The Honor of Truth-Telling - Proverbs 12, HCLD 43
A service plan focused on the honor and obedience in truth-telling and the danger of lying in a series on the Ten Commandments, as explained in the Heidelberg Catechism.
Also in this Series
Shaping our Gratitude
This series of worship services explores the Ten Commandments.
Theme of the Service
The theme of this service is the ninth commandment with its focus on truth-telling and lying. God's children are called to exercise their life of new obedience by gratefully committing themselves to being truth-telling persons.
We suggest a number of resources that will be valuable tools for you in this study of the Ten Commandments.
- Each week we will provide references for you from the Heidelberg Catechism and both the Larger and the Shorter Westminster Catechism.
- The website of the Center for Excellence in Preaching at Calvin Theological Seminary also provides sermon ideas for each of these commandments and Lord's Days.
- Comfort and Joy: A Study of the Heidelberg Catechism, Andrew Kuyvenhoven, Grand Rapids: CRC Publications, 1988.
- Our Only Comfort: A Comprehensive Commentary on the Heidelberg Catechism (vol. 2), Fred Klooster, Grand Rapids: Faith Alive Christian Resources, 2001.
- The Ten Commandments: Manual for the Christian Life, Jochem Douma, tr. Nelson D. Kloosterman, Phillipsburg, NJ: P & R Publishing, 1996.
- Mere Morality: What God Expects from Ordinary People, Lewis B. Smedes, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing, 1983.
Heidelberg Catechism, Lord's Day 43
Westminster Larger Catechism, Q.143-145
Westminster Shorter Catechism, Q.76-78
WE GATHER IN THE PRESENCE OF GOD
Prelude: "Rigaudon," Campra [see
and: "Fill Thou My Life, O Lord, My God"
The Call to Worship
*Song: "Fill Thou My Life, O Lord, My God" PsH 547, RL 147, TH 589 [see
*Our Declaration of Trust and God's Greeting:
Congregation of Christ, in whom are you trusting?
Our help is in the name of the Lord who made heaven and earth.
Grace, mercy and peace to you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
*Song of Response: "Praise the Lord with the Sound of Trumpet" PsH 569, SFL 32
WE ARE RENEWED IN GOD'S GRACE
The Sung Call to Confession: "We Cannot Measure How You Heal" SNC 69 [see
What is the great and first commandment?
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul
and with all your mind.
What is the second commandment like it?
Love your neighbor as yourself.
What does this mean?
Love is the fulfilling of the law.
To what does this call us?
To a life of faith working through love. (The Worship Sourcebook, 2.7.5, based on Matthew 22:37-40)
Our Prayer of Confession [see
Let us respond to God's call and make confession of our sins before him:
God of all Truth,
we are grateful you have spoken to us
in words we can trust.
We know you have called us
to put away falsehood,
and speak truthfully to one another.
But we have failed.
Our words have not always been truthful,
though we have tried to cover our deceit with excuses.
We are sorry.
Forgive us by your grace in Jesus Christ
and teach us to always love what is true. Amen.
The Assurance of God's Pardon: 2 Corinthians 5:16-19
Anthem: "Be a New and Different Person," Christiansen [see
The Call to Grateful Living: Ephesians 4:14-16
Song of Response: "The Ten Commandments" PsH 153:1, 7, 9, TH 724:1, 7, 9
or: "The Lord Is God, the One and True God" SNC 73
GOD SPEAKS TO US THROUGH HIS WORD
The Reading of the Heidelberg Catechism: Lord's Day 43 [see
*Song of Preparation: "Hear, O Lord, My Urgent Prayer" PsH 5, RN 104
The Prayer for Illumination
The Old Testament Reading: Proverbs 12:13-22
The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God!
The New Testament Reading: John 8:42-47
The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God!
Sermon: The Honor of Truth-Telling
Shaping Our Gratitude 11
Text: Proverbs 12:22
The Prayer of Application
Sung Prayer: "Take, O Take Me As I Am" SNC 215, SWM 227
WE RESPOND WITH OUR RENEWED COMMITMENTS
*Our Renewed Vows of Obedience [see
*Hymn of Response: "O God, My Faithful God" PsH 574, RL 69, TH 602
The Prayers of the People
The Offering of Music: "O God, My Faithful God" [see
We offer our gifts for..
WE GO OUT TO WALK WITH GOD
*Words of Sending: Ephesians 4:15 [see
*The Benediction with Congregational Amen!
*Sung Response: "Make Me a Channel of Your Peace" PsH 545
or: "Lord, Dismiss Us with Your Blessing" PH 538, PsH 320, TH 384, TWC 834, UMH 671
Postlude: "Make Me a Channel of Your Peace" [see
or: "Lord, Dismiss Us with Your Blessing"
* You are invited to stand.
Most people do not consider lying a serious offense. Many will agree that big lies are wrong, but for the most part we all get along quite well with "little lies." "Everybody's doing it," "sometimes it's nicer to lie," and "it's necessary to get along and get ahead" are justifications that we use. Perhaps this view of lying should be identified as the cultural context of the message.
In the sermon itself several thoughts can be woven together:
- The power of words. Our lives, our knowledge, our communication, and our relationships are shaped by words. From "I love you" to "the surgery is necessary," words are the basis of society. We need to be able to trust each other's words for society to be stable.
- The prevalence of lies. In the book of Proverbs (setting forth the "wisdom of Christ") the warning against falsehood is common (see 12:13, 17, 18, 19, 22 and others). Jesus, in John 8, identifies the devil as the "father of lies" who is perpetually promoting lie-telling and claims that those who participate in lie-telling are functioning as his children. It will be helpful to illustrate the many different forms that lies can take-heresy, perjury, exaggeration, deceit, slander, etc. (See Heidelberg Catechism, Q&A 112.)
- God identifies himself with the truth. God is true. He is the source of truth in this world and communicates his truth to his creatures. Jesus speaks frequently about the Holy Spirit as the "Spirit of Truth." See John 14:17; 15:26; 16:13; and 1 John 5:6. In his very essence, God is aligned with truth like Satan is aligned with lies. Consequently, God takes delight in truth and abhors the opposite.
- The urgent concern of Christians. We remind ourselves again that the intent of God in giving the ninth commandment is to explain the higher level of obedience that comes from those who have been delivered by grace. The commandments are explaining to us how we can more practically and effectively love our neighbor as ourselves. Paul explains that, since we have "put off our old self" and are being "made new in the attitude of our minds," we should always "put off falsehood and speak truthfully." (See Ephesians 4:22-25.)
The sweeping message of Proverbs 12:22 summarizes what this sermon aims to communicate: lying lips exist; the Lord detests them; and God delights in our choices to tell the truth. However, this proverb must not be dealt with merely as a moral principle that exists apart from a theology. This text also teaches that God exists, interacts with us, loves truth, redeems us to tell the truth, builds society on the truth, and calls his children to cry for wisdom (see Proverbs 4), which is found in Jesus Christ, the "wisdom from God" (see 1 Corinthians 1:30). Finally, the greatest truth-telling is testifying and witnessing to the truth of salvation in the gospel of Jesus Christ. (In this regard, silence can be as dangerous and disobedient as lying.)
Glossary of Hymnal Abbreviations:
PH The Presbyterian Hymnal (Presbyterian Church USA; Westminster/John Knox Press)
PsH The Psalter Hymnal (Christian Reformed Church; Faith Alive Christian Resources)
RL Rejoice in the Lord (Reformed Church in America; W.B. Eerdmans Publishing Company)
RN Renew! (Hope Publishing Company)
SFL Songs for LiFE (children's songbook; Faith Alive Christian Resources)
SNC Sing! A New Creation (Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, Christian Reformed Church,
Reformed Church in America; Faith Alive Christian Resources)
SWM Sing With Me (children's songbook; Faith Alive Christian Resources)
TH Trinity Hymnal (Orthodox Presbyterian Church, Presbyterian Church in America; Great
TWC The Worshiping Church (Hope Publishing Company)
UMH The United Methodist Hymnal (United Methodist Publishing House)
WOV With One Voice (Augsburg Fortress)
Suggestions for prelude include a non-text based organ piece and transcriptions based on the opening hymn. These pieces can be found in the following resources:
"Rigaudon" by Andre Campra, arranged for organ by Virgil Fox, is published by H.W. Grey 902 . The spirit of this piece matches well the strength of the hymn tune Ellacombe.
ELLACOMBE ["Fill Thou My Life, O Lord, My God"]
Burkhardt, Michael. Five Lenten Hymn Improvisations. Morningstar MSM-10-309  (E-M)
Cherwien, David. Interpretations, bk. 9. AMSI SP-106  (E-M)
Kerr, J. Wayne. (1998) Augsburg Organ Library - Lent. Augsburg 11-11036  (E-M)
Stoldt, Frank. Five Hymn Settings. Morningstar MSM-10-931  (M)
Boertje, Barbara. Piano Improvisations for the Church Year. Unity 70/1194U  (M)
An alternative harmonization for the opening hymn can be found in:
Alternative Harmonization for Organ:
Ferguson, John. Hymn Harmonizations for Organ, bk. 1. Ludwig O-05 
The sung call to confession can be sung either congregationally or by a choir or ensemble.
The anthem "Be a New and Different Person" by Paul J. Christiansen is published by Schmitt, Hall and McCreary SCHCH 7619 . It is scored for SATB acapella voices (E-M).
Suggestions for offertory music based on the hymn of response can be found in:
DARMSTADT/O GOTT, DU FROMMER GOTT/WAS FRAG ICH NACH DER WELT ["O God, My Faithful God"]
Bach, J. S. Music for a Celebration, set 4. Morningstar MSM-10-579  (E-M)
Brahms, Johannes. Eleven Chorale Preludes (ed. West) Schirmer 2091 (M)
Haan, Raymond H. O Worship the King. Broadman 4570-42  (E-M)
Karg-Elert, Sigfrid. Karg-Elert Album for Organ. Marks M 152  (M)
Leupold, A. W. An Organ Book. Chantry Music Press  (E-M)
Peeters, Flor. 30 Chorale Preludes. Peters 6023  (M)
Peeters, Flor. 30 Chorale Preludes, set 2. Peters 6024  (M)
Gerig, Reginald ed. Piano Preludes on Hymns and Chorales. Hope 251  (M)
Suggestions for postlude can be found in the following resources:
TEMPLE ["Make Me a Channel of Your Peace"]
Carter, John. Contemporary Hymns & Songs for Piano/4 Hands. Hope 8087  (E-M)
Wagner, Douglas E. Make Me a Channel of Your Peace. Agape 2064  (3-5 octaves, level
SICILIAN MARINERS ["Lord, Dismiss Us with Your Blessing"]
Burkhardt, Michael. Hymns of Joy. Morninstar MSM-10-013  (E-M)
Jordan, Alice. Worship Service Music for the Organist. Broadman 4570-27  (E-M)
Sinzheimer, Max. Twelve Hymn Preludes and Improvisations. Concordia 97-4769  (E-M)
Young, Gordon. Eight Voluntaries. Presser 413-41034-30  (E-M)
1. You will notice again that the Prayer of Confession is tailored to this commandment. This may be read by the worship leader as a representative of all, or it may be read in unison by all worshipers. It may also be wise, either with the Call to Worship or the Call to Confession, to focus on the theme of the ninth commandment.
2. We suggest that the words of the Heidelberg Catechism be read responsively with the congregation. You may either design this so that the worship leader reads the question and the congregation responds with the answer, or vice versa. To reprint for personal use, a ministry setting, or classroom use, include this credit line: © 1987, CRC Publications, Grand Rapids MI. www.crcna.org. Reprinted with permission.
What is God's will for you in the ninth commandment?
God's will is that
I never give false testimony against anyone,
twist no one's words,
not gossip or slander,
nor join in condemning anyone
without a hearing or without a just cause.
Rather, in court and everywhere else,
I should avoid lying and deceit of every kind;
these are devices the devil himself uses,
and they would call down on me God's intense anger.
I should love the truth,
speak it candidly,
and openly acknowledge it.
And I should do what I can
to guard and advance my neighbor's good name. (Lord's Day 43, Heidelberg Catechism)
3. For each Sunday in this series, the service includes a section after the sermon entitled "We Respond with Our Renewed Commitments." The worshiper should feel led to such a response after the Word has spoken. The Commandments, in one of its forms, should be the substance of this commitment. There is a variety of resources you may draw from. Section 2.7 of The Worship Sourcebook (pp. 127-137) provides a variety of resources for this purpose. The Psalter Hymnal (pp.1013-1018) provides additional responsive readings of the Ten Commandments.
To reprint responsive readings of the Ten Commandments for personal use, a ministry setting, or classroom us, include this credit line: © 1987, CRC Publications, Grand Rapids, MI. www.crcna.org . Reprinted with permission.
4. We recommend Ephesians 4:15 as words of sending, but we suggest that these be paraphrased so they become an exhortation to believers as they leave worship. "Go in faith to speak the truth in love, and grow up in him.." or "Let us always speak the truth in love so that we may grow up in him.."