Possession, Profession, Practice

Those who believe in the Jesus Christ as their Savior are given his Holy Spirit to indwell in them. In other words, a believer is possessed by the Holy Spirit of God (Romans 8:9). John 12:42-43 states that there were some chief rulers in the day of Jesus who believed in him (possessed him), but abstained from confessing (professing their faith in) him, because they feared that the people in power (Pharisees) and feared that their position in the synagogues would be lost. They sought the praise of men over the praise of God. To possess the Lord Jesus Christ (or should I say, let the Lord possess us) and not profess him is an expression of timidity.

On that same note however, when we profess the Name of Jesus Christ, let us also practice what we preach. For faith (possession) without works (practice) is dead and professing without practicing is hypocrisy and in essence a denial of the Lord (Titus 1:16). This is one of the main reasons, that the world has a problem with those who claim to be followers of Christ but act as if they weren’t. One of my good friends, once told me, “It is not Christ (Jesus) that I have a problem with; but it is the Christians.” Preaching the love of Christ and not loving our enemies or praying for those who persecute us (and I must admit, it is hard to do those without the Power of the Holy Spirit) is hypocrisy. So when we profess with our lips, let us make sure that we practice, lest we profane the Name of God by our lives.

Points to ponder:
Believers, when we are asked to shut up (and not profess) the name of Jesus Christ, let us recognize that we are to be God pleasers and not men pleasers (Ephesians 6:6; Galatians 1:10) and that Jesus promised to be with us, even unto the ends of the world. We are not given a spirit of timidity, but of power, and of love and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). Let us not be afraid of the people in power or of losing our position. Let us seek the praise of God and not of men.

And in pleasing God as we profess the Love and Name of Jesus Christ, let us not merely render lip service to God but a life service, in which we practice what we preach.

Do you possess the Lord Jesus Christ? In other words, have you believed and received him?
If we do possess Jesus Christ, are we professing him without fear, in faith?
If we are professing him, are we also practicing what we profess of Jesus Christ?

Possession without Profession is Timidity.
Profession without Practice is Hypocrisy.
So when we Possess (the Lord Jesus Christ), we must Profess (the Lord Jesus Christ) AND Practice what we Profess.

Romans 8:9 (KJV)
But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

John 12:42-43 (KJV)
42 Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue:
43 For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.

Titus 1:16 (KJV)
16 They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.

2 Timothy 1:7 (KJV)
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

Galatians 1:10 (KJV)
10 For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.

Lesser known characters :: Felix

Felix was the Roman governor during the days of Paul. When Ananias the high priest and Tertullus a lawyer brought charges against Apostle Paul, stating that he was a troublemaker and the leader of the sect of the Nazarenes (followers of Christ Jesus who was from Nazareth), to Felix, Paul mounts his defense against Ananias and Tertullus about the Way (of Salvation through Jesus Christ, the resurrected Lord). The Bible says that Felix had perfect knowledge of the Way, meaning that he was aware of the belief of the Christians (Acts 24:22). Felix does not immediately try Paul, but wishes to do so in front of Lysias, the chief captain and until then keeps Paul under guard (imprisoned). After a few days, he and his wife Drusilla, who was the daughter of king Agrippa, come and listen to Paul concerning Paul’s faith in Christ and when Paul reasoned with Felix of impending judgment and the need of being imputed righteousness through belief in Jesus, and matters of temperance, Felix becomes afraid (trembles) and states that he will wait for a more convenient time to discuss faith matters. Felix continues to keep Paul imprisoned and expecting bribes, he sends for Paul often and talks with Paul. For two years, Felix leaves Paul imprisoned, in order to please the Jews. Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus.

What can we learn from Felix?
Felix had perfect knowledge of the Way but in order to please the Jews who brought charges against Paul, Felix imprisons Paul. Clearly Felix sins here for knowing to do the right thing and not doing it, for him it is sin (James 4:17). We must not refrain from doing that which is the right thing to do. Secondly, Felix (and his wife Drusilla) came to hear of Paul’s faith in Jesus Christ, and when he is given the message of righteousness, temperance and judgment, instead of responding to the call to be righteous, by simply believing in Jesus Christ, Felix chickens out and pushes his decisions to what he calls a more “convenient” time. The best time to respond to God is now (2 Corinthians 6:2). Thirdly Felix’s covetousness of materialistic things (bribes), made him want to come and talk often with Paul, but what is unfortunate is that Felix’s mind was focussed on what he could get materialistically instead of what really mattered which is Salvation in Christ Jesus. Fourthly for his fear of displeasing the jews, Felix continued in the baseless imprisonment of Paul for two years (again knowing the right thing to do, but not doing it). Trying to please men over God can make us do some foolish things against God and his people. Let us not be like Felix.

Acts 24:22-27 (KJV)
And when Felix heard these things, having more perfect knowledge of that way, he deferred them, and said, When Lysias the chief captain shall come down, I will know the uttermost of your matter.
23 And he commanded a centurion to keep Paul, and to let him have liberty, and that he should forbid none of his acquaintance to minister or come unto him.
24 And after certain days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, which was a Jewess, he sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ.
25 And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.
He hoped also that money should have been given him of Paul, that he might loose him: wherefore he sent for him the oftener, and communed with him.
But after two years Porcius Festus came into Felix’ room: and Felix, willing to shew the Jews a pleasure, left Paul bound.