Study 2 CONFESSING THE LORD BEFORE OTHERS
(Scripture Portion: Romans 10:1-17)
There must be very many true, real Christians, who love the Lord Jesus and desire to honour Him, who nevertheless fail to experience fulness of blessing in the Christian life. Why is this? One reason is because they are not confessing their Saviour and Lord, or because they are only partially confessing Him. For example, they confess Him by life and not by lip, at home but not in the office, before other Christians but not before the world. How easy it is to be like Joseph of Arimathaea - “a disciple of Jesus, but secretly… ”! look up John 19:38, and compare John 7:13; 12:42 and Proverbs 29:25. Are you a secret disciple?
The key-verse of this study is Matthew 10:32, and it is important to notice that these are the words of the Lord Jesus - “Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven.” The Authorised Version has the words, “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in Heaven.” What a wonderful promise verse 32 is, but it places a responsibility upon us. Surely we should count it the greatest possible privilege to confess Him, our Saviour, Friend and Lord, before men? Notice, we are not to confess ourselves, our particular church, our denominational link, or simply “the Almighty”; we are to confess the Lord Jesus Christ - look up Romans 10:9; 1 Corinthians 12:3. To confess the Lord Jesus before others means:
“To profess faith in Him as my own personal Saviour and Lord, and openly to identify myself with Him, as a believer in Him, as His disciple and as His servant.”
1. WHY SHOULD WE CONFESS THE LORD JESUS BEFORE OTHERS?
- The Plan of Salvation includes open confession. This is made very clear from Romans 10:9-10. Confession is the evidence of true heart belief. When one really believes, and receives the Lord Jesus (John 1:12), then open confession of Him and of one’s faith in Him must and will follow. In God’s plan of salvation, confession with the mouth is linked with believing in the heart.
- The Lord of the Harvest expects open confession. The spread of the gospel depends, not upon ministers, evangelists, missionaries, etc., but upon the individual believer, and every believer, openly confessing Christ. This is the divine plan for world evangelisation, as we learn from Acts 8:1. (Notice the words “except the apostles” - and compare Acts 8:4).
- The Day of Judgment requires open confession. Study Matthew 10:32-33 carefully. If we would be confessed by Him before the Father, we must, by His grace, confess Him before men. This is solemn, but, as we have noticed, these are the words of the Lord Jesus Himself.
- The Sacrifice of Calvary demands open confession. He loved us so much that He was willing to go to the cross of Calvary for us - “bearing shame and scoffing rude” - and in order that He might bear “our sins in his body on the tree” (1 Peter 2:24). He died openly for us; are we content, and can we live, secretly for Him? He was not ashamed of us; are we ashamed of Him? - look up Hebrews 2:11.
- The example of Jesus evokes open confession. In 1 Timothy 6:13, we are told that the Lord Jesus witnessed a good confession before Pontius Pilate. His whole life was a declaration of His Person and of what He had come to do. We are His disciples, and it is our highest privilege and our responsibility to identify ourselves with Him openly – look up Luke 6:40, KJV.
2. HOW SHOULD WE CONFESS THE LORD JESUS BEFORE OTHERS?
- Every Christian should start the Christian life by a definitely open confession of the Lord Jesus before others. Immediately after believing there should be a definite open confession of faith in Christ. This should be by word of mouth (Matthew 10:32; Mark 5:19; Romans 10:9-10); by taking an open stand on the Lord’s side (Exodus 32:26); and by a changed life - look up John 9:11 and Acts 4:14.
- Every Christian should constantly confess the Lord Jesus before others by word of mouth. That is to say, Christians should not only confess the Lord Jesus at the start of the Christian life, but they should go on doing so - look up Acts 1:8; 5:42 and Acts 8:4, where the word “preached” means “gossiped”. Alas, how often we are ashamed of Him! How unworthy and how sinful our silence is! Many who worship “false gods” and who are caught up in false systems of religion are ready at all times to speak of their “faith” - and what a challenge this is to those of us who know the true God (John 17:3)!
- Every Christian should confess the Lord Jesus before others by baptism. This is a New Testament emphasis which we are making, and not a denominational emphasis. In the Acts, all who believed were baptised. Look up the following references and notice that in every case belief was followed by baptism, and baptism was only administered after believing - Acts 2:38 and 41; 8:12, 35-39; 9:17-18; 10:45 and 48; 16:14-15, 30-34 and 18:8.
- Every Christian should confess the Lord Jesus before others by a quiet, consistent Christian life. That is, by what we are and by what we do; and by what we are not and by the things we do not do. The most powerful confession of Christ and testimony for Him is that of a true, Spirit-filled life - in the home, office, factory, shop, hospital - at work and at play! Look up Matthew 5:16, and notice the word “see”; also 1 Peter 3:1-4.
- Every Christian should confess the Lord Jesus before others by definite association with God’s people in worship and in service. Look up Hebrews 10:25! The very fact of going to church is a confession of Christ before men, and there are dozens of ways of serving Him, and thus of confessing Him.
What is our enabling? “No one can say (by life or by lip) that Jesus is Lord, except by the Holy Spirit” - 1 Corinthians 12:3.