Summary: Christians should be truthful in words and deeds.
ILLUSTRATION Some years ago UPI reported this prayer by the Chaplain of the Kansas Senate: “Omniscient Father: Help us to know who is telling the truth. One side tells us one thing, and the other just the opposite. And if neither side is telling the truth, we would like to know that, too. And if each side is telling half the truth, give us the wisdom to put the right halves together. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
Our passage tonight tells us that we Christians must be truthful in what we say. Please open your bibles to Matthew 5:33-37.
Why must we be truthful in what we say?
1. We must be truthful in what we say because God expects that we mean what we say.
Deuteronomy 23:21-24 21If you make a vow to the LORD your God, do not be slow to pay it, for the LORD your God will certainly demand it of you and you will be guilty of sin. 22 But if you refrain from making a vow, you will not be guilty. 23 Whatever your lips utter you must be sure to do, because you made your vow freely to the LORD your God with your own mouth.
Oath is a solemn vow or promise to fulfill a pledge. It is a statement by which people give assurance that they have spoken the truth or by which they obligate themselves to perform certain actions.
God is usually invoked as guarantor of the oath, with the expectation that a broken or false oath will be punished. It is a serious statement of promise.
Oaths thus are a holy ritual and to swear falsely is to profane God’s name (Exod. 20:7; Lev. 19:12). Swearing by God’s name was most solemn (Matt. 26:63), but people also swore by holy things (Matt. 5:36; 23:16-22) and by raising their right hands (Rev. 10:5-6).
Jesus taught that our conversation should be so honest, and our character so true, that we would not need “crutches” to get people to believe us. The Pharisees used all kinds of tricks to sidestep the truth, and oaths were among them.
They would avoid using the holy name of God, but they would come close by using the city of Jerusalem, heaven, earth, or some part of the body.
2. We must be truthful in what we say because God is pleased by it.
Proverbs 12:22 The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in men who are truthful.
Psalm 15:1-2 Lord, who may dwell in your sanctuary? Who may live on your holy hill? He whose walk is blameless and who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from his heart
The term “detest” means to denounce and hate. In terms of oath, God is not an object that we can manipulate or utilize for our own needs. Remember God can see our hearts and intentions.
When do we need to be truthful in what we say?
Ideally, we must be truthful in what we say all the time. But we need to be truthful in what we say especially under the following circumstances:
a) When making a commitment – when we agree to meet certain needs and participate in responsibilities.
b) When making a promise – when we pledge to do something or give something for God or in behalf of his work or to others.
c) When giving an opinion – when we disclose our thoughts on certain issues or situations.