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The Lying Tongue

Exodus 20:16



“Thou shalt not bear false witness.”  [lie]

I’ve never once heard an entire message on lying.  I have heard a few sermons that contained some lies, however.  I’ve also had some people lie while I’m preaching...usually on their side or back!


Many Christians do not look on lying as the grievous sin that it is.  I’m going to be HONEST with you:  There are church people who wouldn’t consider attending a dirty movie [drinking/adultery/stealing], but they will lie at the drop of a hat.  Some don’t mind misleading the name of good business. 


Ill.-- A store manager overheard his clerk telling a customer, “No, ma’am, we haven’t had any for a while, and it doesn’t look as if we’ll be getting any soon.” Horrified, the manager came running over to the customer and said, “Of course we’ll have some soon. We placed an order last week.” Then the manager drew the clerk aside. “Never,” he snarled, “Never, never, never say we’re out of anything- say we’ve got it on order and it’s coming. Now, what was it she wanted anyway?” The clerk said, “Rain!”


I’ve known Christian women who were fanatical about dressing modestly, and yet they think nothing to manipulate a situation using untruths.  Teens lie to get out of trouble.  Spouses lie to one another in the name of keeping the peace, parents lie to their own children and employers and employees just the same.  Advertisers lie to sell products.  Politicians lie in order to spin things their way.  [lips moving]


“Little white lies.”  Many can tell lies and not think much about it.  But the Lord included this as one of the 10 commandments, and I believe He takes this sin very seriously.

Revelation 21:8
But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

Here’s a list of grievous sins...

Revelation 22:15
…sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.

Mark Twain said a lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still lacing up her boots.  It’s natural to lie, and there’s something about our nature that enjoys it...that both lies and loves lying.  [Andy Griffith show was clean, right?  Other than the constant lying!] 

We find it humorous and enjoyable.  We like reading tabloids, or hearing gossip.


Lying is easy, but the truth is hard oftentimes.


Are you known to be a truly honest person, or do people have to question you and wonder about your genuineness?  Do you have a reputation as a liar, or do people know what you say is true?  Is your word as good as your signature?  Do you do what you say you will do?  Do you tell the truth even when it will cost you something?


We say that honesty pays off, but actually oftentimes it costs. 

In the end, doing right is its own reward.  But there’s a price to pay.


Ever known a compulsive liar?  They will lie for no reason.  They enjoy holding something over you…even when it serves no purpose.  [“I know something you don’t know!”]

Even when they aren’t in trouble, or it doesn’t get them out of a jam!  Lying can become a way of life…second nature…or first!


The Bible has a lot to say about lying:


Prov. 6 lists lying as one of the 7 things the Lord hates.


Proverbs 12:22
Lying lips are abomination to the LORD: but they that deal truly are his delight.

The poet said, “You can fool the public and be a secret fraud, you can try to hide your lying, but you can’t fool God!”


3 Truths about Lying:

1.     The Origin of lying.

Jesus was speaking to the Pharisees in this passage...

John 8:44
Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

So we’re a lot like Satan when we lie.  Almost every time we see the devil in Scripture he’s lying...


The first time we see Satan in the Bible he lies about God to man.


Lying about God to man:

  • About the truthfulness of God—“Hath God said?”  Questioning God’s Word is skating on thin ice.  Yet many question God’s Word all the time today.  We are not to stand in judgment w/ whether it makes sense or is PC or not.  The Word is to stand in judgment of us, not the other way around.
  • About the righteousness of God—“Ye shall not surely die”.  In other words, God won’t judge you if you sin.
  • About the goodness of God—“God is trying to keep back from you good things!” [paraphrase]


The next time Satan appears in the Bible is in the book of Job.  This time he’s in the courts of heaven and he’s lying about man to God.


Lying about man to God:

“The only reason Job obeys you is because you’re so good to him.”  What a liar.  To Adam and Eve he says that God isn’t good enough, and now he’s saying that God is too good!


We see Satan again at the crucifixion.  This time he lies to man, knowing that man will then lie about Jesus.

He put it in the hearts of many to bear false witness against Jesus in the kangaroo court they put together.


In Genesis he uses a lie to corrupt a godly man.

In Job he uses a lie to criticize a good man.

In the NT he uses a lie to crucify the God Man.


In Revelation he embodies the antichrist, who tells a lie so big and believable that it brings about the end of the world.


So, from beginning to end, Satan is a liar!  And when we lie we align ourselves w/ everything that brings death, destruction, doom and damnation to this world. 


Don’t take lying lightly.  There’s no such thing as a little white lie.  God is truth, and anything less than truth is sin!


The origin of lying...


2.     The Operation of lying.

Lying has many faces.  Lying has many children in its family. 


Here’s 7 ways people often lie w/out even thinking about it:


  • Slander

Psalms 101:5
Whoso privily slandereth his neighbour, him will I cut off:

This is lying w/ the intention of doing harm to another’s reputation.



Ill.—man spread lies about his pastor, was convicted, repented, and asked him how he could make it right.  The pastor told him to get some feather pillows and rip them open, and place one feather on every porch in their community.  It seemed strange, but he did what he was told.  He went back to the preacher and said he was done.  He said, no, you’re not.  Go back and pick them all up now.  “But I can’t.  The wind has taken them who knows where!”  The pastor said, “So it is with the words you have spoken about me.”

        Some sins are worse than others in terms of damage done.  If I steal from you I can return the item.  But if I spread lies about you I may not be able to ever undo the far reaching effects.

When we slander someone’s reputation we do irreparable damage.  And we’ll answer to God for it!


  • Talebearing—this person loves to tell things.  They share ‘news’.  But they don’t care if their facts are correct or not.  Rumors.  Gossip.    Don’t listen.  Don’t spread it.  Try to stop others from doing it.  Don’t repeat gossip [listen close the first time!].  Seriously, Christians should make it part of their job description:  “Removal of malignant rumors.”  [prayer request]

1 Timothy 5:13
And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not.

Leviticus 19:16
Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people:

Next time you’re enjoying listening to someone gossip, remember this fact:  Anyone who will gossip TO you, will gossip ABOUT you!


Don’t allow your ears to become someone’s personal trash can.  Every church seems to have a couple people who are always in the know...they have the inside scoop.  They come to the preacher and say, “Brother Pastor, I thought you should know that people are saying...”  I always try to stop and ask, who are ‘people’...I don’t accept anonymous quotes.  Put a face on this or it stops here.  Often it’s just a cowardly way of saying what that person wants to say, themselves, putting it off on someone else for lack of courage.


Now why is it that it’s always the same handful of people who always hear these things?  It’s because they send off a signal that says, “I’m willing to listen to any garbage you want to drop off.”


But the Bible says for us to direct people to the source.  If you have a problem w/ someone, go to them, and only to them. 


I’ve heard some things.  Wanna hear what I’ve heard?  I’ve eavesdropped before, back when I was a kid in church, and I’ve heard people talking after church, and they must’ve been hungry and ready to go to lunch, because they were obviously having ‘roast preacher.’ Used to be when you said you wanted to have the preacher for dinner you meant you were having fried chicken.


I love FBC, and I want it to stand for years to come.  But honestly, I’m not nearly as worried about forces from without harming this church, I’m more worried about forces within! 


  • Lying by insinuation—you don’t actually say it, just suggest it.  What if I told you, “Today was a good Sunday...Bro. Ed was sober today!”  Is it true?  Yes!  But I’ve suggested something else.
  • Flattery—insincere praise...saying something to someone’s face that you would never say behind their back.  Salesmen are often bad about this.  Kids are too.  My daughter learned early on how to compliment my muscles when she wanted something.

Psalms 55:21
The words of his mouth were smoother than butter, but war was in his heart: his words were softer than oil, yet were they drawn swords.

When someone starts buttering you up, remember that they are probably about to have you for lunch!

  • Half truths—not telling the whole story.  A parent asks their teen where they are going.  “To Andy’s house.”  That’s true, but they leave out where they’re going from there.  You break the spirit of the law when you do this.  This is why in court you swear to not just tell the truth, but ‘the whole truth.’  Half the truth equals a whole lie.
  • Exaggeration—none are as guilty as preachers.  One pastor was brought before the church for exaggerating so much.  They confronted him.  He said they were right.  “I’ve cried a barrel of tears over it.  And I promise, I’ve tried to quit a million times!”
  • Excuses—they are just dressed up lies.


The origin is Satan, the operation of comes in many forms...


3.     The Overcoming of Lying.

Every negative command could be reworded positively.  For instance.  Thou shalt not commit adultery could be rephrased, Thou shalt be sexually pure.  We could say today, Thou shalt tell the truth.  And truth is the very character and nature of our God.  Jesus said I am the truth.  He called the Holy Spirit the spirit of truth.  The truth sets us free!


How to overcome lying:

  • Love the truth.  This is a heart change.  David spoke of ‘truth in the inward parts.’  You see, a person is not a liar because they tell lies...they tell lies because they are a liar.  We need an inward change.

2 Thessalonians 2:10
...because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

  • Learn the truth.

Philippians 4:8
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

I’m in the truth business!  Saturate your mind w/ good things, like the Word of God.  The truth sets you free.  It’s how Jesus defeated Satan in the wilderness, with the truth of Scripture!

  • Live the truth.

Ephesians 4:25
Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour:

Be accountable to others.  Be open to others stopping you when you gossip or slander.  Immediately confess, immediately correct, and immediately commit yourself to the truth.


Right now Satan wants to sell you a lie...don’t fall for it like Adam and Eve.  He’ll tell you there’s not a God, no heaven, no hell, or just no hurry.  But today you’ve heard the truth which will set you free.  Don’t lie to God...admit your sins and be saved!

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