A Faithful and a False Witness
1. Here is a contrast between two kinds of men: one who lies and one who does not lie… a faithful and a false witness.
2. Solomon is not so much describing what these men DO or SAY… as he is describing their character.
3. Character is reflected in our actions… our words… our witness.
A faithful witness will not lie:
1. Solomon speaks first of the FAITHFUL witness.
2. Witness: witness; testimony; evidence; an object which is a symbol of a past event, and so acts as a memorial;
a. Men function as witnesses in a courtroom setting. (Num. 35:30)
b. Men also function as witnesses in everyday life.
i. In daily conversations, we testify about things we have heard, seen, situations we have observed, information we know, things we have done, places we have been, people we have met…
ii. We testify as a witness about events and situations in life every time we utter a word to others.
iii. We testify when we stand up in church and give a testimony.
iv. We testify when we repeat a story…
v. We testify when we tell someone what we saw in the parking lot…
vi. We testify when we talk on the telephone and tell Fred what Tom said… or when we tell Alice what Sue said…
vii. We testify when we fill out our tax forms… when we write out a resume… when we fill out an auto accident report…
viii. In a sense, every time we open our mouths… every time we put pen to paper… every time we send an email… we are testifying about something… we are functioning as a witness.
3. Faithful: faithful; trusting; trustworthy; fidelity; firm; steadfastness; reliable; loyal to a person or a standard.
a. 13:17 – a faithful ambassador (same word for faithful)
b. Solomon highlights the character of the man; not so much his actions.
c. Notice that the word “faithful” does not describe the WORDS but the PERSON.
i. It is the witness who is faithful… not his speech.
ii. Of course it is implied that his speech is faithful, but that’s not what it says.
iii. It SAYS that the WITNESS (the person who is a witness) is faithful.
iv. It speaks of the character of the man, woman, or child.
d. Daniel was a faithful man (Dan. 6:4) (same root for faithful)
i. When Daniel spoke, his words were true and everyone knew it.
ii. When Daniel attested to something—it was accurate.
iii. Daniel was loyal to God… to God’s standard of truth.
iv. Daniel was conscientious in his replies to men.
v. Daniel was faithful and reliable… a man of integrity.
vi. His word was truth… he didn’t embellish… he didn’t exaggerate… he didn’t stretch the truth… he didn’t slant the truth.
vii. He SPOKE the truth… and was a faithful witness to truth.
viii. The REASON Daniel’s words were faithful was because Daniel himself was a faithful man… reliable… loyal to God… loyal to God’s Word… steadfast…
ix. A man’s words are but a reflection of his character.
4. A faithful witness WILL NOT LIE.
a. The faithful witness is a person with character… loyal… true… faithful… steadfast… firm.
b. That kind of a person will not lie.
c. He won’t lie today; he won’t lie tomorrow; he won’t lie next year… because he himself is a faithful witness.
d. A faithful witness will be asked what he heard or what he saw and he will report accurately… fairly.
e. He won’t slant the truth to make himself look good; or to cover for a friend; or to sell some goods and make a profit.
f. He won’t lie when he is under pressure; to hurt an enemy; or to help himself.
g. He is steadfast and firm in the truth.
5. HOW do we testify?
a. Are we steadfast and firm in testifying to the truth?
b. Or do we take liberty with the truth—to stretch it when it is to our advantage?
c. Or to leave out important details when it will make us look good?
d. Do we embellish our deeds and minimize the deeds of others?
e. We don’t have to be in court to be a witness… we are a witness (either faithful or false) every time we open our mouths.
6. Rev. 1:5 – Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness
a. Christ is called THE faithful witness.
b. He came to testify of the father… and His testimony was true.
c. We are called to be like HIM… faithful witnesses…
d. John 3:11, 32 – what He saw and heard He testified of.
e. John 18:37 – Christ came to earth to testify about what He heard and saw of His Father.
f. He was a faithful witness—He accurately communicated truth about God…
g. This He did both verbally and through His life… His life was a witness of truth.
h. When He spoke of God, His life was a reflection of that truth.
i. We should be faithful witnesses like this… not just our words… but our lives.
j. Is your LIFE a faithful witness to the truth that you know?
7. Psalm 15:1-2 – The psalmist used this quality to identify a true believer.
a. Who shall abide in God’s tabernacle? In close communion with God?
b. Only the man who speaks truth in his heart. This is a faithful witness. Truth is in his heart—and only truth comes out of his mouth.
c. This man is the one who shall abide in God’s tabernacle.
But a false witness will utter lies.
1. This indicates that a false witness (a man whose character is less than sterling…) WILL lie.
a. Matt. 15:19 – false witness arises out of a sinful heart.
b. If the heart is evil, evil comes out. If there is deceit in the heart, it will result in false witness.
c. If the fountain is corrupt—the fountain POURS OUT corruption.
2. In our courts men are to swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
a. This implies that lies can take many forms.
b. Lies may contain much truth—but can twist a few details…
c. Lies can take the shape of truth… but not the whole truth… leaving out key ingredients that would make a difference!
d. A half truth is a whole lie.
e. Lies can contain much truth with a few errors added in. Hence, nothing BUT the truth.
f. A false witness may say a lot of things that are true… but he is not completely honest with truth. He is not afraid to twist and mold the truth. This is a false witness.
g. Nothing will tarnish our testimony for Christ faster than gaining a reputation for being a false witness… a liar.
3. This speaks of habitual lying… he will lie today… tomorrow… and next year… whenever it is convenient for him to do so. Count on it!
a. It literally reads, “the false witness breaths out lies.”
b. There are 4 different translations of the Old Testament, which translate it “breaths out lies.”
c. One translation reads: “an unreliable witness tells nothing but lies.” (habitual lying)
d. This speaks of character. A polluted well brings forth polluted water.
e. A false witness is always unreliable. It speaks of the KIND of person that he is.
4. The false witness is a man or woman with no scruples.
a. He is not conscientious. He isn’t concerned about truth… integrity… righteousness… honor.
b. He is concerned about expediency… self… his own image… his own advantage…
c. False witnesses can be hired for money… like the men hired by Jezebel to lie about Nabal in court…
d. False witnesses were hired to lie about the Lord Jesus, which ultimately led to His death.
5. Don’t expect Sadaam Hussein to be a faithful witness.
a. Expect him to lie in court… to lie before his interrogators…
b. We can expect him to be a false witness… and to utter lies. The CIA is poised to deal with that too.
6. A false witness is unreliable… unfaithful.
a. Prov. 25:19 – he is like a broken tooth and a foot out of joint
b. If you are looking for the truth, don’t count on him… don’t put confidence in him.
c. Seek someone else for the job—seek out a man like Daniel! Or a man like Nathaniel, of whom the Lord said, “An Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile.”
d. Character DOES matter!
e. Are you a false witness or a faithful witness?