Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Identified with Christ

Chuckle: Boy: "Grandma, do you know how to croak?" "No, I don't think so. Why?" "Because Daddy says he'll be a rich man when you do."
Good Quote: "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth." --Apostle Paul in Romans 1:16 KJV

"Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven" (Matthew 10:32-33 NIV).
If you have, or have had, teenagers in your home, you know many of them go through a stage, around 14 or 15, when they want nothing to do with their parents. They don't even want to be seen with them. Acknowledging their dependency on parents is not something they want to do. They're much too grown up for childish things like that. I've learned such conduct is not uncommon for teenagers as they struggle for personal identity in that troublesome time between childhood and adulthood known as adolescence.
Sadly, there was a close follower of Jesus who disavowed any connection with Jesus when he was taken into custody on the evening before his crucifixion. Earlier, Jesus had predicted that Peter, one of his closest disciples, would deny him three times before the rooster crowed in the morning. Of course, Peter said he would never deny or disown his Lord. But as Jesus had predicted, when the going got rough, Peter denied he even knew Jesus on three separate occasions recorded in John, chapter 18. Peter's third and final denial went like this: "One of the high priest's servants . . . challenged him, 'Didn't I see you with him (Jesus) in the olive grove (where Jesus was arrested)?' Again Peter denied it, and at that moment a rooster began to crow" (John 18:26-27 NIV).
It is one thing for teenagers to temporarily fail to acknowledge their parents before their friends. It is another thing altogether for Christians to fail to acknowledge their Lord and Savior before those around them. Those of us who publicly acknowledge and identify with Christ have his promise that he will acknowledge us before his Father. Our witnessing about what Christ has done in our lives reveals our relationship to him. Jesus left no doubt that there is no place for secret disciples. By every word we say and by every act we perform, we are to publicly confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Such public confession will reap eternal rewards. If our faith is not strong enough to cause us to be identify with Christ, we cannot expect God to be gracious with his rewards.
When the rooster crowed, it reminded Peter of the gravity of what he had done, and, fortunately, Peter repented, was forgiven, and later became one of the strongest New Testament voices for his Lord. Maybe you have denied or disowned your Lord by words or actions. Maybe people have no clue that you are even a Christian because of your hesitancy to speak out and be identified with Christ. If so, you may need to bow before God and ask forgiveness and cleansing. Then, in the power of the Holy Spirit, identify with Christ at every opportunity.
Love, Jerry & Dotse


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