Seeking Him: HonestyNo Actresses
Leslie Basham: Jennifer grew up in church as a good little actress. Then, she discovered the power of honesty.
Jennifer: I have been deceitful; I have been a liar. I have tricked you all into thinking that I’m this happy-go-lucky Christian girl and I love being here. I’m proud of directing the choir and being involved in everything. I’m proud of the fact that I’m a pastor’s daughter and nothing’s wrong with me.
Well, I lied.
Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Friday, April 25.
Why would someone risk being painfully honest? Is speaking up really worth it? Nancy Leigh DeMoss will show us the great rewards of honesty. She began this series yesterday, teaching from her workbook, Seeking Him. We're focusing today on the chapter on honesty.
Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Do you remember in the old days (they don’t do this very much anymore) how we used to sign letters “Sincerely” or “Sincerely yours”? That word sincere is an important word in the process of revival, and it appears in the New Testament in some significant passages.
One of those is 1 Timothy 1:5, where the apostle Paul says, “The aim of our charge,” the aim of our command, the aim of what we’ve been teaching you, “is love.”
We want you to love God and to love each other and to love others, and that love comes springing forth, it “issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.”
Paul said in Philippians 1:10, “I pray that you may be sincere and without offense until the day of Christ” (NKJV).
The word sincere comes from two Latin words—sine cerus—that mean “without wax.” Now, commentators debate about how this word actually came to be used and what it actually means in the New Testament context.
Some of them suggested that it relates back to a picture used by the ancient pottery makers, particularly in the city of Corinth. That was a lucrative business.
The pottery would first be formed; then it would be placed in an oven to harden, and then well-respected potters would take their piece of pottery, after it had been put into the kiln, and see if there were any cracks that had come about through the hardening process.
If there were any cracks in that pottery, they would toss the piece of pottery and start all over again, and that would make it really valuable pottery because it had no cracks.
Now, there were some potters who were trying to make a cheap buck, and they cut corners. They were less respected, ultimately, but they would take a blemished piece of pottery and rub some wax in the crack. Nobody could see. It would "fix" the piece.
Now, you've probably had some china or some pottery that is broken, and it is irreplaceable. So you glue it back together. Maybe nobody can see, but it is weakened at that point. It's just not as fine a quality piece once it has had that imperfection covered over.
Some of these potters would sell the pottery with the wax in it as if it were first quality. And with the naked eye, if you didn’t look at it carefully, you wouldn’t know the difference.
So they were undercutting the sincere pottery makers, those whose pottery was without wax: sine cerus. So the honorable pottery makers began to hang a sign over the entrance to their stores that said “Sine cerus.” That means, “This store sells pottery without wax. It’s pure. It’s clean. It’s wholesome. It doesn’t have imperfections in it.”
Now, there are a couple of different words used in the New Testament Greek language that are translated to sincere. One of those words means “clearness.” Purity. Sincerity. It means “unmixed, without any deceit.”
There’s another word—it’s a similar word in the Greek—that’s translated sincere, and this word actually means “judged by sunlight” literally; “tested and proven to be genuine.” Vine’s Expository Dictionary says of that word that it means “free from spot or blemish to such a degree as to bear examination in the full splendor of the sun.”
So when the sun shines on this piece of pottery, you’re not going to see that there’s a crack there that’s been covered up with wax. You can hold it up to the sunlight, and it still will be seen to be clean and whole and pure.
I think of my windows when I think of things being tested by sunlight. You can think they’re so clean until about four o’clock in the afternoon, and that late afternoon sun has a way of just showing up things you wouldn’t see—tested by sunlight.
Sincere means it passes the test of purity under the sun. It’s genuine; it’s pure. Jesus is the light of the world. He shines His light into our hearts. God is light. In Him there is no darkness.
When we get into His presence, His light shines on us, and the question is: What does the light show? Are we sincere? Are we without wax, without pretense, without covering?
Or have we tried to patch up the problem parts of our lives, the imperfections, patching them up so no one else can see? But then God comes in with His all-seeing, all-knowing, illuminating eye and says, “I see that.”
There’s some wax there. There’s some covering up. There’s some pretending. That’s not a pure piece of pottery. There’s some wax there. “This is the real thing,” is what we want God to say when He shines His light on our hearts.
Now, the opposite of the word sincere would be the word hypocrisy or hypocrite. That word comes from a Greek word that means “actor.” It means "to play a part, to pretend."
The stage players in Greek plays would use a mask to impersonate a character. They’d put a mask over their face, and you wouldn’t know who they were. They were pretending to be someone they really weren’t. They were a counterfeit, and the word hypocrite means “somebody who pretends to be something other or better than what he really is.”
Do you remember that Jesus’ strongest criticisms in the New Testament were not toward people that everybody knew were sinners—the woman caught in adultery, the publican, the tax collector, the cheat, the thief? They knew they were sinners.
Jesus’ strongest criticisms were to the people who were holding up masks—the hypocrites, the people who were playing a role. The Pharisees; that’s what that word has come to mean to us, isn’t it? The hypocrite: somebody who plays a part. They were usually people pretending to be more religious than they really were. They wore a mask to cover up the corruption of their hearts.
I’ve had the privilege of serving as part of the staff of Life Action Ministries, which is a revival ministry taking this message of seeking Him, revival—personal and corporate revival—into local churches all across the United States.
We have four teams which go into churches for an extended period of time and basically communicate the same types of principles we are talking about in this Seeking Him series. We are challenging God's people to get real, to get honest, to take off the mask, to step into the light and to put on a pure heart, a clear conscience, and a sincere faith, so that God can be pleased to glorify Himself and reveal Himself through His people.
For a number of years, as I’ve been a part of this ministry, I had the privilege of being in those revival meetings in local churches and hearing different people through the course of those meetings share what God was doing in their lives as the mask was coming off, as they were getting honest.
I want to play for you two short clips of recent testimonies from Life Action Ministries services. We have permission to share these from the women who shared them.
Both of these were church members, church leaders. Listen, one after the other, as they acknowledge publicly before their congregation, that the impression they had been leaving with others was not sincere.
Woman 1: I came into this crusade saying, “Lord, I know there are things wrong with me, and I don’t know exactly what they are.” I was too full of pride to see them.
There are many, but this one got a hold of me. I can’t remember what verses they are now, but you kept saying them over and over again: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!” (see Matt. 23:13-29).
I’m a co-commander of your AWANA program. I have not memorized a verse in . . . I can’t tell you how long. Week after week your children would come, and I apologize to you all. I’m so sorry.
I stand before you and in front of you, and I have not been the commander that I should have been, and I ask you to forgive me.
Woman 2: I have been deceitful; I have been a liar. I have tricked you all into thinking that I’m this happy-go-lucky Christian girl and I love being here. I’m proud of directing the choir and being involved in everything. I’m proud of the fact that I’m a pastor’s daughter and nothing’s wrong with me.
Well, I lied. I’ve become very bitter, very angry. I drive in this parking lot, and I hate it. I became very bitter towards God, to the point where I started resenting you.
I resented my family, my father, resented why God made me and the things He gave me. I drive my husband up the wall because I’m angry, and I need to ask your forgiveness for deceiving you into thinking I was something I was not.
I need your prayer that the joy of the Lord would come back into my heart and I would once again feel like I’m in fellowship with Him and with you. I’m so ashamed of myself in tricking you. This is so embarrassing for me. I’m a good little actress, but my walls are down, and you know the real Jennifer.
I want you to know that I do love you, and I do love the Lord, and I’m ready to change.
Nancy: Jennifer said, “I’m a good little actress.” But through her tears, could you sense the freedom that was coming to her heart as she said, “Now you know the real me”?
It’s hard work keeping up a mask. It’s hard work pretending. It will wear you out. We've got a lot of worn-our Christians out there. And there's a freedom that comes from getting honest; from saying, "Here's who I really am."
So when the light of God’s presence scrutinizes your life and your life is held up to the light, would God say that your life is sincere, without hypocrisy, without wax, no pretending, no impersonating, no acting, just real, clean and pure before Him?
If not, walk into the light. Be honest with God. Say, “I’ve been a hypocrite. I’ve been play acting, but I want to get real. I want to be honest. I want to be just who I am, and I want You to change me into who You want me to be.”
O Lord, how I pray that You would send a revival of honesty to our hearts, to our homes, to our churches—that we would stop pretending. Forgive us, O Lord, for our hypocrisy, for acting like everything’s okay and we’re doing fine, when we’re covering up anger and bitterness and sensuality and impurity and lust and covetousness and idolatry.
O Lord, help us to get real before You, to be sincere and honest. And what we bring into the light, then You are able, by the blood of Jesus, to cleanse, to wash, and to make new. Would You do that, Lord, in our hearts? I pray in Jesus’ name, amen.
Leslie: God offers freedom to anybody struggling to keep up pretenses. Nancy Leigh DeMoss will be right back with more on the crucial topic of honesty.
I’ll just slip in here to say, if today’s program has been helpful, I hope you’ll experience more honesty in your life by getting a copy of Nancy’s workbook Seeking Him. The section on honesty will walk you through a process of change.
It will show you what the Bible says on this topic and help you identify areas where you’re not being entirely forthright. Seeking Him covers other important topics too, like repentance, humility, and sexual purity.
If you contact us today, April 25, we’ll send you Seeking Him as our thank you when you support Revive Our Hearts with a gift of any amount. Call us at 1–800–569–5959, or visit