Because the Ninth Commandment seems to be universally ignored in our modern day, especially on the blogosphere, and because this minister is doing a Sunday School study on the Ninth Commandment, it seemed good to put the fruits of that study up on this blog.
We could make a case that the public media is a professional industry directly involved in the systematic and pernicious spreading of slander and defamation. At any rate, here is the first Sunday School Lesson:
Trinity Covenant Church Pastor C. W. Powell
Prepared for Sunday School. May 11, 2008 The Ninth Commandment: Part One
The Seventh Commandment is simple: “Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness Against Thy Neighbor.”
The HC gives the meaning this way:
Q112: What does the ninth Commandment require?
A112: That I bear false witness against no one, twist no one's words, be no backbiter or slanderer, join in condemning no one unheard and rashly; but that on pain of God's heavy wrath I avoid all lying and deceit  as the very works of the devil; and that in matters of judgment and justice and in all other affairs I love, speak honestly and confess the truth; also, insofar as I can, defend and promote my neighbor's good name.
1. Bear False Witness against no one: “A false witness shall not be unpunished, and he that speaketh lies shall not escape.” (Pr 19:5 av) “A false witness shall not be unpunished, and he that speaketh lies shall perish.” (Pr 19:9 av)
2. Twist no one’s words: “LORD, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill? 2 He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart. 3 He that backbiteth [to go on foot, spy out, foot it, go about, walk along, move the feet]not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbour, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour.” (Ps 15:1-3)
Notes that I made from Charles Bridges about 15 years ago on this passage:
What is the character of true Christians? Who are the true believers? this question is of the greatest importance. Jesus said that not everyone who says "Lord, Lord," but the one that does the will of the Father. Many deceive others and very man deceive themselves. The Bible takes away all our delusions.
vs. 1. "Holy Hill" means God's temple and kingdom. The true church now, and heaven at last. Only God knows the answer to this question; only God can discern some of the evidence that is given in this Psalm. Two principles are set forth in II Tim. 2:19: God knows those that are his; our duty is to depart from sin.
vs. 2. A tree is known by its fruit. These are the fruit of the regenerate and good man. His nature has been transformed by the Spirit of God. These are not fruits that are tied on to the old stock, but the living produce of a new man in Jesus Christ.
1. He walks uprightly. Not bending from side to side. Neither seeking to please all men; nor seeking to please himself. "Walking is far more important than talking."
2. He works righteousness. His faith is therefore alive, and not dead. He is grateful for what people do for him, including the Lord Jesus; he does not seek to have others in debt to him; but rather sees himself in debt to others. This is the true cure for legalism: a thankful heart.
3. Speaks the truth in his heart. What a contrast with the last Psalm! [The fool hath said in his heart “There is no God.” True men scorn double meanings, evasions, equivocations, lies of all type. He has faced the truth in his heart and does not fear it in the marketplace of ideas.
The man who has enthroned the virgin of truth in his inner man will see through the sham of the world and its hypocrites. Those who despise truth will follow the devil's bait into quagmire and ruin. Truth is not what I perceive to be true, but what God has spoken.
4. He doesn't backbite. Slander is the devil's best and first work. He slandered God in the Garden of Eden, and slanders God's people in every age. Often the minister most evilly spoken of in a community is the best man there. Backbiting is the cowardly way of "standing for righteousness." The coward nips at the heels of those whom he fears to confront.
5. He doesn't do evil to his neighbor. What are the Ten Commandments but an expression of true love? They sweep away the sham counterfeit of love which pretends love while doing all sorts of wrong. We will not injure the name, person, nor estate of those whom we truly love.
6. He doesn't take up a reproach: The receiver of stolen goods is equally guilty as the thief. Good venders will seek to know the source of good offered to them in sale. A good man does not trade in the good name of those whom he loves. The person who buys is necessary for the sale and is part of the transaction. Drug dealing would cease if either party is eliminated. So it is with the trade in slander. An angry look driveth away a backbiting tongue. The slanderer’s tongue is set on fire of hell; we ought to cry "Fire! fire!" and chase them from us. [Bridges]
7. If you love the church, you will hate backbiting, for there is nothing more deadly for the church. False doctrine and heresy is slander and untruth about God. Slander against the people of God is slander against the image of God. Slander against the minister and the officers of the church is especially pernicious. The only resources that the minister and elders have to enable them to do the work of the church effectively is their good name. If slander and bitterness rob them of that the whole church will suffer, sometimes for years to come.
More of this next week.
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