This week we’ll be looking at Luke 12:8-12. The whole passage has to do with how we testify with our tongues to the Lord Jesus Christ. It begins by talking about our testimony to Jesus with our lips. In verse 10 it talks about those who oppose Jesus with their lips and with their words, and in verses 11 and 12 it talks about giving testimony to Jesus when we're called to give an account for the hope that is in us.

 Jesus first makes it clear in this passage that His disciples need to understand that He is at the center of the message that He is proclaiming. Absolute fidelity to the Lord Jesus Christ and His Word is part and parcel of being his disciple. Look at how He puts it in verses 8 and 9: “I tell you, everyone who acknowledges Me before men, the Son of Man also will acknowledge before the angels of God, but the one who denies Me before men will be denied before the angels of God.” The language, “the angels of God,” would have immediately called to the minds of the Jews the final judgment, when the angels of God would come and stand as witness when God judges the world. Jesus is making Himself the criterion of either your acceptance or rejection in the final judgment.

This passage is designed to encourage His disciples’ fidelity in professing Him publically when they are challenged. This is very important thing for us. We have seen Christianity blend in with culture more and more to the point that it is almost indistinguishable from the culture around it. When that culture challenges us on our distinctive beliefs, we are tempted to jettison those beliefs and to play up the things that we have in common. This damages our testimony of loyalty and allegiance to the Lord Jesus Christ.

There's a second thing to see in the passage. Verse 10 gives us one of the important testimonies to what we call the unpardonable sin. “Everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but the one who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.” How are we to understand this passage? Is it saying that you can reject Jesus but you can't reject the Holy Spirit? No. What does the Spirit do? He testifies to the person, work, and claims of Jesus Christ, that He is the only way of salvation. Sometimes people reject Jesus and are converted later, but no one can be forgiven who perseveres in unrepentance, resisting the Holy Spirit to the end, because the Holy Spirit testifies that Jesus is Lord and Savior. If we persist in rejecting that testimony of the Holy Spirit there remains no possibility for the forgiveness of sins.

Now this is important because Jesus, in this context, is speaking about Pharisees who wanted people to believe in God but not in the claims of Jesus Christ. It's important to understand that a Christ-less religion is of no value. Jesus is not interested in it. People in our culture today are fine with religion as long as you don't think Jesus is the only way of salvation. But Jesus says, “If you blaspheme the Holy Spirit, there is no possibility for forgiveness.”

It's also important because there are many Christians who have struggled wondering if they have committed the unpardonable sin. Let me just give you a couple of words of encouragement. First of all, one of the great evidences that you have not committed the unpardonable sin is that you worry that you have committed the unpardonable sin. I've never met anybody who's committed the unpardonable sin who worried about whether they've committed the unpardonable sin.

The second thing is that this word is said specifically against the Pharisees that were deliberately denying Jesus and His message. This resistance to the Holy Spirit is a deliberate denial of the person, work, and claims of the Lord Jesus Christ. Remember Peter, who denied Jesus three times. Jesus still saved him and brought him to repentance. You may have denied Jesus sometime in the past and now wonder whether you have crossed the line past which there is no hope. But Peter became a great and powerful preacher of the Word of God. Even if you have denied the Lord Jesus Christ, if now you trust in Him as your Savior you will see His work of grace in your heart.

Finally, as we look at verses 11 and 12 in this passage, Jesus addresses His disciples’ witness when they’re called to give account: “When they bring you before the synagogues and rulers and authorities, do not be anxious about how you should defend yourself or what you should say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.” Jesus is not saying that there shouldn't be evangelism training. He's saying, “Christian, when you are faithful to Me and are called to give an account, don't underestimate the power of the Holy Spirit to give you the words you need in that time.”

A number of years ago in Colorado, young people got up in the morning and went to school, expecting it to be just another day. And that day, two crazed teenagers with automatic weapons went into the school in Columbine and began shooting people. And at some point, someone said to one of the female students, “Do you believe in God?” And one of them said, “Yes,” and died. We never know when we may be called to give a testimony, but the Lord will give us the word, even if it's just “yes.”

All of us live in a day and age where we need to ask ourselves if we are ready to give that testimony. Would we be ready to acknowledge the Lord Jesus Christ as the only way of salvation even if we’ll be fired, sued, or mocked? Some of you who are in business relationships are going to be asked to do things that would compromise your fidelity to the Lord Jesus Christ and to His Word. You’re going to have to decide in those if you are going to stay with the Lord Jesus Christ and His Word or if you are going to deny Him.

All of us in our culture must decide if we will acknowledge Christ. We can only do it by the power of the Holy Spirit, but even now we need to remember that the Lord Jesus is preparing disciples who recognize that He is the nub of the issue. And if you’re an unbeliever and think that Christians are just an intolerant bunch because they believe that Jesus is the only way of salvation, please understand, the Lord Jesus has saved us. We cannot deny Him.