Speaking The Truth In Love

Ephesians 4:15 … but speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ …

Ephesians 4:25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor: for we are members one of another.

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

We live in a day where the truth is very scarce – even rare. The big thing we hear today is “Follow the Science”. Mike Huckabee recently stated on his February 7, 2021 show:

..when I’m told that a biological boy can declare himself to be a girl, and even participate in girl’s sports, I’m wondering what the science is that says that makes sense. … How is a woman’s health protected by conducting an unnatural, irreversible, surgical procedure that results in the death of a baby? Especially when the baby is a girl … a future woman?”

That is a very truthful statement. What does the Science say? But here’s a better question. What does the Bible say? What does Jesus say? When Jesus was questioned about marriage, His response was:

Matthew 19:4-6 … Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, 5 and said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? 6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

In today’s world we are being told to go along with the crowd. We are being told as God’s Church to use gender neutral pronouns, and to recognize that biological men are women because to do otherwise will be to offend them, and hurt their feelings. We are being told to redefine marriage as Jesus and our Father has said it should be, to toss away Biblical definitions, and go with what others feel. Truth today is relative, variable, based upon what the crowd says.

When Jesus prayed for His Church, He prayed that we would be “sanctified through God’s Truth – God’s Word is truth” (John 17:17). Throughout the Bible one of the most used phrases is “It is written”. God’s Word is TRUTH. When Jesus Christ left Heaven to come to this earth, He did so to reveal the TRUTH to us all. Jesus said:

John 18:37 … To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.

Jesus bears witness to the TRUTH. God’s people, heeding Jesus, HEARS His truthful voice. Though the world, just like the Governor Pilate in John 18:38, asks the question:

What is TRUTH?”

Truth is not fluid, changeable based upon what we feel!

Illustrate I remember an old Andy Griffith show called Mr. McBeevee. It first aired on October 1, 1962 when I was but 3 ¾ years old! Opie Taylor begins to tell his dad about a man named Mr. McBeevee that he met in the woods. Opie did meet such a man, a fellow that was a lineman, someone who climbed trees to reach power lines that were near the woods the child played in. His dad Andy, good natured, goes along with Opie’s stories of Mr McBeevee – that is, until Opie starts coming home with gifts from what Andy believes is an imaginary friend. Andy tells Opie if he doesn’t start telling the truth, he will be spanked – but Opie, though tempted, refuses to change his story. Mr McBeevee “walks around in the trees”. He “jingles as he walks” (this is his tool belt making noise). He “wears a shiny hat on his head” (this is his helmet). The man is real, though Andy has never met him. At the end of the episode Andy decides not to punish Opie, but in frustration goes out to the woods where his son often plays. As he, frustrated, cries out “Mr McBeevee!”, above him in the trees a man hollers, “Hello!” He comes down from the lines via the trees, much to Andy’s surprise and relief, proving Opie was telling the truth all along.

Beloved, God’s people are to “speak the truth IN LOVE”. There is a truth, a truth that transcends all others, a truth taught in this glorious old Book we call the Bible. We are to – like Opie – speak the truth in love, even if it means getting a whipping from others who – like Andy – misunderstand us. It is only by speaking God’s truth – His Bible – that others are led to Christ. It is only by speaking the truth that other believers in Jesus near us may grow up into {Christ} in all things, which is the head, even Christ. God saved us, and wants us to be like Jesus. God wants others to come to know Jesus. We MUST speak the truth IN LOVE.

We Are To Be Like Jesus, Not The Devil

God despises lies. It was a lie spoken by the serpent Satan that led Adam to eat that which was forbidden. The devil said in Eden:

Genesis 3:4-5 … Ye shall not surely die: 5 for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

Lies and liars pull people away from God! When you lie, and do not speak the truth of God’s Word, you imitate the Devil!

The Psalmist declared:

Psalm 5:4, 6 For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee. 5 The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity. 6 Thou shalt destroy them that speak LEASING {leasing is the Hebrew כָּזָב kâzâb, pronounced kaw-zawb’ which meansdeceitfully or dishonestly”}: the Lord will abhor the bloody and deceitful man.

We are to speak the truth in love. Not harshly. Not vindictively, nor pridefully. But in LOVE. We are to be kind in our speaking. We are to remember that we “once were lost, but now are found, were blind, but now we see”. Love should be in our hearts and our voices when we reject the world’s lies. Yet we ARE to SPEAK THE TRUTH. We are not to lie to either saved or lost people. If you are saved, you are commanded to “put off” that old way of life Jesus saved you from.

Colossians 3:8-9 But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. 9 Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;

Fear may tempt us to lie. Look to the Lord!

Abram, who is also Abraham the father of faith, allowed fear to lead him to lie. As Abram went where the Lord told him to go, he and his family had to pass through Egypt. Abram told his wife Sarai:

Genesis 12:11-13 …. Behold now, I know that thou art a fair woman to look upon: 12 therefore it shall come to pass, when the Egyptians shall see thee, that they shall say, This is his wife: and they will kill me, but they will save thee alive. 13 Say, I pray thee, thou art my sister: that it may be well with me for thy sake; and my soul shall live because of thee.

What Abram did at this point was NOT a noble, faithful thing. He had Sarai lie in order to protect his own life. Fear rather than faith was driving him. I have heard some excuse Abram’s behavior by saying, Well, Sarai was Abram’s half sister, so he really wasn’t lying. He was just hiding part of the truth out of fear for his life”. Beloved, Abram was lying. A half truth is a half lie. God never justified Abram’s action in Egypt, neither does He justify Abraham when he does the same thing with Abimelech king of Gerar. God has to intervene, and warn Abimelech that Sarah is Abraham’s wife. Abimelech chastises Abraham, saying:

Genesis 20:9-10 …. What hast thou done unto us? and what have I offended thee, that thou hast brought on me and on my kingdom a great sin? thou hast done deeds unto me that ought not to be done. 10 And Abimelech said unto Abraham, What sawest thou, that thou hast done this thing?

Abraham justifies his action by saying “I thought, Surely the fear of God is not in this place; and they will slay me for my wife’s sake. 12 And yet indeed she is my sister; she is the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother; and she became my wife” (Genesis 20:11-12). Abraham bore false witness to Sarah, and by his actions nearly led an innocent but lost man into sinning against God. Beloved, lies are dangerous. To give a half truth is to give a half lie.

The Worst Of All Lies Is The False Witness

When people think about the Ten Commandments, they think that one of those ten is “Thou shalt not lie”. That’s not true. The Ninth Commandment states:

Exodus 20:16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.

To bear FALSE WITNESS is to make a statement about another person’s person that is not true. This was done to Jesus at His trial.

Matthew 26:59-63 Now the chief priests, and elders, and all the council, sought false witness against Jesus, to put him to death; But found none: yea, though many false witnesses came, yet found they none. At the last came two false witnesses, 61 and said, This fellow said, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days. 62 And the high priest arose, and said unto him, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee? 63 But Jesus held his peace.

God despises the false witness, the person who speaks lies about another’s person. God tells His people:

Exodus 23:1 Thou shalt not raise a false report: put not thine hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness.

God’s people are to be salt and light. We are not to bear false witness against anyone. The Bible does not restrict this just for fellow believers, but speaks of your neighbor. Your neighbor is whoever is near you at any time. “Neither shalt thou bear false witness against thy neighbor (Deuteronomy 5:20). The Bible tells us a shocking thing about God – God does HATE. What does He hate?

God HATES The False Witness!

Proverbs 6:16-19 says,These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination to Him: 17 a proud look, a LYING tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, 18 an heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, 19 A FALSE WITNESS THAT SPEAKS LIES, and he that sows discord among the brethren …

Two of the six things that God hates is LIES. The LYING tongue, and the false witness speaking LIES.

Have you ever heard that often quoted Scripture text, Deuteronomy 19:21? How many have ever heard someone say,

Deuteronomy 19:21 And thine eye shall not pity; but life shall go for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.

This verse is usually quoted out of context. The context has to do with FALSE WITNESSES. The whole of the text is:

Deuteronomy 19:16-21 If a false witness rise up against any man to testify against him that which is wrong; 17 then both the men, between whom the controversy is, shall stand before the Lord, before the priests and the judges, which shall be in those days; 18 and the judges shall make diligent inquisition: and, behold, if the witness be a false witness, and hath testified falsely against his brother; 19 then shall ye do unto him, as he had thought to have done unto his brother: so shalt thou put the evil away from among you. 20 And those which remain shall hear, and fear, and shall henceforth commit no more any such evil among you. 21 And thine eye shall not pity; but life shall go for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.

That “eye for an eye” thing is tied to the FALSE WITNESS. Whatever judgment would have been made against the accused would instead be made against the FALSE WITNESS. God said that by doing this, “you would put away this evil from among you”. God despises the false witness, the one who tells lies about another person’s character.

Why Doesn’t The Ten Commandments Say
“Thou Shalt Not Lie?”

Let’s look at the 9th commandment, “Thou shalt not bear false witness against your neighbor”, through Jesus’ eyes. Jesus said that “the GREAT COMMANDMENT in the Law” is…

Matthew 22:37-40 … Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

Jesus made these two commandments the core of the Law of God. Every part of the Law must be interpreted through the lens of these two commandments.

When Abram, and later Abraham bore false witness about his wife in order to save his own life, he was violating the Ninth Commandment as well as the general principle, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself”. Sarai was Abram’s neighbor, as was the Pharaoh who chastised Abram, saying:

Genesis 12:18-19 … What is this that thou hast done unto me? why didst thou not tell me that she was thy wife? 19 Why saidst thou, She is my sister? so I might have taken her to me to wife: now therefore behold thy wife, take her, and go thy way.

Abraham would later also be in the wrong when he did the same thing to Sarah and Abimelech (Genesis 20). The son born to Abraham and Sarah, Isaac, would follow in his father’s footsteps when he went through Gerar.

Genesis 26:6-10 Isaac dwelt in Gerar: 7 and the men of the place asked him of his wife; and he said, She is my sister: for he feared to say, She is my wife; lest, said he, the men of the place should kill me for Rebekah; because she was fair to look upon. 8 And it came to pass, when he had been there a long time, that Abimelech king of the Philistines looked out at a window, and saw, and, behold, Isaac was sporting with Rebekah his wife. 9 And Abimelech called Isaac, and said, Behold, of a surety she is thy wife: and how saidst thou, She is my sister? And Isaac said unto him, Because I said, Lest I die for her.

First Abraham, now Isaac! Though Abraham had the excuse “Well, she IS my HALF sister”, Isaac had no such excuse. Abimelech chewed out Isaac, saying …

Genesis 26:10 … What is this thou hast done unto us? one of the people might lightly have lien with thy wife, and thou shouldest have brought guiltiness upon us.

Isaac and Abraham hiding the identity of their wives in order to protect their own lives shows us all that FEAR can rule us. It shouldn’t, but it can. Later on after these events their wives would make demands of them, or misuse them, because they had not been treated with love. What a horrible thing it is to bear false witness against another! The Bible tells us that in Heaven there will be NO ONE who “loveth and maketh a lie” (Revelation 22:15). Love does not bear false witness. God’s people are to “speak the truth in LOVE”.

So why doesn’t the Ninth Commandment say “Thou shalt not lie”? It is because there are times when love will demand we carefully use deception for a greater good.

A good example of this is in the Book of Joshua. Before Joshua led Israel into the Promised Land, we read:

Joshua 2:1-6 And Joshua the son of Nun sent out of Shittim two men to spy secretly, saying, Go view the land, even Jericho. And they went, and came into an harlot’s house, named Rahab, and lodged there. 2 And it was told the king of Jericho, saying, Behold, there came men in hither to night of the children of Israel to search out the country. 3 And the king of Jericho sent unto Rahab, saying, Bring forth the men that are come to thee, which are entered into thine house: for they be come to search out all the country. 4 And the woman took the two men, and hid them, and said thus, There came men unto me, but I wist not whence they were: 5 and it came to pass about the time of shutting of the gate, when it was dark, that the men went out: whither the men went I wot not: pursue after them quickly; for ye shall overtake them. 6 But she had brought them up to the roof of the house, and hid them with the stalks of flax, which she had laid in order upon the roof.

Somehow the King of Jericho heard of these spies, and knew they went to Rahab’s home. The King told Rahab to “bring those men forth”. Rahab hid the spies on the roof of the house, and hid them with the stalks of flax, which she had laid in order upon the roof. Rahab said (and I’m going to put this in modern English so you can understand it):

Yes, the men came to me, but I did not know where they were from. It came about, when it was time to shut the gate at dark, that the men went out; I do not know where the men went. Pursue them quickly, for you will overtake them.”

Rahab lied. She used deception for a greater good. So what does the Bible say about Rahab?

  • First, Rahab is in the lineage of our Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 1:5). Rahab married Salmon, an Israelite from the tribe of Judah. She and Salmon bore a child, Boaz, the husband of Ruth. Joseph, Jesus’ stepfather, is a direct descendant of Rahab.
  • Second, Rahab hid the spies out of faith in our God. The Bible commends her action of hiding the spies in Hebrews 11:31, which says “By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.” Rahab had faith in God, saving faith, and her actions in hiding the spies and yes, lying, were acts of faith. Rahab told the two spies, “the Lord your God is God in Heaven above and on earth below” (Joshua 2:11). Rahab agreed to save the spies if her family was protected (Joshua 2:12-14). Rahab “bound a line of scarlet thread in her window” (Joshua 2:18, 21) as the spies asked, and she and her family were saved.
  • Third, the stepbrother of Jesus, James, commended Rahab for receiving and hiding the spies. “In the same way, was Rahab the prostitute not justified by works also when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead” (James 2:25-26).

Illustrate 1: We can see from the story of Rahab that there are times in life when deception must be used to save life. Suppose you were a Christian in Germany during World War II hiding Jews. In a recent Breakpoint Daily article John Stonestreet wrote: “Le Chambon-sur-Lignon is a small village in south-central France. Back in 1940, the total population of this area, including the surrounding villages, was only about 5,000. Sill, under the leadership of their Protestant Pastor André Trocmé and his wife, Magda, the residents of these villages were responsible for saving up to 5,000 Jews from deportation to Nazi concentration camps during World War II”. The only way these Christians could do this was by deception. The Pastor and his Church created an underground network to help Jews travel safely across the Swiss border. When the local officials found out what Pastor André was doing, they demanded he stop helping the Jews. The Pastor said, “These people came here for help and shelter. I am their shepherd. A shepherd does not forsake his flock. I do not know what a Jew is. I only know human beings”.

The Lord Jesus told us in Matthew 22:39 … Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself…

Would you be “loving your neighbor” if you aided the Nazis in putting the Jews on the cattle cars to Auschwitz? No, you wouldn’t. Love would dictate I hide that innocent from the concentration camps and nearly sure death.

Illustrate 2: In 2 Kings 6 there is another interesting Biblical account where deception is used, this time by the Prophet Elisha. The King of Syria was upset with Elisha because each time the King planned the capture of the king of Israel, Elisha would reveal the plan to the King of Israel, and the King of Israel would be protected. The King of Syria decided to capture Elisha. He sent a mighty force down to Dothan to take that precious old Prophet. When Elisha’s servant woke up, he saw that Dothan was surrounded by the Syrian Army. “What shall we do?”, he cried out to Elisha. Elisha simply said:

2 Kings 6:16-18 … Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. 17 And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha. 18 And when they came down to him, Elisha prayed unto the Lord, and said, Smite this people, I pray thee, with blindness. And he smote them with blindness according to the word of Elisha.

After Elisha had God blind his enemies, he used deception, and led them to Samaria where the Army of Israel was. We read:

2 Kings 6:19-20 … This is not the way, neither is this the city: follow me, and I will bring you to the man whom ye seek. But he led them to Samaria. 20 And it came to pass, when they were come into Samaria, that Elisha said, Lord, open the eyes of these men, that they may see. And the Lord opened their eyes, and they saw; and, behold, they were in the midst of Samaria …

Elisha did not tell the truth. He told them that he would lead them to Elisha, and led them to Samaria and certain capture. Elisha deceived, but did so for a higher good. When the King of Israel had the Syrians surrounded he asked Elisha:

2 Kings 6:21-23My father, shall I smite them? shall I smite them? 22 {Elisha} answered, Thou shalt not smite them: wouldest thou smite those whom thou hast taken captive with thy sword and with thy bow? set bread and water before them, that they may eat and drink, and go to their master. 23 And he prepared great provision for them: and when they had eaten and drunk, he sent them away, and they went to their master. So the bands of Syria came no more into the land of Israel.

Elisha used deception. But his deception saved his and his servant’s life. His deception also caused a bloodless battle, and life was saved all about. “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself”!

Conclusion Of The Matter

It is tough being a Christian in a lost world. Jesus told us that we would be hated – and even tried – for our faith in Christ. Jesus told us to remember:

Luke 6:22-23 Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake. 23 Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets.

The Christian has been “chosen out of the world” to follow Jesus, and “the world will hate us” (John 15:19; 1 John 3:13). Let us speak the truth in love to our neighbors. Let us not compromise the integrity of God’s Word, nor of the truth found in His Scripture. Let us stay the course, no matter how hard it might be. But also let us remember, we are to never bear false witness against anyone. We are to love God with our all, remembering that our God is the Lord God of TRUTH (Psalm 31:5). We are to love our neighbor as we would be loved. But if we must deceive, let us do so not to harm others, but to help others. Let us live wholeheartedly for Jesus in this lost and dying world.

May God touch your hearts with His Word and His Spirit. Amen and Amen!

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
This entry was posted in Ephesians, Love One Another, Sermons Preached and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.