The Secret Believer
If you ever doubt Christ, look to what He is doing. He knows your heart. Confess Him and He will never forsake you.
Alright, thank you very much, and hello again, friends. How in the world are you? Doing alright? Well, that little greeting establishes the fact that this is, indeed, your good friend, Dr Cook, and I am glad to be with you once again. I look forward to these times when we can share God’s Word, like an ordinary worker looks forward to vacation. [chuckle] I just have such a good time with you. Bless your heart.
Well, now, we’re going on in our study of Mark Chapter 15, the story of the crucifixion and burial of our Lord Jesus Christ, “The proof for that centurion, as he watched Christ die, was that He died in a certain way, He voluntarily dismissed His Spirit, and in connection with that, there were a number of things happening that proved His deity.” Small thought here, if you ever doubt the validity of the gospel message, one way to reassure yourself or anyone else, who has doubts, is to see what God is doing in the lives of people. Atheism never cured an alcoholic. The godlessness that is taught among people, who are followers of what we call ‘secular humanism. And all of that, never helped a person get off the drug habit. The godless person doesn’t reunite homes, he breaks ’em up. Atheism and all of it’s spin-offs, beloved, doesn’t start hospitals, it doesn’t bring people to God, it doesn’t heal broken marriages, and broken hearts. Only the Lord Jesus Christ does those things.
If you wanna be reassured that your Savior is indeed who He says he is, just see what He’s doing in the lives of people around you. Yes, you may find human beings that disappoint you, we all do, but that isn’t the proof. The real proof is what Christ is doing in the lives of people, who really let Him have control. You’ll recall that John the Baptist sent a delegation to the Lord Jesus. John was in prison and the thought must have come to him again and again, “Here I introduced this man to the public, and now, he’s letting me rot in jail. Is He really the one or not?” And so he sent the delegation, and they said to the Lord Jesus very pointedly, “Art thou He, that should come, or do we look for another?” In other words, “Are you really the Messiah? Or are we still waiting for somebody else? And if you are really the Messiah, why do you let John rot in jail? You could get him out.”
Now, the answer from our Lord was, “Look around you, see what’s happening, what’s going on? The blind are made to see, the deaf can hear, the sick are healed, the lame are restored to full ability to get about, the dead are raised. You just tell John what’s happening.” And that was enough of an answer. If you ever have any doubt, beloved, and everybody does have doubts once in a while, I guess, we’re human. If you ever have any doubt, just take a look at what Jesus can do. You’ll know in your own heart, that you’re on the right track. Our Lord Jesus is who He says he is, the Son of God. He can do what He says He can do, save to the uttermost, and He’ll do it for you, if you let Him. By faith, turn your life over to Him and let Him work.
Well, now, our Lord Jesus had dismissed His Spirit. He cried with a loud voice, gave up the ghost, the veil of the temple was rent in two from top to bottom. See, God was opening the way now, into the holiest of all, and so the writer to the Hebrews could say, “Let us come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Well, Joseph of Arimathea, an honorable counselor, who waited for the kingdom of God, came in, and boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus. Pilate marveled, if He were already dead, calling the centurion. He said, “Is He dead already?” When he knew it, the centurion, he gave the body to Joseph, who bought fine linen, and brought Him down, wrapped Him in the linen, and laid Him in a sepulcher that was hewn out of a rock, and rolled the stone onto the door of the sepulcher. Mary Magdalene, and Mary, the mother of Joses, beheld where He was laid.
Joseph of Arimathea… And another gospel writer links Nicodemus with him… The two of them, secret disciples, but now, they’re doing the best they can, to take care of this precious body of the Lord Jesus Christ. What is the place of the secret believer? There are many of them. What do they call them down in the Spanish speaking countries? ‘Simpatizantes,’ isn’t that it? They’re sympathetic to the gospel, but they’ve never made the break. I’ve met people in other countries, third world countries, who said, quite frankly, “If I came out and became a Christian publicly, my whole family would disown me, my business will disintegrate, I might even be killed. I can’t do that.” What is the place of the secret believer? Well, there’s no criticism implied, either of Joseph or Nicodemus in the Bible. That’s the first thing, so I have to say, “God knows the individual heart. He knows whether or not you really trust Jesus.”
That’s the first thing. He really knows. Many people hide behind verbiage, and all kinds of double-talk, and you never really know where they stand, but God knows. Man looketh on the outward appearance, but God looketh on the heart. And if, today, I’m talking to someone, who’s in a difficult position, and it’s been impossible for you, humanly speaking, to come out, and declare yourself for the Lord Jesus, but down in your heart, you know that you love Him, and you’ve asked Him to save you from your sins, and make you a child of God, you can rest in this: God knows where you are. He knows what you are. He knows how you feel. He knows whether or not you trust Him. That’s the first thing.
Well, what else about the secret believer? I have to say that, “You never really will be comfortable, until you confess your Lord openly.” Jesus said, “Whosever, therefore, shall confess me before men, him also, will I confess before my Father, which is in heaven. But who so shall deny me before men, him also will I deny before my Father, which is in heaven.” Our Lord Jesus wants you to come out and openly confess your love for Him. That’s what He wants. And as a result, you’ll never really be fully comfortable, until you do. To live with yourself, knowing that you haven’t done what you ought to do, as commanded by the Lord Jesus, gives you a constant uneasiness. I think you better think about that, my friend, if you’re a secret believer. You better think about it. Maybe you ought, before too much time goes by, maybe you ought to come right out and say to people who know you, even at some cost, perhaps to yourself, say where you stand with the Lord Jesus Christ.
Now, another thought is, you’ll never win other people, while you’re trying to protect your own anonymity. While you are trying to be unnoticed, you’ll never win other people to Christ. Simon Peter found that out. All he got was mockery and criticism, while he was trying, as he stood by the fire in the outer hall there of Pilate’s palace, all he got was more pressure. People are not gonna be very sympathetic to you, that’s for sure. And so what you need to think about is, “Shouldn’t I confess my Lord openly, my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ?” Confess it openly, even though it may be at some cost to myself, in terms either of criticism, or even expulsion from a family unit, or whatever it may be. Secret believers. Oh, the world has lots of them. God bless them. Let your heart go out to them. You don’t know the pressure under which some people live.
Let me tell you. You don’t know the fear under which some people live, and you don’t know the atmosphere of constant criticism that some people have to put up with, even without revealing that they belong to Jesus. So let’s have a little sympathy for the folk that are living under tremendous pressure, shall we? At the same time, let’s remember that Jesus wants you to come out in the open, with your confession of faith in Him. And He has promised not to leave you. He said, “I will never leave you, nor forsake you. Lo, I am with you all the way, even to the end of the world.” And He said, “When they’ll bring you before kings and all of magistrates, don’t worry what you’re gonna say, because it shall be given you in that hour, what ye shall say, for it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father, which speaketh in you.” If you take your stand for Christ, what then? You can depend on Him to stand by you.
Paul the Apostle said, “At my first hearing, no man stood with me, but all men forsook me. Nevertheless, the Lord stood with me and I was delivered from the mouth of the lion.” People may forsake you, or cast you out, or expel you, or snub you. But Jesus, our Blessed Lord, will never, never fail you. I know you’re saying to yourself, “Something that’s easy for Cook to say. He’s got a different position. He’s been brought up in the Christian faith and it’s easy for him to talk.” I know. But listen, beloved, what I’m telling you is not just Cook, it’s in the Bible. It’s the truth. I didn’t write it. God did. He said, “He wants you to be proud of Him.” He said, “He wants you to confess Him before people.” And He said, “He’d never let you down.” Underneath, are the everlasting arms.
I think so often of what happened with one of my church members, a good many years ago now, his name was Jenister, Bill Jenister. And he had been converted at age, about 38 or 40, something like that, out of a life of complete godlessness. But when Jesus saved him, He thoroughly saved him, insomuch that, Bill just delighted to go around and give a word of witness to anybody that he could. Shortly after his conversion, he started on his lunch hour, to go around in the various departments of the factory, in which he worked, distributing little red, Horton Gospels of John, which he had gotten from the Moody Colportage people, and giving his testimony. He came to one department where the foreman was violently anti-religion. And the foreman said to him, “Look it here, Bill Jenister. If you keep on like this, I am going to the big boss and get you fired.” And Bill told us about it. Later on, as he taught the Sunday School class, he said, “Well, I said to him, ‘Well, that’s alright. You go to the big boss, and maybe, God wants me out into full-time Christian work. I don’t know. Go right ahead and I’ll go right ahead giving out my witness.” And then, as he finished the story a little later on, he chuckled, and he said, “You know what happened? He got fired and I got a raise. Hallelujah.” [laughter]
Well, I can’t tell you that you’ll always get a raise when you give your witness faithfully. No, I can’t promise that. Some of you have gone through some tremendous testings, because you’re a Christian, and I know it. But I can tell you that Jesus will never fail you. He said, “I’ll be with you all the way and you will have the delight of knowing the touch of the nail-pierced hand upon your life, every step of the way, as you confess your Lord.”
Dear Father, today, oh, may we be proud of Jesus, may we be confessing Him before people, and may we have His precious touch upon our lives. I ask in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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