Moses once gave the Israelites this warning: “If anyone sins because they do not speak up when they hear a public charge to testify regarding something they have seen or learned about, they will be held responsible.” Leviticus 5:1 , NIV. I want to ask you a simple question this morning: Are you speaking up about the most important thing that has happened in your life? Do you know Jesus Christ? Have you seen Jesus our Lord? Have you heard about what He has done in the lives of others? Do you know the truth, as to why God sent His only Son? Are you perhaps withholding the truth, about Jesus, from someone that needs to hear it? If you’re not speaking up about Jesus, about who He is and what He has done, by omission you’re sinning. Pray that God will give us the courage and boldness to testify about Jesus for His Glory.
It is wrong, and misrepresents your salvation, to live a life that is changed and transformed and not testify as to why your life has changed and who changed your life. To fail to attest to what Jesus has done is to steal the glory from God and claim it as your own! Think about it.
Are you ready, able, even eager to share with others what God has done in your life? Can you tell the story about how He came into your life? When He blesses you even now, do you declare it and publicize it to those you love? It’s such an encouragement to do so! Paul said this: “So I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome. For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” Romans 1:15-16, NIV
Are you also eager to talk about what Jesus has done for you, or are you afraid or ashamed to talk about Jesus? Jesus told those that were following Him this: “And I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man also will acknowledge before the angels of God, but the one who denies me before men will be denied before the angels of God.” Luke 12:8-9, NIV. Those are not my words, or some rambling ideas from a legalistic fanatic, those are Jesus’ own words. Are you acknowledging Jesus or denying Him? Are you proud of your Savior or do you feel awkward to admit your allegiance to Him?
It’s easy to talk about our love for Jesus here, safe in this building, surrounded by folks that also love Him. But Jesus talking about our denial of Him when things get rough. Consider the leader of the disciples—Peter. He blatantly denied Jesus, three times. But listen to what happened the third time:. You will recall that Peter was surrounded by people that did not like Jesus, including a young lady who just had had her cousin’s ear cut off by Peter as he was defending Jesus. But when he is asked the third time, that fateful night of Christ’s betrayal, if he knew Jesus, Peter blurts out, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about.” And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, o“Before the rooster crows today, you will pdeny me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly.” (Luke 22:60-62, NIV). Is Jesus looking at you this morning? Have you denied Him? Have you been weeping bitterly?
We have all denied Him, from time to time, to our individual and corporate shame. But remember that Jesus was pleased to restore and redeem Peter after the resurrection while they were eating fish. Peter, in humility and heart-felt regret, told Jesus that He loved Him-three times—one for each of the times he denied Him. Yes, Jesus is able to restore us, but that’s after we repent, perhaps with tears as Peter did, to the lost opportunity to stand up for Jesus and be counted among those who bravely and resolutely believe.
He did all the work in saving us from death, eternal damnation and an eternal separation from God. He sent the Holy Spirit to comfort and encourage us. But He expects us to believe this to be true: “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9, NIV). Nice words or eternal truth? You believe? Good for you. So do the demons—and they tremble. But have you verbally declared….testified….publicly affirmed the truth: He is Lord?
We’re commanded to go out and “tell”. In the book of Acts the Spirit of God “… commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead.” (Acts 10:42, NIV) You might not be Paul, Barnabas or Luke, but if you are born again, you are required to tell what the Lord has done for you—and not keep it bottled up inside. Will some folks smirk, mock you or deny the truth—the truth about Jesus Christ—to be sure, it’s for certain! But Jesus is telling you and me, today, the same thing He told Paul 2000 years ago: “Take courage, for as you have testified to the facts about me in Jerusalem, so you must testify also in Rome.” (Acts 23:11, NIV) Take courage! God is with you and when you are telling others about Jesus He pleased with you, and can send 1000 angels to deliver you if need be.
In fact, there are least three things Jesus promises us if we surrender our lives to Him and follow Him: We will be completely fearless, absurdly happy, and in constant trouble.
Declaring with our mouths that Jesus is Lord is more than just uttering words; it is a public declaration of our allegiance to Christ. This confession is an essential aspect of our faith, as it demonstrates our willingness to identify with Jesus and submit to His lordship in our lives. Now, is He Lord or not? If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus
The idea of “confess”, or declaring harkens back to Deuteronomy 30:14 , “But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it.” Confession is public identification with Christ as the Messiah. The Greek word means to say the same thing. We agree that Jesus is God Almighty. This something that no one but one born from above can do.
Believing in our hearts in the resurrection is the core of the Christian faith. This is the central theme to the Christian faith. To believe that God raised Jesus from the dead is to affirm the power of God to conquer sin and death, and to trust in Jesus as the source of our own eternal life. If you doubt this, you will never be a true disciple of Jesus Christ. Your testimony and witness will be diluted, it will lack power, and you will lack the courage and stamina of those that know the truth about the resurrection.
When we confess Jesus as Lord and believe in His resurrection, we are promised salvation. And God does not break His promises. This divine gift frees us from the bondage of sin and grants us eternal life, establishing a new relationship with God that is marked by grace, forgiveness, and transformation. When we call Him “Lord” it proves our conviction that Jesus is sovereign God. The Greek translation of the Old Testament (Septuagint) uses the word “LORD” over 6,000 times for the name of God.
Confession with the “mouth” reminds us and requires that the confession must be made audibly and openly. This is a confession that, as Lord, Christ as God is sovereign over all things, especially sovereign over our salvation.
Believing in one’s heart is to believe with one’s entire being. This is a belief that grabs the person; it is not superficial belief. What the heart believes the mouth confesses. Belief is primarily a mode of thinking, not emotion.
The “heart” in the New Testament is not emotions but the entire being—mind, emotion, and will. This means that belief is more than a function of the mind; it is a function of the mind, but it is more. Believing with the “heart” is no token assent that Jesus rose from the dead.
It’s striking that “mouth” precedes “heart” in Romans 10:9. The mouth refers to something we must do. We have to listen to others who testify about Jesus and make up our own mind: Is it true? Did Jesus really live, perform miracles, do all that I have heard and read? Was He truly God in the flesh? Do I believe this? If I believe it, I must confess it to others. It’s required. I believe that Jesus is only Son of God-an essential part of the triune God.
But why do I believe this? The one thing that stands out, the cause of my belief, and hopefully your sis this: I believe…because God has raised Him from the dead.
The resurrection is completely unique; it is a distinctive part of Christianity. Belief in the resurrection is a corollary of confession that Jesus is Lord. Because frankly, if there was no resurrection our lives are to be pitied. Paul put it this way, “…. if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins!”
So, do you believe and has that belief caused you to naturally confess? Have you examined the evidence, experienced the resurrected Christ within your own heart? If you have, your heart should lead you to confess/admit/testify to what you know is true!
But let me close by telling you how I first came to believe in Jesus Christ. My parents told me it was true—and I believed them. At least, I wanted to believe them. The also told me that there really was an Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy and Santa Clause. I believed in that also, for a while.
Later, I believed the testimony of my peers who believed in the Jesus Christ and talked about about being born again. But later, at a liberal university, and an even more liberal graduate school, I listened to professors, learned men, that caused me to doubt. I nearly lost my faith.
But what resurrected my childhood belief in Jesus was three things:
1. I met people of great character, integrity, humility and compassion, who truly believed. I could not imagine that they would lie to me. Something was different about them. Billy Graham might not have been a scholar or theologian, but I have never met or listened to a man of such integrity.
2. I read from people, apologists to the Christian faith, that gave me a rock-solid foundation to believe. They helped me put aside my doubts and boldly put my faith in Him.
3. I entered into an intimate relationship with God. I speak to Him, pour out my heart to Him, and He hears my prayers, comforts me, and reminds me that He has chosen me.