Summary: In this sermon, we explore the answer to some important questions about lying.
A. Last week we began a new sermon series I am calling: “Speak Life – Speaking Words that Heal, not Hurt.
1. Last week, we explored the fact that words have the power of life and death.
a. Words have the power for much good or much evil.
2. God’s desire is for all of us to learn how to control our tongues so that our words bring life.
B. Today, I want us to focus on one aspect of our speech - speaking the truth.
1. I want us to explore the truth about lying.
2. We all remember the story of Pinochio and what happened to his nose when he lied.
a. Thankfully, our noses don’t grow when we fail to tell the truth, or we all would have some very long noses!
3. One day a minister was walking down the street when he came upon a group of about a dozen boys, all of them about 12 years of age.
a. The group of boys had surrounded a dog.
b. Concerned that the boys were hurting the dog, the minister went over and asked “What are you boys doing with this dog?”
c. One of the boys replied, “This dog is just an old neighborhood stray. We all want him, but only one of us can take him home. So we’ve decided that whichever one of us can tell the biggest lie will get to keep the dog.”
d. Of course, the minister was shocked by their little game and said, “You boys shouldn’t be having a contest telling lies!”
e. Then the minister launched into a ten minute sermon against lying, beginning with, “Don’t you boys know it's a sin to lie,” and ending with, “Why, when I was your age, I never ever told a lie.”
f. There was dead silence for about a minute.
g. And just as the minister was beginning to think he’d gotten through to them, one of the boys gave a deep sigh and said, “All right, the minister wins, give him the dog.”
4. The sad truth about lying is that all of us have lied in some way at some point in our lives.
a. There are many ways that the distortion of the truth takes place, but when it does, then damage is always the result.
C. When Abraham Lincoln was 24 years-old, he served as postmaster of New Salem, Illinois, for which he was paid and annual salary of $55.70.
1. The post office he was in charge of was closed, but it was several years before an agent arrived from Washington to settle accounts with ex-postmaster Lincoln, who was now a struggling lawyer, and not doing very well.
2. The agent informed Lincoln that there was $17 due the government.
3. Lincoln then opened an old trunk and took out a yellowed cotton rag bound with a string.
4. Untying it, he spread out the cloth and there was the $17.
5. He had been holding it for all those years.
6. Lincoln said, “I never use any man’s money but my own.”
7. Lincoln could have lied to the agent about the money and might have gotten away with it.
8. But even 24 years before he entered the White House as president, Lincoln was showing the kind of character that earned him the title of “Honest Abe.”
D. Don’t you wish our government officials and American citizens were as truthful as Honest Abe?
1. Are you and am I as truthful as Honest Abe?
2. The sad truth is, telling the truth has fallen on hard times.
3. Since our culture has shifted to the ethics of expediency and self-advancement, falsehood is commonly seen as a virtue.
a. Transforming lying from vice to virtue is representative of the great cultural shift in our thinking.
b. To the modern American, wrong is not always wrong, and right is not always right.
c. Therefore, lying is not always wrong and telling the truth is not always right.
4. Unfortunately, this undermining of the absolute value of truth has devastating consequences.
a. Truth has valuable allies: like trust, integrity, security and stability.
b. Conversely, falsehood is allied with suspicion, doubt, insecurity, resentment and anger.
c. Augustine said, “When regard for truth has been broken down or even slightly weakened, all things will remain in doubt.”
5. This erosion of trust and confidence touches every relationship into which non-truth is injected.
a. When lies permeate our homes and marriages, there is instability and destruction.
b. When lies permeate our culture then governments become suspect, media information is viewed with skepticism, and business relationships become untrustworthy.
c. No relationship can succeed, let alone survive, if it is based on that which is false.
6. That is why God makes it so very clear in the Bible that telling the truth is so important.