... how I shrank not from declaring unto you anything that was profitable, and teaching you publicly, and from house to house ... - Acts 20:20
by Paul Galligan
The Scripture says that we should have a confession of Christ Jesus "the Apostle and High Priest" (Hebrews 3:1). Most have not considered this and we have taught on it thoroughly. In this sharing we want to look at various confessions in the New Testament.
In the passage Matthew 16:13-19, Jesus asked His disciples, "Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?" The disciples gave Him various answers, and then He asked the disciples, "'But who do you say that I am?' Simon Peter answered and said, 'You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God'". We all need to have a confession of 'who Jesus is', and this confession should begin with the revelation that Jesus is the Christ [Messiah], the Son of the Living God.
Jesus said that this confession was revealed by the Father in heaven. This confession, based on revelation, is so powerful that Jesus said, "On this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it". Jesus then gave the keys of the kingdom of heaven to Peter.
One man's confession, based on revelation, can change history.
On the day of Pentecost, Peter as the spokesman on behalf of the apostles, made another history changing confession when he declared, "Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ" Acts 2:36. "Lord" means supreme authority; and "Christ" means Messiah the great King who had come. It was this confession that convicted 3000 of the hearers and led to them being baptised.
The Scripture says "The word is near you; in your mouth and in your heart" (Rom.10:8). What does it say? "That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved" Rom.10:9.
"For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation" (v.10). This is the power of the believer's confession: that we are saved by believing and confessing.
Philip was sent by the Holy Spirit to meet a man from Ethiopia travelling on the Gaza road. This man was a worshiper of the true God, but did not know the Messiah Jesus. The Bible says that Philip "preached Jesus to Him" (Acts 8:35). This man was convicted by Philip's preaching and on seeing water, asked to be baptised. He said, "What hinders me from being baptised"(v.36).
Then Philip said "If you believe with all your heart, you may." The confession of the Ethiopian man is powerful. He said "I believe that Jesus the Christ is the Son of God" (Acts 8:37). On this confession the Ethiopian was able to be baptised immediately.
In James 5:14-16, part of the healing process is to "confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed." Sometimes when we need to be healed, and the healing is being blocked, we need to confess our faults [trespasses] to someone, such as a trusted elder, so that deep inner things can be healed. Forgiveness is often involved: that is being able to forgive others and receiving forgiveness ourselves.
The Scripture says "if we confess our sins Jesus is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness" 1 John 1:9. The confession of sin is an important part of the healing process.
In Matthew 9:27-30 we read the story of the two blind men, who followed Jesus crying out, "Son of David, have mercy on us". They confessed that Jesus was the 'Son of David'; in other words, they believed He was the Messiah.
They then came to Jesus in the house, and Jesus said to them, "Do you believe that I am able to do this? They said to Him, 'Yes Lord'. Then He touched their eyes saying 'According to your faith let it be to you.' And their eyes were opened." It was according to their confession of faith in Jesus that their eyes were opened.
A woman of Canaan came to Jesus saying "Have mercy on me, Oh Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely demonised. But He answered her not a word." His disciples wanted to send the woman away, but she kept crying out [confessing] her faith in Jesus: that He was the Messiah [Son of David]. Finally Jesus answered and said to her, "'O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.' And her daughter was healed from that very hour." The Canaanite woman confessed Jesus as the Lord, and as the Messiah!
In seeking Jesus' help for his servant the centurion said, "Lord, I am not worthy that you should come under my roof. But only speak a word and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one 'Go', and he goes ... when Jesus heard, He marvelled and said ... 'Assuredly, I say to you I have not found such great faith not even in Israel!" Then Jesus said to the centurion, "Go your way! And as you have believed, so let it be done for you.' And his servant was healed that same hour." The Roman Centurion recognized the Lordship of Jesus and confessed His authority to speak the word that would save his servant.
Saul [Paul] was going to Damascus to arrest Jews who were following this "sect" that worshiped Jesus. "As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven." He heard a voice calling to him, and when he asked, "Who are You, Lord?" The Lord said, "I am Jesus". Firstly Paul confessed that the 'voice' was the voice of the Lord.
Paul immediately had faith in Jesus; he was baptised, healed and filled with the Spirit, and "immediately preached the Christ [Messiah], that He is the Son of God". He did this in the Synagogues, and "all who heard were amazed ... But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who dwelt in Damascus, proving that this Jesus is the Christ."
Paul's confession is actually the same as Peter's confession in Matthew 16:16. Paul was preaching that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.
In John 8:48-59, Jesus makes an amazing confession. He was contending with some Jews who were accusing Him of having a demon, but He was testifying of His Father and of the power of His word. He said to them, "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw and was glad." The Jews ridiculed Him saying "You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?"
"Jesus said to them, 'Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was I AM" [NKJV has these words in capitals]. What was the response of the Jews? The Jews picked up stones to throw at Him. Why did they do this? They judged Him guilty of blasphemy because He confessed that He was the I AM.
In John 8:24 Jesus said, "If you do not believe that I AM, you will die in your sins." Jesus confessed Himself to be the I AM. This is signified in the Greek text by two words: 'ego eimi', which literally means: I, I am. On a number of occasions Jesus confessed that He was the I AM; He confessed that He is God, the Eternal One in the flesh. Unless we confess and believe that Jesus is the Eternal One, who came in the flesh and suffered and died for us, we cannot be saved.
In John 8:28 "Jesus said to them, 'When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I AM'". Jesus again confesses that He is the I AM
In John 10:11 Jesus said, "I am [ literally I AM] the good shepherd. The Good Shepherd gives His life for the sheep."
In 1Timothy 6:13 Paul speaks of "Christ Jesus who witnessed the good confession before Pontius Pilate". What was that confession? "Jesus answered, 'My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.' Pilate therefore said to Him, 'Are you a king then?' Jesus answered, 'You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice'" John 18:36-37.
The confession of Jesus before Pilate was: I am a King; and I have a Kingdom. Many today do not confess Jesus as King and are not seeking first for His kingdom.
"Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on the earth, and of those under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father" Philippians 2:9-11. This should be the confession of the church whenever we meet, and especially when we are confronted with demonic powers trying to stop us going forward in the gospel and the kingdom.
Romans 14:11 confirms that our confession is before God: "As I live, says YAHWEH, every knee shall bow to Me and every tongue confess to God." This is in the context of believers knowing that we shall give account of ourselves at the judgement seat of Christ.
"That the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy, as it is written: 'For this reason I will confess to you among the Gentiles, and sing to your name" Romans 15:9. We the church are to confess the Lord Jesus Christ to those who do not believe, that they may be saved.
"By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God" 1John4:2. Too many today are not confessing the Deity of Jesus Christ, and much of Christendom has become only a form of Godliness, lacking power.
"For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist" 2John7. We are to abide in the doctrine of Christ: "He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son" (v.9). We are to confess that Jesus Christ is truly God coming in the flesh.
Paul was instructing Timothy concerning our conduct in the house of God. Paul makes it clear that the house of God is the church of the Living God. The only temple that God is committed to building is this "spiritual house" (1Pet.2:5), and in Hebrews 3:6 the Bible says "But Christ as a Son over His own house, whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end."
This house - the church of the Living God - is meant to be "the pillar and ground of truth" (1Tim.3:15). What is the truth which is to be confessed? It is the truth concerning the mystery of Godliness:
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