Speak Truth  

Daniel Webster said, “There is nothing as powerful as truth and often nothing as strange.” Truth telling is one of the marks of a follower of Jesus. Jesus is truth; Satan is a liar. Lying most represents the essence of sin and Satan, and truth most represents the character of God. Lying is a core sin that accompanies every other sin- we lie to cover other sins. For this reason, lying is the most common sin a human will commit. In Matthew 5:33-37, Jesus addresses the issue of truth and lying. 

33 “Again, the law of Moses says, ‘You shall not break your vows to God but must fulfill them all.’ 34 But I say: Don’t make any vows! And even to say ‘By heavens!’ is a sacred vow to God, for the heavens are God’s throne. 35 And if you say ‘By the earth!’ it is a sacred vow, for the earth is his footstool. And don’t swear ‘By Jerusalem!’ for Jerusalem is the capital of the great King. 36 Don’t even swear ‘By my head!’ for you can’t turn one hair white or black. 37 Say just a simple ‘Yes, I will’ or ‘No, I won’t.’ Your word is enough. To strengthen your promise with a vow shows that something is wrong.”


Jesus and Truth

“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago”- 5:33. This was not a direct commandment from the Old Testament, rather it was a common interpretation of several Old Testament texts- Exodus 20:7; Leviticus 19:12; Numbers 30:2; Deuteronomy 23:21-23. The law required a person to be careful in making a vow in the name of the Lord because the one who made a vow would be held accountable if he broke it. The religious leaders shifted the attention away from the vow itself to the formula used in making the vow. As in the other examples from Matthew 5, the Pharisees used the letter of the law to use it to their advantage instead of looking at the heart of God behind the law. 


“Do not break your oath”- 5:33.

1. God’s intent behind the law was an admonition to speak truth. Don’t lie. The word “oath” used here is actually a verb “not to bear false witness.” An oath is an appeal to a higher authority to show the seriousness of the promise. “As God is my witness…” 


2. The corruption of this law was that the religious leaders would use an oath for mundane everyday issues causing the oath to lose its meaning. 


“Keep the oaths you have made to the Lord”- 5:33-36.

1. God’s intent behind the law in this sentence is to be faithful to your word. The word “oath” in this sentence is a noun that means “faithful to what you say.” If you say something, then do it. Follow through on your promises. 


2. The corruption of the law was that the Pharisees believed if they had to keep oaths made to the Lord, then they didn’t have to keep oaths not made to the Lord. They created a huge legal document outlining which oaths one must keep and which oaths one didn’t have to keep. However, no one saw the document except them. Oath keeping became a game used by the religious leaders to take advantage of others. Look at Matthew 23:16-22 for more detail on how the Pharisees used the oath to steal from others. 


3. This explains verses 34-36. Jesus said that it is not necessary to swear at all. All oaths are made to the Lord. Heaven is God’s throne and earth is His footstool. Jerusalem is His city, and your head belongs to Him. Everything is God’s, therefore every oath is made to the Lord and is binding. Instead of playing games with the law, just keep your promises. A man’s word is sealed by his relationship with God. Don’t make a promise you can’t keep, and keep all your promises. There are not degrees of obligation for honesty. 


Jesus’ principle: A disciple does not take his speech lightly- 5:37. Followers of Jesus tell the truth, they follow through on what they promise, and they don’t look for ways to back out on their word. Their “yes” and their “no” can be trusted to be truth. Anything else is hypocrisy. 


The Truth about Lies

  • 91% of Americans lie regularly
  • Men tell an average of 6 lies a day to their partner, boss, or colleagues
  • Women tell an average of 3 lies a day to their partner, boss, or colleagues
  • 70% of people who tell lies claim they would tell their lies again

Lying is a conscious and intentional falsehood to deceive another. There is an intent to deceive that accompanies lying. 

The #1 reason people lie is to protect themselves. They use deceit to shift blame. 

The #2 reason people lie is to promote themselves. They use exaggeration to embellish their accomplishments. Think about times where you heard someone use exaggeration? Why do you believe exaggeration is so damaging? (Hint: Think of the core sin which is behind exaggeration.) 


God uses the law to protect people. Lying destroys trust and sabotages healthy relationships. God hates lying because it hurts His people, and it identifies us with the core character of Satan. Lying damages our intimacy with God and hardens our conscience. No matter how much we may feel we can either justify the lie or manage it, lies always cause hurt or chaos in your life, and as Provers says, will eventually become like cancer to the soul. (Proverbs 12:4; 14:30)


As believers, we must be relentless to stay on top of this issue. We must speak truth, keep our word, and follow through on promises. 


God’s word tells us our focus for communication is first, say what the Word says – as our opinions, views, or thought do not bring life into the situation.  Life comes from only the Word, therefore our second step is to communicate in God’s love, spoken intentionally in peace, with the objective to have God’s will be accomplished.



Heavenly Father, I believe that when Holy Spirit inspires a thought in my mind to do something, it is right. When He nudges my spirit to do something, I can rest assured that He sees and knows something I don’t know and is trying to guide and direct me according to truth. He is always the Spirit of truth and will never mislead me. I am looking for the abundant, supernatural Christian living, so I surrender to Holy Spirit, allowing Him to have permission to be my guide, my coach and my Counselor, as He directs me how to speak truth in the situations He leads me into.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Pastor Peter Henneberry

Peter Henneberry,

EMIC Groups Pastor
 Office: 817-252-2925
E-mail/ Group questions