TEXT: John 12:42-43
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.
Today, I am continuing the daily Just Jesus Evangelistic Campaign sermon series, which is aimed at sharing the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ with unbelievers and reminding Christians, in this important election year, to keep the main thing the main thing — and that is reaching unbelievers with the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and praying for their salvation, for the problem in America is not only disobedient presidents, politicians, and people, but disobedient pastors, preachers, and parishioners who have refused to obey the Lord’s Great Commission which is to, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” and who have refused to obey God’s repeated commands to “pray without ceasing” for unbelievers, believers, and political leaders. Yes, you should pray for the right candidate to win; yes, you should vote for the candidate that the Lord gives you peace about voting for. But, don’t get caught up in it like the world does. Nothing much is going to change until people get saved and get their hearts right with the Lord.
This campaign is inspired by the following three verses: 1 Corinthians 2:2 which says, “For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” Acts 5:42 which says, “And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.” And 2 Timothy 2:4 which says, “No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.”
This series is not for Christians necessarily. However, I do hope you are one of those saints who still loves to hear the “Old, old story of Jesus and His love” — As another hymn says, “For those who know it best Seem hungering and thirsting to hear it like the rest.” This series is primarily for unbelievers, so they can hear and understand the Gospel and be saved from sin and the punishment of sin which is hell. This is message number 191.
Alexander MacLaren said, “Unbelief is criminal because it is a moral act, an act of the whole nature. Belief or unbelief is a test of a man’s whole spiritual condition, because it is the whole being, affections, will, conscience, as well as the understanding, which are concerned in it.”
In the verses that we are considering today, we come upon a rare occurrence in the Gospel of John. Throughout his book, John has demonstrated the enmity that came from the religious leaders, the leading class, the establishment of the Jews. They did not like Jesus because He upset the order of things in Israel. They felt that their way of life was threatened. Yet, apparently, some of them could not deny in their souls and spirits the power of Jesus’ ministry and miracles. So we read, “Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him.”
These were Jesus’ secret believers. Nicodemus and Joseph of A-rim-a-thea belonged to this group of individuals. They believed that what Jesus was saying was true, but “because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue.” These people were afraid to be known publicly as Jesus’ followers, so they kept quiet. They kept on doing the same religious practices and consenting to the proceedings of the Pharisees so as not to rock the boat and cause problems in society for themselves.
The Bible says, “they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.” Unlike the blind man, they were not willing to risk standing with Jesus and being excommunicated from Jewish religious life and Jewish public life. They did not want to be numbered among the shunned outcasts of society.
What can we say about these secret believers? Some commentators speak harshly of them and try to say that they were not truly saved, claiming that there can be no such thing as a secret believer. But John writes that “they believed” just as he wrote of the disciples who believed. He does not add qualifiers to the description of their faith, so other commentators have put forth a more sympathetic understanding of these secret believers. Richard Trench said we must ask the question, “Are all Christians heroic?”
The issue of “secret believers” is relevant even in our day where Christians in majority-Muslim countries that are closed to evangelism (such as Saudi Arabia) face the question of how public they should be about their faith in Jesus Christ. For them, it is not just a question of being thrown out of the good favor of society, but a question of life and death.
Tom Hale and Steve Thorson said, “It is possible for one to become a true believer, but for some time to keep it hidden. At the beginning of one’s Christian life, one’s faith may be weak. But sooner or later, every Christian must become ready to confess his faith openly — or else he will show that his faith was never real to begin with. Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus are good examples of so-called ‘secret believers.’ But, in time, they too came forward and identified themselves as followers of Christ.” In fact, it was these two secret believers who were there for Jesus after He had died; not the twelve disciples who were known followers of Christ, and were in hiding at the time.
At the end of the day, it is not our place to measure the faith of those who say they believe. Jesus looks on the hearts, and He knows those who belong to Him.
What you ought to do today is to make sure that you are in the number of those who believe on Jesus Christ.
Here is how you can receive Him into your heart today.
First, please understand that you are a sinner and that you have broken God’s laws. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Please understand that because of your sins, you deserve punishment in hell. Romans 6:23 says “the wages of sin is death…” This is both physical death and spiritual death in hell.
But here is the good news. John 3:16 reads, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
The phrase “For God so loved the world” means that if you are in this world, God loves you no matter what you have done.
The next phrase, “that He gave His only begotten Son” refers to Jesus Christ. He is God’s son who suffered, bled, and died on the cross for your sins and for mine, and He was buried and rose again.
Our next phrase is “that whosoever believeth in Him”. The word “whosoever” means anybody at anytime. The phrase “believeth in Him” means to trust in Him, to depend upon Him, to rely on Him, or to have faith in Him for your salvation.
Our next phrase, “should not perish”, refers to eternal punishment in a place called hell.
And, lastly, the phrase “but have everlasting life” means to live eternally in Heaven with God.
The Bible also says in Romans 10:9 and 13: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved…. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Dear friend, if you are willing to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, please pray with me this simple prayer: Heavenly Father, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you believed in your heart that Jesus Christ died on the cross, was buried, and rose again, allow me to say, congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour! For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
If you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior today, please e-mail me at email@example.com and let us know. There is some free material that we want to send you. If you have a prayer request, please e-mail that to us as well, and we will pray for you until you tell us to stop.
God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.
Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books including the Essence Magazine, Dallas Morning News, and Amazon.com national bestseller, Letters to Young Black Men. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry.
He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others.
He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty University’s Rawlings School of Divinity (formerly Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary). He is currently a candidate for the Doctor of Ministry degree.
He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica since 1987. God has blessed their union with seven children.