Summary: #9 in 10 Commandment Series
TEXT: Ex. 20:16; Deut. 19:15-19; James 4:11-12; Matt. 18:15-17
INTRO: The 9th commandment affects the whole world whether they are Christians or not. In fact, that is the marvel of the 10 commandments, they stand alone as truth whether people believe in God or not. Since God is the author of all truth, it doesn’t matter what the world thinks about His Word, it is still truth!
The whole of humanity suffers when truth is sacrificed for lies. It has unfortunately become a way of life in our culture, too many today believe it is “normal” to tell lies:
ILLUS: In the July 15, 1993 Boardroom Reports, Peter LeVine writes: "When 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." -- Leadership, Vol. 15, no. 1.
It is tragic to realize just how easily we accept bending the truth. Since the adults of our society have modeled falsehoods so well it has even become the second language of our youth:
ILLUS: On a beautiful fall day, four of my granddaughter’s friends decided to go for a drive instead of showing up to class on time. When they did arrive, the girls explained to the teacher they had had a flat tire. The teacher accepted the excuse, much to the girls’ relief. "Since you missed this morning’s quiz, you must take it now," she said. "Please sit in the four corner seats in this room without talking." When they were seated, the teacher said, "On your paper write the answer to one question: ’Which tire was flat?’”-- Clara Null, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Christian Reader, "Lite Fare."
The only thing preventing a meltdown of human society are these words: “Do you promise to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?” A failure to do this could mean the destruction of innocent lives and a level of distrust within our culture that would prevent the truth from ever ruling.
PROP. SENT: The Bible calls us to guard our hearts against the damage that comes to both us and others when we bear false witness or lie. No society will long endure, nor will any human relationship that is not founded on truth.
I. BEARING A FALSE TESTIMONY Ex. 20:16; Deut. 19:15-19; James 4:11-12
1. The Obvious Lie – when truth is altered to say something that is simply not true.
ILLUS: Lincoln was trying to make a point. His hearer was unconvinced and stubborn. So Lincoln tried another tack. He said to the disputer, "Well, let’s see now. How many legs does a cow have?" The disgusted reply came back "Four, of course." Lincoln agreed, "That’s right. Now, suppose you call the cow’s tail a leg; how many legs would the cow have?" The opponent replied confidently, "Why, five, of course." Lincoln came back, "Now that’s where you’re wrong. Calling a cow’s tail a leg doesn’t make it a leg!" --James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988), p. 483.
a. No amount of telling the falsehood will change the truth, but it will change the relationship we have with the person we lied to or about.
b. When truth is not given, everyone loses.
2. Libel – this is using the truth in such a way as to hurt someone, sometimes in a court of law it is called, “malicious intent.”
a. While this is not an actual lie, it is the use of truth to still bear a false witness in such a way as to do damage to someone.
b. Even the truth must be used in a righteous way!
ILLUS: The editor of a small-town newspaper grew tired of being called a liar, and announced that he would tell the truth in the future. The next issue contained the following item: "Married--Miss Sylvan Rhodes and James Collins, last Saturday at the Baptist parsonage, by the Rev. J. Gordon. The bride is a very ordinary town girl, who doesn’t know any more about cooking than a jackrabbit, and never helped her mother three days in her life. She is not a beauty by any means and has a gait like a duck. The groom is an up-to-date loafer. He has been living off the old folks at home all his life and is now worth shucks. It will be a hard life." --James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988)
3. Slander – This is a lie intended to damage someone or protect self. It is a direct violation of the 9th commandment.