Matthew 10.36



1.   Turn to Matthew 10.32.  When you have found Matthew 10.32, please stand for the reading of God’s Word:

32     Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.

33     But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.

34     Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.

35     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.

36     And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.

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. 

2.   There was great confusion in days the Lord Jesus Christ walked the earth.  Some were of the opinion that He was the Messiah and that He was preparing to usher in the millennial kingdom, when peace and righteousness would rule.  Prophecies in the Hebrew Scriptures predicted such a time.

3.   While it is true that my Lord Jesus Christ is the Messiah, and He will someday usher in the millennial kingdom, and at that time peace and righteousness will rule, such was not His plan to execute at the time of His first coming, or during the time frame in which we now live.  And though Hebrew Scriptures do predict such a peaceful time, their fulfillment will not occur until the second coming of Christ.

4.   This may startle some of you, but during this era in which we live, choices have to be made, allegiances have to be declared, loyalties have to be demonstrated, and blood ties have to be broken so that more enduring ties can be established.

5.   Verses 32-33: 

32     Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.

33     But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven. 

6.   Spurgeon’s Commentary On Matthew for these verses reads:

Our business is to confess Christ before men. In him the truth we acknowledge begins, centers, and ends. Our Confession of Faith is a confession of Christ: he is our theology, or Word of God. What a joy to confess him now! What a reward to be confessed by him hereafter in the glory- world! It will be a high offense against the great God, whom Jesus twice calls “my Father which is in heaven”, if we fail to confess his Son on earth. It is clear that in this passage to “deny” Jesus means,—not to confess him. What a grave warning is this for the cowardly believer! Can a nonconfessing faith save? To live and die without confessing Christ before men is to run an awful risk. Actually to recant and give up Christ must be a dreadful crime, and the penalty is fearful to contemplate. Disowned by Jesus before his Father who is in heaven! What hell can be worse? Lord, let me never blush to own thee in all companies! Work in me a bold spirit by thy Holy Spirit. Let me confess thy truth whatever the spirit of the age may be, uphold thy church when she is most despised, obey thy precepts when they cost most dear, and glory in thy name when it is most reproached.[1] 

7.   In verse 34, Jesus says, “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.”

8.   Again, from Spurgeon’s commentary:

Peace will be the ultimate issue of our Lord’s coming; but, at the first, the Lord Jesus sends a sword among men. He wars against war, and contends against contention. In the act of producing the peace of heaven he arouses the rage of hell. Truth provokes opposition, purity excites enmity, and righteousness arouses all the forces of wrong. During the process of fermentation, in which the right works for mastery, natural relationships go for nothing as preservatives of peace. . . Animosities on account of religion often excite the fiercest of enmities, and nearness of kin inflames rather than quenches the hostility. We are to press on in confessing the Lord Jesus, come what may of it. Even if our house becomes a den of lions to us, we must stand up for our Lord. The peace-at-any-price people have no portion in this kingdom.[2] 

9.   Verse 35:  “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.”

10. The word “variance” translates dicazw, and means “to divide in two.”[3]  My friend, the Lord Jesus Christ’s stated short term goal, for the purpose of achieving His greater long term goal, may result in the breaking up of your family.

11. Verse 36:  “And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.”

12. Look at this word, “foes.”  It translates the Greek word ecqroi, and “pert. to being subjected to hostility, hated.”[4]  Thus, because of Jesus Christ, a man will actually be hated by his own family members, and will receive hostile treatment from them for being loyal to the Savior.  Sadly, to avoid hostile treatment from family members, most people will reject the Lord Jesus Christ in preference for those unsaved loved ones.

13. Verse 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.”

14. That venerable Baptist pastor and theologian, John Gill, writes in this regard:

The design of these words, is not at all to lessen the due affection of children to their parents; or to detract from the respect and esteem, in which they ought to be had by them: it is the duty of children, to love, honour, and, obey them; who have been the means of bringing them into the world, and of bringing them up in it; nor do any of the doctrines of Christ break in upon the ties and obligations of nature, or in the least set aside any of the duties of natural religion: but the intent of this passage is, to show, that as Christ is infinitely above all creatures, he is to be loved above the nearest and dearest relations and friends; being God over all blessed for ever, and also the Saviour and Redeemer; which itself, makes him more amiable and lovely than a common parent. That man therefore, that prefers father and mother to Christ, and their instructions, and orders, to the truths and ordinances of Christ: who, to please them, breaks the commands of Christ, rejects his Gospel, and either denies him, or does not confess him, our Lord says, is not worthy of me. . . .[5] 

15. I speak now to you mothers and fathers of unsaved children.  You have a high and holy obligation to not only love Jesus Christ more than you love your wicked child, but also show that you love the Lord Jesus Christ more than you love your wicked child.

16. Consider this if your wicked child is not antagonistic toward you:  Have you failed to clearly demonstrate to that child, by your words and by your actions, by rebuking the child’s sins and by refusing to support or subsidize your child’s sinfulness in any way, that Christ is first in your life?  It is a tough question.

17. Please understand, for Christ’s sake and for your wicked child’s sake, that until your words and deeds to exalt Jesus Christ in the mind of that wicked child are so effective that he sees the Savior to be altogether lovely and gloriously worthy, it is unlikely that child will ever be converted.

18. Thus, so long as you accommodate that wicked child, so long as you cater to that wicked child, so long as you treat your wicked child’s sins as mistakes and not heinous crimes, and so long as you help your wicked child to make a go of her wicked and Christ-rejecting lifestyle, you are effectively denying Jesus Christ and refusing to confess Him before men.

19. Please examine yourself, actions and attitudes, to ensure that you are not an impediment to your own child’s conversion.  If your child dies and goes to Hell, give yourself a clear conscience with the full assurance that you did your best to bring about that child’s conversion, and were not an obstacle to his conversion.

20. Brother Isenberger comes at this time, after which I will deliver today’s sermon to you unsaved young people.  Brother Isenberger. 


1.   My text for today is Matthew 10.36.  Please look at that verse once more and read along silently while I read it aloud:  “And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.”

2.   I speak to you young people here today concerning one of the greatest disservices that can be done to you.  Consider those mothers and fathers who, because of their own prides and prejudices, actually hinder their children from coming to Christ and living lives of effective service and ministry in the church.

3.   Moms and dads, who like to think of themselves as morally and spiritually superior, who are quite persuaded that they are beyond any need for pastoral instruction themselves, and who are not willing to subject either their beliefs or their practices to Biblical scrutiny, can end up being their children’s spiritual foes.

4.   Oh, such parents categorize themselves as the greatest of all assets to their children’s upbringing and welfare.  But they can actually prove to be the greatest of all obstacles to their own children’s conversion.  I speak not to the adults, this morning.  Young people, I speak directly to you.

5.   Jesus said, “And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.”  That means there may be some of you here today whose own mothers or fathers are your foes, whose own mothers or fathers are your spiritual opponents, whose own mothers or fathers are, consciously or perhaps unconsciously, opposed to your genuine conversion to Christ.

6.   There are three matters you young people need to carefully think about in your own mind and heart. 


1B.    Please recognize that if your mom or dad is your spiritual foe they may not always talk like a foe.  They may not always voice their opposition to your conversion.  Quite the contrary, they may say in a variety of different ways that they want you to become a Christian.  So I am not, today, talking about moms and dads who say they do not want you to become a Christian.  Instead, I am going to talk to you about moms and dads whose actions, whose behavior, shows that they are not properly working toward you becoming a Christian.

2B.    Oftentimes, such a mom or dad is not consciously aware of their opposition to the Lord Jesus Christ.  Instead, their opposition to your spiritual welfare is shown by their unscriptural attitude toward the importance of the family.  Notice, I am not saying your family is not important, for it certainly is important.  But many times moms and dads are obstacles to a kid’s conversion when they treat the family as though it is most important.  Your family is not most important.

3B.    It is true that God brought the family into existence when He created Eve to be Adam’s wife.  But though the family unit is first in order of creation, it is not first in order of importance among those institutions that God has brought into existence; the church is first in importance among divinely ordained institutions.

4B.    You see, the Bible does not say that Christ gave Himself for the family, but it does say, in Ephesians 5.25, that He gave Himself for the church.  The Great Commission was not given to the family to carry out, but as Baptists we do believe that Jesus Christ gave the Great Commission to the church to carry out.  And while the Bible nowhere warns anyone of overemphasizing or over-stressing the importance of the church, we have already read where the Lord Jesus Christ warned individuals against the spiritual opposition they could face from within their own families.

5B.    Your mom or your dad is obviously your spiritual foe if one or both of them opposes your desire to faithfully attend church, if they openly speak against the Savior, and if they speak against the pastor, the man God would use to preach to you the unsearchable riches of Christ.  But your mom or dad is also your spiritual foe if they keep you out of church, if they allow you to stay home from church, and if they routinely place family activities in front of church.

6B.    Young person, you were given to your mom and your dad to be raised in the nurture and admonition of the Lord Jesus Christ.  If your mom and dad do not pray for your conversion, if they do not deal with your personal sins, if they do not make sure you attend every service, if they do not insist that you participate in every church function, if they do not engage in strategies with the pastor to bring about your conversion . . . your parents are your foes, not your spiritual allies.

7B.    Remember what the Lord Jesus Christ said in Matthew 12.30:  “He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.”  Your mom and dad should be actively engaged in seeking your conversion.  And while it is true that they should not in any way attempt to make you become a Christian, since no one can force another to come to Christ, they are obligated to God to do what they can do to bring about your conversion.

8B.    Do your parents plan family functions to interfere with church services and ministries?  Do they seem to you to have a high level of commitment to the cause of Christ through church, or are they content to function as evangelicals, who practice a freelance Christianity that is absent any real commitment of time and energy?  Do your parents allow you to schedule activities that frequently take you away from church services?  Do they seem to you to believe that church is nice, but only when it is convenient, or only when there is no conflict with things they think are more important?

9B.    Young person, you have to do some thinking for yourself before there will be any likelihood of you ever getting saved.  When it comes to your spiritual well being you simply cannot afford to allow others to do your thinking for you, especially when the Lord Jesus Christ warned of spiritual foes within a person’s own household.  The question you need to address is, Are my parents working to get me converted, or are they a hindrance to me getting converted?  You may not like the question, but it is a question you need to answer. 


1B.    If your mom or dad are your spiritual foes, they are simply wrong about the church.  Whether they are bikers, who drag you off to wild parties, or people who are deeply committed to the family, commonly taking you to family functions, the effect is still the same.  They are taking you away from church, which is the institution the Lord Jesus Christ instituted to carry out the Great Commission and to train Christians to serve Him.

2B.    Sometimes a mom and dad minimizes church because they are obviously very selfish, and they like to go here and there, dragging their families with them, with the result being that they interfere with church all the time.  When I taught a famous drag racing funny car driver’s son in Sunday School many years ago, that kid was being dragged here and there and kept out of church almost every Sunday as a result of parental selfishness.

3B.    But there are other moms and dads who keep a kid out of church for a different reason.  It is not so obviously because of selfishness, though it actually is because of selfishness.  Sometimes a person has gone through personal tragedy and missed the kind of family life he wishes he could have had as a child.  So, when such a mom or dad someday gets married and have kids, they live out their childhood fantasies by doing all the things with their child they wished they could have done when they were younger.  But you see, such activity as that is not so much done for the child as for the parent, like the Little League dad who wants for his boy to do well because he was disappointed with his own opportunities or performance as a child.

4B.    But what you have to understand, young person, is that no matter why moms and dads interfere with their kids being in church whenever the doors are open, participating in every one of the church’s activities and ministries, the basic problem has to do with not understanding what a family is for.

5B.    You see, God’s plan has always been for the family unit, with mom and dad and kids, to function in cooperation with what God is doing at that time in history.  For example:  You never see an Israelite family going off and doing their own thing during the time of Moses, or during the time of David, or doing the time of Hezekiah, unless it was going off and committing great sin.  Under the administration of the Law of Moses the family unit was expected by God to function within the scope of His plan and purpose for that era in history.

6B.    And the same is true today.  The family unit should not be used to gratify a mom’s or a dad’s selfish desires.  Neither should a family unit be used to fulfill unmet childhood needs.  God’s plan is for a mom and a dad to run their family within the scope of His plan and purpose for this era in history.  The Lord Jesus Christ wants moms and dads to use their families to cooperate with the church’s ministry and goal of reaching sinners for Christ, not run their own family programs that conflict with and weaken a church’s efforts.  Families should cooperate with church in reaching kids for Christ.

7B.    So, what must you understand, young person?  If your mom or dad does not cooperate in every imaginable way with the church to get you under the sound of the gospel constantly, to get you to church activities faithfully, and to earnestly pray for your conversion and involvement in the church, then your parents are wrong.  If your mom is not right she is wrong.  If your dad is not right he is wrong.  If you do not understand this you will in all likelihood not ever get converted. 


1B.    I am not suggesting that you turn on your parents and divorce them.  Neither am I suggesting that you confront them and tell them that you think they are evil and wicked for allowing you to play soccer instead of go to church, for allowing you to baby sit instead of go to church, for allowing you to go to the beach instead of go to church, for allowing you to go to a movie instead of go to evangelism.

2B.    Neither am I trying to change the minds of parents who are their children’s foes.  By the time a guy is a father or a woman is a mom their ideas of what is proper for a family are pretty well set, and they are unlikely to alter much in response to my preaching.  That’s why I am preaching to you young people instead of your moms and dads.  They think their way is best.  But you know better.  You know she should not let you do some of the things you do when you should be at church.  It compromises everything she says she believes in.  And you know he is wrong to take you away from church so much so you both can do the things he likes.  It bothers you that he has so little concern for your soul, doesn’t it? 

3B.    Young people, I remember coming to the realization that my dad was wrong about some important things, and that my mom was wrong about some important things.  It bothered me to have to admit that to myself, but it was true.  I did not throw it in their faces, and neither should you.  But to the two or three of you are who listening to what I am saying, you know your mom or your dad is wrong on this.  It bothers you that they are your spiritual foes when they should be working hard and praying hard, not so you will think they are good moms and dads, but so you will get converted.

4B.    So, make up your mind that they are wrong, but that you still love them and will do your best to honor them.  But when they suggest that you go camping and miss church, tell him that you think it would be best for you to be in church.  When she suggests that you baby sit, mention that you are not yet a real mother, and that what is best for you is to be in church.  And if she keeps you out of camp because she is upset with the preacher, ask her to let you go anyway.  Her personal hang-ups should be an excuse for endangering your soul.

5B.    What I am really saying is this:  Now that you know your mom or your dad is not really doing what is necessary to get you saved, you are going to have to realize that in one respect you are on your own.  I know a fellow who was on his own at the age of 12, stepping over a drunk aunt and uncle who were passed out in the living room to get out the front door to go to church on Sundays by himself.

6B.    Now, praise God if your mom or dad generally gets you here to church.  But they still try to pull you out of church or activities too often.  Those times your dad thinks he is impressing you by taking you somewhere on Saturday night, or those times your mom thinks she is going easy on you by letting you stay home from evangelism . . . let your mom or dad know that you know what needs to be done, and that you really do need to be where you know God wants you to be.

7B.    I am not suggesting that you behave defiantly or anything.  I am suggesting that you grow up emotionally and understand that your soul is in your hands and not your parent’s, and that you know better what is good for you if you realize that your greatest need is to be in church where the gospel is being preached. 

8B.    I think you should, at all times, be respectful and honorable toward your parents.  But I also think that someone has to act like a responsible adult when it comes to the salvation of your soul.  And if your dad won’t stop playing long enough to realize that, or if your mom won’t stop with her sentimental guilt feelings that cause her to always go too easy on you, then you should be the grownup. 

9B.    Let your dad know, and let your mom know, that there is serious business to be taken care of, and it cannot be tended to unless you are in church.  Emphasize that your plans are to become a Christian, to be faithful in church, and to serve God, and that you would rather not be pulled away by all the running around and by all the distractions that overwhelm so many people.

10B.  Now, it may be that your mom or your dad will react against your efforts to be in church, and that they will recoil and pull you completely out.  That is what Lino’s parents did several years ago when he expressed these same sentiments to them.  When they told him he could not attend here anymore he told me, “Pastor, I will be back.”  And when he was 18 he called me and said, “I am 18 now, what should I do?”  I told him to finish high school and then come to church.  Now he is here where God wants him to be.  Please pray for his conversion. 


1.   “Pastor, it sounds to me like you are in favor of breaking up homes.”  Not at all.  I am in favor of seeing precious souls come to Christ, and doing what is necessary to offset the bad effects of those who misunderstand the proper place and function of a home.

2.   The Lord Jesus Christ, Himself, warned of foes in one’s own household.  Who would those foes be, maids and butlers?  No.  They would be mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters.  Today I have focused on foes who are mothers and fathers.

3.   My friend, how much better for a son or a daughter to exert themselves against the selfish and misguided efforts of their mothers and fathers and eventually come to Christ, than to succumb to the influences that you know are wrong, that you know are contrary to God’s will, that you know denigrates the importance of the gospel and the church, and that will result in a kid remaining lost?

4.   Several of you here today had to come to an understanding in your minds that your mother was wrong about these things, before you were converted.  Am I right, ladies?  And some of you guys had to wrestle with the same notions.

5.   Not all mothers and fathers are the spiritual foes of their own children, but a good many are these days.  And they are not so hard to pick out.  Kids, you know where your moms and dads stand on these things.  Know also, that if you do not admit to yourself when mom or dad is wrong, and do what you need to do to get to church and under preaching when you ought to, it will be unlikely that you will get saved later on.

6.   Break up families?  No.  I am talking about being the best sons and daughters to your parents you could ever be, because if you get converted you will truly honor them and take care of them in their old age.

[1] Charles H. Spurgeon, Spurgeon’s Commentary on Matthew, (Bronson, MI: Online Publishing, Inc., 2002), bible@mail.com

[2] Ibid.

[3] Fritz Rienecker & Cleon Rogers, Linguistic Key To The Greek New Testament, (Grand Rapids, MI: Regency Reference Library, 1980), page 31.

[4] Bauer, Danker, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and other Early Christian Literature, (Chicago, Illinois: The University of Chicago Press, 2000), page 419.

[5] John Gill, The John Gill Library, (Paris, AK: The Baptist Standard Bearer, Inc., 2000)

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