The Whole Truth
Passage: Matthew 5:33–5:37
Sermon Text: Matthew 5:33-37
Other teachings on oaths in Matthew. Matthew 23:16-22
There were times though when a person’s word alone wasn’t enough in Israel, they needed an oath to give it added weight. In Exodus 22:10-11 there’s a particular situation where taking an oath in the Lord’s name is commanded.
Exodus 20:7 (the 3rd commandment) and Exodus 20:16 (the 9th) along with Leviticus 19:12 all are helpful Old Testament passages in giving us context.
Covering up the truths either by manipulating oaths or by outright lying is a trait of the flesh, the old self.
Colossians 3:9-10 says “9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator”
The Five Helpful ways to be truth tellers
1. Recognize that your speech is an indicator of the state of your soul.
Proverbs 10:20 20 The tongue of the righteous is choice silver; the heart of the wicked is of little worth. 21 The lips of the righteous feed many, but fools die for lack of sense.
James 3:5-12 5 So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! 6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. 7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. 10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. 11 Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? 12 Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.
Matthew 12:34, out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.
Revelation 21:8 8 But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”
2. Speak LESS.
Proverbs 10:19 When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.
Proverbs 21:23 23 Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble.
Psalm 141:3 3 Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!
Psalm 19:4 says “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.”
4. Listen, think, and then let your words count.
James 1:19 19 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;
Proverbs 15:28 28 The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.
Proverbs 10:20-21 20 The tongue of the righteous is choice silver; the heart of the wicked is of little worth. 21 The lips of the righteous feed many, but fools die for lack of sense.
5. Remember God’s sovereignty.
Matthew 5:34-37 Do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, 35 or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36 And do not take an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. 37 Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.
God rules over EVERYTHING. It’s all his. The mountains are his, the rivers are his, the skies are his handiwork too. We can’t swear by heaven, or earth or anything in the earth because they’re not ours to swear by. God is Lord of all.
Even our lives aren’t our lives. Look again at verse 36, we can’t even make one hair black or white. In other words, we don’t even have sovereign control over our own hair.
But who does have control over the hairs of our head? Who has numbered every single one of your hairs?
Our God. The same one who has numbered the stars. The same one who rules over creation. It’s all his and he cares for it all.
We’re weak. We’re needy. We are helpless. James says “We are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” Isaiah says we are as fragile as the grass of the field that withers in the sun.
We have no need to make ourselves out to be someone that we’re not. We are sinners in need of a savior. Beggers in need of mercy. And praise God, we have been given a savior. Praise God, we have been shown mercy.
And having been given Jesus. Friend we have no need to add an oath to our truths. No need to take anything away from our truths. No need to add anything at all to color our truths. Our truths aren’t even ours. We have been bought with a price by Christ. He has sovereign control over our lives and sovereign authority over our words.
And being his we speak his truth. Our yes can simply be yes. Our no can be no. We don’t even have to add excuses to try and justify ourselves. We have been justified by Jesus Christ.
May we be a people who are trustworthy and faithful as our Lord has been trustworthy and faithful to us.