AGCC Sun. a.m. 8/26/2001
#6 (Proverbs Series - "7 Things God Hates")

TEXT:  Prov. 6:19a; Zech. 8:16-17; Deut. 19:15-19; Eph. 4:25


Telling the truth is critical to the fabric of human civilization. In fact, that is the marvel of the 9th commandment, it stands alone as truth whether people believe in God or not. Everyone suffers when a false witness is given. It has unfortunately become a way of life in our culture, today many people believe it is "normal" to tell lies: ILLUS:In the July 15, 1993 Boardroom Reports, Peter LeVine writes: "When the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey ran a help-wanted ad for electricians with expertise at using Sontag connectors, it got 170 responses--even though there is no such thing as a Sontag connector. The Authority ran the ad to find out how many applicants falsify resumes." -- Leadership, Vol. 15, no. 1. It is tragic to realize just how easily we accept bending the truth. Since the adults of our society have modeled falsehoods so well it has become the expected behavior and second language of our youth: ILLUS:On a beautiful fall day, four of my granddaughter's friends decided to go for a drive instead of showing up to class on time. When they did arrive, the girls explained to the teacher they had had a flat tire. The teacher accepted the excuse, much to the girls' relief. "Since you missed this morning's quiz, you must take it now," she said. "Please sit in the four corner seats in this room without talking." When they were seated, the teacher said, "On your paper write the answer to one question: 'Which tire was flat?'"-- Clara Null, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Christian Reader, "Lite Fare." Whatever happened to these words: "Do you promise to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?" A failure to do this could mean the destruction of innocent lives. You will also note how some of the other qualities God hates comes into play with this one, like "no conscience." PROP. SENT:      God hates a "false witness" … it destroys everyone when it is accepted. No society will long endure, nor will any human relationship that is based on a false witness.

I. FALSE WITNESS     Zech. 8:16-17; Eph. 4:25

A. Types    1. The Obvious Lie - when truth is altered to say something that is simply not true. a. No amount of telling the falsehood will change the truth, but it will change the relationship we have with the person we lied to or about. b. When truth is not given, everyone loses. 2. Libel - this is using the truth in such a way as to hurt someone, sometimes in a court of law it is called, "malicious intent." a. While this is not an actual lie, it is the use of truth to still bear a false witness in such a way as to do damage to someone. b. Even the truth must be used in a righteous way! ILLUS:The editor of a small-town newspaper grew tired of being called a liar, and announced that he would tell the truth in the future. The next issue contained the following item: "Married--Miss Sylvan Rhodes and James Collins, last Saturday at the Baptist parsonage, by the Rev. J. Gordon. The bride is a very ordinary town girl, who doesn't know any more about cooking than a jackrabbit, and never helped her mother three days in her life. She is not a beauty by any means and has a gait like a duck. The groom is an up-to-date loafer. He has been living off the old folks at home all his life and is now worth shucks. It will be a hard life." --James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988) 3. Slander - This is a lie intended to damage someone or protect self. It is a direct violation of the 9th commandment. a. It was this particular type of lie that God's Word warned against. b. In fact, so serious was the danger of this type of lie that God's Word declared that all such facts must be established by more than a single witness or the person should not be held for punishment. c. The breach of relationships is a serious issue to God, and lying destroys all such relationships. 4. Exaggeration - this kind of stretching the truth can leave casualties also. a. When truth gets stretched damage can occur to the relationships as well. b. After a while it will be difficult for people to take at face value what is said, and it can create false impressions of others that can lead to bad relationships. c. Unfortunately, exaggeration comes too easily for most people. ILLUS:In Boston a minister noticed a group of boys standing around a small stray dog. "What are you doing, boys?" "Telling lies," said one of the boys. "The one who tells the biggest lie gets the dog." "Why, when I was your age," the shocked minister said, "I never ever thought of telling a lie." The boys looked at one another, a little crestfallen. Finally one of them shrugged and said, "I guess he wins the dog." -- James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988) p. 287. 5. Silence or Innuendo - We can even bear false witness by failing to speak the truth, sometimes by not saying something we can hurt others or allow a false witness to exist on someone, or we can create a false witness by holding back truth! a. Such comments like, "If you only knew what I knew about so and so, but I promised not to say anything…" b. The failure for many to speak up in World War II when Hitler did his atrocities was a way to allow them to continue … this failure to speak the truth can also be a form of bearing a false witness. B. Tragedy!     Zech. 8:16-17; Eph. 4:25 1. Notice that telling the truth is something we are "TO DO" -- that's how Zechariah 8:16 puts it. a. Speaking the truth is something we do, it is learned. b. And obviously it is learned by us when watching those in authority over us, this is why it is critical Mom and Dad that you are true witnesses. 2. If we are false witnesses about others, no one will trust our witness for Christ … this is an important issue. a. Those who bear a false testimony about others can hardly be trusted to bear a true testimony about Christ! b. This is another reason God hated a false witness … if the other nations witnessed Israel practicing lies why would they ever believe Israel about God? 3. The very witness of Christ hinges many times on our witness about others and other things. a. Lying destroys our credibility as well as the credibility of those we bear a false witness about. b. There is too much at stake to lose by a false witness … all the way around! c. Lying leads to so many other sins as well. ILLUS:"Sin has many tools, but a lie is the handle that fits them all." -- Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-1894) 4. As Paul makes so clear in Eph. 4:25, we are members of one body, it takes truth to hold us together … and connected with God. a. There is no lie in God … and therefore God hates lying. b. We are always to speak the truth in love. (Eph. 4:15) II. FAITHFUL WAY     Deut. 19:15-19 A. Truth     Deut. 19:15 1. It was so important to God that peoples' lives be preserved from false testimonies or witnesses that He required that there be at least 1 or 2 others to speak the same thing before someone's life is destroyed by a story. a. Too often things get passed around as "truth" on the sole testimony of one person. b. We must remember that a single person can slant the truth in such a way as to be viewed from their own framework, but coming through several sources helps prevent this so that the truth will remain intact. c. Jesus affirmed the same process for truth in the New Testament, stating that: "… so that 'every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.'" Matt. 18:16 d. Paul established the very same principle in: II Cor. 13:1 "…"Every matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses." e. Even John emphasized the importance of more than a single witness for Jesus: 1 John 5:7-8 "For there are three that testify: the Spirit, the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement." f. This is a good idea for today also! ILLUS:It isn't the things that go in one ear and out the other that hurt as much as the things that go in one ear, get all mixed up, and then slip out the mouth. -- James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988) p. 256. 2. People's lives are too important to God to tolerate false testimonies. a. As the Father of all truth, God is inherently against all lies! b. Satan however is called the "father of all lies" - he is the "deceiver," when we use lies we are aligning ourselves with Satan rather than our heavenly Father. c. ALL lies yield more sin! 3. Truth is designed to not only help us walk right in a crooked world, but to set free the broken person as well. 4. This is so hard to do in a world that has become accustomed to lies as a way of life -- lying has become all too acceptable, even expected! ILLUS:Leonard Sweet, in his Soul Cafe newsletter, included this list of "Top 10 Liars' Lies":
  • 10. We'll stay only five minutes.
  • 9. This will be a short meeting.
  • 8. I'll respect you in the morning.
  • 7. The check is in the mail.
  • 6. I'm from the government, and I'm here to help you.
  • 5. This hurts me more than it hurts you.
  • 4. Your money will be cheerfully refunded.
  • 3. We service what we sell.
  • 2. Your table will be ready in just a minute.
  • 1. I'll start exercising (dieting, forgiving, ...) tomorrow. -- Leadership, Vol. 16, no. 4.
  • 5. In such a world where little lies are so common it can make us cynical to any truth. B. Testing     Deut. 19:16-19 1. Truth is so important it is to be tested!! a. Note that even in the New Testament Church the supernatural utterances and gifts were even to be tested … that which comes from God will always pass the test of truth, that which comes from the enemy will always fail the test! 1 Cor 14:29 "Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said." (1. The "others" who should weigh carefully what is said are the elders of the Church who were to judge the utterance or test it for truth that aligns with God's Word. (2. Even in the Church today we are too quick to accept everything that comes down the pike … there are prophetic statements being passed around in written form as though they are par with God's written Word … they are to be tested WITH God's Word. b. Notice also in 1 John 4:1 he states the importance of testing for truth, "Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world." c. When a bad witness is given about someone else … it should be confirmed by more than one … this is clear in Deut. 19:15! 2. It is clear in the last few verses that a careful investigation should always be made when someone's reputation is at stake.. a. Notice that all parties are to stand "…in the presence of the Lord…" as a first priority, truth is a SPIRITUAL matter -- always! b. Truth is important to God for God IS truth, in Him there is no lie! 3. Such allowances or violations of this principle will allow a drift toward unsubstantiated lying as the norm … the place where our culture has already arrived! ILLUS:The "credibility gap" that once alienated the public from people in high places now seems to separate us from one another in all walks of life. Americans lie on their income tax returns to the tune of millions of dollars a year. Doctors fake reports in order to profit from Medicare patients. Prize athletes at great universities are kept eligible for competition through bogus credits and forged transcripts of academic records. Children soon acquire the cynical assumption that lying is the normal tack for TV advertisers. In the words of a Time magazine essay, ours is "a huckstering, show-bizzy world, jangling with hype, hullabaloo, and hooey, bull, baloney, and bamboozlement." After a while, people tend to expect not to hear the truth anymore; in 1976, a national poll showed that 69 percent of Americans believed that the country's leaders had, over the last decade, consistently lied to the people. -- Lewis Smedes, Mere Morality --James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988), p. 456. 4. To return our culture to an honest one we must begin with the individual. 5. Wholeness in relationships are a must for a culture to survive, and for a soul to develop into the character of God that we are suppose to maintain. 6. The 9th commandment calls us to honor God by honoring the truth in ways that build up and not tear down. a. Even when such truth is required to deal with wrongdoing between people it is to be used in a redemptive format. b. Certainly our lives would experience God's fullness when we live the truth rather than the lies so pervasive in our society today. 7. God help us to speak the truth in love, to raise the banner of honesty to the level of "normal" again. Let it begin with us as God's people! CONCLUSION:    The fabric of a healthy society is woven with truth. Lying tears this fabric apart and it begins the process of destroying lives and truth. Since "God is truth" we cannot violate truth and still enjoy a relationship with Him also. It is also why God hates a false witness … God help us to "speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth - so help us God!" -- our witness for Christ can rise or fall on our being a TRUE WITNESS in all ways … AND THAT'S THE TRUTH!