The Public Christian / Luke 12:1-12 NIV
“For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes.”Romans 1:16 NLT
When it comes to us sharing our Christian faith, we don’t know what it’s like to be persecuted. We are concerned about our reputations, our jobs, or the social circles to which we belong. Everything and everyone conspires to tell us not to be “radical” in our faith. To not push the envelope. Believe whatever you want, but don’t push your beliefs on others. Today’s watchwords are openness, diversity, tolerance. The enemy, Satan, wants us to be timid about our faith…
“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord.” 2 Timothy 1:7-8a NIV
Things are changing rapidly in our country. (1) We are no longer a Christian - Judeo society. (2) We can no longer assume that people know the basics of Christianity - equating Christmas more with Santa than with the manger. (3) Because of terrorism originating with a religion, any person of faith of any kind is now considered more of a threat. NOT BEING ASHAMED of gospel is now increasingly a personal risk for us.
4 Things To Remember When I Share My Christian Faith
#1 - Be _____________ .
“Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs.” Luke 12:1b-3 NIV
Don’t bother pretending to be one thing when really you are another. No room for duplicity with God. He knows your inner heart even better than you do!
The more we become technologically social, the less privacy we have about ourselves AND the greater the futility of ever trying to keep anything about ourselves secret!
Let’s not pretend to be Christian when we’re not. And let’s not bother trying to hide our Christianity when we are. Hypocrisy doesn’t work. You can proclaim your Christian faith all you want on FB, but then when we and others watch the behavior you flaunt - so opposed to the true faith - we and everyone else know the real story. The opposite is true too. The grace and love you exhibit, the tolerance you grant - not because of political correctness, but because of Christian correctness.
#2 - Fear ______________ .
“Do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell.” Luke 12:4-5 NIV
This is a verse that all the martyrs have memorized. They lived and died by these verses. As great as the fear of death is, there should be a greater fear - the fear of death after death. Fear of the One True God, Who “has authority to throw you into hell.”
The word for hell is Gehenna. The word is actually a place of to the side of Jerusalem in a valley, where the waste was cast. It was a dump. It was always on fire. Always burning. The picture paints a picture for us that we would be worthless and cast into the dump. Forever without hope. Forever cut off from God.
I am ______________ by God.
“Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God.” v. 6
We don’t just FEAR God. We reverence Him. Because on this side of death, we know we are known by God. We are not forgotten. The Bible tells us that we were known by God even before we were born!
Remember Jeremiah 1:5, Psalm 139, Ephesians 2:10.
I am ____________ by God.
“Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid;
you are worth more than many sparrows.” v. 7
This idea of “Fear Correctly” is like two sides of the same coin, according to Jesus. V. 5 he tells us why we should fear God. But then here in v. 7 reminds us why we don’t need to be afraid. Because we are valued by God. He doesn’t just know us - he knows every hair on our head! We’re worth something to God!
#3 - Go _____________ .
“I tell you, whoever publicly acknowledges me before others, the Son of Man will also acknowledge before the angels of God. But whoever disowns me before others will be disowned before the angels of God.” Luke 12:8-9 NIV
There can be no such thing as a “closet Christian.” It’s not enough to act Christian and just keep your views to yourself. You must name the reason for your actions. The reason has a name & His name is Jesus. (not just “God.”)
Two sides of the same promise. One with hope. One with despair. If we publicly endorse Jesus as our Savior and Lord now - as the One we seek to follow with all our heart and passion - Jesus promises to acknowledge us before all the angels of God. That’s not a promise Jesus makes lightly.
Now we come to a most difficult passage…
“And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven but anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.” Luke 12:10 NIV
How are we to understand this? Is it possible that one member of the Trinity is more forgiving than another? Like all things that deal with the Trinity, much of what we understand we must understand by faith and not by reason alone. To blaspheme is to speak against, to disparage, to slander or revile, to speak outrageously or injuriously. It would literally be the opposite of praise. How do we blaspheme against the Holy Spirit specifically? (As opposed to Christ the Son or God the Father?)
Think about what the Holy Spirit does in our life. He lives within us. He comes along side of us. He is the One Who guides us, Who speaks truth to us, Who helps us through difficulties. He is our Advocate, our Counselor, our Helper. All good things, right?
But what if we stopped listening? What if we were unwilling to be guided? What if we stopped listening to the truth? What if we said, “I don’t need Your help. I don’t want Your help. I want to live my life without You! I want to do this MY WAY!” This is how we blaspheme against the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit respects our wishes. He won’t invade us. He’s only ever invited by us. So He leaves us to ourselves. Which means He leaves us without God. By definition a man or woman without God is a man or woman without Christ. Without Christ means to be without the means of forgiveness.
This is a condition we refer to as a hardening of the heart. The best example in the Bible is Pharaoh in Exodus. We’re told that after repeatedly NOT LISTENING that God hardened his heart. (Ex. 9:12)
#4 - Defend by the ______________ .
“When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.” Luke 12:11-12 NIV
For most of us Americans living in this day, we can’t even imagine would it would be like to be persecuted publicly because we showed our faith in public. Before we consider the meat of these verses, let’s first ask this most important question: “If the government or anyone else were attempting to accuse us of practicing the Christian faith, would they find enough evidence to convict us?”
IF you are a public Christian - and it ever puts you in a tough spot, at work, at school, with your family… here’s what Jesus says to you: DO NOT WORRY! Why? Because literally the Holy Spirit will come along side of you and help you. God will never abandon you. He will never leave your side. He will always be with you. He will be your advocate, better than any lawyer you could ever hire.
(1) Are you a public Christian?
(2) Could anyone prove it by your words and actions?
(3) Be real with God. Be real with man.
(4) Hold on to God’s promises that He will be with you, know you, value you, acknowledge you.
(5) Go public for Jesus. He’ll go public for you!