Lesson #2 ~ Lying
This is the second lesson in the series, Harnessing the Power of the Tongue for the Glory of God.
I was surprised at how honest everyone in the class was concerning the fact that we all tell lies. I guess I was expecting an attitude of, “Before I became a Christian I had a problem, but now I always try to tell the truth.” Everyone admitted that there is an ongoing battle that they face to be honest. One of the admitted short comings was making a promise and then not keeping it. Or perhaps saying to kids or grandkids, “I said no” but then 15 minutes later, “Well, I guess I can allow that.” This lesson here continued the good discussion that we had about how difficult it is to control our tongues. I tried in each lesson to take the sin of the tongue and trace it to a sin of the heart. In this case, lying reveals hatred in our hearts, or maybe just lack of love. We don’t value people so we don’t tell the whole truth. Or we try to spin the story to make ourselves look good. Again, this is an outline. If you teach this you will need some good discussion questions to make this relevant to your group.
Lesson #2 ~ Lying
This is the most basic thing. God doesn’t want us to lie, but we do; all the time.
I. The Origin of Lies ~ John 8:44. The devil is the father of lies. He deceives the whole world with his lies, Revelation 12:9. Genesis 3:1-5 tells the story of how he used the serpent to lie to Adam and Eve. Notice that much of what the devil said is true. Only a small fraction of what he presented to them is false. Telling only part of the truth is what the devil uses to destroy our world.
II. The Ninth Commandment ~ Exodus 20:16, Deuteronomy 5:20. They are called the ten commandments in a couple of places in scripture, Exodus 34:28, Deuteronomy 4:13, 10:4. In the ten commandments, it is phrased as “do not bear false witness” which has to do with official proceedings such as in court or with officials (which business was done at the city gates in those days). It could be rephrased, “If you are going to give an official testimony, make certain it is true.” But there are many other scriptures that speak of being truthful with all of our words, not just when we give official testimony.
III. Psalms and Proverbs concerning lying.
A. We all do it. Romans 3:4 quotes Psalm 51:4 and concludes that every man is a liar. How did Paul come to the conclusion that David was conveying this idea? Study. II Corinthians 4:4 states all who do not believe are blinded by Satan.
B. How to live a long, full life. Psalm 34:12-14. There is a question here. Who wants to live a good, long life? What is the command for those who want to love life and see many days? Before the command to depart from evil and to do good is to control that tongue. Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from deceit or guile. This is such a basic part of the Christian life that this passage is quoted in I Peter 3:9-12.
C. The Seven Deadly Sins! Notice how 3 out of 7 have to do with our tongue, see Proverbs 6:16-19.
#1- A proud look.
#2- A lying tongue.
#3- Hands that shed innocent blood.
#4- Hearts that devise wicked imaginations.
#5- Feet that run to evil.
#6- A false witness that speaks lies.
#7- He that spreads discord.
D. Proverbs 12:19 ~ The temporary nature of a lying tongue (compared to eternity).
E. The hatred behind lies. Proverbs 26:28 ~ The lying tongue shows that it hates those about whom it lies. If you have a falsehood, even if you are just twisting the truth ever so slightly to make yourself look good, you show that you hate the person because you don’t love them enough to tell the truth. Flattery can be lies as well. When we tell someone how great they are just to get on their good side, then flattery is a lie and it falls under the ninth commandment.
Note* We are going to be in Psalms and Proverbs quite a bit in this lesson series. It is interesting that David wrote all of these songs (Psalms) which contain so much wisdom. Then his son Solomon was the wisest man who ever lived. He grew up singing all these songs that his father wrote which contained all this wisdom. Then Solomon wrote and spoke all of these Proverbs which have many parallels in the Psalms. Notice how our three key verses come from Psalms and Proverbs. We are commanded to sing the wisdom of God, Colossians 3:16. How would children turn out if all they sang were the truths of God?
IV. The words of Christ. Matthew 5:33-37 ~ If you promise to do something, you must do it. If you do not do what you promised, you have lied, see Numbers 30 as a background for what Jesus was talking about. Jesus spoke to this principle in the sermon on the Mount. Apparently, by the time of Christ, people had tried to get out of fulfilling their word, or keeping their promise by saying something like, “I didn’t swear (take an oath) when I promised that. I was just talking.” There came about this saying not to swear falsely. If you said something, then didn’t do it, but you hadn’t taken an oath, you were off the hook. But Jesus raises the standard. You shouldn’t have to take an oath saying “I promise”, or say, “My word is my bond.” Anytime you say anything, anytime you tell someone you will do something, you should be so truthful that you should not have to say, “I’m officially taking an oath. I promise.”
How many times do you tell your children or grandchildren something, but then change your mind? When you say yes, let it mean yes. When you say no, you should have a reputation that people will know, you mean no.
V. The Apostle Paul. Ephesians 4:25 ~ It’s not just to stop lying, but to always tell the truth (in love, Ephesians 4:15). We must be truthful at all times especially with our Christian brothers and sisters. The way out of lying is to always tell the truth. One of the names of the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth, John 16:13, I John 4:6. (Note: I stressed that if we have the Holy Spirit, aka: The Spirit of Truth, then we will not lie.)
VI. Ananias and Sapphira ~ Acts 4:31-5:11. Ananias and Sapphira, two liars who brought judgment upon themselves. It’s a sad story, but it didn’t have to be this way. The unity of the church was amazing. People were living for each other instead of for themselves. Barnabas is pictured as a son of encouragement, laying down the full price of the piece of land. He didn’t want any say over where the money went. He completely trusted the apostles to distribute it to those in need. Ananias and Sapphira also sold land, but kept back part. But when they brought the money, they told Peter and others that they were bringing the full price of the land they sold. There was nothing wrong with them keeping part of the price back for themselves. After all, it belonged to them! But the fact that they wanted to make a show in front of others and lie about it brought the judgment of God upon them. Some facts:
1 ~ Ananias and Sapphira were filled with the Holy Spirit and attested to the resurrection of Christ.
2 ~ The entire congregation was one, sharing everything. They were a part of this family.
3 ~ Everyone trusted the apostles fully with any money they gave.
4 ~ What they said was mostly true.
5 ~ Peter pronounced the judgment of God upon them because they lied to the Holy Spirit and tested the Holy Spirit who was indwelling them.
6 ~ Peter said they could have done whatever they wanted to with the money, just not lie about it.
7 ~ The correction came in front of everyone who saw that they had lied. This prompted godly fear.
8 ~ The unity of the church is threatened by any falsehood.
What are ways that we can begin to be truthful all the time?
When someone asks you a question, how about stopping to think before you answer?
Before making a promise, how can you evaluate whether or not you should commit?
Always strive to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
Have a genuine love for anyone you talk to. Do not think you are above them in any way.
Have fun and stay busy ~ Luke 19:13
-The Orange Mailman