A Sermon

Being a Remarkable Witness

Michael Beck Michael Beck

The Pharisees had the proper, zealous concern to witness. Their witness though left something to be desired. It was remarkable in a bad way.

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves. (Matthew 23:15)

Our witness to strangers is not nearly as important as our witness to our “own house.”

But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel. (1 Timothy 5:8)

By how we behave around those in our daily sphere we can either cause the name of God and the things we believe to be “adorned” or “blasphemed.”

Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things; not answering again; Not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things. (Titus 2:9,10)

Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed. (1 Timothy 6:1)

Our witness should extend beyond our words to our deeds. To be a good witness we must be concerned about the salvation of all around us. We must be aware of how we come across to them, not wanting to be a stumblingblock in any way. In all we say and do we should desire to glorify God before the eyes of ALL who are watching us.

Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God: Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved. (1 Corinthians 10:31-33)

In every place we are, and to everyone we come into contact with, we are to bring the “smell” of Christ.

Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place. For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life… (2 Corinthians 2:14-16)

1. Showing FAITHFULNESS – The MAIN Witness

Firstly, before there is a witness on earth there must be a witness in heaven.

Also now, behold, my witness is in heaven, and my record is on high. (Job 16:19)

And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? (Job 1:8)

The church is also known in heaven by the witness of departing from iniquity.

Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. (2 Timothy 2:19)

The righteous want God to know and see them. They want to give a good witness firstly to God.

Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:
And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalm 139:23,24)

Our conscience serves as God’s witness in our heart. It not only knows our actions, it also knows our thoughts.

I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, that I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh (Rom. 9:1-3)

Our conscience does not accuse us when we have walked before God in uprightness and integrity.

And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men. (Acts 24:16)

Our prayer life is of utmost importance because God witnesses our prayers.

For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers (Romans 1:9)

God not only witnesses our turning from evil; He also witnesses the good we do. It is all the more valuable to Him and worthy of His reward when it is done in secret and not for the eyes or praise of men.

But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly. (Matthew 6:4,4)

God wants us to have a remarkably beautiful witness to men as well as to Him.

Providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men. (2 Corinthians 8:21)

honest > Greek adj. – kalos > beautiful, handsome, excellent, eminent, choice, surpassing, precious, useful, suitable, commendable, admirable, excellent, notable, praiseworthy > KJV – good 83, better 7, honest 5, meet 2, goodly 2

2. Showing GENEROSITY – The MEMORABLE Witness

The deeds of the generous are always remembered.

Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness: he is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous. A good man sheweth favour, and lendeth: he will guide his affairs with discretion. Surely he shall not be moved for ever: the righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance He hath dispersed, he hath given to the poor; his righteousness endureth for ever; his horn shall be exalted with honour. (Psalm 112:4-6,9)

The generous are not necessarily those who have an overabundance. They are those who are willing to share even the little they have.

Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia; How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality. (2 Corinthians 8:1,2)

The Lord appreciates when we do what we CAN do. He wants us to spend what we have on Him and others.

She hath done what she could: she is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying. Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her. (Mark 14:8,9)

Many things can depart from us in life; but the gracious will hold on to honor.

A gracious woman retaineth honour: and strong men retain riches. (Proverbs 11:16)

Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.
She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.
She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. (Proverbs 31:25-28)

The generous are characterized by their sensitive awareness to the needs around them. They arise to the occasion to give.

Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered. (1 Peter 3:7)

Those who are generous do not have an “evil eye.” (see Deut. 15:9; 28:54; Prov. 23:6; 28:22; Matt. 6:23; 20:15) They do not think of conserving (i.e. hoarding) their resources for themselves. They consider the needs of others.

We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification. For even Christ pleased not himself… (Romans 15:1-3)

Operating in selfishness never gives a witness of Christ. Seeing and helping alleviate the burden of another is a witness that will be cherished.

Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:2)

Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it (Ephesians 5:25)

3. Showing MERCY – The MAGNETIC Witness

The opportunity to give a remarkable witness increases when we are faced with a difficult situation. 

Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward. For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps (1 Peter 2:18-21)

David’s unwillingness to retaliate caused Saul to declare that he was the better man.

…And Saul lifted up his voice, and wept. And he said to David, Thou art more righteous than I: for thou hast rewarded me good, whereas I have rewarded thee evil. And thou hast shewed this day how that thou hast dealt well with me: forasmuch as when the LORD had delivered me into thine hand, thou killedst me not. For if a man find his enemy, will he let him go well away? wherefore the LORD reward thee good for that thou hast done unto me this day. (1 Samuel 24:16-19)

The merciful witness of Jesus on the cross convinced the centurion that He was the Son of God.

And when the centurion, which stood over against him, saw that he so cried out, and gave up the ghost, he said, Truly this man was the Son of God. (Mark 15:39)

Jesus knew that the witness of the cross would be His most magnetic and winsome act.

Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things. (John 8:28)

And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.
This he said, signifying what death he should die. (John 12:32,33)

When mercy is a part of who we are we will appear gracious in the sight of God and man.

Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart: So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man. (Proverbs 3:3,4)

The most beautiful thing another can behold is being treated well by you when they have treated you poorly.

Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.
Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:17-21)

 


Michael Beck is a pastor in New York City and the main author on Signpost. You can find him on Facebook.