Bible Study Opportunities
“Everyone Therefore Who Will Confess Me Before Men”
By Jon W. Quinn
Discipleship is not a secret to be kept. Belief in and loyalty to Jesus as Lord implies using our lives as dynamic confessions of our faith in Him. Jesus simply and bluntly said that the consequences of denying Him will be that He will deny us. He will not lie to the Father in our behalf. He will deny that we are His disciples on the day of judgment if, in deed, we are not, even though we may have pretended to be when it had been convenient to do so.
Jesus said, “Everyone therefore who shall confess Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever shall deny Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 10:32,33).
Jesus invites us to come after Him, but to do so we must be willing to deny self, pick up our cross, and follow Him (Luke 9:23). Consider some of the aspects of “confessing Jesus” as they relate to discipleship.
Whom Should We Confess?
“Everyone therefore who shall confess Me...” (Matthew 10:32a).
Jesus Christ is the center, the foundation and the substance of our confession. He is the exalted king and reigning Lord. His word alone rules our lives.
In all of our activities, teaching and words, we acknowledge His supremacy as our sole authority. His doctrine is our doctrine, and we have no other. Our plea is not “I think” or “it seems to me” or “I just know in my heart” but rather, “The Lord says...” or “It is written...” or “The Scriptures teach...”. This keeps us safe from making mistakes (Jeremiah 10:23).
Neither do we appeal to a religious party. It is not a matter of “us” versus “them”. “My church teaches such and such, what does your church teach?” is really the wrong emphasis for determining what is right. Rather, we appeal to the authority of Christ (1 Corinthians 1:10).
We do not appeal to a human creed. We do not believe that there is any profit in such lists of beliefs, but much damage can result from them. Division after division has occurred because men were not content to let Christ's word alone be our sole authority, as it was meant to be (Matthew 15:9).
What is truth and what is error, what is right and what is wrong, what is righteous and what is sin, has already been determined by the One we confess. Not by preacher, elder, parent, friend or religious leader, but by Jesus.
Peter confessed to Jesus, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” and “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” (Matthew 16:16; John 6:68). Paul said, “For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard that which I have entrusted to Him until that day.” (2 Timothy 1:12). Let your confession, too, be of Jesus.
Before Whom Should We Confess Him?
“...who shall confess Me before men...” (Matthew 10:32b).
Our confession of Jesus is to be made before others. It is for them to both see and hear. But before what kind of men?
a). Before other disciples. This is referred to as “edification” in the Scriptures. It is one of the purposes of our coming together as a church (1 Corinthians 14:3,12,19,31; Ephesians 4:15,16). It is also on an individual level that we encourage and build up one another (Ephesians 4:29).
b). Before the world. This is referred to as evangelism” and is often emphasized in the Scriptures. Jesus said we are to “let our light shine before men” (Matthew 5:16) and Paul told disciples to prove themselves “blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world.” (Philippians 2:15).
If we become fearful, and refuse to make this confession of Jesus before His enemies, we will fail to be His disciples. It happened even during His walk here (John 12:42,43). Do not allow the world to intimidate you into silence.
How Should We Confess Him?
“...confess Me before men...” (Matthew 10:32).
There are two main forms that this confession takes, and both are vitally important to our walk of faith.
a). With our mouths . We speak to others about Jesus. First, there is the initial confession we make after we have come to believe that Jesus is God's Son and prior to our baptism into Him; “...that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved” and “...and he answered and said, 'I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” (Romans 10:9; Acts 8:37).
Also, in our daily walks of life as disciples, we speak to others of Jesus. As disciples of the first century went from place to place, they “went about preaching the word” (Acts 8:4). We find them doing so privately and publicly, in the market place, in homes, by the side of the sea, in court rooms, at synagogues, and in prison, and were commended in the Scriptures of the Lord for doing so (1 Thessalonians 1:8).
b.) With our deeds . Some might occasionally speak of Jesus, but deny Him at the same time by their own unChristlike actions. On one occasion, Jesus asked, “Why do you call Me 'Lord, Lord' and not do the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46). Their actions were not consistent with what they claimed to believe with their mouths. The Scriptures say, “Little children, let no one decieve you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous; and the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God has appeared for this purpose, that He might destroy the works of the devil/” (1 John 3:7).
Why We Should Confess Christ
“I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever shall deny Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 10:32b,33).
Jesus Christ is our greatest benefactor. We ought to be grateful enough to acknowledge His precious gifts by our daily confession. On one occasion, Jesus used nine men He had cleansed of leprosy as negative examples. After having been healed, they did not return to glorify God or express appreciation. By neglecting doing the thing they should have done and saying the things they ought to have said, they failed to be what they ought to have been (Luke 17:11-19). What a vivid contrast their example is with the confessing man who had been born blind but that Jesus had healed (John 9:19-23; 24-34).
Another good reason to confess Jesus is so that we may hear Him confess us before the Father's throne one day. But if we deny Him, then He will deny us (Matthew 10:33). What do you want to hear concerning yourself from Jesus' mouth on the day of judgment? Confession or denial? The choice is yours.
Reprinted From the Bradley Banner Bradley Church of Christ Bradley, Illinois June 22, 1997