Summary: Encouraging Christians to be bold in thier faith
Come out of the closet!
It used too be if someone talked about coming out of the closet it meant that their older sibling had shoved them in there and shut the door. Now it means a whole variety of confessions about oneself. There are “closet conservatives”, “closet liberals” and of course the most famous of all “closet gays”. Well today, we are going to talk about some folks that live in the closet that need to come out, the rest of them can stay there as far as I am concerned. Today church we are going to talk about closet Christians.
Read Scripture Mark 8:34-38 “When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, "Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels."
Now I know what some of you are thinking; “It is the Christmas season, you are supposed to be preaching a message of hope, and joy.” No, I am supposed to preach what God has laid upon my heart and that is exactly what I am doing today.
In a world where everyone seems to be “coming out of the closet” it is time for Christians to come out of the closet and stop being ashamed of their Savior Jesus Christ.
I want to focus on one part of our scripture message today. V.38 “For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels”
There are five things said in this verse:
1. Christ is the true Messiah. He and His words determine a person’s destiny, note “Me and My Words”
2. A man can be ashamed of Christ. There are two things that need to be understood here:
a. In order to be ashamed of Him you have to claim belief in Him. How could someone that does not claim to be a Christian be ashamed of someone they do not believe even existed? This statement is made to His followers, not to the Pharisees and Sadducees, not to the heathen but to those that followed Jesus.
b. There are different levels of ashamed; you are ashamed of Christ if you let the world influence you into not professing Him. You might be afraid of being ridiculed, sneered at, talked about, avoided, abused or persecuted, but all of these show one being ashamed of Christ. You can deny Christ in three ways:
i. By word: The verbal denial of Christ,
Akin to Peter in the Book of Mathew 26:69-75 “Now Peter sat outside in the courtyard. And a servant girl came to him, saying, "You also were with Jesus of Galilee." But he denied it before them all, saying, "I do not know what you are saying." And when he had gone out to the gateway, another girl saw him and said to those who were there, "This fellow also was with Jesus of Nazareth." But again he denied with an oath, "I do not know the Man!" And a little later those who stood by came up and said to Peter, "Surely you also are one of them, for your speech betrays you." Then he began to curse and swear, saying, "I do not know the Man!" Immediately a rooster crowed. And Peter remembered the word of Jesus who had said to him, "Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times." So he went out and wept bitterly.
ii. By action: Colossians 3:17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. I heard Dr. Bon Record tell the following story: A pastor in Texas was in a hurry after work. He had to get to the mall for some items, go to his daughter’s school to pick her up, take her home, get to a Deacons meeting, and then to spend the evening in counseling sessions. Once in the mall, he saw an advertisement on a music store window that said, “2 CD’s for $9.99”. He loved music so much he decided he just had to take advantage of it. He went in and picked up 2 CD’s he really had been wanting, and went to the register to pay for them. He threw down with his money while talking to everyone around him- as pastors do.