The Good Confession

Intro: read again from 1 Timothy 6 – 1 Tim 6:11-16 – 11 But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 13 I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, 14 to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 which he will display at the proper time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen. (ESV)

Timothy was a special servant of God. He was personally chosen by Paul to accompany him in the apostle’s journeys. He was given special gifts through the apostle’s hands, and si commended as one who was dependable and powerful in the work of preaching the gospel. He had a good reputation among others. But Paul here mentions here something that Timothy holds in common with every Christian – including you and me. He made the good confession in the presence of witnesses (v. 12).

When did Timothy do this? What did it involve? What does it mean to confess Christ?

  1. The good confession in 1 Timothy 6 – I want to make some observations about the reference in v. 12.
  • Confession: homologia (hom-ol-og-ee’-ah) – profession, acknowledgement; the verb confess means to to agree, say the same thing. In Heb 3:1 Christ is called “the High Priest of our profession,” i.e., our common faith.
  1. The word is used to refer to a confession of sin, or wrongdoing, such as the Publican made in Jesus’ parable (God be merciful to me, a sinner); or to a confession (acknowledgement of one’s faith in Christ. The confession of Timothy seems certainly to be of the latter – He confessed his faith in Christ.Some view this confession as the result of his entire life before Christ – his life as a testimony. I think it better to view it as a single past event. We do not have an account of when Timothy made this confession, but it is probably a reference to the time of his baptism – before many witnesses. (the view of Lenski, Coffman, Jamieson, and even John MacArthur)
  2. This corresponds to the other “good confession” mentioned in the next verse – 1 Tim 6:13 – …of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, Paul recounts that Jesus made the good confession before Pilate, at his trial. How did Jesus make the good confession?
    • John 18:36-37Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” 37 Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world— to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.”
    • Mark 14:61-62But he remained silent and made no answer. Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” 62 And Jesus said, “I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.”
  1. Jesus affirmed beforehand what Timothy was willing to confess. This was not just any confession. It was and is the good confession (uses the term twice here). The word good is kalos which means good (literally or morally), valuable or virtuous. Good as to its use or appearance.
    • This confession cost Jesus His life, but he made it so that we might make it and live.
    • When Peter made this confession (You are the Christ, the Son of God) Jesus declared it was the rock on which he would build His church. (Matt. 16:16). Everything depended on its truthfulness.
    • God made this confession at Jesus’ baptism, and His transfiguration
    • It is the confession all men (good and bad) will make on the last great day (Phil. 2:11)
    • Harry Pickup Jr comments that Timothy’s personal confession of Christ as his baptism is mentioned here by Paul because it was “his conscription to spiritual warfare”
  1. An Extended view of Confession: Matt 10:32-3332 “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. Although we often connect this verse to a single confession made at one’s baptism, such as occurred in Acts 8: 37, there is more to Jesus’ statement. This confession (and denial) is indicative of an ongoing relationship with Jesus. If I confess, God confesses; if I deny, God denies. There are several events that depict a confession of Christ as more than a one time event at baptism.
  2. 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.
  • 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 4:2525 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?”
  2. 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 4:3939 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.”
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  • John 9:4-11I 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 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 9:13-1713 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.
  • First, they tried to discredit his blindness, and called in his parents to intimidate him.
  • 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.”
  • 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)
  • They eventually throw him out of the synagogue. Where did all the harassment lead the formerly blind man? To a greater confession… John 9:35-38Jesus 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.
  1. 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.
  2. 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)
  • Acts 4:19-20But 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.
  1. 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.

III. What is Confessing? What do these events teach us?

  • 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. In fact, the confession one makes at baptism is best viewed as a pledge to continue to confess Christ. A promise to not deny Jesus no matter what. A conscription to spiritual warfare. Jesus made the good confession before Pilate as evidence that He was going to see it through. “You will see the Son of Man coming in glory….”
  1. 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.
  2. 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?
  3. 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 to fail at this. But we tend to make things more difficult than they are – Confession is simple.
  4. 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”
  • 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.

Conclusion: Will you make the good confession. If you do it will be good for you. Not only because it is true, but because it will always be true, and the One whom you confess will not deny you.