Week 8: Demand #38 – Do Not Take An Oath

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Demand #37: Do Not Take An Oath – Cherish the Truth and Speak it Simply
Memory Verse: "But let your statement be, ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no’; anything beyond these is of evil." Matthew 5:37


Here we have an expansion on the topic of Integrity which was the subject I spoke on last weekend at the Singles retreat – 3 messages from the Psalms. Psalm 15:4 What characterizes a believer vs. an unbeliever: "one who swears to his own hurt and does not change." — Truth telling – sticking to your word even when you are going to have to pay a price. It is that type of swearing that we are going to look at today – the topic of invoking vows. We need to have a lifelong commitment to speak the truth on all occasions.

Christ had some strong words about lying for his opponents – the leaders of the Jewish religious establishment… the ones who thought they had a lock on understanding the Mosaic law: John 8:44-45 "You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. But because I speak the truth, you do not believe Me." Christ characterizes Himself as one who speaks the truth – How about you?

In light of the upcoming election – how truthful have the candidates been?? You have watchdog websites checking every claim and statistic quoted to see if they can find any discrepancies. You have people making promises regarding their approach to campaign finances and then switching gears when it is to their advantage. You have intentional misrepresentations on both sides of the fence. Sad… we have come to expect that our politicians lie and misrepresent the truth…

James Freeman Clark has said,

"The difference between a politician and a statesman is, a politician thinks of the next election, and a statesman thinks of the next generation."

It would seem, at least, to an amateur observer that we do not have many statesmen today, although we have a great number of politicians.


I. (:33) Principles of the Mosaic Law – OT Teaching on Vows

  1. What is a Vow?
    1. Nature of a Vow = binding obligation
    2. Parties involved
    3. Made for what purposes
    4. Voluntary – not commanded; you can refrain from making a vow
    5. Nothing wrong with swearing an oath – example of God – Heb. 6:13-20
    6. Only Swear by the Name of God – Jeremiah 12:16

What about Foolish Vows??

  1. Prohibitions Against False Promises
    1. Eccles. 5:1-7
    2. Prov. 20:25
    3. Lev. 19:12
    4. Matt. 26:69
    5. Matt. 15:5
  2. Necessity of Keeping Your Commitments
    1. Solemnly Binding
    2. No Delay in Performance

II. (:34-36) Perversion by the Pharisees – Using Vows to Subvert the Truth – Exposing the Abuse of Vows

  1. Frivolous Use of Vows — Oaths are Unnecessary and Counterproductive when Expressing Commitment
  2. Deceptive Use of Vows — Subtle Trickery of Expression Never Excuses You from Binding Commitments

III. (:37) Perspective of Jesus Christ – Emphasis on Consistently and Simply Speaking the Truth

"But let your statement be, ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no’; and anything beyond these is of evil."

  1. Speak the Truth Consistently – in every situation
  2. Speak the Truth Simply – without adding on any fancy formulas or oaths to back it up