Sermon: The City of Truth

                Last week we briefly looked at the topic of truth. Today I want to continue looking at truth as our immediate destination point. There is no excuse not to be truthful and the church is without excuse. Romans 1:29 “They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.” For a moment I want to talk briefly about politics but only to show you how off track the church really is when it comes to teaching truth.  I really don’t like politics but you really can’t get away from it, especially if you are watching the news these days. On November 3, the United States will decide if President Trump stays at the helm or if Biden will be the new president. The numbers are through the roof for votes cast already. One article said, “State election officials across the US are reporting record numbers of voters casting their ballots ahead of Election Day on 3 November.” This either means people are desperate for change or wanting to keep Trump as president. If you have been watching you see a country divided pretty severely even when it comes to the pandemic. I am pretty sure you are aware by now there is a global pandemic and it continues to rage. If you look at the John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource website ( you will see staggering numbers in the United States. They report 9,079,125 cases and 230,019 deaths. The number of deaths has gone up by over 500 since I last looked. The next closest country is India and Brazil but after that no one is even close to the United States numbers. The United States is supposed to be the most advanced superpower yet can’t contain this virus like other countries have. Around the world there has been an increase in cases once again as each country battles this pandemic.
                So you either believe the graphs on this John Hopkins website or you don’t. You either believe the reports of how serious this virus is or you don’t. You either believe in the data or conspiracy theories. You believe the epidemiologists or you don’t. So let’s look at the United States again. The virus is raging throughout the country. On Friday they set a new daily record for total cases at over 99,000. The Washington Post reported, “The number of infections nationwide surpassed 9 million reported infections on Friday, just 15 days after the tally hit 8 million. At least 229,000 deaths have been linked to the coronavirus.” The New york Times reported “The United States recorded over 99,000 coronavirus cases on Friday, a level reached for the first time since the pandemic began. After eight months battling the virus, nearly two dozen states are reporting their worst weeks for new cases — and none are recording improvements.” So do you believe these reports? Some do and some don’t. Sadly many seem to think if they haven’t seen it, then it doesn’t exist or they get over it so it’s not that bad. Then again many who have had it still ignore the dangers especially if they recovered without incident. Many say it’s just the flu. Remember this is happening around the world, hence the name global pandemic, not just in the United States. So what’s wrong with the United States? The easy answer is there seems to be two sides; those who believe and those who do not. Unfortunately for the United States their President, even though he had the virus that had spread throughout the Whitehouse, does not choose to believe. It is also quite apparent he does not care either. During this campaign you have seen two completely different campaigns. You have Biden trying to follow the rules as set out and Trump breaking all the rules and completely ignoring any safeguards whatsoever and totally disregarding any direction from science. This pandemic in the United States has become political and the people as whole are loosing the battle. They talk about deaths but they still do not know the long-term effects on those who have had the virus.
                So let’s talk about the opposite of truth. If you have listened to any of President Trump’s rally speeches, you will know that he will say anything to win; even to deny the severity of the pandemic. He gets away with it or so he thinks because he does have his faithful followers who will believe anything he says without question. Another problem is that you have a news network that seems to believe and say anything without the need for facts. If you only go to Fox News for your news, let me suggest broadening your horizons. I do realize that many in the news today slant their stories instead of just covering the news. I am not sure if there has been a president that has told so many lies. Yes there have been those who have said “I have never” or “I am not a crook” Yes politicians seem to say whatever they have to win your vote, but Trump is different. He has uttered thousands of lies and distorted facts and will mislead or misrepresent in any way he can to serve his agenda. Lately many of his lies are mostly about the pandemic and his opponent. For example President Trump has said multiple times that they have the virus under control, they have rounded the corner. One video showed cars crashing as they rounded the bend. Meanwhile daily cases have gone through the roof and there is no end in site even though he has said for months they are weeks away with vaccines and treatments. He said one time that on November 4th there won’t be much talk about covid, covid, covid. “By the way, on November 4 you won't hear about it anymore," Trump said as the audience cheered, suggesting he would be victorious in this year's election.” As they say he doesn’t like the attention Covid is getting. Yes you can stick your head in the sand and deny the pandemic exists or you can do what other countries have done and respond appropriately, but no, instead lets have mass gatherings instead and totally ignore the data and science. Recently Trump claimed, “that doctors are inflating the coronavirus death count for monetary gain.” "Dr. Susan Bailey, president of the American Medical Association, said in a written statement.” The suggestion that doctors -- in the midst of a public health crisis -- are overcounting COVID-19 patients or lying to line their pockets is a malicious, outrageous, and completely misguided charge," You then had Donald Trump Jr. on of course Fox with Laura Ingraham. “Donald Trump Jr. falsely claimed Thursday that Covid-19 deaths have dwindled to "almost nothing," despite there being around 1,000 reported in the United States the same day.” He also said “medical experts who have been talking about a surge in cases are "truly morons." Trump senior had also called them idiots. But then this is an example of how Trump operates. He then mocks one of his allies Foxes Laura Ingraham for wearing a mask at his rally??? She down plays the virus then wears a mask at a rally.
                So what’s the point of sharing these few examples of lies? If you have watched President Trump praise himself, mock people, distort facts for his own purposes, mislead, flat out lie in public while on air, can you imagine what he does behind closed doors and how he leads? If you have watched any of his campaign, you will find it hard to believe he is the president of the United States. In reality he is just a schoolyard bully and as you may have seen on 60 Minutes doesn’t like questions. I shared this because as I said last week, President Trump to use the above quote is "malicious, outrageous, and completely misguided" but even worse than who Trump is, are those in the church who follow his lead. Today we are talking about truth. Yes you can expect in the political world some lies from both sides but the level of lying with Trump is historic. The church on the other hand should be truthful with no lies whatsoever. I have been following some of the California churches and their opposition to the “democratic” government concerning Covid. With this pandemic in the United States, most approach it as a Republican or as a Democrat, that is Covid doesn’t exist or take necessary precautions. These churches in California are opposed to the democratic governor and are standing in opposition to him for telling them they can’t gather but he has not told them to deny Jesus or to stop preaching. They could preach all day long just in a different way. They praise Trump and their go to news is Fox. In May, “President Donald Trump on Friday demanded that governors reopen churches, synagogues and mosques “right now,” threatening to override them if they do not do so by the weekend.” He doesn’t care about the people just the votes. These so called evangelicals don’t seem to care he is playing them for his own purposes but they are also using him for their own purposes. He wasn’t about to let the pandemic get in the way of this election. For example one of the churches in opposition is Grace Community Church and on September 15, 2020 John MacArthur appeared on the Fox News The Ingraham Angle. (Laura whom I talked about earlier) Here he spouted his false statistics and why he opened their church with 7,000 worshippers. He has denied the data and mocked wearing masks and social distancing and believes there is something else going on (conspiracy theory). He was thankful President Trump said churches were essential who had praised MacArthur for disobeying. He based his opening on Trump and the constitution but set aside Romans 13, which is odd as he used to believe Romans 13 that is until he was standing in an empty church. Ingraham thought MacArthur was incredible. Previously MacArthur made a video for everyone to open their churches. On October 11, 2020, MacArthur went on Fox, and he said the covid data doesn’t match the response by the governor. He said there is a narrative floating around of a great danger. He said nobody believes that anymore. Again he states his false statistics so they have church with no masks, no social distancing. He even said, “once we realized we are not going to kill grandma and people were not going to die if they had church, we opened.”  He said “any real” Christian will vote for Republican President Donald Trump in November because they cannot support the policy agenda of the Democratic Party.” He said they had no cases and then all of a sudden their church did but not much has been said. Oddly after that interview John MacArthur took time off to be with family after railing against other churches and starting a petition to get churches open and one of the most important elections in a long time and he is not preaching? John MacArthur said from the pulpit, there is no pandemic. That means none of what you see on the John Hopkins Website is real. That means all the deaths around the world are fake. That means all the data is a lie. That means every doctor and nurse who works with covid patients is lying and as you can see the yarn spun by MacArthur is the lie. This coming from one who has millions of followers. Isaiah 2:22 “Stop trusting in mere humans, who have but a breath in their nostrils. Why hold them in esteem?” As I pointed out this statement by MacArthur was like Kenneth Copeland blowing and shouting at the virus in the name of God at the beginning. He said it was over. Oops! That was seven months ago and the United States has over 9 million cases.
                I could do the same with other pastors like Jack Hibbs or Rob McCoy both in California. All praising Trump, denying the pandemic and spreading their false teaching yet the church is supposed to be truth. Just a reminder I am not just talking about lying during a pandemic but false teachers and false prophets teaching false gospels throughout the church of which they are all doing. The bible has a lot to say about lying. Psalm 34:11 “Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord. 12 Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days, 13 keep your tongue from evil and your lips from telling lies. 14 Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.” So while President Trump has decided to lie and mock, mislead and distort; the church should be totally different. I realize for many they think Trump is an instrument of God in a good way. They will even fall for his description of himself. This “Q&A was part of a written interview with President Trump for Religion News Service from the Whitehouse. He was asked 1. “Last week you gave reference to thanking God that you had COVID. What did you learn spiritually during your COVID experience? Trump said, “It was amazing to see so many great Americans who reached out and said they were praying for me and my family. This country is full of wonderful people with strong faith in God. Melania and I felt the prayers of Americans from all across the country – and even around the world.  When I was at Walter Reed, I said, “There were miracles coming down from heaven.” I meant it – Melania and I are very thankful to God for looking out for our family and returning us to good health. 3. “Given the support you have received from evangelical Christians in particular, do you consider yourself to be an evangelical Christian and, why or why not? “I grew up going to church with my family in New York City. My parents taught me the importance of faith and prayer from a young age. Though I was confirmed at a Presbyterian church as a child, I now consider myself to be a non-denominational Christian. Melania and I have gotten to visit some amazing churches and meet with great faith leaders from around the world. During the unprecedented COVID-19 outbreak, I tuned into several virtual church services and know that millions of Americans did the same. Thankfully, many great churches are now back open and meeting in person. In fact, just this past weekend I visited the International Church of Las Vegas and enjoyed a beautiful service.” That was interesting to watch! Now this should leave you scratching your head but for many christianity little “c” is just a word they use but have no idea what it means. You can see this with Jenna Ellis, Trump and MacArthur’s’ attorney. She tweets scripture often but in the same breath degrades and mocks the other side. James 3:9 “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. 11 Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12 My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.”
                It is really hard to watch these so-called christians play the part, at least they think they are. Today’s church is a mess and remains in captivity and desolation. Daniel 8:12 “Because of rebellion, the Lord’s people and the daily sacrifice were given over to it. It prospered in everything it did, and truth was thrown to the ground.” Isaiah 59:12 “For our offenses are many in your sight, and our sins testify against us. Our offenses are ever with us, and we acknowledge our iniquities: 13 rebellion and treachery against the Lord, turning our backs on our God, inciting revolt and oppression, uttering lies our hearts have conceived. 14 So justice is driven back, and righteousness stands at a distance; truth has stumbled in the streets, honesty cannot enter. 15 Truth is nowhere to be found, and whoever shuns evil becomes a prey.” Jeremiah 5:3 “Lord, do not your eyes look for truth? You struck them, but they felt no pain; you crushed them, but they refused correction. They made their faces harder than stone and refused to repent.” We have seen what Jesus warned us about in Matthew 7:15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.” Paul warned us also Acts 20:30 “Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them.” So we have a church that is man-made, building with what their hands can make and lying to those who will listen and all the while giving glory to God and expecting God to bless them.
                In many cases spotting distortion is not always as easy as Trump or MacArthur but if you listen carefully you will hear it. Truth should be ringing out everywhere in the church Jeremiah says to Judah even though he could be talking about the church Jeremiah 7:28 “This is the nation that has not obeyed the Lord its God or responded to correction. Truth has perished; it has vanished from their lips.” When you look at President Trump as a comparison to the church, I trust your eyes will be opened. You cannot tell lies and get away with it. Proverbs 19:5 “A false witness will not go unpunished, and whoever pours out lies will not go free. 9 He who pours out lies will perish” Isaiah 2:11 “The eyes of the arrogant will be humbled and human pride brought low; the Lord alone will be exalted in that day. 12 The Lord Almighty has a day in store for all the proud and lofty, for all that is exalted and they will be humbled.” Proverbs 16:25 “Pride goes before destruction a haughty spirit before a fall.” There is a way that seems right to a man but in the end it leads to death.” Trump like to say things and then say he was just joking. Proverbs 26:18 “Like a maniac shooting flaming arrows of death 19 is one who deceives their neighbor and says, “I was only joking!” Proverbs 21:24 “The proud and arrogant person—“Mocker” is his name—behaves with insolent fury.” Proverbs 22:10 “Drive out the mocker, and out goes strife; quarrels and insults are ended.” Proverbs 26:23 “Like a coating of silver dross on earthenware are fervent lips with an evil heart. 24 Enemies disguise themselves with their lips, but in their hearts they harbor deceit. 25 Though their speech is charming, do not believe them, for seven abominations fill their hearts. 26 Their malice may be concealed by deception, but their wickedness will be exposed in the assembly. 27 Whoever digs a pit will fall into it; if someone rolls a stone, it will roll back on them. 28 A lying tongue hates those it hurts, and a flattering mouth works ruin.” Proverbs 6:12 “A troublemaker and a villain, who goes about with a corrupt mouth, 13 who winks maliciously with his eye, signals with his feet and motions with his fingers, 14 who plots evil with deceit in his heart— he always stirs up conflict. 15 Therefore disaster will overtake him in an instant; he will suddenly be destroyed—without remedy. 16 There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: 17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, 18 a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, 19 a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.” Jesus said Mark 7:20 “What comes out of a person is what defiles them. 21 For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, 22 adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. 23 All these evils come from inside and defile a person.” Ephesians 4:29 “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Colossians 3:8 “But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.” Titus 3:3 “At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another.” 1 Peter 2:1 “Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind.”
                You can ignore the pandemic and you can even ignore what the bible says but the pandemic will still be here November 4th and the word of God stands forever. 1 Peter 1:25 “All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, 25 but the word of the Lord endures forever.” Psalm 89:1 “I will sing of the Lord’s great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations. 2 I will declare that your love stands firm forever, that you have established your faithfulness in heaven itself. 3 You said, “I have made a covenant with my chosen one, I have sworn to David my servant, 4 ‘I will establish your line forever and make your throne firm through all generations.” When you read these verses above describing a malicious person, scripture makes it clear this is not a description of a Christian. Look again at what God hates and are considered an abomination to Him – “haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, 18 a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, 19 a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.” These all describe President Trump who says he is a Christian. Again I am more concerned about the pastors doing the same thing. When you can describe pastors the same way as Trump is described, the church is in serious trouble. Matthew 23:13 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.” Psalm 5:9 “Not a word from their mouth can be trusted; their heart is filled with malice. Their throat is an open grave; with their tongues they tell lies. 10 Declare them guilty, O God! Let their intrigues be their downfall. Banish them for their many sins, for they have rebelled against you. 11 But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.” Romans 3:10 “As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one; 11 there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. 12 All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.” 13 “Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit.” “The poison of vipers is on their lips.” 14 “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.” 15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood; 16 ruin and misery mark their ways, 17 and the way of peace they do not know.” 18 There is no fear of God before their eyes.” We are told Proverbs 6:15 “Therefore disaster will overtake him in an instant; he will suddenly be destroyed—without remedy. Their malice may be concealed by deception, but their wickedness will be exposed in the assembly.” Jeremiah 5:12 “They have lied about the Lord; they said, “He will do nothing! No harm will come to us; we will never see sword or famine. 13 The prophets are but wind and the word is not in them; so let what they say be done to them.” You do not get away with lying. If you are a malicious person, you will be exposed. Many lies are a distortion of some form of fact. This is how satan operates. Deception is a distortion of the truth. Many of the characteristics you see in President Trump carry over to many pastors. We have talked about narcissism before. If you did not know what narcissism means, you should by now if you have watched Trumps campaigns. When you are more concerned about yourself that others, you would be narcissistic.
                Lying can have detrimental results for the liar but mostly for those who have been wronged by the lies. When ministers in the church spread their false messages, the people who listen will not only be deceived in this present age but destroyed forever. Yes there is an election in a few days, which will have a temporal effect, but the words of men and women in the pulpit have an eternal affect. Many are more interested in their reputation than yours. Sadly if you look at churches like the Catholic church or some of the Fundamental Baptists and many others, they are known for their cover-ups. Grievous sins have taken place yet they lie and distort the truth and make the innocent guilty and free the abuser. For years many church leaders have abused the innocent but they will not get away with it. For years the innocent have also been deceived by false teachers yet Jeremiah 5:31 “The prophets prophesy lies, the priests rule by their own authority, and my people love it this way. But what will you do in the end?” When talking about the power of the tongue James starts this passage off with James 3:1 “Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.” Jude said 10 Yet these people slander whatever they do not understand, and the very things they do understand by instinct—as irrational animals do—will destroy them. 11 Woe to them! They have taken the way of Cain; they have rushed for profit into Balaam’s error; they have been destroyed in Korah’s rebellion. 12 These people are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm—shepherds who feed only themselves. They are clouds without rain, blown along by the wind; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted—twice dead. 13 They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame; wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever.” Peter said in 2 Peter 2:1 “ But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. 2 Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. 3 In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping. 17 These people are springs without water and mists driven by a storm. Blackest darkness is reserved for them. 18 For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of the flesh, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error. 19 They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for “people are slaves to whatever has mastered them.” 20 If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. 21 It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them.”
                How is it the church has drifted so far from the truth? How is it there is so much confusion as to what truth is and what it looks like. How is it the church can be so far removed from the truth and not even know it? The answer is relatively simply yet most will refuse to bow to our king and listen to his words. Ecclesiastes 8:2 “Obey the king’s command, I say, because you took an oath before God. 4 Since a king’s word is supreme, who can say to him, “What are you doing?” 5 Whoever obeys his command will come to no harm, and the wise heart will know the proper time and procedure. 6 For there is a proper time and procedure for every matter, though a person may be weighed down by misery.” The church is a disaster because the word of God has been removed from the church therefore God has turned His face from us and removed the power of His Spirit. I also realize that most in the church base their christianity on what they have been taught and what they see and not on what the bible says. There is a day coming Ezekiel 20:43 “There you will remember your conduct and all the actions by which you have defiled yourselves, and you will loathe yourselves for all the evil you have done. 44 You will know that I am the Lord, when I deal with you for my name’s sake and not according to your evil ways and your corrupt practices, you people of Israel, declares the Sovereign Lord.’” Because of our disobedience, we have no power to defeat our enemies. Jeremiah was told Jeremiah 5:1 “Go up and down the streets of Jerusalem, look around and consider, search through her squares. If you can find but one person who deals honestly and seeks the truth, I will forgive this city. 2 Although they say, ‘As surely as the Lord lives,’ still they are swearing falsely.” 3 Lord, do not your eyes look for truth? You struck them, but they felt no pain; you crushed them, but they refused correction. They made their faces harder than stone and refused to repent. 4 I thought, “These are only the poor; they are foolish, for they do not know the way of the Lord, the requirements of their God. 5 So I will go to the leaders and speak to them; surely they know the way of the Lord, the requirements of their God.” But with one accord they too had broken off the yoke and torn off the bonds.” Isaiah 59:1 “Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. 2 But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear. 3 For your hands are stained with blood, your fingers with guilt. Your lips have spoken falsely, and your tongue mutters wicked things. 4 No one calls for justice; no one pleads a case with integrity. They rely on empty arguments, they utter lies; they conceive trouble and give birth to evil. 5 They hatch the eggs of vipers and spin a spider’s web. Whoever eats their eggs will die, and when one is broken, an adder is hatched. 6 Their cobwebs are useless for clothing; they cannot cover themselves with what they make. Their deeds are evil deeds, and acts of violence are in their hands. 7 Their feet rush into sin; they are swift to shed innocent blood. They pursue evil schemes; acts of violence mark their ways. 8 The way of peace they do not know; there is no justice in their paths. They have turned them into crooked roads; no one who walks along them will know peace. 9 So justice is far from us, and righteousness does not reach us. We look for light, but all is darkness; for brightness, but we walk in deep shadows. 10 Like the blind we grope along the wall, feeling our way like people without eyes. At midday we stumble as if it were twilight; among the strong, we are like the dead. 11 We all growl like bears; we moan mournfully like doves. We look for justice, but find none; for deliverance, but it is far away. 12 For our offenses are many in your sight, and our sins testify against us. Our offenses are ever with us, and we acknowledge our iniquities: 13 rebellion and treachery against the Lord, turning our backs on our God, inciting revolt and oppression, uttering lies our hearts have conceived. 14 So justice is driven back, and righteousness stands at a distance; truth has stumbled in the streets, honesty cannot enter. 15 Truth is nowhere to be found, and whoever shuns evil becomes a prey.
                If what we see is the church today is truth, we are doomed to destruction but thankfully a way has been made for us if we turn from our wicked ways. There will always be a remnant no matter how bad it gets. Isaiah 52:9 “Burst into songs of joy together, you ruins of Jerusalem, for the Lord has comforted his people, he has redeemed Jerusalem. 10 The Lord will lay bare his holy arm in the sight of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth will see the salvation of our God. 13 See, my servant will act wisely; he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted. 14 Just as there were many who were appalled at him— his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any human being and his form marred beyond human likeness— 15 so he will sprinkle many nations, and kings will shut their mouths because of him. For what they were not told, they will see, and what they have not heard, they will understand.” Isaiah 59:15 “The Lord looked and was displeased that there was no justice. 16 He saw that there was no one, he was appalled that there was no one to intervene; so his own arm achieved salvation for him, and his own righteousness sustained him. 17 He put on righteousness as his breastplate, and the helmet of salvation on his head; he put on the garments of vengeance and wrapped himself in zeal as in a cloak. 18 According to what they have done, so will he repay wrath to his enemies and retribution to his foes; he will repay the islands their due. 19 From the west, people will fear the name of the Lord, and from the rising of the sun, they will revere his glory. For he will come like a pent-up flood that the breath of the Lord drives along. 20 “The Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who repent of their sins,” declares the Lord. 21 “As for me, this is my covenant with them,” says the Lord. “My Spirit, who is on you, will not depart from you, and my words that I have put in your mouth will always be on your lips, on the lips of your children and on the lips of their descendants—from this time on and forever,” says the Lord.”
                Look at this description of Jesus – Isaiah 53:1 “Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? 2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. 3 He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. 4 Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. 6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. 8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away. Yet who of his generation protested? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was punished. 9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth. 10 Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand. 11 After he has suffered, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” Proverbs 22:22 “I will declare your name to my people; in the assembly I will praise you. 23 You who fear the Lord, praise him! All you descendants of Jacob, honor him! Revere him, all you descendants of Israel! 24 For he has not despised or scorned the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help. 25 From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly; before those who fear you I will fulfill my vows. 26 The poor will eat and be satisfied; those who seek the Lord will praise him— may your hearts live forever! 27 All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations will bow down before him, 28 for dominion belongs to the Lord and he rules over the nations.” Isaiah 54:5 “For your Maker is your husband— the Lord Almighty is his name— the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth. 6 The Lord will call you back as if you were a wife deserted and distressed in spirit— a wife who married young, only to be rejected,” says your God. 7 “For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with deep compassion I will bring you back. 8 In a surge of anger I hid my face from you for a moment, but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you,” says the Lord your Redeemer.”
                When we are truly being the church, God will be dwelling among us and we will be free. John 8:32 “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” The church is supposed to be a new Jerusalem. Revelation 21:1 “Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” 5 He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 6 He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. 7 Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children. 8 But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” We will go out in the authority and power of Jesus name and God’s face will be shining among us. Revelation 21:22 “I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 23 The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. 24 The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. 25 On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. 26 The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. 27 Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”
                The church is supposed to be a beautiful city of truth. Zechariah 8:1 (NASB/NIV) “Then the word of the Lord (Almighty) of armies came, saying, 2 “The Lord (Almighty) of armies says this: ‘I am exceedingly jealous for Zion, yes, with great wrath I am jealous for her.’ 3 The Lord says this: ‘I will return to Zion and dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. Then Jerusalem will be called the (faithful city) City of Truth, and the mountain of the Lord (Almighty) of armies will be called the Holy Mountain.’ 14 This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Just as I had determined to bring disaster on you and showed no pity when your ancestors angered me,” says the Lord Almighty, 15 “so now I have determined to do good again to Jerusalem and Judah. Do not be afraid. 16 These are the things you are to do: Speak the truth to each other, and render true and sound judgment in your courts; 17 do not plot evil against each other, and do not love to swear falsely. I hate all this,” declares the Lord.” 3 John 1:3 “It gave me great joy when some believers came and testified about your faithfulness to the truth, telling how you continue to walk in it. 4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” If we are to be faithful, we are to be walking in the truth and if we are walking in truth. The only way for this to happen is for the Spirit of Truth to be upon us once again. John 14:26 “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” John 16:12 “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14 He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.” God will dwell among us. Ezekiel 48:35 “And the name of the city from that time on will be: the Lord is there.”
                Malachi tells us what we were supposed to be and what happened to us when we didn’t obey. Malachi 2:1 “And now, you priests, this warning is for you. 2 If you do not listen, and if you do not resolve to honor my name,” says the Lord Almighty, “I will send a curse on you, and I will curse your blessings. Yes, I have already cursed them, because you have not resolved to honor me. 3 “Because of you I will rebuke your descendants; I will smear on your faces the dung from your festival sacrifices, and you will be carried off with it. 4 And you will know that I have sent you this warning so that my covenant with Levi may continue,” says the Lord Almighty. 5 “My covenant was with him, a covenant of life and peace, and I gave them to him; this called for reverence and he revered me and stood in awe of my name. 6 True instruction was in his mouth and nothing false was found on his lips. He walked with me in peace and uprightness, and turned many from sin. 7 “For the lips of a priest ought to preserve knowledge, because he is the messenger of the Lord Almighty and people seek instruction from his mouth. 8 But you have turned from the way and by your teaching have caused many to stumble; you have violated the covenant with Levi,” says the Lord Almighty. 9 “So I have caused you to be despised and humiliated before all the people, because you have not followed my ways but have shown partiality in matters of the law.” Acts 20:30 ““Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them.” Jeremiah 23:36 “But you must not mention ‘a message from the Lord’ again, because each one’s word becomes their own message. So you distort the words of the living God, the Lord Almighty, our God.” We were supposed to 2 Corinthians 4:2 “Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God.” John 14:6 “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
                If we are not following the way of truth, then we are following the father of lies. John 8:44 “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.” The opposite of the city of truth is a desolate city of which describes the present state of the church. This is not what the church wants to hear just as Trump doesn’t want to hear about covid. When Jeremiah told the people this city would be desolate and deserted, they wanted to kill him. Jeremiah 26:2 “Tell them everything I command you; do not omit a word. 3 Perhaps they will listen and each will turn from their evil ways. Then I will relent and not inflict on them the disaster I was planning because of the evil they have done. 4 Say to them, ‘This is what the Lord says: If you do not listen to me and follow my law, which I have set before you, 5 and if you do not listen to the words of my servants the prophets, whom I have sent to you again and again (though you have not listened), 6 then I will make this house like Shiloh and this city a curse among all the nations of the earth.’” 7 The priests, the prophets and all the people heard Jeremiah speak these words in the house of the Lord. 8 But as soon as Jeremiah finished telling all the people everything the Lord had commanded him to say, the priests, the prophets and all the people seized him and said, “You must die! 9 Why do you prophesy in the Lord’s name that this house will be like Shiloh and this city will be desolate and deserted?” And all the people crowded around Jeremiah in the house of the Lord.” Jeremiah 26:15 “Be assured, however, that if you put me to death, you will bring the guilt of innocent blood on yourselves and on this city and on those who live in it, for in truth the Lord has sent me to you to speak all these words in your hearing.”
                Isaiah also describes this desolate city. Isaiah 3:8 “Jerusalem staggers, Judah is falling; their words and deeds are against the Lord, defying his glorious presence. 9 The look on their faces testifies against them; they parade their sin like Sodom; they do not hide it. Woe to them! They have brought disaster upon themselves.” Isaiah 5:7 “And he looked for justice, but saw bloodshed; for righteousness, but heard cries of distress. 15 So people will be brought low and everyone humbled, the eyes of the arrogant humbled. 16 But the Lord Almighty will be exalted by his justice, and the holy God will be proved holy by his righteous acts.” We cannot come before God with blood on our hands and expect God to bless us. Isaiah 1:1 “Hear me, you heavens! Listen, earth! For the Lord has spoken: “I reared children and brought them up, but they have rebelled against me. 3 The ox knows its master, the donkey its owner’s manger, but Israel does not know, my people do not understand.” 4 Woe to the sinful nation, a people whose guilt is great, a brood of evildoers, children given to corruption! They have forsaken the Lord; they have spurned the Holy One of Israel and turned their backs on him. 7 Your country is desolate, your cities burned with fire; 9 Unless the Lord Almighty had left us some survivors, we would have become like Sodom, we would have been like Gomorrah. 15 When you spread out your hands in prayer, I hide my eyes from you; even when you offer many prayers, I am not listening. Your hands are full of blood!”18 “Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. 19 If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good things of the land; 20 but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword.” For the mouth of the Lord has spoken. 21 See how the faithful city has become a prostitute! She once was full of justice; righteousness used to dwell in her— but now murderers! 22 Your silver has become dross, your choice wine is diluted with water. 23 Your rulers are rebels, partners with thieves; they all love bribes and chase after gifts. They do not defend the cause of the fatherless; the widow’s case does not come before them. 24 Therefore the Lord, the Lord Almighty, the Mighty One of Israel, declares: “Ah! I will vent my wrath on my foes and avenge myself on my enemies. 25 I will turn my hand against you; I will thoroughly purge away your dross and remove all your impurities. 26 I will restore your leaders as in days of old, your rulers as at the beginning. Afterward you will be called the City of Righteousness, the Faithful City.”
                We have a choice. Will you be a faithful city of truth or continue to be a desolate city of lies. The faithful city of truth will do as Jesus did in the authority of His name. We will also be filled with power from on high and go to the ends of the earth. James 1:18 “He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.” Paul said to the Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians 2:13 “But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters loved by the Lord, because God chose you as firstfruits to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth.” We the church are to be servants of truth. Titus 1:1 “Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ to further the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness— 2 in the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time, 3 and which now at his appointed season he has brought to light through the preaching entrusted to me by the command of God our Savior.” Job was commended by God Job 42:7 “After the Lord had said these things to Job, he said to Eliphaz the Temanite, “I am angry with you and your two friends, because you have not spoken the truth about me, as my servant Job has. 10 After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before.” God wants to bless us His people. A church blessed by God looks like Jesus and the early church. Psalm 144:9 “I will sing a new song to you, my God; on the ten-stringed lyre I will make music to you, 10 to the One who gives victory to kings, who delivers his servant David. From the deadly sword 11 deliver me; rescue me from the hands of foreigners whose mouths are full of lies, whose right hands are deceitful. 12 Then our sons in their youth will be like well-nurtured plants, and our daughters will be like pillars     carved to adorn a palace. 13 Our barns will be filled with every kind of provision. Our sheep will increase by thousands, by tens of thousands in our fields; 14 our oxen will draw heavy loads. There will be no breaching of walls, no going into captivity, no cry of distress in our streets. 15 Blessed is the people of whom this is true; blessed is the people whose God is the Lord.” Ezra 9:9 “Though we are slaves, our God has not forsaken us in our bondage. He has shown us kindness in the sight of the kings of Persia: He has granted us new life to rebuild the house of our God and repair its ruins, and he has given us a wall of protection in Judah and Jerusalem.” Isaiah 62:1 “For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, for Jerusalem’s sake I will not remain quiet, till her vindication shines out like the dawn, her salvation like a blazing torch. 2 The nations will see your vindication, and all kings your glory; you will be called by a new name that the mouth of the Lord will bestow. 3 You will be a crown of splendor in the Lord’s hand, a royal diadem in the hand of your God. 4 No longer will they call you Deserted, or name your land Desolate. But you will be called Hephzibah, and your land Beulah; for the Lord will take delight in you.”
                What does this city of truth look like? Deuteronomy 28:1 “If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. 2 All these blessings will come on you and accompany you if you obey the Lord your God:” and Leviticus 26:9 “‘I will look on you with favor and make you fruitful and increase your numbers, and I will keep my covenant with you. 10 You will still be eating last year’s harvest when you will have to move it out to make room for the new. 11 I will put my dwelling place among you, and I will not abhor you. 12 I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be my people.” This will be a city blessed by God. Jesus then showed us what this city would look like and do. Matthew 8:16 “When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick. 17 This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: “He took up our infirmities and bore our diseases.” Matthew 9:35 “Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness.” Mark 6:56 “And wherever he went—into villages, towns or countryside—they placed the sick in the marketplaces. They begged him to let them touch even the edge of his cloak, and all who touched it were healed.” Then we saw with the disciples Acts 5:16 “Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by impure spirits, and all of them were healed.” Acts 8:4 “Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went. 5 Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah there. 6 When the crowds heard Philip and saw the signs he performed, they all paid close attention to what he said. 7 For with shrieks, impure spirits came out of many, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed. 8 So there was great joy in that city.”
                Jesus described this city of truth when he said Matthew 11:4 “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: 5 The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. 6 Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.” Jesus also said to the disciples Mark 16:14 “Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen. 15 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.” 19 After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God. 20 Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.”
                This is what the city of truth is supposed to look like. At this point we are not seeing it because most have bought into the lies of satan that we have all that God offered us. We have all been deceived thinking that the church we see is a city of truth but it is not. The church as it stands now in desolation is a desolate city and the father of lies has been reigning. But his time comes to an end. Daniel 8:23 “In the latter part of their reign, when rebels have become completely wicked, a fierce-looking king, a master of intrigue, will arise. 24 He will become very strong, but not by his own power. He will cause astounding devastation and will succeed in whatever he does. He will destroy those who are mighty, the holy people. 25 He will cause deceit to prosper, and he will consider himself superior. When they feel secure, he will destroy many and take his stand against the Prince of princes. Yet he will be destroyed, but not by human power.” Isaiah 14:3 “On the day the Lord gives you relief from your suffering and turmoil and from the harsh labor forced on you, 4 you will take up this taunt against the king of Babylon: How the oppressor has come to an end! How his fury has ended!” Revelation 18:2 “With a mighty voice he shouted: “‘Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great!”
                The church was to be a city of truth and still can be. John 4:23 “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.” Romans 2:8 “But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger.” Sadly this time is already here. 2 Timothy 4:3 “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.” Ephesians 4:15 “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.”
                The beautiful city we were given has been burned with fire. Nehemiah was told Nehemiah 1:3 “Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.” Nehemiah 2:17 “Then I said to them, “You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace.” 18 I also told them about the gracious hand of my God on me and what the king had said to me.” Ezra 3:11 “With praise and thanksgiving they sang to the Lord: “He is good; his love toward Israel endures forever.” And all the people gave a great shout of praise to the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid. They replied, “Let us start rebuilding.” So they began this good work.” Haggai 2:3 “Who of you is left who saw this house in its former glory? How does it look to you now? Does it not seem to you like nothing? 4 But now be strong, Zerubbabel,’ declares the Lord. ‘Be strong, Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people of the land,’ declares the Lord, ‘and work. For I am with you,’ declares the Lord Almighty. 5 ‘This is what I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt. And my Spirit remains among you. Do not fear.’ 6 “This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. 7 I will shake all nations, and what is desired by all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the Lord Almighty. 8 ‘The silver is mine and the gold is mine,’ declares the Lord Almighty. 9 ‘The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘And in this place I will grant peace,’ declares the Lord Almighty.” Thankfully we have God’s promise to David.
                On Tuesday many more in the United States will make a decision concerning their next president. While this decision carries with it much responsibility, this is the least of our worries. More importantly is our relationship with Jesus Christ. Is He your king or do you just go to church? Does His word guide you and do you have power from on high to do as he did? Deuteronomy 30:19 “This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.” So call out to God to restore His church, to rebuild this fallen tent. Acts 15:16 “After this I will return and rebuild David’s fallen tent. Its ruins I will rebuild, and I will restore it, 17 that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord, even all the Gentiles who bear my name, says the Lord, who does these things’—18 things known from long ago.” Isaiah 62:6 “I have posted watchmen on your walls, Jerusalem; they will never be silent day or night. You who call on the Lord, give yourselves no rest, 7 and give him no rest till he establishes Jerusalem and makes her the praise of the earth.” Psalm 25:5 “Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.”