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Deuteronomy 5:20

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[READING - Deuteronomy 5:6-21]
Deuteronomy 5:6–21 NASB95
6 ‘I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 7 ‘You shall have no other gods before Me. 8 ‘You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. 9 ‘You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, and on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, 10 but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments. 11 ‘You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain. 12 ‘Observe the sabbath day to keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded you. 13 ‘Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 14 but the seventh day is a sabbath of the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter or your male servant or your female servant or your ox or your donkey or any of your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you, so that your male servant and your female servant may rest as well as you. 15 ‘You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out of there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm; therefore the Lord your God commanded you to observe the sabbath day. 16 ‘Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, that your days may be prolonged and that it may go well with you on the land which the Lord your God gives you. 17 ‘You shall not murder. 18 ‘You shall not commit adultery. 19 ‘You shall not steal. 20 ‘You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. 21 ‘You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, and you shall not desire your neighbor’s house, his field or his male servant or his female servant, his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor.’
[CONTEXT] The Israelites are about to move into the Promised Land. They are about to establish a society centered on the worship of God and governed by the laws of God.
An accusation of law breaking wouldn’t be considered unless two or three witnesses testified to the infraction.
But the testimony was only as reliable as the witnesses, so we have this ninth commandment…
Deuteronomy 5:20 NASB95
20 ‘You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
This commandment is specifically applicable in a legal setting, but it is also a general admonition to the tell the truth and to defends others against false accusations.
Q: Why do you think we struggle with telling the truth in our culture today? Why do you think we seem to bear false witness more and more in our society?
We speak in superlatives.
We think the ends justifies the means.
We have ‘my truth’ rather than ‘the truth.’
We polarize every issue.
[TS] Let’s think about two QUESTIONS tonight: (1) Where does bearing false witness come from? (2) Where does bearing false witness lead to?
Turn with me to Acts 4:32

Major Ideas

Where does bearing false witness come from?

Acts 4:32–5:11 NASB95
32 And the congregation of those who believed were of one heart and soul; and not one of them claimed that anything belonging to him was his own, but all things were common property to them. 33 And with great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and abundant grace was upon them all. 34 For there was not a needy person among them, for all who were owners of land or houses would sell them and bring the proceeds of the sales 35 and lay them at the apostles’ feet, and they would be distributed to each as any had need. 36 Now Joseph, a Levite of Cyprian birth, who was also called Barnabas by the apostles (which translated means Son of Encouragement), 37 and who owned a tract of land, sold it and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet. 1 But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, 2 and kept back some of the price for himself, with his wife’s full knowledge, and bringing a portion of it, he laid it at the apostles’ feet. 3 But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back some of the price of the land? 4 “While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not under your control? Why is it that you have conceived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.” 5 And as he heard these words, Ananias fell down and breathed his last; and great fear came over all who heard of it. 6 The young men got up and covered him up, and after carrying him out, they buried him. 7 Now there elapsed an interval of about three hours, and his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8 And Peter responded to her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for such and such a price?” And she said, “Yes, that was the price.” 9 Then Peter said to her, “Why is it that you have agreed together to put the Spirit of the Lord to the test? Behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out as well.” 10 And immediately she fell at his feet and breathed her last, and the young men came in and found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11 And great fear came over the whole church, and over all who heard of these things.
[EXP] Now, there’s a lot to learn from this passage: the Holy Spirit is God, the price for bearing false witness is death, but notice v. 3 again, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit…?”
Jesus said in Matthew 15:19
Matthew 15:19 NASB95
19 “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders.
Where does bearing false witness come from?
It comes from the heart—the heart that is either filled with Satan or at least is following the corrupted way of Satan.
Jesus said to some prideful, unbelieving religious leaders in John 8:44-45
John 8:44–45 NASB95
44 “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 “But because I speak the truth, you do not believe Me.
Why was Jesus’ speech so unbelievable to them? Why did it sound so foreign to them? Because His native language is truth but their’s native language is lie.
[ILLUS] When I was in college, we went on a mission trip to Mexico. We passed out food, shared the Gospel, and spent a lot of time just trying to communicate. Most of the people we encountered didn’t speak English and not many of us were fluent in Spanish.
I didn’t manage to understand Bro. Bobby Shurden when he told them that they would have to give him a moment before he preached. He said to them, “Estoy gorda,” or “I’m fat… and I need to catch my breath in this mountain air before I preach.”
But one afternoon on that trip I wanted to buy a disposable camera. I went in to a little shop and pointed at the camera and said, “Veinticuatro,” which means twenty-four. I didn’t know the word for camera so I just kept pointing at and saying the number of pictures it would take, “Veinticuatro!”
The person behind the counter didn’t understand, and I didn’t understand why they would give me the camera that would take 24 pictures.
Finally, a friend who spoke Spanish explained what I wanted, got the camera, and off we went.
But why caused the breakdown in communication?
We had two different native languages.
[APP] The native language of every Christian is truth, but the native language of the lost world around us is lie or falsehood.
It comes out of the heart that doesn’t truth Christ.
It comes out of the heart that follows Satan.
Q: What should we expect our conversations with unbelievers to be like when we understand that we are speaking two different languages?
We should expect their to be conflict.
We should expect their to be confusion.
We should expect to have to exercise patience and forgiveness as people misunderstand and even speak falsely against us.
We should expect to depend on the Holy Spirit. If the Holy Spirit doesn’t communicate the truth to the hearts of unbelievers, hearts won’t be changed—hearts won’t be filled with truth instead of falsehood.
[TS] So, that’s where bearing false witness begins—in the heart that is either filled with or at least following the way of Satan.
But where does bearing false witness lead to?
Turn with me to 1 Kings 21

Where does bearing false witness lead to?

1 Kings 21:1–13 NASB95
1 Now it came about after these things that Naboth the Jezreelite had a vineyard which was in Jezreel beside the palace of Ahab king of Samaria. 2 Ahab spoke to Naboth, saying, “Give me your vineyard, that I may have it for a vegetable garden because it is close beside my house, and I will give you a better vineyard than it in its place; if you like, I will give you the price of it in money.” 3 But Naboth said to Ahab, “The Lord forbid me that I should give you the inheritance of my fathers.” 4 So Ahab came into his house sullen and vexed because of the word which Naboth the Jezreelite had spoken to him; for he said, “I will not give you the inheritance of my fathers.” And he lay down on his bed and turned away his face and ate no food. 5 But Jezebel his wife came to him and said to him, “How is it that your spirit is so sullen that you are not eating food?” 6 So he said to her, “Because I spoke to Naboth the Jezreelite and said to him, ‘Give me your vineyard for money; or else, if it pleases you, I will give you a vineyard in its place.’ But he said, ‘I will not give you my vineyard.’ ” 7 Jezebel his wife said to him, “Do you now reign over Israel? Arise, eat bread, and let your heart be joyful; I will give you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.” 8 So she wrote letters in Ahab’s name and sealed them with his seal, and sent letters to the elders and to the nobles who were living with Naboth in his city. 9 Now she wrote in the letters, saying, “Proclaim a fast and seat Naboth at the head of the people; 10 and seat two worthless men before him, and let them testify against him, saying, ‘You cursed God and the king.’ Then take him out and stone him to death.” 11 So the men of his city, the elders and the nobles who lived in his city, did as Jezebel had sent word to them, just as it was written in the letters which she had sent them. 12 They proclaimed a fast and seated Naboth at the head of the people. 13 Then the two worthless men came in and sat before him; and the worthless men testified against him, even against Naboth, before the people, saying, “Naboth cursed God and the king.” So they took him outside the city and stoned him to death with stones.
[EXP] The wicked king, Ahab, and his equally wicked queen, Jezebel, wanted Naboth’s vineyard and hired some false witnesses to accuse Naboth. That false accusation led to Naboth’s death. That’s where bearing false witness leads—it leads to death.
We know spiritually that every sin—including the sin of bearing false witness—leads to death.
We know that unless we repent of our sins and come to faith in Jesus as the sacrifice for our sins, we will perish in our sins in Hell forever.
But Jesus has been crucified in our place; He has been resurrected; and His life means the penalty of sin and the power of sin has been broken for all who believe.
But this sin of bearing false witness leads to—not just spiritual death—but societal death. No society can continue that allows the bearing false witness to go on unchecked.
When people prefer ‘my truth’ to ‘the truth,’ society is in trouble.
When ‘must-lie situations’ are really everyday situations in which the truth should be told, society is in trouble.
When we don’t mind bearing false witness, so long as our party wins or our guy is in office, our society is in trouble.
[ILLUS] The puritan pastor, Thomas Watson, told the story of the queen of Persia who was once sick. The Persian magicians accused two godly virgins of making the queen sick with their charms. The queen had the virgins sawn in tow.
We hear that and we think, “How ridiculous?”
Are we so far from that sort of thing?
Our politicians bear false witness.
Our press bears false witness.
People bear false witness on social media all the time.
We like to say that we live in the age of the Internet or in the information age.
I think we live in the age of bearing false witness.
[APP] But listen a little more to what the Word of God says about bearing false witness or lying…
Turn to Deuteronomy 19:18-19
Deuteronomy 19:18–19 NASB95
18 “The judges shall investigate thoroughly, and if the witness is a false witness and he has accused his brother falsely, 19 then you shall do to him just as he had intended to do to his brother. Thus you shall purge the evil from among you.
Q: What does this teach us about bearing false witness?
Look at Proverbs 19:5...
Proverbs 19:5 NASB95
5 A false witness will not go unpunished, And he who tells lies will not escape.
Q: What does this teach us about bearing false witness?
Look at Proverbs 25:18
Proverbs 25:18 NASB95
18 Like a club and a sword and a sharp arrow Is a man who bears false witness against his neighbor.
Q: What does this teach us about bearing false witness?
Listen to Colossians 3:9
Colossians 3:9 NASB95
9 Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices,
Q: What does this teach us about bearing false witness?
And finally, look at Ephesians 4:25
Ephesians 4:25 NASB95
25 Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another.
Q: What does this teach us about bearing false witness?


Thomas Watson said, “The scorpion carries his poison in his tail; the slanderer carries his poison in his tongue.”
We must be different.
We must follow Christ.
We must carry the truth in our tongues.
We must speak the truth with our neighbors.
We must speak the truth about our neighbors.
We must speak the truth for and/or against our neighbors.
But we must never bear false witness against our neighbors.
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