Dr. Danny Campbell
This young convert was deeply impressed and determined to make these the rules of his life. From that day onward throughout his life he made it a rule to spend the first moments of his day alone with God and God's Word. Before he read a letter, looked at a paper or even read a telegram, he went first to the Bible, that the first impression of the day might be what he got directly from God.
- Series: Ten Commandments
- Scripture: Exodus 20:16
Tell the Truth
A small town prosecuting attorney called his first witness to the stand in a trial – a grandmotherly, elderly woman. He approached her and asked, "Mrs. Jones, do you know me?"
She responded, "Why, yes, I do know you Mr. Williams. I've known you since you were a young boy. And frankly, you've been a big disappointment to me. You lie, you cheat on your wife, you manipulate people and talk about them behind their backs. You think you're a rising big shot when you haven't the brains to realize you never will amount to anything more than a two-bit paper pusher. Yes, I know you."
The lawyer was stunned. Not knowing what else to do he pointed across the room and asked, "Mrs. Williams, do you know the defense attorney?"
She again replied, "Why, yes I do. I've known Mr. Bradley since he was a youngster, too. I used to baby-sit him for his parents. And he, too, has been a real disappointment to me. He's lazy, bigoted, and has a drinking problem. The man can't build a normal relationship with anyone and his law practice is one of the shoddiest in the entire state. Yes, I know him."
At this point, the judge rapped the courtroom to silence and called both counselors to the bench. In a very quiet voice, he said with menace, "If either of you asks her if she knows me, you'll be jailed for contempt!"
As we have been going through the Ten Commandments, we have seen a progression in them
The first two commands tell us our lives are to start with worshipping God alone, and not to let anything else become a god to us
The third command tells us that our lives and are lips are not to take the name of the Lord in vain- in everything we do are to realize that we are ambassadors for our Great God.
The fourth command instructs us to rest and worship at least one day in seven
Around the world religions are emphasizing what you have to do for God; God starts the commands to us by ordering us to realize what He has done first before we do anything for Him!
The fifth commandment teaches us that respect begins at home as we honor the parents God gave us. Having started with that foundation respect was to flourish in the nation – teachers and coaches and bosses and authorities in every realm
The sixth commandment reinforced the Sanctity of Human Life- it is a precious gift from God and we are not to murder
The seventh commandment was about the sanctity of Marriage- we are not to commit adultery but to cherish the first institution God gave
The eighth commandment was about the sanctity of property- each of us are stewards of the things that God gave us, and instead of stealing we are to work to provide for our families and give to meet the needs of others
And that brings us to the ninth commandment
Read Exodus 20:16 Tell the Truth Let’s Pray!
“Thou shalt not bear false witness against your neighbor.”
The ninth commandment focuses on legal testimony or providing an officially binding witness
Israel had just become a nation, and God was giving them His law
People were going to see things happen, and were going to be called before a judge to tell the court what they had seen and knew to be true
It’s interesting that Jethro’s talk with Moses about delegation had come before this in Exodus chapter 18
Let’s read Exodus 18:13-23
Now our command for today, don’t bear false witness, directly applies to their ability to function as a nation governed by law
Exodus 18:21 told us the judges were to be men who feared God and were men of truth
Their ability to be a nation governed by the rule of law would come down to whether or not people were faithful to witness truthfully
I love it when a plan comes together, and you see how these ten commandments were essential for Israel to have the right kind of country
And properly understood, they are just as essential for countries around the world today!
The Ninth Commandment is about the Sanctity of Truth!
Now let’s bring this right to the year 2019:
Why do people bear false witness?
Three reasons people usually bear false witness:
1. To try to get away with something
To cover something up because the truth would get them in bigger trouble
Prosecutor: Did you kill the victim?
Defendant: No, I did not.
Prosecutor: Do you know what the penalties are for perjury?
Defendant: Yes, I do. And they're a lot better than the penalty for murder
Now here’s what you need to know if you are in the habit of lying to cover yourself – you will get caught, and it will be worse for you than if you’d just come clean
People will forgive you for a lot of sins if you just come clean about them; but if you lie to people who have trusted you and deceive them to try and keep getting away with something, you will lose their trust forever
I have talked to a lot of people about a lot of sins done unto them
Those most wounded are those who look into space and say, “I just can’t believe how many times he had lied to me.”
Read Psalm 32:1-5
The sins we uncover in confession God will cover with His grace,
but the sins we try to cover up will be embarrassingly revealed.
Another reason we bear false witness is...
2. To try and help someone else get away with something
When we hear the story of Robin Hood, we love it!
Ha Ha, he stole from the rich and gave to the poor
No Sheriff, I didn’t see anything!
What a misguided sense of justice we have
Oh, it’s no big deal, they have so much they won’t miss it!
Folks, to God it’s a big deal!
When asked to bear witness, don’t be partial to the rich against the poor, or to the poor against the rich!
Read Exodus 23:1-3
God makes this clear: it is not the job of a witness to help someone they like for whatever reason against another person – the job of a witness is simply to tell what they know
A final reason people bear false witness is…
3. To avoid hurting someone else’s feelings
I don’t know if God gets terribly upset when we tell our wives their hair looks fine when it does not look fine
But I do know that many of us need to speak the truth in love more to those who need to hear the truth
When someone says, “I’m sorry I’m running late again” we say “No Problem”
Maybe we should say, “PROBLEM!”
“We have an hour and a half’s worth of stuff to do, we had one hour to do it, and because your late now we have 40 minutes- PROBLEM!”
Now a lot of people can’t handle the truth-
Let me tell you one of the greatest gifts you can give your relationships:
One of the greatest gifts you can give your relationships is to make yourself approachable and open to the loving concerns of others
The Ninth Commandment is about the Sanctity of Truth!
It points to a high standard of truth in all areas of life
Now I told you that behind each precept, or command, is a principle and a person
The Precept (the command) is not to bear false witness
The Principle behind that precept is that truth is needed so that we can trust each other!
The Person behind the principle is God, who is the Truth
“You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” -John 8:32
Jesus said to Him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but by Me.” -John 14:6
It’s vitally important that you realize your faith goes beyond just a warm feeling that Jesus brings you to facts that you can share with others
The Bible tells us that we are to be witnesses to the truth!
But if more people were honest with us, they’d say, “I can’t hear you witnessing to me about peace with God when your life witnesses to me that you don’t have peace with God.”
That’s why we need to continually be witnessing to ourselves in the body of Christ.
We need to ask ourselves and others, “Does my life witness against what my lips witness about Jesus and the new life He brings?
Not that I’m perfect, but that He’s made and is making a change in me!
And then we are to be witnesses to the Truth: and the facts are on our side!
How to turn an Atheist to an Agnostic to a Seeker…
The facts are on our side, fellow witnesses of Jesus!
The Life of Jesus is once more under attack
Think of the early disciples for a minute
Liberal scholars believe the early disciples got together and made up Jesus being raised from the dead.
Then they would have us believe that these same disciples, the ones who had fled when Christ was crucified, led by Peter who was afraid when confronted by a little girl, they would have us believe that these same disciples were willing to be persecuted and all but one of them die brutal deaths so that others would believe their lie.
As a Texan would say, that ‘dog won’t hunt!’
The record shows they were just too chicken for that- if Jesus had died and stayed dead they would have never continued on – Christ being dead meant their belief was dead
Someone might object and say…What about terrorists like Al Zarqawi?
His disciples are willing to go on fighting…
That’s physical rebellion, and that often happens…Desperate people will go to battle and be willing to die as long they can kill a few of the enemy along the way
BUT that’s not what the disciples did – they did not organize to fight with force, they witnessed to what they saw, and they would not stop talking about Jesus even though people threatened and killed them
Hear me well – the disciples did not die for what they merely believed to be true
It’s a misguided belief when you think that Allah will receive you into Paradise and give you 72 virgins to spend eternity with if you fly a plane into a building full of innocent people
The disciples did not die only for what they believed; they died for what they had seen to be true
Read I John 1:1-4
Now today we believe, but we believe based on the true witness that’s been handed down
I could not be a Mormon, because there is not a shred of Archaeological evidence to back up the teenager Joseph Smith’s outrageous claims
Not only that, DNA technology now shows that it is just not true that the Indians of the Americas were related to Jews
The truth of the gospel is so compelling that it has changed lives for 2,000 years
There’s a lot of people that play church, but there is nothing more exhilarating than seeing a life that bears witness to the transforming power of the gospel
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes… -Romans 1:16
Jesus is the Truth- and we bear witness to Him!
“God always pours his grace into empty hands.” St. Augustine