Read vs 32-33
We can never forget that we are God’s instruments to tell others about Him and His plan for mankind to be in a relationship with Him. We do that by acknowledging that you do believe Jesus to be the only way to Heaven (John 14:6) that it is not by our works but by the Grace of God. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Jesus was sending them out and He was saying that you will be faced with opportunities that you can either speak up about who Jesus is, or you can be silent and allow them to continue on this life without Him. These are the same opportunities we are faced with as we encounter people that God placed in our lives for a reason.
1) You will encounter: Opportunities to share about Jesus
Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
Paul knew peoples only hope was through the sharing of the gospel so that those who believed could be restored into a right relationship with God. Before Men is plural meaning everywhere we are and wherever we go. If we are honest we all have had times when we knew we should speak up and for some reason we chose to be silent.
“Every believer has lapses of faithfulness, which is why the Lord’s promise of 1 John 1:9 is do dear: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Peter denied the Lord, but he could not live with his denial and he went out and wept bitterly. His heart was broken because he had so terribly failed and grieved His Lord. Timothy was Paul’s most promising protégé, yet years after he had himself become a leader in the church, Timothy apparently had become reticent about openly proclaiming the gospel. Paul therefore admonished him, “Do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord (2 Timothy 1:8) (John MacArthur commentary)
Christians can be silenced without even being persecuted physically because it is socially unacceptable to talk about some things in public. Religion and Politics are two topics people avoid to keep peace with others. Jesus said, “If you Deny me before Men I will Deny you before my father” The question has to then be asked: Can you deny God by not saying anything? Can you deny God by your lifestyle being no different than those who are without Christ that others see no difference in your life and long for something more?
Each one of us will give an account before God and only you and God can know your true intentions for why you did not speak up when you should have. The good news is some of the most faithful men of God have fallen in this area of not sharing but it is still no excuse for us to not share.
Now more than ever we need to be bold in our sharing if we really say that we love others then we have to take the opportunity to share with them the greatest news ever. We have no problem declaring who are favorite college teams are and we even can get nasty about someone else’s team. How much more should we claim our allegiance to Christ?
Why is it that the persecution we take for being a fan of an opposing college team does not bother us but someone opposing Christ does?
Remember God’s commands are not their to restrict our joy they are their to enhance it. Just like we do not allow children to play in the streetecause it is dangerous, we also speak up because people do not see the destruction headed their way.
Read vs 34
All through the book of Matthew we have been showing how Jesus had to correct some of the wrong thinking that was taught by the religious leaders. Many today still have a wrong view of Jesus either because they have not really studied Him or because they were taught the wrong things about Him. If you focus only on Jesus love then you will have a misconception about Him.
“I did not come to bring peace but a sword”
The Sword in this case does not necessary mean war although that can certainly be the case; the sword here means a clean cut between the two. Meaning there will be a definite choice to be made especially between those who are followers of Christ and those who are not. When confronting the world’s ways of live and let live our sharing with people that Jesus is the only way brings a clear cut line of division between the two world views.
You will never know what ones reaction to you might be so Jesus wanted them to be aware that although it is good news not everyone will see it that way.
2) You will encounter: Wrong views of Jesus
John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.
John 16:33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
So although Jesus promises us peace it is different than the world says.One of the wrong views the Jewish leaders had of the Messiah was that He would usher in this time of peace for the Jews and destroy those who were ruling over them. In Passages like Isaiah 9:6, 26:3, 53:5 and in Psalm 72 it promised that there would be worldwide peace when the Messiah arrived. Jesus had to fix the misconception that this was not to happen at this time but was written for a later date.
The ultimate peace is being in right standing with God and not about what is happening in this world. As Christians we can experience peace in this life because it is not about this life, but the life to come. People are longing for to know what happens when they die and how they can have peace with God and that is what Christianity alone offers through the cross of Christ.
Jesus wanted His disciples to have a clear understanding of what the Messiah would bring into the world so that they were ready when people, including their own family turned on them.
Some of the people we honor today were hated during their day. Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, Martin Luther all stood against the flow of their nations and we reap the reward for their sacrifice. With eternity at stake people need us to rise up and stand against the culture and not just allow people to go on sinning as if we did not care.
Read vs 35-39
3) You will encounter: Difficult Sacrifice
Micah 7:5-7 Put no trust in a neighbor; have no confidence in a friend; guard the doors of your mouth from her who lies in your arms;6 for the son treats the father with contempt, the daughter rises up against her mother, the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; a man’s enemies are the men of his own house.7 But as for me, I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.
Home is supposed to be the place of refuge and safety but when you have to sacrifice your home it leaves you no place to run to when life is difficult.It is not just your family maybe rejecting you but it is also you may be having to sacrifice family time to serve the Lord.
Luke 9:59-62To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” 60 And Jesus[a] said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” 61 Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” 62 Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”
Jesus was not being heartless He was reading their hearts and knew that what they wanted is more time to wait till things all got in order with their families. Jesus had the eternal perspective and He knew the longer we wait the more people will lose out on eternity with Him. Although family should be a priority it should not be the ultimate priority of our lives.
Matthew 6:24 No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.[a]
The idea is that of a person walking with two masters is fine as long as they are on the same path. The issue comes when one master walks one way and another goes a different way. If you and your family are headed on the same path with Jesus then there is no decision to make but if your family rejects Christ then you have to decide if your relationship with Christ is more important than your relationship with your family.
The problem is not money only if money gets in the way of following Jesus. The problem is not Gator football only if it gets in the way of serving Jesus. The problem is not hunting fishing or golfing but only if those things get in the way of serving Jesus.
Take up your cross
The Disciples knew when Jesus said the word cross it did not mean something pleasant. When someone was going to be crucified they would carry the cross beam on their backs as they made their way to the place of execution. So it was a symbol to the disciples that they are to die to self or that they should already consider themselves dead to this world.
Take Up meant a continual choice to die.
“Following Jesus is costly and may mean rejection by those closest to the disciple. Shallow preachers make it sound as if conversion to Christ means the cessation of all problems in the world, as if we are the Kings Kids and are supposed to lead lives of royalty. That is heresy, for Scripture could not be clearer that Jesus has brought a sword, not a checkbook, to earth. We are to be royalty, but not until the final kingdom has arrived. (Rev. 20:4; 22:5) (Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament)
4) You will encounter: Opportunities for future reward
Read Vs 32-33 and 38-42
Heaven is the ultimate reward
We can be sure that if we confess in front of others here on earth then on the Day of Judgment Jesus will be there to confess about us in front of God. It is an eternal focus because as much as we would liked to be blessed on this earth the reality is the blessing we receive in Heaven will last forever. To live for the present is to forfeit the future
Romans 10:9-10 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.
Receive the Prophets reward
Another aspect of a future award is that those who support those who share the gospel get the same credit for those who are sharing it. This does not mean you do not have to confess because a pastor or missionary is confessing for you, but if you do support them then you are part of the future reward because you helped sacrifice to get them there.
2 Corinthians 9:6-11 The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7 Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency[e] in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. 9 As it is written, “He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.”
10 He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God.
Read vs 42
A cup of water in that region to a stranger was common practice and really not thought of as an act of kindness it was just a normal necessary practice. Even the smallest of gestures that you think is no big deal will be recognized by God. There is more to be said about the rewards and Jesus mentions more in the chapters that come but the key is to know that you service today will be rewarded in Heaven.