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Sunday School: Christian Ethics (Pt.6: Lying)

October 20, 2019 Speaker: John Bell Series: Sunday School: Christian Ethics

The ninth commandment reads: “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor (Ex. 20:16)


A. THE MEANING OF THE COMMANDMENT


B. TWO DEFINITIONS OF LYING


Wayne Grudem: “Lying is affirming in speech or writing something you believe to be false.”


Sam Storms: “A lie is the intentional declaration or communication of a falsehood designed to deceive someone who has a moral and legal right to know the truth. A lie is telling an untruth to someone to whom you are morally and legally obligated to speak the truth. There are, however, certain occasions in which you are not under obligation to tell someone the truth.”


Things Not Included in Grudem’s Definition of Lying.
1. Silence.
2. Nonverbal actions intended to mislead or deceive someone.
3. Ironic statements, especially in humor.
4. Hyperbole.
5. Unintentional falsehoods.


C. NUMEROUS BIBLICAL STATEMENTS CONDEMN LYING
1. Extensive Biblical Testimony.


(Acts 5:3–4) But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land?… You have not lied to men but to God.”
(Rom. 9:1) I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience bears me
witness in the Holy Spirit. (writing truthful words, not false ones, emphasized)
(Gal. 1:20) In what I am writing to you, before God, I do not lie!
(Eph. 4:25) Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.
(Col. 3:9–10) Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.
(1 Tim. 1:9) We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, 10 for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine 11 that conforms to the gospel concerning the glory of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.
(Rev. 14:5) In their mouth no lie was found, for they are blameless.
(Rev. 21:8) But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the
sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that
burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.


D. THE CHARACTER OF GOD AS THE BASIS FOR NOT LYING


E. MUST WE ALWAYS TELL THE TRUTH?
There are a substantial number of Bible passages in which someone misleads an enemy, without incurring any condemnation, and sometimes even being commended:


• Exodus 1:15–21—the Israelite midwives in Egypt.
• Joshua 2:4–6; 6:17, 25; Hebrews 11:31; James 2:25—Rahab’s deception. Note that apart from what Rahab told her countrymen, even hiding the spies amounted to a deception.
• Joshua 8:3–8—the ambush at Ai. God himself authorized this deception.
• Judges 4:18–21; 5:24–27—Jael and Sisera.
• 1 Samuel 16:1–5—Samuel misleads Saul as to the reason for his mission.
• 1 Samuel 19:12–17—Michal deceives her father’s troops.
• 1 Samuel 20:6—David’s counsel to Jonathan.
• 1 Samuel 21:13—David feigns madness.
• 1 Samuel 27:10—David lies to Achish.
• 2 Samuel 5:22–25—another military deceit.
• 2 Samuel 15:34—Hushai counseled to lie to Absalom.
• 2 Samuel 17:19–20—women deceive Absalom’s men.
• 1 Kings 22:19–23—God sends a lying spirit against Ahab.
• 2 Kings 6:14–20—Elisha misleads the Syrian troops.
• Jeremiah 38:24–28—Jeremiah lies to the princes.
• 2 Thessalonians 2:11—God sends powerful delusion so that his enemies will believe a lie.