GOD’S WISDOM FOR HIS PEOPLE, Week 5
Building a Honest and content Heart
The 10 Commandments, Exodus 20
INTRO: The 9th and 10th commandments affect the whole world whether they are Christians ornot. In fact, that is the marvel of the 10 commandments, they stand alone as truth whether people believe in God or not. Since God is the author of all truth, it doesn’t matter what the world thinks about His Word, it is still truth!
- The whole of humanity suffers when Truth is sacrificed for Lies and when Contentment is sacrificed for Coveting.
- It has unfortunately become a way of life: too many today believe it is “normal” to tell lies and lust after what others have.
Let’s start by focusing on…
COMMANDMENT 9: THE HONEST LIFE
“You must not testify falsely against your neighbor.” Ex 20:16
ILLUS: News Report, July 15, 1993, “When the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey ran a help-wanted ad for electricians with expertise at using Sontag connectors, it got 170 responses–even though there is no such thing as a Sontag connector. The Authority ran the ad to find out how many applicants falsify resumes.”
- It is tragic to realize just how easily we accept bending the truth.
ILLUS: On a beautiful fall day, four of my granddaughter’s friends decided to go for a drive instead of showing up to class on time. When they did arrive, the girls explained to the teacher they had had a flat tire. The teacher accepted the excuse, much to the girls’ relief. “Since you missed this morning’s quiz, you must take it now,” she said. “Please sit in the four corner seats in this room without talking.” When they were seated, the teacher said, “On your paper write the answer to one question: ‘Which tire was flat?'”
PROP. SENT: The Bible calls us to guard our hearts against the damage that comes to both us and others when we bear false witness or lie. No society will long endure, nor will any human relationship that is not founded on truth.
I. STANDING ON TRUTH
A. Types of Lies
- Obvious: truth is altered to say something that is simply not true.
- No amount of telling the falsehood will change the truth, but it will change the relationship with the person we lied to or about.
- When truth is not given, everyone loses.
ILLUS: A school principal received a phone call. The voice said, “Thomas Bradley won’t be in school today.” The principal was a bit suspicious of the voice. He asked, “Who is speaking?” The voice came back, “My father.”
- Slander : This is a lie intended to damage someone or protect self. It is a direct violation of the 9th commandment.
“Your citizens are so used to lying that their tongues can no longer tell the truth.” Micah 6:12
- It was this particular type of lie that God’s Word warned against.
- In fact, so serious was the danger of this type of lie that God’s Word declared that all such facts must be established by more than a single witness…
- The breach of relationships is a serious issue to God, and lying destroys all such relationships.
- Exaggeration: this kind of stretching the truth harms others
- It’s difficult to take at face value what is said, and it can create false impressions of others that can lead to bad relationships.
- Unfortunately, exaggeration comes too easily for most people.
“Tell the truth to each other. Render verdicts in your courts that are just and that lead to peace.” Zechariah 8:16
- Silence or Innuendos: Not saying something can hurt others and can be a lie. We can even bear false witness by failing to speak the truth…we can create a false witness by holding back truth!
- Such comments like, “If you only knew what I knew about so and so, but I promised not to say anything…”
- The failure for many to speak up in World War II when Hitler did his atrocities was a way to allow them to continue…this failure to speak the truth can also be a form of bearing a false witness.
B. Telling the Truth!
“One witness is not enough to convict anyone accused of any crime or offense they may have committed. A matter must be established
by the testimony of two or three witnesses.” Deuteronomy 19:15
- It was so important to God that peoples’ lives be preserved from false testimonies, or witnesses, that He required that there be at least 2 or more others to speak the same thing before something should be regarded as true.
- This is a good idea for today also! Too often things get passed around as “truth” on the sole testimony of one person.
“An honest witness tells the truth, but a false witness tells lies.” Pro 12:17
- Truth is designed to help us walk up right in a crooked world…
ILLUS: It isn’t the things that go in one ear and out the other that hurt as much as the things that go in one ear, get all mixed up, and then slip out the mouth.
- In Our World, Lies are so common that they can make us cynical to the truth: “The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in those who tell the truth.” Proverbs 12:22
ILLUS: Leonard Sweet, wrote “Top 10 Liars’ Lies”: 10. We’ll stay only five minutes. 9. This will be a short meeting. 8. I’ll respect you in the morning. 7. The check is in the mail. 6. I’m from the government, and I’m here to help you. 5. This hurts me more than it hurts you. 4. Your money will be cheerfully refunded. 3. We service what we sell. 2. Your table will be ready in just a minute. 1. I’ll start exercising tomorrow. —
“It gave me great joy when some believers came and testified about your faithfulness to the truth” 3 John 1:3
- Let’s learn to Deal Honestly with one another…
- To Return our Culture to an honest one we must begin with us!
- The 9th Commandment calls us to honor God by honoring the truth in ways that build up and not tear down.
- We are called to tell the truth and honor the Lord with our Words.
- Should we learn to deal honestly with one another we would see a transformation not only in the Church but in the society as well.
- To return our culture to an honest one we must begin with the individual.
Let’s move on to…
Commandment 10: The Content Life
“You must not covet” Exodus 20:17
INTRO: The last commandment is the key of the 10, the previous 9 commandments all have a strong overt element to them, they are actions observed, but, this final commandment strikes at the heart and mind!
In fact, it was Paul in Romans 7:7-8 that stated that this was the one commandment of the 10 that made him realize his sinfulness and brought him to realize his need of Christ.
“It was the law that showed me my sin. I would never have known that coveting is wrong if the law had not said, “You must not covet.” But sin used this command to arouse all kinds of covetous desires within me! If there were no law, sin would not have that power.”
- Until he hit the 10th commandment he could judge himself “good” by obvious actions, but with the 10th his mind and motives were revealed to him and it opened to him the understanding of how much he was a sinner!
ILLUS: In Hank Ketcham’s comic strip “Dennis the Menace,” Dennis is looking through a catalog saying, “This catalog’s got a lot of toys I didn’t even know I wanted.” — Robert C. Shannon
PROP. SENT: The Bible teaches us that we are to live a life that is content and trusts God for all our needs, to covet what others have is the root of all sin and takes our trust away from God and puts us in charge of getting what we think we need.
ILLUS: In “The Wizard of Id” comic strip, one monk is putting up a sign on the bulletin board in front of the church while another monk watches. The sign reads “Thou Shalt Not Covet” and the visiting monk says, “Boy, I wish we had a signboard like that at our church.”
I. THE COVETING HEART
- The literal meaning of the word “coveting” is “to pant after”…like Max used to do when I ate ice cream, potato chips, popcorn!
- It indicates an intense desire that will becomes so consuming that it will demand fulfillment.
- Coveting is not just something that happens to the poor, coveting is a problem for all humans.
3. The Fuel of Coveting is Discontent.
- When we allow discontent to enter our spirit it is only a short time before we find ourselves coveting what others have, and coveting leads to all kinds of sins and broken commandments.
- Depression : a Common & Serious medical illness
- Withdrawal: behavior in which someone Prefers to be Alone
- Pouting : Wearing a sullen Expression, Whining, Showing displeasure, to sulk…none of us ever do that when we don’t get what we want…correct?
- Unthankfulness: not giving Thanks, Unappreciative
- Coveting Always Corrupts the Human Soul, it never satisfies it!
- Coveter’s are by nature Callous people, all they care about is getting what they want. No concern for others!
- The Callous can be Indifferent to other people’s feelings or needs.
- Coveting will leave a bad taste in your mouth and in others too, and in the end you will actually have much less than before you coveted!
II. THE CONFIRMED HEART (From Philippians 4)
- What are the best spiritual weapons against Covetousness?
First, Celebrate what you Already have!
Second, Avoid Stress over what you don’t have!
Third, Ask for Things with Thanksgiving!
Fourth, Look at what is Excellent and Worthy of Praise!
“Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” Philippians 4:8
- Those that are at Peace, focus more on what they do have so they can find peace in life. “The God of peace will be with you..” (4:9)
- In our culture we are inundated with messages that say we must have more, or newer, or something we don’t already have … and it is the foundation for the vast amount of dissatisfaction.
- Advertisers send us messages of “You won’t be happy until you get our product”, “If you just had…”, “Life would be better with,’ etc.
- As Christians we really need to evaluate our sense of happiness, what it is based on. Do we really need more?
- We can strive in find happiness and peace in stuff, and especially someone else’s stuff…
- Those that are at peace focus more on what they do have so they can find peace in life. “The God of peace will be with you.. (4:9)
“I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything.” Philippians 4:11-12
- Paul describes his life as being centered on what he has, not what he doesn’t have. He has been content with little or with much.
- His Strength and Joy comes from Christ
“For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” (4:13)
- Paul’s prescription: promote godliness and peace in the life!
“This same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.” (4:19)
- Contentment kills coveting in the same way coveting kills contentment!
- Coveting will always leave a bad taste in your mouth and in others too, and in the end you will actually have much less than before you coveted!
CONCLUSION: Discontented people by nature are covetous by the very fact of being dissatisfied. And as we said above, The fabric of all healthy relationships is woven with truth. So let’s strive for Contentments that is rooted in truth. Coveters are always in need because they always desire something they don’t have. Liars are always seeking to tear people down. In is these last 2 commandments, God calls us to be content and honest…controlled and not coveting. Following God’s commands brings us the most fulfilling and satisfied lives. Let’s live out the Commandments and live the Abundant Life we have been called to.