Lying Lips Are An AbominationSeries: The Way Of Salvation
LYING LIPS ARE AN ABOMINATION
Sermon By Terry Siverd
Cortland Church of Christ / March 08, 2020
When we open our Bibles the first book we come to is called Genesis, which tells about the beginning of mankind.
In chapter one we read about how the creation was declared by God to be good (Gen.1:10, 12, 18, 21, 25 & 31).
In chapter two, things get even better when God creates Eve to be Adam's companion.
In chapter three, however, things take a sharp turn from good to bad.
Satan lies to the Eve, contradicting what God said about eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
God instructed Adam & Eve: From the fruit of the trees in the garden (of Eden) you can eat; but from
the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden...'you shall not eat from it or touch it, lest you die'.
In Gen.3:4, we read for the first time of Satan's craftiness in prevaricating. With smooth-talk, Satan lies to Eve,
'You surely shall not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it you will be like God, knowing good and evil.'
When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was
desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to husband with her, and he ate...
These three chapters tell us of the marvelous genesis of mankind, but they also tell of man's tragic downfall.
One can't help but notice that this rapid decline/demise was PRECIPITATED BY A LIE.
What begins so beautifully, ends up besmirched and quite ugly (as ugly as sin).
Gen.3:22f, records mankind's expulsion from the garden of Eden.
In Gen.4:1ff, we read about the sons of Adam & Eve, Cain and Abel.
Because God accepted Abel's offering, but rejected Cain's, Cain became angry (jealous) and killed his brother.
Gen.4:9 records that the Lord said to Cain, Where is Abel your brother?,
to which Cain replied, I do not know. Am I my brother's keeper?
The only thing worse that lying to God is lying to God with a smart mouth.
Here, in the opening pages of the sacred book we are confronted with the gravity of the sin of LYING.
This sin, with all of its spin-offs, continues to plague mankind.
We humans seem to have a proclivity towards lying. It even rears its head in the days of our innocence.
Parents bring their newborn “bundle of joy” home from the hospital - - as pure as the driven snow. But then,
in just a few years (it arrives faster than you ever thought possible), mom or dad catch little Johnny or Janey in a lie.
Years ago, Art Linkletter, hosted a TV show called, “Kids Say The Darndest Things”.
Young, adorable, most-of-the-time pure-in-heart children sometimes find themselves in that tangled web.
When teachers' ask, “Why did you miss school yesterday?”, the fabrications seem to come out of nowhere.
My mom burnt my milk … My dog asked me to stay home … A mouse ate my uniform …
My grandma lost her glasses and needed me to stay home … etc.
As conscientious parents well know, that which at first appears somewhat comical, will quickly have to be
confronted so as to get a handle on things and to curb these carnal impulses to lie and cover up the truth.
We don't want to overreact. When your toddler tells you his brother ate his cookie, you don't want to lecture
him or her about how all liars will have their place in the lake that burns with fire (Rev.21:8). At such a young age a better reaction would be to mildly and tactfully say, “Really? Then those must not be crumbs I see on your chin.”
Should these young lies persist, they will call for adjustments that may go beyond soft diplomacy.
When first we hear our child tell a lie, its doesn't warrant an an unhinged explosion, but it is does begin to prompt introspection. Dedicated parents will begin immediately to assess their own behavior. WHERE DID THEY LEARN THIS?
If your child hears you telling a neighbor that you cannot feed her cat while she's on a trip because you have a sick relative when
the truth is you secretly don't like that particular cat, your child will get the message that adults lie when it is convenient for them.
“Yes, kids lie. (But so do adults). The good news is: If parents take a strong lead
on a no-lying policy, most children will learn to walk the straight and narrow.”
So, my job is to help educate us by means of the Scriptures. If we who are older can be found faithful in both hearing and heeding God's word on this important subject our little ones will come along just fine.
The challenge before us is no easy task, because truth-telling has lost its edge in our present environment.
In the book, The Day America Told The Truth, authors James Patterson and Peter Kim present some sobering findings.
91% routinely lie about matters they consider trivial … 36% routinely lie about matters they consider important ...
86% routinely lie to their parents … 75% to friends … 74% to siblings … and 69% to spouses.
I hope their data is flawed, but it comes with careful research. And one has to ask, “Why would those polled lie about lying?”
Forty plus years ago now (1978) Billy Joel released his song titled, “Honesty”.
Honesty is such a lonely word everyone is so untrue. Honesty is hardly ever heard and mostly what I need from you.
God's Word is robustly clear and unambiguous when it comes to the topic of lying.
In The Ten Commandments we read (Ex.20:16 & Deut.5:20) - - You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
Lev.19:11 reiterates: you shall not steal, nor deal falsely, nor lie to one another.
In his collection of proverbs, Solomon doesn't mince words about speaking falsehoods.
Prov.6:16-17a / There are six things which the Lord hates, yes, seven which are an abomination to Him:
haughty eyes, A LYING TONGUE...
Prov.12:22 / The Lord detests lying lips, but He delights in people who are trustworthy.
Prov.19:9 / A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who tells lies will perish.
In the Old Testament we encounter lots of lying - - even on the part of characters we think very highly of:
Abraham … Sarah … Isaac … Jacob … and numerous others.
God's prophet Jeremiah laments the sad state of the children of Israel (Jer.9:3) - -
They bend their tongue like their bow; lies and not truth prevail in the land; for the proceed from evil to evil...
Hosea the prophet speaks chastising words from God in saying (Hos.11:12) - -
Ephraim surrounds Me with lies, and the house of Israel with deceit...
In the New Testament, Jesus speaks sternly to the leaders of the Jewish nation (Jn.8:44/NCV) - -
You belong to your father the devil, and you want to do what he wants.
He was a murderer from the beginning, and was against the truth, because there is no truth in him.
Whenever he tells a lie, he shows what he is really like, because he is a liar and the father of lies.
The book of Acts contains a record of some of the acts of the early church. In so doing, Luke does not whitewash sins.
In Acts 5:1ff he chronicles the story of Ananias & Sapphira, a husband and wife who conspired to lie about an offering.
As if to underscore the abominable element of lying, both husband and wife were struck dead immediately.
Prov.6:16 uses this word ABOMINATION (it is an abhorence - - God hates it).
Paul writes in Col.3:9 - - Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with it evil practices.
And in Eph.4:25, he admonishes - - therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth, each one of you...
The apostle John gives double-pronged warnings.
1Jn.2:4 / The one who says, 'I have come to know Him (God)', and does not keep His commandments, is a liar.
1Jn.4:20 / If someone says, 'I love God,' and hates his brother, he is a liar.
As to the prevalence of lying in our current culture, it would be quite revealing if we could witness
the Pinocchio effect just for one day. We would see a throng of people all around us sporting long noses.
I want to close our study with one final exposition from the Scriptures (2Kgs.5:20-27).
We visited this chapter at the close of last Sunday's sermon. We read about Naaman. a proud man who was a leper.
Today's passage contains a very important addendum to the story of Naaman.
Namaan was persuaded to swallow his pride and obey the words of Elisha the prophet.
He immersed himself in the river Jordan seven times and was immediately healed of his leprosy.
In Scripture, leprosy is a term that describes a variety of skin diseases in varying stages of progression.
When Naaman was cleansed, 2Kgs.5:15f records that he returned to Elisha and begged him to accept his gifts of
gratitude (2Kgs.5:5). Elisha refused saying, As the Lord lives, before whom I stand, I will take nothing (vs.16).
Naaman then asked Elisha if he could take two mules' load of earth (vs.17).
Implied by these words is his interntion to return home and build an altar to Jehovah God.
And now for a very emphatic, God-given postscript.
Gehazi was Elisha's servant/understudy (vs.20). Apparently he was being eaten away with greed
and he quickly devised a scheme to secure some of those “rich goods” which Elsiha had refused.
He hurried to chase down Naaman's entourage.
After catching up with Naaman's entourage, he tells Naaman (vs.22), “My master has sent me.” (Lie #1).
Then he fabricates a story (Lie #2) about how two of the sons of the prophets showed up unexpectedly,
and being quite needy, he requested help for them in the form of a talent of silver, and two changes of clothing.
A talent of silver is guesstimated by some as approximately $1,000-$30,000.
Naaman quickly obliged and even gave him two talents of silver.
Gehazi took the money and clothing and hastened to stash them in the house.
Suddenly Elisha appeared asking, “Where have you been, Gehazi?” (vs.25).
As the web becomes more entagling, Gehazi respones with another outright lie (Lie #3), “Your servant went nowhere.”
Elisha confronted him saying, “Did not my heart go with you, when the man turned from his chariot to meet you?”
The story concludes with a “therefore”, which serves to point out the seriousness of the sin of lying.
Therefore, the leprosy of Naaman shall cleave to you and to your descendants forever.
So he went out from his presence a leper as white as snow (vs.27).
This story ends like a smack in the face.
Regarding Gehazi, we might be inclined to think the punishment didn't quite fit the crime.
But the verdict rendered by Elisha was very much in keeping with the voice of Scripture.
God hates lying. He utterly detests it. It is an abomination to Him.
Before the eyes of Him with whom we have to do (Heb.4:13), LYING is no small infraction.
Our problem is that we are prone to parsing the meaning of lying.
You know, there are big black lies and then there are little white lies; there are outright falsehoods and then
there's this thing called “failing to keep our promises”; there are half-truths and partial truths and varying degrees
of dishonesty where we fail to tell the whole truth; and there's deception, dishonesty and deviousness in all shades. Sometimes lying takes on the form of flattery, heaping embellished praises on others to gain their approval.
The best way for all of us to steer clear of the sin of lying is to not go near it.
Like Paul's admonition to “flee immorality” (1Cor.6:18), we would be wise not to even flirt with it.
Ps.34:12-13 provides us guidance with words that begin with a question and close with an answer.
Who is the man who desires life, and loves length of days that he may see good?
Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking deceit.