Commentary: How Far Have We Fallen? (Part Four)

The Immortality of Lying

Given 16-Nov-13; 12 minutes

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John Ritenbaugh, reflecting on a Der Spiegel article in which it was reported that 40 wayside chapels have been built along the Autobahn, allowing harried travelers a cursive in-out relationship with God, expresses concern that respect for God seems to be declining all over the world. Fifty years ago, blue laws would force closure of all businesses on what society considered the Lord's day, but now that day is indistinguishable from all the rest. Even in the scattered Church of God, an increasing casualness threatens to detract from respect for God. The nation's leaders from the President to members of Congress engage in lying as the usual way to do business, indicating that they are hopelessly under the influence of the prince of the power of the air, Satan the Devil. Violence against nominal and true Christianity is growing at an exponential rate, outstripping the persecution of Jews under the Nazi's or Orthodox Christians under Stalin. Our orientation needs to be over the sun in order to prevent absorption into the world's casual disrespect for God.



This is the fourth commentary in this series I titled, "How Far Have We Fallen?" The subject first came to mind while reading an article taken from the German magazine Der Spiegel about a fairly large number of small chapels built adjacent to the autobahns for the use of travelers who wanted to drop in and pray, primarily on Sunday, as they ran to and fro on their business trips. These chapels are built in rest areas and near trucks stops. The article also said that there are 40 of them in Germany. To my mind, anyway, Germany is not really known as a religious nation, let alone Christian. The article, in addition, also said that some of these were built in Turkey, which is a Muslim nation.

What really caught my mind, though, was that an unnamed Christian denomination in America was considering erecting some of these chapels, too. It was then that the question came to mind: Have we become a nation that is so casual that our God requires only a momentary dash into a conveniently placed chapel as we continue running to and fro, conducting our own, far-more-important, personal business?

By way of comparison, when I was a boy, virtually no businesses whatever were open for commerce on Sunday. Business came to a halt because it was generally believed that that was the Lord's Day. And the Lord's Day was not looked upon by the citizen as one's own day for doing what he pleased. Now we have come to the place where Sunday is indistinguishable from any other day of the week, and the overwhelming majority of the citizens do good and well whatever they please.

We know, of course, that Sunday is not the Lord's Day. But the change of respect toward the use of the day compared to today's common use of it illustrates the massive change of people's attitude toward God, as illustrated by their once-sincere, but deceived, desire to use the day more respectfully.

Respect for God has essentially become little more than a blip in terms of serious importance to many. There is no doubt that they believe in His existence. But as for being a constant factor in their lives, one to whom they must give account, He has greatly receded from the forefront of their thinking.

I thought of how frequently people tell me that members of other church of God groups that they visit with, members who should know better, are witnessed appearing before God and services dressed very casually, not respectfully concerned that they are appearing before the awesome Creator.

This illustration brings us around to something that I have mentioned several times in the series of sermons drawn from Ecclesiastes. Even though the phrase never appears in what Solomon wrote, one of the major teachings within the book is that everything matters. The subject (that everything matters in life) is clearly focused on in the very last verse of Ecclesiastes, where it says,

Ecclesiastes 12:14 For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil.

That is exceedingly clear. But do we believe it, and do we practice it? Solomon is teaching us that life is serious for the sons of God, but the way He wants us to live is not a downer at all.

We are counseled that we may choose between an under-the-sun way of life, or set our goals in the way that, in the long run, produces far more and better—the over-the-sun way of life. Both of these terms are metaphors for God's way or the world's way. It's that simple—not hard to get through our minds.

The slide downward is not restricted to the United States or to all of the Israelitish nations, but is happening in the entire world. I John 5:19 informs us that the entire world is under the sway of the wicked one. Brethren, what that means in a practical sense is that there is nowhere that one can run from the influence of the deception. The power over mankind begins with Satan's ability to deceive. That is the very first characteristic of Satan that God reveals in the Bible in his encounter with Adam and Eve. That deceptive power remains in place to this day and is a major reason why we must be serious about life's choices.

The matter of how one is clothed before God is not in itself a major issue, but it does show a crack in the member's defenses against the wicked one that the member may not even be aware of. They are very casual toward God, and the influence of the world has advanced into the member's attitude toward God. It reveals pride, showing God—especially Him—and everybody else, too, that he is his own man, and they are just going to have to accept him as he is. In other words, he has drawn a line in the sand that he will not pass, and he will not conform. So much for cooperation with God's word and with God's church.

On a much larger, more serious scale, is our president and his companions in other areas of this nation's government and their lying. The latest item in the news this past month has been the Obamacare fiasco, and it presents us with an example of blatant, hardcore, deliberate, serial lying to achieve a political goal. As early as July 2010, these people doing all this lying knew that what they were "selling" to the American public could not be accomplished as they were saying, but they moved on, through lying, to scam the American public to vote for them in order to gain for themselves and their government power over 1/6th of the American economy.

The spiritual issue should be clear to us. Satan's way of deceit—lying—of twisting the truth through vague political reasoning has been fully adopted as the way to conduct government business. And when people called them into account, they wiggled free of the accusations through more lies. And it worked. They were reelected in 2012 and then felt that they had full authority to continue full steam ahead on wider, broader issues of their program. Why did it work? It worked because very much of the electorate is also under the sway of Satan, and they have shown that they agree that lying by the government is acceptable.

The London Telegraph newspaper reported Friday that a prominent minister will detail in a meeting soon to be held that Christianity faces extinction in the Middle East, and that Lady Warsi, the Minister for Faith of the British Cabinet, will speak this week at Georgetown University. Why? Because the violence against Christianity is continuing to mount greatly. I've been preaching about this for years—what's happening in other places in the world. It's growing worse! And she is coming here to help draw up plans to somehow combat it. She stated in that article that she sees the same mindset against Christianity that existed against the Jews in Nazi Germany and against the Russian Orthodox Church under communism. This mindset is advancing toward us, and there is nowhere to run until God opens the door. We are going to have to live with it until God gives His permission to go somewhere else. So, be prepared.