There is some debate about whether or not there can be an earthly lie for a higher purpose. Have you ever lied to protect someone or to help a greater cause? Is it ever acceptable to tell a white lie if the end result is beneficial? In this sermon series conclusion, we’ll take a look at the scripture and see whether or not lying can be justified.
Consider the scenario of Germans hiding Jews from the Nazis. Does the German family tell the officers there are Jews in the basement knowing that they will be sent to the death camp? Or do they lie and try to save the lives of the Jews?
On the one hand, if they tell the truth, they are being honest. However, they are condemning innocent lives to death. On the other hand, they are lying but could be saving lives. However, if they lie and then the Nazis find the Jews, that family could be in even more trouble than if they had told the truth. It’s quite a conundrum. What would you do?
Hello and welcome to Social Media Ministries, my name is Spencer Coffman and I want you to imagine a scenario here.
Let’s take an example and say that worshiping and churches and everything becomes outlawed, this is illegal and you have in your basement a church and there are 50 people down there. Now all of a sudden the state police or the authorities or whoever are banging on your door and you have in your basement a nice secret little room, a trap door, something hidden, it is a crawl space with a false wall, something where it is not easily detected.
You are hiding it and the authorities are knocking on your door in the middle of your church service. You tell everyone to be quiet and you go up there and you answer the door and they say to you, we have reports that you have people in here. Are you holding a service? Do you have a church here?
What do you do? What do you say? Yes, I do, there in the basement, come follow me and what is the penalty, death? Or do you say no, there is nothing? They search the house and it being a hidden room they don’t find anything and they leave and you saved lives. What do you do?
This is the third part in a three-part sermon series, hopefully, you have watched the first two messages, if not please check them out, card up here for the playlist where you can watch all three messages, one after another.
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Now what are we talking about today? We gave you a scenario. You probably decided what you would do. Do you lie? Do you not lie? Well, the past two messages we talked about false testimony versus lying, whether or not they are the same and they are, false testimony and lying. Whether you are giving deception or whether you are providing hollow or empty words, it is lying, it is wrong. God says it is a sin. Remember we live in another world. We live in this world, but we are of another world and satan rules this world here, we are in enemy territory. What do we do? Who do we follow? Lying is a sin.
Then last week we learned about how the truth is powerful. Satan even uses the truth. He quotes scripture to try to get you to stumble and fall. Fight back using scripture and using truth and you will win exactly like Jesus did. So what do you do in this situation? Do you tell a lie and say that you don’t have anybody in the basement, even though lying is a sin? Or do you tell the truth, knowing that they will be taken out and slaughtered?
Now on one hand, if they are all Christians and they are taken out and killed, they know where they are going. They are going to heaven. They were prepared to face death for worshiping because they knew the stakes. But then you betrayed them and did that, is that a sin? Are you supposed to tell the truth in that situation and then trust that God has the outcome or do you lie about it and follow a higher law rather than an earthly law?
In addition, if churches are made illegal and worshiping is made illegal and you are engaged in worship, that is an act of deception because you are not telling people, which is lying. Now is that wrong because you are not following the earthly authority? Whose authority do we follow?
That is the point of course. God tells us that we are to submit to earthly authorities because there are no rulers in place that God did not put there. However laws here can be corrupted by humankind and same with religion, can be corrupted by humankind. Jesus even said that and so the key is that we need to always be communicating with God. We need to invite Jesus into our lives. Have the Holy Spirit so we get that discernment. We know whose law to follow.
Consider missionaries in foreign lands where Christianity is outlawed. They are breaking laws by sharing the word of God. They are smuggling Bibles across borders, handing them out, and bringing people to Christ. That is what we are supposed to do, bring people to Christ. But are we supposed to break laws to do it? They are engaging in a lie. They are engaging in deception for a higher purpose.
Do the ends justify the means? This is all a gray area. It is a gray area. No, there are no gray areas. Let your yes be yes and your no be no. Jesus said it is black and white. Whose law do we follow? That is where all of this comes from. It is what it boils down to. We follow a higher law. We follow God.
What does God command? Follow Him. If He says, share the Gospel, even though the leaders or the governor or the magistrate says, no, Bibles are illegal, if you are found with the Bible you will be executed. God says; share the Bible. We follow God, not man. Whose law do we follow? That is what it boils down to. Yes God established all authority here on earth and He didn’t put people in place that He didn’t want in place, but laws can be corrupted by humankind and that is why we need that discernment, to follow the right rules.
These missionaries are engaging in an earthly lie for a higher purpose, it is a lie by the standards of this world but they are following God. They have chosen to be a friend of God rather than a friend of the world.
Let’s go to James 4:4. We are going to talk a little bit about that, so if you have your Bible please turn with me to James 4:4. If you don’t, come back later and read James 4:4, the verses from this message will all be referenced in the description below. James 4:4 says, ‘You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God. Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.’
These missionaries who are sharing Bibles and smuggling them in, they are being friends of God. The world is telling them they cannot do that, they have chosen to be a friend of God rather than the friend of the world. They are lying for a higher purpose, breaking laws. Earthly laws for a higher purpose. Satan has distorted the definition of lying to cause confusion and controversy between the laws of man and the laws of God.
Remember false testimony versus lying, it is this, it has all been distorted to cause confusion. But really false testimony and lying is all a sin in the laws of God. We say, oh it is a white lie, it is okay. Or your child answers the phone and it is a telemarketer, oh tell them I am not home right now, you are telling your kid to lie. That is wrong.
There is no higher purpose. That is a lie but we deem it okay. Society says a lot of that is okay. Whose law do we follow? You must stay close to God and always seek His guidance. You have got to know which law to follow. Whose rule? Receive discernment from Him and you will know the difference between right and wrong. Remember the friend of the world is an enemy of God, you must strive to do the right thing even if it means breaking an earthly law.
In Joshua chapter 2 Rahab sheltered spies from local authorities. Now if you don’t know the story, spies were sent in and they were going to scout out the lands. The people said, hey there are spies here, we gotta hunt them down. Rahab said, hey come and hide, I will shelter you people. Knocked on the door, she lied to them, she said that they went somewhere else when they went a different way. She lied, then she told the spies where to go, how to hide out for a few days and then get back, and in return she said remember me when you sack the city and her family. They spared her.
Rahab engaged in deception when she failed to report the spies to her city leaders. Now it is deception by omission. She knew she was supposed to report them but she didn’t deliberately go and say, hey I have not seen the spies. She just didn’t tell them at all. So she omitted that fact. She didn’t outwardly put out deception, or put out empty or hollow words. She broke earthly laws but did what was right in the eyes of God. Remember that satan rules this world.
We are going to go to Luke 4:6 for a little supporting point on that. Luke 4:6 says, ‘And satan said to him I will give you all their authority and splendor for it has been given to me and I can give it to anyone I want to.’ Satan rules the world, he has everything here. Satan is the father of lies, remember he uses lies and deception, it is his native language. You could break earthly laws, not everything down here is right. Satan rules this world, he is the father of lies. That is why you need God, to show you right from wrong, not the world.
We are going to take a little bit more of a closer look at Rahab and what she did, because there is a verse in James 2:25 that almost seems like Rahab was praised for what she did. It said, ‘In the same way was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction?’
Okay so was she not even considered righteous? She was even a part of the line of Jesus through Boaz and Ruth and Nashon. She married in or God blessed her line, her family line. He included her in that lineage. Now was not even Rehab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she, what it doesn’t say when she lied about it when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction?
She knew that the authorities were looking for them over here. She hid the spies and sent them in a different direction. Now did she blatantly lie to the authorities? We don’t know exactly but she did lie by omission. She didn’t tell them the truth but she was also following a higher purpose. She knew what was right and wrong. Now she wasn’t praised here for lying, she was praised here for sheltering them and sending them somewhere else, not into death or captivity.
So the scenario of 50 people in your basement in a church, do you lie about it or do you shelter them? Shelter them. You don’t need to lie about it, you can say something like, well search the house. It is a lie by omission, it is a different type of lie. Just like this missionary smuggling Bibles in, they are not saying no I don’t have any Bibles. They might be and then hoping God will hide the Bibles from them.
There is a very very famous person, Brother Andrew, and the book about him called God’s Smuggler, his whole journey of bringing Bibles and smuggling them into other countries was deception, sneaking them by authorities. He was doing it for a higher purpose and what do you do? Do you tell the truth and say, yep I am bringing this Bible into this country even though I know it is illegal and you hope that they say, that is not a Bible, that looks like a Time Magazine? God blinded them every single time.
There is an instance in God’s Smuggler when he felt something was going on so he was pulling Bibles out of the hiding places of his car and he piled them up in the front seat and when he went to the border checkpoint they just looked and they waved him through, they didn’t see anything. God blinded them.
But not in every instance. So even though this is a controversial topic some people will say that you have to tell the truth every single time and just trust in God’s outcome. That if it condemns someone to death, they were prepared to die and they know they are going to a better place.
Others say omitting the truth like the missionaries who smuggle Bibles or not telling about the church in your basement or Rahab not telling that she had the spies or where they were but sending them in a different direction. I mean she sent the other people in a different direction so that was a straight-out lie, but otherwise, it is lies by omission. Now is that different?
Are we to lie by omission for a higher purpose? The bottom line is that a lie is still a lie. God says it is plain as day. The Lord detests lying lips, but you need to remember whose law you follow. Whose law do we follow? Do we follow earthly laws or do we follow heavenly laws?
Let’s check out one more scripture passage, it is John 17:13-19. ‘I am coming to you now but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. I have given them your word.’ This is Jesus speaking. ‘I have given them your word and the world has hated them for they are not of the world, any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world, but that you protect them from the evil one.’
Okay, I am going to pause right there. The church in your basement, you tell the authorities, they come in, you would say, yep I have them, they are right here in this secret room, the people come in they haul all them out, execute everyone. Well, they are all Christian, they are all going to heaven, you told the truth. Do you tell a lie and hide them and save their lives?
‘My prayer is not that you take them out of the world, but that you protect them from the evil one.’ Who is Jesus talking to? You? ‘I am coming to you now but I say these things while I am still in the world.’ He is talking to His father. This is before He is going to die. I am coming to you now, to His Father but He is saying these things while He is still here in the world. He is praying to God, saying my prayer is not that you take the believers out of the world, but that you protect them from the evil one.
Jesus knows that we still have a job to do here. We are called to bring more people to the body of Christ. Jesus wants us to live for Him, not die for Him. Of course, He would want us to die for Him too rather than deny Him, but He wants us to live for Him.
So are you to tell the truth and get everybody killed or are you to hide and shelter them and follow the higher law and save their lives so that they could go out and bring more people to the body of Christ? ‘My prayer is not that you take them out of this world, but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of this world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth, your word is truth. As you sent me into the world I have sent them into the world. For them, I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.’
Jesus is sending you into the world and His prayer is not that you have to leave this world, but that you can be protected from the evil one who rules this world and that you will be sanctified with truth.
So God’s Smuggler brother Andrew smuggling Bibles in. He is not of this world. He could have got caught and executed if he told the truth and said, yeah I have got a bunch of Bibles that I am going to bring in. Okay, you are done. But then how many more millions of people and Bibles would he not have been able to reach? God wants you to live for Him. If that means earthly lies, breaking laws by man that the devil set up or rules or he has distorted, we are not to follow his law. We are to follow God’s law, heavenly rule.
If you happen to have an earthly lie for a higher purpose, that is still truth. That is God’s truth. You will be sanctified by the truth. You are following a different rule. Yes of course, while we are here, we must obey the authorities, obey the laws. That is like saying, well I am going to be late for church so I am going to run this red light and that is okay. That is not okay, you follow the rules here, and running the red light isn’t really lying, unless you are speeding maybe. Then saying you are not speeding, then that could be lying. But the point is you still follow the authority here. Even though going to church would be a higher purpose, you follow authority here.
Now when it comes to this high-stake lie, smuggling Bibles, sharing the Gospel, doing what God has called us to do. If there is an earthly lie that has to happen, to make that happen, that is for a higher purpose and that is different from this false testimony and lying that we have been talking about. Remember the truth is powerful and of course, we are to trust God. So in times we may tell the truth and trust God’s outcome.
If you haven’t read that book, God’s Smuggler, I encourage you to get it. It is a very good book. I may even be able to find a link for you and put it in the description below because it is a very good book. There is an instance in there where he felt like he shouldn’t hide something, so he pulled it all out, and then God took care of him anyway. So he essentially trusted God with the truth here on earth and God delivered him through it.
There was another spy, Nathan Hale back in times of the revolutionary war, he couldn’t tell a lie either. He believed in the truth and so when people would ask, oh you are a spy he would tell them and then certain times they didn’t believe him. Eventually, he got executed for it.
The point is you need discernment from God. We cannot decipher when the truth is appropriate for a higher purpose and when it is appropriate to conceal and continue onto the higher purpose. That being said, we are always to be truthful. We are children of the light and that is truth. Children of darkness, the father of lies, that is his native language.
In everything you do, be trustworthy, clothe yourself in truth and if something should come up you must seek discernment and guidance to know whether or not there is some earthly law that is to be broken to achieve the higher purpose and what the higher purpose is.
Not everything has a higher purpose. That can only come from God and not everyone knows. There are many many false prophets. ‘Many people will come in my name, but I will say I knew none of you.’ Jesus said this. Many people could be here, so that is up to you.
You have to discern and you can only discern with the Holy Spirit. You can only get the Holy Spirit if you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior. So if you haven’t done that I really hope you do reach out to someone. Reach out to us. Comment below. Contact us on social media. We can help you do that. We can help you become a believer in Christ and get you the Holy Spirit and that discernment to know when it is okay to have an earthly lie for a higher purpose.
Let’s pray. Lord Jesus, I know that this message and the past couple messages that we have had in this series can cause a lot of controversy and could cause a lot of argument and Lord that is okay because it is through discussion and controversy that you provide us with insight and growth. I ask that those out there who may be conflicted, that they would share this with others, that they would talk about it, that they would dive into the scripture, and really really examine what is going on and learn more about this topic and this concept.
Lord, I ask that you would provide them with discernment, that they would ask you for discernment and receive that discernment so that they would know what they are to do. Lord give them the courage, allow them to be like Brother Andrew smuggling Bibles across, sharing your word, being bold and courageous and not afraid. That they could drink from that cup like you. Like the disciples and that they would be delivered and cloaked and shielded, sanctified in your truth. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Thank you very much for tuning in to this three-part sermon series. Again if you haven’t seen the first two check them out. Also if you have any questions or comments please place them below. This is a very very powerful message, this one in particular. I really encourage you to share it with others and don’t be afraid of a little bit of controversy. Allow others to weigh in their opinions. Don’t get into big arguments with them, that is not what this is about. It is about discussion and study and learning more and diving into the word of God. I hope you have a great week. God bless.