“Love and Truth” – Deuteronomy 5:20

June 11th, 2017

Dt 5:20

“Love and Truth”

Aux text:Eph 4:17-32

Call to Worship: Psa 15

 

Service Orientation:  Truth is reality—The way things really are. The Trinune God is truth.  Any lie, deception, perversion, distortion, misrepresentation, exaggeration, equivocation or falsification of reality is demonic.  And any demonic activity is an obstacle for one attempting to perceive or live by the truth.  Love rejoices with the truth.

 

Bible Memory Verse for the Week:  The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit. —  Proverbs 18:21

 

Background Information:

  • God has set two natural fences to keep in the tongue, the teeth and lips; and this commandment is a third fence set about it, that it should not break forth into evil. (Thomas Watson, The Ten Commandments, 169)
  • The commandment is not simply about telling the truth in general, but about telling the truth in the place where it counts most, because that is where lying can cost most–the court of law. The protection of the process of justice was a major concern in Israel, and in the Decalogue the full weight of the identity, character, and action of Yahweh is thrown behind it.  Breaking the ninth commandment would frequently involve breaking the third, which increased its seriousness.  (Christopher J. H. Wright, Understanding the Bible Commentary Series: Dt, 83-4)
  • Israel’s understanding of the centrality of the law courts for the proper function of society and the security and protection of each member of that society is accented again here. If the courts work improperly and one is dealt with unfairly, all is lost and anything can happen.  (Patrick D. Miller, Interpretation: Dt, 93)
  • Yahweh prohibited murder, adultery, and stealing in the preceding commandments; but in order to achieve this, so that life, marriage, and property are truly safeguarded, good legal institutions are needed. The lying witness is a great danger, but if the entire system of justice no longer functions and the judges are corrupt, the situation is even worse.  For then society itself totters on the edge of collapse (see Isa 1:17, 23, 26; Jer 7:5-6; Amos 5:7; Eccl 3:16).  “If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (Ps 11:3).  (J. Douma, The Ten Commandments, 315)
  • For centuries, lies have been categorized in three classes: the malicious lie, the jocular lie, and the lie of necessity.

Concerning the malicious lie (Latin, mendacium perniciosum) we need not say very much, in view of what we have already written.  This kind of lie is to be condemned.  It is always a violation of the ninth commandment.  For we may never harm our neighbor by lying, which we do in all those forms of lying we discussed earlier.

The jocular lie (Latin, mendacium iocosum) is a bit more complex.  We amuse each other with “untruths.”  When someone amuses us with a tall tale, he is not necessarily guilty of lying.  For usually we sense immediately that he is speaking in jest.  “Lying” intends to deceive.  That kind of humor will not hurt us.  But it is different when humor is designed to deceive and deride our neighbor.  That is no longer a form of joking.  Humor turns sour and the joke becomes a lie.  (J. Douma, The Ten Commandments, 324-5)

The third kind of lie, the so-called lie of necessity (Latin, medacium officiosum) requires a lengthier discussion.  The Latin phrase describes better than the English what this kind of lie involves:  lying for my neighbor’s benefit.  This kind of lying intends no harm against my neighbor (which harm is a violation of the ninth commandment), but the opposite–to help him.  This is not a lie against my neighbor, but for his benefit.  (J. Douma, The Ten Commandments, 325-6)

  • Occasionally, in addition to the three kinds of lie mentioned above, a fourth is mentioned: the polite lie (Latin, mendacium humilitatis).  Do we really mean what we write when we sign a letter, “very truly yours” or Sincerely yours”?  Is it honest to answer our host’s question, “Have you had enough to eat?”  with a polite “Yes, thank you,” even though we would really like another helping?

In general, we can say that here we are dealing with customs of politeness, not lying.  For a lie intends to deceive, but we are not deceiving when we show respect to whom it is due or follow rules of etiquette.  (J. Douma, The Ten Commandments, 331-2)

  • The seriousness of the crime of perjury is evidenced by the fact that those who commit it will suffer the same punishment that the victim would have suffered if he or she had been condemned (Dt 19:16-19). Moses says this is done so that “the rest shall hear and fear, and shall never again commit any such evil among you” (Dt 19:20).  Moses does not leave room for leniency with false witnesses:  “Your eye shall not pity.  It shall be life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot” (Dt 19:21).  Clearly, then, false witness is a very serious sin.  (Ajith Fernando, Preaching the Word: Dt, 231)
  • The OT itself expands the force of this commandment by connecting the witness in the court with more general practices of lying, particularly slander. That is probably seen in the “false report” of Ex 23:1a.  Lv 9:11 clearly shows us why this commandment is placed between those having to do with stealing and coveting (cf. Lv 19:16).  Both lying and coveting are forms or aspects of stealing, whether it be life, property, or reputation.  (Patrick D. Miller, Interpretation: Dt, 94)
  • We should remember that the Decalogue is not a code of laws in the legislative sense. It is never called “laws,” but “words.”  It sets out the boundaries of required and prohibited behaviors for the covenant people as matters of fundamental principle.  (Christopher J. H. Wright, Understanding the Bible Commentary Series: Dt, 85)
  • If there is one theme we have seen all throughout our study of the Ten Commandments, it is this: Mankind does not take seriously the sins that most offend God.  Certainly this seems true when it comes to this, the ninth commandment, because lying is so commonplace today that people are sometimes ridiculed for being truthful.  (D. James Kennedy, God’s Absolute Best For You, 151)

 

Make us choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong, and never to be contented with half truth when whole truth can be won. Endow us with courage that is born of loyalty to all that is noble and worthy, that scorns to compromise with vice and injustice and knows no fear when right and truth are in jeopardy. (Prayer said at West Point during chapel services)

 

The question to be answered is . . . What must we consider in observing the ninth commandment?

 

Answer:  Truth is reality—The way things really are. We cannot know of truth unless or until we know the Truth.  We cannot enjoy life to the fullest until we know reality.  And we will never know reality to the extent that we are listening to the Demonic. We serve Satan whenever we give false testimony.

 

The Word for the Day is . . . Truth

 

People expect that politicians, lawyers, lobbyists, advocates, journalists, talk-show hosts, and anyone else in the public view will lie if it serves their purpose.  It is taken as a given that, if something is not a full-out lie, then it is a partial truth, spin, context, and distortion.  (Dr. Laura Schlessinger, The Ten Commandments, 269)

 

In some regards, lying is more serious than stealing.  The thief takes material things, while the liar creates injustice and misery.  The liar also kills himself spiritually by diminishing in himself the divine glow that raised him above the rest of the animal kingdom through acknowledging his creation as being for the benefit of his neighbor and God.  (Dr. Laura Schlessinger, The Ten Commandments, 271)

 

Freedom of choice depends upon a knowledge of the case at hand, which lies take away.  Integrity depends upon speaking from one’s own perspective, which lies remove.  When lies are habitual and the words of everyday discourse unreliable, we plunge into doubt and suspicion.  Life together is not possible without a minimal trust in the veracity of words.  An unwritten law exists:  Unless checks are placed on the proclivity to evade truthfulness, corporate existence flounders and is altogether nasty and brutish.   (Charles M. Sweezey, Interpretation: a Journal of Bible and Theology, 407)

 

The verbal inflation rate is high and a lot of verbal counterfeit enters circulation.  So we need a variety of methods to verify what we are saying.  Everything needs to be documented with invoices and receipts.  Licenses, customs officials, speed checks, and tax inspectors are all proof positive that we need a network of supervision because we compromise the truth very easily.  We are not inherently trustworthy.  (J. Douma, The Ten Commandments, 321)

 

What must we consider in observing the ninth commandment?:

I-  Truth is reality.   We are created in God’s likeness and image.  (Gn 1:26-27; 9:6)

 

Either we conform the truth to our desires or we conform our desires to the truth. (Os Guinness; Time for Truth, 110)

 

The most difficult lie I have ever contended with is this:  Life is a story about me. (Donald Miller; Blue Like Jazz, 182)

 

What you believe about a thing’s reality or existence has absolutely nothing to do with the thing’s reality.  (Steve Brown message “Invitation to a Party”)

 

But what about relativism?  It poses as humble by saying:  “We mere mortals cannot know what the truth is–or even if there is any universal truth.”  This sounds humble.  But look carefully at what is happening.  It’s like a servant saying:  “I am not smart enough to know which person here is my master–or if I even have a master.”  The result is that he doesn’t have to submit to any master and can be his own master.  His vaunted weakness is a ruse to cover his rebellion against is master.

That is in reality what happens to relativists:  in claiming to be too lowly to know the truth, they exalt themselves as supreme arbiter of what they can think and do.  This is not humility.  This is rooted in deep desire not to be subordinate to the claims of truth.  The name for this is pride.  The only way pride can be conquered in us is for us to believe in Truth and be conquered by it so that it rules us and we don’t rule it.   (John Piper, Think, 112-3)

 

Augustine was right when he said that we love the truth when it enlightens us, but we hate it when it convicts us.  Maybe we can’t handle the truth.  (Norman L. Geisler & Frank Turek, I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist, 36)

 

For truth is reality.  That which is false is unreal.  The more clearly we see the reality of the world, the better equipped we are to deal with the world.  The less clearly we see the reality of the world—the more our minds are befuddled by falsehood, misperceptions, and illusions—the less able we will be to determine correct courses of action and make wise decisions.  Our view of reality is like a map . . .  If the map is true and accurate, we will generally know where we are, and if we have decided where we want to go, we will generally know how to get there.  If the map is false and inaccurate, we generally will be lost.  (Scott Peck)  (Dr. Chris Thurman; The Lies We Believe, 167)

 

Once I was pondering why our Lord was so fond of this virtue of humility, and this thought came to me–in my opinion not as a result of reflection but suddenly:  it is because God is supreme Truth; and to be humble is to walk in truth, for it is a very deep truth that of ourselves we have nothing good but only misery and nothingness.  Whoever does not understand this walks in falsehood.  The more anyone understands he is walking in truth.  (Teresa of Avila, The Interior Castle, VI:10:6)

 

I have known educated people, professing Christians, who purposely gathered together for religious discussion men and women representing the widest possible varieties of religious conviction.  This was far enough.  But unfortunately their aim, as they put it, was to get everyone to make his “individual contribution” (how fraught with error this phrase can be) so that collectively they might arrive at the truth.  Now there is much to be said, socially and intellectually, for bringing together people of different outlooks and beliefs; but there is no rational basis for the notion that by mixing a number of conflicting views you are likely to arrive at the truth.  You cannot construct truth from a mass of dissonant and disparate material.  You cannot construct truth at all:  you can only discover it.  And the more noisily opinionated people intervene with their contributions, the less likely you are to discover it. (Harry Blamires; The Christian Mind: How Should a Christian Think?, 112)

 

People cannot change truth, but truth can change people.

 

Throw away the excuses and face reality!  The fact that you are grumpy in the morning does not mean that “you got up on the wrong side of the bed.”  It means your old sinful nature in in control.  Because you enjoy hearing some “dirt” about other people does not mean you have an inquisitive mind.  It means that you are not abiding in Christ.  Because you easily “blow your cool” does not mean you have a short fuse.  It means you have a weak connection to Jesus.  (Don Matzat; Christ Esteem, 125)

 

“It takes a whole lot of words to float a lie.  The truth just is.”  (Steve Brown)

 

Relativism is, therefore, only another word for anarchy, and that is why truth itself becomes elusive when there is no longer a point of reference.

Where, then, may one begin?  There are fundamentally four questions that every thinking human being must answer:  the questions of origin, meaning, morality, and destiny.  How did life come to be in the first place?  To what purpose is my life?  How may I choose between right and wrong?  What happens to me when I die?  When these questions are individually answered, the answers must be seen to correspond with reality.  These answers are then collectively tested for coherence, that is, that they do not contradict each other.  Answers that correspond with reality and fit into a coherent system provide the individual a world-view by which all of life’s choices may then be made.  (Ravi Zacharias, Deliver Us From Evil: Restoring the Soul in a Disintegrating Culture, 219)

 

The big lie of Communism has all but vanished.  But we live with another in its place.  Tragically, in our times we are all greengrocers who have placed in our shop windows placards declaring, “There is no such thing as truth!”  “Tolerance is god!”  “Diversity must rule at all costs!”

The big lie of the West is that there are no absolutes–only subjective truths that compete with one another.  As benign as this proposition may appear, this big lie destroys what Havel called the “true aims of life,” or the good life, as we shall see.  (Charles Colson, The Good Life, 203)

 

On a logical level, the Christian worldview is the only one that is not self-refuting.  Moreover, because it is based on historical events, it can be proven.  Most religions are, and have always been, based on myths.  Christianity is unique in that it is founded on specific historical truth claims, notably the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  The historical evidence is sufficient to compel agreement from any fair investigation of the facts.  So Christianity is not just a creed or a philosophy or good ideas about how to live our lives.  It is truth.  (Charles Colson, The Good Life, 317)

 

A half truth is a whole lie.  (Yiddish proverb)

 

Truth is incontrovertible.  Panic may resent it; ignorance may deride it; malice may distort it; but there it is.  (Winston Churchill)

 

Truth exists; only falsehood has to be invented.  (Georges Braque)

 

Nothing weakens the truth more than twisting it.

 

For the wise men of old, the cardinal problem of human life was how to conform the soul to objective reality; and the solution was wisdom, self-discipline and virtue.  For the modern man, the cardinal problem is how to subdue reality to the wishes of man, and the solution is a technique.  (C. S. Lewis; The Abolition of Man)

 

Educators are some of the worst offenders.  Students don’t fail anymore.  They “achieve a deficiency”–which sounds like something to be proud of.  Tests are called “evaluation instruments.”  And they’re not used to find out whether students can read but whether they can “construct meaning from the text.”

Supporters of Prison Fellowship will be interested to learn that solitary confinement is now called “involuntary administrative segregation.”  And some states have renamed Death Row the “capital sentences unit.”  Sounds so much more benign, doesn’t it?

The Department of Defense is another fertile source of euphemisms.  Today’s soldiers are never surrounded or ambushed.  Instead, they “engage the enemy on all sides.”  They’re never outnumbered either.  They simply “operate in a target-rich environment.”

At some hospitals patients don’t die, they just experience a “negative patient-care outcome.”  And governments don’t raise taxes, they “enhance revenues.”  I wonder if Benjamin Franklin’s proverbs would be remembered today if he had said “There’s nothing certain in life but negative patient-care outcomes and revenue enhancement.”   (Charles Colson, A Dangerous Grace, 320)

 

I remembered Pascal arguing that God has given us just enough light so that we can understand and just enough darkness or obscurity to deny the truth, if we wish.  That was it.  Of course, God cannot reveal Himself in a rationally irrefutable manner.  If God were plain to us as the tree outside our window, as one great theologian once wrote, we would have no need for faith.  If we saw God in His true character, in His glory, in anything like the way we see the world around us, our free will would be meaningless.  We could not help but believe in God.  It would be impossible to deny Him.  This would destroy the possibility of choosing to believe–of faith–and with it the possibility of love, because love cannot be compelled.  We cannot love God if we are not given the option of rejecting Him.  Remember, God has given us just enough light to see by, but not enough to eliminate the need to see with eyes of faith.  Our pride has to get out of the way, and we have to recognize that faith is not faith unless it is accompanied by doubt–or at least, as Catholic piety would say, difficulties.  (Charles Colson, The Good Life, 380)

 

Playful exaggeration in story-telling–embellishing a story to entertain others–is not forbidden.  But exaggerating one’s work, as is so common in Christian ministry–making God’s work more glorious or more “successful” than it is–is sin.  Pretending that something is more wonderful than it is falls under the same condemnation.  (R. Kent Hughes, Disciplines of Grace, 161)

 

Truth—God’s truth—is one of the most valuable gifts God has given his people and truth must never be compromised.  But truth, for a number of reasons, can be quite dangerous.  For instance, we’re right about what we believe and that means those who don’t believe it are wrong.  Those who are wrong don’t take very well to being told they’re wrong, and if we’re right and they’re wrong, they’re in some serious trouble.  So given that we’re right, the Devil has a field day in fanning the flames of self-righteousness and intellectual arrogance in Christians.  And given the fact that self-righteousness and arrogance are in our DNA, being right and knowing truth can violate the very essence of the Christian faith.  (Steve Brown; Steve’s Letter: January 2017)

 

Franciscan Richard Rohr writes, “Humility and honesty are really the same thing.  A humble person is simply a brutally honest person about the whole truth.  (Brennan Manning, Ruthless Trust, 124)

 

“Faith that does not act is a faith that is just an act.” (Lois Evans and Jane Rubietta; Stones of Remembrance)

 

II-  The Triune God is Truth in a world of lies.  (Nm 23:19; Dt 32:4; Ps 119:142, 151; Isa 65:16; Jn 14:17; 15:26; 16:13; 17:17; Ti 1:2; Heb 6:18; 1 Jn 4:6)

 

There is no way of knowing what the Truth is unless you know the Truth.  And there is no way of knowing the Truth unless you believe there is Truth.  (Frank Peretti)

 

If doctrine becomes our emphasis, we are being led astray.  We are not changed by doctrine; we are changed by seeing Jesus (2 Cor 3:18).  Anointed teachings are essential for the nourishment of the Christ that is being formed within us, but whenever a truth becomes our focus, it will distract us.  For this reason Satan often comes as an angel of light, or “messenger of truth.”  Truth can deceive us.  Only in the Truth, Jesus, is there life.  He did not come just to teach us truth; He came to be Truth.  (Rick Joyner, There Were Two Trees in the Garden, 81)

 

God’s inveterate hatred of lying is embedded in the fact that He is emeth, true and faithful.  It is therefore “impossible for God to lie” (Heb 6:18).  His Son said simply, “I am the . . . truth” (Jn 14:6), and God’s written Word bears the dominical seal, “Your word is truth” (Jn 17:17).  (R. Kent Hughes, Disciplines of Grace, 156)

 

The truth about God cannot be known through some sophisticated theology or through some scientific method.  The truth about God is not some propositional statement or empirical data that can be learned out of a textbook and committed to memory.  The truth is that God is a person, and that person is Jesus Christ.  Only those who know and love Him know anything at all about God.  (Tony Campolo; Carpe Diem—Seize the Day, 71-2)

 

There is nothing more contrary to God than a lie.  The Holy Ghost is called the “Spirit of Truth” 1 Jn 4:6.  Lying is a sin that does not go alone; it ushers in other sins.  (Thomas Watson, The Ten Commandments, 170)

 

Three times the Bible says that it is impossible for God to lie (Nm 23:19; Ti 1:2; Heb 6:18).  Our conversation must reflect this faithfulness of God.  Therefore, those who take “an oath in the land shall swear by the God of truth” (Isa 65:16).  Among the “six things that the LORD hates” are “a lying tongue” and “a false witness who breathes out lies” (Prv 6:16-19).  “Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD, but those who act faithfully are his delight” (Prv 12:22).  It is not surprising then that being truthful is an essential feature of the life of God’s community.  Just as we trust God’s word, we must be able to trust the words of God’s people.  Paul said, “therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another” (Eph 4:25).  (Ajith Fernando, Preaching the Word: Dt, 232-3)

 

Do you have a God that can tell you to change your mind?   Can God argue with you? . . .Does the truth come at you?   Does God’s Word argue with you?   Does the truth comfort you?  Jesus is the final prophet.   Jesus is the truth in a person.  (Tim Keller, Acts 3)

 

Buddha said, I am a teacher of truth

Mohammed said, I am a seeker of truth

Mahout Ma Gandhi said, I do not know the truth

Moses said, I deliver the Truth

Jesus said, I AM the truth

Jesus is the embodiment of truth

 

Fundamentally, our Lord’s message was Himself.  He did not come merely to preach a Gospel; He himself is that Gospel.  He did not come merely to give bread; He said, “I am the bread.”  He did not come merely to shed light; He said, “I am the light.”  He did not come merely to show the door; He said, “I am the door.”  He did not come merely to name a shepherd; He said, “I am the shepherd.”  He did not come merely to point the way; He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”  (J. Sidlow Baxter )

 

God is “the God of truth” (Isa 65:16).  His words are true (Ps 119:142, 151), and he hates “a lying tongue” and “a false witness who pours out lies” (Prv 6:17, 19).  If a witness cannot establish a charge made before the authorities but is shown to be a liar, that witness must pay the penalty that he had sought against the person who was charged with the crime (Dt 19:15-21).  If one has evidence of a public charge against anyone and withholds that evidence, “he will be held responsible” (Lv 5:1).  Upholding the truth was important in Israel.  (Frank E. Gæbelein, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Vol. 3, 59)

 

The midwives Shiphrah and Puah let the baby boys of Israel live after birth, contrary to Pharaoh’s command.  When interrogated about this, they declared that the Israelite women gave birth too quickly.  By the time Shiphrah and Puah arrived for the delivery, the baby had been born already and hidden away (Ex 1:15-21).  Clearly that was a falsehood, but the falsehood was spoken by two midwives described as fearing God and as being blessed by God because of their attitude (Ex 1:17, 20).  (J. Douma, The Ten Commandments, 327)

 

If you are looking for truth—don’t look within yourself.  You are the one who is confused.  (Frank Peretti)

 

The Bible does not contain all truth but it is all true.

 

He who would distinguish the true from the false must have an adequate idea of what is true and false.  (Spinoza)

 

Rahab spoke a falsehood when she told the king of Jericho that she did not know where the spies she had hidden earlier had come from or where they might have gone (Josh 2:4-6).  She is praised for her faith, because she had received the spies in peace (Heb 11:31).  (J. Douma, The Ten Commandments, 327)

 

The woman in Bahurim hid two men in her well, allies of David, and she camouflaged the hiding place.  In answer to the question of Absolom’s servants as to where the men were, she pointed in the wrong direction, saying:  “They have gone over the water brook” (2 Sm 17:19-20).  (J. Douma, The Ten Commandments, 327)

 

If every lie is wrong, what about strategies of military deception?  This is clearly a form of deception.  One can hardly condemn this kind of deception, since the Lord Himself recommended such tactics in Joshua’s battle against Ai and in David’s fight against the Philistines (Josh 8:1-26; 2 Sm 5:22-25).  (J. Douma, The Ten Commandments, 327)

 

If you cannot know the truth, if truth is only what you subjectively think, how can you tell the truth?  Besides, lying is of little consequence if all knowledge is subjective opinion.  (R. Kent Hughes, Disciplines of Grace, 152)

 

We strive for truth because it is a divine quality:  “A faithful God, never false, true and upright is He” (Dt 32:4).  God does not lie to people.  (Dr. Laura Schlessinger, The Ten Commandments, 279)

 

Is the rule against lying absolute, or are there times when we can legitimately lie?  There are a number of biblical examples where lying appears to be accepted.  They generally fall under two categories:  to protect life and for the sake of peace.  (Dr. Laura Schlessinger, The Ten Commandments, 280)

 

1 Sm 16:2.  In spite of the fact that Samuel did not “come to slaughter to the Lord,” God gave him permission to say so.  From God’s own lips we learn that telling a lie to save a life is allowable.  (Dr. Laura Schlessinger, The Ten Commandments, 281)

 

For the Christian, real faithfulness in communication does all that is necessary to tell the truth at all times and in all circumstances unless it is unwholesome and does not serve to build up others in love. (Mt 5:33-37; see also: Ex 20:7; Lv 19:12; Nm 30:2; Dt 23:21-24; Ps 15:1-4; 51:6; 58:3-4; 119:163; Prv 6:16-18; 8:7; 12:19-22; Eccl 5:5; Isa 65:16; Jer 5:3; Mal 2:6; Mt 12:34-36; 23:16-22; Eph 4:25-32; Heb 6:13-19; Jam 1:19; 5:12)

 

III-  Any false witness of reality is Demonic.  (Mt 5:33-37; Jn 8:42-47; Acts 26:18; 2 Cor 4:4; Eph 6:12; Heb 3:13; 2 Pt 2:1-2)

 

The seriousness of false testimony is reflected by the call for the death penalty in 19:15-21.  (Daniel I. Block, The NIV Application Commentary: Dt, 167)

 

A perjured person is the devil’s excrement.  He is cursed in his name, and seared in his conscience.  Hell gapes for such a windfall.  (Thomas Watson, The Ten Commandments, 172)

 

God hates falsehood because he is the Father of truth and, further, because Satan “is a liar and the father of lies” (Jn 8:44).  Thus, lying so contradicts and outrages the character of God that it incurs his withering, unrelenting hatred.  Moreover, lying as it is originally laid out here in the Ninth Commandment as perjury is a singular act of hatred toward another human being.  This kind of lying is doubly loathsome because it attacks both God and man.  (R. Kent Hughes, Disciplines of Grace, 156)

 

The devil is the great deceiver, and the aim of all his deception, as with temptation, is that we desire anything–even good, safe, wholesome things–above God.  He offers a thousand substitutes and threatens us with a thousand miseries in this world.  When we pray for deliverance from him, we mean:  Never let us be attracted by the substitutes, and never let us infer from our miseries that God is not our all-satisfying Friend.  (John Piper, When I Don’t Desire God, 147-8)

 

Lying lives very deep within us, because we have been defiled with lying by the father of lies.  Even that is put too weakly.  Through his fall into sin, man has not simply been defiled with the lie, but dominated by it.  The truth of God is exchanged for the lie, so that the creature is worshiped instead of the Creator (Rom 1:25).  The world of idolatry is a world of lies.  The apostle Paul writes about men who were walking in that world with a mind that was darkened, alienated as they were from life with God, because they dwelt in darkness and their hearts had become hard (Eph 4:17-18).  The lie is not an incidental phenomenon, but is characteristic of fallen man.  All men became deceitful (Rom 3:9-18).  (J. Douma, The Ten Commandments, 322)

 

It’s interesting that the Greek word for devil is Diabolos.  This comes from the words bolos, which means “to throw,” and dia, which means “through.”  So we see that “devil” means “to pierce through,” as with a dart.  Satan is an expert at hurling accusations–like darts–at people.  (D. James Kennedy, God’s Absolute Best For You, 158)

 

“In a postmodern world, the question is no longer “Is it true?” but rather “Whose truth is it?”  And “Which power stands to gain?”   As Hitler’s propaganda minster Joseph Goebbels declared in a foretaste of postmodernism, “We do not talk to say something but to obtain a certain effect.” (Os Guinness; Time for Truth, 12)

 

The Scriptures are explicit that God hates lying in any form.  “The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in men who are truthful” Prv 12:22.  The famous divine diatribe in Proverbs, “There are 6 things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him,” begins by listing “haughty eyes, a lying tongue” and ends with, “a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.  (Prv 6:16-19)

God’s hatred of lying is embedded in the fact that He is emeth, true, and faithful.  It is therefore “impossible for God to lie” (Heb 6:18).  His Son said simply, “I am the …truth” (Jn 14:6) and God’s written Word bears the dominical seal, “Your word is truth” (Jn 17:17).

 

Is it not interesting that God is Truth, Jesus Christ is Truth, and God’s Word is Truth–but we don’t take any of that seriously.  We are following Satan–not God.  Jesus confronted the hypocritical Pharisees about this issue bluntly.  He said to them, “You do the works of your father, who is the devil” (Jn 8:44 paraphrased).  Wouldn’t you be angry if someone said that to you?  But the bottom line is that you are either part of the family of Christ and God, or you are a child of Satan.  (D. James Kennedy, God’s Absolute Best For You, 156)

 

When we lie, it means we are not trusting God to help us live in the Truth.  In essence, our lies separate us from God and prevent us from enjoying His presence and power in our daily lives.  (D. James Kennedy, God’s Absolute Best For You, 157)

 

God has no separate categories of sacred and secular.  Everything that pertains to Him is sacred, and all truth is His truth, just as all creation is His creation.  Every lie is against God, and therefore every false oath dishonors His name.  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: Matthew 1-7, 325)

 

The lowest form of lying is libel.  One who libels is lying openly and intentionally.  We are no longer dealing with slander behind someone’s back or with “just” rash judgement.  For rashness has given way to an intentional attempt to rob one’s neighbor of his reputation.  Libel is lying when we know better.  (J. Douma, The Ten Commandments, 318)

 

Evidently we have a hard time being honest.  Even if we have never given false testimony in court, we still catch ourselves gossiping, judging rashly, and twisting another person’s words.  Even the slanderer finds a ready audience.  His words are like tasty morsels; they slide down easily to the inner recesses of the heart (Prv 18:8; 26:22).  Lying or believing lies both come easily for us.  (J. Douma, The Ten Commandments, 321)

 

Diogenes used to say, “Of all wild beasts, a slanderer is the worst.”  Antonius made a law, that, if a person could not prove the crime he reported another to be guilty of, he should be put to death.  (Thomas Watson, The Ten Commandments, 172)

 

The Bible states that a punishment for perjury is:  “Then shall you do unto him as he had planned to do unto his brother” (Dt 19:19).  The Jewish legal tradition interpreted this to mean that whatever punishment the defendant would have received based on the testimony of the false witnesses shall be the punishment of the false witnesses.  (Dr. Laura Schlessinger, The Ten Commandments, 274-5)

 

Many people make a good living doing nothing but uttering in attractive or coercive ways “yeses” that are not really yeses at all, and “noes” that are not noes.  In social or political contexts, we now called them “spin doctors.”

The inherent wrongness of such projects makes Jesus simply say, “Don’t do it.”  Swearing, or the “song and dance” in general, does not respect those upon whom it is directed.  As God’s free creatures, people are to be left to make their decisions without coercion or manipulation.  Hence, “let your affirmation be just an affirmation,” a yes, and your denial be just a denial, a no.  Anything more than this “comes from evil”–the evil intent to get one’s way by verbal manipulation of the thoughts and choices of others.  (Dallas Willard, The Divine Conspiracy, 175)

 

The essence of lying is in deception, not in words.  A lie may be told by silence, by equivocation, by the accent on a syllable, by a glance of the eye attaching a peculiar significance to a sentence.  All these kinds of lies are worse and baser by many degrees than a lie plainly worded.  No form of blinded conscience is so far sunk as that which comforts itself for having deceived because the deception was by gesture or silence instead of utterance.  ( Patrick Morley; The Man In The Mirror, 312)

 

To do its worst, evil needs to look its best.  Evil has to spend a lot on makeup.  Hypocrites have to spend time polishing their act and polishing their image.  “Hypocrisy is an homage that vice pays to virtue.”  Vices have to masquerade as virtues–lust as love, thinly veiled sadism as military discipline, envy as righteous indignation, domestic tyranny as parental concern.  And this is so whether the masquerade takes the form of putting on an act or making up a cover story.  Either way, deceivers learn how to present something falsely, and they exert themselves to make the presentation credible.  Even Satan, who looks heroic to rebels, must masquerade “as an angel of light” (2 Cor 11:14) in order to look merely plausible.  This infernal embarrassment (Satan must appeal to our God-given appetite for goodness in order to win his way) suggests a significant feature of evil:  to prevail, evil must leech not only power and intelligence from goodness but also its credibility.  From counterfeit money to phoney airliner parts to the trustworthy look on the face of a con artist, evil appears in disguise.  Hence its treacherousness.  Hence the need for the Holy Spirit’s gift of discernment.  Hence the sheer difficulty, at times, of distinguishing what is good from what is evil.  (Cornelius Plantinga, Jr., Not the Way It’s Supposed to Be, 98)

 

IV-  Any Demonic activity obscures the Truth (God/reality).  We especially bear false witness to ourselves. (Prv 6:16-19; 12:22; Jn 8:43ff; Acts 26:18; Rom 1:18-32; 1 Cor 1:18-2:16; 2 Cor 4:2-4; 2 Thess 2:9-12;  Heb 3:13)

 

Of all hard hearted men, the hardest are those who have been hardened by the fire of the Gospel.  If you want to find a heart that is hard as steel you must look for one that has passed through the furnace of divine love and has been made aware of the redemption that is in Christ Jesus but has rejected the truth that has been made known to it.  (C. H. Spurgeon sermon “Ploughing the Rock”)

 

We human beings have the amazing ability to deceive ourselves.  We rationalize, make up excuses, and say we will change tomorrow.  God brought circumstances into the life of the prodigal son that woke him up.  Suddenly he realized what had happened to him.  That awakening was the most critical event in his life. (R. C. Sproul; Before the Face of God Book Two, 364)

 

People led astray will fall away from God. The god of this age (the Devil) can strike people with blindness, so they cannot see (any longer) the light of the gospel shining upon them (2 Cor 4:2-4).  In fact, as punishment for despising the truth, God Himself sends a powerful delusion, which induces people to believe the lie (2 Thes 2:9-12).  (J. Douma, The Ten Commandments, 324)

 

Men are often willing to be baptized, to pay their money, or do anything that is respectable, rather than humble themselves by repentance.  But it is all of no avail.  We come to the footstool of sovereign mercy only by genuine self-abasement.

A man who has counterfeit money is worse off than one who has no money.  Preaching unscriptural ideas of repentance does, perhaps, more damage than not preaching repentance al all.  It is harder to unlearn an error than it is to learn the truth. (B.T. Roberts; Fishers Of Men, 125)

 

People are experts at hearing who they want to hear so they can believe what they want to believe and do what they want to do.  (Leadership Magazine)  (Steve Brown  sermon, “False Prophets II”)

 

The easiest person to deceive is one’s self, and there is no one our deceit damages more than ourselves.  (Richard M. Gamble, The Great Tradition, 323)

 

When the truth is in your way, you are on the wrong road.

 

Having truth will not keep us from deception, but having a love for the truth will.  (Rick Joyner, There Were Two Trees in the Garden, 179)

 

Truth is so obscure in these times and falsehood so established, that unless we love the truth, we cannot know it. (Hank Hanegraaff; Counterfeit Revival, 64)

 

Truth:  It’s the new hate speech.  During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.  (George Orwell)

 

The only people who are mad at you for speaking the truth are those people who are living a lie.  Keep speaking the truth.

 

The truth must essentially be regarded as in conflict with the world; the world has never been so good, and will never become so good that the majority will desire truth.  (Soren Kierkegaard)  (Dr. Chris Thurman; The Lies We Believe, 59)

 

The kingdom of God always appears upside down to the human perspective.  We think it’s strange to die in order to live, or to give in order to receive, or to serve in order to lead.  Solomon captures the perpetual enigma of our looking-glass values just as Jesus describes them in the Sermon on the Mount.  He insists we should embrace sorrow over laughter, rebukes over praise, the long way instead of the short, and today instead of yesterday.

The truth is that it’s not the kingdom of God that is upside down–it’s the world.  It’s not the Word of God that turns life inside out–it’s the world that has reversed all the equations that God designed for our lives.   (David Jeremiah, Searching for Heaven on Earth, 189)

 

If only we would stay focused on God’s Word, which is Truth, we would not be so prone to listening to Satan.  But when he craftily insinuates that perhaps God has not told us everything we need to know–or that we have misunderstood what He said–we become easily swayed.  (D. James Kennedy, God’s Absolute Best For You, 156)

 

“It is not strange to see that the most dangerous heretics have many followers, every error being a friend to some sort of lust.” (Alexander Nesbitt)  (Alistair Begg sermon False Teachers Among You – Part 1)

 

The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those that speak it. (George Orwell)

 

The natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit.  Among the things of the Spirit to which the natural man is most averse is God’s estimate of sin, which is difficult even for a Christian to accept and appreciate.  This is why believers are to exhort each other daily, “lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin” (Heb 3:13).  Now if sin can deceive a believer, how much more deceitful is it to an unbeliever?  If a man with 20-20 vision cannot discern an object at which he is gazing, how shall one born blind see it?  Because of the deceitful nature of sin, the unregenerate world cannot comprehend.  (Donald Grey Barnhouse, God’s Freedom, 27)

 

The truth is exchanged for the lie simply because the lie seems easier to live with. (R.C. Sproul;  If There’s a God, Why Are There Atheists?, 76)

 

Of all forms of deception self-deception is the most deadly, and of all deceived persons the self-deceived are the least likely to discover the fraud.

The reason for this is simple.  When a man is deceived by another he is deceived against his will.  He is contending against an adversary and is temporarily the victim of the other’s guile.  Since he expects his foe to take advantage of him he is watchful and quick to suspect trickery.  Under such circumstances it is possible to be deceived sometimes and for a short while, but because the victim is resisting he may break out of the trap and escape before too long.

With the self-deceived it is quite different.  He is his own enemy and is working a fraud upon himself.  He wants to believe the lie and is psychologically conditioned to do so.  He does not resist the deceit but collaborates with it against himself.  There is no struggle, because the victim surrenders before the fight begins.  He enjoys being deceived.  (A.W. Tozer, Man: The Dwelling Place of God, 88)

 

Slander and judging is telling the truth to push a person away rather than pull them in.  Push them away rather than get them closer.  (Tim Keller message “Communication”)

 

Sinning basically goes hand-in-hand with lying.  Few sins are committed without the perpetrator taking some comfort from the expectation that if caught, he has the opportunity to lie himself out of it.  Conversely, the more you become familiar and comfortable with a lie, the easier it becomes to lie and branch out into other wrongdoing.  (Dr. Laura Schlessinger, The Ten Commandments, 278)

 

People who are pious use language to convince others that they are more holy than they actually are.  (Alistair Begg)

 

When [Richard] Baxter wrote his famous treatise on heaven, every time he looked down and saw his tumor he was reminded that heaven was drawing near.  It was easy for him to be enamored with heaven–his body wouldn’t let him forget it.  Our surgical and medical advancements lull us into a false security, causing us to forget that we are one missed heartbeat away from heaven.  When life becomes easier, faith, to the secular mind, becomes less important.  (Gary L. Thomas, Seeking the Face of God, 166)

 

We live in a world where preferences have supplanted objective truth.  (R./ C. Sproul, A Blueprint for Thinking)

 

V-  We serve Satan whenever we give false testimony.  Life in its abundance can only come by living in the Truth.  (Ex 19:5; Ps ch 1; 112:1; Prv 10:19; 18:21; Mt 12:36-37; Lk 11:28; Jn 3:21; 8:32;  10:10; 14:6; Rom 2:8; 2 Thess 2:10-13; 1 Tm 6:6-19; Jam 5:19-20; 1 Jn 4:1)

 

We are acquainted with countries where justice is not administered impartially and where trials are little more than a sham.  The judge passes judgment in terms of a politician’s wishes, and dissidents are sentenced to confinement in psychiatric institutions.  False witnesses and prejudiced judges, who must of course be faithful members of “the party,” ensure that trust vanishes and people spy on each other.  Freedom vanishes and fear reigns.  People are no longer neighbors to each other; instead, they become wolves preying upon one another.  (J. Douma, The Ten Commandments, 315)

 

A lie brings chaos into the real world.  It confuses people and causes them to base decisions on unreality.  In the end, it will all collapse–just as the universe would cave in if it were not based solidly on physical truths.  Science would be a fallacy.  (D. James Kennedy, God’s Absolute Best For You, 154)

 

Honesty means that everything you say must be true, not that everything that is true must be said.  Were that the case, no eulogy could be given without upsetting the family.  (Dr. Laura Schlessinger, The Ten Commandments, 287)

 

Lies not only destroy people’s trust in us.  They also label us as untrustworthy.  Once a person’s lies are exposed, the stigma of being a “liar” goes with him.  No one trusts a liar.  How can they?  There is always a question about a person’s truthfulness, once he has been caught in a lie, and the stigma generally lasts a lifetime.  (D. James Kennedy, God’s Absolute Best For You, 152)

 

“A prophet’s task is to reveal the fault lines, hidden beneath the comfortable surface of the worlds we invest for ourselves, the national myths as well as the little lies and delusions of control and security that get us through the day.”   False prophets assure of peace when there is no peace.  True prophets  have the annoying habit of insisting that there is no peace just when we’ve convinced ourselves that everything is running smoothly.  (Kathleen Norris, The Cloister Walk on Mars Hill Audio Journal, Vol 103; disk #2 trak #2)

 

The “absolute value” of not lying is modified by the duty of compassion, goodness, and sociability.  Social life would be impossible if everyone always told everyone else the truth of their thoughts, feelings, and perceptions.  (Dr. Laura Schlessinger, The Ten Commandments, 286-7)

 

Radical truthfulness is one of the greatest needs of the church today.  The church needs people who not only refrain from blatant lying, but represent themselves and others as they really are.  Paul says truthfulness is necessary for growth in the church:  “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ” (Eph 4:15).  We are to be literally truthing in love–speaking and doing truth to each other.  (Kent Hughes, James, Faith That Works, 250)

 

Do people come to you and tell you all kinds of terrible things about others?  If so, perhaps you need to examine yourself and see if you encourage others to bear false witness in this way.  I’ve never forgotten a comment Bill Bright made over thirty years ago.  He said, “People don’t dump garbage on green lawns.”  How true!  They dump garbage on vacant lots filled with rocks and sand and weeds.  Do you invite garbage dumping?  (D. James Kennedy, God’s Absolute Best For You, 160-1)

 

The difficulty is not that men are ignorant of the truth; it is that they have not yet dared to live by it.  (Morton J. Cohen)

 

Whenever you say something to an individual or about an individual that is less than what God would say to that individual, you are bearing false witness.  (Ron Mehl, The Ten(der) Commandments, 214)

 

You don’t get a good self-image by denying the truth about yourself.  A good self-image comes from facing the truth and knowing that, because God accepts you and the whole truth about who you are, you can too.  (Steve Brown, Born Free, 153)

 

The truth is exchanged for the lie simply because the lie seems easier to live with. (R.C. Sproul;  If There’s a God, Why Are There Atheists?, 76)

 

“There are times,” Václav Havel wrote, “When we must sink to the bottom of our misery to understand truth, just as we must descend to the bottom of the well to see the stars in broad daylight.”  (No Time for Truth, 98)

 

Someone can chip away at the good name of his neighbor through backbiting and gossip.  These need not be lies, because gossip can spread many things that are true.  But it is still frivolous prattling behind a person’s back.  Perhaps the one spreading gossip is not lying, but he or she is being untruthful:  saying things that are true, but in the context of slander, is deceitful.  The neighbor’s mistakes, faults, and shortcomings are discussed in minute detail.  People realize this kind of chatter gets them an attentive audience.  For it is a universal phenomenon that we would rather hear something bad about our neighbor than something good.  (J. Douma, The Ten Commandments, 316-7)

 

Though you may be obliged to say the truth, you are not obliged to reveal all your thoughts.  Silence is not deception (except in a court of law).  If people truly expected perfect candor in all situations, life would become even more rude and hostile.  There is the language of courtesy. There are expressions of friendliness that allow for a functioning social life.  Social life would be impossible if everyone, with or without being asked, were to tell the truth to everyone else as he sees it.  And that is another point, the way we see things is personal perception, and not necessarily objective reality.  Your first thought about telling people something should follow Prv 10:19:  “When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but the prudent are restrained in speech.”  People of goodwill should watch their words, censoring those that will cause embarrassment or hurt.  (Dr. Laura Schlessinger, The Ten Commandments, 288-9)

 

Lying for the purposes of false flattery is wrong.  Flattery goes wrong when it sacrifices truth and dignity in order to obtain some material advantage–be it objects, money, affection, relationship, or favors.  Flattery actually becomes an act of stealing, for which, instead of stealth and weapons, false words of approval are the tools of the theft.  (Dr. Laura Schlessinger, The Ten Commandments, 291-2)

 

There has been a new phenomenon in our ever more aggressive media–searching for even minor inconsistencies in those who espouse and respect standards.  The motive is clear in a society that sees standards as oppressive.  Shoot the messenger, and thereby invalidate the message.  The reality is that one can believe and live by standards. . . but imperfectly.  That is not hypocrisy, that is the reality of the limitations of all human beings to attaining divinity.  (Dr. Laura Schlessinger, The Ten Commandments, 293)

 

Accusations are one effective way we bring false witness against other people.  Sometimes, of course, accusations are true.  But we break the ninth commandment when we do damage to another person through false accusations–especially when we speak falsely to a third party.  (D. James Kennedy, God’s Absolute Best For You, 158)

 

It is reported that the great St. Augustine had a sign on his desk that said, “Whosoever enters this office to bring accusation against his brother will be ushered out of this room.”  (D. James Kennedy, God’s Absolute Best For You, 159)

 

The Bible condemns those who have an eager ear to hear slander.  Do you lend an eager ear when someone hurls an accusation?  Do you perk up with interest when you hear a word of slander or denigration?  If you will just take a stand one time by saying that you really don’t want to hear these comments, you probably won’t be invited to listen to them anymore!  And I want you to know this:  You will be blessed.  (D. James Kennedy, God’s Absolute Best For You, 161)

 

Aristotle said, “Hereafter the liar will not be credited, even when he speaks the truth.”  No one takes a liar seriously.  (D. James Kennedy, God’s Absolute Best For You, 152)

 

To say “yes” and mean it, to say “no” and equally mean it, is a matter of integrity of character rather than a form of words.  In this way James returns (ch 4) (as with his reference to the heart in v. 8) to his favorite topic, that we should be people without internal division, free of the double-mind, whole-hearted with God and with man.  We practice a devotion to the truth with our lips because the truth dwells in us.  (J.A. Motyer, The Message of James, 185)

 

Worship Point:  Worship the God of the Universe, Who not only is reality but is the key to perceiving, understanding and enjoying reality.  (Jn 4:23-24)

 

Worship reorders reality.  (Mark Labberton, The Dangerous Act of Worship, 39)

 

To handle the things of God without worship is always to falsify them.  (Dallas Willard, The Divine Conspiracy, 362-3)

 

It must be by the Holy Spirit and truth.  We cannot worship in the spirit alone, for the spirit without truth is helpless.  We cannot worship in truth alone, for that would be theology without fire.

Worship must be in spirit and in truth!  (A. W. Tozer, Whatever Happened to Worship?, 46)

 

The proud and lofty man or woman cannot worship God any more acceptably than can the proud devil himself.  There must be humility in the heart of the person who would worship God in spirit and in truth.  (A. W. Tozer, Whatever Happened to Worship?, 84)

 

Gospel Application:  Only Jesus, Truth incarnate, can deliver you from the Demonic bondage that obscures and prevents you from living in the Truth.

 

For people to see their need for a Savior, they must first see this truth about themselves.  (Charles Colson, A Dangerous Grace, 62)

 

In a world where the only plea is “not guilty,” what possibility is there of an honest encounter with Jesus, “who died for our sins”?  We can only pretend that we are sinners, and thus only pretend that we are forgiven.  (Brennan Manning, Ruthless Trust, 171)

 

“The truth shall make you free, but first it shall make you miserable”.  (Barry Stevens)

 

If the truth about my salvation lies in the realm of my feelings, my digestive system, my nervous organism, I am going to be a poor Christian; because that will be changing from day to day according to the weather or to something else.  Oh no!  Truth; where is the truth?  “Not what I am, but what Thou art,” That is where the truth is, “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”  Free from what?  Bondage!  What bondage?  Satan clapping his chains of condemnation upon you because today you are not feeling up to scratch.  You are feeling bad in your constitution, and you are feeling depressed, you are feeling death all around, you are feeling irritable, and Satan comes along and says, You are not a Christian!  A fine Christian you are!  And you go down under it.  Is that the truth?  It is a lie!  The only answer for deliverance and emancipation is, “it is not what I am, it is what He is; Christ abides the same.”  He is not as I am, varying here in this human life from hour to hour and day to day:  He is other.  (T. Austin-Sparks; The School of Christ, 25)

 

Dr. H. M. Shuman once said to me in private conversation that he believed the one quality God required a man to have before He would save him was honesty.  With this I heartily agree.  However dishonest the man may have been before, he must put away his duplicity if he is to be accepted before the Lord.  Double dealing is unutterably offensive to God. The insincere man has no claim on mercy.  For such a man the cross of Christ provides no remedy.  Christ can and will save a man who has been dishonest, but He cannot save him while he is dishonest.  Absolute candor is an indispensable requisite to salvation.  (A.W. Tozer, Man: The Dwelling Place of God, 90-91)

 

No matter how much education and training we may receive in a certain field of study, we will discover that we have only learned scattered fragments of truth.  On the other hand, the simplest Christian believer, who may have come into the kingdom only a few days ago, has already learned many marvelous things at the center of truth.  That believer is able to confess that he knows God.  Knowing God is potentially more than all of this world’s teachers could ever impart, because those teachers, if they are without God, are on the outside looking in.  (A. W. Tozer, Whatever Happened to Worship?, 63)

 

Needless to say, this view of human reason contradicts the biblical point of view as it has been explained in previous lessons.  The fall of man involved the entirety of man; all aspects of his personality were corrupted by sin.  As a result, reason is not the judge of truth; only God can act as such a judge.  Moreover, sin has so affected mankind that even rational abilities are not neutral.  Christians seek to use their reason in dependence on God.  Non-Christians seek to be independent in their thinking; there is no neutral ground on which to deal with unbelief.  Human reason can be as much a hindrance as a help to faith in Christ.  As St. Augustine once said, “Believe that you may understand.”  To rest our faith on independent reason is to rebel against God.  Reason must rest on our faith commitment to Christ and our faith must rest on God alone. (Richard L. Pratt, Jr.; Every Thought Captive A Study manual for the Defense of Christian Truth, 74)

 

“As the Greek statesmen Demosthenes said long ago, “Nothing is easier than self-deceit.  For what each man wishes, that he also believes to be true.” (Os Guinness; Time for Truth, 116)

 

The truth that makes men free is for the most part the truth which men prefer not to hear.  (Herbert S. Agar)

 

“Being conformed to the image of Christ has more to do with our honesty than our purity.”  (Steve Brown; Steve’s Letter, June 2000)

 

If this experience has served to humble me and make me little and vile in my own eyes it is of God; but if it has given me a feeling of self-satisfaction it is false and should be dismissed as emanating from self or the devil.  (A.W. Tozer, Man: The Dwelling Place of God, 128-9)

 

Though it is good to give our young children benefits for telling the truth, they must also learn that most often there is a price to be paid.  Our children must be taught that the reward for telling the truth is being able to look in the mirror and live with ourselves.  They must learn that honesty endears us to others, helps maintain trust in society, and can inspire others to do the same.  (Dr. Laura Schlessinger, The Ten Commandments, 283)

 

Be accountable to the Holy Spirit.  It’s really not very complicated.  When He says “Watch it,” then watch it.  When He says “Don’t,” then don’t.  When He says “Hush,” then hush.  When He says “Bite your tongue,” then put your teeth into it.  You’ll feel that nudge and you’ll know deep down, “I really shouldn’t be talking about this,” or “I shouldn’t be saying this,” or “this conversation has drifted into something unhealthy.”  Listen to that voice and respond, even if it makes for an awkward moment or two.  Even if you come off looking a little silly or overly sensitive.  What is that in comparison to pleasing God?  (Ron Mehl, The Ten(der) Commandments, 220)

 

Somehow Christians have gotten the reputation as being morally superior when in fact we turn to God only when we have recognized our moral inferiority.  As the recovery movement teaches, naked honesty and helplessness are what drive us to God.  The truth, about ourselves and about our need for outside help, sets us free.  We don’t need to pretend that things are fine or that goodness comes easily.  We admit we are needy and look to God for both vision and strength to subvert the world.  (Philip Yancey, Vanishing Grace, 262-3)

 

Spiritual Challenge:  Seek God.  Seek Truth.  Seek life in all of its potential abundance by seeking reality (Truth/God).

 

It is quite difficult to break the power of religious self-deception, for the very nature of faith is to give no room for doubt.  Once a person is deceived, he does not recognize that he is deceived, because he has been deceived!  For all that we think we know, we must know this as well:  we can be wrong.  If we refuse to accept this truth, how will we ever be corrected from our errors?  (Francis Frangipane, The Three Battlegrounds, 30)

 

Lie to your colleagues, your elders, your friends, or your family and life will never be what it was.  Deceit eats relationships.  (R. Kent Hughes, Disciplines of Grace, 163)

 

Seek the truth, Listen to the truth, Teach the truth, Love the truth, Abide by the truth, And defend the truth, Unto death. (John Hus) (Dr. Chris Thurman; The Lies We Believe, 163)

 

Dr. McQuilkin eloquently states:  “Falsehood is the basic fault line in the foundation of the soul, putting all the superstructure in jeopardy.  All the believability a person has, his very integrity, totters on the shifting sand of one lie.  Deceit holds hostage all other virtues.”  There is no more effective way to destroy your character than deceit.  Deceit removes the soul from reality.  (R. Kent Hughes, Disciplines of Grace, 162-3)

 

But isn’t it true?  Don’t we fear being exposed for who and what we really are?  Sin does this.  So often we worry about the deeds we have done but the truer, deeper transgression of our sin lies in what that sin has done to us.  It has made us more afraid.  Fear turns to hiding, hiding turns to lying, lying turns to masking, masking turns to coping mechanisms which take us further and further away from our true selves.  We become a false image of a person unrecognizable to others and even to ourselves. (Charlie Jones, “The Fear of Christmas”)

 

We will be spiritually safe in our use of the Bible if we follow a simple rule:  Read with a submissive attitude.  Read with a readiness to surrender all you are–all your plans, opinions, possessions, positions.  Study as intelligently as possible, with all available means, but never study merely to find the truth and especially not just to prove something.  Subordinate your desire to find the truth to your desire to do it, to act it out!  (Dallas Willard, Hearing God, 210)

 

How can we have an expectation of abiding friendships, honorable business relationships, fidelity in marriage, and cohesion in families and communities when we can’t trust one another?  The answer is that we can’t.  (Dr. Laura Schlessinger, The Ten Commandments, 270)

 

Today I might preach:  “Let me tell you why you’re not going to be a truthful person.  I lie most often to avoid others’ disapproval.  If I just try to stop lying, it won’t work because my need for others’ approval overwhelms my good intentions.  I allow other people, instead of Jesus, to determine my worth.  If you want to stop lying, you have to find what is motivating your sin–like my tendency to look to others for affirmation–and replace it with the security you can find in Jesus.

The goal is not reformation, but transformation.  (Tim Keller; Leadership magazine, Winter 2002, 36)

 

“It is because we rarely really live by faith that we often want to rescue ourselves from our difficulties by lying.”   (J. Douma The Ten Commandments, 323)

 

“We want to keep the control of our lives in our own hands, and that simply cannot be done without lying.  Lying betrays our striving for self-preservation and self-redemption.  (J. Douma The Ten Commandments, 323)

 

We must always beware of prejudice.  We must never read the Scriptures without praying.  We should never approach them without asking the Holy Spirit to lead us and to guide us and to direct us.  We should deliberately humble ourselves, we should talk to ourselves and say, Now why am I going to the Scriptures?  Am I going there only to find arguments to support my case, or am I going there to be instructed, to be enlightened, to have my eyes opened to the truth of God?  We should always try to come as little children and be ready to find that we are wrong.  (D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Romans, Exposition of Chapter 9, 321)

 

Without trust there is no glue and ultimately no safety for intimacy in any relationship.  (Dr. Laura Schlessinger, The Ten Commandments, 275)

 

We so easily tint the portrait according to our tastes.  Objectivity is a moral virtue and part of our obedience to the ninth commandment.  We must try to judge people and events from the past and the present as honestly as possible.  For all of us look at people and events from our own historically specific vantage point.  But for that very reason we must strive for as much objectivity as possible, so that the picture we give may be reliable.  (J. Douma, The Ten Commandments, 319)

 

Self-denial replaces self-preservation.  Speaking the truth leads us down a safe path, even though lying quite often seems to be safer.  It is because we so rarely really live by faith that we often want to rescue ourselves from our difficulties by lying.  (J. Douma, The Ten Commandments, 323)

 

An idol is something that we look to for things that only God can give.  Idolatry functions widely inside religious communities when doctrinal truth is elevated to the position of a false god.  This occurs when people rely on the rightness of their doctrine for their standing with God rather than on God himself and his grace.  It is a subtle but deadly mistake.  The sign that you have slipped into this form of self-justification is that you become what the book of Proverbs calls a “scoffer.”  Scoffers always show contempt and disdain for opponents rather than graciousness.  This is a sign that they do not see themselves as sinners saved by grace.  Instead, their trust in the rightness of their views makes them feel superior.  (Timothy Keller, Counterfeit Gods, 131)

 

Associating and socializing with people who are not prone to tell the truth only encourages us to engage in the same kind of behavior.  (Dr. Laura Schlessinger, The Ten Commandments, 282)

 

So What?:  To think you can enjoy life any other way than by facing reality is to live in Fantasy land.  Love rejoices with the truth.  (1 Cor 13:6b)

 

A husband’s words have the power to virtually shape the life of his wife.  A wife’s words have the power to shape the life of her husband.  A parent’s words have the awesome capacity to shape the life of his or her child.  Do we truly believe the Word of God in this matter?  Sometimes I want to shout it out loud on a rooftop:  Life and death are in the power of the tongue!  What you say (and what you do not say) and how you say something (and how you neglect to say something) will either build an individual up or–board by board, nail by nail–tear that individual down into a pile of rubble.  (Ron Mehl, The Ten(der) Commandments, 214)

 

We want to keep the controls of our lives in our own hands, and that simply cannot be done without lying.  Lying betrays our striving for self-preservation and self-redemption.  (J. Douma, The Ten Commandments, 323)

 

This call to deny the self is surely the very denial we have been seeking to put a stop to.  Doesn’t it mean that when we deny ourselves at a certain point, we are not in touch with our own humanity?  If we do not do what we want to do, are we really free?  And worse still, are we psychologically healthy?

That’s a natural response, but to deny the self is not the same as denial.  To say no to self does not mean we are not listening to our desires.  To deny self, when self is in conflict with God, is to save and protect our humanity.  What we are saying no to is the lie, the deception, the flaw, that, left unchecked, will destroy our humanity.  Far from deceiving ourselves by denying self when self wants to sin, we are at last seeing clearly.  When it contradicts the will of God, it’s self that is deceived.  God always wills our best.  (Rebecca Manley Pippert, Hope Has Its Reasons, 161-2)

 

Being truthful when you know it will cost you is the true test of honesty.

 

JESUS:

THE WAY, TRUTH & LIFE

 

 

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