Posts Tagged ‘bearing false witness’


Under Gods Command (Book of Leviticus)

Leviticus 6:1-7 (The Guilt Offering)

1-7 The LORD said to Moses: 2“If anyone sins and is unfaithful to the LORD by deceiving a neighbor about something entrusted to them or left in their care or about something stolen, or if they cheat their neighbor, 3or if they find lost property and lie about it, or if they swear falsely about any such sin that people may commit— 4when they sin in any of these ways and realize their guilt, they must return what they have stolen or taken by extortion, or what was entrusted to them, or the lost property they found, 5or whatever it was they swore falsely about. They must make restitution in full, add a fifth of the value to it and give it all to the owner on the day they present their guilt offering. 6And as a penalty they must bring to the priest, that is, to the LORD, their guilt offering, a ram from the flock, one without defect and of the proper value. 7In this way the priest will make atonement for them before the LORD, and they will be forgiven for any of the things they did that made them guilty.”

Here we discover that stealing involves more than just taking from someone. Finding something and not returning it or failing to return something borrowed are other forms of stealing. These are sins against God and not just your neighbor, a stranger, or a large business. 

Lets Bring it Home: If you have gotten something deceitfully, then confess your sin to God, apologize to the owner, and return the stolen items—with interest.


Under Gods Command

Proverbs 24:28 Do not testify against your neighbor without cause, or use your lips to deceive. 

You can hurt others by words. Or you can protect them by guarding your speech. It is easy to harm another person by gossip or slander. By hurting his reputation or testimony, you may inflict great pain or disadvantage on him. Part of godliness and wisdom is to rule your mouth, so you do not injure another person through malice or indiscretion.

Legal situations occur where you might be called as a witness for an accident, crime, or a person’s character. Your duty before God and men is to not testify against anyone without cause – there must be a righteous reason to disclose anything about another person, especially something negative. And you should never lie about him, which is bearing false witness, the ninth commandment of God’s ten to Moses (Ex 20:1-17).

Who is your neighbor? Your neighbor intends many more than just the few who live near you. It includes anyone you meet during your life, even those you might dislike and consider enemies by culture or race (Luke 10:29-37). It includes fellow employees, church members, relatives, fellow students, citizens, your doctor’s staff, and all like them.

A call to court as a witness is rare, but supervisors or managers asking you about fellow employees is not. Are you ready for such an event? You should tell only the truth needed, if confronted. But you should never use the opportunity to damage another employee to advance yourself, either with true events or lies. Solomon condemned it (Pr 30:10).

Never tell negative things about another person, unless necessary for some authority to rightly exercise their office. Even if events are true, it is wrong to spread secrets to others, for you damage their reputation, which can be like murder (Pr 18:8,21; 26:22). What some call gossip – the Bible condemns as sins of backbiting, talebearing, and whispering.

If you know private information about a person, keep it to yourself. Private things you know about others are secrets. Talebearers go around revealing secrets, but faithful men conceal them (Pr 11:13; 20:19). Are you a talebearer or faithful? Talebearers are very destructive (Pr 18:8; 26:20,22). God hates them and their sin (Pr 6:16-19; Lev 19:16).

This sin of talebearing, or tattling (I Tim 5:13), which some call gossip, is backbiting in the Bible. It is backbiting, for you bite a person in the back when you tell secrets about them in their absence (Pr 25:23; Rom 1:30; II Cor 12:20). Faithful men protect those not present by avoiding critical or negative speech about them (Ps 15:3; Pr 25:23).

Talking about others is also called whispering in the Bible, for it is the private sharing of secrets with others through hushed conversation or insinuation (Rom 1:29; II Cor 12:20). Whispering is destructive, as it turns men’s minds against even their friends (Pr 16:28; 17:9). Faithful men are protective and kind – they hate whispering and choose praise instead. They love their neighbors, which is the second greatest commandment of all.

Thus far, the lesson forbids speaking against your neighbor without a good reason. Even true events should be kept secret unless you must reveal them for a righteous cause (Matt 5:22). Telling the truth that hurts a reputation is talebearing, backbiting, and whispering. Though such sins are ignored due to the moral decline everywhere, you can despise them.

But the proverb here also condemns deceiving speech. This is slander – telling lies to get another person in trouble or to damage their character. This is bearing false witness, for you deceive and lie to injure him. Fools slander others (Pr 10:18; 25:18). God will punish false witnesses (Pr 19:5,9; 21:28). Good men will not slander (Pr 14:5; I Tim 3:11).

As the next proverb indicates (Pr 24:29), revenge should never be part of conversation about others. You must not reveal secrets about them or slander them by lies, even if they have mistreated you in the past. God will repay them, if they have wronged you, and He commands you to leave the matter to Him (Lev 19:18; Rom 12:17-21). He will repay.

Though not included here directly, flattery is also sinful speech that harms others, for it feigns and pretends either affection or praise for deceitful purposes. Whores use it to seduce young men (Pr 2:16; 5:3; 6:24; 7:5). It also is destructive (Pr 20:19; 26:28; 29:5). It is another form of lying and bearing false witness, for the praise is not sincere at all.

Consider the proverb’s wisdom! Your tongue – your words – can cut and hurt others, or they can be health and joy (Pr 12:18; 10:20-21; 16:24). God hears or reads your every word, knowing all the intents of your heart, so beware (Ps 139:4; Pr 18:21). It has been well said, if you cannot say something nice about another person, then say nothing at all!

Since men sin so many ways with their mouths, what will you do to stop talkers from injuring others? You should get angry against backbiters and cut them off from their violent game (Pr 25:23). Since men often lie to either injure or seduce, do not be affected by everything you hear, whether against you (Eccl 7:21-22) or for you (Pr 26:24-25).

Words come from the heart, so think only kindly about others, and then only kind words will pass your lips (Luke 6:45). Keep your heart diligently toward this goal (Pr 4:23). Always tell the truth (Pr 12:19,22). Only be critical when necessary for those in authority or for the profit of the hearer or the named (Pr 21:28; 29:24; 9:8; II Tim 4:14-15).

There is one witness always faithful and true and named accordingly (Rev 1:5; 3:14; 19:11). In a day very soon, Jesus Christ will be the only advocate or mediator before God the Judge of all (I Tim 2:5; Rev 20:11-15). He will tell the truth – fully and honestly. He will condemn the wicked (Matt 7:21-23). He will justify the righteous (Heb 2:10-13). Do you know Him? Or much more importantly, does He know you (Gal 4:9; II Tim 2:19)?


Under Gods Command 

Proverbs 12:17 A truthful witness gives honest testimony, but a false witness tells lies.

Truth proves a man is righteous, and he helps matters of controversy for righteousness. Therefore, a man who speaks the truth is valuable for court and friendship. A witness that misrepresents the truth has a deceitful spirit, and he affects controversies by confusing justice and righteousness (Pr 14:5,25; 19:28; 21:28). He is to be despised and avoided.

Truth and righteousness are inseparable. There can be no justice without truth, and there can be no truth without justice. Equitable relationships among men, whether private or public, require honesty and truth. If these are compromised, then righteousness is also compromised. If less than the truth is presented, then deceit has entered to that degree. From economic transactions to religious declarations, righteousness depends upon truth.

The God of the Bible, Creator of heaven and earth, is a God of truth (Deut 32:4). So much is He a God of truth, He cannot lie (Heb 6:18; Titus 1:2). His Son Jesus Christ is the Faithful and True Witness (Rev 3:14; 19:11). His written revelation, the Bible, is very sure and true in every word and all it declares (Pr 30:5; Ps 19:9; 93:5; 119:128,138).

God hates liars. They confound and overthrow righteousness in the earth, whether private or public. Their misrepresentations deceive men into believing things that are not true, which perverts decision-making, misleads people into trouble, condemns the innocent, protects the wicked, destroys His gospel, and promotes frauds and scams. Therefore, all liars shall spend an eternity of torment in the lake of fire after this life (Rev 21:8).

God hates liars. “These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him – a lying tongue – a false witness that speaketh lies” (Pr 6:16-19). Therefore, good and honest men reject liars! David said, “He that worketh deceit shall not dwell within my house: he that telleth lies shall not tarry in my sight” (Ps 101:7).

God hates liars. One of the Ten Commandments condemns false witnesses (Ex 20:16). The LORD warned men to stay far away from any falsehood in trials (Ex 23:1-7). If a man perjured himself in court, he received the punishment that was being deliberated, even if it was capital punishment (Deut 19:16-21). What a way to enhance the memory!

God hates liars. And He loves to expose them. Be sure your sin will find you out. Achan lied about stealing from Jericho, but he was discovered, stoned, and burned with his family (Josh 7:1-26). Ananias and Sapphira lied about their large gift to the church, and members of the youth group buried them that day (Acts 5:1-11). What an object lesson!

God hates liars. The first liar in the universe was the devil, who lied to Eve and damned the human race to eternal death. He is the father of all lies, and there is no truth in him (John 8:44). Anyone telling a lie is following his wicked influence and showing that their heart is under his control, even ministers of the gospel (II Cor 11:1-4,13-15; Eph 2:1-3).

God hates liars. When men prefer lies over truth, the God of truth will send them lies to believe, as their just punishment (I Kgs 22:1-40; Ezek 14:6-11; II Thess 2:9-12). When men reject the obvious truth that is revealed in the created universe, he blinds their minds and leaves them to disgusting same-sex perversions (Ps 19:1-6; Is 44:9-20; Ro 1:18-27).

Therefore, let every reader tremble before the God of truth. Let every reader hate lying, exaggerating, slandering, perjuring, misrepresenting, fudging, or any other form of deceit. Let every reader prove and show his righteousness by always exalting honesty and truth, no matter the circumstances or situation. Let him be honest and open at all times.

Let every parent teach and enforce truth in the home, so that children grow up hating and avoiding lies and liars as much as their Creator. Parents should require sufficient research before opinions are declared. They should punish exaggeration. And on the hierarchical scale of offences, children should know clearly that lying is the worst sin of all.

Thankfully, the God of truth sent His Son to save some liars from their sins, which He did by paying the eternal debt of punishment for them. He then created in them a new heart that loves truth and hates lies (Eph 1:3-12; 2:1-10; 4:24). The gospel of Jesus Christ found in the Bible is the only source of truth in the world that can save a person from the devil’s deceit and destruction that is on every side (I Tim 6:3-5,20-21; II Tim 3:13).

 


Under Gods Command

2 Corinthians 11:12-15 And I will keep on doing what I am doing in order to cut the ground from under those who want an opportunity to be considered equal with us in the things they boast about. 13For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. 14And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 15It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.

One Jewish writing (the Apocalypse of Moses) says that the story of Eve’s temptation includes Satan masquerading as an angel. Paul may have been thinking of this story, or he could have been referring to Satan’s typical devices. In either case, nothing could be more deceitful than Satan, the prince of darkness (Ephesians 6:12; Colossians 1:13), disguising himself as an angel of light. In the same way, these false apostles were pretending to be apostles of Christ, “servants of righteousness,” while in reality they were agents of Satan.

Satan and his servants can deceive us by appearing to be attractive, good, and moral. Many unsuspecting people follow smooth-talking, Bible-quoting leaders into cults that alienate them from their families and lead them into the practice of immorality and deceit. Don’t be fooled by external appearances. Our impressions alone are not an accurate indicator of who is or isn’t a true follower of Christ; so it helps to ask these questions: (1) Do the teachings confirm Scripture (Acts 17:11)? (2) Does the teacher affirm and proclaim that Jesus Christ is God, who came into the world as a man to save people from their sins (1 John 4:1-3)? (3) Is the teacher’s lifestyle consistent with biblical morality (Matthew 12:33-37)?

Paul reminds the Corinthians that for the false teachers and hypocritical leaders, “their end will be what their actions deserve.” The principle of judgment applies to all who speak on God’s behalf. The apostle James said that teachers will be judged by the Lord with closer scrutiny than will those who sit under their teaching (James 3:1).

Lets Bring it Home: If it is not already your practice, each time you sit down with the Scriptures to prepare a lesson or a sermon, spend some quiet moments in prayer asking the Holy Spirit to guide your preparation.

 


Under Gods Command

2 Corinthians 11:7-12 7Was it a sin for me to lower myself in order to elevate you by preaching the gospel of God to you free of charge? 8I robbed other churches by receiving support from them so as to serve you. 9And when I was with you and needed something, I was not a burden to anyone, for the brothers who came from Macedonia supplied what I needed. I have kept myself from being a burden to your in any way, and will continue to do so. 10As surely as the truth of Christ is in me, nobody in the regions of Achaia will stop this boasting of mine. 11Why? Because I do not love you? God knows I do! 12And I will keep on doing what I am doing in order to cut the ground from under those who want an opportunity to be considered equal with us in the things they boast about.

The Corinthians may have thought that preachers could be judged by how much money they demanded. A good speaker would charge a large sum, a fair speaker would be a little cheaper, and a poor speaker would speak for free. The false teachers may have argued that because Paul asked no fee for his preaching, he must have been an amateur, with little authority or competence.

Paul could have asked the Corinthian church for financial support. Jesus himself taught that those who minister for God should be supported by the people to whom they minister (Matthew 10:10). But Paul thought that asking for support in Corinth might be misunderstood. There were many false teachers who hoped to make a good profit from preaching (2:17), and Paul might look like one of them. Paul separated himself completely from those false teachers in order to silence those who only claimed to do God’s work.

Lets Bring it Home: Believers today must be careful not to assume that every speaker, preacher, or evangelist who is well known or who demands a large honorarium necessarily teaches the truth.

 


Under Gods Command

2 Corinthians 4:5 For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus sake.

The focus of Paul’s preaching was Christ and not himself. When you witness, tell people about what Christ has done and not about your abilities and accomplishments. People must be introduced to Christ, not to you. And if you hear someone preaching about himself or his own ideas rather than about Christ, beware—he is a false teacher.

Paul willingly served the Corinthian church even though the people must have deeply disappointed him. Serving people requires a sacrifice of time and personal desires.

Lets Bring it Home: Being Christ’s follower means serving others, even when they do not measure up to our expectations.


Under Gods Command

Proverbs 19:9 A false witness shall not be unpunished, and he who pours out lies will perish. 

One of the quickest ways to guarantee your ruin is to lie. God has committed Himself against liars, and so have good men, and so have most wicked men. Lying does not work.

God inspired Solomon to write Proverbs to supply you with wisdom for life. One of the great rules of wisdom for your prosperity and success is to always live honestly and always tell the truth. What could be simpler? What could be cheaper, in the long run? This is truly an advantage in the world – to value and practice integrity at all times.

Honesty and truth are important in this book of wisdom, and the ugly consequences for lying are repeated. God hates the two aspects of lying in this proverb (Pr 6:16-19). Consider Solomon’s emphasis on this subject (Pr 10:18; 12:19,22; 13:5; 14:5; 17:7; 21:6; 26:24-26,28). Lying about any matter for any ungodly reason will never work. Believe it!

Why would anyone ever lie? Some lie to get ahead, thinking they can deceive others into helping them progress faster in life. They may lie on their resumes, in interviews, when audited, or when asked about procedures or problems. But the proverb is true – what they thought would help them succeed will turn to be the very cause of their eventual ruin.

Some lie to avoid punishment. This is a common reason among children. When they are confronted about an obvious crime, they generally point to someone else and deny any wrongdoing. Adults are not far behind, thinking a lie will avoid the consequences of their action. But the proverb is true – no matter what the liar thinks, he will not be unpunished.

Some lie to seduce others into a sin that will satisfy their lusts. This is true of fornicators and false teachers, both of which use lies to soften and persuade their prey and victims for the kill. They mislead, misrepresent, and misdirect to gain advantage for sexual or religious gain. But the proverb is true – they shall surely perish for their lying.

Some lie to enhance their reputation among peers. They embellish and exaggerate their accomplishments in lustful ambition for acceptance and praise by others. The desire to be popular is so great in their hearts and minds that they will compromise the truth for it. But the proverb is true – there is no way they will gain honor by something so dishonorable!

Parent, you should establish truth in your home for your children’s sake by your perfect example, careful instruction, and consistent punishment for lying. One of the most useful things you can ever give your children is a love for honesty and truth and hatred for lying.