Matthew 10:33
But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father in heaven.
The Commanding of the TwelveP.C. Barker Matthew 10:1-42
Fearless WitnessingJ.A. Macdonald Matthew 10:24-33

In these days there are many among us who are, at heart, disciples of the Lord Jesus, but who shrink from confessing him before men. Their character and conduct have been long watched by those about them, and the signs of Divine change and renewal have been recognized. And vet they remain but "secret disciples." Like one who is introduced to us by St. John, who chose the quiet night hour, when the city hum was stilled, and only a stray traveller passed along the street, and he could hope to be unrecognized. There are many who have to be classed with Nicodemus. Quiet, timid souls, half afraid of their own thoughts, they seek Jesus, as it were, by night. To such this text appeals. To confess Christ would be the very thing to help them realize their condition. Confessing ought not to be a difficult thing. No man need hesitate to acknowledge that he loves the loveliest and serves the holiest.


1. Whatever form or order Christ's Church may take, it always has some way in which open and public confession can be made. In that way the duty comes home to us, according to the Church to which we belong. Somehow Christ must be openly and publicly acknowledged before witnesses.

2. You must help in Christian service, and so confess Christ's Name. If you are made "a new creature in Christ Jesus," be sure that he has some work for you to do, some place for you to occupy, some mission for you to accomplish.

3. You must live such a godly life as shall of itself constantly confess Christ. If you do not check the movements of heart-piety, you will find it wants to push out into the light and show itself in holy living. When the spring is purified, all the rivulets that run from it flow clear and pure. When the leaven is put in the meal, it will not keep still until the whole is leavened. Let religion have as much room and power as it may please. Do not let timidity, any more than sin, or passion, or evil habit, check it from its natural and befitting expressions.


1. The sense of responsibility attaching to making public profession. But that is to forget that responsibility ennobles a man.

2. A sense of personal unworthiness because Christian experience seems so limited.

3. A fear of the possibility of dishonouring Christ by backsliding and sin. But that is to mistrust God's power to keep you unto the end. - R.T.

Shall confess Me before men.
I. WHAT DOES OUR TEXT REQUIRE? Our confession of Christ before men. The subject of this confession. The persons before whom this confession is to be made. The manner in which this confession is to be made — verbally, practically, passively. Why? Because it falls in with the nature and design of Christianity, to prove your sincerity, in order to be useful, and because He deserves it.

II. WHAT IT ENSURES? His confession of us. More than recognition. The confessor before whom this confession is to be made; the season when this confession shall be made.

(W. Jay.)

I. A great DUTY recommended to us.

1. What is meant by our confession of Christ.

2. What by confessing Him before men.

II. A suitable REWARD and encouragement annexed to it. What is implied in Christ's confessing us before His Father. To confess Christ aright is

(1)To acknowledge and adore the Divinity of His Person;

(2)To believe the Divinity of His doctrine;

(3)To acknowledge and rely upon the all-sufficiency of His merits and mediation for us;

(4)To show the efficacy of our belief upon our lives. We must confess Christ both before good men and bad men.

(Matthew Hole.)


1. Before we can speak openly of Christ according to His true character, we must know and appreciate Him. Knowledge is ability to confess; appreciation is disposition to confess; both are power.

2. This confession is variously made.

(1)In season it is a verbal acknowledgment of Christ;

(2)By the observance of His ordinances;

(3)By the reception of His disciples and servants, especially of such as most represent Him;

(4)By the worship of His holy name;

(5)By the endurance of shame and persecution for His sake;

(6)By living to Him and living for Him.


1. It is connected here with the confessing of Christ by men.

2. It is both present and future.

3. It is full and complete. Lessons: secret discipleship can never fulfil our duties, or exhaust our obligations.

(S. Martin.)

I. THE DUTY specified (Romans 10:10).

1. To confess Christ before men is to show that we are uniformly influenced by a supreme regard to His will (Titus 1:16; Luke 6:46; John 15:14; Nehemiah 5:1).

2. To publicly attest the reality of those hopes and joys which Christianity professes to inspire, and claims as peculiarly her own.

3. To manifest a decided attachment to His people (Matthew 10:40; Matthew 25:40).

II. THE DIFFICULTIES ATTENDANT ON THIS DUTY. Such a decided and consistent testimony to Christ will be attended with difficulties (Matthew 10:36).

1. Common temptations.

2. Ridicule.

3. Calumny.

III. THE PROMISE ANNEXED TO THE DISCHARGE. Christ will confess His people; it is not said He will do so before men; by striking interpositions of providence. While they are partially confessing Him on earth, He is graciously confessing them in heaven.

(E. Cooper.)


(1)Knowledge of Christ;

(2)Belief in Christ;

(3)Love to Christ:

(4)Reception of Christ. Its characteristics.

1. It is a personal confession.

2. It is a public confession.

3. It is an honourable confession — "ME."


1. It is a return for our confession.

2. It is a personal confession.

3. It is a confession on the greatest occasion.

4. It is a confession before the greatest Being.

(T. O. Griffiths.)

Something more than fifty years ago there was a small dinner party at the other end of London. The ladies had withdrawn, and under the guidance of one member of the company the conversation took a turn, of which it will be enough here and now to say that it was utterly dishonourable to Jesus Christ our Lord. One of the guests said nothing, but presently asked the host's permission to ring the bell, and when the servant appeared he ordered his carriage. He then, with the courtesy of perfect self-command, expressed his regret at being obliged to retire; but explained that he was still a Christian. Mark the phrase, for it made a deep impression at the time — "Still a Christian." Perhaps it occurs to you that the guest who was capable of this act of simple courage must have been a bishop, or at least a clergyman. He was not. The party was made up entirely of laymen, and the guest in question became the great prime minister of the early years of Queen Victoria. He was the late Sir Robert Peel.

(Canon Liddon.)

On a certain occasion one of the bravest officers of Frederick the Great declined the king's invitation to dinner, because he intended next morning to receive the Holy Communion. The next time he was present at the royal table the king and his guests began to rally him for his scruples, and to mock at the sacred ordinance. The old man rose, saluted the king, who was no man to be trifled with, and told him respectfully but firmly that there was a greater King than Frederick, and that he never allowed that Holy One to be insulted in his presence. The courtiers looked on in amazement, trembling for the safety of the general; but Frederick, instead of resenting the rebuke, clasped the hand of his brave servant, and expressed his sorrow that he could not believe so firmly, or declare his faith so fearlessly.

(Canon Ashwell.)

As the hour drew near, people from all quarters flocked to the spot, and before the commissioners appeared, the Greyfriars Church and Churchyard, Edinburgh, were densely filled with the gravest, the wisest, and the best of Scotland's pious sons and daughters, The long roll of parchment was brought, the meaning and purpose of the covenant explained. Then a deep and solemn pause ensued: not the pause of irresolution, but of modest diffidence, each thinking every other more worthy than himself to place the first name upon the sacred bond. An aged nobleman, the venerable Earl of Sutherland, at last stepped slowly and reverentially forward, and with throbbing heart and trembling hand, subscribed Scotland's Covenant with God. All hesitation in a moment disappeared. Name followed name in quick succession, till all within the church had given their signatures. It was then removed into the churchyard, and spread out on a level gravestone. Here the scene became still more impressive. The intense emotions of many became irrepressible. Some wept aloud: some burst into a shout of exultation; some after their names added the words "till death;" and sonic, opening a vein, subscribed with their own warm blood. When every particle of space was filled there was another solemn pause. The nation had framed a covenant in former days, and had violated its engagements; if they too should break this sacred bond, how deep would be their guilt! Such seems to have been their thoughts, for, as if moved by one spirit — the One Eternal Spirit — with low, heart-wrung groans, and faces bathed in tears, they lifted up, with one consent, their right hands to heaven, avowing by this sublime appeal that they had now joined themselves unto the Lord in an everlasting covenant, which should not be forgotten.

(T. Guthrie, D. D.)

Some confess, but believe not, as hypocrites; others believe, but confess not, as timorous and Peter-like professors in the days of persecution; others do neither confess nor believe in Christ, as atheists; others both confess and believe, and they be true Christians.

(D. Willet.)

Had the faith of the heart been sufficient, God would not have given thee a mouth.

( Chrysostom.)

I. WHAT IS MEANT BY DENYING OF CHRIST before men? It is(1)to deny His mission and Messiahship;(2) to disown Him for the Son of God and Saviour of the world; and(3) not to receive Him for the person annointed and appointed of God for the redemption of mankind. It is (a) to deny the Divinity of Christ; (b) the Incarnation or manhood of Christ; (c) the satisfaction of Christ for sin; (d) the resurrection of Christ; (e) the authority of Christ over His Church and kingdom.

II. What are THE MOTIVES or inducements that lead men thus to deny Christ? The two principal are(1) Fear of persecution;(2) Hopes of preferment. Both clap a wrong bias upon the mind, that turns it from Christ to Belial.


(1)Sometimes in verbis, by words and oral expressions;

(2)Sometimes in scriptis, by blasphemous writings; and

(3)sometimes in operibus, by wicked works.

IV. WHAT IS MEANT BY CHRIST DENYING OF WHEN BEFORE HIS FATHER IN HEAVEN? It must be His disowning the deniers of Him, as false and deceitful followers of Him, the misery whereof is inexpressible.

(Matthew Hole.)


1. By erroneous, heretical judgment.

2. By oral confession.

3. By our actions and practice.


1. The seeming supposed absurdity of many truths.

2. Their unprofitableness. To be pious is the way to be poor.

3. Their apparent danger.


1. By withdrawing his person.

2. By concealing his judgment.


1. The action itself — "He will deny them."

2. The circumstance — "Before His Father," etc. A man's folly will be spread before the angels.


1. Confess Him in His truth.

2. In His members.

3. The baseness of a dastardly spirit.

(R. South, D. D.)

Alphaeus, Andrew, Bartholomew, Beelzebub, James, Jesus, John, Judas, Lebbaeus, Matthew, Peter, Philip, Simon, Thaddaeus, Thomas, Zabdi, Zebedee
Capernaum, Gomorrah, Sodom
Anyone, Denies, Deny, Disown, Disowns, Heaven, Heavens, Says
1. Jesus sends out his apostles, enabling them with power to do miracles;
5. giving them their charge, teaches them;
16. comforts them against persecutions;
40. and promises a blessing to those who receive them.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Matthew 10:33

     6232   rejection of God, results
     8706   apostasy, warnings
     8743   faithlessness, nature of

Matthew 10:32-33

     2309   Christ, as judge
     5549   speech, positive
     9240   last judgment

January 24. "Freely Ye have Received, Freely Give" (Matt. x. 8).
"Freely ye have received, freely give" (Matt. x. 8). When God does anything marked and special for our souls, or bodies, He intends it as a sacred trust for us to communicate to others. "Freely ye have received, freely give." It has pleased the Master in these closing days of the dispensation to reveal Himself in peculiar blessing to the hearts of His chosen disciples in all parts of the Christian Church; but this is intended to be communicated to a still wider circle, and every one of us who has
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

A Life Lost and Found [Footnote: Preached after the Funeral of Mr. F. W. Crossley. ]
'He that loseth his life for My sake shall find it.' --MATT. x. 39. My heart impels me to break this morning my usual rule of avoiding personal references in the pulpit. Death has been busy in our own congregation this last week, and yesterday we laid in the grave all that was mortal of a man to whom Manchester owes more than it knows. Mr. Crossley has been for thirty years my close and dear friend. He was long a member of this church and congregation. I need not speak of his utter unselfishness,
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Obscure Apostles
'These twelve Jesus sent forth.'--MATT. x. 5. And half of 'these twelve' are never heard of as doing any work for Christ. Peter and James and John we know; the other James and Judas have possibly left us short letters; Matthew gives us a Gospel; and of all the rest no trace is left. Some of them are never so much as named again, except in the list at the beginning of the Acts of the Apostles; and none of them except the three who 'seemed to be pillars' appear to have been of much importance in the
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Widened Mission, Its Perils and Defences
'Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves; be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. 17. But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; 18. And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for My sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles. 19. But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. 20. For it
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Like Teacher, Like Scholar
'The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. 26. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord.' --MATT. x. 24, 25. These words were often on Christ's lips. Like other teachers, He too had His favourite sayings, the light of which He was wont to flash into many dark places. Such a saying, for instance, was, 'To him that hath shall be given.' Such a saying is this of my text; and probably several other of our Lord's utterances, which
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The King's Charge to his Ambassadors
'Whosoever therefore shall confess Me before men, him will I confess also before My Father which is in heaven. 33. But whosoever shall deny Me before men, him will I also deny before My Father which is in heaven. 34. Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. 35. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. 36. And man's foes shall be they of his own household.
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Greatest in the Kingdom, and their Reward
'He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward. 42. And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.' --MATT. x. 41, 42. There is nothing in these words to show whether they refer to the present or to the future. We shall probably
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Christ's Charge to his Heralds
'These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, do not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: 6. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7. And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. 8. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give. 9. Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, 10. Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

February the Second How to Approach a Crisis
"It shall be given you in that same hour." --MATTHEW x. 16-28. And so I am not to worry about the coming crisis! "God never is before His time, and never is behind!" When the hour is come, I shall find that the great Host hath made "all things ready." When the crisis comes He will tell me how to rest. It is a great matter to know just how to rest--how to be quiet when "all without tumultuous seems." We irritate and excite our souls about the coming emergency, and we approach it with worn and
John Henry Jowett—My Daily Meditation for the Circling Year

May the Sixteenth the Details of Providence
"The very hairs of your head are all numbered." --MATTHEW x. 24-31. Providence goes into details. Sometimes, in our human intercourse, we cannot see the trees for the wood. We cannot see the individual sheep for the flock. We cannot see the personal soul for the masses. We are blinded by the bigness of things; we cannot see the individual blades of grass because of the field. Now God's vision is not general, it is particular. There are no "masses" to the Infinite. "He calleth His own sheep by
John Henry Jowett—My Daily Meditation for the Circling Year

Christ Bringing a Sword.
(Christmas Sermon.) "Glory to God in the highest, peace on earth, and goodwill towards men!" TEXT: MATT. x. 34. "Think not that I came to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword." HOW wonderfully out of harmony these words sound with the angelic greeting that we have just heard; threatening to rob us of all the joy and blessedness of this holy season! For is the sword pre-eminently the glory of God? and if it rages anew, is that a special delight to men? When the message has come
Friedrich Schleiermacher—Selected Sermons of Schleiermacher

On the Words of the Gospel, Matt. x. 16, "Behold, I Send You Forth as Sheep in the Midst of Wolves," Etc. Delivered on a Festival
1. When the Holy Gospel was read, Brethren, ye heard how our Lord Jesus Christ strengthened His Martyrs by His teaching, saying, "Behold, I send you forth as lambs in the midst of wolves." [2215] Now consider, my Brethren, what he does. If but one wolf come among many sheep, be they ever so many thousands, they will all be put to confusion by one wolf in the midst of them: and though all may not be torn, yet all are frightened. What manner of design is this then, what manner of counsel, what manner
Saint Augustine—sermons on selected lessons of the new testament

On the Words of the Gospel, Matt. x. 28, "Be not Afraid of them that Kill the Body. " Delivered on a Festival of Martyrs.
1. The Divine oracles which have just been read teach us in fearing not to fear, and in not fearing to fear. Ye observed when the Holy Gospel was being read, that our Lord God before He died for us, would have us to be firm; and this by admonishing us "not" to fear, and withal to fear. For he said, "Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul." See where He advised us not to fear. See now where He advised us to fear. "But," saith he, "fear Him who hath power to destroy both
Saint Augustine—sermons on selected lessons of the new testament

Confessing Christ an Indispensable Duty.
"--If we deny him, he also will deny us." This is predicated of Christ; and looks forward to the day when all mankind will stand before him as their judge. Denying Christ is here declared to be a mortal sin. Those found guilty of it will hear that sentence--"Depart ye cursed!" But this is to be understood only of a persevering denial of him. Those who turn by a timely repentance, will find mercy. This is true of every sin. But repentance may be too late. It must antecede death, or it will be of
Andrew Lee et al—Sermons on Various Important Subjects

The Trial of Peter's Love to Christ.
"So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, 'Simon son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these?' He saith unto him, 'Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee.' He saith unto him, 'Feed my lambs.' He saith to him again a second time, 'Simon son of Jonas, lovest thou me?' He saith unto him. 'Yea Lord; thou knowest that I love thee.' He saith unto him, 'Feed my sheep.' He saith unto him the third time, 'Simon son of Jonas, lovest thou me?' Peter was grieved, because he said to him the third
Andrew Lee et al—Sermons on Various Important Subjects

Enduring to the End
But, my brethren, how glorious is the sight of the man who does endure to the end as a minister of Christ. I have photographed upon my heart just now, the portrait of one very, very dear to me, and I think I may venture to produce a rough sketch of him, as no mean example of how honorable it is to endure to the end. This man began while yet a youth to preach the Word. Sprung of ancestors who had loved the Lord and served his Church, he felt the glow of holy enthusiasm. Having proved his capabilities,
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 10: 1864

Now, when we look abroad into the world we see, as we think, such abundant proofs that there is a God, that we are apt to treat a man who denies the existence of a God with very little respect or patience. We believe him to be wilfully blind, for we see God's name so legible upon the very surface of creation, that we cannot have patience with him if he dares to deny the existence of a Creator. And in the matter of salvation: we have each of us seen in our own salvation such positive marks of the
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 4: 1858

The Meteor Shower (Preached at the Chapel Royal, St. James's, Nov. 26, 1866. )
ST. MATTHEW x. 29, 30. Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. It will be well for us to recollect, once for all, who spoke these words; even Jesus Christ, who declared that He was one with God the Father; Jesus Christ, whom His apostles declared to be the Creator of the universe. If we believe this, as Christian men, it will be well for us to take our Lord's account of a universe
Charles Kingsley—The Water of Life and Other Sermons

God's Works of Providence
Rom. xi. 36.--"For of him, and through him, and to him are all things, to whom be glory for ever, Amen."--Psal. ciii. 19.--"The Lord hath prepared his throne in the heavens and his kingdom ruleth over all."--Matt. x. 29.--"Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? And one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father." There is nothing more commonly confessed in words, than that the providence of God reaches to all the creatures and their actions, but I believe there is no point of religion
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

The Final Unmasking.
For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known.--Matthew x. 26; Luke xii. 2. God is not a God that hides, but a God that reveals. His whole work in relation to the creatures he has made--and where else can lie his work?--is revelation--the giving them truth, the showing of himself to them, that they may know him, and come nearer and nearer to him, and so he have his children more and more of companions to him. That we are in the dark about anything is
George MacDonald—Unspoken Sermons

The Disciple, -- Master, in These Days Some Learned Men and their Followers Regard Thy...
The Disciple,--Master, in these days some learned men and their followers regard Thy atonement and the redemption by blood as meaningless and futile, and say that Christ was only a great teacher and example for our spiritual life, and that salvation and eternal happiness depend on our own efforts and good deeds. The Master,--1. Never forget that spiritual and religious ideas are connected less with the head than with the heart, which is the temple of God, and when the heart is filled with the presence
Sadhu Sundar Singh—At The Master's Feet

The Completion of Our Saviour's Prophecies Confirmed Pagans in their Belief of the Gospel.
I. The completion of our Saviour's Prophecies confirmed Pagans in their belief of the gospel. II. Origen's observation on our Saviour's disciples being brought before kings and governors; III. On their being persecuted for their religion; IV. On their preaching the gospel to all nations. V. On the destruction of Jerusalem, and ruin of the Jewish oeconomy. VI. These arguments strengthened by what has happened since Origen's time. I. THE second of these extraordinary means, of great use to the learned
Joseph Addison—The Evidences of the Christian Religion, with Additional Discourses

After Prayer Jesus Selects Twelve Apostles.
(Near Capernaum.) ^A Matt. X. 2-4; ^B Mark III. 13-19; ^C Luke VI. 12-16. ^c 12 And it came to pass in these days, that he went out into the mountain ^b 13 And he goeth up into the mountain, ^c to pray; and he continued all night in prayer to God. [It was a momentous occasion. He was about to choose those to whom he was to entrust the planting, organizing, and training of that church which was to be the purchase of his own blood. Jesus used such important crises, not as occasions for anxiety and
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

Nor do they Attend to This, that if Another Should Say...
3. Nor do they attend to this, that if another should say, that the Lord indeed, speaking in parables and in similitudes concerning spiritual food and clothing, did warn that not on these accounts should His servants be solicitous; (as He saith, "When they shall drag you to judgment-seats, take no thought what ye shall speak. For it will be given you in that hour what ye shall speak: but it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father that speaketh in you." [2479] For the discourse of spiritual
St. Augustine—Of the Work of Monks.

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