Imagine what it would be like for a concert pianist with perfect pitch to be forced to play at some old out of tune honky-tonk bar piano. His sense of pitch and harmony and that disharmony in the piano won't last very long. Or imagine a NASCAR driver who's used to pure power and performance, driving a 72 Ford Pinto.
Anybody remember those? That sense of power that he's used to and perfection in motoring was lost. In the same fashion in Proverbs 12 22 we read, lying lips are an abomination to the Lord. The name Bernie Madoff is synonymous with lie. He spent more than a decade pretending to invest his client's money in what turned out to be a Ponzi scheme. And when he was caught, hundreds of people discovered that he had lost more than 50 billion, that's with a B, of their dollars.
This lie was a devastating tragedy to folks who found out they no longer had retirement money. Now today here in Connect with Skip Weekend Edition, Skip Heitzigs, it continues our study, God's Top Ten. And today we'll see exactly what the Ten Commandments have to say about lying.
We'll have ordering information for this entire series after the teaching today. But first, Pastor Skip wants to tell you about his brand new book project. Someone once said that if you want to know about Michelangelo, you need to study what he said, what he did, and what he created. Well, the same is true if you want to know God. You must devote yourself to his words, actions, and what he created.
That is one of the reasons I wrote the book, The Biography of God. It's available now, and I hope you'll join me on this noble, demanding, and even rewarding journey. Here's how to get your copy of my newest book, The Biography of God. Skip's new book is our thanks when you give $35 or more today to help keep this ministry on the air.
Call 800-922-1888 or give online securely at connectwithskip.com slash offer. In our series, God's Top Ten, Skip Heitzig will be focused on Exodus chapter 20 verse 15. So I hope you'll join him there as we begin. I've entitled this message after what is commonly said in courtrooms whenever a person is put on the stand and they're asked to swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. There was a sergeant in the military who was very frustrated when nine of his GIs didn't appear for morning roll call. They had been given a pass. They had been out, but he expected them the next day at roll call.
None of them showed up. The first one straggled in at seven o'clock in the evening, and he said, Sergeant, I'm so sorry. I had a date last night, and I missed the bus back. But determined to get here on time, I hired a taxi cab. But the taxi cab broke down halfway here, so I ran into a nearby farmhouse and persuaded a farmer to sell me one of his horses. And I was riding the horse back here, and the horse on the way dropped down dead in the road.
So I walked the last 10 miles, and here I am. Well, the sergeant was very skeptical at this story but decided to let it pass. A little time later, seven more straggler GIs came in, all with exactly the same story. I had a date, missed the bus, took the cab, bought a horse, etc. Well, now the guy's very frustrated, very angry.
Finally, the ninth GI comes in. Sir, I'm so sorry, he said, but I had a date last night, and I missed the bus back. And so I hired a cab, and finally the sergeant said, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. I know. And the cab broke down, right? And the GI said, no, sarge, the cab didn't break down.
It was just that there were so many dead horses in the road we had trouble getting through. I'll let you unravel that one. In Proverbs chapter 6, Solomon gives a list of seven things that God hates, and on that list are a lying tongue and a false witness who speaks lies. In a book that I have found very interesting for a long time, a Patterson Kim research poll, in a chapter they call American Liars, they report 91% of Americans admit to lying routinely about matters they consider trivial, but 36% of these say they tell big lies about important matters that hurt other people.
In that very same chapter, he gives a breakdown. According to their research, men lie more than women. Do you agree with that?
I'm not getting answers for a good reason. Young men lie more than older men. The unemployed lie more than those with jobs. The poor lie more than the rich. Liberals lie more than conservatives. Who do they lie the most to?
Again, the same chapter, Americans confess to lying mostly to first parents, second friends, third siblings, and least of all to doctors, accountants, clergymen, and last of all to lawyers, though 42% in the same poll believe they have been lied to by lawyers. The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth is what God expects when he gives this ninth commandment in Exodus chapter 20 verse 16. Again, another short one, you shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
Bearing false witness against your neighbor. Now this commandment, like all the other commandments, tell us a great deal, even though it's a short package, this commandment touches on three truths. It touches on the character of God. It implies that we're dealing with a God who loves the truth. Moses, the lawgiver, in Deuteronomy 32 in his song called the Song of Moses, one of the verses, his ways are justice, a God of truth without injustice, righteous and upright is he. David would agree after he sinned with Bathsheba and he wrote that famous Psalm 51, he said, Lord, you desire truth in the inward parts. Both of them knew that the God they were dealing with was a God of truth and thus falsehood cannot be tolerated long in the presence of one whose character and essence is essentially true and who is truth.
Even Jesus said, I am the way, the truth and the life. So because God is true, he's going to have a problem with falsehood. That makes sense. Imagine what it would be like for a concert pianist with perfect pitch to be forced to play at some old out of tune honky tonk bar piano. His sense of pitch and harmony and that disharmony in the piano won't last very long. Or imagine a NASCAR driver who's used to pure power and performance driving a 72 Ford Pinto. Anybody remember those?
That sense of power that he's used to and perfection in motoring was lost. In the same fashion in Proverbs 12 22, we read, lying lips are an abomination to the Lord. Well, this commandment, verse 16, you shall not bear false witness. The Hebrew word false in that little phrase, false witness, is shekere. And shekere is often translated deceptive or betraying testimony. Deceptive or betraying testimony. A perjurer. It could be translated.
It could be translated. And such a person was always ill-treated and looked down and ill-regarded in Jewish history. Proverbs 25, listen to this description. A man who bears false witness against his neighbor is like a club, a sword, and a sharp arrow.
Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a bad tooth and a foot out of joint. Now, because such a person can be so damaging to so many people, Jewish law made sure that people's testimony in their courts would be reliable. And here were their stipulations. First of all, never was one witness sufficient. There had to be at least two witnesses before a charge could even be sustained and brought to court. Second, the witnesses were also examined independently. And if there was any contradiction, the evidence was considered invalid. A person then, third, could only testify on what they had actually heard or actually seen.
It could not be through another party. They had to actually be witnesses. And finally, anyone under the least shadow of suspicion was ineligible.
And what would make them ineligible? If a witness took money for their testimony, if a person was related to a person on trial, if the witness was a dice player or an extortionist. That was enough to have them taken away as a witness. Also, there were stiff penalties for somebody who bore false witness in a legal case. Sometimes the witness, if perjured under oath, would be given the same sentence as the one on trial and, in some cases, even double the sentence. So that if the sentence would have been 40 lashes, 40 stripes, as was typical in Roman courts, then the false witness would be given 80.
So they weren't tolerated. So all of the commandments that we have looked at so far somehow reflect the fact that they reflect on the character of God. And this one reflects on the character of the truth of God, that God is a God of truth and that he loves truth. And so he introduces himself this way in Exodus 34, when Moses said, show me your glory.
And God said, if I do that, you'll just burn up. And so God passes by in some fashion and declares the character, declares his name. And part of the description is, I am abounding in goodness and in truth. Okay, if God is a God of truth, then it follows that his children will also love the truth and be concerned about it. And so it is in the New Testament when Paul gives us that beautiful essay in 1 Corinthians 13 on love, he writes, love does not delight evil, but love rejoices in the truth. Love rejoices in the truth. So then one of the most loving things you could ever do for a person is to tell them the truth. Now, the Bible also says that you should speak the truth in love. Sometimes you can speak the truth, but in such an unloving way that you turn everybody off. Having said that, though, one of the most loving things you can do is to tell people the truth.
And I encourage you to tell people the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Tell them the truth about eternity. Tell them the truth about heaven. Tell them the truth about hell.
Tell them the truth about deception and false doctrine, mortality. Jesus told the truth when it was pleasant and unpleasant to tell the truth. On one occasion, he said to Simon Peter, one of his close followers, blessed are you, Simon, son of Jonah. Aren't those gracious, loving, great, pleasant words?
Wouldn't you love it if Jesus came up to you and said, blessed are you, Sally, George, Frank? And he spoke the truth when it was pleasant. Other times it wasn't so pleasant, but he still spoke the truth.
You recall the scribes and the Pharisees in Matthew 23, and Jesus unleashed some harsh words saying, you serpents, you brood of vipers who has warned you from the wrath that is to come on you. That wasn't very pleasant to say, and it wasn't very pleasant to hear, but because they reached such a hardness of their heart, Jesus, the incarnate of all love, spoke that truth to them in that occasion. I have a friend who is an apologist and he's quite well known, and he often asks his radio audience this question, are you willing to do for the truth what cultists are willing to do for a lie? Are you willing to do for the truth what cultists do for a lie?
Speaking the truth. Back in the 4th century AD, there was a patriarch of a place in Northern Africa. His name was Athanasius, and it was a very critical time in church history when the deity of Christ was being called into question by some, and the Trinity was being called into question by some, and at the forefront of that heresy was a guy named Arius and his followers who was known as the Arian heresy. And Athanasius took his stand as a church leader, the patriarch of Alexandria at the time, against this heretical doctrine.
And it didn't bring him into favor with everybody. And at one point, one of Athanasius' close assistants said, Athanasius, it seems that the world is against you. And Athanasius replied and said, if the whole world is against the truth, then Athanasius will be against the whole world, willing to speak the truth.
And the truth is the truth. God cannot lie, and his truth cannot be changed, and his gospel is never negotiable. So this tells us, first of all, that we're dealing with the character of God. He is a God of truth. It also touches on the credibility of man, the very fact that in the top ten list, this is going to be included, shows us that God understands human character. Indeed, he does. It infers that man has a problem with truth.
Hence the commandment, you shall not bear false witness. So just like we read at the beginning with the Patterson Kim research polls and others, people have trouble telling the truth. And it's basically because of our nature post-fall.
After the fall, we've had a problem with it ever since. In ancient China, the Chinese wanted to build a wall, and I stood at the foot of that great wall of China and walked across a portion of it, and I was told the story of it. They wanted to build a wall so high that people couldn't climb over it, so thick people couldn't bust through it, and so long they couldn't go around it.
And yet within the first 100 years of the great wall of China's existence, invaders came through it three times. And simply because they understood human nature, they bribed the gatekeepers. They understood the weakness wasn't in the structure. If we're going to find weakness, it will be in character.
And here the Chinese had spent so much of their money and efforts in building structure and not enough in building character. The problem lies with us. Our character is flawed, and the Bible says it's flawed from birth. Parents, I know you've got wonderful kids. And some of you even think your kids are more wonderful than everybody else's kids.
That's a prerogative of especially grandparents, but some parents as well. But did you ever have to teach your kids to lie just because they were so perfect you needed to just balance them out so they'd be like everybody else? No, I bet you had the experience that everybody else has that they were in the course of their upbringing, maybe engaged or caught in such an enterprise, and you had to correct it and tell them why they weren't to lie. Now we know that man was created in God's image, but we also know that the image was marred, and it was marred at the fall. And so the psalmist declares this, even from birth the wicked go astray. From the womb they are wayward and speak lies.
In Proverbs 22, foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child. So the fall of man is reflected in man's propensity to lie, to tell untruth. Like Satan, who was the one who perpetrated the fall from the beginning. It was all about lies. Satan is called the father of lies. He lied in the garden. Has God said?
Oh, he won't do that. Jesus said to the Pharisees, you belong to your father, the devil, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. Which means when we deliberately engage in a lie, we are shadowing not God's personality, but Satan's personality.
We're becoming an ally. No wonder then, in the New Testament book of Acts, Peter said to Ananias in the early church, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit? So the commandment touches on the character of God. It touches on the credibility of man and also on the core issue of integrity.
That's really what the commandment is all about. Integrity. The word integrity is a beautiful word.
It means whole or undivided. Moral uprightness is the idea of integrity. Integrity is being what you say and verbal integrity is underwritten in this entire commandment. Living with your life what you say with your lips. Jesus said from the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks, or literally from the overflow of what's inside the heart, the real you, the inner core, the mouth will speak. Why do we lie? Because we're fallen people and lies are one way that shows up.
There are many ways of lying. Skip will cover more of them when he returns with the second half of this teaching, The Truth, The Whole Truth and Nothing But The Truth. Now today's teaching was just one message in our current series through the Ten Commandments, God's Top Ten.
It's available now from the store at connectwiscip.com where you can get all 17 teachings bundled together as an audio CD package for only $39 plus shipping. And while you're there, check out Pastor Skip's brand new book. Can you imagine reading a biography about your life only to find details about your life that were wrong?
Well, it would be frustrating, wouldn't it? And God's nature, character and motives have often been poorly portrayed and even intentionally misstated. And that's one of the reasons I decided to write the book, The Biography of God, to open your eyes and heart to a larger picture of God. I hope you will go on this journey with me as we ask and answer the universal question, can we know God? Here's how to get your copy of my newest book, The Biography of God. At Connect with Skip Heitzig, we want to help listeners like you live a life of dynamic faith in Jesus. But we're counting on your financial support to keep this strong Bible teaching on the air. Please give today to continue bringing this broadcast your way and connecting more people to the living Savior. Just call 800-922-1888. That's 800-922-1888. Or visit connectwiscip.com slash donate. That's connectwithskip.com slash donate.
Thank you. What makes a lie a lie? Find out next time here in Connect with Skip weekend edition. When Skip Heitzig returns with part two of this teaching, The Truth, The Whole Truth, and Nothing But the Truth, Connect with Skip weekend edition is a presentation of Connection Communications. Connecting you to God's never-changing truth in ever-changing times.
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