1. Turn in your Bible to Matthew 10.34. When you find that portion of Godís Word please look up. Before we read a passage from Godís Word I want you to do your best to imagine what it must have been like 2000 years ago, when Jesus lived among men. Can you do that? Try to imagine yourself to have been one of the apostles of Jesus Christ.
2. Convinced by His signs, wonders, and miracles, overwhelmed by His teachings and His insights, awed by His personal life and testimony, into believing that this Jesus of Nazareth is, indeed, the Messiah, the king of the Jews. He most certainly is the One the prophets foretold.
3. And He has called you and trained you and prepared you to go out to preach the Gospel in the highways and byways. Youíve been looking forward to going on this two by two mission for weeks. Imagine! You get to preach the Gospel like He told you, and there will be people to deal with, just like He dealt with them.
3. So now, just before you are sent out as two man teams for the first time, Jesus says these words:
34Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.
35For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.
36And a manís foes shall be they of his own household.
37He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
38And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.
39He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.
6. Letís learn some things that are always a bit of a surprise to non Christians, as the apostles were, no doubt, surprised.
1A. First, WE LOOK AT THE LORD JESUS CHRISTíS PURPOSE
From our modern perspective, with the completed revelation of Godís Word (which is to say, we have a finished Bible), we know what Christís purpose is. The Savior knew what the apostles did not immediately grasp, that His message would not be well received by one and all, that He would not be received by one and all. We also know that the majority who reject Jesus and His message will struggle to hinder also those who are inclined to respond to Jesus and His message. But the apostles do not yet know that.
1B. So, In Verse 34 We Find Jesus Correcting Them
"Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword."
1C. What a shocker! Look at the word "send." It translates the Greek word "ballw," which means to throw, or to toss.
2C. Some had, no doubt, imagined that the Savior would just come on the scene and people would immediately rally around Him and He would usher in a new age of peace and prosperity. But that is not at all what would happen.
3C. Commenting on this verse in his "Word Pictures In The New Testament," A. T. Robertson said, the word "indicates a sudden hurling of the sword where peace is expected." So, even the apostles were thoroughly confused by their own presumptions regarding the Lord Jesus Christís purpose.
4C. Instead of a political peace with the oppressive Romans no longer in the picture, the Lord Jesus Christ came to "throw" a sword that would further divide already divided people, but in a different way.
5C. The peace Jesus would bring would be an inner peace of heart and mind, and, more importantly, peace with God, but would not result in peace with other members of the family.
2B. Rather, In Verse 35, We Find A Warning Of Confrontation
"For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law."
1C. The phrase "set at variance" translates the word that means to divide something in two. So, the Lord Jesus Christ declares, in no uncertain terms, that He intends to create division.
2C. And folks, I am convinced that this "variance" will come before the sinner comes to Christ. This will be a conflict that surfaces during the sinnerís striving, while he is under conviction, when he is considering whether or not to come to Christ.
3B. In Verse 36 We Are Given A Conclusion
"And a manís foes shall be they of his own household."
1C. We should ask the question, "Why will a manís foes be those of his own household?" Over what could a family be so divided as to be rend asunder a father and a son, a mother and her daughter? They will struggle against your contemplation of Christ. They will resist you becoming a real Christian.
2C. My friends, the Savior has come to make people choose. And unless you are willing to resist the efforts of the people you love the most for the Lord Jesus Christ you will never get saved.
3C. Not that they donít love you, after a fashion. Not that you donít love them. But they do not know whatís best for your soul. Jesus does.
4C. But Jesus is not only the One Who is best for your soul. He is also the One Who is best for their souls. But what will they do as they see you striving toward faith in Christ, the salvation of your eternal and undying soul? They will oppose you. They will oppose Him.
5C. So, what happens when you have to choose between your dad and the Savior, between your mom and the Savior, between your own child and the Savior? In other words, when you have to choose between a loved one and staying lost and Hell-bound . . . or Christ and salvation, the choice is both difficult and obvious. And choose you must.
6C. The Lord Jesus Christ, my friends, by His Own testimony, to the shock and amazement of His disciples, is the reason for the dividing asunder of families and friends. If they will not give up their sins and come to Jesus with you, they will part company with you as you strive to come to Him.
7C. So, His purpose is to not only make people choose between Him and sin, but also to make you choose between Him and those you might be tempted to love more than Him.
2A. After declaring His purpose, THE LORD JESUS DETERMINES HIS DISCIPLEíS PRACTICE
That is, He describes to His apostles what is required to become a disciple. And this is, I think, simply looking at the process of striving to enter in at the strait gate, Luke 13.24, from another perspective. Three things:
1B. First, There Is The Issue Of Loyalty (37)
"He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me."
1C. Here we see this word "worthy" again. How prominently the word is used in this discourse to the apostles before their first foray into the harvest field. But note that "worthy" does not refer to a person meriting salvation in any way. Salvation is by grace and is undeserved.
2C. Rather, it refers to the issues that are oftentimes faced during a sinnerís strivings to come to Christ. Thus, to be worthy, to perform as expected, you must choose to love the Lord Jesus Christ more than you love your parents, and more than you love your kids. You must choose loyalty to Jesus Christ, the Savior of your eternal soul.
3C. And how your children will hate you and curse you from the pit if you do not choose to love the Savior more than you loved them. Oh, yes. If you do not chose Him over them, thus convincing them that He is worthy, they will hold it against you for all eternity for leading them to Hell by your poor example.
4C. Now, think for a moment. How many of the so-called Christians that you know pass the loyalty to Jesus test? Are those who are disloyal to Jesus really believers? Those apostles needed to learn to demand of sinners that they choose Jesus over everyone else, just as preachers today need to demand of sinners the same thing.
2B. Second, There Is The Issue Of Leadership (38)
"And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.
1C. Who is your leader? Whose example are you willing to follow? You see, if you donít take up your cross and follow Him you arenít worthy of Him, you arenít living up to whatís expected of someone who is really serious about becoming a Christian.
2C. And what is this taking up of the cross? Itís the willingness to deny yourself, to set aside your hopes, aspirations, and goals, and live for Him, serve Him. Not much of that being taught to sinners these days, is there? Not even much of that practiced these days, is there?
3C. What we see these days, instead of sinners being urged to demonstrate a willingness to do the hard things necessary to strive to enter in at the strait gate, is a pathetic quick fix sinnerís prayer that passes for evangelism.
4C. Thus, there is no longer these days any thought of sinners taking up their crosses. And this leads to fraudulent so-called Christians who refuse to obey Christ, and who refuse to deny themselves as they must in order to say "Yes" to Him.
3B. Then, There Is The Issue Of Life (39)
"He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it."
1C. Here the Lord Jesus Christ is contrasting your present life with your eternal future. That person who finds his life, presently, in the here and now, shall, in the future, lose it. But the person who loses his life, in the here and now, shall, in the future, find it.
2C. Again, the Lord Jesus Christ is not describing how a person gets saved. You do not give up your life now in order to get eternal life then. He is showing His apostles how to recognize the behavior of someone who is striving toward that time when he comes to simple faith in Christ.
3C. But the person who refuses to strive, who considers himself to have everything riding on the here and now, lives quite another way. So, no wonder "he that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for ĎChristísí sake shall find it."
1. Do you see why I am so convinced that so very few professing Christians are genuinely saved? How many who claim they are Christians were willing to part company with their loved ones for Jesusí sake, but instead looked for ways to compromise and accommodate sin and skepticism? What confidence can we have that such people are truly converted?
2. Folks, itís not a particularly hard decision to break with friends and loved ones over Christ. It was not hard to put my job on the line rather than work Sundays. After all, my boss didnít die on the cross for me. Neither did my mother die on the cross for me.
3. So, when you put things in perspective, the salvation of your eternal and undying soul versus a loved one who will be dead in a couple of years, versus a job you may lose next month, versus a friend you will never see again after graduation, the issues become simple.
4. People will interfere, will get downright meddlesome, when they discover God is dealing with you about the salvation of your soul. So, what are you going to do when they put up road blocks and obstacles, when they want to take you shopping Sunday morning, or want you to come over and visit on Sunday nights? You need to tell them "No." Your soul is more important than their convenience.
5. Now, brother Isenberger comes to lead us in a song before this morningís sermon.
1. My text for this morning is Matthew 10.36. Itís a simple little verse, not very long at all. But there are some weighty considerations for you to ponder arising from this verse.
2. Letís stand and read it one more time: "And a manís foes shall be they of his own household." This word "foes" means enemies. Jesus told the apostles that a manís enemies will be those who are in his own household.
3. What does that mean to you who are here this morning and you are unsaved? It means, if you are unsaved, that your own mother or father, your own brothers or sisters, your own husband or wife, perhaps your own children, are your enemies, are your spiritual foes.
4. My friend, I did not say they were your enemies. I did not make them your foes. The Lord Jesus Christ pronounced them to be your enemies.
5. For the next few minutes I would like to address three simple questions related to this statement the Lord Jesus Christ made about your foes, your enemies, being those of your own household.
1A. First, WHY WOULD JESUS IDENTIFY THEM AS YOUR ENEMIES?
1B. Think About This For A Moment. An Enemy Is Someone Who Fosters Harmful Designs Against You, Or Who Engages In Antagonistic Activities Against You. To Put It Another Way, An Enemy Is Someone Whose Behavior Will Result In Great Harm Being Done To You If He Is Successful.
2B. You Go To Church. You Are Told That You Are A Sinner And In Danger Of Hellfire. But Rather Than Being Interested In The Salvation Of Your Soul, That Person From Your Own Household Wants You To Stay Home From Church, Wants You To Go Shopping, Wants You To All Of A Sudden Go To Her Church Instead Of This One.
3B. That Person In Your Own Household Never Prays For You, Never Honors Or Shows Respect Toward You, Never Gives Of Himself To Benefit You. Oh, No. That Person Always Takes Advantage Of You, Always Burdens You, Always Inconveniences You. But When Itís Time For You To Tend To The Well-Being Of Your Eternal Soul, Now All Of A Sudden That Person Takes An Interest In You And Wants To Be Nice To You.
4B. Excuse Me, But Jesus Identified That Member Of Your Household As An Enemy For A Good Reason. The Only Thing She Will Accomplish If She Gets Her Way, If He Accomplishes His Desires, Is To Keep You From Getting Saved. And Anyone Who Interferes With Your Sins Being Forgiven, Anyone Who Gets Between You And The Lord Jesus Christ, Anyone Who Does Anything To Keep You Out Of Church And Away From The Gospel Preaching That You Know You Need . . . Is Your Enemy.
5B. Be He Husband Or Be She Wife. Be It Son Or Be It Daughter. Be It Mother Or Be It Father. Be It Brother Or Be It Sister. Anyone Who Interferes In Any Way With Your Careful And Cautious Consideration Of The Gospel Of Jesus Christ, Or Who In Any Way Discourages You Or Who Fails To Encourage You To Come To Christ, Is Your Enemy.
6B. You See, Jesus Is Not Your Enemy. He Is The Friend Of Sinners. But He Knows Who Your Enemies Are, Because Those Who Are Your Enemies Are Also His Enemies.
2A. Next, WHY WOULD THEY BE YOUR ENEMIES?
1B. These People Who Do Not Help Your Soul, But Who Hinder You Spiritually. They Are Already The Enemies Of God And Of Jesus Christ, But Why Have They Become Your Enemies? What Has Happened That Has Set Them Against You, Though They May Act All Smiles And Sweetness As They Do Their Best To Keep You Out Of Church And Away From The Gospel?
2B. Oh, Itís Really Quite Simple. Before You Came To This Church You And They Were On The Same Side, Which Is To Say, Against The Gospel. Now, You Didnít Openly Oppose Jesus Christ, But You Had No Real Use For Him. But Now You Are Reevaluating The Lord Jesus Christ. And Now You Are Reconsidering Your Own Condition In Light Of How Very, Very Long Eternity Is. Youíve Come To Think Of An Eternity Burning In Hell As An Awful Long Time.
3B. Those In Your Own Household Are Sharp Enough To Feel A Subtle Change In Your Attitude. They Perceive That You Are Thinking About Changing Sides. From Being A Person Who Used To Think Nothing Of Jesus Christ, Youíve Looked Around At Some Christians You Know And Youíve Starting Thinking That Perhaps Jesus Christ Is A Whole Lot Better Than You Used To Think He Was.
4B. But Your Enemies Donít Want You To Change Sides. They Donít Want You To Get Saved. They Would Hate The Idea Of You Getting Converted, Because Then You Would Think They Are Wrong For Opposing Jesus Christ And They Need To Get Converted, As Well.
5B. Donít You See? Your Family Member Doesnít Want That. So, They Will Oppose You In Any Way They Can To Interfere With You Getting Saved. They Will Argue, If Thatís What It Takes. They Will Try Sweetness, If Thatís What It Takes. They Will Try Anger Or Even Threats, If Thatís What It Takes. They Donít Care What It Takes, They Just Do Not Want You To Get Saved, Which Is Precisely Why Jesus Labeled Them Your Foes.
3A. Finally, HOW SHOULD YOU RESPOND?
1B. If They Want To Argue With You, Refuse To Argue. Just Go To Church. If They Try Sweetness And Offer To Bribe You With Affection And Attention On Sunday Morning, Refuse It And Go To Church. Donít Be Nasty With Anyone, Just Donít Let Them Keep You Out Of Church.
2B. You See, Church Is Profoundly Important For Anyone Who Is Unsaved, Since A Sermon Preached In Church Is The Usual Means By Which A Sinner Gets Saved, First Corinthians 14.24. If A Foe Can By Whatever Means Keep You Out Of A Single Church Service He Has Done You Great Harm And Has Shown Himself To Be Your Enemy.
3B. Donít Be Mean To Anyone. Donít Fuss With Anyone. Donít Attack Or Accuse Anyone. Just Come To Church Whenever The Doors Are Open. Thatís How You Respond To Efforts To Keep You From Church.
4B. When In Church, Donít Let Anyone Distract You. Get Up And Move Away From Whisperers, Even If Itís Your Husband Or Wife. Refuse To Sit Next To Someone Who Keeps You From Attending To The Preaching Of The Word Of God. Such A Person Is Your Enemy. You Will Be Spiritually Harmed If That Personís Efforts Are Successful In Keeping You From Fully Absorbing What God Has For You In The Preaching.
5B. And Then, Of Course, Respond To The Preaching Of Godís Word By Coming To Christ. Donít Let Anyone Keep You From Coming To Christ, Since Christ Didnít Let Anyone Keep Him From Coming For You.
1. My Savior means you no harm. He suffered great harm and personal injury to provide for your salvation from sins, so He has no interest in you being harmed in any way.
2. Therefore, listen to what He says when He warns of the foes in your own house. Is it your mom or dad, your son or daughter, your husband or wife? Though you love them, they may still be your enemy. Donít let them harm you.
3. Do what needs to be done, though they oppose you. Attend Church faithfully. Listen to the preaching carefully.
4. And if you need to talk to me to clear up any questions you might have, I would be honored to serve you in this way.