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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Open My Mouth, Lord

There are times that we may want God to physically close our mouths...to keep us from saying something we shouldn't - sarcastic remarks, gossip, slander, and maybe even curse words.  Sometimes we say things we shouldn't say or say things that don't need to be said.

There are other times when we should say something, where we should take a stand about something, and yet we keep quiet.  I wrote a post last week about being bold as Christians.  Jesus can give us the strength we need to be bold.  We can feel powerful because of what God can do through us, and thus, take a stand or speak out.

But there are some times when we need to say, "Open My Mouth, Lord".  Today let's look at confession.

The Bible speaks of two kinds of confession with the mouth.  The first type of confession mentioned is talking about confession of sins. Under the Old Law, confessions were made and sacrifices were offered to atone for that sin.  There were all kinds of laws attached to the sins.  Thankfully, Christ did away with all of that.  He became the sacrifice for our sins, so that no sacrifice would ever again have to be made. 

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
1 John 4:10

As I mentioned in my post yesterday, repentance is turning away from sin and turning to God.  However, after becoming a Christian we will still sin.  The repentance will continue because the light of Jesus and the scriptures in the Bible will expose that sin.  But remember that Jesus was the perfect sacrifice!  His blood will continue to wash our sins away as we strive to walk in the light.

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.
1 John 1:5-10

But there is another confession that is important for salvation.  It is the confession that Jesus says all disciples (followers) of Him must do:  We must confess Him, just as the disciples in that day did. Another way to word the meaning for "confess" is "to acknowledge verbally".  In other words, we must verbally acknowledge Jesus for who He is and for what He has done for us.

"Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven."
Matthew 10:32

That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.
Romans 10:9-10

This confession is not a one-time thing.  For the Christian it must be a continual thing.  If we are not confessing Christ, we are denying Him.  We want Jesus to confess us before Our Heavenly Father, don't we?  Of course we do!  He wants us to continue confessing Him as well.

But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.
Matthew 10:33

So, how do we confess Christ?  Verbally?  Yes.  We certainly should confess Him verbally by giving Him praise and by telling others about Him.  But, we can also confess Christ by the way that we live our lives.  Do we live for Him or for the world?  Do we deny him by the way that we live?

Peter, who was one of Jesus' apostles, publicly denied Christ after vowing he would never do such a thing!  He never thought he would do it, yet he did.  Not just once, but three times.  Peter sinned.  When he realized his sin, he was sorrowful.  He wept because of his denial of Christ. (Mark 14:72).  Later, on the day of Pentecost, Peter boldly confessed Jesus (Acts 2) before thousands of people.  Because of his confession, many believed and were baptized on that day.

We may be like Peter.  When things are going good, it will be easy for us to confess Christ, but when things aren't going so good, it may be harder.  We may become discouraged.  It's at those times, we can look to God's Word for comfort and strength.  It's at those times we can look at the example of Peter.  Peter sinned those three times, but later confessed Christ and led many to Him by his confession and his teaching.

God has given us a mission.  He has given us a message to share with others.  We must fight the good fight even when times are tough.  In this passage, Paul encouraged Timothy to keep the faith and continue towards the Heavenly goal:


Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession
in the presence of many witnesses.
1 Timothy 6:12

We must also live a life that is worthy of the gift God has given us.  We must confess Jesus verbally and in the way we live.  Paul gave us another example of this to follow when he encouraged the Christians at Corinth to live according to their confession:

Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves,
men will praise God for the obedience that
accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ,
and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else.
2 Corinthians 9:13

We must not only confess Christ before men, but must also follow through with a life that models that confession.  By the way we live, we are confessing Christ.  But remember, it is not of our own doing, but because of what Christ and God are doing through us.  It is because of His Spirit within us....which we'll talk about in tomorrow's post.

 
Prayer for today:

Heavenly Father,
Open my mouth, Lord.  Help me to confess you daily.  Help me confess you by the words I say, by the praise I give You, by the way I tell others about Jesus, and by the way I live my life.  And when I fail - when I deny you like Peter did - help me have the courage to repent of that sin and allow Jesus' blood to continue to make me pure.

Thank You for your promises.  Thank you for Your love and mercy and grace.
In Jesus' name,
Amen

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