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Summary: A look at why we need to be public in our belief and three things to help embolden our faith.

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BELIEVING ON THE INSIDE: If what’s on the inside is real, it will make it out.

- Luke 12:8-9.

- Many people have the idea that as long as I have “Jesus in my heart” then I’m ok.

- And often implicit with that is the idea that my faith can be a private thing. It’s “me and Jesus.” Whether I share my faith publicly, whether I ever mention my faith, whether there are any outward manifestations of my faith is immaterial.

- If our faith is real, it’s going to make its way out.

- We are not going be able to keep it hidden.

- The idea of a private faith that doesn’t need to be known by anyone else is a misnomer. Real faith is going to come out.

- Like the old story about the senior saint who always had a dour, sour look on her face. One day a little girl in the church asked her why she didn’t have the joy of the Lord. The senior saint replied, “I do. I have it in my heart.” The little girl said, “Well, your heart needs to tell your face.”

- Would Jesus really disown someone?

- It’s worth taking a moment to note that this is a harsh concept: that Jesus would disown someone.

- It doesn’t fit with the Mr. Rogers image that many people have of Jesus.

- But we have similar statements in other places, including: Matthew 7:21-23; Matthew 10:32-33; Matthew 25:41, 44.

THE "RESPECTABLE PERSON" QUESTION: Asking “What will Jesus do to my image?” betrays that “follower of Christ” is not our main identity.

- The “respectable person” question is “What will Jesus do to my image?”

- This is a concern that many believers have:

a. “If I take a stand on that issue, will my friends still like me?”

b. “If it’s known that I’m a Christian, is that going to change how people perceive me?”

c. “How will my reputation change if I start talking about my faith?”

d. “What will they think of me?”

- Implicit in all those statements is that I am willing to stand for being a Christian only at a certain price.

- One way to respond to that is to ask what your main identity is.

- Above everything else, what do you see yourself as?

- There are obviously a ton of different answers, but the right one is “Christian” or “follower of Christ.” That should be the primary way that we define ourselves.

- If that is the primary way I define myself, then the “respectable person” idea fades away. I’m not worried about how my faith is going to impact my reputation as a businessman because businessman is not my primary identity. I’m not worried about how my faith is going to impact my reputation as a jock at school because jock is not my primary identity.

- It goes without saying that how we relate to God should be our primary identity. But then again, it also goes without doing too often, so I guess I better say it.

- Ask yourself this morning: What is my main identity? What is the main way that I see myself?

- What does this look like? Does it mean that I need to be talking about Jesus all the time?

- Ways that it might show up:

a. In talking about what happened at church.

b. In offering to pray for someone (and then following up).

c. In a change of behavior on an issue where it makes you stand out (and you’re willing to say when asked that the reason in your faith).

d. In sharing a story about answered prayer.

e. In leading your kids in prayer each evening before bed.

f. In the humble, compassionate way that you treat people.

- It’s not about being that “slap-them-upside-the-head-with-a-Bible” person who is annoying in their faith. It’s about it being a real part of your life: something that you’re proud of and excited about.

DEVELOPING MORE PRIDE IN OUR FAITH:

1. Do you understand how much you’ve been forgiven of?

- Matthew 12:36-37.

- Continuing with the idea of a “respectable person,” we sometimes minimize our sinfulness because we’ve been able to maintain a solid public image.

- We are sinners, but not sinners like “those people.” You know, the really bad ones.

- In truth, as Colson wrote, we are each much more like Hitler than like Jesus, when we are in our natural state.

- We forget the higher standards that Jesus put forth: adultery is not only the physical act, but the lustful thought.

- We justify our sins because of the extenuating circumstances.

- We excuse much of our behavior because we know we have so much pressure and stress on us.

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