sin will find you out.

Proverbs 10:9
The man of integrity walks securely, but he who takes crooked paths will be found out.

4. Lying creates a trap. One lie leads to another. we forget what lies we’ve told and to whom we've told them. We finally get caught and are embarrassed.

Exodus 20:16
"You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

This commandment also exposes two motives that God hates - malice and pride. When we are dishonest or when we lie, it is usually to cast a person in a bad light or to place ourselves in a good light.

The first comes from malice, the second from pride. The eighth commandment reveals God's desire for that kind fo society. It's based on the principle that everything belongs to God and that when we cheat an institution or a person we are stealing from the Lord.

Examples of Honest people in Bible
• Honest in prayers - David
• Honest in Contribution - Barnabbas