Perry Emerick – Mesa Campus Pastor
About three years ago, I read a very short book by Andy Andrews entitled “How do you kill 11 million people” in which he basically asks the question how is it that a relatively small amount of Nazi soldiers were able to convince such a large group of people (6 million Jews and 5 million non-Jews) to voluntarily board a cattle train car that ultimately carried them to their death? The simple answer was that they lied to them! They convinced them that their intent was to protect them from harm and take them to a safe place. These people wanted to believe that their leaders cared about them and wanted what was best. They didn’t critically look at what Hitler was saying and what was happening in the country. The signs were there. The evidence indicated otherwise. But they chose to believe in the Nazi lies.
This last weekend, Jeremy spoke about Jesus’ claim to be the truth. That God is truth and that all truth belongs to Him. It struck me in contrast to the statement Jesus made to the Jews in John 8:44 in which he told them “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” What strikes me about this passage are two elements: first, their desire is to carry out the devil’s desires.
There is no way that any of them consciously considered themselves followers of the devil’s desires. In fact, they considered themselves devout Jews, doing what Abraham and Moses told them to do. Yet their actions and Jesus’ words point out very clearly that their desires were based on a lie. They wanted authority and power. They wanted to believe they were better than everyone else. They wanted to look like they had it all together. And against that, Jesus is pointing out to them that in reality they are slaves to sin (John 8:34).
The second is that the devil is the father of lies. It is his native language. If God is truth, then all non-truth is not of God, and therefore comes from the father of lies…the devil. Have you ever considered that when you lie, you are speaking the devils language? That when you buy into a lie, you are buying into the devil’s desires? And do you know what one of the greatest lies is? That God wants you to be happy, and that trumps obedience to what he has laid out in scripture.
I have had numerous conversations, particularly with men, that have bought into this lie. God wants them to be happy, and in their current situation they are not happy. And the king of the lies is, it’s not their fault. Their issues are not the problem. In fact, their issues are the only thing that makes them happy. Whether it is porn, alcohol, work, money, toys, drugs, adventure, or whatever it is…if they just had more of it, they would be happy. And often they end up throwing everything away because they believe the lie…and they end up carrying out the desires of the father of lies. In 2 Corinthians 10:5, the Apostle Paul challenges us with these words,
“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
When the father of lies is telling us what we want to hear, that should be a red flag. We need to challenge those lies, to hold them up to the truth of Jesus Christ, and instead of giving into them, choose to be obedient to Christ, for His are the words of truth. The truth is, Jesus has come to give us life, and life to the full. Full life is found only in surrendering to and living fully in the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ. He is not trying to keep you from happiness, he is trying to lead us to real, full, joyful life. That is the hope we have in Him. That comes from daily dying to ourselves, being real about out challenges, and inviting Jesus into it. The devil’s lies will always enslave, but God’s grace has set us free.