The Truth Hurts

Audio: mp3

The purpose of this study is that we will come away knowing the reason why truth hurts. I find it interesting that when the truth of the Bible comes to people, not everyone receives it with joy. Not everybody is happy to hear the truth as it is in Jesus.

If you reflect through history, the truth has caused a lot of problems. It’s caused a lot of fighting, persecution and killing. Even from the start, there was trouble between two brothers, Cain and Abel. Cain did not appreciate the truth or what his brother did. Abel’s work was righteous. The Bible tells us that is the reason why Cain killed his brother. People have often expressed that before the truth came along they actually had quite a nice life. They were happier, they enjoyed many more things and they had a lot more peace. Then when the truth came, they had struggles they never had before. They find out that they shouldn’t be doing this and they shouldn’t be doing that. There seem to be more restrictions than you can poke a stick. All these things burden the individual and they say, “Why, what’s all the go with the truth? I was better before the truth came along.” This is a Biblical fact that truth disturbs people. The truth is disturbing. Notice what the apostle has to say.

Romans 7:9 For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.

Before God’s commandments came along, before I had knowledge of right and wrong to the extent that God would have us know, my life was quite okay. I mean yes, there were troubles and I had difficulties, but all in all, it was okay.

Romans 7:9  …but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. 10 And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death.

This message is about Jesus coming to give eternal life. Sometimes we feel the only thing we get is death from hearing about this message of eternal life. “I feel condemned. I feel that I am a great, great sinner. I feel filthy and dirty. I feel like my habits are choking me to death and I can’t get out of them. I feel in bondage more than ever before since the truth came.”

Why it is that we have these sensations when we first come to the Lord and why we feel that these truths are often more hurtful than not when we first come across them? We want to understand why.

Revelation 12:7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, 8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.

There was a war going on in heaven between truth and error, between Michael and the dragon. Now notice where this war travels.

Revelation 12:9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. 10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. 11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. 12 Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.

Where did this war continue? Wasn’t it here on earth? The war in heaven was of the same caliber as it is here on earth.

Revelation 12:17 And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

Is the remnant the beginning or the end of something; it’s the end. The remnant is the last bit of fabric left on the roll. The dragon is making war right to the last of earth’s history. Are we living in the last days? Is the war present today? Absolutely it is.

The war that originated in heaven is now carried out on earth. It has been the view of some that the war in heaven was a physical combat, with heavenly beings hitting other heavenly beings punching and wrestling each other to the ground. Is that the case of the war here on earth? The battle actually is over the mind, over truth and error. The battle line exists in your thoughts because if you can get wrong thoughts, you can get wrong words, wrong actions and wrong actions often repeatedly lead to wrong habits and your character becomes wrong. The warfare is over the realm of the mind and the devil wants to capture our minds. How does he do it?

Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? 2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: 3 But of the fruit of the tree which [is] in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. 4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:

God says you will die and Satan says you will not die. Does it sound like there’s a war going on there? God says something, the devil says something opposite; truth and error. Something’s going to be right and something’s going to be wrong. God says something, the devil says the opposite. Right here in the lies is where the battle heats up. It’s about truth and lies.

Our subject is ‘Truth Hurts’. Think about this. God told of Eve, “If you eat of it, you’re going to die.” Satan says, “If you eat of it, you will not die.” Which one hurts the most? You could say, “Lord, are you saying that if I pick an apple, you’re going to take my whole life away because of some fruit on a tree? Is fruit on a tree worth the life of a creature that you have made, really?” You could suppose that God’s requirement has a threatening of death in it. Where Satan’s one is, “You won’t die.” If you heard the news, you’re going to die or you’re not going to die, which one is more comforting?

What can lies become because they don’t hurt like truth? They do, but not initially, they don’t. They are actually quite nice. In the book of Isaiah, we read about the religious leaders of Israel which is a parallel with our time.

Isaiah 28:14 Wherefore hear the word of the LORD, ye scornful men, that rule this people which is in Jerusalem. 15 Because ye have said, We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us: for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves:

In the battle between Christ and Satan, Satan is giving lies that you and I can take hold of and they can be a refuge, a sort of comfort to us. The word of the Lord came to the people that profess godliness in his day and said, “You have made lies your refuge because you said when the overflowing scourge comes it won’t come near us. We’re saved. We’re home and hosed. We are approved of God.” But what does the word of the Lord say?

Isaiah 28:16 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste. 17 Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet: and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place. 18 And your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it. 19 From the time that it goeth forth it shall take you: for morning by morning shall it pass over, by day and by night: and it shall be a vexation only to understand the report. 20 For the bed is shorter than that a man can stretch himself on it: and the covering narrower than that he can wrap himself in it. 21 For the LORD shall rise up as in mount Perazim, he shall be wroth as in the valley of Gibeon, that he may do his work, his strange work; and bring to pass his act, his strange act.

Think about this. These people had security. They said that when the time of trouble comes, when the day of God’s wrath comes, we will be okay. Now it must be remembered that the people who think this do not believe it is a lie. Otherwise they wouldn’t believe in it. If they knew it was a lie, they wouldn’t believe in it.

Whenever the word of God says that you have made an agreement with hell and with death and that you have made lies your refuge that’s from God’s point of view looking at battle. Satan has captured man, has fed him with lies and has made man secure. But God is saying, “Mankind you aren’t secure. Your insurance policy isn’t covering you. Your blanket doesn’t fit, your toes are hanging out at the end and your bed is too short for you. There is not the comfort you need in those lies that you think you have.” Now if you think you are okay at the end and God turns up and says, “Excuse me, you will be lost.” Is that a nice thing to hear or not?

Man thinks himself secure. He thinks that he is prepared. God says, “No, you’re not. The way you think, the covering you think you have is not sufficient. You’re covering yourself with some lies.” God has to be the bad guy if you like. He has to tell you that it’s a lie. Then the person can say, “Lord, you are offending me.” God says, “Well, the truth hurts.”

Now for those of you who have read the book, “The Town of Mansoul”  by John Bunyan. It’s very interesting to know the way the devil, Diabolus, captures the town of Mansoul in comparison to the way Shaddai and his son Emmanuel, captured the town of Mansoul; two extremely different methods. One is the method of flattery, of carnal security, of sweet nothings, telling that everything’s okay. There is lots of promises given by Diabolus to the town of Mansoul, and that wins Mansoul. But when Shaddai and Emmanuel come to take the city, there is no flattery whatsoever. They send generals of the army up to Ear-gate: Captain Conviction, Captain Judgment and Captain Execution and bashed down that door with the facts of their destruction.

Because God is honest, people get offended. People get offended at God because He tells the truth. He’s not going to tell you that you’re saved when you’re not saved. He’s not going to say that. He’s going to offer you salvation, yes, but He is not going to flatter. Before we came face to face with the commandments of God we thought we had a great life but then we realise we didn’t. That’s not because God has made our lives bad; He has just revealed that our lives are bad, that’s all. He just turned the light on. When Jesus was talking to the religious leaders, notice their interaction. Please remember that Jesus is the Way the Truth and the Life. Notice how Jesus speaks.

John 8:31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; 32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

Satan has captured this world by lies by an understanding that we’re saved when we’re actually not saved. The Old Testament tells us about the prophets and the priests crying peace and safety when there is no peace. Peace, peace, when there is no peace. And then the scripture says that:

Jeremiah 6:14 You’ve healed the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly by saying peace, peace.

When there is a real sore and we are in pain, we hear a message that has the name Gospel attached to it. It says, “It’s okay Jesus has died for you; you can continue living the way you do but you will be okay if you will just call upon the name of the Lord and you’ll be okay.” To a certain degree, there is comfort in that. “Ah, I can have salvation. I can have salvation while being in this mess and the things that I love I can still have and still be saved. Wow that’s a really good message.” But the Bible says that’s only a slight healing.

When we have a deep sore that heals over slightly, inside it festers more so what does the doctor have to do? He has to cut deep and take every dead tissue. He goes in deep and it hurts more than the original sore. Now that’s exactly what God has to do. He has to come in with the truth and has to cut out those lies, the festering lies that are eating our lives away, that have been covered over with some half-healing truth. This process is more painful than before and we think the Lord is the one hurting us when it’s just the sensitive wound hurting.

We read that the truth will set us free and the discussion between the Jews and Christ. The Jews don’t believe they are in bondage.

John 8:36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. 7 I know that ye are Abraham’s seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you. 38 I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father. 39 They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham. 40 But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham.

Jesus tells them the truth very clearly and what of they do to Him? They try and kill Him. Think about it; have you ever had a message from God that made you upset and very angry not so much with God, but the person who delivered it and you want to cut him down? This happens. It happened to Christ. He told the truth and they tried to kill a man who just told them the truth. Why? The truth hurts. It hurts. Killing and fighting are only products of fear. I’m scared and it’s fight or flight. You’ll either run away from the message or you’ll start attacking the messenger. That is what happens if we allow ourselves to be caught up with the pain that we receive and not understand why the truth hurts.

John 8:41 Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God. 42  Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me. 43  Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. 44  Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

Every lie comes from the devil and if we present the gospel with a twist that has lies in it, from where does that come? It comes from the devil. The devil has his gospel. It’s his good news to catch man. Christ came to seek and save the lost. We are lost through lies and Christ wants to set us free from lies. Now how do you set someone free from a lie? You tell them the truth. Are you willing for God to tell you the truth?

We’re going to understand why it hurts. Why does this truth hurt? Christ comes with love in His heart not flattery.

Isaiah 49:24 Shall the prey be taken from the mighty, or the lawful captive delivered?

It’s a question. Shall the prey be taken from the mighty? Who is the mighty? Satan? Isn’t he mighty? He is. Think about Gabriel fighting the King of Persia who was no doubt pressured by the devil himself because all Old Testament kings; the King of Tyre, King of Babylon, the King of Persia, were all under the influence of Lucifer. How did Gabriel go contending with the powers of darkness? What does the book of Daniel tells us? Gabriel had a real hard time fighting against the powers of darkness, over Cyrus. Now if Gabriel the covering cherub has a hard time with the powers of darkness, do you suppose that we will? Of course, we will. What did the highest angel have to do? He needed Jesus. He needed Michael and Michael came to help. When you struggle with the devil, take Gabriel’s example, and call out for Jesus because He can help, because it says, shall the prey be taken from the mighty?

God recognises the might of Lucifer whom He created. He acknowledges that. When he was created, Lucifer ‘sealed up the sum’; in other words, he was the best creation ever made even to this day. He ‘sealed up the sum,’ full of beauty and wisdom. Satan hasn’t lost that. God made this creature so well that God calls him a mighty foe. The question is shall the prey be taken from the mighty? Are you the prey? Or shall the lawful captive be delivered?

49:25 But thus saith the Lord, Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered: for I will contend with him that contendeth with thee, and I will save thy children. 26 And I will feed them that oppress thee with their own flesh; and they shall be drunken with their own blood, as with sweet wine: and all flesh shall know that I the Lord am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob.

God proposes to take on the lies that have captured you and me. Shall the captives of the mighty be taken? He says, “Yes, they will be. I am going to come and I am going to make war against the mighty one saying; “I will contend with him that contendeth with thee.”

One important point to understand is that a human being is a vessel. Do you understand that? It is biblical. When Paul was given to the Gentiles, what of God say? “Separate Paul. He is a chosen vessel.” What is a vessel? It is something that carries something else. Mankind is a vessel and it’s built to carry something else other than itself. Do you understand that you are built to house something else other than you? There is room; a seat in your being that can be occupied by another being.

1 Corinthians 3:16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

Our being is a house for God; that another being totally separate from you can actually be housed inside of you?

1 Corinthians 3:17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.

If we decide to get rid of God and put a defiling element in His place, God is saying that will destroy the temple. The temple will be destroyed.

2 Corinthians 6:14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. 18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

He’s saying, “Look, you have been defiled.” The town of Mansoul has housed an evil entity namely the devil. And God is saying, “Come out from among that and be separate from that and I will be your God. I’ll come into you. I will walk in you. I will dwell in your house.”

Notice how closely connected we are to the spirit when our house is filled, whether it is by an evil spirit; the devil himself or whether it’s God through the Holy Spirit,

1 Corinthians 6:15 Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. 16 What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh. 17 But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.

We are vessels; we have the capacity to hold another personality than ourselves. We have the capacity to house another spirit than our own spirit. Notice how closely connected we are. We just read, he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.Do you ever have a hard time distinguishing between God’s voice and your voice in your mind? Do you ever have a hard time distinguishing between the two?

People have said, “The Lord has told me this.” and clearly it is contrary to scripture therefore clearly the Lord didn’t tell them that; it was their own thoughts. But as far as they were concerned, it’s so well-blended. The spirit is so well blended that it seems to be one spirit; that is what the Bible says.

Have you also ever had a hard time distinguishing between your own thoughts and the thoughts Satan suggests to you? There’s a spirit dwelling in our beings and it is hard to draw a distinguishing line between the two because two have become one, therefore it is possible to be deceived? Satan can whisper something in my ear, spiritually speaking, he can put a thought to my mind and I can say, “Hey, that was my thought,” when it wasn’t.

There are thoughts and feelings aroused and suggested by Satan, which annoy even the best of men. Who arouses them? Satan. He can arouse thoughts. Can we tell it’s him or can we tell it’s me? We can’t tell. Because we always trust ourselves, we can think a lie that Satan puts into our minds is my good idea when it wasn’t my idea at all. This is where the battle lies right in the realm of the thoughts. That is the battle line. The devil has come down with great power. He can come in and suggest thoughts, which provoke feelings and we can’t tell if they’re from him or not.

So God says, “I’m going to contend with him that contendeth with thee.I’m going to come and take on the devil that is attacking you.” Now what if the Lord attacked a thought that you think is yours but in fact is actually the devils, how would you feel about that attack? Would you say, “Oh, the Lord is attacking me.” The Lord is not attacking you. He is attacking the spirit in you.

Jesus gave an example about the devil being cast out of a house. (Luke Chapter 11) What is the house? Yes, it is Human being. When the devil was cast out of the house, he wandered in dry places seeking rest but he couldn’t find rest, so the devil thinks, “I’m going to go back to the house from where I was cast out.” He goes back, looks in the window, and sees that it’s been swept, garnished, and clean but it’s not inhabited. So, he goes in with seven other demons, which are worse than him. Remember not all devils are the same. Not all evil spirits are of the same caliber. Not everyone that has an evil spirit manifests the same fruits. The demoniac boy had an evil spirit. What was he doing? Groveling in the dirt, foaming at the mouth and having a fit. The demoniacs in the tomb had demons and were running around cutting themselves and are howling and crying at night. Did Caiaphas the high priest have an evil spirit? The Spirit of Prophecy tells us he did. Why wasn’t he running around doing the same thing? Do all the evil spirits manifest themselves in the same way? No, they don’t. They’re all different, just like you and I. We are all different and so are the heavenly personalities different.

Before the war began some angels believed the lies of Lucifer and some didn’t. War began and they were cast out of heaven to this earth and the war continues. The house is you and I. The spirit is either the good or evil spirits. You might say, “Well, I’m not devil-possessed.” Not all devil possession is very evident.  We could look holy sane, be considered a normal person in society and yet our motives are from the evil one and from our own carnal nature. So Christ is saying, “I’m going to contend with him. I’m going to come in, I’m not going to use flattery, I’m going to come with my sharp two-edged sword and cut down the falsities that exist in human minds today.”

Hebrews 2:14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;

Because we are always in bondage Christ came with the purpose of destroying the works of the devil. When the devil comes in and he does his work with the human soul, he spreads out his lies, which we believe is truth, and Christ has come to destroy all that.

Why does the truth hurt?

Mark 3:27 No man can enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he will first bind the strong man; and then he will spoil his house.

What’s Christ saying? Christ is saying before He could deal with the individual He first had to deal with the devil on Calvary. He had to bind Satan. Now he is bound, what is he going to do? He has to bind the strong man before he can spoil his goods. We have a house and Satan has been occupying our house. Don’t be fooled. When they fell Adam and Eve received the mind of Satan. They were still very noble-looking people. Don’t fool yourself that Satan hasn’t influence you at all, he has. You are the house, He is the strong man. Christ says, He is a strong man. Now before he can spoil the goods Christ has to bind Satan. What are the goods? They are Satan’s goods; the works of the devil. The scriptures say, “I have come to destroy the works of the devil.” The devil has done something that Christ wants to destroy.

Christ in this warfare is telling us plainly today, what he is doing. We need to understand this so the next time we hear something that hurts and it’s true then it comes from God’s word. Please don’t be offended at God, don’t be offended at His messenger, and don’t run away.

2 Corinthians 10:4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)

It is saying that we do not bear swords and armory in this fight, it’s not real, and the same is in heaven. They didn’t really bash each other up physically. The weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty. Satan is a mighty foe, a strong man, and God has a very mighty weapon. It’s mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds. Strong holds; what is a strong hold? Apostle Paul understood what a strong hold was. The towns and cities built in his days had a well-fortified, well-built tower from which attacks were made and which defended the city.

The devil has come into our minds. He isn’t happy jus to sit there; he wants to protect himself against the invasion of Christ. So, he has come to our mind and now he has to garrison himself or fortify himself against God’s troops, so what does he do? He builds strong holds. A strong hold is a strong hold.

Do you ever find it hard to follow Christianity? Do you ever feel like something is holding you tight? Well, the thing that is holding you with strength is a strong hold. The devil has built three strongholds in our minds. Would you like to know what they are? What is this weapon going to do? It is going to pull down the strongholds. He says, “I’m first going to bind up the strong man and then I can go in. The things that he’s done, the works of the devil or his goods will be now spoilt.” So Christ has bound a strong man, He’s coming to you and me today to pull down some strong holds. They are things that are in us, that have been built because of the seductive, seducing elements of the devil, which we don’t clearly distinguish. As far as we are concerned, it’s still us but it’s not; they are actually lies. They are lies therefore; these strong holds are in the realm of our thoughts and imaginations?

2 Corinthians 10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

The strongholds are a way of thinking? There is a certain perception that has been built by the devil himself that prevents us from receiving Christ and receiving the victories, he would like to give us. This weapon is none other than the sword of the spirit of the word of God.

Hebrew 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword,

Now the word quick doesn’t mean that it’s speedy or agile but it means that it is living. It’s the old English word for living. So the word of God is living and it can divide, it can discern the thoughts and the intents of the heart, and it can divide the bone and the marrow. It is so precise that it hits right at the heart of the problem. It is so sharp that it can get to the thoughts and the intents of the heart, which is where the strongholds are and He can cut them down. Christ wants to cut down the human perception, thoughts, and intents of our hearts.

There are three strong holds. John Bunyan tells us in his book the Holy War, what they are. When Diabolus got into the town of Mansoul he engrossed himself in the castle and he built three strong holds against Emmanuel. John Bunyan called them, Defiance-hold, Midnight-hold and Sweet-sin-hold. Defiance-hold was built for blocking out the knowledge of God. If he could blur the true knowledge of God in the human brain, it would be a stronghold because when Emmanuel came he would be treated as an enemy instead of a friend. See how that is a stronghold? If we are prejudiced against God, Satan has a foot up because anything we hear about God we are not going to listen to. We think He might be an angry, vengeful God to whom we have to do penance to gain His pleasure or love. We think He is the God of the Old Testament who is vindictive so the God of the New Testament had to come down to the cross to appease the God of the Old Testament. These are lies from the devil.

Calvary was the manifestation of the love of God that He always had for us; He always had. The cross of Calvary wasn’t to create in God a love, which He didn’t have toward us. It was not to turn His hatred towards us into a love. It was an expression of the love, which He already had throughout time. The Defiance-hold blocks out the knowledge of God.

John 17:3  And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

What is eternal life? It is to know God. The devil knows that so he smudges the appearance of God. He says all manner of evil things against God so when we see God coming, we already have pre-conceived ideas that He is out to hurt us. Do you ever have the opinion that the people of God are out to hurt you? Where does that come from? It comes from Satan. It’s one of the strong holds; we think that God’s people are against us but they are actually not against us at all.

The second hold is called Midnight-hold.  This one was built for blocking out the knowledge of our selves. If the devil can make us think we are something we are not then he could tell us that we are saved, and we are righteous, or approved of God when we are not. And if he can tell us that, why would we need God anyway? He wants to block out our knowledge of self.

The last hold is Sweet-sin-hold. He wants to teach us that sin is sweet. Under these strongholds when God comes we think He is out to hurt us. When He comes with His truth and tells me something that I don’t believe I am and causes me feel like I’m a different person or I’m trying to be something that I am not and tells me to give up all the nice things in my life. I think, “And I’m meant to follow the Lord? What He says really hurts. It feels like a personal attack.” It is an attack on the person who the devil has made us think we are, but we are not what the devil has made us out to be.

Sinful habits in our lives have discolored who we are. Does that mean that sin is necessary for me to be who I am? If I’ve been angry all my life and I just say, “Well, that’s just the way I am.” Is that really the way God intended us to be? – Not at all. So the truth comes and shows us who we really are and we don’t like it and that really hurts. Does it hurt to be misunderstood? What if you misunderstand yourself, and because of that, you think everyone else has misunderstood you when they perhaps haven’t? Does it hurt? You bet it does. It hurts. Truth hurts. It’s a sharp sword. Swords hurt. The Bible says, the heart is deceitful above all things and who can know it. Ellen White writes the knowledge of self is one of the hardest things to obtain; a true, correct knowledge of oneself.

1 Corinthians 10:12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.

Is it possible to think something that you’re not? Is it possible to think you’re standing when you’re actually falling? If you think you’re standing, you better be careful because you’re falling. At the point of thinking that you’re standing, the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. Who can know it?

I have been shown that many are in the greatest danger of failing to perfect holiness in the fear of the Lord. Ministers are in danger of losing their own souls. Some who have preached to others will themselves be cast away because they have not perfected a Christian character. In their labor they do not save souls, and fail even to save their own. They do not see the importance of self-knowledge and self-control. They do not watch and pray, lest they enter into temptation. If they would watch, they would become acquainted with their weak points, where they are most likely to be assailed by temptation. With watchfulness and prayer their weakest points can be so guarded as to become their strongest points, and they can encounter temptation without being overcome. Every follower of Christ should daily examine himself, that he may become perfectly acquainted with his own conduct. There is with nearly all a neglect of self-examination. This neglect is positively dangerous in one who professes to be a mouthpiece for God, occupying the fearful, responsible position of receiving the words from God to give to His people. 2 Testimonies p.511

This point of examining yourself is more important in ministers than the average person but it’s also important for all. To be familiar not with what I imagine myself to be and how good I am but what the word of God tells me very clearly and the conviction I get from my own failings; that is a healthy thing. The Laodicean problem is we think we are rich and increased with goods and have need of nothing; no, we are not, we are poor, miserable, wretched, blind, and naked. We think we are having a wonderful time, but the council of the true witness comes in like a sword and spoils the fun. What it is spoiling is the strong man’s goods.

I propound that truth, if it doesn’t hurt, is a problem. If the truth does not hurt you, it’s not attacking the strong hold that the devil has reared in your life. If someone comes to you and presents the word of God that reveals to you your hideous character that has been formed because of sin, praise God for it. Don’t get angry. Don’t get upset at people pointing out problems from God’s word because it is the weapon that God has for pulling down strong holds namely the knowledge of God, the knowledge of yourself and that sin is sweet.

John Bunyan named the captains that watch over these fortresses. The captain of the fortress of Defiance, which was to block out God’s knowledge, was Mr. Spite-God. Have you ever been in spite because of what God has revealed to you? Think of the Jews. Did they spite Christ because of who He claimed to be? You bet they did, and Satan loves. If you’re spiting God in any way, remember this, you don’t understand God. If we have a true knowledge of God we could never spite Him. We could only worship Him.

Mr. Hate-light was the man who controlled Midnight-hold, which was to block the knowledge of self. When a person is sleeping away in the pitch darkness of midnight, having wonderful dreams of success etc and someone comes in and turns the light on they wake up to reality. How did they react? “Turn it off. This is hurting my eyes.” When God’s truth comes to the individual, it bursts all the bubbles of human pride and all the bubbles of human ambition and brings down a harsh reality of sin, it’s consequences, and the reaction is, “Turn that off.” That is what is says in John chapter 3. I want to make us think; are we like this? Is this what goes on in our minds, if it is then we’ve got problems? The devil’s strong holds still exist and Christ wants to break them down.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.

We love sin. Sin is sweet to us and we don’t want God’s word telling us that what we’re doing is wrong. The man who looked after the third hold of Sweet-sin, his name was Mr. Love-flesh because he loved the flesh. All that is of the flesh is not of the Father. The lust of the flesh, the lust of eyes and the pride of life are not of God but are of the world so God’s truth hits right at our core motives. We could be religious. The word of God isn’t just to convict the drunkards and the harlots down on the street, it’s to convict against hypocrisy; hypocrisy in high places, in high religious places. The higher the profession, the more we need the sword.

When the truth is presented, leaders, church officials and church elders hate the light. They don’t want the light. They want to block it out and that comes right down even to you and me. Do we hate the light? Do we get upset when God reveals another secret sweet sin that we have that is not right? And we think, “Oh no. I get to lose another sweet sin.” Praise the Lord if that’s the case brethren because Christ is pulling down the strong hold, the three strong holds: no knowledge of God, no knowledge of self and making sin sweet; but God’s word, the law, makes sin exceedingly sinful.

The apostle says, “I was alive once without the law, but the commandment came, the sword came, sin revived, I died and had a miserable experience in bemoaning myself for who I really am, seeing all my sweet sins as bad. I can’t enjoy the indulging in the food that I love; I can’t enjoy doing those things any more because my conscience just bashes me over the head all the time. If I didn’t know I would have enjoyed it. Now I can’t. The thing to make truth ease its pain upon us is the full knowledge of God. That takes the sting out of the word.

Hosea 6:1 Come, and let us return unto the Lord: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up. 2 After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight. 3 Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.

Brethren never think we will receive the latter rain without having those strong holds ripped to pieces by God’s word. Never think we’ll ever receive the outpouring of the Holy Spirit without the knowledge of self being so crystallized that we’ll become humble. The Spirit of Prophecy tells us that the true knowledge of self, now I want to emphasize the word true, a true knowledge of self leads to humility. If we don’t get humbled when we think about ourselves, we don’t have a true knowledge of ourselves; what we are in our carnal nature, without the love of God, without hope in this world? We have messed up and this should awaken repentance in us that we could come to the Lord and follow one because He will wound us but He will heal us. If we follow on with that process, we will know God to be the most amazing being ever.

The Lord calls upon his people to repent and to do their first works. He admonishes them to examine themselves, whether they are in the faith, whether their hopes are well founded, whether they are not petting and excusing defects of character, {Signs of the Times, May 17, 1883}    

Don’t excuse your defects of character. Don’t say, “Well, it’s me.” It’s not; the devil wants you to think it’s you but it’s not. Sin is not us. We were created in the image of God, perfect, in the beginning.

…when they should be going on to perfection. The worldliness in the church, which is the great cause of spiritual death, is attributable to the influence of selfish, ease-loving members. The progress of this deadly malady must be checked. The surgeon’s knife cuts deep when it is necessary to remove festering, pestilent matter; so the word of God, sharper than any two-edged sword, must be made to cut to the heart, or the evil will never be removed. When the plain testimony is given, some will say, My hope is gone; I have no religion; I give it all up. Those who really want to be Christ’s will receive reproof, put away their sins, and take their stand on the side of Jesus. If any have no real desire for the truth, because it must purify the soul, their withdrawal is not to be regretted. The fewer we have of such the better. {Signs of the Times, May 17, 1883}    

There are no apologies. I know the last few sermons have been quite hard. There are no apologies at the sharpness of the message. There are no apologies when the truth hurts; the natural heart, no apologies. Christ isn’t apologizing to that; why? It’s because His great love that does it. The Bible says that while we were dead in trespasses and sins, He have quickened us together with Christ. Then it says by grace you are saved. We’re dead in trespasses and sin; the quick, powerful, sharp sword is part of the grace of God. We often read that by grace we are saved. “Oh, you’re so nice. Let’s paint that on a painting and hang in on our wall. It’s so nice.” The grace of God teaches us to deny ungodliness and worldly lust and live righteously and godly in this present world. That’s what the grace of God teaches us, and in order to teach us that it has to cut to the heart and when anything touches our hearts it hurts. Truth hurts. Do you know why? It hurts because God loves you. God is love that’s why truth hurts.

I pray that from this message we can come away with an understanding that the next time the word of God pricks our hearts, we can praise God and thank Him for it and allow Him to destroy the strong holds of Satan.

Amen.

0812122

Posted on July 27, 2012, in Divine Service Sermons, Sermons For Sabbath and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Ernest Chawiya

    Truth hurts indeed,when you tell people the truth they say ‘don’t be legalistic,don’t point fingers,please present the message with love’ things like that. Amen to that brethren.

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