“Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that confess his name.” (Hebrews 13:15, NIV84)
Years ago, I worked for a company that made industrial printing equipment. My job was to oversee the operation of field service and engineering in the United States. Once I needed to connect a supplier with one of our customers. So, I met the man at the airport and drove him to the customer’s plant. On the way, we struck up a conversation and I shared that I was a Christian. He replied that he was also, a Baptist. At the factory, the management decided that they would have a business lunch with the supplier.
At lunch, I could not believe what I heard from the supplier’s lips. The group of managers were not believers and began talking about very worldly and unwholesome things. I felt very uncomfortable and I was shocked when the supplier who told me that he was a believer, joined in the vulgar conversation. He began telling dirty jokes. The supplier’s speech did not match his profession of faith. Something was truly amiss. The supplier, if he was a believer, was hiding his Christianity in a closet.
The writer of Hebrews is exhorting his readers to get out of the closet, so to speak. We should again consider the pressure that the Jewish Christians to whom the author wrote were experiencing. Their former community of unbelieving Jews were likely exerting some form of pressure on them to return from belief in Jesus to Judaism under the law. The result of this pressure could force them to hide in the closet with their faith. In this, the author exhorts them to continually offer a sacrifice of praise by confessing the name of Jesus.
This all has to do with giving glory to God through our words. It also has to do with our witness. To confess Jesus is to agree with and identify with other believers. This is our testimony of faith.
The world system as evidenced in our culture today puts much pressure on believers to want to put their Christianity in a closet. We have a desire to fit in with others and not be excluded. We have desires to be successful in our business dealings and can tend to compromise as did the supplier I mentioned earlier. We don’t want to seem odd so we are tempted to participate in unwholesome talk. Moreover, in all these pressures, we are often tempted to go into the closet, failing to confess Christ as Savior and Lord.
Be strong. Stand firm in the faith. Be a witness. Glorify God. Do not hide your light under a basket. Let the fruit of your lips confess Jesus.