“Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’” (Matthew 9:13) Think of the difference that one teacher who is merciful can make in a school. Think of the difference in a business or a church or a family when there’s one person with a tender heart who...
“So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 10:32)
In this chapter, Jesus speaking to those who have already made a commitment to him (Matthew 10:1). He’s challenging Christians.
When you first hear this verse, it sounds like an easy thing to do. But look at the context:
- “I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves” (v. 16).
- “They will deliver you over to the courts and flog you in their synagogues, and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake. When they deliver you over…” (vv. 17-19)
- “Brother will deliver brother over to death…Children will rise against parents and have them put to death, and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. When you are persecuted in one town, flee to the next…” (vv. 21-23).
- “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul…” (v. 28).
Seven Ways to Confess Jesus Christ
Clearly “confessing” Christ will be the most demanding challenge these men will face in their entire lives. Confessing Christ will also be the single greatest challenge in your life as a Christian believer.
Here are seven ways to practice this confession:
1. Confess the lordship of Christ in baptism.
Christian faith involves drawing a clear-cut line in the sand, in which you put your faith in Christ and pledge your allegiance to Christ. Is this something you’ve done?
This is not a private matter; it’s public. That is the significance of baptism. Peter says, “Repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ” (Acts 2:38). Being baptized as a believer is one way in which you can confess the lordship of Christ over your life. Have you confessed Christ in baptism?
2. Confess the glory of Christ in costly obedience.
Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field” (Matthew 13:44).
When you find something of supreme value, you go after it—regardless of the cost. If you have grasped the glory of Jesus Christ, you will wade into deeper water, giving sacrificially like never before. Costly obedience shows how you value Jesus Christ.
3. Confess the presence of Christ in loneliness.
If you have felt let down by your friends at a time when you really needed them, you will know how tough it is to confess the presence of Christ in your loneliness.
Paul was familiar with the loneliness of friends who had let him down in a tight spot. He writes about it from prison (see 2 Timothy 4), giving us a catalogue of his disappointments:
- “Demas has deserted me” (v. 10).
- “Alexander the metalworker did me great harm” (v. 14).
- “At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them” (v. 16).
Paul could have turned his disappointment to bitterness, but he doesn’t do that. He uses the failures of others as an opportunity for confessing Christ: “But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength…And I was delivered from the lion’s mouth” (v. 17).
What are you going to do when other people let you down? Confess the presence of Christ in your loneliness.
4. Confess contentment in Christ under financial pressure.
Paul knew wide-ranging financial circumstances. At one time he had plenty—Paul had a brilliant mind and a distinguished position under Gamaliel, an honored religious teacher. There were other times when he was in financial need and did not have enough to eat.
He uses this financial pressure to confess Christ:
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:12-13)
Imagine on Friday afternoon, someone walks into your office, and suddenly you’ve lost your job. Your whole financial position has changed. But you say, “I’m going to trust Christ in this.” That is how disciples put their faith in Christ into practice.
5. Confess the sufficiency of Christ in sickness and pain.
Paul had a particular affliction that he describes as “a thorn in the flesh” (2 Corinthians 12:7). He uses his pain to confess Jesus: “[Christ] said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you and my power is made perfect in weakness.’ So I will boast about my weaknesses so that Christ’s power may rest on me” (v. 9).
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Some of us know about this. God gives you good health, but then you discover a condition that changes your life. You experience pain. You are not able to do things you were able to do before. You ask God to take it away—and perhaps he does. But perhaps the sickness is still with you. Will you spend the rest of your life in resentment toward God?
6. Confess the comfort of Christ in crushing trials.
Paul speaks about a time of intense difficulty he experienced in Asia:
We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. (2 Corinthians 1:8)
A series of things happened to Paul that left him feeling unbearably crushed. You may be right there now—under great pressure, beyond your ability to endure.
Paul seized this as an opportunity not to give up, but to confess Christ. He speaks about the comfort of God, and how as a result of God’s grace to him in these trials, he is now able to comfort others.
7. Confess the sovereignty of Christ in sorrow and loss.
Perhaps the most remarkable confession in all of Scripture comes from Job. Here’s a godly man who has everything going for him, then in a single day his whole world implodes. His wealth is plundered by enemies. His children die when a house collapses on them. Even his own wife says to him, “Why don’t you curse God and die?” (Job 2:9).
But Job says, “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised” (1:21).
You may be going through indescribable sorrow. The fact that you love Christ still in the midst of your loss may be your greatest confession of him.
A Challenge Worth Taking
Confessing Christ will be the single greatest challenge in your life as a Christian believer as you walk through difficulties. But Jesus tells us to take every opportunity in the trials to confess him.
For our acknowledgement of him before men will reverberate through heaven and hell forever.