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The Kiss That Kills
"Flattery is the ascribing of qualities to another which he is known not to possess - usually with some sinister or base design." - Barnes' Notes
What evil practice is there that should never be performed by Born-Again Believers?
The Sin that we speak of is Flattery. It appears to be praise for another on the surface, but it's always performed with some ulterior motive in mind. It's a form of deception and an insidious work of Satan. It should never be found among the Christian circles.
Unfortunately, that is not the case. As we look into the Scriptures, we see that there are four types of people with whom we fellowship in our churches.
Let's identify them right now and see if we can recognize them -
1. The Deceitful Friend
Psalm 5:9 says - "For there is no faithfulness in their mouth; their inward part is very wickedness; their throat is an open sepulchre; they flatter with their tongue."
Psalm 12:2 says - "They speak vanity every one with his neighbor: with flattering lips and with a double heart do they speak."
This person's heart is evil, depraved, and wicked. His profession of friendship is false, hollow, empty, and vain. He has no regard for the Truth. Therefore, you cannot ever place any confidence in any of his statements or promises.
He says one thing to your face, but actually means another in his heart. He has what the Scripture calls a "double heart" or two hearts. With one heart, he speaks smooth and flattering things; with the other, he conceals his real purpose. He is the type of person who smiles to your face one minute, but cuts your throat the next.
Have you ever encountered such a "Friend"? Have you ever had this one shower you with one compliment after another, only to find out, in the end, that his words were not sincere at all? They were words meant to coax you into doing his bidding.
How awful to think that this kind of evil activity is carried out among Sanctified, Spirit-filled Christians - who profess to be walking with the Lord Jesus - Who happens to be the epitome of "Truth" and desires "truth in the inward parts" of those who follow Him.
How painful it is to be betrayed by another who appeared to be a true and sincere Friend! Can there be a deeper wound felt than that of someone who you thought by their words was sincerely complimenting you - only to find out that they were simply "buttering you up" to use you for their own selfish purposes and gain?
2. The Obnoxious Boaster
Psalm 36:1-2 says - "...wicked...For he flattereth himself in his own eyes, until his iniquity be found to be hateful."
This person has an exalted estimation of himself. He constantly overrates himself and his abilities. In fact, he's found to ascribe qualities to himself that he actually does not possess.
He is soooooooooo in love with himself. He prides himself on his own strengths and goodness and confides in his own wisdom and power. He is blind to his faults and shortcomings. No one can hardly stand for him to be around.
Are you such a person? Are you so "caught up with yourself" that others find you to be nauseating and obnoxious, and resultantly, avoid you like the plague?
3. The Religious Hypocrite
Psalm 78:36 says - "Nevertheless they did flatter Him with their mouth, and they lied unto Him with their tongues."
This is the Religious Person who frequents the Church every time the doors are opened. In the services, he is usually the one who sings with such exuberance and shouts the loudest "Amen's" to everything the Preacher has to say.(Please note - we are not against such zeal for the Lord - only when it is fake and phony.)
But, in his heart, he isn't sincere. He is simply not serious in his walk with the Lord. His heart is stony ground for the Word to fall upon. For a time, he endures. However, give him some time, and he will fall away.
It's usually in a season of affliction, chastisement, or suffering, that you will find him to be the first one in Church or at the prayer meeting. In order to be relieved from the "fires of chastisement," he will make great promises and resolutions to change and act differently. But, as soon as the affliction is lifted from his life, he returns to his old sinful and selfish ways.
4. The False Teacher
Romans 16:18 says - "For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple."
This person appears to be a Champion for the Truth - while all along he is a deceiver, trickster, and Satan's tool to lead you astray from the Holy Doctrines of the Bible.
He is known for his "good words and fair speeches." He appears to be so kind and loving. But, don't be fooled. Just cross him one time, and you will find him to be the Vicious Viper that he really is.
He will promise you great things like positions and prosperity if you will follow his instructions. If you are "simple," you will fall for his insidious tricks to "deceive" you and "rob you blind."
The opening quote from Barnes' Notes defined Flattery for us as - "the ascribing of qualities to another which he is known not to possess - usually with some sinister or base design."
O Christian! Have you ever done that? Have you ever praised someone - knowing all along that what you were saying was not true? Or perhaps you had complimented others - only to win their hearts over to your will, agenda, and plan. Normally, you would never praise anyone, but because you needed their help, you tricked them into doing your bidding through the use of Flattery.
Thomas Brooks, a renowned Preacher of yesteryear, said this of flatterers - "Flatterers are the worst of sinners."
He also added this remark in reference to flattery - "Whilst a donkey is stroked under the belly, you may lay on his back what burden you please."
Could it be that you are numbered among the "worst of sinners" today? Are you guilty of such evil before God and men?
In the Book of Job, Elihu made the following expression of Faith - "Let me not, I pray you, accept any man's person, neither let me give flattering titles unto man. For I know not to give flattering titles; in so doing my maker would soon take me away"(Job 32:21-22).
Can you sense his utter determination here? "Let me not" - In other words, may it never be. May I never do this.
May I never -
...be influenced by rank or wealth
...be tempted to give "flattering titles" or compliments to others who don't deserve them or are worthless
...make false statements of others - intending to win their favor or impress them for my own benefit and gain
On the contrary, may I always speak the Truth without fear or favor.
The Apostle Paul demonstrated the same determination as Elihu when he stated -"For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know..."(1 Thessalonians 2:5).
Paul knew that Preachers would be tempted in this area of Flattery more than any one else. Hence, he admonished all by saying - "For neither at any time used we flattering words..."
Never! Never! Never! did he ever flatter people in their sins. He didn't favor people for their beauty, wealth, talents, or accomplishments. It didn't matter what their rank or position was in society; he held back the Truth from none. He warned them of the danger ahead and wrath to come if they didn't repent of their sins and turn to the Lord Jesus for salvation.
It's important to include here that not only are Preachers susceptible to Flattery, but the congregation is as well.
How many Preachers have had certain of their deacon board or the members of their church praise them - only to find out in the end that they were trying to manipulate them into "cooling off" or relinquishing their strong stand against sin?
The Illustrations Of Bible Truths gives this account of Chrysostom, a Church Father, in relation to the Sin of Flattery - "One of the things St. Chrysostom detested was the applause and flattery of those to whom he preached. He said: 'To me it is nothing when I am applauded and well spoken of. There is only one thing I ask of you - to prove your approval of me through your works. That is how you can speak well of me, and that is what is going to do you good. This, to me, is the greatest honor. I prefer it to a material crown. I do not desire applause and being well spoken of. I have one request to make - for you to listen to me in quiet attentiveness and to put my advice into practice. This is not a theater. You don't sit here in order to admire actors and to applaud them. This is a place where you must learn the things of God.' God greatly honored Chrysostom in the sowing of the seed of His Word because he was a humble man."
"Flatterers are the worst of sinners."
"Let me not, I pray you, accept any man's person, neither let me give flattering titles unto man."
"For neither at any time used we flattering words..."
When was the Last Time that you gave someone the "kiss that kills"? Hopefully, it was your Last Time.
May God help us all that we will never be classified as a Flatterer - "the worst of sinners."
May we be filled with the Fear of the Lord as Elihu was in saying - "For I know not to give flattering titles; in so doing my maker would soon take me away."
May God Bless His Word.