Speaking Truth in Love

Scripture: Exodus 20:16, Ecclesiastes 5:1-7, Psalm 15:1-4
Date: 06/15/2013 
The ninth commandment forbids lying about people, or withholding truth or any other action that would convey an erroneous impression of someone.
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I want to welcome any visitors that we may have here today and we're glad that you're visiting. Our church normally does not look like this up front. We've been going through a series dealing with the Ten Commandments. We thought that was a worthy subject for us to study together because these are the words that God spoke with his own voice, he wrote with his own finger - they constitute the essence of his covenant by which we are saved. Old covenant - written on stone - new covenant - same law but it's written on the heart through love.

And so we've found it's edifying to talk about these commandments. I've been blessed just in studying to prepare these messages for you. Well, I've been blessed and I've been convicted too because I've found that the law is - it's very broad. It's very comprehensive in what it covers and some things we think that 'well, that's not really covered by the law.' You realize each of those commandments is genius in how far-reaching they are in what the - those ten words of the decalogue - what they cover. It's just amazing to me.

And today we are on commandment number 9, which you find on the second table of the law and it's in Exodus 20:16 - short - covers a lot though. "You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor." So the message today is, of course, the Ten Commandments number 9 - 'speaking the truth in love' - speaking the truth in love. Now, we might be wondering, 'well, you're not supposed to bear false testimony against your neighbor, well, who's your neighbor?' Jesus answers that question in the parable of the good samaritan. Everybody who's in need is your neighbor. And so, really, this is a commandment that's telling us to tell the truth.

You see, the Bible's pretty clear Jesus is the truth - Christ is the embodiment of the truth and as Christians we want to follow Christ so we want the truth engrained in our lives and in all that we say and in all that we share. But more specifically, this ninth commandment is dealing with something that we think of as perjury. Perjury is, of course, when you bear false witness while under oath to tell the truth. Now people go to court and they might bear false witness when it comes to a traffic citation or they might bear false witness when, you know, it comes to shoplifting or something and we're living in the age of court tv and it seems like we're surrounded with visual images of people who are sitting in either the bench of the defendant or the witness and there's so much of that these days. But what's really sad is perjury - false testimony - has become extremely commonplace.

You'll see video recordings of confessions and then when they finally get into the box they say, 'oh, that was under pressure. It's not true.' But then all the evidence comes in and it shows that they're just lying and it seems to come so easy. Why is that? You know, we're living in a time that's unique in that this is a culture that is saturated with media. We're surrounded with television programs - everything from commercials to daytime drama to the movies and dvds is filled with acting. And you know what acting is? My mother was an actress and she used to tell me, 'doug, in order to be a good actor or actress you need to be a good liar.

' And it was almost commended and encouraged. And there have even been educators in our country - positions of leadership and education - that say we shouldn't take it too seriously when these young minds begin to conjure up deception 'that shows creativity' - and it's almost encouraged. And when so many of the programs where the actors are then lying in the script and people laugh and they think it's cunning, it's clever, it's funny. And I can go all the way back - now the programming that I grew up on was pretty tame and mild compared to what's out there today. I mean, but everything from 'bewitched' to 'gilligan's island' - there was all kinds of lying and deception that we thought was cute and you'd hear the laugh track - you know what the laugh track is? They have pre-recorded people laughing during these sitcoms and they'd play the button and whenever someone told a little lie or they gave some deception, they'd play the laugh track and you were made to think, 'this is just funny.

' But does God see lying as funny? We've been programmed to just wink - and you can lie with a wink, you know. We have been so saturated with deception and untruth that I think we're living in a culture that it's very difficult for people to understand 'what is the truth?' What is the truth? You know, ultimately, Christ was condemned because pilate said, 'what is truth?' Who was it - Mark twain - that said, 'the reason that people hold the truth in such high regard is they have such little opportunity to get used to it.' The reason people hold the truth in such high regard is they have such little opportunity to become familiar with it. There's so little of it - of real truth - that it's highly esteemed but people don't really speak it. Well, in the Bible times bearing false testimony wasn't just like somebody getting away with shoplifting or a traffic citation. Bearing false testimony - you realize the first four - actually, more than that - the first seven commandments - maybe even eight depending on the nature of it - the penalty was death.

And so if somebody gave false testimony it could cost another person their life. By the way, our false testimony cost Jesus his life. Lying is still deadly. Notice, Deuteronomy 17:6, "whoever is deserving of death shall be put to death on the testimony of two or three witnesses; he shall not be put to death on the testimony of one witness." You would want those witnesses to be giving honest, accurate testimony. Now notice, if you were going to bear testimony against someone, and the penalty was death, who do you think threw the first stone? When Jesus made that statement in John chapter 8, he was quoting back to the time of Moses where, when someone gave testimony, and someone else was found guilty, they didn't have ten years of appeals on death row, they drug him outside the camp and they found some rocks and they were executed.

- "The hands of the witnesses shall be the first against him to put him to death, and afterward the hands of all the people. So you shall put away the evil from among you." Deuteronomy 19 - now what happened if you were a false witness in a case - if you perjured yourself? Deuteronomy 19, verse 16 - if you're taking notes. "If a false witness rises against any man to testify against him of wrongdoing, then both men in the controversy shall stand before the Lord, before the priests and the Judges who serve in those days. And the Judges shall make careful inquiry," - there'll be an investigation - "and indeed, if the witness is a false witness, who has testified falsely against his brother, then you shall do to him as he thought to have done to his brother; so you shall put away the evil from among you. And those who remain shall hear and fear, and thereafter they shall not again commit such evil among you.

" - As to bear false testimony against your neighbor - "your eye shall not pity: life shall be for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot." In other words, if someone was bearing false witness against his neighbor and the penalty for that crime was death, the false witness was executed. If someone was bearing false witness and it was a fine for $50.00, you took $50.00 away from the false witness. If it was having your hand chopped off for stealing - not that the Israelites did that - they got their hand chopped off. If they said, 'oh, they're the ones who knocked out so and so's tooth but it wasn't true, the false witnesses tooth got knocked out - or eye poked out - or whatever it was. In other words, you would apply to the false witness whatever his testimony would have caused to be the penalty against the other party.

So if they really - you know what happens now? With dna - dna's created a whole new science of evidence in criminal studies. They have found many people who were in prison 10, 15, 25 years, in one case, for crimes - because they still had the evidence they checked - they found out this man was not guilty of this rape he was accused of. It was an impossibility - the dna did not match. He'd always said he was not guilty and they said, 'well how did he get condemned?' Well, there was a witness. And they go back to the witness and they confront them with the evidence, 'well, I thought it maybe was them.

I thought it looked like them. I don't remember. It's kind of fuzzy now.' And they don't do anything to the false witness. They kind of shrug. But if false witnesses ended up getting the penalty that they're accusing the other person of being guilty of, I think people would be a lot more careful with their testimony.

In Bible times that was what the penalty said. Proverbs 19:5, "a false witness will not go unpunished, and he who speaks lies will not escape." A person might think, 'well, I got away with it.' But you never do. A false witness will be punished. If not in this life - and usually in this life it catches up with them. Even if others don't know, God has a way of evening the score without the courts ever finding out that God evened the score.

You never, ever get away with anything, did you know that? You may as well live holy lives because I can tell you now you don't get away with anything. Your sin will surely find you out - whatever it is - you better confess and repent of it because everything is going to get evened up. God will see to that. The Bible says 'the truth will set you free' and if the truth sets you free then it stands to reason lying will bind you. A man is holden with the cords of their sins.

And you know how when you tell one lie you've got to then tell another and another to try and cover your tracks and it just gets worse and worse. Lying will imprison you. The truth will liberate you. Now it's not just - people say, 'well, you know, it doesn't really say in the Ten Commandments 'don't lie' is just says 'don't bear false witness against your neighbor.' Well, you can read plenty of other places in the Bible it says 'do not lie'. And so, it was certainly part of that commandment.

Lying is a sin. Now we need to make a distinction - if a person says something that isn't true, it isn't always a lie. 'What? Did I hear the pastor say that?' If a person says something that isn't true, it isn't always a lie if they're just ignorant and they didn't know. There are sometimes statements I have made where I thought it was the truth - I later found out I had bad evidence. That's not a lie.

You understand what I'm saying? Some people just are ignorant of the facts and you've all met folks that have said something and they may have been very sincere but they just didn't know all the facts and they weren't lying, they were just speaking an untruth or misinformed or they misspoke or whatever term you want. Lying is 'to present false information with the intention of deceiving' - or getting elected to public office - oh, I threw that in but we know there is a connection. Sin first entered the world through a lie. The devil said to eve - Genesis 3:4, "you will not surely die." 'God's not giving you all the facts.' He spoke a lie for the purpose of deceiving and it worked. And he ought to know what he's talking about because Jesus said the devil is the founder of lies.

John 8:44, he said, "you are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do...when he speaks a lie he speaks from his own resources," - he's got a patent on it - "for he is a liar and The Father of it." And so, just so we're not confused, Jesus is the truth - he's the embodiment of the truth. The devil is the embodiment of a lie. Does that mean the devil can never tell the truth? No - yes - in that he will comingle truth with his lies, but when you mix truth with lies what do you have? You have lies. Everything the devil says, even when he mingles truth with lies is ultimately for deception, which makes it a lie, but that's when lies are the most dangerous. And the fbi, you know, they study these things and central intelligence - they do it for interviews for interrogations and they say that the most convincing liars and the hardest to spot are the ones that will tell the truth in so many other areas with a lie in one spot so that when you check their story - you know, bad liars tell lies about things they shouldn't lie about - they're easily caught.

I shouldn't say bad liars because all liars are bad - unskilled liars. Police can easily catch them - pull someone over - 'why were you speeding?' 'I'm on the way to the hospital because my wife's having a baby.' 'Which hospital?' 'Uhhh, the big one.' 'What's your wife's name?' 'Uh, uh.' Highway patrolmen are trained to ask a few simple questions. If a person has a good reason for speeding, they can ask a few simple questions and find out right away if they're telling the truth. I was speeding on my way back from a funeral. Now, I didn't tell the officer that I had an excuse for speeding, what I told him was, 'can you have mercy on me? I've had a rough day.

I had to drive a long way. One of my dear friends died and I've got to get back for some responsibilities and I'm sorry.' He said, 'what was your friend's name?' 'Bob.' 'How old was he?' '45.' 'How did he die?' And he started to grill me with all these questions about my friend and his funeral to see if I was making up a story because he didn't - he thought, 'if you are coming from a funeral, I don't want to make your day any worse.' And he saw I'm dressed like I just came from a funeral, and he let me go. But he was checking my story and what really makes it dangerous is when you can mix a lot of truth with the lies, they're hard to spot. The devil is a master at that. There's a lot of - how many different Christian churches are there out there? How many different denominations? Do they all have different elements of truth? They've got - oh, they've got, you know, some of them have a lot of true things but you mix in - there's some - a few dangerous doctrines mixed in, that makes it especially lethal.

And in the last days will those who are persecuting Christians think that they're serving God? Yeah, because they'll have truth mixed in with the error. Proverbs 6, verse 16, "these six things the Lord hates," - you know that list of seven things? - "Yes, seven are an abomination to him:" - now notice, in the list of things that God especially hates - it says here - "a proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren." Three out of the seven are connected with deception and lying - of the things that God hates. He doesn't just dislike intensely, he hates it. He wants us to be a people who are telling the truth. You know, if Christians are not identified as a people who are honest - I heard a man was sharing that he was buying something - he was going to buy a vehicle and he pulled out a check - and the man selling the vehicle said, 'I need a cashier's check, I can't take a personal check.

' And the man buying the vehicle said, 'I'm a pastor.' He said, 'I live locally.' He said, 'that's all the more reason - all the more reason I need cash.' He said, 'I've not had good experience with you Christians. I've been cheated many times. I've been lied to.' He said, 'that's all the more reason.' The pastor had to drop what he was doing and go find an atm and try and get the money out. He came back and said, 'I'm sorry but that's just the way it is.' So when it says that believers should not bear false testimony, does that just mean that we're not to tell lies or does that also mean with our lives? Aren't we bearing testimony with our lives as well? Living truth for Jesus? Proverbs 12:19, "the truthful lip shall be established forever," - you see, this commandment is not just saying don't lie, it's a promise that lying - make your life short - honesty - make your life long. See that? - "The truthful lip shall be established forever, but a lying tongue is but for a moment.

" Turn with me, to further illustrate this, to psalm 15. This is a great psalm. You could probably memorize this, it's short. Psalm 15 - you got your Bibles? I don't put all these on the screen because I started doing that for a while and I thought, 'you're going to get lazy.' I want you to use your Bibles. "Lord, who may abide in your tabernacle? Who may dwell in your holy hill?" Who's going to live in God's holy hill? Who's going to be dwelling with God in heaven? "He who walks uprightly, and works righteousness," - notice this - notice - "and speaks the truth in his heart;" - if you're going to have honesty in your words, where does it start? 'Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.

' You've got to have an honest heart if you're going to have a truthful tongue. "Speaks the truth in his heart; who does not backbite with his tongue," - there's two things that have to do with truth - "nor does evil to his neighbor, nor does he take up a reproach against his friend;" - a reproach is verbal - he's not accusing - "in whose eyes a vile person is despised, but he honors those who fear the Lord; he who swears to his own hurt and does not change;" - he makes a vow and he keeps it. He keeps what he speaks with his lips - "he who does not put out his money at usury, nor does he take a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things will never be moved." Who will last forever? He that speaks the truth. We've got to be honest about being honest.

God wants his people to be a people who are - can be trusted - who have integrity. Proverbs 19:22, "what is desired in a man is kindness, and a poor man is better than a liar." If you have to choose between being rich and deceptive and poor but honest, what's better? But some people have traded their integrity for money. And, you know, there's just - there's a lot of pressure - even in little things. I remember - you know, kids - even though I grew up with really almost no religious training - I mean, I went to a catholic school where I remember learning the beatitudes and I had heard the Ten Commandments going to Jewish synagogue and - but I remember standing in the theater more than one time with my mother and there were different prices for the children and she'd lie about our ages. Now it was easier with my brother because he had cystic fibrosis - he was short and so my brother was like 16 years old and she was still telling people he was 11 so she could save a few dollars.

And I just - I always thought, 'this is wrong.' Even though I had no real moral compunctions, I just knew this was wrong. But there's a lot of little ways where we fudge and lie and bend the truth and modify things and just tell half-truths to try and get some advantage. Proverbs 12:22, "lying lips are an abomination to the Lord," - those are things that God hates - "but those who deal truthfully are his delight." Now look at the contrast there - in one it's viewed as an abomination with God. Try to find - I challenge you - I bet you can't do it - try to find some word in the Bible that God uses that's stronger to express his dissatisfaction than 'abomination'. That means it is a stench in the nostrils of God - but truthfulness is a delight.

the Lord loves truth. He looks for truth in the inner parts of our hearts. But even among Christians, some people are bilingual. They can tell the truth and they can also tell lies and they can switch back and forth. And it's strange how some people in many areas they're honest in their lives, but then in some areas they figure a little deception is okay.

We call it exaggeration. It's the truth, it's just embellished a little bit. Evangelists are often accused of that, you know, like fishermen. 'How big was it?' 'It was this big.' Ananias and sapphira were church members that sold some property and gave the money to the church. What I just said is true.

They sold some property and gave the money to the church - that's true - and God killed them, why? Because they exaggerated how much they gave. They gave some of it. They wanted to make people think it was more that it really was. Isn't that what exaggeration is? Saying things - aw, come on - you know, I hope no one will think that there's any connection between this sermon on honesty and father's day. I just - it's just the way the stars lined up, but I know a lot of men that have sat around the campfire and each one tries to top the other's story and every time we tell it, it gets better and better.

You're even smiling now as I say that because you know exactly - see what I mean? 'Yeah, uh.' I can make it just - you know, a few more adjectives. It gets bigger and bigger. The pastor who baptized me, he called me on that a couple times. He said, 'now brother doug, you're not given to exaggeration are you?' And he said, 'you know,' - and he said it in a very smiling, friendly way - he said, 'exaggeration and lying, they're very close. Matter of fact, they're the same thing.

' And so, sometimes I think we say, 'oh yeah, but these are honest people but, you know, they tell stories and they just - they're a little more embellished and' - God wants us to be honest. Do you know the reason they have something called the 'lie detector' is because you physiologically have a reaction when you lie, but you can be trained not to. Normally, if you're a healthy, regular person - unless you're a psychopathic liar - you will have a physiological reaction to lying because it is unnatural. God did not make us to speak a lie. He designed us to speak the truth and when we lie there's a physiological reaction.

Now people can be trained - the cia and even some military branches, they can train a person to take a lie detector test and just go right through it and they know what the detective's looking for and they know what they need to think about so they don't have those reactions and they can look like they're telling the truth but most of the time those tests are pretty accurate because we're not wired by God to lie. We learn to be liars. And the problem is we learn it very young. And parents - and I'm guilty of this - sometimes we do not call our children to be strict about accuracy with the facts. And because we do not hold them to the facts - and they say, 'oh man there were 20 people at the door.

' And we know that there were actually three and we say, 'no, how many were there?' 'Wow, like 20 people.' 'Well how many people were there?' 'Three.' And if you don't call them on little things like that - and I know, you might think that's fanatical. It gets easier and easier to exaggerate and, you know, exaggerate drifts - 'I'm starving!' 'Are you really starving?' 'I'm just very hungry.' 'Well then say you're very hungry. Have you ever starved?' 'No.' 'Have you ever gone a day without eating?' 'No.' 'You're not starving.' You know what I'm talking about? And because from infancy we're pretty lax about exaggeration, it opens the way to everything else under the sun. God wants us to be honest. Then there's the sin of slander.

That's where you're not just bearing false witness, you may not be in a court setting, but you're saying unkind things about another. Reputations are often murdered with words. Vitriolic tongues and pens can assassinate characters. One reason you're not to bear false witness is because you can hurt a person's name and, you know, one of the most precious things a person has is their name. And sometimes we assassinate, murder, and attack people's reputations.

So important is human speech that two out of the Ten Commandments regulate the tongue. Remember the third commandment? 'Do not take the name of the Lord in vain.' And then you've got this commandment: 'do not bear false witness.' We've got a lot of problems sometimes - that spot below the nose and above the chin - you know, God can be very generous when it came to giving us eyes - gave us two ears, two nostrils - but when it came to the tongue he said we can barely handle one so we've just got one mouth because sometimes we talk about things we shouldn't talk about. Proverbs 10:18, "whoever hides hatred has lying lips, and whoever spreads slander is a fool." We hear things about others and we spread it around. Psalms 101, verse 5, "whoever secretly slanders his neighbor, him I will destroy;" have you ever heard some little tidbit - juicy gossip about somebody - you have no facts to prove it's true but it's interesting in hearing and it's interesting in telling so you pass it on. How does the Lord feel about that? 'Him I will destroy.

' Gossip is serious business with God. Proverbs 11:13, "a talebearer reveals secrets, but he who is of a faithful spirit conceals a matter." They say if any two people know a secret it's not a secret anymore because of human nature. Can't wait to tell - you've got inside information - because that's power when you've got inside information. 'I'm the go-to person. You want to know what's really going on? I've got the scoop.

' My mother was a film critic in hollywood. Do you know what kind of a dog-eat-dog world that is? And she had all these relationships with all these people and she would trade information. It was currency - to find out all the juicy tidbits and people wanted to hear it. It's sort of a Ruthless business. But it's slimy and people just want to know 'what's the latest scandal?' And what bit of juicy gossip? And we may not be living in the world of hollywood, but it still happens in the church too.

Trading information - the currency of power - what you know and what you can tell about somebody else. And every church has a gabriella gossip or two. And there might be a george gossip - that wasn't a slam against just the women. Matter of fact, I've had some churches I've pastored where, if I had some information I needed to get out, I knew just who to call and say, 'make sure you don't tell anybody.' And then I knew it was going to go to everybody. It was a one-man calling tree.

The sin of slander - Proverbs :8, "the words of a talebearer are like tasty trifles, and they go down into the inmost belly." Something about that bit of gossip that it's just like some kind of forbidden dessert. Leviticus 19:16, "you shall not go about" - this is a command - thou shall not - "go about as a talebearer among your people." Loose translation - do not be a gossip - no, it's actually 'thou shalt not gossip.' But we do. And, boy, that's something that we all need to pray about. Sometimes I've heard a lot of gossip that has been disguised as a prayer request. 'You know, there's something I need to tell you so you can pray about it.

' And it's like we say 'so you can pray about it' that sort of paves the way for you to tell about terrible things going on. 'You need to pray for this family. Did you know?' And then they begin to gossip and there's very little praying that goes on but there's all kinds of mental mastication of the juicy tidbits. Better to be silent. By the way, tell the truth always, but don't always be telling it.

God always wants us to tell the truth but we don't always have to be telling everything that you know. Sometimes a good part of Christianity is to not speak everything you know. Even Jesus said to the apostles, 'I have many things to tell you now but you can't handle it.' And he didn't tell them. At his own trial, Jesus had a lot of things he could have said but he didn't say anything. Sometimes we need to know when to just not say anything.

Have you read there in - go with me - this isn't in my notes but it just kind of came to me now - I hope it's the Lord. Go with me to Ecclesiastes chapter 5 - while we're talking about the subject of the tongue - verse 1, - Ecclesiastes 5, verse 1, "walk prudently when you go to the house of God; and draw near to hear rather than to give the sacrifice of fools," - opposite of hearing is speaking - that's the sacrifice of fools - "for they do not know that they do evil. Do not be rash with your mouth," - it doesn't say don't ever speak anything, but don't do it rashly - think before you speak - "and let not your heart utter anything hastily before God. For God is in heaven, and you on earth; therefore let your words be few." He - we'll give an account to God for every idle word we speak. Isn't that what the Bible says? - "For a dream comes through much activity and a fool's voice is known for his many words.

When you make a vow to God, do not delay to pay it;" - there again, words - being honest - "for he has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you have vowed - better not to vow than to vow and not pay. Do not let your mouth cause your flesh to sin, nor say before the messenger of God that it was an error. Why should God be angry at your excuse and destroy the work of your hands? For in the multitude of dreams and many words there is also vanity. But fear God.

" Many words is also vanity. God - part of a definition biblically of a God-fearing person is they're careful with their words. It says here - psalm 52:2, "your tongue devises destruction, like a sharp razor, working deceitfully." Someone in a book called - schenck wrote a book on the ten commandments - "by holding our peace when we have it in our power to defend" - what he's talking about here - I should set this up - you can tell a lie by saying nothing. Sometimes we lie with a wink or by blatantly saying a lie. Sometimes we lie through silence and this is what he's talking about.

"By holding our peace when we have it in our power to defend, by failing to mention the good when the evil is spoken of, by encouraging the telling of evil by eager listening, we asSault the reputation of our neighbor and by the ascent of our silence." And sometimes silence is golden, sometimes silence is yellow. You know what I mean? Yellow like in cowardice. And God wants us to speak up. Sometimes saying nothing when you know the truth and everyone else is believing a lie is endorsing a lie. I found this old poem talking about all the different nations of the world and how they've got Proverbs about truth and the tongue - listen to this: "'the boneless tongue so small and weak can crush and kill,' declares the Greek.

'The tongue declares a greater hoard,' the turk asserts, 'than does the sword.' The persian proverb wisely sayeth, a lengthy tongue an early death.' Or sometimes takes this form instead, 'don't let your tongue cut off your head.' 'The tongue can speak a word with speed,' says the chinese, 'outstrips the steed.' While the arab sage doth this impart, 'the tongue's great storehouse is the heart.' From Hebrew hath the maxim sprung, 'though feet should slip, ne'er let the tongue.' The sacred writer crowns the whole: 'who keeps his tongue doth keep the soul.'" Everybody in the world knows that a lot of trouble can come from the tongue. Now, is there such a thing as a half-truth or a white lie? When Abraham went down to Egypt during a famine and, I guess, Sarah must have really been a good-looking lady, because he was so afraid that even after she was over 60 years of age he thought that they were going to kill him for his wife. And he said, 'Sarah, look, let's have a little talk. You know we are half-brother/half-sister. We've got the same father, different mothers.

' Did you know that? He said, 'let's forget about the marriage part when we get to Egypt, just say that you're my sister because they'll probably kill me and take you.' I don't know what he was so afraid of. He had 300 soldiers in his household. He had his own bodyguard. Was it true? Was she his sister? Yes, but wasn't it important that he let the pharaoh know that 'this is my wife'? Especially when pharaoh took her to be part of his harem. Shouldn't he have said something? But he held his peace.

Half-truth. Abraham, father of the faith - by the way, children learn from their parents - years later Isaac did the same thing with the philistines. He said to Rebekah - she was also beautiful - those Jewish girls back then must have been really good looking. He said, 'can you lie and tell abimalech that you're my sister? Then abimalech looks out his window and Isaac is getting very coy and flirtatious with his sister. And he said, 'I saw you sporting with your sister.

She's not your sister, she's your wife. You lied.' 'Well, but she's my first cousin.' Which, technically, in the Hebrew culture was called a sister and so it was a half-truth - or was it a whole lie? These patriarchs lied. Sometimes they lied - when you see Bible characters lie it's not a justification for lying. Can you name people in the Bible that lied? Rahab lied, didn't she? Of course, people say, 'well rahab lied!' She was a prostitute too. We're not endorsing that, are we? I mean, she was a pagan coming in.

She lied, she did save them. During war you'll often find they used deception. Didn't Joshua use deception when they pretended they were retreating and it was really a trap? They were drawing the people of ai - the soldiers of ai were being drawn into a trap. When David realized that the philistines were getting a little nervous about him walking around among them carrying Goliath's sword, he started to drool on his beard and scratch on the gate and act like a mad man. Is that honest or is that deception? Is God endorsing lying or did they just do it back then and he's just telling us what they did? Was David being deceptive when he tried to cover up what happened with bathsheba? How about Peter when he denied knowing Jesus? Was that a lie? So there's a lot of lying that went on, but it's not an endorsement for lying.

God just gives a faithful history of what his people did. Tell me about when Jesus lied. He never did, did he? Everything he said was the truth. Who is it that we follow? We had a very interesting discussion in the Batchelor house last night during worship and we were reading part of a book by dietrich bonhoeffer and the scenario was presented where, during the nazi occupation, for instance, if you were hiding jews in your house and they were your friends and soldiers came to the door and said, 'do you have any jews here?' If you say 'yes' they're going to be killed. What do you do? It's kind of a dilemma, isn't it? A lot of people have been faced with that.

I'm not sure we had agreement in our family about how you deal with that. It was a very interesting conversation. I took the old-fashioned view that do what Jesus would do and either say nothing or find some way to speak the truth and not turn in your friends. Look for any other alternative. But, you know, we spent a lot of time talking about that and you probably will be a little exercised about that amongst yourselves.

Hopefully you'll think about those kind of questions, but in reality that's not the time we usually have trouble with lying. God, please let that be the only time that your church has to worry about what to do. I wish that was the problem and we had to worry about lying under those circumstances. In reality that's not the issue. It's a lot more elementary where we struggle.

Instead of these philosophical conundrums that we develop about 'what do you do in a case like this?' - That's not what we grapple with. We grapple with lying on just a very basic level - being dishonest with our spouses. 'Where were you?' 'Well, I went to wal-mart.' Well, you did go to wal-mart but that's not where you were the last three hours. And so, we're not really saying where we were. Or your parents ask that question - there's all kinds of shady answers that we give and we're Christians.

Sometimes with our body language - the folding of our arms and the shape of our head and the shrug of the shoulders we can tell a lie, amen? Half-truths - you ever say you're glad to see someone when you're really not? Or you tell them, 'hey, next time we get together we'll have lunch.' And you're thinking, 'boy, I hope that's not any time soon.' Or someone says, 'how are you doing?' And you say, 'fine.' And you're anything but fine, you know what I'm saying? God wants us to be honest. So why do people lie? Well, for one thing, they might be afraid. Did Sarah lie when the angel said, 'I heard you laughing'? I mean, when God says, 'were you laughing at my promise?' 'Oh no, I didn't laugh.' He said, 'oh yes you did laugh.' She lied, why? She was afraid. People often lie because they're afraid. Is that an excuse? Sometimes - oh, and why did Peter lie when the girl said 'don't you know him?' He was probably afraid.

Sometimes people lie because they want personal gain or some reward. Why did Jacob lie to his father and pretend to be esau? He wanted to get that blessing. Sometimes a person wants a reward or they want a job. You know, I forget what the percentages were but I think it was over 50% of people exaggerated or lied on their resumes when applying for jobs. Made it look like they had a little more experience or they were a little more appreciated than they really were.

Sometimes people do it to win approval. In 2 Samuel 1:10 this soldier comes to David - he had found Saul dead on the battlefield and he thought David was going to be happy because everyone knew Saul was hunting David's life - they just didn't know David very well. He had no animosity towards Saul. David knew how to love even his enemies. This soldier came and he brought the bracelet and crown of king Saul - he said, 'I killed him.

' - Expecting a reward. He lied. He didn't kill him, Saul killed himself. And you know what happened to that liar? David said, 'how dare you lift your sword against God's anointed and he had one of his young men - soldiers - by him and he said, 'slay that man.' He was telling a lie hoping for a reward to get some approval. I remember I went from school in New York city - I was in a Jewish school in New York city - my father kidnapped my brother and I at summer camp and took us down to florida and put us in a catholic school.

I didn't know anybody - called st. Patrick's - and I - it was partway through the school. It had already started and I was just an outsider and I didn't know anybody and I wanted so much to be liked. And so 'who are you?' 'I'm doug.' 'Where are you from?' "I'm from New York.' - My mother was in show business and I had friends that were actors and I said, 'I'm a child actor.' 'Oh really? What did you act in?' I wasn't an actor. 'What did you' - well my mom had taken me to see oliver twist.

I said, 'I was an actor in oliver twist.' 'Really?' - The nun is now asking me this, you know? 'What part did you play?' 'I was oliver.' See, you're laughing. She said, 'well that's a musical isn't it?' I said 'yes.' She said, 'can you sing one of The Songs for us?' Well, the cat was out of the bag after the first few lines. But you know why I did it? I wanted to be accepted. I didn't know anybody here. I'm a Jewish boy in a catholic school and so I was trying to get some approval.

Big liar. Boy, yeah, I wish I could tell you that was the only whopper I'd ever told but, no. Vengeance. Some people tell lies to hurt someone else. They concoct a story sometimes to destroy a person's reputation.

You remember when potiphar's wife - when her advances were spurned, she lied about Joseph and said, 'he tried to rape me.' Had him put in jail - it's called bearing false testimony. I wonder what happened after Joseph became prime minister? Did he still have her address? That's going to be very interesting to play the video back in heaven and find out how he dealt with that. I'm thinking he forgave her. I'm think it probably was enough for Joseph when his chariot went down the street and everybody bowed down - he'd see her in the crowd. Some do it for vengeance.

God wants us to be true witnesses. He wants us to be honest. Luke 12, verses 8 and 9, Jesus said, "also I say to you, whoever confesses me before men, him The Son of man also will confess before the angels of God. But he who denies me before men will be denied before the angels of God." You know, one commandment says 'thou shalt not take the name of the Lord in vain.' That doesn't mean just don't curse, that also means if you're going to take the name of Christian, don't do it in vain, live as a Christian. And when it says, 'do not bear false witness against your neighbor' it doesn't just mean don't accuse your neighbor, in the witness box, of doing something they're not guilty of, it means do not be a bad witness before your neighbor, of your Christianity.

Let your light shine. Tell them what you believe. I remember one of the sad indictments that I received after years of being in a certain town and knowing some people in the community, I was talking in the supermarket with one gal there and I mentioned something about Christianity and she said, 'oh, you're a Christian? I didn't know that.' And she didn't mean it as an insult, but I thought to myself, 'wow, I've known this person for several years. What kind of a Christian am i?' She had no idea because I'd lost so many - given up, I should say - so many opportunities to be a witness. Ephesians 4:15, "but, speaking the truth in love," - that's our sermon title - ".

..speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things" - sometimes because we say, 'I want to be honest' - we say mean, cutting things to another person under the pretense of being honest and we're just being mean. You don't have to say everything you know and you don't have to say everything you think to still be an honest person. You know what I'm saying? We need to speak the truth and do it in love. And sometimes, if you can't say anything nice, you don't have to say anything. God has not appointed us to be the critics and the Judges of the world.

If you're going to speak, speak the truth and do it in love. Now, you know why this subject's especially important? And I'm concluding now. The whole world is soon to be deceived. The Bible says the devil, that dragon, 'that serpent that deceiveth the whole world' is coming down with great wrath. And some people want to be deceived.

If we do not receive a love of the truth - and that means if you do not receive - I'm not just talking about if you don't receive a love of Bible doctrine - if you don't love and cherish truth, God will then allow you to believe a lie. Thessalonians 2, verse 10. Notice, speaking of the antiChrist power, "and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish" - unrighteous deception - "because they did not receive the love of the truth that they might be saved." If you want to be saved you have to love the truth. You cannot be a practicing liar and love the truth. "And for this reason God'll send them strong delusion," - if you love delusion and deception he'll let you have it - "that they should believe a lie," - they'll be very sincere about a lie - "that they all might be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

" Pleasure in deception. If we don't love the truth and receive a love of the truth that we might be saved - the only thing left if you don't receive a love of the truth is what? Take away the light and you have darkness. Take away the truth and you have deception. You know, I heard about four high school boys that showed up in class late one day. They'd been goofing off but they told the teacher 'we had a flat tire.

' She said, 'well you missed the test this morning.' 'Oh, we couldn't help it. We had a flat tire.' She said, 'I tell you what. I'm going to give you a chance to take the test again, but first I've got a one question test. I want each of you to go to a different corner of the classroom and here's your question: which tire was flat?' There's going to be a test someday, friends. Do we treasure the truth? All liars will be lost, the Bible tells us.

Lying is lethal. Revelation 21, verse 8, "...all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death." Lord, save us from lying. Revelation 22:15, "but outside" - outside the city of God - "are...whoever loves and practices a lie." So that commandment - 'do not bear false witness against your neighbor' is not just talking about what happens in a court, it's talking about what happens in the court of heaven too. Are we being honest? Now, ultimately, we are followers of Christ, and what was Jesus? We are called to be faithful witnesses. Jesus said in Revelation 1:5, "and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness," - we are to be faithful witnesses.

He came to bear faithful testimony of what The Father was like and what the message of The Father is and to die for our sins. Revelation 3:14, "and to the angel of the church of the laodiceans" - that's relevant for us - "write 'these things say the amen, the faithful and true witness," - that's Jesus - that's red letter - Jesus is the faithful witness. Christ said in John 8:55, "yet you have not known him but I know him. And if I say, 'I do not know him,' I shall be a liar like you; but I do know him and keep His Word." Christ came to bear faithful witness of The Father. You know what put Jesus on the cross? A false witness - two of them.

They had to find at least two and they found two false witnesses and Christ was falsely accused. Because of someone's lies he died on the cross. And it wasn't just their lies 2,000 years ago. You realize Jesus died on the cross for our lies - our exaggerations, our half-truths, the white lies, the black lies and everything in between. God wants us to be a people that follow him and he is the truth and the truth will set you free.

Lies will enslave you. Now I'm talking to myself just as I'm talking to you because there's so many areas where we think that it's gray and God is calling us to be a people that are sincere - without wax - honest, dependable, trustworthy - 'let your yea be yea and your nay be nay' - and the Lord wants us to have that in our hearts. If we're going to speak the truth in our mouths, first we need to have it in our hearts and Jesus is the truth. When you receive him and his principles and his teachings into your heart - 'out of the abundance of the heart the mouth will speak' and our words will be changed. I'm hoping that I can have that kind of experience because some day we're going to be called to a point where we're going to be asked 'who do you believe in?' - And if you lie, you'll be lost.

We need to have such a love for the truth that even if we're executed for it, we're going to say 'Jesus is our lord', amen? We're going to take a stand for the truth in our word and in our deeds and you've got to really love the truth to be able to do that. You've got to really love the truth to be willing to die for the truth. If we're not faithful in the little things now, what will we do when a big test comes when it comes to truth? So we must cherish it now. Well, all of us have lied. I don't want anyone to be discouraged.

If it wasn't for God's mercy we'd be in big trouble, amen? But God can change our hearts and he can forgive our sins and he can pour his truth into our lives so I'm thankful for his redemption.

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