Randall Caselman

Bella Vista Church of Christ

05/05/2019 A.M.

 

Written In Stone

“You Shall Not Lie”

Exodus 20.15  Zechariah 8.16-17  Proverbs 6.16-17 

Ephesians 4.29  John 14.6 8.32 17.17

 

Driving home from the hospital Friday afternoon... The radio reminded me of Billy Joel’s song... Honest Is A Lonely Word. It was the third single released from His 52nd Street Album...Recorded in 1978.

Honest is a lonely word...

Honest is a word seldom heard.

 

How true of our culture!!

 

For instance... Surveys have shown that...

• 91% of us lie routinely about things we consider trivial.

• 86% of children regularly lie to their parents.

• 65% of married people lie to their spouses regularly.

 

The Los Angeles Globe recently noted that...

• 25 percent of men surveyed have lied on their Facebook Profile...

• 21 percent on a Job Resume...

• 42 percent haven’t told the truth about their Financial Status.

• 26 percent of women said they lied to their Doctor

• This same survey found that 44 percent of women lied to their Parents...

 

We lie about our weight... Our income... Our grade point... Our work experience...Our age... How many fish we caught and how big they were.

 

We hate it when people are dishonest with us... But most of us don’t resist being dishonest with other people.

 

This morning... We continue our series...

• Written In Stone... A study in the Ten Commandments...

• Sinai Principles Applicable Today...

• Eternal Principles that enable a right relationship... With God... With others... Within self.

 

Today we’re examining the Ninth Command... God’s prohibition against lying.

We’ll do this by examining three questions...

• What is truth?...

• What is lying?...

• And how can we obey the Ninth Commandment in our daily walk.

 

What is Truth?

It’s evident... that originally... this ninth commandment dealt specifically with perjury... "You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor" In the Old Testament virtually every legal decision was decided based on the truthfulness of two or three witnesses... Truth told to Elders sitting in the gates of judgment.  A false witness... A lie... Could ruin a person’s reputation.... Even get him killed.

 

However... Most Bible Scholars believe this commandment reflects much more...

It reflects the legal ideal for all Israel...

• It’s a call for the sanity of truth in every arena of life.

God’s desire is that we... Love truth... Seek truth... Live truth... And tell the truth.

 

Listen to these Scriptures...

Zechariah 8.16-17... These are the things you are to do: Speak the truth to each other, and render true and sound judgment in your courts; do not plot evil against your neighbor... Do not love to swear falsely. I hate all this, declares the Lord.

 

Proverbs 6.16,17 & 19... There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him... Haughty eyes, a lying tongue... A false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.

 

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.

 

Jesus said... I am the truth... You shall know the truth and it will set you free... Sanctify them through Thy truth… Thy Word is truth...

 

It’s important here that we establish this fact... Ready?...

 

This commandment tells us that... there is such a thing as truth...

 

• It teaches that OBJECTIVE TRUTH EXISTS.

 

Objective truth is truth that’s valid regardless of whether people believe it or not.  Objective truth is a reality that’s separate and apart from our... Personal feelings... Beliefs... Ideas and Attitudes.

 

When we board a plane for Chicago... We believe we’ll arrive safely... At forty thousand feet... We feel safe... Confident of our arrival... But if the hydraulics on that aircraft fail... We’re in trouble regardless of our... Beliefs... Feelings... Ideas and Attitudes.

 

Listen... In past generations our culture assumed objective truth existed.

 

The preamble to our Constitution begins with the assumption that certain truths are self evident.

 

Every academic field of study was based on the assumption that objective truth existed and was available to the searching student.  This assumption was applied to physics and psychology... History and religion... Biology and business.

 

But… But in our own generation... This assumption has all but disappeared.

 

You remember Alan Bloom... He wrote the book "The Closing of the American Mind."

 

He said... There’s only one thing a college professor can be absolutely confident of among incoming freshmen... Is that they almost all believe that truth is relative.

 

Indeed… Most people in our culture think that truth is so RELATIVE... That it can be regulated by personal preference... The democratic process... A popular vote.

 

This postmodernism trend allows us to decide what history is true and what is false...What history we want to abandon and what history we want to keep as true.

• So we remove God from the history of our nation because we don’t agree with Him.

• We pull down... Statues... Flags... Change the names of sports teams... That remind us of our national mistakes.

• We decide that abortion and euthanasia are truth by popular vote.

• Post modernism allows you to have your religious truth and me to have mine... And we both be right.

 

But listen... Jesus said... Truth exists... It’s God’s truth... His Word is truth.

 

Indeed...This ninth commandment...

• Forever establishes that there’s such a thing as objective truth.

• And it suggests that... This truth can be found... Can be believed... And obeyed.

 

If there is such a thing as truth... What is a Lie?... What does this Command have reference to?... What constitutes a violation of this Ninth Commandment?

 

Perjury… Again... Even though the Ninth Commandment was originally concerned with perjury... There exists an underlying principle that applies to far more than the courtroom.

 

Secondly… We violate the ninth commandment WHENEVER WE DISTORT TRUTH about ourselves.

Church...Whenever we shape and mold the truth for our own purposes... Leaving out a bit here... Adding somewhat there... We’re guilty of breaking the Ninth Commandment.

 

What would cause a person to do this… To lie about self?...

I think first and foremost... our pride...

 

Paul is found saying... “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you."

 

Each one of us has a personal responsibility to view ourselves accurately.

 

While our world talks about a positive self esteem...Romans 12.3 and other Scripture speak of having an accurate self concept.

 

Instead of being intoxicated by pride... We’re to have a sober evaluation of who we are.

 

Another area of deception is slander.

If pride distorts the truth about ourselves... Slander distorts the truth about others.

Paul says... Speak the truth in love.

Peter writes... "Rid yourselves of... All malice... All deceit... Hypocrisy... Envy... And slander of every kind"... 1 Peter 2.1.

 

Here it is church... Slander takes many forms...

• There’s gossip...

• Tale-bearing...

• Insinuation...

• Flattery...

• There’s the devaluating of another by calling them names... Idiot... Stupid... Fool... Raca.

• The telling of outright lies about another.

• And sometimes silence to an untruth about another can be slander.

 

Whenever we distort the truth about another person we’re slandering that person... And Peter says... "Rid ourselves of such practices.”

 

The Greek for rid literally means to take off as a garment... Take off that robe or shirt. Indeed... We wear slander like a garment... And the more we do it the dirtier it becomes... So people stay away from us.

 

Did you see it in the Wall Street Journal a week ago Friday?... A story about a town in the Philippines that outlawed... Under penalty of law... Gossip...Slander... and Hearsay Rumor.

 

Listen... Few people are aware of the awesome destructive power of the tongue.

James tells us it can be a vicious animal.

 

We can’t establish... A loving... Positive... Healthy... Relationship with others until we remove this offensive garment... Amen?

 

A fourth face of deception is heresy.

Heresy distorts the truth about God.

 

Again it is Peter who writes... "But there were also false prophets... False teachers... 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."

 

A false prophet... A false teacher... Is one who claims to have the authority to speak for God. But when they speak... They distort the truth about God or distort His Word.

 

Peter warns us here that heresy is always destructive... Because it separates those who believe them from the truth... About God... And from God.

 

So the four faces of deception are... Perjury… pride... slander... and heresy... Three different ways we are tempted to distort the truth... Thus violating this ninth commandment.

 

Now… Thirdly this morning... How we can Uphold the Truth?

You see… It’s not enough to merely avoid... PERJURY…Pride... Slander... Heresy. If not,  lying was just a matter of not doing certain things...Then our dog or cat could keep this ninth commandment perfectly.

 

But according to Jesus... There’s more... "Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ’Do not break your oath, but keep the oaths you have made to the Lord.’ But I tell you, Do not swear at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. Simply let your ’Yes’ be ’Yes,’ and your ’No,’ ’No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one"

 

The religious leaders of Jesus’ Day had come up with an elaborate system of rules about how to lie... How to get out of an oath.

 

If they swore an oath in the name of the earth… It was not considered binding! But if they took an oath in the name of God and Heaven it was binding.

 

The religious leaders had turned oaths into a child’s game of swearing the truth with your lips… But with your fingers crossed.

 

Jesus is saying… If we’re going to lie with our oaths... Then it’s better not to vow at all.

 

Listen church... For us here this morning... An oath should be unnecessary. for followers of Jesus...

• When we say yes... Mean yes!

• When we say no... Mean no.

 

Jesus is not saying it’s wrong to take an oath... He’s just saying to be the kind of person that others will value your truth so that it becomes unnecessary for you to swear.

 

When Jesus was put under oath during His trial... He answered the questions asked of him... We find Paul taking an oath

 

• In Romans 1.9 he says... "God is my witness that I pray for you constantly."

 

• When some in the city of Thessalonica questioned Paul’s motives... He wrote, "God is our witness that we never came to you with flattering words or as a pretext for greed"...

 

Here is a good place to make this statement of faith... As children of God... We believe the highest authority for truth is Scripture... God’s infallible... Inerrant... Eternal… Word.

We believe Scripture to be... Not just inspirational literature... But God inspired.

 

2 Peter 1.20-21says... Above all... You must understand that no prophecy... No teaching... Of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy... Teaching... Never had its origin in the will of man... But men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

 

2 Timothy 3.16-17... All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

 

1 Peter1.21-22... Through Him... Jesus... You believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and glorified Him, and so your faith and hope are in God. Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart.

 

Jesus is found saying...You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free... Thy word is truth.

 

So...The bottom line of this Ninth Commandment is this... That truth exists...And because of this fact... We ought to...

• Seek the truth...

• Tell the truth...

• Live the truth...

• And share God’s truth with others.

 

Listen... Being a follower of Jesus means... SEEKING… Believing... Obeying... Truth wherever we can find it... WHEREVER we find it!

 

If you are here this morning as a seeker of truth... We want you to know that this church believes the Bible to be God’s truth.

 

And that... Truth personified... Truth demonstrated... Truth lived out... Is seen in Jesus… And that we are to imitate Him in... Thought...Attitude... And behavior.

 

And we’re asking you to do the same… to live truth!… to live like Jesus!

 

We applaud you for having the courage to ask the tough questions about what we believe.

 

It was Jesus who said... I am the way... I am the truth... I am the Life... No one can come to the Father God except... By Me... Through Me.

 

This same Jesus who said... Unless you believe I am He... You will die in your sins.

He said... Except we repent... Change our...Thinking... Attitudes... Behavior... We’ll perish.

If you will confess Me before Men... I will acknowledge you before my Father in Heaven.

 

Jesus commanded that we be born again in water baptism in the name of the Father... Son... and Holy Spirit.

 

If you are here and as a seeker of  truth...And would like to… IN FAITH… without question... Just obey God’s truth...We give you this opportunity...

 

Perhaps as Children of God...

• We haven’t been faithful to this command to not lie...

• Perhaps as followers of Jesus... We’ve been hesitant to hold to the truth or share the truth with others...

 

God promises forgiveness and restoration if we will... Confess... Acknowledge...Our sin.

 

John 1.9 says... If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

 

If you have a need this morning... We encourage you to respond to God’s truth as we stand and sing this invitation song together.