Summary: Well Jesus says in our passage today that we are to say what we mean and mean what we say. It’s at the foundation of what being a Christian is all about - that we are truthful, because God is truthful. Let’s turn to this passage, and look at what Jesus sa
Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount Part 8
Say What You Mean and Mean What You Say
Have you ever met a person who is constantly saying things like, "I swear I’m telling you the truth," or "Honest!" or even something like, "as God is my witness..."
Have you ever wondered why they say stuff like that? I think it’s because they know they have a reputation of not telling the truth, or at least stretching it to near the breaking point.
We all know people that we can’t trust to keep their word, and if the truth be told, we may have even been that person at times.
Well Jesus says in our passage today that we are to say what we mean and mean what we say.
It’s at the foundation of what being a Christian is all about - that we are truthful, because God is truthful.
Let’s turn to this passage, and look at what Jesus said about being a person who keeps his or her word.
Read Scriptures: Matthew 5:33-37.
I. Swearing makes God a partner in your oath.
Vs. 34-35 “But I tell you, Do not swear at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King.”
Everything belongs to God, and so including heaven and earth in your oath brings God into the picture.
And He may want nothing to do with your oath!
Maybe your oath is based on bad information, or based on an emotional surge not supported by knowledge of the facts. Or maybe your oath is just a plain lie because you have no intention of keeping it.
Jesus is saying, Look, if you need to invoke heaven and earth to back up your oath, then something’s wrong in how others perceive you.
You shouldn’t have to do it. He even goes on to say not to swear by your head, because you can’t make even one hair black or white. By the looks of some of you, you should be more worried about it staying in than about what color it is!
Bottom line: don’t bring in God to your oaths. Your character should reflect your intentions.
II. Breaking an oath reflects badly on God.
Numbers 23:19 “God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?”
The greatest task on earth for the Christian is to be an authentic reflection of Jesus - His character and His priorities.
So if you are in the habit of breaking your word, how do you think that reflects on God?
I’m of the opinion that we have enough people calling themselves Christians who break their word. We certainly don’t need any more. Because it reflects badly on God and His church.
III. Christians should be people of their word
Vs. 37 “Simply let your yes be yes and your No be no.”
I don’t think that’s too hard to grasp. We need to tell the truth.
By the way, being truthful includes what you DON’T say, and allowing misrepresentation to come by your silence or inaction.
Let me ask you a question - if I were to ask you why lying is wrong, what would some of your answers be?
The bottom-line answer is because God is truth. This goes back to what I said earlier about reflecting Jesus in our character and in our speech. Be truthful at all times.
When we as Christians give our word, we to know our limits. Unlike politicians who make big promises knowing full well there is no way they can follow through on them.
You can’t make promises for things out of your control. Look with me at James 4:13-15 “Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money." Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”
Don’t make iron-clad commitments and promises you have no control over fulfilling
You know what? There is one word that summarizes what I’m talking about today.
Saying what you mean and meaning what you say = integrity.
Hey listen. I don’t think there’s a person here today who can tell me they’ve got this down perfectly.
You may be light years ahead of where you used to be, but I’m guessing that we can all improve in this area. I’m always asking God to help me make sure I’m a man of my word. And you can bet that I’m a lot more careful about what I say.