Have you ever thought about disowning someone or you being disowned? Normally being disowned comes in the light of a will or inheritance. If you don’t have a relationship with, say, a son or a daughter, you might want to cut them out of your will. That would amount to disowning them … but I’m thinking more of disowning someone before others in the sense of rejecting them and rejecting having a relationship with them. Such a disowning could have serious implications. Consider the following passage from Matthew:
Mt 10:32 Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. 33 But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.
If you are able, read the whole chapter. Jesus is sending his disciples out on missionary work. In verse 1, we are told Jesus gave these twelve men ‘authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and illness.’ Then we read:
Mt 10:5 These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. 6 Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. 7 As you go, preach this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven is near.’ 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.”
I will suggest to you that verse 7 is the main ministry required. The healing, raising, cleansing and driving out of verse 8 authenticates the preaching ministry. The reason I say this is because of what Jesus said, recorded in Mark:
Mk 1:35 Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. 36 Simon and his companions went to look for him, 37 and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!” 38 Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.” 39 So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons.
Whilst Jesus was praying to the Father, people were looking for Him because they wanted miracles. In verse 38 He gives the purpose for Him coming to earth … “so I can preach”. That was the purpose of the Twelve Disciples too. Jesus explains how hard the work will be for them:
Mt 10:16 “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves.”
He tells them about all the opposition they will encounter and declares …
Mt 10:32 “Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. 33 But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.”
These verses are pertinent to every Christian! So many have told me over the years of ministry that they are not called to gospelize or evangelize. The truth is that this Scripture, although spoken to the Twelve, is spoken to every Christian. The important words here are “acknowledges” and “disowns”. To acknowledge means to witness or evangelize. To do this is far more than memorizing a presentation. (Not that there is anything wrong with that.) What is required is that what is shared is in your heart. This means that if the message is in your heart, you understand the message because you know the person associated with the message personally.
In other words, you have an active belief (faith) in Jesus Christ. You have a personal knowledge of who Jesus is and what He came to do and how what He did affected you, bringing you to saving faith and being born again. That is in your heart … and what is in the heart will flow over into the mouth. This means that people born again will in some way, be it before many or one, confess Jesus’ Lordship and share the gospel with them. That is acknowledging Jesus before men.
The glorious promise is that when we do this, Jesus in turn acknowledges us before the Father in heaven. Each time you stand up for Jesus or share the gospel (even before those who reject it), Jesus says to the Father … “Father look at that one, he (or she) stood up for me; shared my gospel with lost souls; preached Our Truth” … In other words, Jesus will honour you before the Father because you honour Him before man. That is the first clause of the passage.
The second is (3:3) “But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.” This is the person who does not know Jesus personally through saving faith. They might be seasoned Church Goers … they might fulfill duties in the church … they might give huge tithes each month to the church … but they do not have Jesus in their hearts and because they don’t, they cannot acknowledge Jesus and His gospel before men. Silence means speaking nothing in favour of the Lord. Silence means to disown Jesus. Without Him being in the heart, the mouth is wordless … speechless … and no evangelism takes place. Remember people need Jesus. They might not know it. People might be aggressive towards Jesus and even offended because of what He requires of them … but when a person who says he or she is Christian does not share the gospel with those lost souls, those lost souls lose the opportunity of hearing the gospel and might never have the opportunity again. They might die in their lostness and go to hell. This is what it means to disown Jesus before men … and the certainty is that He assures us that He will disown that person before His Father in Heaven. He will say … “Father, I don’t know that one. That one is not blood covered. Discard that one.”
These two verses are provocative and challenging. They are saying that we who declare ourselves Christian have a yardstick by which to determine whether we are confessing (acknowledging) Jesus publically or whether we are disowning Jesus publically. May I plead that if you are born again to make certain you display Jesus intentionally before all people … with the promise that He will display your name positively before the Throne of Glory!
Dear God, help me to be boldly courageous and willingly stand up for Jesus before all people. In His name, amen.