Honor has Lost its Integrity

We live in a world abounding in contracts, lawsuits, counter lawsuits, a world teeming with word processors, with delete buttons and faulty memory, but lacking in one crucial commodity—men, real men. By that I mean both men and women who would be true to their word like the needle to the pole. Our world has discovered the mystery of the atom but it has forgotten the Sermon on the Mount. We live in a world of both nuclear giants and moral midgets. The churches, the business world and even the Marines are looking for a few good men.

My maternal grandfather was a cattle rancher in Cuba. My grandfather was like Lorne Greene in the series Bonanza. At my grandfather’s ranch you could ride your horse a whole day and not see the end of it and there were thousands of heads of cattle. My grandfather was not a terribly educated man, except for the fact he was self-taught and very naturally intelligent. He was not a man of many words. I had precious few times with him, as I only lived a few years of my infancy in Cuba. My father was a businessman, so he liked the city and did not see the charm of the ranch and only once in awhile would he take me to see my grandfather, but I remember those times well.

The only thing I can remember my grandfather ever telling me is something that I remember still to this day. He said, “If you speak all the time, people will not remember what you say. You must be economical with your words. If you are economical, they will be memorable and if they are memorable, they are useful. If they are useful, they will do somebody some good.” I remember grandfather getting off his beautiful white horse and grabbing me and lifting me on top of those wooden fences. He looked at me as if he was going to speak and I thought, the world is going to come to an end; my grandfather is going to speak! I looked at him as I waited for the words to come. He said, “My boy, be a man of your word.” By that time the Fidel house was already dispossessing him of everything he owned and he may have been thinking of that, but he said to me, “The only thing no one can ever take away from you, the treasure that you will always possess, is your word. When you give your word, you are giving your own soul.”

My grandfather did not know the slogan save the trees, but he did, because he never used paper. He did not need paper. When it came to doing a contract with someone, there was no need for paper or a notary public or a lawyer. He only entered into deals with real men who he knew were real men. He would look them in the eye, shake their hand and the deal was sealed. We need that today. We need the power of the word. We need our word to become real. We need to be one with our word. We need to be known by what we say.

Two of the Ten Commandments speak about how we use the tongue. The third commandment says if we believe the good news of Jesus Christ, we shall never be guilty of taking the Lord’s name in vain (Exodus 20:7). The ninth commandment becomes a wonderful promise to the one who understands and believes just how good the good news is. You will never bear false witness (Exodus 20:16).

I once wrote a book on the Ten Commandments, which was published by Pacific Press. It is titled Ten Promises of Miracles and by God’s grace 150,000 copies have been sold. I believe that the Ten Commandments, rightly understood and connected with the understanding of the gospel through the New Covenant spectacles, which is how God sees them, are not harsh, impossible rules to obey. Instead, the Ten Commandments will be seen as ten promises of God to you. The problem is that the world has been taught a gospel less than Ten Commandments. It is as if somebody gave you a wonderful Cadillac, which looks great, and when you get into it, it is so plush, but there is no motor in it. There is no gas tank. There is no radiator. Other than that you will like it, it will not take you anywhere. It is like those wonderful gifts that you buy for your grandchildren that they have seen on television. They are all excited about it, but you did not read the small print which would turn what could have been a wonderful experience into the worse you can imagine. The small print says, “Batteries not included.” Without the batteries, without the power, it simply does not do what it is supposed to do.

The world has been told that the Ten Commandments do not come with the batteries included, because it is gospel-less and only the gospel is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16). I am going to show you where the batteries are located.We obtained thousands of prints of the Ten Commandments and after being shown how beautiful they were I was asked, “What should we do with them?” I said, “They have to go into the trash.” They just stared at me in disbelief. I said, “You forgot the batteries. You have the Ten Commandments without the batteries. That is not going to help anybody.” Now we have a new poster of the Ten Commandments which includes the battery. The battery is already part of the commandments. Let me explain.

Look at Exodus 20:1: “And God spake all these words, saying …” From here on it is all God’s words. This is where the Ten Commandments actually start. Then God continues, “I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.” Those first words are the batteries. The Ten Commandments begin with an expression of the gospel and it reminds us of who the deliverer is. The Ten Commandments come with a Saviour, the One who first took little Egypt out of Egypt, and now, by His sacrifice on the cross, has taken spiritual Egypt out of Egypt becoming the Saviour of the world. That very fact is the battery power of the commandments. Do not leave the batteries out. Never start with the third verse. The Ten Commandments start after the word saying.

Here we are reminded that we have a God who is a Deliverer. It states here what God did for His people. Sometimes He went against their will and some of them wanted to go back to Egypt. He stepped in and took them out of Egypt. He physically took them out of bondage and put them where the air was pure and where the light was illuminant, where they could breathe freedom. God put the people in a free place and said to them that this is my magna carta; this is my declaration of independence. This is what I promise my citizens. This is what I will do. I pledge myself to perform this gospel work in your life. Jesus did the same thing on Calvary; God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them.

He liberated us from the world, freed us from the bondage of sin. If we believe and want to be a citizen of the free kingdom of God, He will then give us the magna carta, the ruling documents of freedom and promises, the batteries so you can live your life and be free.

The Ten Commandments rightly understood are ten promises. This is good news, not bad news. God is not a stern lawgiver, dishing out the theories of impossible-to-obey rules. He is a Saviour from breaking those commandments. The only way the commandments can be kept is because of the Saviour. The only way the commandments can be obeyed is to allow Jesus to be in control of your heart. He is your battery. Christ is the Saviour of all men and especially of those who believe (1 Timothy 4:10). This country is free to everyone, but especially to those who cherish it.

Breaking the ninth commandment is a sin, unfortunately, for which many people will lose their soul. When God says, “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour,” Exodus 20:16, He means that we are never to tell a lie, not even one of those white lies. It commands never to give a false impression, even by a nod of the head. It forbids all gossip, including damaging the reputation of a person by remaining silent while he or she is being accused of something and you know differently and it is possible to speak up to save that person’s reputation.

We are to “speak ye every man the truth to his neighbour; execute the judgment of truth and peace in your gates.” Zechariah 8:16. All false witness somehow comes from its true origin, Satan. “He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” John 8:42. “Lying lips are abomination to the Lord: but they that deal truly are his delight.” Proverbs 12:22. They are His delight!

“A false witness shall not be unpunished, and he that speaketh lies shall not escape.” Proverbs 19:5. We read that God actually hates “a lying tongue, a heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, a false witness that speaketh lies” (Proverbs 6:17-19). But remember that even though God hates lying, He loves the liar and wants to save him. There are people who are as sincere as any of us, who bear false witness and have no idea of what they are doing. They are among those for whom Jesus prayed as He was being crucified, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” Luke 23:34.

Sometimes parents unwittingly teach children to tell lies. Some people are color blind and cannot tell the difference between a red light and a green light, which can cause accidents. Though a judge would not be merciful in such a case, God is merciful to those who do not know the difference between right and wrong and He sends His Holy Spirit to teach the people.

Children in schools today are being taught that the universe is a random universe, that this universe, one among billions of universes, just happened to have everything lined up right, exactly the way it needed to be to sustain life. It is just an object of chance, like the roll of the dice! We just happened to be in the right place at the right time. Scientists have had to come up with a theory to explain the incredible order of our universe. But there is no mystery. The universe is the way it is today because God made it that way to suit life. God created things just the way they needed to be. Scientists call it the big bang theory. But they are running away from the real big bang. It scares them! When the big bang happened, the elements spread so quickly that it had to have been faster than the speed of light and according to Einstein, nothing goes faster than the speed of light. For the universe to be what it is, there is only one explanation, which science does not want to accept: the big bang had an author, and His name is God.

In the last few verses of the Bible there are three warnings that tell us that whosoever loveth and maketh a lie will not be able to enter the eternal kingdom (Revelation 22:15). Fiction, which makes up the subject matter of most books and movies today, is just lies. It is not only a serious thing to make a lie, but the text says it is equally serious to love a lie.

Truth, according to Biblical principles, is very clear. We are invited to turn from fables and turn to the truth and be God’s delight. He loves those who are His true witnesses. “Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill? He that … speaketh the truth in his heart.” Psalm 15:1, 2. But, “He that hideth hatred with lying lips, and he that uttereth a slander, is a fool.” Proverbs 10:18. In other words, smiling at someone, slapping him/her on the back, shaking his/her hand and yet hiding our hatred for him or her deep in our heart is acting out a lie and breaking the commandment. Even if it means costing your job, you may need to confront that person and be honest and truthful in all your dealings to be clean and ready to live in the heavenly kingdom.

What it boils down to is that it is impossible for any of us mortals to obey this commandment unless we are truly converted deep within. This commandment goes to the core of all things. The core of God is His Word. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). God is one with His Word. The same is true with us. We can never escape our words. Once words are spoken they can never be unspoken and they always have either a positive or negative response. You will be remembered by what you said, even if it came out differently from what you meant to say. For that reason the counsel is to let your words be few. This reminds me of Romans 3:10. It says, “There is none righteous, no, not one.” “Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips.” Psalm 141:3. “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me.” Psalm 139:23, 24.

When children would say bad things to me when I was a boy growing up in the south of Florida, Mom would say, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” This is such foolishness! There are times when people have said things to you that you would rather have had a broken bone that would heal far more easily than the hurt of words. Some of us are an emotional mess, having stored in our minds those words that we have heard as children, whether it be wittingly or unwittingly. The brain has a heart. When the Bible talks about the heart, it says, “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.” Matthew 15:19.

When we say that a person has a big heart it is not referring to the physical condition of the heart, which would be a serious medical condition, but the mind wherein lies all the thoughts and feelings, which is called the hypothalamus region. Jesus says that the evil thoughts are right there. When bad words are spoken and terrible things happen to you it is stored in your subconscious, in the basement of the hypothalamus, so to speak. Sometimes things are so tragic that you have put them into the subconscious, which can be very dangerous. God wants to cleanse these inner temples, our hearts. In fact, the promise of the gospel is a new heart (Ezekiel 36:26). It is a cleansing out of the hypothalamus so you can be true and faithful. Part of the hypothalamus region controls the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system which regulates the inner organs. The pancreas and other internal organs do not depend on conscious decisions but are controlled involuntarily to do their work. This is why hanging onto stress or other negative emotions can cause physical sickness. To enjoy true health one must have a happy heart that trusts in the Lord at all times.

I visit a health center every so often where I have seen people go in terribly sick, in wheelchairs, etc., and come out running in a few weeks. I finally turned to the doctor one day and asked him, “Is there anybody who does not heal or get well here?” He said, “Oh yes, the people who cannot forgive. One of the things we teach those who come here is to write letters to the people with whom they have a problem, because that is often the reason for their sickness.” When God says to forgive, He not only is doing it for the benefit of the person who hurt you, He is doing it for your own sake, to help you.

This commandment is a promise from God to make you a true witness. It is impossible for you to be a true and faithful witness and also a false witness. It is a promise from God to make you a person of integrity, one who is always true to your word. It is a promise to make you one who will reflect the character of Christ and be a witness and a light wherever you are.

Frank Gonzales’ sermon was taken from the Ten Commandment Weekend, 2008 series aired on 3ABN. For more information contact www.3ABN.org.