A True Witness
1.) True: firmness; faithfulness; truth; sureness, reliability; trustworthiness; honesty.
a. Used in Isa. 25:1 – God’s counsels are faithful and true. You can count on it.
a. Witness; testimony; evidence.
• Ed – the root means to repeat.
• A witness is one who repeats what he knows; what he has seen; or what he has heard.
b. A witness is a person who has firsthand knowledge of an event or one who can testify on the basis of a report which he has heard (?Lev. 5:1?).
c. Such a person is under obligation to testify (?Prov. 29:24?)
• This speaks of a situation where a thief has stolen goods and has a “partner” in crime… someone else who either helped him, bought the goods, or at least knows what happened; who did it.
• He “hears cursing” (An oath is taken in a courtroom setting)…
• He bewrayeth it not (he does not speak up… (he keeps it to himself).
• This man “hates his own soul.” = he is doing damage to his own soul…
• He is as guilty as the thief… because he knew who did it… COULD have brought a just resolution to the situation, but for whatever reasons… chose to keep silent.
d. A true and faithful witness will SPEAK UP for the truth…and testify to the truth. God EXPECTS witnesses to testify for the truth that they know.
• Prov. 24:11-12 – If we know the facts of a case and refuse to speak up, God will judge us according to our works!
• I wonder how many people there are in our country today who KNOW who committed a particular crime… and sat around and said NOTHING while an innocent man was convicted and sentenced for it…
• We might conjure up all kinds of excuses for not speaking up: (1) I don’t want to get involved in that mess; (2) fear of retaliation; (3) fear of having their name and picture associated with the crime; (4) afraid of being labeled a squealer; (5) or afraid that others might squeal on them and their crimes!
• God says that knowledge makes us accountable and responsible, especially if you have the power to deliver a soul from death!
• Light makes us accountable.
• This is simply being conscientious… it is integrity…
• This could certainly be applied outside the courtroom… to the school classroom… or the office setting… or among siblings in the home…
3.) True Witnesses Deliver Souls.
a. Deliver: to snatch away, save, to rescue from enemies, trouble, or death.
b. Souls: used here in the sense of “lives.”
c. True witnesses save lives.
d. Truth can save lives from the death penalty in a law of court.
• This seems to be Solomon’s main point in this proverb.
• Many lives have been saved in court because of a true witness who was willing to speak the truth.
• He couldn’t have committed that crime in NY, he was with me in NH on that date!
e. Truth can also save reputations… from a false accusation.
• How many people have been slandered, and had their names dragged through the mud because of a false accuser who had an ax to grind…
• Sometimes all it takes is for a person who knows the truth to have the guts to step forward and speak the truth… and deliver that man or woman from the false and slanderous accusations which were ruining their reputation.
f. Truth can also save a great expense… from a false accusation.
• In an auto accident… people tend to lie to cover their skin…
• One driver might false accuse the other of going through a red light…
• But a true witness—who saw the whole thing—can speak the truth and deliver that soul from a law suit… or financial ruin.
g. Sometimes a true witness is a whistle blower.
• If a person has witnessed a crime… or child abuse… or prisoner abuse… or government corruption that results in oppressing people or putting innocent people to death… he has an obligation to speak up with the truth.
• In doing so, he delivers souls—he saves lives…
h. In every aspect of life, TRUTH is vital. This is perhaps why Matthew Henry called truth the cement of society.
4.) Life often depends upon the truth.
a. The lives of our soldiers in Iraq depend upon good intelligence. If a spy infiltrates and gives the leaders wrong information (a false witness), the soldiers could be led into an ambush and killed! Good intelligence saves lives.
b. The lives of patients depend upon good, accurate, truthful reports from their physician to the surgeon. (if a man has kidney failure in his left kidney, and the surgeon is told to remove his right kidney, that man’s life is in danger!)
c. The lives of people flying into busy city airports depend upon good reports from the control tower… a false witness… a wrong report could mean hundreds of deaths… good, reliable, trustworthy reports save lives.
d. Countless examples could be cited of this principle: life often depends upon truth.
5.) In the spiritual realm… life depends upon truth.
a. John 14:6 – Men are perishing apart from Jesus Christ—the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
• I Cor. 15:1-4 – men need to hear the gospel in order to be saved—their souls delivered from death.
• II Cor. 11:4 – A false witness… a false gospel cannot save. Their souls will be lost forever.
• Without the truth of the gospel, men will perish forever.
b. BUT—a true witness delivers souls.
• Are you a true witness?
• Are you sharing the gospel? Sharing the truth… or keeping it to ourselves?
c. Is your LIFE a true witness?
• Perhaps we are sharing the gospel, but does our life back up what we say?
• If not, perhaps we would do well not to say anything!
d. Each of us should be a true witness for Christ.
• Prov. 14:5 speaks of a faithful witness.
• Prov. 14:25 speaks of a true witness.
• Rev. 1:5 tells us that Jesus Christ is the faithful and true witness!
• We are to testify of Him…
• Our lives should be a reflection of Him…
• Rev. 3:14 – Christ speaks of Himself in those terms as He addresses the church at Laodicea… Here was an assembly that NEEDED a true witness—to testify AGAINST them and their carnality… and self centeredness.
• Jer. 29:23 – God is the ultimate “witness” to all that we do, say, or think. God sits in judgment over us all as the omniscient witness and observer of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
e. A pastor needs to be a faithful witness of the truth to the believers too… not just in gospel preaching to the lost.
• I Tim. 4:6 – a good minister puts the brethren in remembrance of these unpleasant topics… seducing spirits… doctrines of demons… false teachers… worldliness…etc.
• And in doing so, the souls of believers are delivered from being ensnared by the devil.
• I Tim. 4:16 – a pastor who is a faithful witness will also GIVE himself wholly to studying and teaching the Word… a faithful witness of the truth…
• And in doing so delivers those who hear (delivers believers from false teachers and their evil influence.)
• If a pastor is going to be a faithful witness, he needs to have a warning ministry… whether people like to hear such warnings or not.
1.) Implied but not stated: false witnesses lie—and in court this lie could cost a man his life.
a. How many innocent men have been sentenced to death because of false witnesses?
b. How many innocent men are in prison today because someone lied about them?
c. How much damage has been done to our military because of spies stealing secrets and lying to us, and purposely giving false and misleading information?
d. Prov. 25:18 – how much DAMAGE is associated with a false witness… like a maul… a sword, and a sharp arrow…
2.) False witnesses have wreaked havoc in this old world—ever since the devil lied to Eve… (ye shall not surely die!)
a. Lying is an especially satanic sin according to Jesus in John 8:44. Jesus said that Satan was a liar and the father of it. He is the fountainhead of all lies.
b. I Kings 21:10, 13 – false witnesses set up by Ahab to lie against Naboth to have him put to death.
c. Men brought deceitful witnesses against Jesus… and as a result He was taken to trial and eventually executed.
d. Men bore false witness against Stephen… claiming that he blasphemed the holy place and the law.
e. Men bore false witness against Paul… and accused him of all sorts of things.
f. Men may well speak lies against you and me too.
g. That’s what deceitful witnesses do… they speak lies in order to hurt… harm… damage… even kill.
h. Darkness hates light… it always has and always will.