Summary: To help listeners be more convicted against the presence of falsehood in the church and in their lives and to be people of truth
4 senior students had spring fever real bad and skipped the first 2 hours of school. They arrived late, and each one had the same story – “We had a flat tire.” The teacher said, “OK. Take a seat. You missed a quiz earlier, so you’ll need take it now. Take out a blank sheet of paper with your name on it.” The students all sat down, got out a piece of paper, and wrote their names on it. The teacher said, “The test has only one question – which tire was flat?”
Stats - Once again, from Patterson and Kim’s book The Day America Told the Truth 64% of Americans will lie for convenience as long as no one is hurt.
Doug Mushrow tells us there are 19 great American lies. Here are 12 from his list. See if you agree:
1. The Check is in the mail
2. I’ll start my diet tomorrow
3. We service what we sell
4. Give me your number, and the doctor will call you right back
5. Money cheerfully refunded
6. One size fits all
7. This hurts me more than it hurts you
8. I just need 5 minutes of your time
9. Your table will be ready in a few minutes
10. Let’s have lunch sometime
11. It’s not the money, it’s the principle
12. I’m from the federal government and I’m here to help you
Use whatever creative description you want to: Strategic misrepresentation, Reality augmentation, Terminological inexactitude - not being truthful and the problems that it creates, is no new issue – neither is it limited to our culture.
Ill – Remember Pinocchio, who shunned Jiminy Cricket’s advice and decided that lying was the way to avoid trouble. His growing nose has become a universal symbol for dishonesty.
If only it really worked that way – There’d be a lot of people running around with awfully big noses. Deception has become an accepted norm in our current culture. We may not have the noses for it, but we’re living in the midst of a Pinocchio Syndrome – to borrow a phase from Rubel Shelly.
Joke - Grandma took her 2 grandchildren out to lunch and they misbehaved. On the way home one of them, a seven-year-old girl, asked, "Are you going to tell Mom how we acted?"
Grandmother said, "No, but if she should ask, I can't lie."
The boy said, "What do you mean you can't lie? I'm only 5 years old, and I can lie great!" (At least he was honest!)
I’m addressing the Pinocchio syndrome because of #9 in God’s Top 10: Exodus 20:16 You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
This command is speaking specifically about not lying to get someone else in trouble in a legal situation. But I want to somehow gracefully get from this 9th command to a more general topic of being a people of truth in general.
You and I, and the people in the 1st Cent., have a tendency to take these 10 Commandments and use them to impose limits, rather than seeing that they are for doing the opposite. We see that it says not to commit adultery, so we say that lusting but not going any farther is OK. We see that it says to not murder, so we go ahead and hate people, we just don’t kill them. Jesus gets a hold of these ideas in the Sermon on the Mount and says that misses the point entirely.
We could do the same with this command today real easily. Don’t give false testimony. In other words, don’t lie about someone in such a way that you hurt them. Or, as some people have adopted, don’t lie if it’s going to hurt someone. So we could say, “There. I don’t lie about people to their harm. I’ve kept this command.”
But like the rest of the Top 10, the NT repeats and expands this command into a more general need. That need is what I want to talk about, but we won’t mention it until the end. The way we’ll get there is a little different than usual…
Let’s start with this fact::
I. You Can’t Separate God from Truth
“I’d like a small serving of God. Not so much that I’m too full for other things. Not so little that other people can’t see Him on the plate. I’d like just enough God for me to feel like He’s there, but not such a big helping that there’s no room for dessert; small enough, that if I decide I don’t want Him, I can cover Him over with my napkin. And when you put Him on the plate, make sure He doesn’t touch the other stuff. I don’t want Him mixed in with everything else. I’d like just a small serving of God.”