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9th Commandment

9th Commandment

July 14, 2024 by Pastor David Hubbard
Passages:Exodus 20:16

Sermon Synopsis

Exodus 20:16
Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
THE TRUTH UNVEILED
The Gospel of Judas claims to reveal the real Jesus and the real
Judas. The real Judas, according to this ancient document, was not
evil. Instead, Judas was the only one of the twelve apostles who
really understood Jesus. Jesus secretly told Judas his real message.
Jesus taught Judas that the physical world is evil, that bodies are
bad, and that people have an inner divine being. This divine self
needs to escape the prison of the body to fulfill its divine destiny.
When Judas handed Jesus over to his enemies to be killed, it was not
a wicked betrayal; the Gospel of Judas says that Jesus ordered Judas
to do it. Jesus told Judas that he would surpass all the other
disciples, because Judas would help Jesus to escape his body and
become pure spirit. Jesus told Judas,
“You will sacrifice the man
that clothes me.”
According to the gospel of Judas, Jesus did not die to get rid of the
world’s sin; he died to get rid of his own body. Jesus did not rise
from the dead in a glorified resurrection body, and he did not
promise that his followers would be physically raised from the
dead. Bodily resurrection would be a tragedy, not triumph. Bodies
are bad! No, says the gospel of Judas, Jesus offered guidance on how
to escape being physical and human.
That contradicts what the Bible says. According to the New
Testament gospels, Judas was not the best of all the apostles but the
worst. He was a thief and a traitor. Judas was a member of Jesus’
ministry team, and one of his duties was to serve as treasurer. But
Judas stole money that people had given for God’s work. Eventually
Judas became so greedy that he decided to go for one big payday. He
went to Jesus’ enemies and offered to betray Jesus to them for a
payment of thirty silver coins.
Satan, the chief of demons, entered Judas’s heart, and Judas did
Satan’s work. He led a band of men armed with swords and clubs
through the darkness of night to the place he knew Jesus would be.
Judas gave Jesus a kiss, not out of love, but to help Jesus’ enemies
pick Jesus out of the crowd and seize him. Afterward Satan had no
further use for Judas. Judas was filled with horror and killed
himself. That’s what the Bible says about Judas.
As for Jesus and his message, the Bible never says Jesus told people
that they have a divine inner self that needs to be free of the body. It
is not bad to have a body; the Bible says God created bodies. When
Jesus died, it was not to get rid of his body but to get rid of our sin.
Jesus did not just dwell in a spirit realm. He arose from the dead in a
body that could be seen and touched. When Jesus returns, he will
raise our bodies.
The gospels in the Bible say one thing; the gospel of Judas says
another. What should we believe? When the Judas manuscript came
to light, the news media gave it lots of publicity. You may have
heard people say that the gospel of Judas is a legitimate alternative
to the Bible. You may have heard that experts authenticate the
gospel of Judas as very old.
Well, it is old. It goes back many centuries—but not as far back as
the biblical gospels. The Bible’s accounts were written within a few
decades of Jesus’ death and resurrection by people who knew Jesus
personally. The Judas manuscript, on the other hand, is dated about
150 years after Judas betrayed Jesus. 150 years is a long time. The
author did not know Jesus or Judas.
The book was written by Gnostics who thought bodies were bad.
Some Gnostics called themselves Cainites. They admired not only
Judas but Cain, the biblical character who murdered his brother
Abel. This cult twisted almost everything the Bible said into its
opposite, and turned many villains into heroes.
Now, let’s imagine a different example of writing a book 160 years
after events, a book that contradicts the historical accounts of
eyewitnesses. It’s been almost 160 years since President Abraham
Lincoln was shot. Suppose somebody sat down today and wrote a
book titled History of Booth. Suppose this book claimed to give the
real, hidden story behind Abraham Lincoln’s death.
History of Booth claimed that Lincoln secretly told John Wilkes
Booth to shoot him, and the assassin Booth was actually an
American hero. Now imagine that the person who wrote this book
was part of a group called the Arnoldites. The Arnoldites are named
after Benedict Arnold, the traitorous general who worked for
America’s enemy.
Would you take seriously a book that said the secret of being a true
American is to follow in the footsteps of Benedict Arnold, the traitor
who double-crossed George Washington, and John Wilkes Booth,
the assassin who murdered Abraham Lincoln? Who would pay any
attention to such ridiculous lies dreamed up long after the actual
events?
If such a History of Booth would be ridiculous, the Gospel of Judas is
even more ridiculous. But some journalists and professors act as
though it reveals things that place the biblical gospels in question. A
similar dynamic occurred with the ridiculous Gnostic ideas
described in The Da Vinci Code. Tell a big enough lie often enough to
lots of people, and eventually some of them believe it.
Father of Lies
How could anybody believe something as weird and wicked as the
gospel of Judas? The answer is that these lies come from Satan
himself and are backed by demonic power. It’s not just that
people’s brains don’t work very well. The deeper problem is that
evil powers are at work in those lies. Liars cause confusion. Satan is
the biggest liar of them all. Satan wants people to be confused about
Jesus, not to have a clear faith in the truth.
The gospel of Judas and other Gnostic falsehoods were the sort of
thing the Bible warned of in advance. According to 1 Timothy 4:1-2,
the Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the
faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.
Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences
have been seared as with a hot iron.
As we’ve seen, people with a seared conscience ended up saying
Cain the murderer and Judas the traitor were good. These were the
kind of people who said the human body is bad and that people
should avoid the physical pleasures of marriage or of eating tasty
food. They loved death more than life.
Satan knows that if people believe his lies instead of Jesus’ truth,
those people will perish forever instead of enjoying eternal life with
Jesus in glorified resurrection bodies. Satan is a killer, and he tells
lies in order to bring death. Jesus said of Satan,
“He was a murderer
from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth
in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar
and the father of lies”.
From the very beginning, in the Garden of Eden, that old serpent,
the devil, has been telling his murderous lies. God told Adam and
Eve that they could eat fruit from any tree except one. If they ate
from the forbidden tree, they would die. The first thing Satan said
to Eve was,
“Did God really say that?” He got Eve to doubt God’s
truthfulness. Then he told her that disobeying God wouldn’t kill
her. It would liberate her. She’d become like God herself. Eve and
Adam believed Satan; they doubted God, and humans have been
lying and dying ever since.
Whenever someone tells a lie, Satan is happy, and Satan advances
in his murderous campaign to ruin lives and destroy souls. Not all
lies are as spectacular as the claim that Judas and Cain were good.
Lies and deception come in various forms.
A boy flatters a girl with sweet little lies about how much he loves
her, but once she’s gone to bed with him, he dumps her as used
goods. A woman makes marriage promises and then decides she’d
rather be without her husband, leaving him betrayed and shattered.
A child in school acts friendly toward another kid, but behind his
back tells others what a loser he is. A teacher grades a set of exams
that are mediocre, yet gives them top marks, giving the students a
false sense of accomplishment and depriving them of any incentive
to improve and excel.
An athlete signs a six-year-deal, and two years later threatens not
to play unless the deal is renegotiated. A salesman bamboozles a
customer into signing a contract, only to be dismayed later at what
the fine print turns out to mean. A researcher falsifies his findings
or hides the dangers of a certain product so that it will reach the
market faster, and people die as a result. A doctor lies and tells a
patient there’s a good chance she’ll survive her cancer, thus
depriving the dying patient of the chance to face impending death
squarely and courageously, and forcing her to endure the added
pain and indignity of useless treatments.
A politician makes all sorts of promises he knows he won’t keep,
and the people lose their confidence in government. A talk show
host blabs a variety of rumors and speculations and half-truths,
and people become cynical about everything. A preacher says one
thing but does another, and his congregation starts to wonder
whether they can trust anybody or believe in anything.
Is there anything more characteristic of the life of sin than lying?
You do something wrong; you don’t want anyone to know; so what
do you do? You lie. And once you tell that lie, you have to tell
another lie to cover it up and then another and another, until your
whole life becomes a web of lies.
Lies poison relationships. Think of what happens when a group of
people get together in a cafeteria or at a party or wherever. Look at
all the smiles! Listen to how friendly everyone is!
“It’s so nice to see you.”
“It’s been great talking with you.”
But then notice the whispers and the dirty looks, and listen to what
they say after a person leaves the room. The fake friendliness and
flattery evaporate, the phony front is dropped, and it comes out
what they really think of each other.
Our atmosphere is so polluted by lies that we’re in danger of
suffocating. We somehow need to breathe in the fresh air of truth
and discover the life and liberty that come from “speaking the truth
in love”.
God of Truth
You and I need to be people of truth for our own good, and because
God is a God of truth. If you know God, then you will love truth and
hate lies. Why? Because that’s what God does. The Bible says in
Proverbs 12:22,
“Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD: but
they that deal truly are his delight.”
God loves truth and hates lies because truth is his very nature. The
Bible speaks of the Lord as “the God of truth”. It speaks of him as
“God, who does not lie”. It also says “it is impossible for God to
lie”. God’s power is infinite, most anything is possible for him, but
one thing God can’t do is lie. Truth is of his very essence. God
wouldn’t be God if he were anything but absolutely true and
trustworthy and faithful.
The Bible says in Numbers 23:19,
“God is not a man, that he should
lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said,
and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it
good?” Psalm 33:4 says,
“For the word of the LORD is right; and all
his works are done in truth.” When God came to earth as a man in
the person of Jesus, he said,
“I am the Truth”. When Jesus was on
trial before Pilate, he said,
“In fact, for this reason I was born, and
for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on
the side of the truth listens to me”.
And how did Pilate respond? He grunted,
“What is the truth?”
That’s the question of every person who’d rather avoid God, who
wants to do something he knows deep down is evil. Just about every
wicked deed is followed by a trail of lies, or else it’s covered up by
the biggest lie of all: There is no such thing as truth; nobody can be
sure if God exists or what he’s like; nobody can know for sure
what’s right and wrong.
If there’s no truth, there’s no right or wrong, and that means I can
keep doing what I’m doing. Some intellectuals have even turned
this into a philosophy. What is the truth? Who knows? Let’s all
believe as we please and do what we want—even if it means
crucifying the Son of God, as Pilate did.
“What is the truth?” That sarcastic question of Pilate denies that
God is real and that his revelation is reliable.
We’ve sampled some of the havoc that occurs in different areas of
life when we lie to each other, whether those are monstrous lies
that twist what the Bible says about Jesus or the everyday lies we
tell in dealing with each other. Truth comes from God, the ultimate
life-giver. Lies come from Satan, the ultimate killer. It’s not just
that honesty is nice, and lies aren’t nice. It’s that we’re either in
league with the God of truth, or else in league with the father of lies,
Satan.
Speaking the Truth in Love
Truthfulness is crucial for a real relationship with God and for real
relationships with each other. The Bible says,
“Therefore each of
you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor”.
“Then we will no longer be … blown here and there by every wind of
teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful
scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things
grow up into him who is the Head, that is Christ”.
“Speaking the truth in love” is the key to relationships. So far we’ve
seen the deadliness of lying and the need to say only what is true,
and that’s extremely important. Before we say something, we first
need to ask,
“Is it true?” But then we need to ask another question:
“Is it loving? Am I ‘speaking the truth in love‘?” What all this
means is that we can’t just ask whether it would be accurate to say
it, but we also need to ask whether it would be helpful.
Suppose you tell a doctor or therapist or minister something very
sensitive about yourself. Would it be okay for them to go and tell the
whole world, as long as what they said was true? Of course not.
Even if it’s true, they are acting falsely because they are betraying a
trust.
That’s obvious enough in matters involving professional
confidentiality, but what about ordinary gossip? A lot of gossip is
wrong because it’s nothing but rumor—but even if it’s true, it is
still wrong to broadcast sensitive secrets or to spread negative
stories about other people behind their backs. Even if you’re
speaking the truth, you’re not doing it in love.
The book of Proverbs talks realistically about gossip. Proverbs 11:13
says,
“ A talebearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful
spirit concealeth the matter.” If you’ve got a friend who spreads
your secrets all over, that person isn’t likely to be your friend for
long. Gossips aren’t very good friends. They also ruin other
people’s friendships by turning them against each other. Proverbs
16:28 says,
“A froward man soweth strife: and a whisperer
separateth chief friends.” Maybe there’s been someone you liked
and respected, and then gossip came along and told you some
damaging stories about that person. It may have been something
from their distant past, or something you didn’t really need to
know, but once you heard it, you never looked at that person quite
the same way again.
When someone wrongs you, it’s especially tempting to tell others
what happened. You want to make sure everybody knows what a
jerk that person was to you, and you retell the incident to poison
others’ minds and make them despise that person as much as you
do. That’s not “speaking the truth in love.” Proverbs 17:9 says,
“He
that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a
matter separateth very friends.”
Gossip does terrible damage, but for some reason we find it almost
irresistible. We relish hearing gossip about people we know. If that
doesn’t satisfy our appetite, we buy magazines and tabloids or
watch TV shows that offer gossip about actors, singers, politicians,
and other famous people. The sleazier the rumor, the better it
tastes. Proverbs 18:8 says,
“The words of a talebearer are as
wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.”
Gossip is delicious. People are hungry for it; they digest it, and it
stays with them.
Of course, when I am on the phone or part of a group that’s talking
about somebody, it’s not really gossip. We’re just getting caught up
on the latest news. It’s when other people talk about me—now
that’s gossip, and it ought to stop. It’s hard for us not to gossip, and
it’s just as hard not to become furious when somebody spreads a
rumor about us. Maybe that’s why the Bible says in Ecclesiastes
7:21-22 “
21 Also take no heed unto all words that are spoken; lest
thou hear thy servant curse thee:
22For oftentimes also thine own
heart knoweth that thou thyself likewise hast cursed others.”
We need to be sensible enough to have a thick skin when people
spread rumors behind our backs, and we have to admit that we’ve
done the same thing many times. But God doesn’t want us to stop
there. We shouldn’t just shrug and say,
“Well, the world is full of
people who gossip, and I’m one of them. That’s just the way things
are.” No, in the Bible God shows us the world as it is, but then he
calls us to something better because of who he is. He is the God of
truth, and the God of love, and so you and I are called to speak the
truth in love.
The Bible says in Proverbs 22:1 “A good name is rather to be
chosen than great riches, and loving favor rather than silver and
gold.” When you protect and promote your neighbor’s good name,
you give him a priceless gift. When you attack his reputation and
destroy his good name, you rob him of something very precious. As
a general rule, then, if you don’t have something kind to say about
someone, don’t say it.
That doesn’t mean there are never times when we need to say
things that aren’t very pleasant. If you’re an eyewitness to a crime,
you need to tell the unpleasant truth so that justice will be done and
the innocent will be protected. Likewise, if someone wrongs you,
you can confront that person honestly. And if you see someone
making a mistake which they themselves don’t really notice, you
may be able to help with a word of constructive criticism. There are
times when we need to tell the truth, even if it’s a bit painful. The
Bible speaks many times of the value of a loving rebuke.
Still, there’s a big difference between rebuke and gossip. In rebuke,
you point out a person’s fault to that person so he can change it. In
gossip, you point out a person’s faults to everyone else so they will
have a lower opinion of him.
“Speaking the truth in love”—that is God’s standard for how to use
our tongues. The Bible says,
“If anyone considers himself religious
and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself
and his religion is worthless”. Did you catch that? “His religion is
worthless.” Lies and gossip are symptoms of worthless religion.
They are the marks of a person who doesn’t belong to God.
1 Corinthians 6:9 says that slanderers have no place in the kingdom
of God. In declaring God’s wrath against sin, Romans 1 mentions
gossips and slanderers in the same breath as sexual perverts and
murderers. And Revelation 21:8 says: “But the cowardly, the
unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those
who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—their place will
be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”
Throughout God’s Word, then, it is clear that liars and gossips
belong in hell with the father of lies and all his lying demons.
Truth That Saves
Left to ourselves, hell would be our unavoidable destiny, since lying
and gossip seem to come so naturally to us. But God has not left us
to ourselves. He reveals his unchanging truth in the person of Jesus
Christ and in the promises of the Bible. The Lord promises that
when we turn away from Satan’s lies and believe God’s truth, we
will be saved.
CLOSING
So repent of your lies and all your other sins. Ask God to forgive you
for the sake of Jesus’ blood. Trust his promise of pardon and eternal
life. Don’t be misled by Satan’s lies. Believe God’s truth in the Bible.
Then, with the help of God’s Spirit living in you, commit yourself to
a life of truthfulness, since you have been adopted as a child of the
God of truth himself. The truthfulness of God is our only source of
stability and hope. The Bible says that when we trust Jesus, we have
“a faith and knowledge resting on the hope of eternal life, which
God, who does not lie, promised”. In another place it says that
because “it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold
of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged. We have this
hope as an anchor for our soul, firm and secure”. Isn’t that
beautiful? In a world of rumors and lies, we have “an anchor for our
souls, firm and secure.” We have God’s promises in Christ, and “it
is impossible for God to lie.”
Trust the God of truth, and become a truth-teller yourself. Trust the
God of love, and “speak the truth in love” in your relationship to
others. Trust the God of eternal encouragement and speak in a way
that encourages others. “May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God
our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal
encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and
strengthen you in every deed and word”.

Exodus 20:16

16 “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

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