Summary: Jesus teaches us what is involved in acknowledging Christ before men.
During the final few months of Jesus’ life he journeyed from Galilee to Jerusalem, where he would be crucified. While traveling to Jerusalem Jesus gave his followers some very important teaching regarding discipleship. His instruction covered a number of different topics regarding Christian discipleship.
Today, let’s read about acknowledging Christ before men in Luke 12:8-12:
8 “And I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man also will acknowledge before the angels of God, 9 but the one who denies me before men will be denied before the angels of God. 10 And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but the one who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. 11 And when they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not be anxious about how you should defend yourself or what you should say, 12 for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.” (Luke 12:8-12)
Schutt Sports, a major supplier of football helmets for the National Football League, issues the following warning on their website’s homepage:
WARNING. . . NO HELMET SYSTEM CAN PREVENT CONCUSSIONS OR ELIMINATE THE RISK OF SERIOUS HEAD OR NECK INJURIES WHILE PLAYING FOOTBALL.
The warning label continues with some information about the symptoms for concussions, then repeats the previous warning, and concludes with these words:
TO AVOID THESE RISKS [OF PLAYING FOOTBALL], DO NOT ENGAGE IN THE SPORT OF FOOTBALL.
A visitor to the website cannot access any further content until checking a box next to the words: “Please indicate that you have read and understand the message.”
At least this company is honest about the risks of playing football.
Similarly, the Bible is honest about the risks of following Jesus. In a way, the Bible says, “To avoid the risks of discipleship, do not engage in following Jesus.”
Discipleship entails risk. Following Jesus means opening yourself to opposition, derision, resentment, harm, injury, and even death.
During Jesus’ ministry he experienced growing opposition and persecution. He noticed that his disciples were becoming increasingly fearful as they saw what was happening to him. So, he urged his disciples not to fear people, but instead to fear and reverence God, knowing that God cared deeply for each one of them (Like 12:4-7).
Then he urged his disciples to acknowledge him before men.
The analysis of acknowledging Christ before men as set forth in Luke 12:8-12 teaches us what is involved in acknowledging Christ before men.
Let’s use the following outline:
1. The Priority of Acknowledging Christ Before Men (12:8-9)
2. The Principles in Acknowledging Christ Before Men (12:10)
3. The Persecution for Acknowledging Christ Before Men (12:11-12)
I. The Priority of Acknowledging Christ Before Men (12:8-9)
First, let’s look at the priority of acknowledging Christ before men.
The importance of acknowledging Christ before men has both a positive and a negative aspect.
A. The Reciprocation for Acknowledging Christ Before Men (12:8)
First, notice the reciprocation for acknowledging Christ before men.
This is the positive aspect of acknowledging Christ before men. Jesus said in verse 8, “And I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man also will acknowledge before the angels of God.”
Jesus puts our relationship to him in eternal perspective. He says that if we acknowledge him before others here on earth, then that will lead to him acknowledging us before the tribunal of heaven. This is an astonishing statement, isn’t it?
What does it mean to acknowledge Jesus Christ? What does it mean to acknowledge him before men? Surely it means that we have embraced the gospel of Jesus Christ. It means that we are clear about our allegiance to Jesus. It means that we affirm by our actions and our words that Jesus is our Lord and Savior. It means that whatever we do, whether at work or at school or at home or at play, we do it all for Jesus. The Bible says, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9). To acknowledge Christ before men means that we do all these things regardless of what opposition or even persecution we may suffer.
Jesus has promised that if we acknowledge him, then he will acknowledge us at the last day. What a precious promise that is for every believer! On the day we die we will stand before God and the tribunal of heaven. Everything about us will be revealed. All our sins – even those that are secret – will be exposed before a holy God. Each one of us will be condemned by God’s Law, condemned by our sin, condemned by our conscience, and condemned by Satan himself. We will stand before God without hope. But – and this is a glorious “but”! – if we have acknowledged Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior on earth, then Jesus Christ himself will rise up in our defense! He will tell God the Father and all the angels of God that we belong to him by faith. He will tell them that he died to pay the penalty for every single sin of ours – even our secret sins. He will tell the tribunal of heaven that because of our faith in him, because we have received the gospel, because we have acknowledged him on earth, he is acknowledging to all in heaven that we belong to him. His merit covers all our demerits, and we must be accepted into heaven because of what he has done for us. And God will do it!