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If We Deny Him

If we deny Him, He also will deny us.
2 Timothy 2:12

To deny Christ simply means to refuse to acknowledge Him, and to declare not to have known Him. The well-known Biblical example of someone denying Christ was Peter, one of Jesus' beloved and closest disciples. It happened in the High Priest's house on the night of Jesus' arrest.

Earlier that same night before they went to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray (Matthew 26:30-75; Mark 14:26-72; Luke 22:31-62; John 18:1-27), Jesus told all His disciples, "All of you will desert Me, for God has declared through the prophets, 'I will kill the Shepherd, and the sheep will scatter.' But after I am raised to life again, I will go to Galilee and meet you there."

Then Jesus turned to Peter, "Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to have you, to sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith should not fail completely. So when you have repented and turned to Me again, strengthen and build up the faith of your brothers."

Peter said, "I will never desert You no matter what the other disciples would do!"

But Jesus told him, "Peter, let Me tell you something. Between now and tomorrow morning, you will deny Me three times before the cock crows a second time, declaring that you don't even know Me."

"No!" Peter replied fervently. "Lord, I am ready to go to jail with You, and even to die with You! I'll never deny you! Never!" And all the other disciples with Jesus vowed the same thing.

After that, they came to an olive grove called the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus instructed His disciples, "Sit here, while I go and pray." He took Peter, James and John with Him. Jesus began to be deeply troubled and distressed. And He said to them, "My soul is crushed by sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and watch with Me."

Jesus went on a little further, fell to the ground and prayed that if it were possible that this terrible hour awaiting Him might pass away. "Father, Father," He said, "everything is possible for You. Take away this cup from Me. Nevertheless I want to do Your will, not Mine."

Then Jesus returned to the three disciples, and found them sleeping. Jesus turned specifically to Peter and said, "Simon, are you sleeping? Couldn't you watch with Me even one hour? Watch with Me, and pray lest the Tempter overpower you. For the spirit truly is willing, but the flesh is weak." Yes, the spirit of Peter was truly willing to go with Jesus all the way even to the point of death, but his flesh was weak. His flesh was not able to do what his spirit desired to do!

And Jesus went away again and prayed, and said the same words. When He returned to them, He found them sleeping again because they were very tired. And they didn't know what to say to Jesus.

The third time when He returned to them, He said, "Sleep on. Get your rest! But no! The time for sleep has ended! Look! I am betrayed into the hands of wicked men. Come! Get up! We must go! Look! My betrayer is here!"

Immediately, while Jesus was still speaking, Judas Iscariot arrived with a mob equipped with swords and clubs, sent out by the chief priests and other religious leaders.

Now Judas, the betrayer, had given them a signal, saying, "Whomever I kiss, He is the One. Take Him and lead Him away safely." So as soon as Jesus arrived, Judas walked up to Jesus, and said , "Rabbi, Rabbi!" and kissed Him. Immediately, the mob arrested Jesus, and held Him fast.

Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest's servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant's name was Malchus (John 18:10-11). But Jesus asked the mob, "Permit even this." And He touched Malchus' ear, and healed him (Luke 22:51).

After that, Jesus turned to Peter and said, "Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels? How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?" Jesus was telling Peter not to act in the flesh, but to pray that the will of God be done! But Peter was not able to understand. He could only see what was before him, and not beyond!

Jesus turned to the mob, and asked them, "Am I some dangerous robber, that you come like this, armed to the teeth to capture Me? Why didn't you arrest Me in the Temple? I was there teaching every day. But these things are happening to fulfill the prophecies about Me."

And all the disciples of Jesus fled. But Peter and a certain young man followed Him closely. The young man was clothed only in a linen cloth. When the mob tried to grab him, he escaped. But his clothes were torn off in the process. And he ran away naked (Mark 14:51-52).

After His arrest, Jesus was taken to the High Priest's residence. Peter followed at a distance. The soldiers lit a fire in the courtyard, and sat around it for warmth, and Peter joined them there.

One of the maids, who worked for the High Priest, noticed Peter warming himself at the fire. She looked at him closely, and then said, "You were with Jesus, the Nazarene."

Peter immediately denied it. "I don't know what you're talking about!" he said, and walked over to the edge of the courtyard.

Just then, a rooster crowed.

The maid saw him standing there, and began telling the others, "There he is! He's a disciple of Jesus!"

Peter denied it again.

A little later, others standing around the fire began saying to Peter, "You too are one of them, for you are from Galilee!"

He began to curse and swear. "I don't even know this Man you are talking about," he said.

And immediately the rooster crowed the second time. Suddenly Jesus' words flashed through Peter's mind: "Before the cock crows twice, you will deny Me three times." And Peter began to cry bitterly.

Peter denied the Lord thrice that night. He was one of Jesus' best disciples. If he would deny Christ, we must not think that we would fare better than him. In fact, Peter eventually repented, and confessed his love to Christ thrice (John 21:15-19). After his repentance and return to Christ again, Peter was able to strengthen and build up the faith of others!

Jesus had already foretold beforehand that He would be deserted by all of His disciples after the Last Supper. All of them would flee away from Him upon His arrest. And He would be denied, particularly by Peter. But Peter was full of self-confidence. He vowed that he would never deny Jesus, no matter what the rest of the disciples would do.

Peter thought that he was stronger than the others. And not only that, he was able to stand up for Jesus, even all alone if nobody else stood by him. He was headstrong yielding to his flesh. This character fault runs inside many of us too, trusting in our own strengths, and not knowing who we really are! We think that we are better than we really are. We esteem ourselves better than others. When the troubles come, our true colours will show. We not only would desert Christ, we would also deny knowing Him!

Jesus told Peter the truth that shocked Peter severely. Peter would do worse than most of them. All of them would desert Christ, but Peter would deny Christ. Not once, but thrice. That really stirred up the emotions inside the heart of Peter. He objected violently! "Never! Even if I should die with You, I will not deny You. I will hold fast to You, even if it would cost me my life:" In simpler terms, Peter was just boasting in his own strengths and efforts!

If Peter had known himself better, he would have said, with fear and trembling, "Lord, give me grace to stand. Please help me be strong and courageous so that I would not deny You! Lead me not into this temptation, but deliver me from this evil!" If he had done so, the story would be different. But Peter could not watch and pray for even an hour. He just slept through that most critical hour! He yielded to his flesh!

The most common way of denying Christ is to profess to know Him, but fails to live up to it. Paul wrote in Titus 1:16:

They profess to know God,
but in works they deny Him,
being abominable, disobedient,
and disqualified for every good work.

Godliness is the result of the enabling and empowerment of the Holy Spirit to live out the abundant life in Christ! But many continually deny the power of the Holy Spirit in their lives:

But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come:
For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money,
boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents,
unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers,
without self-control, brutal, despisers of good,
traitors, headstrong, haughty,
lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,
having a form of godliness but denying its power.
And from such people turn away! (2 Timothy 3:1-5)

Yes, many Christians only have a form of godliness. They would be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. They would go to church, but they would not do what God required of them. They would continually grieve the Holy Spirit, denying His power and holiness! And they would not live up to the Biblical principles and teachings! They would not be able to stand to confess Christ in times of trials. They would desert and deny Christ!

The Apostle Peter told us that many would fall away and deny Christ in the last days! Coming from one who had denied the Lord thrice, we must heed his warning seriously:

But there were also false prophets among the people,
even as there will be false teachers among you,
who will secretly bring in destructive heresies,
even denying the Lord Who bought them,
and bring on themselves swift destruction.

And many will follow their destructive ways,
because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed.

By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words;
for a long time their judgment has not been idle,
and their destruction does not slumber. (2 Peter 2:1-3)

Doubts and heresies would be rampant in the last days. They would prevail among those who have some knowledge of God but are perverted in one manner or another. If there is a gospel of Lucifer, they would believe in it! Lust would become an all-consuming passion. Ungodly lifestyles would lead many people to desert and deny Christ!

The Church in America is facing a depressing fact that only 4 percent of their teens today are evangelical Christians - the lowest percentage of Christians in any generation of American history. They are currently losing in this battle of the souls! Many of their children and grandchildren have no godly examples to follow! Many charismatic church leaders lack integrity, failing to disciple faithful men who will be able to teach others also.

Many of the churches worldwide are watering down the gospel message in order to attract crowds. They would not endure sound doctrines. They would gather to themselves teachers who would preach what they want to hear.

For the time will come
when they will not endure sound doctrine,
but according to their own desires
because they have itching ears,
they will heap up for themselves teachers;
and they will turn their ears away from the truth,
and be turned aside to fables. (2 Timothy 4:3-4)

Many churches have already made changes to accommodate these people with itching ears. In compromising with the degrading standards of the world, the commandments of God have been removed and replaced, the eternal laws of God have been violated, and the lives of many families and people destroyed. Many Christians, without the godly laws of God, become lawless and fall into disgrace. Disgrace is the absence of true grace. And the church at large becomes a laughing stock and a stumbling block. We have become muted. The world will not listen to us. We have lost our prophetic voice when we do not heed the voice of God! When we deny the teachings of Christ, we deny Him! When we deny the power of the Holy Spirit, we deny Him! And when we deny Him, He will also deny us!

In the last days, the spirit of antichrist will be greatly manifested. And the antichrist will deny Christ. The apostle John gave us this warning:

Little children, it is the last hour;
and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming,
even now many antichrists have come,
by which we know that it is the last hour.

They went out from us,
but they were not of us;

for if they had been of us,
they would have continued with us;
but they went out that they might be made manifest,
that none of them were of us.

But you have an anointing from the Holy One,
and you know all things.
I have not written to you
because you do not know the truth,
but because you know it,
and that no lie is of the truth.

Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ?
He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son.
Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either;
he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also.(1 John 2:18-23)

The antichrist will deny Jesus Christ, the Light of the world and the Bread of Life. Whosoever denies the Light and the Life will receive Darkness and Death! These antichrists came out of the church, but they were not of us! They would twist the true teachings of God, and deny Christ. They would deny the Word of God. And the Word of God will judge them eventually. Jesus told us about this in John 12:46-50:

I have come as a light into the world,
that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness.

And if anyone hears My words and does not believe,
I do not judge him;
for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world.

He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words,
has that which judges him--
the word that I have spoken
will judge him in the last day

For I have not spoken on My own authority;
but the Father Who sent Me gave Me a command,
what I should say and what I should speak.

And I know that His command is everlasting life.
Therefore, whatever I speak,
just as the Father has told Me, so I speak.

If we deny Him, He also will deny us. But if we confess Him before men, He will confess us before His Father (Matthew 10:32-33):

Therefore whoever confesses Me before men,
him I will also confess before My Father Who is in heaven.
But whoever denies Me before men,
him I will also deny before My Father Who is in heaven.

Those who are of God will truly confess Christ and acknowledge Him as the Lord of everything in their lives, letting Him live His life in them and doing what He had taught. But those who only profess Christ will refuse to follow His example. They would deny Christ. They are being led by the spirit of antichrist (1 John 4:3). And the world would listen to them because they are of the world (1 John 3:1-2).

Confessing Christ means more than just proclaiming His glorious name. To praise and worship God in church is certainly one way to confess Christ, but it is not the most important way. The most important way to confess Christ is to live the life and practice true Christianity, living the way Christ lived by the power of the Holy Spirit.

But you, O man of God,
flee these things and pursue righteousness,
godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness

Fight the good fight of faith,
lay hold on eternal life,
to which you were also called and
have confessed the good confession
in the presence of many witnesses.
(1 Tim 6:11-13)

I beseech you therefore, brethren,
by the mercies of God,
that you present your bodies a living sacrifice,
holy, acceptable to God,
which is your reasonable service.

And do not be conformed to this world,
but be transformed by the renewing of your mind
that you may prove what is that good and
acceptable and perfect will of God. (Romans 12:1-2)

The best public confession and testimony to the world will be our life examples. Our lives can either bring glory or shame to His holy name! Whether we confess Christ or not, it will be clearly seen in our daily living. Our faith will be put to the test! Are we a light to the world? And are we good and godly life examples?

If we have denied Christ, let's repent and return to Him. After we have done so, let's strengthen and build up the faith of our brothers and sisters in Christ!

Written on:
11 April 2006