Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
Select a tract, month, or collection:
"When the Christ comes, will he do more miracles than this man has done?"
Certain Jews, in John 7:31
"I have come in my Father's name and you do not receive me;
if another comes in his own name, him you will receive."
Jesus, in John 5:43
In the Old Testament, the way God's people "confessed Christ" was to walk in the light of the Law of Moses, for that Law was given by God for a witness, or a confession, of His Son before God sent him to earth. Since the New Testament began, the holy Ghost, not Moses' Law, has been God's witness of His Son "because the Spirit is truth" (1Jn. 5:6b). Jesus the Messiah came to fulfill the Law of ceremonial works and to replace it with life itself. "I am come that they might have life, and have it more abundantly", said Jesus. And Paul explained, "The Spirit is life, because of righteousness" (Rom. 8:10). Jesus came, then, to pay the price for the holy Spirit, God's eternal life, to be given to us mortals.
For people to continue to worship God with symbolic ceremonies, as if Jesus had never come to end them, instead of worshiping God "in spirit and truth" is actually to deny that Jesus is the Messiah. Jesus was sent by God to fulfill the Law's fleshly, symbolic ceremonies and to replace those works with a baptism of our souls in life itself. He accomplished that extraordinary work on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2), and since then, the Spirit is what confesses, or testifies to men's hearts of the Son of God, instead of Moses' Law.
The nature of man, "the flesh" as Paul called it, completely rejects Jesus as the Messiah. Instead of receiving the Spirit that God gave as a witness to His Son, the flesh prefers the pomp of religious ceremony. "The flesh wars against the Spirit [of God]", wrote Paul, "and the Spirit against the flesh." The warfare that the flesh wars against the Spirit is not a warfare of adultery, thievery, and murder. The warfare of the flesh is a warfare of maintaining an appearance of goodness without the substance of it. It is the warfare of lovely songs, entertaining sermons, impressive ceremonial forms, and robes and other clothing that says to the eyes of man, "I am holy." Knowing that those who were "after the flesh" can deceive us by appearances, Jesus warned us, "Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment." Isaiah prophesied that Jesus would judge only by what the Spirit told him, and not according to what he saw or heard with his physical eyes and ears (Isa. 11:3), and we are given an example of Jesus doing that in Matthew 23:27-28. There, he condemned the leaders of Israel with these brutal words: "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed sepulchers, which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so, you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but within you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity."
The truth is that the flesh's messiah has not come yet, but the Bible tell us that he will come. In John's Revelation, John heard the flesh's messiah called "the Beast". Every soul that is still performing religious ceremony instead of worshiping God in spirit and truth is testifying by their actions of another messiah and is a living witness against the real Jesus.
Which Messiah are you a witness for? If you are "baptized with the holy Ghost and fire", and you are walking in that Spirit, then you are "confessing before men" the Messiah who has already come -- Jesus. To him God bears witness by pouring out His holy Spirit on every one who believes in the name of His Son Jesus. However, if you are worshiping God as men worshiped before Jesus came, in symbolic religious ceremony, you are denying by your works that Jesus was God's Messiah. Instead, you are confessing before men that your messiah has not yet come and that you are waiting for him. We are told in Revelation that the whole world will worship the Beast. He is the world's messiah, and that is why people all over the earth are still performing symbolic religious rituals. Their flesh is longing for the flesh's messiah.
You are a living testimony to somebody. The way you worship is a confession of somebody as your Messiah. Which Messiah is it?