Intro: Matt 10:32-33 – 32 “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. 33 But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.
Have you confessed Christ? For many this command is viewed in the past tense. By that I mean they conclude that they have already obeyed this command when they first came to Jesus. It is included (along with the Matthew 10 passage) in the steps of how to become a Christian. Hear – Believe – Repent – Confess – Be Baptized. Do you remember making a confession before you entered the baptistry (or river, or pond, or swimming pool, etc)? I do. The late John Clark asked me if I believed that Jesus was the Son of God, and I said Yes!
But is that all there is to this command? The scriptures paint a larger picture of confession.
I. John 4 – The Confession of the Samaritan Woman: We remember the event of John 4. Jesus is resting at a well near the town of Sychar in the region of Samaria. A woman comes with her jar to draw water. He engages in a conversation with the woman, telling her that he can give her water after which she will never thirst.
A. John 4:16-19 – The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw.” Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” 17 The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You have well said, ‘I have no husband,’ 18 for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly.” 19 The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet.
1. Jesus reveals to her that He is the coming Messiah – John 4:25 – 25 The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When He comes, He will tell us all things.” 26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.” What is her response? John 4:28-29 – – The woman then left her waterpot, went her way into the city, and said to the men, 29 “Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?”
a. This was likely a town where some of her ex-husbands lived. Was this a town where other women looked at her with disdain? It was certainly a town where Jews were not well received. A town full of people who could ridicule her, ignore her, and torment her. But she walked in there and spoke to them about the Jewish man she just met, whom she thought might be the Messiah. She didn’t care what they might think of her or what their response would be. This encounter with Jesus could not be ignored. Later John tells us… John 4:39 – 39 And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me all that I ever did.”
b. This woman confessed Christ before others. It was not rehearsed or coerced. It was the fruit of her own conviction, and without regard to the conviction of others.
II. John 9 – The Confession of the Formerly Blind Man– At times the characters of the Bible narrative surprises us. This is an account of a healing – Jesus encounters a man born blind in the streets of Jerusalem, and heals him.
A. John 9:4-11 – I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work. 5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” 6 When He had said these things, He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva; and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay. 7 And He said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which is translated, Sent). So he went and washed, and came back seeing. 8 Therefore the neighbors and those who previously had seen that he was blind said, “Is not this he who sat and begged?” 9 Some said, “This is he.” Others said, “He is like him.” He said, “I am he.” 10 Therefore they said to him, “How were your eyes opened?” 11 He answered and said, “A Man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes and said to me, ‘Go to the pool of Siloam and wash.’ So I went and washed, and I received sight.”
1. Beggars were not considered to be social outcasts. A blind beggar was thought to be a sinner, and considered unclean as a result. Jesus break through the barriers, as he often did, and heals this man. There is no mention of his previous faith in God, or his service to God. But what happens next is fascinating.
2. John 9:13-17 – 13 They brought him who formerly was blind to the Pharisees. 14 Now it was a Sabbath when Jesus made the clay and opened his eyes. 15 Then the Pharisees also asked him again how he had received his sight. He said to them, “He put clay on my eyes, and I washed, and I see.” 16 Therefore some of the Pharisees said, “This Man is not from God, because He does not keep the Sabbath.” Others said, “How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?” And there was a division among them. 17 They said to the blind man again, “What do you say about Him because He opened your eyes?” He said, “He is a prophet.” The circumstances of his healing put him squarely in the middle of a current controversy – Who is this Jesus? When they ask him his opinion, he clearly confesses that Jesus is a prophet. This placed against the Pharisees and the religious elite in the synagogue.
3. The Pharisees tried several intimidation tactics to stop the man from confessing.
a. First, they tried to discredit his blindness, and called in his parents to intimidate him.
b. They accused Jesus of being a sinner, hoping the man would disown Him. John 9:25 – He answered and said, “Whether He is a sinner or not I do not know. One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see.”
c. When they questioned him again, he restated his story – Jesus healed him (v. 25). After the Pharisees stated that they did not know where Jesus was from, the formerly blind man said.. “Why, this is a marvelous thing, that you do not know where He is from; yet He has opened my eyes! 31 Now we know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, He hears him. 32 Since the world began it has been unheard of that anyone opened the eyes of one who was born blind. 33 If this Man were not from God, He could do nothing.”( V. 30-33)
d. They eventually through him out of the synagogue. Where did all of the harassment lead the formerly blind man? To a greater confession… John 9:35-38 – Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when He had found him, He said to him, “Do you believe in the Son of God?” 36 He answered and said, “Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?” 37 And Jesus said to him, “You have both seen Him and it is He who is talking with you.” 38 Then he said, “Lord, I believe!” And he worshiped Him.
III. Acts 4 – The Confession of Peter and the Apostles – In John 6, after many of Jesus’ disciples had walked away, Jesus turned to his apostles and asked, “Do you want to go away as well?” Peter confesses, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” (John 6:68-69) With these words, Peter and the other apostles show they believe that Jesus is the Son of God.
A. But a few months later, after the inauguration of the Lord’s church in Jerusalem, the rulers of the people, [including the high priest] called them [Peter and John] and charged them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. (4:17)
1. Acts 4:19-20 – But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. 20 For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” Despite facing persecution, and even the threat of death, Peter and the other apostles confessed to the world that they believed that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.
2. Later, when they rehearsed all their troubles to the church at Jerusalem, the Christians prayed together: Acts 4:29-30– Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, 30 by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.” They prayed for the faith and boldness to confess Jesus in the face of resistance.
IV. An Extended View of Confession: These events help us to see what it meant to confess Christ in the NT. It was certainly more than a one time event just before baptism. What is Confessing?
• Telling others that you believe Jesus is the Son of God – even in the face of resistance and ridicule, as the Samaritan woman.
• It is telling others what Jesus has done for you, even when you will be persecuted for it.
• It is telling others how to come to Christ, as the apostles did, even when you will be rejected or maligned. Confessing does not stop after you are baptized. That is only the beginning.
A. Easier said than done… Like other things in life, especially spiritual things, confession is easier said than done. John 12:42-43. “Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him [Jesus], but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.”Why did these people not confess that they believed Jesus to be the Christ? Because they loved the glory of men. Their focus was on what man could do TO them instead of what God had done FOR them. They were not willing to suffer the persecution that would come with their proclamation of belief.
1. What keeps you silent? It is difficult to take the risk that confession demands. We do not want to risk losing a friend, or having an uncomfortable conversation at work, or making a family member angry. After all, we don’t have to risk these things, do we? We have already confessed Jesus and met the requirements of Matthew 10, right?
2. We often avoid confession because we fear we do not have the perfect time or place. We need a Bible study session where the perfect words can be said. I do not want fail at this. But we tend to make things more difficult than they are – Confession is simple.
a. Certainly we need to be able to give an answer to those who ask us. But consider what confession was in our previous examples. The woman at the well, The formerly blind man, and the apostles themselves, simply told others what Jesus had done for them.
• “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?”
• “One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.”
• “we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard”
B. I can do that, can’t you. I can tell others how I became a Christian. I can tell them what Jesus has done for me. I used to live in the passions of my flesh and desires of my body. I was dead in my sins. Jesus came to this earth to show me the love of God. He died for my sins. He overcame death and resurrected to live again. Because Jesus lives again, he gives me eternal life. And he will do that for all who believe.