Summary: Teaching on the 9th Commandment and the danger of lying
CCCAG May 28th, 2017
Scripture- Exodus 20:16
There was a Rabbi that moved into a small community to minister to the Jewish population there. In his congregation, he had a man who was known to be very confrontational and difficult to deal with. Within a few weeks of the new rabbi being there, something was said during a teaching moment that rubbed that man the wrong way, and he started to loudly complain about it around town to anyone who would listen. The stories started to morph into accusations of misconduct by the rabbi that spread into neighboring towns, and for years the rabbi had to fight against these stories and rumors that kept him closed out of other Jewish congregations as well as being respected by the other faith communities around him.
One day, the man who had started the whole mess had a major tragedy happen in his life, and even though he had trashed the rabbi to the community, the rabbi still came and helped him through this very rough time. The man was stricken in his heart by the rabbi’s actions, because he knew that his words had deeply hurt the man on a personal level, as well as call into question his professional life. The man asked the rabbi for forgiveness and asked if there was any way he could make amends.
The rabbi told him- “I want you to go home and find an old feather pillow. Take it out to a field this evening and cut it open and shake out all of the feathers. When you are done with that, please come back and see me.”
The man was confused, but out of genuine remorse for his actions and gratitude for the rabbi’s support he did what he was asked- and feathers flew everywhere and covered a few acres of land. The man went back to the rabbi and told him he had down as he was asked.
The rabbi said, “Now I want you to go down to the field and pick up every single one of those feathers and get them back into the pillow and sew it up again.”
The man protested and said, “Rabbi, that would be impossible- most of those feathers have flown away and can never be found”
The rabbi replied, “Yes, it is impossible. Those feathers are the words we speak. Once we release them to the wind, we can never know where they will fly, and we can never find them or put them back into our mouths ever again.”
This story introduces us to our message on the 9th commandment today it’s found in-
Exodus 20:16 “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
Prayer- loose lips sink ships, words thrown casually hurt the most
Today we are going to study the 9th Commandment and the reasons that God gave it to the Hebrews at Mt. Sinai and what it means for us today.
Today we are going to break this truth down into a few parts. The first part of the message will cover the theological side of giving false testimony which is the biblical phrase for lying, then follow it with how lying damages us on a spiritual level, and then end it with lying about other people.
Buckle in…this one might be rough. I almost came down and used the small podium again because this message is just as convicting to prepare and preach as it will be for you to hear it.
The modern way to say the 9th Commandment is simply “Do Not Lie”. With any of the commandments, you can also speak it’s opposite to show that it’s true-
Do not murder. Support Life
Do not Steal. Protect and cherish private property
Do not commit adultery- be completely Godly and honorable in your heart dealings with each other
This one is do not lie, which means to Always speak the truth.
Why is this important to us today, and ultimately, why is this important to God?
I. Lying is the anthesis or opposite of the nature of God
Deut 32:4 as well as dozens of other scriptures describe God as a God of truth.
But what is truth? Truth is a word that has undergone some serious damage in our world today. If you make a truth claim to someone on the street, they might reply to you- “Whose truth are we talking about?”
In this age of relativism and situational ethics, truth is a very questionable word.
I was talking with an atheist recently about the truthfulness of the bible. She said, “Well, that’s your truth. My truth is that the bible is a collection of writings by primitive people who didn’t understand natural occurrences so they made up some sky-god and formed a religion around him. She quoted Arthur C Clarke, a science fiction writer who wrote the book that became a movie called “2001, a Space Odyssey”.