NEW BOOKLET TRACT- Truth or Consequences

Truth or Consequences by Warren B. Smith is our newest Lighthouse Trails Booklet Tract. The Booklet Tract is 14 pages long and sells for $1.95 for single copies. Quantity discounts are as much as 50% off retail. Our Booklet Tracts are designed to give away to others or for your own personal use.  Below is the content of the booklet. To order copies of Truth or Consequences, click here.

Truth or Consequences

rp_bkt-truth.jpgBy Warren B. Smith

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. (3 John 1:4)

In 1940, Ralph Edwards hosted an NBC radio quiz show called Truth or Consequences. The show had a simple format. Contestants were presented with a question. If they couldn’t answer it correctly—which they almost never did—they suffered consequences that usually proved to be somewhat entertaining and comedic in nature. In 1950, Edwards announced they would broadcast their tenth anniversary program from whatever town or city in America changed its existing name to Truth or Consequences. The city of Hot Springs, New Mexico responded by changing their name from Hot Springs to Truth or Consequences. As a result the newly named city hosted the tenth anniversary edition of Truth or Consequences. Ralph Edwards continued to visit the city of Truth or Consequences the first weekend in May for the next fifty years to help celebrate the town’s annual “Fiesta.” Truth or Consequences, New Mexico continues to hold “Fiesta” each year, and the celebration includes a dance held in Ralph Edwards Park.1

Curiously, the television show used the otherwise serious concept of “truth or consequences” to provide the thematic foundation for their comedy quiz show. The phrase “truth or consequences” would ordinarily suggest a certain degree of solemnity rather than levity. Therefore, the festive atmosphere surrounding the program’s novel use of the phrase proved to be somewhat ironic. To put this into a wider perspective, this could be seen as symptomatic—both then and now—of a society that doesn’t take the concept of “truth or consequences” very seriously. In fact, there seems to be a growing apathy and disregard—even in the church—for the consequences of not observing and maintaining truth—most especially God’s truth as revealed in the Bible.

Leavening the Truth
The expression “gospel truth”—even when used in the secular world—almost always signifies pure, honest, absolute truth. For Bible-believing Christians, “gospel truth” obviously denotes God’s absolute truth as contained in His Holy Bible. But today we hear people—both in and out of the church—say there is no such thing as absolute truth. For many, truth has become an abstract concept that we ourselves now define. Sadly, we live in a time when it’s popular to say—“You have your truth, and I have mine.” Given that Jesus is “the truth” (John 14:6), “you have your truth, and I have mine” translates into “you have your Jesus, and I have mine.” Thus in people’s minds, Jesus Christ becomes whatever anyone wants Him to be—not what is necessarily true.

Amongst many believers, it’s no longer “a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump” (Galatians 5:9). Rather, it’s “I just eat the meat and spit out the bones” as if lies and leaven are no big deal. Or if we don’t agree with what has been traditionally accepted as truth, we go along with others who “stretch the truth” or “enlarge the truth” to create a “new truth” that is no truth at all. Nazi Germany was a good example of this: When big lies were told often enough and convincingly enough, they eventually become accepted as truth. In a more contemporary vein, there was a popular movie in 1994 called True Lies. The main character in another movie states that he always tells the truth—even when he lies.2

New Age leaders would have us believe they have “a great heretical idea”— a“lie”—that will get humanity out of its present crisis.3 In their attempt to justify their “lie” as they blaspheme God in the process, these same New Age leaders try to convince us that “All great truth begins as blasphemy.”4 But the blasphemy they propose—“we are all one” because God is “in” everyone and everything—is predicated on their disbelief of God’s Truth as revealed in the Holy Bible. In fact, the Bible warns in Romans 1:25 of those “who changed the truth of God into a lie”—a lie they would have us believe is a “new truth” that will save the world.

Truth is out of Style?
We are being told that the Bible is out of style and outdated—that it’s got some good points but it’s a two-thousand-year-old book that needs a little changing and some postmodern rearranging. We are further told that spiritual experience is what really counts. Because of this, objectivity is quickly giving way to subjectivity. God’s truth is being replaced by what we experience as truth—what we sense, what we feel, what “works” for us. As a society—and also as a church—we are being deceived into believing that something is true simply because it is what most people believe. As a result, what people agree to believe as truth is triumphing over actual truth. Consequently—and as previously mentioned—literal lies are becoming our “new truths.”

Do we, as believers, have a real love of the truth, or do we just want to have our ears tickled by what feels right and seems to be true? The Bible warns:

There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. (Proverbs 14:12)

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. (2 Timothy 4:3-4)

What is Truth?
The reason the Bible has so much to say about truth is because Jesus Christ is the truth. He said “I am the way, the truth, and the life: No man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). Bible-believing Christians trust these words in the Bible because the Bible is—“in truth”—the actual Word of God.

For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe. (1 Thessalonians 2:13; emphasis added)

The Bible exhorts us to “prove all things” and to “hold fast” to that which is “good”—that which is true (1 Thessalonians 5:21). It commands us to expose the unfruitful works of darkness that oppose truth and to have no fellowship with them (Ephesians 5:11). Scripture warns there are severe consequences for those who—for whatever reason—do not love and protect the truth of God’s Word.

Biblical Consequences
Revelation 22:13-15 warns that those who “loveth and maketh a lie” will be among those excluded from the city of New Jerusalem:

I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie. (Revelation 22:13-15)

In addition to this warning in Revelation, Jesus made sixteen direct references to Hell. Scripture also warns there will be people who “received not the love of the truth” and “believed not the truth” but “had pleasure in unrighteousness.” And because they believe a “lie,” they are damned and ultimately “perish”:

And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thessalonians 2:8-12; italics added)

It is very evident that there are serious consequences to what we choose to believe and what we choose not to believe regarding the truth of God’s Word.

Worldly Consequences
In a courtroom, witnesses must tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth—so help them God. There are definite legal consequences for anyone who is not truthful in the court proceedings. Perjury is a punishable offense that can result in heavy fines and possible imprisonment. One “little lie” can totally change the nature of a court case. A “little lie” or a “little leaven” can completely transform something true into something false. The late pastor and evangelist Harry Ironside warned that truth mixed with error is like leaven and is equivalent to all error:

Error is like leaven, of which we read, “A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.” Truth mixed with error is equivalent to all error, except that it is more innocent looking and, therefore, more dangerous. God hates such a mixture! Any error, or any truth-and-error mixture, calls for definite exposure and repudiation. To condone such is to be unfaithful to God and His Word and treacherous to imperiled souls for whom Christ died.5

In today’s church, many best-selling “Christian” books contain leavened statements that are patently false when compared to the light of Scripture. But the leaven—error—contained in these books goes largely unchallenged as sales reach into the multiple millions. In today’s progressive postmodern church, there seems to be little or no accountability for Christian leaders and authors who present false teachings. The only immediate consequence the authors of these leavened books seem to “suffer” is the attainment of celebrity status and a huge increase in their personal income. What irony. Instead of being held responsible for the leaven contained in their writings, these men and women are rewarded by the church and held in high esteem.

The Holy Bible: God’s Lie Detector
In the world, the “truth” of what someone is saying can usually be detected by a polygraph machine—also known as a “lie detector.” However, the Christian faith has the ultimate lie detector—the Holy Bible. It is holy because it’s the authoritative, inerrant, inspired Word of God. The truth of what people say and teach and do in regard to spiritual matters can be accurately discerned by searching the Scriptures to see if these things are so (Acts 17:11). The Bible rightly defines truth, while at the same time exposes what is false and deceptive. In fact, the truth of God’s Word is of such paramount importance to God that He actually magnifies His Word above His name (Psalm 138:2). God’s Word is truth (John 17:17) and is the truthful measure of all spiritual things (2 Timothy 3:15-17):

For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)

Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15)

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. (2 Timothy 3:15-17)

While a genuine Bible remains the ultimate lie detector, there are many modern versions that have changed important parts of God’s Word. They change it by adding to it, subtracting from it, and watering it down—all for the expressed purpose of making it more “relevant” and “less offensive.” However, when the genuine is altered in any way, it is no longer genuine and wholly dependable. Because there are so many new translations and paraphrases, exposing error has become more difficult for the average believer in today’s compromised church. And it is unexposed error that ultimately leads to heresy and apostasy.

The Right Hand of Falsehood

Rid me, and deliver me from the hand of strange children, whose mouth speaketh vanity, and their right hand is a right hand of falsehood. (Psalm 144:11)

Galatians 2:9 describes what is referred to as the right hand of fellowship. In the Bible, the right hand of God generally refers to His power and authority and righteousness. For example, the right hand of God is “exalted” (Psalm 118:16). God “saves” those who put their trust in Him by His right hand (Psalm 17:7). Jesus sits on the right hand of “the power of God” (Luke 22:69). God upholds with the right hand of His “righteousness” (Isaiah 41:10). The right hand of fellowship is based in that power and authority and truth. However, Psalm 144 warns of the hand of “strange children” who extend the “right hand of falsehood.” The right hand of falsehood may appear to be the right hand of fellowship, but it is not. It is the kind of deception the Bible warns us to watch out for.

Jesus warns of those who draw near to Him with their mouth, but their hearts are far from Him (Matthew 15:8). Tragically, insistence on truth has taken a back seat to compromise in today’s “church” in its quest for agreement and unity. But truth compromised for the sake of “unity” is not God’s unity at all. Division caused by truth is far better than unity that is based on the right hand of falsehood. Proclaiming “Lord, Lord,” and reciting John 14:6 does not legitimize leaven and false teachings. Truth combined with error is, indeed, an ungodly mixture. Half of the truth is still a lie. “Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils” (1 Corinthians 10:21). The right hand of fellowship does not unite and shake hands with the right hand of falsehood.

Because a love of the truth is perishing in the land and in the church, it is imperative that we take a look at what the Bible says about truth—how we must love it and keep it and hold it in the highest regard.

Bible Teachings on Truth

Our God Is a God of Truth
He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he. (Deuteronomy 32:4)

All God’s Works Are Done in Truth
For the word of the LORD is right; and all his works are done in truth. (Psalm 33:4)

God’s Law Is Truth
Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and thy law is the truth. (Psalm 119:142)

All God’s Commandments Are Done in Truth
The works of his hands are verity and judgment; all his commandments are sure. They stand fast for ever and ever, and are done in truth and uprightness. (Psalm 111:7-8)

God’s Word Is—in Truth—the Word of God
For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God. (1Thessalonians 2:13)

God Desires for All Men to Be Saved and Come to a Knowledge of the Truth
Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. (1Timothy 2:4)

Jesus Christ Brought Grace and Truth
For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. (John 1:17)

Jesus Christ Is the Truth
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (John 14:6)

We Are to Desire Truth in Our Innermost Being
Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom. (Psalm 51:6)

The Lord Is Close to All Those Who Call Upon Him in Truth
The LORD is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth. (Psalm 14 :18)

The Holy Spirit of Truth Is Sent to Believers and Abides With Them Forever
And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. (John 14:16-18)

The Holy Spirit Guides All Believers Into the Truth
Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come. (John 16:13)

God Is Plenteous in His Mercy and Truth
But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth. (Psalm 86:15)

We Are to Hold Fast to Mercy and Truth
Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart: So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man. (Proverbs 3:3-4)

We Are to Speak Truth From the Heart
LORD, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill? He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart. (Psalm 15:1-2)

We Are to Speak the Truth in Love
That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ. (Ephesians 4:14-15)

We Are to Love in Deed and Truth
My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. (1John 3:18)

We Are to Worship God in Spirit and in Truth
God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. (John 4:24)

We Are to Serve the Lord in Sincerity and Truth
Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth. (Joshua 24:14)

We Are to Study and Rightly Divide the Word of Truth
Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2Timothy 2:15)

God’s Truth Is Our Shield and Our Buckler
He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. (Psalm 91:4)

God’s Truth Preserves Us
Withhold not thou thy tender mercies from me, O LORD: let thy lovingkindness and thy truth continually preserve me. (Psalm 40:11)

God’s Truth Enables Us to Stand
Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth. (Ephesians 6:13-14)

We Are to Walk in the Truth
I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. (3 John 1:4)

We Are to Rejoice in the Truth
Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth. (1Corinthians 13:6)

We Are to Be Men and Women of Truth
Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth. (Exodus 18:21)

We Are to Be Fellowhelpers to the Truth
We therefore ought to receive such, that we might be fellowhelpers to the truth. (3 John 1:8)

We Are to Be Thankful for Those Who Believe the Truth
But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth. (2 Thessalonians 2:13)

We Are to Warn Those Who Err From the Truth
Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins. (James 5:19-20)

God Will Judge the World With His Righteousness and Truth
Before the LORD: for he cometh, for he cometh to judge the earth: he shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth. (Psalm 96:13)

God’s Truth Reaches up to the Clouds
For thy mercy is great above the heavens: and thy truth reacheth unto the clouds. (Psalm 108:4)

God’s Truth Endureth Forever
O Praise the LORD, all ye nations: praise him, all ye people. For his merciful kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the LORD endureth for ever. (Psalm 117:1-2)

Hope Is Laid up in Heaven From Hearing the Truth of the Gospel
For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel; Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth. (Colossians 1:5-6)

He Who Does Truth Comes to the Light
But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God. (John 3:21)

But There Are Those Who Are Not Valiant for the Truth
And they bend their tongues like their bow for lies: but they are not valiant for the truth upon the earth; for they proceed from evil to evil, and they know not me, saith the LORD. (Jeremiah 9:3)

Some Do Not Have a Love of the Truth
Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. (2 Thessalonians 2:10)

Some Do Not Believe the Truth
And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12)

Some Call on God but Not in Truth
Hear ye this, O house of Jacob, which are called by the name of Israel, and are come forth out of the waters of Judah, which swear by the name of the LORD, and make mention of the God of Israel, but not in truth, nor in righteousness. (Isaiah 48:1)

There Are People Who Turn Away From the Truth
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. (2 Timothy 4:3-4)

Some Change the Truth of God Into a Lie
Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. (Romans 1:25)

No Lie Is of the Truth
I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth. (1 John 2:21)

The Devil Has No Truth in Him
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. (John 8:44)

The Truth Shall Be Spoken of Evilly
But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. (2 Peter 2:1-2)

Truth Is Largely Fallen
And judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter. (Isaiah 59:14)

Conclusion

Truth or consequences. The stakes are high, but one thing is for sure: Truth prevails in the end because Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6) and His truth endures forever (Psalm 117:1-2). May we pray that His truth will shine forth in our lives and that many will be turned to righteousness (Matthew 5:16; Daniel 12:3). And when it is all said and done, let us be able to say that we have “chosen the way of truth” (Psalm 119:30), that we have “walked” in God’s truth (Psalm 26:3), and that we have always “rejoiced” in God’s truth (1Corinthians 13:6).

Pray for the Truth
O send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me. (Psalm 43:3)

Teach me thy way, O LORD; I will walk in thy truth. (Psalm 86:11)
Show me thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths. Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day. (Psalm 25:4-5)

The Truth Shall Make You Free—If You Continue in His Word!
Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. (John 8:31-32)

Endnotes
1. Per Telephone conversation with Mike Tooley (Herald Newspaper, Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, April 20, 2015).
2. Al Pacino playing Cuban refugee Tony Montana in the American movie Scarface.
3. Marilyn Ferguson, The Aquarian Conspiracy: Personal and Social Transformation in the 1980s (New York, NY: J.P. Tarcher, Inc. 1980), p. 27.
4. Neale Donald Walsch, Tomorrow’s God: Our Greatest Spiritual Challenge (New York, NY: Atria Books, 2004), p. 5.
5. Dr. Harry Ironside, “Exposing Error: Is it Worthwhile?” (TBC Extra, April 2008, posted on The Berean Call website: http://www.thebereancall.org/content/tbc-extra-30).

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