Big Idea: We can love God and others well by refusing to bear false witness and rejecting deception in all its various forms, striving instead for a high level of personal integrity that speaks for itself.
I. Scope of the command
A. Do not bear false witness.
1. In the court of law (Proverbs 24:28)
2. In the court of human opinion
B. Jesus’ teaching on what not to do (Matthew 5:33-36, Leviticus 19:12)
1. Deception by actions – “dealing falsely with”
2. Deception by words
3. Deception by words tied to or connected with “the name of the Lord”
4. Non-fulfillment of promises made to God – oaths
C. What to do – a call to tell the truth
1. Why? Because it’s a heart issue. (Matthew 15:19)
2. Let your “yes” be “yes” and your “no” be “no,” without any additional need for enhancing the truth.
3. We need to abide in the truth. (John 8:31-32)
D. Warnings against bearing false witness (Proverb 6:19; 12:17; 14:5; 19:5,9; 25:18; Malachi 3:5)
E. Connecting truth to love
II. A call to action
A. Refuse to bear false witness against others.
B. Deal with the heart issue first.
C. Connect truth-telling with love. Let Scripture change our thinking and believing.
D. Reject gossip and slander (character assassination).
E. Be careful to keep any promises you make to God.
F. Demonstrate a life of integrity that doesn’t need any additional support or promises.
1) Is a lie always a sin against someone? What is the difference between bearing false witness and bearing false witness against someone?
2) What does it mean to “deal falsely with someone”? Is that the same as lying? Is fraud a lie? Has anyone ever dealt falsely with you? Would you share the experience? How did you feel about that incident?
3) Have you ever bargained with God? How did those bargains work out? Did you keep your part of the bargain and do what you promised? As you look back, was it necessary for you to make the promise? Does God want us to make deals with Him?
4) Have you ever made a connection between telling the truth and loving someone? Is lying an act of hate? People often talk about balancing truth and love; how would you describe the relationship between the two? Can withholding truth really be loving?
5) What does it mean to “let your ‘yes’ be ‘yes’”? How do you try to obey that teaching? How is this different from making promises or oaths? Does this mean Christians can’t make a promise?
6) What do you do when gossip begins to enter a conversation? What should you do? How would you want others to handle it if people started gossiping about you? How often do you do what you hope others will do?
7) Do Christians struggle with gossip more than others? Is gossip an “acceptable sin” in Christian circles? How do you battle this in your life? Do you have any rules of thumb that help you? Share with each other what works for you.
8) As you look back over your life, is there a breach of integrity that you need to repair? Are you willing to go back to that person or that situation and make things right? What do you need to change today to obey this command?