Summary: This Sermon is #19 from Rev. Andrew Lee’s SERMONS published in 1803 by Isaiah Thomas, Jr. at Lisbon, Connecticut.
The entire book Andrew’s Lee’s Sermons is available free at Project Gutenberg as e-Text #15031.
Confessing Christ an indispensable Duty.
2 Timothy ii, 12.
"--If we deny him, he also will deny us."
THIS is predicated of Christ; and looks forward to the day when all mankind will stand before him as their judge.
DENYING Christ is here declared to be a mortal sin. Those found guilty of it will hear that sentence--"Depart ye cursed!" But this is to be understood only of a persevering denial of him. Those who turn by a timely repentance, will find mercy. This is true of every sin. But repentance may be too late. It must antecede death, or it will be of no avail. The day of grace terminates with life. From that period man ceases to be a probationer, and his state is unalterably fixed.
WHEN the offers of pardon and peace are sent abroad, some will not hear. Who will receive, and who reject the grace of life, is to us unknown. Our expectations are often disappointed. Some come to Christ of whom we had little hope; others cannot be persuaded, of whom our hopes were strong. We have only to "preach Christ; warning every man, and teaching every man," and must leave the event.
SOME live where the sound of gospel grace is not heard. "We" are made to differ from them. "To us is the word of this salvation sent." But this doth not secure salvation to us. We must hear and obey. "If we neglect so great salvation, we shall not escape."
AMONG the indispensable requirements of the gospel, is that of confessing Christ, Himself hath determined it. "Whosoever shall confess me before men, him will I confess before my Father which is in heaven; but whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I deny before my Father which is in heaven." *
* Matthew x.32.
WHETHER the apostle had this declaration of our Savior’s in his eye; or it was revealed to him by the holy Spirit, we are not informed; but his language in the text is express to the same purpose--_If we deny him, he also will deny us_.
THESE declarations have a particular reference to the duty of appearing openly to be Christ’s disciples; especially in times of persecution, when Christian’s are exposed to sufferings and death for his sake. Even in such times, confessing Christ is a condition of being confessed by him. If we think this a hard requirement, and refuse compliance, we shall have no part in him.
WHAT are we then to understand _by confessing and denying Christ_.
CONSIDERING one of these may suffice. The text regards the latter. To this we will therefore turn our attention.
CHRIST _may be denied in words; or in works; or by a perversion of thegospel, causing it to become another gospel_. We will treat of each briefly.
I. CHRIST may be denied in words.
As "with the mouth confession is made to salvation," so with the mouth we may "deny the Lord who bought us." This is done by those who deny that Jesus is the Christ; Thus he was denied by the Jews, among whom he was born, and passed the days of his earthly residence.
THAT people had many peculiar advantages for knowing Christ, and many special evidences of his truth. "To them were committed the oracles of God." They had the prophets who testified of Christ. To them did he appeal, and by them call on the Jews to try his claims to the Messiasship--"Search the scriptures; they are they which testify of me." That people also witnessed his miracles, "which were such as no man could do except God were with him." They witnessed the wonders which attended his birth--those which attended, and followed his death--many of that nation, who had seen his crucifixion, and the soldier’s spear pierce his heart while he hung on the cross, saw him alive after his passion; and a sufficient number, mostly, if not wholly Jews, witnessed his ascension. Yet as a people they rejected him, and continued in unbelief! Not only denied him before Pilate, but notwithstanding the teaching and miracles of the apostles, persevered in their denial of him, and perished in it! This was foretold. Christ warned them of the event of their infidelity--"If ye believe not that I am he, ye shall perish in your sins." But they would not hear.
BY the Gentiles the gospel was more kindly received. Though devoid of that knowledge of God and true religion which might have prepared them for the reception of it, when they witnessed the mighty works, wrought by those who preached it, they believed. Miracles are appeals to the senses of mankind. And when those who had worshipped dumb idols, beheld the wonders wrought by the ministers of Christ, they perceived that they were sent of God, and became obedient to the faith. Then did "many come from the east and west, and set down in the kingdom of God; while the children of the kingdom were call out." Christianity spread abroad. "The heathen were given to the Son for an inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for a possession." For several ages, most who were educated in Christian lands, and blessed with revelation, professed to believe the gospel. But in later ages there hath been a falling away, agreeably to the predictions which went before, and many deny the truth of the gospel, and reject it as fabulous.