June, 2008 (3)

Do Not Lie
Exodus 20:16 Purpose:
The Law of Moses instructed the people of God to not only be fair to each other, but also to be honest with each other.

1. Exodus 20:16 - You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. 2. The Story of Ahab and Naboth – 1 Kings 21 a. Naboth owned a vineyard that Ahab wanted 1) Naboth refused to sell his vineyard – The land was his family’s tribal inheritance 2) When Naboth would not sell his vineyard to Ahab, the King became depressed b. Jezebel planned to get the vineyard for Ahab 1) At a public gathering, she had two “worthless” fellows accuse Naboth of blasphemy 2) Because of this false testimony, Naboth was executed 3) Following Naboth’s death, Ahab gladly took possession of the vineyard c. Of course, God was displeased with this murder and subsequent theft – He promised Ahab that his family (and his dynasty) would come to a violent end 3. An innocent man died because two men lied a. This is the very situation envisioned by the ninth command b. This is the very thing that is forbidden by the ninth command

I. The Command
A. In its narrow context, the law prohibited the Israelites from dishonesty in a judicial setting 1. To distort truth, or to lie, in a trial could cause an innocent man to be unjustly convicted of a crime was forbidden by God 2. Thus the law sought truth in these proceedings a. A witness could not lie b. Two or three witnesses were required for any man to be judged “guilty” 1) Deuteronomy 17:6 On the evidence of two witnesses or of three witnesses the one who is to die shall be put to death; a person shall not be put to death on the evidence of one witness. 2) Deuteronomy 19:15 A single witness shall not suffice against a person for any crime or for any wrong in connection with any offense that he has committed. Only on the evidence of two witnesses or of three witnesses shall a charge be established. c. A witness could not withhold evidence – Leviticus 5:1 {When one} hears a public adjuration to testify, and though he is a witness, whether he has seen or come to know the matter, yet does not speak, he shall bear his iniquity… B. In a broader context, the Jews understood this command to require honesty in all situations 1. Hosea indicted the people for their Godlessness a. Among other things, they had broken the commandments of God b. Note that lying is one of those broken commandments – Hosea 4:1-2 – There is no faithfulness or steadfast love, and no knowledge of God in the land; (2) there is swearing, lying, murder, stealing, and committing adultery; they break all bounds…

2. Many scriptures point to the evil of dishonesty – Note two examples a. Proverbs 6:16-19 There are six things that the LORD hates, seven that are an abomination to him: (17) haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, (18) a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, (19) a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers. b. Proverbs 12:22 Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD, but those who act faithfully are his delight.

1. Some things never change – People lie a. They tell “little white lies” to make themselves look better b. They lie about their products in order to enrich themselves c. They lie in court in order to acquit themselves 2. Because people lie, this ninth command is absolutely relevant to us and our society

II. Keeping the Command
A. Be honest 1. The Word of God consistently points us to truthfulness a. The Law of Moses points us to truthfulness – Leviticus 19:11 You shall not steal; you shall not deal falsely; you shall not lie to one another. b. Jesus instructs us to truthfulness 1) The Jews of the first century had become masters at “seeming” to tell the truth, but not really telling the truth 2) Jesus Matthew 5:37 Let what you say be simply 'Yes' or 'No'; anything more than this comes from evil. c. The Apostles taught the believers to be honest – Ephesians 4:25 Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. 2. Notes concerning lying a. There are all kinds of ways to lie 1) We may state as true something that not only is not true, but that we know is not true a) Children know how to do this remarkably well 1- I watched a child push down another child 2- When I asked the perpetrator if he had pushed the other child, he looked me in the eye and said, “No” b) Résumé padding is a common way people lie 1- On their résumés they list educational achievements and accomplishments which have been fabricated 2- George O’Leary is a prime example a- In 2001 he was hired to be the football coach at Notre Dame b- Five days later, he was fired i. In his résumé, he wrote that he held a Master’s Degree – He did not ii. In his résumé, he wrote that he had played college football – He had not 2) We may intentionally deceive another by what we say or don’t say a) These are statements that are not outright lies, but when spoken leave an incorrect impression b) Illustration – Several years ago I was wanting to lose some weight 1- I saw a package of pills that advertised that I could lose ten to twenty pounds in a month by taking these pills

2- There was a tiny asterisk next to the claim – I finally found the note (in about a two point type) that said that I could lose ten to twenty pounds if I used the pills in conjunction with a 750 calorie per day diet 3) We may flatter another to gain some perceived advantage a) We flatter when we praise that which is not praise worthy; or praise highly that which is worthy of no more than faint praise b) Illustration 1- A friend of mine and I listened to a lecture from a well-known preacher – We both agreed that the lecture was well below this man’s usual ability 2- A little later, we say the man on campus a- My friend wanted to meet the man and make a good impression on him b- He introduced himself and then gushed about the “wonderful” lecture that he had just given b. Randy Harris (of ACU) had a lecture at Pepperdine this year in which he share three reasons people lie 1) People lie to hurt others a) They perjure themselves in court to hurt another b) They gossip about others, they slander others 2) People lie to protect ourselves a) They lie to avoid responsibility for their actions b) They lie to gain for themselves some economic or social benefit 3) People lie to protect others a) This aspect of lying is a difficult aspect to grasp b) For instance, what do you say when: 1- A new grandfather asks you what you think of his grandson 2- Your wife asks if her new dress makes her look fat 3- This happened in Nazi Europe – A German guard comes to your door wanting to know if you are hiding Jews in your home c. Why truth is necessary 1) Only in a community characterized by truth can people function effectively a) Where there is no truth there is no trust 1- We cannot, we will not, trust one who lies to us 2- Where there is no trust, only evil results a- Where there is not trust, there is suspicion b- Where there is no truth, there is cynicism – Many Americans are cynical about our politicians because we have heard so many “campaign promises” that are but lies told to get our votes b) There must be truth and trust 1- There must be truth and trust in any community 2- There must certainly be truth and trust in the church a- The church has an important task to fulfill – The church must glorify God and share the Gospel and care for the hurting b- The church cannot accomplish its task if it is not a community built on trust engendered by truthy 2) God is truth a) Note these scriptures 1- Numbers 23:19 God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it? 2- John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” b) It is impossible to be Godly and dishonest at the same time – Colossians 3:910 – Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with

its practices (10) and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. B. Be just 1. Note these texts a. Proverbs 21:3 To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice. b. Isaiah 1:17 Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow's cause. c. Amos 5:24 But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream. 2. Notes concerning justice a. To be just is to be fair with people 1) We are just when we treat people equitably, fairly 2) The Bible is clear that we are to treat people fairly regardless of their wealth, their social standing, their relationship to us – The Bible is clear that we are never to treat people unfairly because of a bribe or a promise of some benefit b. We are to be just because God is just 1) Deuteronomy 32:4 – The Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is he. 2) To be Godly means that we be just a) We will not destroy the reputation of another with our words, actions, or inactions b) We will defend those who are innocent – We will stand with those who are oppressed c) We will meet the legitimate needs of those who are in need

1. The ninth command – “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” a. Be honest b. Be fair 2. One thought we did not address a. We are to be honest and fair with our “neighbors” b. Jesus made it very clear that our “neighbors” are not just those who are near us, who are like us, who care for us – Our “neighbors” are other humans, whoever they are, wherever they are 3. Matthew 7:12 “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”

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