John Hagee - Thou Shall Not Bear False Witness or Covet
Turn with us to Exodus 20:16 and 17, as we conclude our sermon series, the Ten Commandments, with today's sermon, "Thou shall not bear false witness and you shall not covet". Two young boys were talking to each other, and one said to the other, "My mother is such an alarmist. One sneeze and she thinks I have a cold. One cough and she thinks I have the flu. One lie and she thinks I'm destined for the White House". Read with me, Exodus 20:16 and 17. Ready? "You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. You shall not covet your neighbor's house, nor covet your neighbor's wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor's", end of story.
Father God, I thank you for the Word of God and I pray that this congregation and America will hear this, leaving our country a more spiritually wholesome place in which to live. In the authority of your name, we pray and ask it. And all of God's children said, amen.
You may be seated. The ninth commandment simply says tell the truth. Tell the truth. What is truth? Here's the absolute truth. Listen. There is a God of might and majesty who has all power in heaven and in earth. He is all-mighty. He is all-knowing. He is all-powerful. He is not a cosmic bellhop responding to your every request. He's not your doting grandfather sitting benignly in the heavens, watching your bizarre behavior. He is the Creator of heaven and earth. He is Jehovah Shammah, the God who is there. He is Jehovah Jireh, the God that supplies all of your needs. He is Jehovah Rapha, the Lord that heals your sick body.
That miracle-working God is in this building right now. He is Jehovah Nissi, the God who brings our banner. He is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the alpha and omega, the first and the last, the one who was and is and always shall be. He is the shepherd of the stars. He calls them by name. He holds the seven seas in the palms of his hand. He weighs the mountains in a scale and the hills in a balance. The islands of the sea are but a small thing. He's the author of the Ten Commandments. These Ten Commandments are the basis of social order and the gateway to happiness and prosperity. His son, Jesus Christ, said, "I am the way, the truth and the life". That's the truth, the whole truth, nothing but the truth. Can I hear an amen in this house?
And then comes the pinhead that says, "Well, I don't believe in absolute truth". Well, listen up. What you believe has no bearing in reality. God doesn't give you a vote. The world is round, whether you believe it or not. Fire will burn you, whether you believe it or not. Jump off a ten-story building and you will fall, whether you believe in gravity or not. Poison will kill you whether you believe it or not. God's word is the absolute truth, whether you believe it or not, period. The ninth commandment, "Thou shall not bear false witness" actually translates in the Hebrew, you shall not answer nor repeat. You shall not answer nor repeat. Get this. You are not to answer or repeat unless you were an eyewitness to the event. You might want to write this down.
If you are not an eyewitness in the Bible, you are a false witness. If you are not an eyewitness to what happened, you are a false witness. How many things have you repeated about other people where you were not an eyewitness? By Bible standards, that's a false witness. You don't get to go to court and say what aunt Mary said about uncle Ned and said this and that. They want an eyewitness to the fact. Look at what the Bible says about your words. Matthew 12:36, "For by your words, you shall be justified. And by your words, you shall be condemned". Every idle word that men speak shall be judged and they shall give account on the Day of Judgment. Think about that. There's no middle ground. Either justified or condemned. God hates lying. All sin began with lying.
Go with me to the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve were told not to eat the forbidden fruit or they would surely die. Satan, the father of lies, slipped into the garden and said, "Eve, eat that fruit. You will be like God. You will be just as smart as God". She ate it and sin was released on the earth. Sin that birthed every disease, every death, every divorce, every war that has happened from the Genesis until this day was released that day because it gave Satan a license to operate on planet earth. Every death, every divorce, every war that has covered the earth with dead and dying came out of that first lie. Jeremiah said their tongue is a deadly arrow.
David said, "They sharpen their tongues like swords and they aim their words like deadly arrows". The question is: how can I reverse the poison and pain of a lying tongue? How many of you've ever been lied about? Most of you. The Bible says, "Bless, and curse not". "Bless, and curse not". What does that mean? Proverbs 26:2, "As a swallow darts in flying, so a curse (or a lie) without cause, shall not land". Have you ever seen a swallow fly? They don't fly in a straight line. They fly like this. The point is when you bless those who curse you, the blessing of God covers you with a divine shield of protection and you become a Teflon Christian. The curse, the lie, the slander will not stick.
The Bible says, "Like a darting swallow, the curse is returned to the sender. And the pain and poison of that lie goes to the sender who sent it. You overcome", the Bible says, "You overcome evil with good". And that's exactly how you do it. You are not a helpless victim. You can reverse the curse. You can reverse the lie with blessing and watch God go to war on your behalf. This is a principle I have practiced all of my adult life. If you will use it, God will take your enemies out because you have reversed the curse with the power of God's blessing.
Consider the ways we lie. Let's talk about slander, lying about another's conduct or character. The scorpion Carries its poison in the tail. The slanderer Carries the poison in their tongue. And sometimes it sits in church with a Bible in the lap. The man or the woman who runs their mouth in slander will walk in the fire with prostitutes and murderers. The man who slanders will live life for eternity with the Hitlers and the Hamans of life. How do we lie? We lie through flattery in the Bible. Flattery is saying things to a person's face you would never say behind their back. Flattery is a form of manipulation and manipulation is a manifestation of witchcraft. Flattery does not come from the person because they love you. Flattery is coming to you because they're trying to control you.
Proverbs 20:19, "Do not associate with one who flatters with his lips". You want to write that verse down. Proverbs 20:19, "Do not associate with one who flatters you with his lips," end of quote. Run because they're trying to control you. Most of our unhappiness in life, in marriage, in business is caused by lies we believe about ourselves. Nothing is so easy as to deceive one's self. Consider this lie: I must be perfect. Do you believe that? Some of you do. You would be called a super achiever. You have unrealistically high standards that superman could not beat. The type a, hard-charging superman leaps over buildings with a single bound. Yet, he hangs onto those high standards as if they're objects of worship. Perfectionists generally are saturated with insecurity, pushing themselves into exhaustion and depression, trying to gain approval.
Living with a super achiever and a perfectionist husband or wife is hell on earth! Is this you? You're in a no-win rut and here's why. If you reach your goal, you'll say, "It's no big deal. This really wasn't anything. I should've done this sooner". Listen and get this. There's a difference between being the best and doing the best. You can do anything you can want to, but you can't do everything. The message is, do your best and then forget it. Stop comparing yourselves among yourselves. You're the children of God. You're not loved because you're mega something. You're loved because you're a child of God. Not because of what you do but because of whose you are. You're the child of God. Now, listen to this tenth commandment, "You shall not covet".
What is coveting? Coveting is to lust or crave for with a passion, something that belongs to another person. Two fishermen had a craving desire to go ice fishing. They took their power drill and they were drilling through the ice when they heard a voice say, "There are no fish under this ice". And they looked up and said, "Is that you, God"? And the voice said, "No, I'm the owner of this ice skating rink". The first nine commandments forbid specific action. The last commandment forbids a state of mind. It demands that you control your thought life. Look at the Ten Commandments: thy neighbors, thy neighbors, thy neighbors, his, his, his. This is a sevenfold covenant guarding the interest of other people. It simply says don't touch. Don't even let it cross your mind. It's off-limits.
How many of you have a little age and you remember the television commercial with Shaq o'Neal? He's 7'2", 310, NBA basketball player. How many of you know who he is? He was the blockbuster center for the Los Angeles Lakers. He walks onto a playground, he's hot, he's sweaty. He's looking into an ice chest for a cold Pepsi. There is none there. He turns to a little boy on the playground who's sitting there, drinking a Pepsi. And he reaches out in his hand to get it. And that little boy looks up at him and said, "Don't even think about it".
That's what God is saying in this commandment: don't you even think about touching what belongs to your neighbor, not his wife, not his employee, not his cattle, not his house, not his car, not his Rolex, not his Arnold Palmer Golf Clubs, and not his Mercedes. You can't have any of those things because they belong to him. Covetousness is the root of all sin. Satan's doctrine is to get all you can and can all you get. Christ's doctrine is, "Give, and it shall be given unto you," "Pressed down, shaken together and running over, God shall cause men to give to your bosom".
John D. Rockefeller, the one who started all of the wealth, was asked when he was making a million dollars, and believe me, this was before income tax. He was making a million dollars a day. And he was asked by the press, "How much does it take to satisfy a millionaire"? He said, "Just a little bit more". Covetousness destroys the bloom and the beauty of life. Covetousness replaces love with hatred and suspicion. Covetousness devours joy. It consumes peace. Covetousness consumes kindness and it produces cruelty. Covetousness destroys goodness. Covetousness destroys faithfulness. It destroys meekness and it brings arrogance.
Listen to the warning of Jesus Christ, the great physician, about this cancer of the soul in Luke 12:15. "And he said unto them, 'take heed and beware of covetousness: for a man's life does not consist in the abundance of things which he possesses'". Some of you need to put that on your refrigerator, Luke 12:15. Listen to Paul's warnings about covetousness. 1 Corinthians 6:9 and 10, "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the Kingdom of God"? Now, Paul in his similar way of writing, he makes the principle and then says who's not going to go or who's not going to accomplish this. So, Paul says, "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the Kingdom of God? Be not deceived. Neither fornicators, adulterers, effeminate, thieves or the covetous will inherit the Kingdom of God".
Ephesians 5:5, "For this we know, that no whoremonger, no covetous man, who is an idolater, will have any inheritance in the Kingdom of God". We hear three things coming out of Paul's mouth: one, a covetous person is classified with the sorriest people on earth, absolute worst. A covetous person, two, a covetous person will never see the gates of heaven: three, a covetous man or woman is an idolater. Why? Because you worship materialism. You worship things. Paul said, "Life does not consist in the abundance of things". Say that with me. "Life does not consist in the abundance of things". St. Paul had his things right. Paul puts his pen to paper and said, "Forgetting those things which are past".
Paul writes, "Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, lovely, of good report, think on these things". Why? Because some day when you die, the only thing that you have is going to be in the box, you. Covetousness will kill you emotionally, spiritually and physically. I want to give you this story in closing. And I want you to ask yourself, "Is this me"? Because this story and sermon is going to save some of you, your future sanity. Leo Tolstoy's award-winning story, "How much land does a man need"? It's the mirror of covetousness. The story begins when a peasant named Thomas learned of a rich and fertile land that could be obtained for a pittance from a far-off, nomadic people called "The Bashkirs".
So, Thomas traveled to this distant land, eager other become rich. He arrived and found the land that was rich beyond his dreams. The soil was deep. It was rich. It was black and fertile. It was covered with tall, green grass for cattle. There were plenty of beautiful lakes. There were Meadows. There was large lush forest as far as the eye could see. Thomas asked, "What is the price of this land"? The chief of the Bashkirs said, "A thousand rubles a day". That wasn't very much money. Thomas said, "A thousand a day? What do you mean"? The chief said, "You can have all the land that you can run around in one day for a thousand rubles on one condition. You have to come back to the same place where you started on that same day or lose all of your money and you get no property".
That night, Thomas could hardly sleep. Tomorrow, he was going to run around thousands of acres, lakes, Meadows, forest. He was going to be rich, rich, rich! The next morning at daylight, Thomas gave his money to the chief of the Bashkirs and he began running. Every step he took, the ground seemed richer and more beautiful. Here was a beautiful meadow. Here was a magnificent lake. Here was a lush stand of trees that went for thousands of feet. Here were cattle. Here was a gold mine. He must have that also. Further and further, he ran. At noon, he found himself further from his starting point than he intended to be. He turned to run toward his starting point. His legs began to burn. His lungs were burning. His chest was pounding like a blacksmith's bellows. His heart was beating like a trip Hammer. The sun was setting. He ran faster and faster and faster. He could see his starting point.
The Bashkirs were cheering him on. Run! Run! Run! The riches are yours! Run a little faster! Just as the sun set, Thomas lunged across the starting point. He fell forward, gasping on the ground, and dropped dead. The chief laughed, picked up a spade, and dug a grave long enough to bury Thomas' body. He buried him in a long row with other greedy men who had killed themselves trying to get just a little bit more. The point of the story is: how much land does a man really need? And in the final analysis, six feet from head to heels, that was all.
My question to some of you in this room: are you running like a madman from Dawn to dark, killing yourself trying to get just a few more things? Are you compulsively sacrificing your marriage, your health, your relationship with your children, your relationship with God, because the cancer of covetousness consumes you? It drives you. Listen to this preacher. It will kill you. It will kill you. Stop it! And enjoy the peace and the happiness that God gives. Some of you are looking at me, saying, "Oh, who else thinks like you"? St. Paul. St. Paul said, "The cure is Godliness with contentment is great gain".
Think about it. There's a difference between making a living and making a life. It has been my privilege in life to know some extremely wealthy people who lived miserable tragic lives because they were always chasing the buck. And I have known people who lived with modest means who had joy, happiness, peace, because everybody loved them and they loved everybody. Which one of those you want to be? God wants you to enjoy your life. He'll meet all of your needs. God will give you the abundance you need to fulfill your divine assignment. Live a happy, joyous, peaceful life.
Can we stand to our feet? Today, we have covered two commandments: "Thou shall not bear false witness" and "You shall not covet". I have said things, if you're in this room, "Pastor," say, "I have said things about other people that I personally don't know to be a fact". The point is, if you were not an eyewitness, you were a false witness. If that describes you, would you slip your hand up right where you are?
Thank you. How many of you can say, "I have coveted something that belongs to another person"? A man or woman's life consists not in the abundance of things. Would you be honest enough to say, "I worship materialism? I'm running myself to death like that peasant, trying to get just a little bit more"? If that describes you, slip your hand up right where you are. God bless you. This sermon could save your life. It could save your marriage. And it could save your soul. Pray this prayer with me:
Heavenly Father, I approach the throne, in Jesus' name. And I ask you to forgive me for every time I've ever been a false witness. And I ask you to forgive me for being a slave to get more things. Let the quality of my life be divinely blessed by your presence, by your peace, by your love and your joy. In the authority of Jesus' name, I receive that now. Amen.