One of the most instrumental times for me in growing in God’s grace was during my two-year confirmation class as a teenager in South Germany. Every week for two years, we got together with our pastor and he taught us from Scripture and from Luther’s catechisms. At the end of this time, we had a wonderful worship service, at which the pastor gave me my official “confirmation Bible verse.” Some people in the Lutheran state church in Germany consider their confirmation Bible verse to be sort of their personal Bible verse for their life.
I remember that I was very interested to learn which Bible verse I would get. In God’s providence, I was given Matthew 10:32: “So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven.” Over the years, I have had much time to ponder this verse and to grasp its great truth.
No Other Name
It is not uncommon for me to hear from Christians, both in the United States and in Europe, a statement like this: “What really matters is that you live according to God’s Word, and then non-Christians will see by your actions that you love Jesus. You don’t really have to talk all that much about Jesus.” Of course, it is the right thing to live by the power of the Holy Spirit according to God’s Word. But it is not true that we don’t have to talk all that much about Jesus. Quite the opposite.
In Romans 10:10, we read, “For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.” Similarly, in Acts we see how the first Christians were very bold in talking about Jesus and exalting His name. Acts 4:11–12 says:
This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.
Speaking the Name of Christ
In planting Gospel Church München in Munich, Germany, I have seen the great need of Christians (including myself) to specifically use the name of Jesus Christ in our conversations with people. In the very secular context of Munich, I have seen a good number of non-Christians who are fine with or who even enjoy talking about spiritual matters, at times at great length. I fear, however, that some of those conversations, when we don’t talk about Jesus Christ, are merely a waste of time.
Once you specifically mention the name “Jesus Christ,” that’s where the rubber meets the road. That’s when people have to deal with Jesus and with who He is and what He has done. There is no salvation apart from Christ, and we should not be shy about talking about our great Savior, for He is worthy.
And, of course, in preaching Jesus Christ needs to be front and center.