My beloved spiritual brothers and sisters in Christ God,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE.
Speaking Truth To God
In the books of Acts 5:1-11, we read the story of Ananias and his wife Sapphira who ended up dead because they both committed a grave sin by lying to God. "But a certain man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira his wife sold a possession. And he kept back part of the proceeds, his wife also being aware of it, and brought a certain part and laid it at the Apostles’ feet. But Peter said, ‘Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart TO LIE TO THE HOLY SPIRIT and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? ‘While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? You have not lied to men but to God.’ Then, Ananias, hearing these words, fell down and breathed his last… Now it was three hours later when his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. And Peter answered her, ‘Tell me whether you sold the land for so much?’ She said, ‘Yes for so much.’ Then Peter said to her, "How is that you have agreed together to test the spirit of the Lord? Look, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.’ Then immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last… and carrying out. buried her by her husband. So great fear came upon all the church and upon all who heard these things."
Ananias and Sapphira were not forced to sell their possessions, nor to give everything to the Church. But by withholding back and not only lying to the Apostles but lying to God they committed a deadly sin.
"Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, ‘If you abide in My words, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall KNOW THE TRUTH, and THE TRUTH SHALL MAKE YOU FREE" (John 8:31-32). Being free refers to freedom from slavery in sin given by the Savior through His death and Resurrection. Jesus continues, "Why do you not understand My speech? Because YOU ARE NOT ABLE TO LISTEN TO My word. You are of you father THE DEVIL, and the desires of your father you want to do. H was A MURDERER FROM THE BEGINNING, AND DOES NOT STAND IN THE TRUTH, BECAUSE THERE IS NO TRUTH IN HIM. When HE SPEAKS A LIE, HE SPEAKS FROM HIS OWN RESOURCES, FOR HE IS A LIAR AND THE FATHER OF IT. BUT BECAUSE I TELL THE TRUTH, YOU DO NOT BELIEVE ME. WHICH OF YOU CONVICTS ME OF SIN? AND IF I TELL THE TRUTH, WHY DO YOU NOT BELIEVE ME? HE WHO IS OF GOD HEARS GOD’S WORDS; THEREFORE YOU DO NOT HEAR BECAUSE YOU ARE NOT OF GOD" (John 8:42-47).
"Jesus said ot him, ‘I AM THE WAY, THE TRUTH, AND THE LIFE" (John 14:6). Further Jesus says, "And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may ABIDE WITH YOU FOREVER—the Spirit OF TRUTH, Whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Hi, but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you" (John 14:16-17). Our Lord and Savior calls us to know "the Spirit of Truth" Who is in us and helps us pray. The prayer in Jesus’ name because when we are IN UNION with Him, our will corresponds with His will. Thus what we ask for is precisely what Jesus wants to give.
As Orthodox Christians we believe God to be the absolute Truth. He exposes those harbor in their hearts envy, spite, and murderous thoughts. those who cannot permit themselves to listen or to hear His word but instead have made up their mind about Him. "You cannot hear My word," meaning "You refused to hear." Then He explains why they refuse to hear. "Because "you are of your real father", the devil.
According to Saint Theophylact in his commentary on the Gospel of Saint John he writes: "He was a murderer from the beginning; thus when you seek to kill Me, you show your likeness to him who slew Adam. The devil "stood not in the truth," but IS THE FATHER OF LIES. Therefore, when you Jews speak falsely about Me and say that I am not of God, when you neither stand in the truth nor abide in My word, you show yourselves to be children OF THE ORIGINATOR OF FALSEHOOD." The devil slandered God to men, saying to Eve, "God barred your from the tree because He was jealous of you." Satan also slandered man to God, saying about Job, "Does Job freely worship the Lord" (Job 1:9)? Whenever THE EVIL ONE SPEAEKS FALSEHOOD, HE SPEAKS FROM WHAT IS HIS OWN; when MEN USE FALSEHOOD, THEY USE WHAT BELONGS TO ANOTHER. THE DEVIL IS THE ORIGINATOR OF FALSEHOOD, AND HE HIMMSELF IS THE CHIEF LIAR. THUS HE IS ‘THE FATHER OF FALSEHOOD." "…Bescause you can charge Me with nothing EXCEPT SPEAKING THE TRUTH, your rage against Me on this account, AS TRUE SON OF THE FATHER OF LIES."
"I AM THE, THE TRUTH, AND THE LIFE: NO MAN COMETH UNTO THE FATHER, BUT BY ME" (John 14:6). "When you follow the path of active virtue", writes Saint Theophylact, "Christ is THE WAY. When you practice divine contemplation, He Is The Truth. But many have done both yet failed to obtain life. Either they practiced virtue in order to impress men (and so they received their reward in this lifes), or THEY BECAME CONCEITED ABOUT THEIR KNOWLEDGE OF DOCTRINES AND STRAYED FROM THE RIGHT PATH. Therefore, to THE WAY and THE TRUTH — THE PATHS OF ACTIVE VIRTUE AND DIVINE CONTEMPLATION– THE LORD ADDS LIFE. Ignoring THE DEADLY PRAISE OF MEN, let us follow THE PATH and ADHERE to the doctrines leading to Him Who is LIFE IMMORTAL."
Why am I bringing all the above to all of you at this time? Because all of us today are exposed to a plethora of lies, deception, and slander. Men have perfected the ‘art’ of lying. Society is saturated with falsehood and evil which brings "DEFECTIVE REASONING AND CONFUSION OF THOUGHT" as mentioned in the Sacrament of Baptism. People HAVE LOST THE ABILITY TO DISCERN BETWEEN GOOD AND EVIL. They have even lost the concept of TRUTH. People have been CONDITIONED AND INDUCTRINATED to believe the flagrant lies that are spewed by evil men. The good Christian is one who has not lost the path that Christ has placed before us, which is the parth of righteousness and truth. To deny the truth is to deny our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ Himself Who is the Truth.
It is a fact that the warfare today in the 21st century is the fierce battle between TRUTH nad FALSHEHOOD, BETWEEN GOOD AND EVIL. Those who follow the evil one are led to destruction and death. Those who follow our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ are led by the Holy Spirit to the Eternal Life and the Kingdom of God. The disciple and believer in Christ seeks always truth which transcends human limits. The Almighty God and Creator of the Universe is sought out by the one who humbly seeks to be united with Him and be in communion with Him. The unbeliever not only spreads poison but also spreads hatred among men.
Pray to the Spirit of Truth to bestow upon you the gift of discernment and love. We should not be afraid of the evil one and his discples but stand firm and with courage expose them for what they really are. There is no question at all that you will be persecuted but there is no other way to fight the battle against evil. Just as in war there are some who will be injured badly and others who may even lose their livelihood and perhaps even their freedom and life buy we must fight on.
"For perverse thoughts seperate men from God, and when his power is tested, it convicts the foolish… For a holy and discpline spirit will flee FROM DECEIT…AND WILL BE ASHAMED AT THE UPROACH OF UNRIGHTEOUSNESS" (Wisdom of Solomon 1:3-5). With the Christian concept of Truth and its "knowledge", man’s life acquires a deeper, a true meaning and understanding of His Divine Truth.
We are reminded as the discples of Christ by Saint Paul who writes, "Who shall seperate us from the love of Christ? Shall tributlation or distress,or persecution, or famine or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: ‘For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.’ For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers nor things present nor things to come,no hight nor depth, nor any other created thing, SHALL BE ABLE TO SEPERATE US FROM THE LOVE OF GOD WHICH IS CHRIST JESUS OUR LORD" (Romans 8:35-39).
Our Redeemer Christ God has given us the power to withstand all the assaults of the world and the devil and come out of the attacks "MORE THAN CONQUERERS" (Romans 8:37). And as Saint John the Theologian said: "CHILDREN LOVE GOD AND LOVE ONE ANOTHER."
"Glory Be To GOD
– Saint John Chrysostomos
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With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia (Ministry),
The sinner and unworthy servant of God
+ Father George