Last week I mentioned how violated we felt when we had something stolen, when someone took what belonged to us. I think that if we were honest today we’d all agree that there is a very similar feeling of violation that comes when we feel that we have been deceived. Most relationships can take almost anything except deceit.
Next time you’re at a party and want to stimulate conversation ask people what they are looking for in a relationship, and see how many of them talk about honesty.
I’m sure that a good part of the hurt that comes when a spouse betrays the other isn’t about the physical side of it, as hurtful as that may be. The most hurtful part are the lies, the deception.
Now if you’ve been with us over the past several weeks then you know that we are coming to the end of a series on the Ten Commandments, a ten part series as strange as that might seem. If you haven’t been with us over the past several weeks, well we are still coming to the end of a series on the Ten Commandments. And today we are looking at number 9, which says in Exodus 20:16 Do not tell lies about others. The original meaning of this commandment was pretty specific. It concerned how we should deal with other people’s names and reputations. You might recall the third commandment dealt with respecting the name of God, this commandment deals with respecting the name of others. And specifically it concerned with not lying about them, in particular not lying about them in legal situations.
A couple of weeks ago I told you how the only way a capital case could be heard in ancient Israel was if there were two eye witnesses to the crime. As a further safe guard listen to Deuteronomy 17:7 Get rid of those who are guilty of such evil. Take them outside your town gates and have everyone stone them to death. But the witnesses must be the first to throw stones. Anyone see the significance here? Do you know why the first people to throw the stones were to be the witnesses that testified against them? What happened was that if the accused was later found innocent then the witnesses were guilty of murder.
The crime of perjury was taken very, very seriously. Again looking at the book of
Deuteronomy 19:17-19 If you are lying and the accused is innocent, then you will be punished without mercy. You will receive the same punishment the accused would have received if found guilty, whether it means losing an eye, a tooth, a hand, a foot, or even your life.
Israel, the crime of telling lies in court must be punished. And when people hear what happens to witnesses that lie, everyone else who testifies in court will tell the truth.
And so in it’s simplest form this commandment dealt with perjury, and protecting peoples reputations. However it has come to mean so much more than that, because the ninth commandment has come to mean “Do not lie.”
To put that into perspective listen to what else the bible says concerning lying:
Proverbs 6:16-19 There are six or seven kinds of people the Lord doesn’t like:
Those who are too proud or tell lies or murder, those who make evil plans or are quick to do wrong, those who tell lies in court or stir up trouble in a family.
Not only does God not like liars but listen to the end result of people who constantly lie,
Revelation 21:8 But I will tell you what will happen to cowards and to everyone who is unfaithful or dirty-minded or who murders or is sexually immoral or uses witchcraft or worships idols or tells lies. They will be thrown into that lake of fire and burning sulfur. This is the second death. If it’s true that we are known by the company we keep, then liars are aren’t very well thought of in the scriptures.
Here is a list of "Top 10 Liars’ Lies": 10. We’ll stay only five minutes. 9. This will be a short meeting. 8. I’ll respect you in the morning. 7. The check is in the mail. 6. I’m from the government, and I’m here to help you. 5. This hurts me more than it hurts you. 4. Your money will be cheerfully refunded. 3. We service what we sell. 2. Your table will be ready in just a minute. 1. I’ll start exercising tomorrow.
Most people know that lying is wrong, regardless of what else they believe most people understand that it is not right to lie, regardless of what they might say they believe. So why, Why do we lie?
There are actually several reasons why people lie: To Impress People That would never happen would it? But that’s what it is when we drop names, you know imply that we know someone important when we are just barely acquainted with them. Pastor’s do it when they stretch their statistics, like when people ask how many people attend BCC and I say oh between four and five hundred, after all 70 is between 4 and 500. You do it when you make your job out to be more then what it really is or when you kind of move your kids marks up when you’re bragging on them.
Someone said that the closest any of us will come to perfection is our resumes. A government study in the states came to the conclusion that 1 in 3 working Americans is hired with educational or career credentials that were altered in some way, that means lying on your resume. I read a story the other day that in 1993 the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey ran a help-wanted ad for electricians with expertise at using Sontag connectors, it got 170 responses even though there is no such thing as a Sontag connector. The Authority ran the ad to find out how many applicants falsify resumes.
To Please People When you agree with strong personality people, even though you don’t agree with them. You’re lying. Ever happen to, you just go along with it and then afterwards you’re thinking “I don’t know why I did that, I don’t believe it.” Sometimes we do that by our silence, instead of stepping up and saying no that’s wrong, and especially when it concerns someone else. You know where I’m going here, someone slanders someone but to keep the peace you don’t step to the other persons defence. Robert Louis Stevenson “The cruelest lies are often told in silence. A man may have sat in a room for hours and not opened his mouth, and yet come out of that room a disloyal friend.”
For Revenge Someone has done something to you and so you tell a lie about them, or you spread a story that you know is untrue. Just to get back at them. Why do you think Jesus was murdered? The Religious leaders of the day felt threatened by him and so they had him charged falsely with blasphemy and treason. They lied about him.
To Make A Profit Talked a little bit about this last week in regards to stealing, cause it’s kind of a two for one deal, when you misrepresent something to sell it you’re not only lying you’re also stealing. Ever have someone offer to give you a receipt for less then you paid for a car to reduce the tax you’d pay on it? Ever have someone offer to give you a larger receipt for something so you can claim it on your expense account. Two commandments for the price of one. Lying and stealing.
To Escape Punishment “I didn’t know I was speeding officer, my speedometer must be broken.” “I didn’t know this was a no parking zone.” “My assignment’s not done because the dog ate it, or more up to date the computer ate it.” “I wasn’t in class yesterday because I was sick.” Love the story about the four college guys who were on their way to an exam but it was a gorgeous day so they kind of got waylaid and so at the next class they told the teacher they tried to make it but had a flat tire. The teacher seemed to accept that and said they could rewrite the test. He put one in each corner of the room with a copy of the test, and said “now to start there is an extra question, without speaking to the others or looking around, what tire was it?”
For Convenience You write a sick note for your kid at school, You have your secretary tell callers you’re not in when what you mean is you don’t want to be disturbed, you call in sick to work, but you’re still well enough to go shopping, or play a round of golf. What about when you say you’ll serve on a committee, go to a meeting or attend a party when you have no intention of doing it but it’s easier to say yes and not show up then to try to think up an excuse.
It was Walter Scott who wrote: O, what a tangled web we weave, When first we practice to deceive! more to the point might be the addition made by J.R. Pope who wrote “But when we’ve practiced quite a while, How vastly we improve our style.”
You see lying can become a pattern that is very hard to break. I knew a guy one time who had lied so much that it was second nature, it was easier for him to lie then to tell the truth. And people knew it, I mean if this guy told me it was daytime I’d go out and check for myself.
Lying has two cousins as well, one is distortion the other is exaggeration. It’s easy to distort the truth. It’s often done in character assassination, how simple it is to subtly let something slip like, When someone says “Boy her career has really taken off” all you have to say is “Yeah, but how do you think she got where she is?” don’t have to say anything else.
And then there are those who boast or stretch the truth like a contorted piece of Silly Putty that’s called exaggeration, you ever see the bumper sticker that says “The older I get the better I was”? When we aren’t speaking the truth then we are speaking a lie, or as one Yiddish proverb says, “A half truth is a whole lie” Sometimes it’s not even intentional, it was said of one person, “He doesn’t exaggerate, he just remembers big.” It’s still lying.
Wouldn’t it be great to have a buzzer in our soul? You know so when you lied you got a little jolt. Actually if you’re a Christian, you have that buzzer it’s called the Holy Spirit, and you’ve felt that jolt. And when it happens you have one of two choices, you can catch your self, and correct yourself or you can let it go. And if you let it go, then that’s called sin.
And you cannot continue in sin and maintain a healthy relationship with God. In John 8:32 Jesus said “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” The converse is true as well, if it’s the truth that sets you free, you will be enslaved by lies. God’s very being and nature was and is truth. To substitute a lie for the truth is like embracing a false god at that point in time. We are about to celebrate communion, and you need to examine yourself to make sure that you are living and walking in the truth.
There was nothing special about them, they were just ordinary people, people very much like you and people very much like me. The only thing that made them different was the relationship that they had with their friend Jesus. Just as the only thing that makes us different then the people around us is our relationship with our friend Jesus.
For three years they had walked the roads of Galilee with him and listened as he taught and stood in awe watching the miracles he performed. At first he was just a neat friend, then he was a prophet and now, while now maybe he was the Messiah.
Little did they know that this would be the last meal they would ever share and countless generations would actually refer to it as “The Last Supper”. And together they ate and laughed and reminisced. And as Jesus looked at his 12 closest friends he wondered how long his memory would remain fresh in their minds. How long would it take for Matthew to forget the day at the Tax booth, or for Andrew to forget the day at the beach or for Peter to forget the night in the storm?
And so what he did was to take something that all of his followers would understand and then he adapted it. That something was the Passover feast of the Jews. That particular feast had been instituted over 2000 years before when Moses led the Jewish people out of slavery in Egypt. Their escape was only brought about by the direct intervention of God and they were directed to celebrate that escape each year in a prescribed manner. Each year the Passover was celebrated in exactly the same way that it had been the year before and each aspect of the celebration was explained so that every new generation of Jews would remember what God had done.
This was Jesus 33rd Passover and the third one that he would celebrate with the twelve friends whom we call apostles. And it was this celebration that Jesus adapted so that he would be remembered not only by his followers but by each successive generation of his followers. And so 2000 years later we still celebrate what Christ did for us and we call that celebration communion.
The Apostle Paul wrote to a church in the city of Corinth to explain the communion celebration in 1 Corinthians 11:23-29and this is how he tells the story, 1 Corinthians 11:23-29 I have already told you what the Lord Jesus did on the night he was betrayed. And it came from the Lord himself.
He took some bread in his hands. Then after he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is given for you. Eat this and remember me.”
After the meal, Jesus took a cup of wine in his hands and said, “This is my blood, and with it God makes his new agreement with you. Drink this and remember me.”
The Lord meant that when you eat this bread and drink from this cup, you tell about his death until he comes.
But if you eat the bread and drink the wine in a way that isn’t worthy of the Lord, you sin against his body and blood. That’s why you must examine the way you eat and drink. If you fail to understand that you are the body of the Lord, you will condemn yourselves by the way you eat and drink.
Because the sacrament of the Lord’s table, or Communion was given by Christ himself it needs to be approached with special sacredness, and we can only be properly prepared by having our minds and hearts open to god, and his ways. We need to approach the lord’s table knowing that we are living in obedience to God’s will for our lives. So let us pause for a period of silent prayer, asking the Holy Spirit to search our hearts and to bring us into a oneness with the Holy God whom we serve.
As we come together to celebrate communion it is a time to remember what Christ has done for each of us individually. He died for each of us, but that gift only becomes valid when we accept it, and so communion isn’t for everyone, but it is for everyone who calls him Lord, everyone who has accepted His gift of salvation and forgiveness.
It was during the Passover celebration that Jesus broke what was known as the bread of affliction. Before it had been used to signify the persecutions the Israelites had endured at the hands of the Egyptians. But Christ explained how he would suffer for each one of us. Toward the end of the meal Christ took a cup of wine and explained how the blood of the Passover lamb had saved the people of Israel, and how the spilling of his blood would cleanse those who accepted him from their sins. And so two thousand years ago, Christ told his disciples, don’t forget me, don’t forget what I’ve done for you, whenever you do this remember me and what I’ve done.
The same night that he was betrayed, he took bread and when he had given thanks he broke it and then gave it to his disciples and said, "This is my body which I’ve surrendered for you, eat and remember what I’ve done for you"
Let us remember the body of our Lord Jesus Christ that he gave up for each one of us. It was through his sacrifice that we have eternal life. Take and eat with thanksgiving for what he has done for you.
It was after the meal that he took a cup of wine and after giving thanks he gave it to them, saying "This cup represents the new covenant of my blood. Whenever you drink it, remember the cleansing power that my blood has had in you life."
As we drink let us remember the blood of the lord Jesus that was shed for you, and for your eternal salvation. Whenever you drink it remember that he shed for you and be thankful.
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