Summary: Do our actions line up to our words? Is the ‘fear of the Lord’ seen daily in our walk, talk and life? Have you publically confessed Christ and acknowledged that He is your Lord and Savior? If your faith in Christ is worth having, it’s worth sharing.
Opening illustration: At the close of an evangelistic meeting held by D. L. Moody, a Norwegian youth stood up to testify of his faith in the Lord. He wanted the congregation to know that he had been saved, but he had difficulty speaking English. Haltingly he managed to say, “I’m up here because Jesus wants me to be a witness. He promised that if I tell the world about Him, He’ll tell the Father about me!”
Moody later remarked, “That boy’s testimony went straight to the heart of everyone present. ‘If I tell the world’ - yes, that’s exactly what the Bible means when it says we must confess Christ!”
Our Lord does not want us to be silent disciples. He encourages us to witness boldly to others about His grace. Scripture provides eloquent proof that we are to be vocal about our standing in Christ. Romans 10: 9 states, “Confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus.” And verse 14 asks, “How shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard?”
Introduction: Puts the disciples into this place of testimony by the power of the Holy Ghost, and with the world opposed to them, after the Lord’s departure. It is the word and the Holy Ghost, instead of the Messiah on the earth. They were neither to fear opposition, nor to trust in themselves, but to fear God and trust to His help; and the Holy Ghost would teach them what to say. All things should be revealed. God reaches the soul: man can only touch the body. Here that which goes beyond present promises, the connection of the soul with God, is put forward. It is coming out from Judaism to be before God. Their calling was to manifest God in the world at all costs-to manifest Him to faith before all things were made manifest. It might cost them dear before men: Jesus would confess them before angels. It is bringing the disciples into the light as God is in it and the fear of God by the word and faith when the power of evil was present; all that evil; however secret would be brought to light.
How could I tell the good news?
1. Beware of Hypocrisy (vs. 1-3)
As Jesus watched the huge crowds waiting to hear him, he warned the disciples against hypocrisy – trying to appear good when one’s heart is distant from God. The Pharisees could not keep their attitude hidden forever. Their selfishness would like yeast, and soon they would expose themselves … All the evil doctrines of the Pharisees God would unmask while on the other side He would provide opportunity for greater proclamation of the gospel. These doctrines had infiltrated into the synagogue through their adherence to cultural norms and beliefs as the Pharisees taught the Torah. These were not part of Godly teaching but things they had cherry picked from their own culture in order to incorporate into the teaching of the Torah in the Synagogue. Apparently a lot of it was pertaining to good works but not pointing to Yahweh. Therefore the Pharisees wanted to look good on the outside but have a hidden dark side too. Doctor Luke is bringing about awareness so that none of us would follow a similar path. Here is God’s warning for all of us when we proclaim God’s Word in any form. Just live it! He makes it very clear that whatever we may utter in secret or behind people’s backs, it will come out in the open and might even embarrass us, therefore let your yes be a yes and a no be a no. When you proclaim Christ, and then let it be Him alone and no other rather than placing other things at the same level or above Christ. If you proclaim Him God then no other is god except Him. Being dual-faced and double-minded will only make us look like a hypocrite at the end.
One of the saddest things about hypocrisy is that many in the Lord’s church have succumbed to deadly playacting. Some Christians try to outwardly appear faithful and concerned about the Lord’s work, but inwardly they are worldly – they are only pretenders. Jesus said, “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you are like unto whited sepulchers, which outwardly appear beautiful, but inwardly are full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but inwardly ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity” (Matthew 23: 27-28). Jesus said we must beware of hypocrisy (Luke 12: 1). Paul speaks of hypocrisy when he says, “They profess that they know God; but by their works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate” (Titus 1: 16).
One can be hypocritical when they try to make laws where God has not made them. Our Lord warned, “But the Lord answered him, and said, you hypocrites, doth not each one of you on the Sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering?” In our present day many are hypocrites in worship. Our Lord declared, “You hypocrites, well did Isaiah prophesy of you, saying, this people honored me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain do they worship me, teaching as their doctrines the precepts of men.” (Matthew 15: 7-9).