“How to Lay Aside Lying And Tell the Truth”
INTRODUCTION What is the Meaning of Ephesians 4.25
Eph. 4. Much of our time this morning will be spent on one verse. Before I announce that verse, let me ask you what my Old Testament teacher used to ask his class in college. “Are there lies in the Bible?”
And that of course was meant to be a trick question. Some of you will get that later!
But the verse this morning is Ephesians 4:25 Therefore, laying aside falsehood, SPEAK TRUTH EACH ONE of you WITH HIS NEIGHBOR, for we are members of one another.
And this verse occurs within the context of spiritual growth. There are different Christian theories as to spiritual growth.
There is the Wesleyan theory that emphasizes entire sanctification. Those who hold to this view may define this as “a work of God’s grace by which the war against sin has been won and the heart is released from rebellion into a wholehearted love for God.” Unfortunately, the Bible never teaches this so it amounts to wishful thinking. This view also has a misconception of the nature of sin. They believe sin can be either conscious or unconscious. But all sin is hostile against God; there aren’t any sins that are merely mistakes in God’s eyes. All sin is of the will.
Then there is the Pentecostal theory of sanctification. Pentecostal theory emphasizes a faulty doctrine of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. They teach that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is something that happens after salvation that empowers God’s people for spiritual growth. And clearly, this goes against the doctrine of the baptism of the Holy Spirit in 1 Corinthians 12:13.
And then there is the Keswick theory. The Keswick theory of the spiritual growth emphasizes the importance of a crisis moment and a second blessing. Just like with the Wesleyan and Pentecostals, those who hold to Keswick theology emphasize the importance of a second work of grace. And for the Keswick’s, they teach the need to be struck with a deeper sense of sin. And like the Wesleyan’s, they hold to a distinction between conscious sins and unconscious sins. Keswick theology comes out when someone gives their testimony and they say, “I was saved when I was 5 and I dedicated my life when I was 12.” There is nothing wrong with that per se as long as long as we don’t teach that if you don’t dedicate your life, then you are a 2nd class citizen.
So each view holds to the need for some second moment after the point of salvation during which a believer is especially empowered to grow in Christ. The problem here is that people have an experience and they teach that experience as God’s truth. But the whole time, it is clearly not in the Bible.
We simply have no theology from Scripture that leads us to teach people to seek a special second work of God’s grace after salvation.
Now, God does give certain moments in the believer’s life when they are especially convicted of their sins. But that experience shouldn’t enter into our theology and we then we should not teach others to seek a second experience.
The Bible’s teaching is that growing spiritually is progressive. We’re all moving up the chart of Christlikeness. Some may be in a valley right now and need help getting out of it. Some may be heading toward a valley. But either way we are all progressively moving towards Christ likeness, if we have trusted Christ and God has saved us from the power of sin.
And it’s going to take a life filled with work at this. Philippians 2:12-13 12 So then, my beloved, … work out your salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
We are told to work out the salvation that we already have knowing that God is at work in us. God is working and we are working. It takes our work. We can’t just “let go and let God” and merely pray for a second blessing and then expect that to be the end.
No, we must work at this. It is active sanctification. And I am personally excited about leading our church in sanctification. This is where the rubber meets the road. And I have a great burden that you learn how to grow in Christ and be able to teach yourself and your family and others … to disciple them and encourage them to overcome certain sins.
This is one of the goals of solid doctrinal teaching. The pastor is to give attention to the reading of Scripture, the explanation of Scripture and the exhortation of Scripture. Teaching about the end times without teaching how to properly respond to that is wrong.
But at the same time I have a particular burden that we have the right power source to grow. The Bible also teaches that we cannot grow spiritually without the solid teaching of the doctrine that gives us power.
And so I feel like at this point in our ministry that we have been laying a strong foundation and that we are in the midst of a transition point.
Our Thursday night series on the 10 doctrines of the Christian faith is coming to a close. We’ve been studying the nature of Scripture, God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We’ve studied angels, the nature of man, and sin. And we have finished up with salvation, the church, and we are one or two studies away from finishing up the series on eschatology, or the doctrine of last things.
And this teaching has given to us a proper foundation upon which to focus more heavily on our growth in Christ. And we plan to do that on Thursday evenings coming up where we will discuss putting off sinful habits and putting on godly habits.
And we are in the application section of Ephesians. Chapters 4 to 6 will give to us a pretty heavy application especially beginning in our passage this morning. And so we’re going to be spending a fair bit of time on application over the next few months.
Let’s read Ephesians 4:20-32 and then we will remind ourselves of ‘s the Bible’s plan for our spiritual growth.
Ephesians 4:20-32 20 But you did not learn Christ in this way [like those who are denying Christ…], 21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, 22 [and here is what you have been taught…] that [at salvation], in reference to your former manner of life, you laid aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, 23 and that you are being renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and [you were taught that at salvation] you put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth. 25 [similar to what happened at salvation now … sanctification …our growth in Christ … keep going …] Therefore, laying aside falsehood, SPEAK TRUTH EACH ONE of you WITH HIS NEIGHBOR, for we are members of one another. 26 BE ANGRY, AND yet DO NOT SIN; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and do not give the devil an opportunity. 28 He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need. 29 Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. 30 Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.
And last time, we pointed out that the Bible’s model for sanctification is similar to salvation. We were taught at the moment of salvation that we laid aside the old man. That happened at salvation. However, the habits of that old man we still have because we still have a sin nature. And just like in salvation when we laid aside the old man and trusted Christ alone, in sanctification we are to lay aside the habits of that old man.
And this all makes sense because we know from Scripture that what empowers salvation also empowers sanctification. In order to be saved we need to understand the gospel. Christ died on the cross for our sins and was raised from the dead. We need to understand that He is God and that we must respond to Him by laying down our arms of rebellion and turn to him in faith. This is salvation. The gospel empowers salvation.
But the gospel also empowers sanctification. Ephesians chapters 1 to 3 we are to understand what God has done for us in Christ. We have multiple spiritual blessings and God did a work while we were sinners and God seated us with Christ … And so we are to Ephesians 4:1, we are to walk worthy of this calling we’ve been called to. So we must understand the calling of God in the gospel in order to walk worthy of it. That calling is built into the benefits of the gospel!
So the Gospel empowers salvation and the gospel empowers sanctification.
And we learned that to grow in Christ requires that we lay aside sinful habits. And to lay aside sinful habits takes confession and repenting and talking to God about that. We must agree with God about our sin and tell him that we want to turn away from it.
And last time we said we may need to study that particular sin in order to be motivated to lay it aside.
We also needed to be careful to put on the habits of the new man. And here is where we study the Bible on the opposite of that sin that we are confessing and repenting of. You remember that if it’s anger, that we needed to study patience, love and compassion. This morning will learn that it’s lying, we need to study the truth. We need to study how God is the God of truth.
And thirdly growing in Christ takes God renewing your mind. This is God’s work. But you must pray for it; that’s your work.
There are other passages of Scripture that teach us this concept. And it’s not just Paul, but also the book of James and the author to the Hebrews. And in a later study on Thursday nights, we will detail these verses together in detail.
But for me just read them now Colossians 3:8-13 8 But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, 10 and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him— 11 a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all. 12 So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.
James 1:21-22 21 Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls. 22 But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.
Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
1 Peter 2:1-2 1 Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, 2 like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation,
Actively putting off sinful habits through confession and repentance and actively putting on godly habits through Bible study, this is God’s plan for spiritual growth. And this morning, we have the focus on lying.
Our passage this morning is just one verse on lying. Ephesians 4:25 Therefore, laying aside falsehood, SPEAK TRUTH EACH ONE of you WITH HIS NEIGHBOR, for we are members of one another.
TRANS: So first this morning, laying aside falsehood.
Laying aside falsehood
Paul is giving a practical application of the principle of salvation. At salvation, we laid aside the old man. In sanctification now, for example we lay aside the habit of falsehood.
So the phrase “laying aside” has the force of the command, although it is not a technical command. The command is that we speak the truth to one another. And that command is only the 2nd command in the book so far.
I did some reading a while back on lying and one article described 28 different kinds of lies. What are the chances that you committed at least 1 of those in your life or perhaps this week?
Survey after survey and study after study indicates that lying is more common than we think it is. One study indicated that 91% of Americans lie regularly. Another study of middle and high school-ers indicated that 92 percent of those surveyed had lied to their parents in the previous year. And 73% said they lied weekly to their parents. 
By age four, 90% of children have grasped the concept of lying, and it just gets worse from there.
Just how bad is it? According to a 2002 study conducted by the University of Massachusetts, 60% of adults can’t have a ten minute conversation without lying at least once. [60%] But even that number makes it sound better than it really is; those people in the study who did lie actually told an average of 3 lies during their brief chat. And I know you’re sitting there right now insisting you would be part of the 40% that didn’t lie. That’s what the liars in the study thought, too. When they watched the taped conversations back, they were shocked at how many fibs they had told.
We lie to everyone. Our parents get the worst of it, according to the book The Day America Told the Truth, with 86% of us lying to them regularly, followed by friends (75%), siblings (73%), and spouses (69%).
Come on, really? I mean, we’re the cream of the crop of Christendom, surely we don’t lie….I’ve been guilty of 2 of the following recently … I repented and asked forgiveness…
What about lies like this…
“It’ll be ready in 5 min.” … Sounds a lot better than 15 doesn’t.
“The meal was delicious!” And you really didn’t like it.
“Oh I see…” And you don’t have a clue.
“You look great in that dress.” And you tell your husband it was awful.
“You don’t look a day past 40.”
Kids how often have you said this …
“I don’t know.” … and you did. That’s a lie that’s sin against God!
“I did not hear you.”
“I didn’t do it”
“yes, I finished my homework”
“my stomach hurts.”
The kids are in bed and they say, “I need to go potty.”
Parents…come on …have you said this…?
When it’s a 9 o’clock bedtime, do you say … “oh look at the time, it’s almost 9 o’clock.” And it’s really 8:15.
“Daddy’s checking the candy box to make sure the candy’s still in there.”
On a long road trip, “Don’t worry, we’re almost there.”
“Just take the medicine, it tastes great.” And you hate it.
“Maybe tomorrow” or “we’ll see” … when you have no intention of it ever happening and no intention of ever “seeing.”
It is very easy to tell a lie. Confess to God and repent; ask for cleansing.
What is a lie? A lie is a statement that is contrary to fact that is spoken with the intent to deceive.
There are 28 or so different kinds of lies and to go over some of these, let’s turn to Genesis 3.
All lies can be categorized into two different types. Number one, falsifying information. This is an intentional distortion of the truth. Number two, concealment. This is withholding the facts.
This is why we need to be careful to “tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.” Otherwise we will make false statements or hide the truth.
In Genesis 3, here we have the father of lies, Satan himself.
Genesis 3:1-4 1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?” 2 The woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; 3 but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.'” 4 The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die!
There Satan commits an outright lie contradicting God’s truth. He said “You surely will not die” but God said they would of course!
Genesis 3:5 “For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
Here Satan is insinuating something. He is insinuating that God’s motives are bad. He’s tempting Adam and Eve by saying, “God is keeping something good from you that you should have but God does not want you to have.” That’s a lie! God’s motives are perfect.
And Satan is also concealing the facts there, isn’t he? Yes, it is true that that when they eat of the tree, they will know good and evil. But the truth of the matter is that they would know good and evil experientially in a very harmful way. Satan concealed that fact!
So when you are confronted with somebody saying to you, “do you like my dress?” And you really don’t and you don’t want to hurt them, you need to arm yourself with things you can like about something so that you can make a comment on that.
And kids, let me say this…your parents because they are your parents have a right to know certain things. And it’ll come about that all of a sudden at the most tempting time, you’ll have to tell them the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Get with your parents to help you tell the truth.
Let’s keep going in Genesis and I think you’ll see some more lies. Verse 9 …
After Adam and Eve fell from God and disobeyed him, Genesis 3:9-12 9 Then the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 He said, “I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.” 11 And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” 12 The man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate.”
Ah, and here we have Adam blameshifting. Blameshifting. “It was the wife that you gave me, God.”
That happens today … the husband says, “I wouldn’t get so angry if my wife wouldn’t nag me so much!” That’s a lie! No, you need to take full responsibility for your sin. Own it!
The kids say, “I’d be honest with my parents if I didn’t feel like I would get hammered all the time.” That’s blameshifting; that’s a lie and it’s sin against God.
And liars end up having children of their own.
Let’s go over to Genesis 4:1-9 1 Now the man had relations with his wife Eve, and she conceived and gave birth to Cain, and she said, “I have gotten a manchild with the help of the Lord.” 2 Again, she gave birth to his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of flocks, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. 3 So it came about in the course of time that Cain brought an offering to the Lord of the fruit of the ground. 4 Abel, on his part also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and for his offering; 5 but for Cain and for his offering He had no regard. So Cain became very angry and his countenance fell. 6 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? 7 “If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.” 8 Cain told Abel his brother. And it came about when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him. 9 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” And he said, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?”
Really, you don’t know? Kids, that’s almost the oldest one in the book. Parents, be on guard when you here the “I don’t know” line.
Christian, are you keeping your commitments? Proverbs 25:14 Like clouds and wind without rain is a man who falsely boasts of his gifts.” Sure, we’ll get it done tomorrow…and it never happens!
And may we never be guilty of telling a lie with an evil motive to harm someone, which is slander. Leviticus 19:16 ~’You shall not go about as a slanderer among your people, and you are not to act against the life of your neighbor; I am the Lord.
And let us not gossip, which is passing along information about someone that you’ve heard but have not determined whether it is true or false and it is harmful to that person’s character.
Proverbs 26:20 For lack of wood the fire goes out, And where there is no whisperer [or gossiper], contention quiets down.
Proverbs 18:8 The words of a whisperer are like dainty morsels, And they go down into the innermost parts of the body.
Don’t listen to that stuff. If you hear something damaging to someone else’s reputation ask if they have verified that information. And if it was sin, ask them what they did to correct them. And, if you’re bold, you can ask them why they need to be telling that to others in the first place; what’s the point?
And by all means, don’t repeat it yourself. You love your neighbor, right? Well then be careful to protect his reputation. If you truly love him you will always rejoice in the truth. Get the truth! Now back to Eph. 4.
TRANS: Lying is one of those sins that is so tricky that sometimes we do not know that we are committing it.
If you know that you have had difficulty in this area, you need power to lay it aside. You need power to lay it aside.
The Power to Lay Aside Lying
The power and the motivation to lay aside lying will come from the Bible’s teaching on the subject.
ILL: You’ve got to start with the power or it won’t work. In a car, you’ve got to start with the gas or it won’t work. What we will discover as we work through the rest of this book is that Paul will give us power or the motivation for many of the applications he gives that we might get over a sin that we may be struggling with.
For example, in our passage …. Verse 25 …
Ephesians 4:25 Therefore, laying aside falsehood, SPEAK TRUTH EACH ONE of you WITH HIS NEIGHBOR, for we are members of one another.
ARG: You’ve got to start with the power or it doesn’t work. The prescription is right here: speak truth each one of you with his neighbor …why? For/because we are members one another. That last line is the motivation, the consideration that will give us some power.
Do not lie, put that aside. Instead actively, purposefully, and even invent situations in which you will determine to tell the truth. And the reason for this is because of the end of the verse, “for we are members of one another.
If you struggle with lying what you need to know is that we are members of one another. That truth will motivate you to stop lying and to actively, purposefully tell the truth.
As you can see in this verse, “speak truth each one of you with his neighbor” is in all capital letters. What that means is that it is a quotation from somewhere in the Bible. If you look in the margin of the Bible there is a cross reference to Zechariah chapter 8:16.
You can make a note of that, and then turn to the passage. Zechariah is the second to last book of the Old Testament. Zechariah and then Malachi and then Matthew is the first book of the New Testament. Zechariah, Malachi, Matthew.
And my question is why does Paul quote from Zechariah 8 and not from the 10 Commandments? Paul could just as easily quoted the 9th commandment “do not bear false witness.” But he doesn’t. Instead, he chooses Zechariah chapter 8. Why?
Paul is well-versed in the Scripture and he does not quote passages arbitrarily? He does not quote Scripture for no purpose.
There is a reason why he quoted from Zechariah chapter 8.
There are five references to truth in this chapter alone. In verse three, you’ll notice “the city of truth.” And in verse eight you can see the Lord says at the end of the verse “I will be their God in truth and righteousness.” Two times in verse 16 which is where Ephesians 4:25 quotes from, “speak the truth to one another judge with truth.”
And then finally in verse 19 at the end of the verse, “so love truth and peace.” And this is in a context of the second coming of Jesus Christ. We can see that from verse three of Zechariah 8. When the Lord says … Zechariah 8:3 “Thus says the Lord, ‘I will return to Zion and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. Then Jerusalem will be called the City of Truth, and the mountain of the Lord of hosts will be called the Holy Mountain.’
This is the second coming…
God is promising to return to Zion, or Jerusalem. He is promising to dwell in the midst. This will be when the Jesus Christ comes back and reigns from Jerusalem for 1000 years. And that city will be called the City of Truth. Keep that in mind as you look off into the future toward this even, that you be careful live truthfully today. Should you tell lies today? If by God’s grace you trusted Christ, you will dwell in the holy city, the City of Truth. Ought not you work on speaking the truth today?
And that day will be a day that is very similar to the day that the Ephesians were living in. The Ephesians were experiencing close Jew and Gentile interaction. And in the millennium, that thousand year reign of Christ, there will be Jew and Gentile again together. Zechariah 8:20 “Thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘It will yet be that peoples will come, even the inhabitants of many cities.” Peoples will come.
So when Paul quotes from Zechariah 8:16, he has an eye toward the future and he sees that there will come a day when God’s people, both Jew and Gentile, will dwell together in the City of Truth. And we should be motivated by that future time to get things right with God today. “Speak truth to one another, judge with truth.”
Now, back to Ephesians 4. Verse 25 teaches us that we should speak the truth to one another because we are members of one another
Ephesians 4:25 Therefore, laying aside falsehood, SPEAK TRUTH EACH ONE of you WITH HIS NEIGHBOR, [why?…] for we are members of one another.
TRANS: Here we have yet another example of how the doctrine of the future motivates our godly living, especially our lying.
In fact, Revelation 22:15 Outside [that city] are the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying.
So understanding the end times is meant to help us not to lie. Why do we spend time studying end times, as we have? Partly, because of verses like these! You’ll be spending time with the members of the body of Christ for all of eternity. We better learn now speak the truth to one another because we are members of one another and will be for time and eternity and will live in that city of truth.
ILL: And we are members of the body of Christ. So here we have the body metaphor once again. We are members of one another. Do you like having one of your body parts lie to you? Have you been tired while driving down the road and thought you saw a deer and you didn’t?
Or your ears have tricked you and you thought you heard something or you talked to somebody and you thought they said such and such, but in fact it they didn’t say that.
Or ask someone who has lupus if they like their body being tricked? Lupus this is a disease in which the body’s immune system becomes hyperactive and starts to attack normal, healthy tissue. The body has been tricked and it is wreaking havoc.
Don’t deceive members of the body of Christ and so wreak havoc.
Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord (Prov. 12:22); the Lord hates a lying tongue (Prov. 6:17) and He destroys those who speak falsehood (Ps. 5:6)
How can we lie when John 14:6 Jesus *said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.
Jesus himself is the truth. Let us not lie against the truth. If you struggle with lying, study these verses and meditate on them.
Lying is a sin that Christ’s death has paid for. The word of God came in human flesh and dwelt among us. He spoke compassionately and graciously. He took upon himself the persecutions from godless man and died a powerful death that takes away the sin of the world. And when he was raised from the dead, he demonstrated that He is the very embodiment of truth itself.
Be motivated by the gospel; put on truth. Choose to love the truth by meditating on the truth. Be motivated by the end times to stop lying. And be motivated to stop lying because we are members of the very body of Christ, who himself is the truth.
If you are guilty … And you are guilty of lying, you must put it off and lay it aside. Confess this sin and repent of it and tell God about that.
TRANS: and now, put on telling the truth.
Put on Truth Telling
If you or someone you know … someone you are discipling, like your child or somebody else who is has difficulty truth telling, determine when they are most tempted to lie and create situations in which they can practice telling the truth.
Ladies, you may need to equip yourself with an arsenal of reasons why that other lady’s dress does look nice: try to find something about the dress that looks nice, whether it be the cut, the style, or how comfortable it looks or something.
And if parents, if you are tempted to lie to your children, you may not be able to create those times but you can have that in mind and be in prayer about it and study the truth in Scripture to be extra mindful of it.
Children, confess to your parents how you struggle with lying and ask them to help you. Parents, help your children to speak the truth and disciple them and don’t hammer them. Work alongside them to help them to tell the truth. Families, you may need to go home and have a talk: husbands and wives, parents and children…talk nicely without accusing and men, lead your families if you know someone in your family has a problem. Study the truth together and talk about the truth of Scripture and motivate and encourage your family and don’t tear them down.
CONCLUSION What is the Meaning of Ephesians 4.25
With passages like this, it’s good to know we have a Savior who has paid for all our sin, isn’t it? 390 Jesus Paid it all.
The Day that America Told the Truth, pg. 45. ↑