OceanSide church of Christ
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IS THE CONFESSION OF THE NAME OF CHRIST NECESSARY?
Victor M. Eskew
A. John 1:11
He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
1. The “he” of this verse is Jesus Christ.
2. “His own” were the Jews.
3. Jesus came in the flesh to His own people, yet they rejected Him. They refused to accept His claims to be the Christ, the Son of the living God.
B. It was this claim that ultimately led to His crucifixion (Mark 14:60-64).
And the high priest stood up in the midst, and asked Jesus, saying, Answerest thou nothing? What is it which these witness against thee? But he held his peace, and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked him, and said unto him, Art thou the Christ, the Son of the blessed? And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. Then the high priest rent his clothes, and saith, What need we any further witnesses? Ye have heard the blasphemy: what think ye? And they all condemned him to be guilty of death.
C. We must still grapple with Jesus’ assertion. Man must still make the decision as to whether he believes Jesus Christ is the Son of God or not.
D. Those who make the “Good Confession” should have eternal life (Rom. 10:9-10).
That if thou shalt confess with my mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
1. Isn’t interesting that the same confession that cost Jesus His life brings man eternal life?
2. We have already answered the question that entitles our lesson: “Is the Confession of the Name of Christ Necessary?”
b. Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life. No man can come to the Father, but by Jesus (John 14:6).
c. Those who believe this will make the confession publically before men. If they do, Christ will confess them before His Father in heaven (Matt. 10:32).
Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.
E. In the remainder of this lesson, let’s look at the confession of the name of Christ in more detail. We have divided our study into five (5) sections.
A. The confession of the name of Jesus is made with one’s lips, but it originates in the heart. One must first truly believe in his heart that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
1. John 8:24
I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, he shall die in your sins.
2. Romans 10:10
For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
B. In studies with those who desire to be Christians, I will ask: “Do you believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God?” The common response is: “Yes, I believe.” I, then, ask: “What do you mean when you say Jesus is the Son of God?” Usually, there is complete silence.
1. Question: How can a person confess that which he does not truly understand?
2. A pat answer to a question does not constitute genuine belief in the truth that one affirms.
3. The Jews understood what Jesus meant when He referred to Himself as the Son of God (John 5:18).
Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because He not only had broken the Sabbath, but also said that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.
a. To believe that Jesus is the Son of God is to believe that He is God.
b. NOTE: If anyone doubts this claim, there are numerous evidences that prove He is the Son of God. The most powerful evidence is His resur-rection (Rom. 1:4).
And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.
C. The truth that Jesus is the Son of God must be lodged into the heart of all who desire the salvation that is in Christ (John 6:40).
And this is the will of him that sent me, that everyone which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.
A. The belief that one has with his heart that Jesus is the Son of the living God must be expressed by his voice publically before men (Matt. 10:32).
Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess before my Father which is in heaven.
B. Two examples:
1. Peter uttered the confession (Matt. 16:15-16).
He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
2. This confession is essential for salvation under the New Covenant.
a. Romans 10:9
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
b. This leads us to our second example. The Ethiopian eunuch made the “Good Confession” prior to his being baptized into Christ (Acts 8:35-38).
Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same Scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. As they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.
C. Some other important things about this public confession.
1. It is a willing confession; it is not coerced in any way.
2. It evidences the courage of one’s convictions.
3. It is public, not private.
4. It is a joyful utterance, not a mere fulfillment of an obligation.
D. Not everyone will make the “Good Confession.”
1. The Jews of Jesus’ day (John 12:42).
Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him; lest they should be put out of the synagogue.
2. A privately held belief is one thing. A publically stated confession is another.
a. It expresses one’s belief. It puts one on the side of Jesus Christ.
b. Sometimes it comes with dire consequences.
1) It could mean the loss of life.
2) Here, it was expulsion from the synagogue. Therefore, some of the Jews would not make it.
E. Two more points about this confession with the mouth.
1. Some believe that this is the final step in one’s becoming a Christian.
a. Not so.
b. Baptism is also a condition of salvation.
1) He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved (Mark 16:16).
2) The confession qualifies one to be baptized. We saw this in the conversion of the Ethiopian eunuch. He desired baptism, but could not be baptized until Philip was sure that he believed. The eunuch confirmed his belief by making the confession.
2. Many appeal to the thief on the cross as an example of one saved soley by a proclamation of faith.
a. Many points of distinction could be made about the thief’s salvation and our salvation.
b. The confession of the thief and our confession are not identical.
1) We must believe and confess that God raised Jesus from the dead (Rom. 10:9).
2) The thief did not have such faith. He never knew of Jesus’ resurrection.
A. This confession is to guide and govern the Christian’s life until death.
B. The book of Hebrews exhorts us to this end.
1. Hebrews 4:14
Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.
2. Hebrews 10:23
Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; for he is faithful that promised.
3. We tell an evil world that we are aligned with Jesus. We tell all false religions that we are submitting to the faith of Jesus Christ. We proclaim to all that our lives have been yielded to the service of God’s dear Son.
C. In the book of Hebrews, we learn a lot about what it means to put our confession into practice.
1. The list
a. We must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard (Heb. 2:1-3).
b. We must not allow an evil heart of unbelief to develop within us (Heb. 3:12).
c. We must not be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin (Heb. 3:13).
d. We must continue to fear God (Heb. 4:1).
e. We must labor to enter into our heavenly rest (Heb. 4:11).
f. We must come boldly unto the throne of grace for help (Heb. 4:16).
g. We must grow to full age (Heb. 5:12-14).
h. We must not be slothful, but follow the example of the faithful patriarchs (Heb. 6:12).
i. We must lay hold of the hope that is set before us (Heb. 6:18).
j. We must live by faith (Heb. 11).
k. We must lay aside every weight and sin which doth so easily beset us (Heb. 12:1).
l. We must look to Jesus the author and finisher of our faith (Heb. 12:2).
m. We must lift up the hands which hand down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for our feet (Heb. 12:12-13).
n. We must follow peace with all men, and holiness (Heb. 12:14).
o. We must not refuse him that speaketh (Heb. 12:25).
p. We must serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear (Heb. 12:28).
q. We must practice brotherly love (Heb. 13:1).
r. We must not be carried about with divers and strange doctrines (Heb. 13:9).
s. We must bear the reproach of Christ (Heb. 13:13).
t. We must offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually (Heb. 13:15).
u. We must do good and communicate (Heb. 13:16).
v. We must obey them that have the rule over us (Heb. 13:17).
2. This list reminds us that holding fast our profession of faith is not “kid-stuff;” it is serious business.
D. As we live our lives, we may be called upon to make the “Good Confession” again publicly.
1. Peter was called upon to do it, but he denied the Christ instead Matt. 26:70, 72, 74).
But he denied before them all, saying, I know not what thou sayest…And again he denied with an oath, I do not know the man…Then began he to curse and swear, saying, I know not the man.
2. We are shocked by Peter’s actions, but aren’t we like him at times?
a. When we will not share the gospel with a friend or family members?
b. When we will not speak out against evil and wickedness?
c. When we conform to the world so we will not be ridiculed?
E. Yes, our profession of faith must be lived out in daily lives.
1. Only a few muster the courage and stamina to do it.
2. Will you be one of those who is not ashamed of the Lord (II Tim. 1:8-9)?
Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of the Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; who saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.
A. The last words of Revelation 2:10 are well known to most Christians.
…be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.
1. The words “unto death” mean until the very moment of death itself.
2. This might be easy if one were to die a natural death.
3. The context of Revelation 2:10, however, mentions such things as suffering, prisons, trials, and tribulation.
4. If called upon to die for Christ in these conditions, could be hold fast our profession?
B. Some might believe this would never happen. However, the religion of Islam is on the march in our country. If it ever takes over, we very well may have to face death for the confession we have made.
C. Others have.
1. Paul (II Tim. 4:16-18)
At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it not be laid to their charge. Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me that the preaching might be fully known, and that all Gentiles might hear; and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
a. An elder of the church if Smyrna
b. He was arrested and faced trial because he refused to burn incense to the Roman Emperor.
c. When asked to deny his Lord, he said: “Eighty and six years I have served Him. How can I blaspheme my King and Savior? Bring forth what thou wilt.”
d. Polycarp was then burned alive at the stake.
D. If such a day ever comes, let us keep in mind the words of our precious Lord (Mark 8:34-38).
Whosoever will come after me, let him take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it. For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with his holy angels.
A. There is coming a time when ALL will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.
1. Romans 14:11
For as it is written, As I live saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.
2. Philippians 2:9-11
Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow of things in heaven, and things in the earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God.
B. When Jesus comes again ALL will confess the Christ.
1. Hitler and his kind
2. Every leader of every false religion
3. The atheist, the agnostic, the skeptic, the infidel, and the humanist
4. The grossest of sinners
C. Sadly, their confession and reverence for Jesus will not be unto salvation. It will be too late. Jesus will now stand before them as their judge. Now a different set of words will have meaning (Matt. 10:33).
But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I deny also before my Father which is in heaven.
D. The confession will be important for another reason at the Second Coming. Those who made it in this life will receive the promise that is attached to it. Jesus will confess them before the Father in heaven (Matt. 10:32).
1. Any shame and humiliation suffered with now turn to glory.
2. If an individual truly lived his confession, he will not live eternally.
3. If a person died for his confession, he will never die again.
A. My friend, if you have not made the confession, we urge you to do it right now! Upon that confession, we will baptized you for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38, 47; 22:17; I Cor. 12:13).
B. Dear Christian, maybe your life no longer reflects the confession you once made. For some reason you have departed from the living God.
1. Come back to Christ, right now!
2. Repent (Acts 8:20-22), confess your sins, and God will forgive your sins (I John 1:9).
3. Grab hold of your confession again, and hold it tight unto the end.
C. If you are a faithful Christian, keep holding on to your profession.
1. Keep living it out daily.
2. Live it unto death.
3. In eternity, you will glad you did.
4. You will be able to say as Paul: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day… (II Tim. 4:8).