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“Oh, you’re a Christian? I had no idea.” I remember hearing these words from a friend when I was in high school. We had been classmates for over a year and shared a common group of friends. Yet, she was completely shocked when I told her I was a Christian. I look back on this conversation with a bit of regret and shame.

To think, in my class I had the opportunity to share Christ’s love with many who did not know Him. Yet, because of my preoccupation with self-image or trying to act like a cool high schooler I had failed to shine any light into that classroom. I had always told myself that people will know I am a Christian by my works, so then I don’t need to ever really open my mouth about it.

Many people site Luke 6:43-44 as to why they don’t need to share their faith with words. “For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, for each tree is known by its own fruit.” The idea is that people will know I am a Christian by my acts. And while this is true, I believe this verse is more of a confirmation of words, such as if a person claims to be a Christian yet lives in a continual pattern of sin. Then we know that even though his words say one thing, the fruit in his life tells us his true nature.

So while I truly believe our works or fruit are very important witnesses to the world, (James 2:14-26 is a great section to show that our works are a natural response to faith. Thus, one who says he has faith but no works really has no faith at all. Works are the result of a true faith in Jesus Christ), I also believe we cannot only rely on them as a witness to the nations. There can be no closet Christians.

Jesus says this plainly in Matthew 10:32-33: “So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.” Those are kinda scary words. You deny Jesus, He will deny you. Now thanks be to God for his grace that He leads his true remnant back to Himself even when they have denied Him, (see the example of Peter during Christ’s resurrection). So today I wanted to talk about two ways we deny Christ with our silence.

The first way is by being silent about our faith. I would also bet this is the most common way that we deny Christ. We are given so many opportunities to share the love of Christ with others. Maybe it’s at work, at school, on the bus, with an old friend or family member, the possibilities are endless. Yet, each time we find an excuse for our silence on the matter. If we don’t know the person very well we excuse our silence on our faith because we feel we don’t know them well enough and it might freak them out. Then, if we know them too well we have developed a pattern of talk and behavior and to speak openly about Christ with them would also weird them out.

The truth is, many times sharing Christ with a non-believer is going to weird them out. So the question isn’t their reaction but rather your heart and motives. The true reason we don’t share Christ openly with our words is because we don’t want that person to view us differently. We, sadly, are more worried about what others think of us rather than what Christ thinks of us. Paul tells us in Galatians 1:10 “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or I am trying to please man? If I were still trying please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

If this is you, and you find yourself silent about your Savior with certain groups of people, then pray and repent of this attitude. Ask God to give you the courage to share the most important thing in your life more openly. Ask Him to take away your desire for the praise of man and to give you a greater desire for the praise of God. Spend time learning from others who are bold to share. Learn how to openly share with gentleness but also with urgency. Remember this is eternity we are talking about, so understand the importance of what you need and want to share.

The second way we deny Christ is by being silent over the actions or lack of faith in others. This is where Christians tend to err one way or the other. One group of Christians believes it is their God ordained duty to speak out and condemn all sin and those who commit such sin. They blast people for their unrighteousness yet forget to share the love of Christ. They forget that Jesus spent most of His time on earth with sinners, (the very same people many Christians today harass) and that he instructed us to look at the plank in our own eye before picking at the spec in another (Matthew 7:1-5). These people resemble Pharisees more than Christ followers. They know about God’s justice but forget that He loves and forgives.

The second group of people is just as bad though. This group of Christians doesn’t want to sound harsh like the first group, so they either keep their mouth shut or just condone or even applaud sin. This is a lot of the liberal Christian movement in America. They want to show people Christ’s love so they basically allow their Church members to live anyway they please. Gay pastors, living together before marriage, open drunkenness and the like can often be found and condoned here.

While these are extreme examples, this group may also live rightly but just shut their mouth against any sin. So maybe a good friend is cheating on their girlfriend, yet, because this Christian doesn’t want to offend his friend, he keeps silent. He condones or excuses his friend’s actions but forgets that God is a God of justice. These people forget Romans 6 and the wrath and justice of God. They talk so much love they forget God is also just and justly sends sinners to hell.

Are you one of these people? Do you blast people for their sin yet don’t love and restore them to God? Do you condone and excuse sin in those around you because you don’t want to offed? Do you only talk about the justice of God but not His love? Do you only talk about the love of God but not His justice? If this is you then repent. Pray that God would help you to see He is a God of love and justice. Pray that God would give you the courage to speak out about sin, but that he would also enable you to do it in a gentle and loving way.

So I hope that we can learn to open our mouths this week. May we stop living in such fear of others and instead rightly fear our Creator. I challenge each of you this week to openly share your faith with someone you haven’t shared it with before. Take the step of courage and God will be with you. I also encourage those of you who are around people living in sin. Speak up that sin is never right. But I also encourage you to do this with humility and in a way that seeks God’s glory, not your own. May we honor and glorify our savior this week with our actions AND our words

One Comment, RSS

  • Smith

    says on:
    September 21, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    hey,brother,long time not to talk to you.i admit that i am one of the people who deny to share jesus.But the true reason i don’t share Christ openly with my words is not because i don’t want that person to view me differently.Actually,now i,very willing other people view me differently,even view me into the inner corner of me.
    I very want to tell other people who around me that you are different from animal,you are created by the creator,you not just have this life,you also have next life —the enternal life,you should not only just focus on this life,this life’S material ,material comfort, and should not always worry about money and think about money,money,money.But in this world money is more powerful and popular than jesus,at least in my eyes.(Here i want to make clear that jesus is my spiritual source and column now.)Why do i say that?let me make an example:one of my cousin,his family is very rich and he is the only son in his famliy.In china, traditiona speaking,if you are a only son born at a rich family,you dont need to very about the money cause a large legacy in waiting for him.
    this tradition is similar at least in my region.But he still always worry about money.He go to work is just for the money.Though his job not is he like and sometime he need spend lot of time to work,and every time he complain is just for the salary not increase.Now irony is coming,though my job is little interestinger than his job and can have little more flexible time,he at least is a supervisor in his company meanwhile i still a very low staff in my work plce.
    Here i want to supply sth.His IQ,EQ age,and educational level is very similar with me .So if i share jesus with him,i think he will just mocke at me,or he will say :”I’m better than you have achievement ,we enter into this society in the same time,loot at you…..”So the final point i want to say is i dont want to shame the name of lord.
    There are lot of bad words in dongguan about if you acheive a good education,but you dont have a good or decent job or dont have some acheivement.SO at the same time if you say you are a beliver,i think the result will be worse.
    Long time to type,hope see you soon, GOD BLESS YOU! —-YOUR smith

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