Small Group Tools
Contemporary Comments 2018
Texts: Revelation 2:13, 24; 2 Corinthians 11:13–15; Psalm 146:4; Genesis 1:1–2:3; Revelation 13:1–17
How good are you at telling if someone is lying to you? Researchers at the University of Rochester are using data science to advance our understanding of deception based on facial and verbal clues. They have gathered and analyzed more than one million frames of facial expressions with an online crowdsourcing framework called ADDR (Automated Dyadic Data Recorder). Basically, two people are involved in a game that involves a series of questions that record facial expressions while answers are given.
The program found patterns in facial expressions that are subtle. “It told us there were basically five kinds of smile-related ‘faces’ that people made when responding to questions,” Sen (one of the researchers) said. The one most frequently associated with lying was a high intensity version of the so-called Duchenne smile involving both cheek/eye and mouth muscles. This is consistent with the “Duping Delight” theory that “when you’re fooling someone, you tend to take delight in it,” Sen explained.1
When Lucifer first began his deceptive work “to diffuse the spirit of discontent among the angels” (from Sabbath Afternoon in this week’s lesson), his masterful trickery was undetected by these perfect heavenly beings. But God’s all-seeing eyes could detect even the faintest micro-expression of rebellion in this highly influential deceiver in the kingdom of heaven.
Satan, who “deceives the whole world” (Revelation 12:9), has continued to master his skills of lying since being “cast out” of heaven. He will unleash his greatest deceptions at the end of time in order to lead even the most faithful of God’s people into traps. The devil will use “false christs and false prophets” who “will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive” (Matthew 24:24) such that we cannot even believe our own eyes in determining truth.
No sophisticated computer program can pick up the wily trickeries of Satan’s smoothest falsehoods. Only those who completely stand on Scripture and trust in Christ will know right from wrong. “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death” (Revelation 12:11).
Are you prepared for his end-time deceptions?
~ For Reflection
Connecting: Draw a stick person with arrows pointing to different parts of the body and common lies that correlate to that body part. For example: The taste of ice cream is more important than its effect on my body.
Sharing: Read Genesis 1. One of the greatest deceptions of the end of time is the theory of evolution. Why do you think this theory appeals to so many people who may previously have believed in the creation story?
1. It takes away personal responsibility to obey God’s Word.
2. It allows humanity, not God, to provide the explanation for life.
3. There is no longer good and evil, leaving everything up to personal choice.
4. It’s freeing to believe in something new.
5. It allows people to do what they want.
Applying: List three Bible stories where people fell for Satan’s deceptions. What happened to them? What lessons can we learn from these stories?
Valuing: Do you fear the deceptions of Satan in your life? Reflect on the promises of God and His power to help you.