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Confessing before Men

Confessing before Men

Words of Faith 8-28-18

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2018


Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL

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Luke 12:8-12

   "I tell you, whoever acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge him before the angels of God. [9] But he who disowns me before men will be disowned before the angels of God.


       As Jesus moved toward Jerusalem, He pronounced several warnings that were joined with promises. The first warning from Jesus was directed to the circle of disciples to be careful about hypocrisy or "religious mask wearing" (12:1-3). With this warning came a promise that a time of justice would come when all secrets would be disclosed. Jesus broadened a second warning to include His "friends" saying they should not be afraid of those who have no power in eternity (12:4-7).

       Next Jesus promised that whoever acknowledges Him before men will be acknowledged before the angels of God. He also warned that the reverse would be true as well. To disown Jesus before men would mean being disowned before the angels of God. Jesus obviously could see the times of persecution that were ahead. The time was coming when it would be exceedingly difficult to acknowledge Jesus. But this is crucial. Do not fall into disowning the Lord.

     The word translated "acknowledge" means "to confess" or give assent. This cannot and should not be construed as a sort of "works righteousness." We are clearly saved by grace, but we receive the gift of salvation by faith that is expressed through a confession.

     The quality of the confession is also significant. The word here means to make a promise or covenant, or to give thanks. Judas would eventually "acknowledge" knowing Jesus before men, but it would be in a treacherous betrayal. The confession Jesus was talking about is one of deep faith that Jesus is indeed the Messiah of God. It is an expression of receiving covenant with Him.

       The Apostle Paul called this the "word of faith." "The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart," that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved (Romans 10:8-10).

       It is interesting that Jesus addressed those who "confess" Jesus and those who "disown" Jesus, but He never mentioned those who simply kept silent. We might assume that silence before men is a form of disowning Jesus, but we don't know for sure. Paul was clear that as we believe and are justified in our hearts the natural fruit of that belief is a confession of faith before others.

         Obviously, the act of disowning Jesus before people is a terrible thing but it certainly is not unforgivable. We will see Peter disown Jesus in the courtyard of Caiaphas three times. Peter will later repent and be reconciled to Jesus. Peter eventually made many confessions of Jesus before people starting with the first sermon of the church on the day of Pentecost. Tradition says that Peter eventually died as a martyr for Jesus and the Gospel.

       So what do we do with this warning and promise?

       For one, it should call us to take seriously whether we have ever made a public profession of our faith in Jesus. But even more important may be our daily profession of faith in Him. We declare with our words and deeds what we really believe in. Is it evident to those who hear us and watch us that we trust in Jesus as Savior, Redeemer and Friend?

       There is no rule here, no set number of expressions in a day. That is not the point. But is it evident to others that you belong to Jesus? Are there ways that you disown Him, perhaps in action or inaction, with words or in silence? All we can do is repent, as Peter did, and by His power live this day for Him.


        Jesus, I want to be a testimony for You today. I want to be heard confessing You as the Messiah of God even if in silent ways. Give me courage not to be silent when you want me to speak and the wisdom to know what to say. In Jesus' name.