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CONFESS - OR DENY

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord's Day Evening, November 16, 2003


"Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven" (Matthew 10:32-33).


The Voice of the Martyrs (November 2003) reports,

In China, Vietnam and Laos, dozens of tribal/ethnic groups…are coming to Christ in record numbers. According to Compass Direct, the number of Christians in Laos has doubled since 1997. They are passionate Christians with their eyes on the goal (page 2).

But these Christians in Southeast Asia are experiencing great persecution for their faith in Christ. "In November 2002, there were 20 're-education' seminars in the Bak Mong and Nan Districts [in Laos] to try to force Christians to give up their faith. In villages across Laos, Christians are…arrested for evangelizing. Seventeen Christians in Dong Phoung Village were arrested on December 26, 2002, for celebrating Christmas…On January 10, 2003, six Christians were arrested for attending church in Phongsima Village. They were fined $25.00 each (more than two weeks' pay)…Six Christians from Kengkok Village were arrested January 16 and charged with 'illegal gathering.' Our latest information is that they are being held in Savannakhet Prison" (ibid., p. 5).

This report by Voice of the Martyrs tells of several people being put in prison and held there for years because they witnessed for Christ. "On March 24, two…men were arrested for leading inquirers to Christ. Van Tha and Sai Phone were imprisoned. They are spreading the Good News…among a despised, oppressed people, and causing them to ask, 'How can we find Jesus?' Communist authorities tore down a church building on March 30, then returned to the village three days later to arrest two Christian leaders…The Lao Movement for Human Rights reported that on April 29, 2003, militiamen of Kengkok Village closed the church, expelled the members, and forced them to become homeless. Any other Christian who tries to give them shelter is threatened. The three pastors' names are Vang, Mata and Hiang…The authorities of Phongsaly Province have said that Christians are free to worship but not to proselytize [tell others about Christ]. This also reflects the attitude (spiritual warfare) of the governments of Vietnam and China…The Hmong [Christians] in Laos, Vietnam, and China…passionately spread the gospel. They number more than 13 million in this region…in Vietnam, Protestant and independent Christian groups (house churches, etc.) are growing three times faster than Buddhist and non-religious (communism, atheism, etc.). Hmong Christians in Vietnam alone now number more than 100,000  -  more than 400,000, including Hmong believers in China" (ibid., pages 5-6).

A moment ago Mr. Griffith sang "Faith of Our Fathers." I once heard a Chinese pastor say that Oriental people couldn't sing that hymn because their fathers were not Christians. I understand his point, but I can sing it, even though my father wasn't a Christian. That hymn is not talking about our earthly fathers! It's talking about our spiritual fathers! Our "fathers" are those who do the will of God! I heard of a ninety-year-old Chinese pastor who spent more than thirty years in prison, in China, for preaching the gospel. That man is my spiritual father - and yours also! We have Chinese "fathers" who are suffering for the faith. We have black "fathers" who are dying for Christ in the south of Sudan, in Africa. They are our spiritual fathers!

Faith of our fathers! living still

In spite of dungeon, fire and sword;

O how our hearts beat high with joy

Whene'er we hear that glorious word!

Faith of our fathers, holy faith!

We will be true to thee till death!

("Faith of Our Fathers" by Frederick W. Faber, 1814-1863).

Why is Christianity exploding in a mighty revival in China and Southeast Asia? The main reason is that our spiritual fathers and mothers and brothers and sisters there take the words of our text very seriously!

"Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven" (Matthew 10:32-33).

Let us consider two things as we think about this text tonight.

I. First, what "confessing" and "denying" Christ means.

Jesus said,

"Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven…"
   (Matthew 10:32).

The words "shall confess me" are translated from "homologesei en emoi." Dr. A. T. Robertson says that this literally means "'confess in me,' indicating a sense of unity with Christ and of Christ with the man who takes an open stand for him" (A. T. Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament, Broadman, 1930, volume I, p. 83). Dr. Vincent tells us that "It implies identification of the confessor with the confessed" (Marvin R. Vincent, Word Studies in the New Testament, Hendrickson, n.d., volume I, p. 61). The idea is that a person confesses and acknowledges Christ out of a state of union and oneness with Him.

Take the example of any normal mother. If you say something bad about her child, she will defend it. It's her child. They are united in heart and life. At every opportunity, she will tell you how wonderful her child is. Why? Because she is united in heart and life with her child.

And that's the way it is with those Christians in China and Southeast Asia. At every opportunity, they have something good to say about Jesus. At every opportunity, they defend Him and speak of Him as their Saviour and Lord! They confess Christ because they are united with Him in heart and life. They do not merely call Him "Lord, Lord" (Matthew 7:21). They confess Him "before men." And Jesus said, "him will I confess also before my Father which is in Heaven" (Matthew 10:32).

But what about the man or woman who denies Christ? What about the person who is afraid to speak up for Christ and acknowledge Him, and openly speak of Him? Jesus said,

"But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven" (Matthew 10:33).

Christ will deny, disown, and repudiate the person who denies Him "before men." On the great Day of Judgment, Christ will say, "Depart from me" (Matthew 7:23). And the one who denies Christ now will be denied by Him then.

"There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out" (Luke 13:28).

"Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels" (Matthew 25:41).

"Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven" (Matthew 10:32-33).

II. Second, how those who are interested in salvation are tested by this.

Dr. Gaebelein pointed out that our text "looks beyond the Apostles to disciples at large. The point is made clear by ['whosoever']. A necessary criterion for being a disciple of Jesus is to acknowledge him publicly" (Frank E. Gaebelein, general editor, The Expositor's Bible Commentary, Zondervan, 1984, volume 8, p. 256).

You have to be willing to acknowledge Christ, to confess Him openly and publicly, if you want Him to confess and acknowledge you to God in Heaven. But what if you are ashamed of Christ? What if you are ashamed to tell your lost friends that you are thinking of becoming a Christian? What if you are afraid to tell your Buddhist or Catholic parents that you are interested in Christ? Jesus said,

"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 the holy angels" (Mark 8:38).

Dr. Adam Clarke said,

To be renounced by Christ is to have him neither for a Mediator nor Saviour. To appear before the [Judgment bar] of God without having Christ for our Advocate, and, on the contrary, to have him as our Judge, and a witness against us, - how can a man think of this and not die with horror? (Adam Clarke, Clarke's Commentary, Abingdon, n.d., reprint of the 1810 edition, volume V, p. 124).

I plead with you tonight, do not be rejected and repudiated by Christ on that day! Come boldly and unashamedly to the Saviour. Trust Him. Be washed clean from your sins by His Blood. Trust Him. Receive eternal life from Him. Don't be ashamed of Him. Speak openly to your family and friends. Tell them that you love Jesus more than life itself! Repent of your cowardly fear! Do not be ashamed of Jesus Christ! Be like those fearless Christians in China and Southeast Asia! Speak up for Christ - whatever it costs!

Faith of our fathers! living still

In spite of dungeon, fire and sword;

O how our hearts beat high with joy

Whene'er we hear that glorious word!

Faith of our fathers, holy faith!

We will be true to thee till death!

Listen while I tell you about three more men who were tortured for Christ in Vietnam this year. This is from Voice of the Martyrs, thevoice@vom-usa.org, November 13, 2003:

A pastor in Kontum Province [Vietnam] was…hanged on a cross by authorities. During the August incident, A En, who leads a [Christian] church, was forced by local police to stand with arms outstretched on the cross for three hours. After A En was beaten and kicked whenever he moved, an elder from his church had to carry him from the police station. Meanwhile, two evangelists were beaten in separate incidents. After returning from a Bible study, Ksor Lui was ordered not to leave his home. Ksor Lor was beaten unconscious by authorities.

Will you take an open stand for Christ - like these Christians in Vietnam - no matter what it costs?

Our fathers, chained in prisons dark,

Were still in heart and conscience free:

How sweet would be their children's fate,

If they, like them, could die for thee!

Faith of our fathers, holy faith!

We will be true to thee till death!

"Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven" (Matthew 10:32-33).

Will you entrust your life to Jesus Christ tonight? Will you trust Christ no matter what may happen? I would like to speak with you about trusting Him. Would you come and stand here in front of the pulpit? When you have come, we will go to my office and talk about this. You come right now, while Mr. Griffith comes again to sing "Faith of Our Fathers."


(END OF SERMON)

Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: Matthew 10:16-33.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:

"Faith of Our Fathers" (by Frederick W. Faber, 1814-1863).


THE OUTLINE OF

CONFESS - OR DENY

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

 

"Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven" (Matthew 10:32-33).

I.   What "confessing" and "denying" Christ means, Matthew 7:21, 23;
Luke 13:28; Matthew 25:41.

II.  How those who are interested in salvation are tested by this,
Mark 8:38.

You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at www.rlhymersjr.com. Click on "Sermon Manuscripts."