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Summary: To note the necessity of being truthful at all times.

The 10 Commandments #9:

Tell the Truth

Text: Exodus 20:16

Thesis: To note the necessity of being truthful at all times.


(1) In a book, The Day America Told the Truth, 91% of those who were surveyed admitted that they lied about matters they considered trivial and 36% admitted that they lied about “important” matters.

(2) Think about the numerous examples that immediately come to mind, like:

- Pinocchio

- Bill Clinton

- Writer for the NY Times

(3) Let us look at the importance of telling the truth:


I. What constitutes a lie?

A. Doug Mushrow wrote an article entitled “19 Great American Lies.” Some of the ones that he included are:

1. “The check is in the mail”

2. “I’ll start my diet tomorrow”

3. “One size fits all”

4. “This hurts me more than it hurts you”

5. “I just need 5 minutes of your time”

B. “A lie is an intentional misleading of another person” (Shelly 179).

1. In other words, a lie is told when a person tells something that he/she knows to be untrue.

2. Truth “does not demand that you have the full content of factual truth in your possession, but it does require you to be trustworthy when you speak about some matter wherein the facts are in your possession” (Shelly 174).

3. Therefore, unintentional misinformation is not necessarily a lie.

a. However, we should be sure that we give as accurate information as possible.

b. E.g., there is a popular e-mail that has made its rounds several times concerning Madalyn O’Hair’s petition before the FCC to ban all religious broadcasting. This is just not true, but several people forward the e-mail and write to the FCC regularly without verifying the truthfulness of the claim ahead of time.

II. How do we lie?

A. We can lie by committing perjury (i.e., lying in a court of law).

1. This seems to be what is under discussion in the immediate context of Exodus 20.

2. According to Deut. 19:15-19, “the court was to impose on any perjurer the sentence his lie would have brought to the accused” (Shelly 176).

B. We can lie by slandering another person.

1. We can make up stuff about other people.

2. According to James 4:11, we speak against the law when we speak against others.

C. We can lie by intentionally giving inaccurate information regarding us or anybody else.

D. We can lie by intentionally withholding accurate information regarding us or anybody else.

III. Why is it wrong to lie?

A. God hates lying (cf. Prov. 6:16-19).

B. God cannot lie (Titus 1:2), and we are to be like God.

C. Liars will have their part in the lake of fire (Rev. 21:8).

D. Lying goes against the character of a Christian.

1. As Christians, we are to put off falsehood and speak truthfully (Eph. 4:25).

2. “Truth lies in character. Christ did not simply speak the truth; he was Truth – Truth through and through, for truth is a thing not of words but a life and being” (Frederick William Robertson).

E. “Lying is not just a bad habit. It is a symptom of heart disease, for it is the heart that harbors either bitterness and deceit or godly values” (Atchley 171).

1. We are told: “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the well spring of life. Put away perversity from your mouth; keep corrupt talk far from your lips” (Prov. 4:23-24).

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