Saturday, May 31, 2008

Denial - Not as simple as it seems

From my MySpace Blog originally posted Thursday 07/06/2007

* With all due credit to John MacArthur
I have seen way too many of these "forward/repost this if you love Jesus" messages – especially with the misquoted "If you deny me before man, I will deny you before my father." I even saw one that really slaughtered it, "If you deny me before my friends, I will deny you before my enemys." Why would Christians deny Christ before His "friends" (other Christians)? And what is up with "enemys?"

I have also seen stuff like "Satan wasn't just smiling, he was laughing when Christ was nailed to the cross."

While I sincerely agree that we Christians need to spread God's word. Stuff like this takes it a bit far. I am not blaming anyone in particular as there are way too many that have sent these out to keep track of. I have also seen these things in other forms before. What it comes down to is man placing judgment and temptation on man based on improper contextual doctrine. God isn't going to judge Christians if they do or don't forward a message like this. God's requirement from us is obedience and worship for the ultimate purpose of glorifying Him. And we really have to ask ourselves if this type of message glorifies God. I can't see where it does. It ultimately seems to come from someone playing a prank to see how many people will forward the message, or from someone who doesn't understand God's word.

The bible says:

"Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven" – Matthew 10:32-33 NKJV

The promise, power, and protection of God should make a person willing to confess Jesus Christ before men without fear. That kind of confession is a natural response to the true Christian. Correct doctrine naturally produces proper action. Paul said, "I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes" - Romans 1:16 NIV. Paul wasn't ashamed because he knew the promise, power, and protection of God.

The Greek word translated "confess" (homologeo) means "to affirm," "acknowledge," or "agree." In verse 32 it refers to making a statement of identification, faith, confidence, trust, and belief in Jesus as Lord, and living one's life in accordance with that confession. That confession is displayed by what one says, "…if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved" - Romans 10:9 NASB, and does, "Anyone who loves [Jesus] will obey [His] teaching. [His] Father will love him'" - John 14:23 NIRV; "But those who do what God wants them to do live forever" - 1 John 2:17 NIRV.

Because God is the ultimate judge of the earth, there's no excuse for shrinking from our duty to confess Christ in times of persecution as well as times of peace. All true Christians will confess Christ regardless of the consequences.

Confession of Christ is to take place before men. That literally means "in front of men." Confession of Christ is to be public--not in some secret place. A person unwilling to publicly confess Christ is not a Christian. Romans 10:10 affirms that "it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved" – NLT.

Scripture affirms that salvation is all of God, "God's grace has saved you because of your faith in Christ. Your salvation doesn't come from anything you do. It is God's gift. It is not based on anything you have done" - Ephesians 2:8-10 NIRV, and that Christians must confess Christ verbally (Rom. 10:10), confession must be the work of God.

"All who proclaim that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, and they live in God" - 1 John 4:15 NLT. A person who once walked down the aisle after an evangelistic service and says he believes but doesn't confess Christ publicly is not a genuine disciple.

Jesus said to the church at Pergamum, "I see where you live, right under the shadow of Satan's throne. But you continue boldly in my Name; you never once denied my Name, even when the pressure was worst" - Revelation 2:13 MSG. True believers will confess Christ even to the point of death.

We need to examine ourselves. We may find ourselves ashamed to confess Christ before our families or among friends. If that is our attitude, what will we be like during severe persecution? We need to be willing to confess Christ under ALL circumstances.

Jesus said, "Whosever ... shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father, who is in heaven" - Matt. 10:32 NKJV. That means on the day of judgment Christ will acknowledge that those who had confessed Him are His. He will affirm His loyalty to us just as we had affirmed our loyalty to Him. That is the result of true discipleship. The Lord's words probably pierced deep into the heart of Judas Iscariot just as they do to many false disciples today.

Imagine the thrill of someday standing before God and having Jesus say, "This one belongs to Me." It means the Lord of the universe has pledged His loyalty to us. When we are loyal to confess the Lord Jesus in the midst of any situation He has pledged to speak our name in the Father's presence.

ALSO, at the crucifixion of Christ, Satan wasn't smiling, laughing or celebrating in any way. Satan was trembling in fear. For he knew that for God to let His son be tortured and die on the cross, or for Jesus Himself to let all that happen, it meant trouble for Satan. Until Christ died on the cross, all it took for Satan to win was for people to disobey God's law. On that fateful day, Satan was trembling in fear. He knew that once a person accepted God's grace through the saving death of Jesus Christ, then there was no chance for him to win them over to his side. Satan laughs and celebrates when we take our focus off of God to do things that do not glorify Him… lie, steal, hate, lust, want, etc. Satan laughs a lot. Is he laughing because of you?

So, the next time you decide to forward something talking about denying Jesus or about being tested by God, really think about it. Remember that it isn't about denying anything but confessing. And only God can't determine when to test you…..and you WILL KNOW when.

Further bible verses:

"If we reject the Son, we reject the Father. But if we say that we accept the Son, we have the Father" – 1 John 2:23 CEV

"Here's how you test for the genuine Spirit of God. Everyone who confesses openly his faith in Jesus Christ—the Son of God, who came as an actual flesh-and-blood person—comes from God and belongs to God. And everyone who refuses to confess faith in Jesus has nothing in common with God" – 1 John 4:2-3 MSG

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