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The Ten Commandments 09 - Speak the Truth

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Reading: John 8:31-47  / HC Q&A 112 p.55

You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.   Exodus 20:16 (NIV)

I.   Don’t Accuse falsely

     A.  Don’t lie in order to Hurt

           1.  This the heart of the 9th commandment

                 a.  It’s not merely about lying

                 b.  It’s about lying against/to hurt someone

           2.  Don’t falsely accuse in court

                 a.  The picture is of a trial or investigation

                 b.  When others are trying to determine the truth about someone

                 c.  Don’t falsely accuse in an official way

           3.  Don’t falsely accuse out of court

                 a.  This is for unofficial proceedings too.

                 b.  Don’t lie to hurt in daily conversations

     B.  Don’t Ruin someone by deception

           1.  One can deceive without lying

                 a.  We can deceive telling only the truth

                 b.  Deception is telling others what they need to form a false impression

                 c.  Lev.19:11: “Don’t steal. . .lie. . .deceive.”

           2.  We can harm a reputation by deceit.

                 a.  "Did you practice pre-marital interdigitation?"

                 b.  Deceit can steal and kill and ruin

                 c.  We can replace goods, but reputations?

           3.  Even if our intention isn’t to ruin, only deceive, we’re still responsible.

                 a.  We don’t think of hurting others, only of protecting ourselves from the truth

                 b.  We lie to avoid embarrassment, but sometimes at other’s expense

     C.  Don’t listen to or spread Gossip

           1.  Gossip is so easy, so subtle, so “ordinary”

                 a.  Gossip is always what other people do.

                 b.  Gossip always seems like just “passing on some information you should know”

           2.  Gossip is spreading hear-say information

                 a.  It’s hear-say: not first hand.

                 b.  It’s often not knowledge but guesses, hunches, intuitions, generalizations.

                 c.  The info may be true, but incomplete

           3.  Gossip hurts when lies, guesses and incomplete truth circulates about people

                 a.  People and their reputations are hurt

                 b.  The usual way we break this command

II.  Speak the Truth in Love

     A.  Let love Govern truth telling

           1.  Love is always what guides us.

                 a.  Do you say what you say out of love?

                 b.  Love for the one you’re talking about?

                 c.  Love for the one you’re talking to?

           2.  Love. . .rejoices in the Truth (1Cor.13:6)

                 a.  Love isn’t afraid of the Truth

                 b.  Love celebrates the Truth, warts and all

                 c.  Love is being “True” to the loved one.

           3.  Love doesn’t want to harm with the Truth

                 a.  Love keeps no record of wrongs either

                 b.  Love uses the truth for not against.

     B.  Tell the truth to Protect your neighbor

           1.  The opposite of lying against.

                 a.  Turn this command upside down.

                 b.  Tell the Truth that promotes our neighbor’s good.

           2.  There’s a time to speak up for each other.

                 a.  Speak up, rather than be silent.

                 b.  Speak for, when others speak against

                 c.  Love defends and protects

           3.  Protection may mean deception!

                 a.  We find this in the Bible too! (Rahab, e.g.)

                 b.  Being true to God’s people may mean being false to God’s enemies.

                 c.  Be careful! Protect from harm, not necessarily a necessary hurt.

     C.  Speak to your neighbor who Sins

           1.  Love requires us to do this.

                 a.  Sin is harmful behavior: it harms self, others or offends God (or all 3!)

                 b.  Love wants to protect all 3 loved ones (self, others, God)

           2.  This Truth may hurt, but it need not harm

                 a.  Speak the Truth in grace-filled Love

                 b.  “I love you, nothing will change that, and so we have to talk about. . .”

                 c.  There is no threat or fear in love.

           3.  Tell the truth of sin and it’s consequences

                 a.  “You’re hurting your self, others, me. . .”

                 b.  “This isn’t/may not be God’s will”

III. The Truth sets us Free

     A.  Satan is the Father of lies

           1.  Satan is the master liar

                 a.  To learn about lies go to the master.

                 b.  To learn about Satan, learn about lies

                 c.  Lies are always parasites on the Truth.

           2.  To live a life based on lies is devilish living

                 a.  Not all truths need be revealed!

                 b.  Yet we must be true to who we are.

                 c.  Else, we, like the Pharisees, spend too much time learning from the Devil.

           3.  Reject lies and their father.

                 a.  Reject lies that keeps you comfortable, yet stuck in immaturity or sin.

                 b.  Lies to avoid embarrassment at others’ expense

                 c.  Lies that give us gain, by robbing others.

     B.  Jesus is the Truth that sets us free

           1.  Jesus tells us the Truth that rescues us.

                 a.  His Truth-telling rescues, even while they give false testimony against him.

                 b.  He tells the Truth, tho they kill him for it

           2.  Jesus is on the side of the Truth

                 a.  Christlikeness is standing on the Truth

                 b.  His only enemies are those who stand on the lies of power and advantage

           3.  The Truth is: God loves and rescues sinners

                 a.  God hates sin more than we can imagine

                 b.  But God loves you and I more too!

                 c.  God rescues us from our slavery to sin and from sin’s final consequences

     C.  Be on the Side of the Truth

           1.  The way of Truth is the way of life

                 a.  Jesus is “the way the truth and the life”

                 b.  Jesus’ Truth sets us free to really live!

           2.  To love people is to be True to them

                 a.  As Jesus was/is true to us, be true

                 b.  Tell the Truth as Jesus did/does

           3.  Embrace the Truth and it’s Father

                 a.  There are no lies in God at all

                 b.  God is True and full of the light of Truth

                 c.  Embrace/imitate Him and Who He is

The Bottom Line:

In all you Do and Say, live and Love in the Light of Truth.


Teach Me O Lord Thy Way of Truth Blue #240, v.1


Heidelberg Catechism

Q&A 112

What is God’s will for you in the ninth commandment?

God’s will is that I never give false testimony against anyone, twist no one’s words, not gossip or slander, nor join in condemning anyone without a hearing or without a just cause.1

Rather, in court and everywhere else, I should avoid lying and deceit of every kind; these are devices the devil himself uses, and they would call down on me God’s intense anger.2 I should love the truth, speak it candidly, and openly acknowledge it.3

And I should do what I can to guard and advance my neighbor’s good name.4

1 Ps. 15; Prov. 19:5; Matt. 7:1; Luke 6:37; Rom. 1:28-32

2 Lev. 19:11-12; Prov. 12:22; 13:5; John 8:44; Rev. 21:8

3 1Cor. 13:6; Eph. 4:25

4 1Pet. 3:8-9; 4:8


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