Live the Truth

MEMORY VERSE: “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.” —Exodus 20:16

EXODUS 20:16

A PERSON’S words usually reveal what is in his heart and testify to what sort of person he is. The kind words of anyone can be a real blessing to those to whom they are spoken, making for peace and good will. Words of slander often serve to break human relations, and lead to mistrust and ill will.

False witness against another betrays a lack of inner integrity, and results in injury to others. Bearing false witness should be shunned by a Christian, and if there is any inclination along this line the heart should be cleansed from the defilement and filled with the spirit of love and the desire to help others, rather than to slander them.

ACTS 5:11

This is the story of Ananias and Sapphira, who sold their possessions and claimed that they turned all of the proceeds into the common treasury of the then-budding Early Church. But they held back a certain amount of the sale price, presenting merely a part to the apostles, indicating that it was the whole.

But Peter, having special discernment given to him by the Holy Spirit, detected the fraud, and said to Ananias, “Why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Spirit, and to keep back part of the price of the land?” Here was a falsehood, not only against the brethren, but because of the circumstances, against the Holy Spirit, or against the Lord himself.

The background of the story is that at that time the church of Christ was functioning on a communal basis, in that the believers were placing all their financial holdings into a common treasury, their own needs being supplied by those who had been constituted the rightful distributors of the fund. From all that we know, the spirit of honesty prevailed generally among the brethren, in that they held nothing back from giving their all.

The exception to this was the case of Ananias and Sapphira. They professed belief in Christ, and a desire to be his followers, but when they faced the cost of turning all their holdings into a common treasury it was too much for them. As Peter explained, their holdings belonged to them, and they were under no obligation to turn anything into the treasury of the Lord; but they would have felt out of place among the brethren by taking this course, so they endeavored to have them believe that they had done as the rest of them had done, yet actually they had not.

Using his apostolic authority, Peter brought about the death of both of these prevaricators as an object lesson, for it would have impossible to allow this sort of thing to continue among the brethren. The account states that “great fear came upon all the church, and as many as heard these things.”—vs. 11

Sincerity and truth are basic elements of true Christian character. We might act and speak hypocritically to the brethren, but the Lord, who knows the heart, will discern the real motive of our hearts, and deal with us accordingly. A deceitful heart is an abomination to the Lord. Christians should shun deceit and intrigue of all kinds. Thus the Lord will rejoice over us, and we will be a blessing to the brethren.


This text reads, “Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor: for we are members one of another.” The Christian standard, both of speech and conduct, is very high. Paul further wrote, “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil-speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: and be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”—Eph. 4:29-32


Name some of the evils of bearing false witness.

Relate the story of Ananias and Sapphira, and explain the lesson it teaches.

Aside from lying, what are some of the other corrupt communications which we need to guard against?

Dawn Bible Students Association
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