Whoever Publicly Acknowledges Me – The YouTruth in Luke 12:8

“I tell you, whoever publicly acknowledges me before others, the Son of Man will also acknowledge before the angels of God.”

Do you publicly acknowledge Jesus before others? Sometimes we are reluctant to do this, for a variety of reasons. We may not feel it is our place. We may not want to experience the backlash of criticism that may come with it. We may not know exactly how to acknowledge Him. We may even face more significant consequences or even persecution for witnessing about Jesus.

Jesus knows this.

When Jesus was teaching His disciples in this passage, they would likely face severe penalties and they could even face death if they acknowledged Him publicly.

Jesus knew this.

Why would he teach, both then and now, that we should be willing to subject ourselves to this kind of unpleasantry?

Because Jesus is up to it.

You see, Jesus is the one being attacked when skeptics reject our testimony. Jesus is the one being scorned when we acknowledge Him as our Lord.

And He is up to it.

If we know Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we know He has already died for us and saved us for all eternity. Skeptics and critics, atheists and even aggressive objectors can’t kill Him (again) and take that away from us. No matter how hard they try or how convinced they are that we are crazy for believing in Him, He died for us. It’s done. We are eternally saved. So we can boldly proclaim Him, in love, whenever the opportunity presents itself. And we can know that He is already proclaiming us before the angels of God.

Jesus Is With You Always

Sometimes the promises of God bump up against circumstances or conditions that seem to erase them or render them unkept. In these cases, one of two things has happened – we have understood God’s promise within the limits of this world or we have understood God Himself within the limits of this world. In both cases we are mistaken and this causes us to miss out on so much God has for us.

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this:  I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Matthew 28:19-20 (NLT)

When He was crucified, they thought He was gone. They were a scared, dejected, scattered lot. And then He rose from the dead. He was back! They worshipped Him and He taught them many things. Soon after He told His disciples that He would always be with them, He left again! (see Acts 1:9) Following the coming of the Messiah was a bit of a roller coaster ride. Let’s go back through the ups and downs to get us ready to discuss our passage.

He came! (see Luke 2:1-18)

Just as the prophets foretold, the Messiah, Jesus, was born in Bethlehem. Angels announced His birth, and the news spread that the Messiah had come.

He left (see Matthew 2:13-15)

Mary and Joseph took Jesus and fled to Egypt to escape the danger of King Herod’s jealous wrath. They remained in hiding until Herod died and eventually made their way to Nazareth where Jesus grew up in obscurity in Galilee.

He came again!

About 25 years later, Jesus, now an adult, was proclaimed as the Messiah and baptized by John the Baptist. God’s voice proclaimed from heaven, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:17) During the next three years, Jesus taught, gathered disciples, performed miracles, and established His authority as the promised Messiah. The Messianic roller coaster hit an epic high point when Jesus entered into Jerusalem to shouts of “Hosanna to the Son of David!” “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” (Matthew 21:9)

He left again (see Matthew 27:26-50)

In just a few short days, Jesus was flogged and executed on a wooden cross as a criminal. The roller coaster hits the lowest of lows.

He came again! (see Matthew 28:1-10, Matthew 28:18-20)

Three days after being buried in a rock tomb, His followers discovered that He had risen! He was alive! It was during this period that Jesus delivered the promise that is in our passage – He would always be with them. The disciples must have thought, ‘Finally, the roller coaster ride is over.’ But, alas, it was not. Soon after Jesus made His promise. . .

He left again (see Acts 1:1-11)

Jesus was giving His disciples important instructions when all of a sudden He rose up into the sky and disappeared into a cloud. They were stunned! They just stood there, looking up, not knowing what to do or say. I’d forgive them if they were a little confused.  Jesus took His place at the right hand of God in heaven and seemingly reneged on His promise to always be with them. Jesus’ last instruction to His disciples holds the key to understanding how He was going to keep His promise. He told them to stay in Jerusalem until God sent what He had promised – the Holy Spirit.

Let’s get off the roller coaster for a minute and discuss an important concept:

The Trinity

There is only one God, the Creator of the universe. God also exists as three unique persons. The triune (three-in-one) nature of God is a hard concept to grasp. It defies the ‘either-or’ requirements of the laws of physics that prohibit three people from also being one person or vice versa. Let’s remember right off the bat that God, as the Creator, is not bound by the limits of the universe He created. We would never argue that an auto designer must be bound by the limits of the car he designed. The designer, as with God, must be outside of the limits of that which he designs by definition. Some illustrations are used to help explain how God can be three persons and still be one person. While none can completely satisfy, consider this one:

The chemical compound H2O can exist in three unique forms – solid as ice, liquid as water, and gas as water vapor. Each is fully and completely H2O yet each has its own unique characteristics. So it is with the three persons of God. Each is fully and completely God, yet each is unique in their own right – God the Father and Creator, God the Son and Redeemer, God the Holy Spirit and Helper.

So how did Jesus fulfill His promise to ‘be with you always?’ while also residing in heaven at the right hand of God? He sent His other person – the Holy Spirit.

Now back on the roller coaster. . .

He came back! (see Acts 2:1-11)

On Pentacost an amazing thing happened. The promised Holy Spirit came upon the believers waiting as instructed in Jerusalem. With the sound of a mighty wind and with the appearance of fire, the Holy Spirit settled in among them. They were instantly transformed. Jesus was with them again in the person of the Holy Spirit! They poured into the crowded streets preaching the Gospel, miraculously in the many different languages spoken by those who were there. And so it is today. Jesus is with each believer in the person of the Holy Spirit bringing along with Him, His transformative power. And it gets even better because…

He is more than just ‘with us’

When Jesus is with us, He is within us. The very person that has the power to create the universe, overcome the grave, and teach us the truth is the same person that resides within us when we make Him our Savior and Lord.

[If you’re not sure Jesus resides within you, click here and learn how to be absolutely sure. It’s too good to pass up.]

You see, Jesus is more than just an almighty bodyguard that walks with each of us, He is the very person that walks in each of us. The apostle Paul put it perfectly when he wrote, “. . . I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” (Galatians 2:20 NIV) Jesus can never be separated from us because He resides within. It doesn’t get any better than that! So what are we to do with this Good News? Jesus tells us in this passage – tell others about Him!  Make disciples, baptize,  and teach. It’s hard work but Jesus knows we can do it – after all, He is within each of us! That’s the truth.

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, for I am within you. Remember My three persons – baptize them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, for I am within you. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you, for I am within you. And be sure of this:  I am with you always, for I am within you, even to the end of the age.”

That’s the YouTruth – Jesus Is With You Always.

Choose This Day Whom You Will Serve

“As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord” is something you would expect people of faith to say. But why are the lives of faithful people so hard to distinguish from the un-faithful? Usually it’s because the “choose this day” part is missing.

“But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”

Joshua 24:15 (NIV)

After the great military campaign that brought the Israelites to the promised land, Joshua called a meeting of all the people. He reminded them of the amazing things that God had done, both recently and throughout history to bring them to the land He had promised them. He implored them, in the glow of the promise fulfilled, to serve the Lord only and to set aside once and for all, all idols past and present.  The people rallied around Joshua’s cry and collectively promised to always serve the Lord and to never worship idols again. So what followed was  an extended period of singular devotion to God and prosperity for the people, right?

Well, no. The people fell away. When we’re not careful, we fall away too. Choosing this day whom you will serve is not a quick and easy decision but a series of important choices made in concert with the truth. Let’s start building a strong tower of ‘choosing this day’ that will better stand the test of time.

Choose this day the true definition of ‘idol’

We most often associate idols with the carved statues that people of old worshipped.  We might conclude that keeping our homes free of Buddha statues, lucky rabbit’s feet, pentagrams, and other non-Christian symbols, that we have sufficiently removed the idols. But idols are more than just figurines. An idol at its core is anything that has a higher priority in our life than our relationship with God. Anything.  Idols don’t exist on our mantle, they exist in our hearts. If they are swept off our mantle, but not driven from our hearts, they’ve not been removed at all. Money, prestige, power, gambling. Alcohol, drugs, lust, gossip—these are common idols. There are many others. Their allure is strong. And when we pursue them contrary to God’s will for us, they’re idols.  Choosing a too-narrow definition of idol, leaves us susceptible to having slews of idols without even knowing it.

Choose this day to beware of the culture that underlies all idols.

Idols cannot exist on their own. No one would devise a false god or place a statue of it on their mantle if there was no cultural pressure to do so. Idols grow from collective human desire. God chose to place His people in the Promised Land so that they could build a culture that reflected His nature, not the nature of the world around them.  It was to be a distinctly different culture that rejected false gods and served only the one true God. We are called to do the same. But if we do not consciously and intentionally push away from the cultural pressures that would draw us to the world’s idols, we will be quickly absorbed into the culture of the world.  So does that mean we must be reclusive and separate ourselves from everyone else? No! Jesus taught very specifically that we needed to be in the world in order to be witnesses for His Kingdom (John 17:18). Jesus modeled this by coming into direct contact with the culture of the world and teaching about its depravity (Matthew 9:9-13). So, instead of running away from the idolatrous culture of the world we must. . .

Choose this day the appropriate social activity for our situations

For Christians, there are two types of social activity, fellowship and witness. When we are in contact with other people we are doing one or the other. When we are around other Christians who also love God and are constantly seeking a stronger relationship with Him through faith in Jesus Christ, then fellowship is a blessed time of togetherness and relationship that God intends for us to enjoy. Many misinterpret Jesus’ willingness to ‘sit with the sinners’ as fellowship. Operating under this misconception causes us to fall into the trap of engaging the culture of the world in an attitude of fellowship which causes the world’s culture to seep into us, oftentimes without us even knowing it is happening. No, Jesus engaged those of the world around Him in the mode of witness. His single intention was to teach them about the downfall that awaited those of the world and the eternal blessing of God’s grace that was imparted to those not of the world, those of His Kingdom. Because He loved them and did not want them to meet the fate that awaited them, He witnessed!

So when we find ourselves among those who are of the culture of the world, we should likewise deliver loving witness. Or leave. Witnessing to the world draws a firm line around us, protects us from the world’s influence, and causes the culture of God’s Kingdom to seep into the world’s culture and change it! We must always be the ‘seeper’ because if we’re not, we will be the ‘seepee.’ Now granted, there are some situations where simply leaving is the best witness. There are far fewer of these situations than we might think, but nonetheless every situation is not conducive to delivering testimony. So we should leave. Remember, remaining in such a situation without actively witnessing, is fellowshipping.  Each day will bring a whole new set of situations to deal with, so we must…

Keep choosing this day

We need to do as Joshua directed and ‘choose this day.’ Once one day passes and a new day comes, the day on which you chose is now ‘that day.’ The new day is now ‘this day.’ It is important that we consciously and intentionally renew our vow to serve the Lord each and every day. Otherwise, our guard will slowly come down, our enthusiasm for witness will fade and we will allow the idols and the culture that supports them to seep back into us.

That’s the truth.

Choose this day whom you will serve. Choose this day to sweep all of the world’s idols out of your heart. Choose this day to beware of the culture of the world, and to protect your heart from it. Choose this day to enjoy fellowship with those of His Kingdom and to witness to those of the world. Choose to renew your commitment each and every day that for ‘you and your house, you will serve the Lord.’

That’s the YouTruth. Choose This Day Whom You Will Serve.