Scriptures

Follow Jesus Or Follow Our Family!

Introduction

‘Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’ Matthew 10:34-36

A sword should be identified with Christ in any sense is a warning of the severity which is one characteristic of His glorious nature.

‘Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off.’ Romans 11:22

One who obeys Christ despite family or parental opposition feels the edge of that sword. A young woman who maintains her ideals and purity in an office where low standards prevail soon feels that sword in her heart. All who live for Christ and bleed inwardly when His name is profaned or His word denied have felt it.

A similar thought is contained in the voice from heaven that commanded John to eat the little book.

‘So, I went to the angel and asked him to give me the little scroll. He said to me, ‘Take it and eat it. It will turn your stomach sour, but ‘in your mouth it will be as sweet as honey.’ Revelation 10:9

The sword of Christ is, a sword of separation, the word of God

‘Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.’ Ephesians 6:17

‘For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.’ Hebrews 4:12

The sword of Christ is the sword of civil authority

‘Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience. This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honour, then honour. Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.’ Romans 13:1-8

The sword of Christ is the sword of judgment

‘After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.’ Genesis 3:24

The sword of Christ is the sword of correction, and the sword of victory

‘Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.’ Revelation 2:16

‘He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God.’ Revelation 19:13

Even Mary, the mother of Jesus, was acquainted with that sword,

‘And a sword will pierce your own soul too.’ Luke 2:55

Matthew 10:35 shows us that lines of cleavage between Christ’s followers and the world cut sharply through the dearest and most intimate relationships on earth. In every church, almost in every household, there are scars caused by this sword.

Matthew 10:36 shows us that Jesus is talking about the indirect result of His work and that of His followers. Anyone who promotes good and denounces bad will gain enemies and have problems. Sometimes this happens even within families.

Gospel produces inner peace, peace with God, but the believer will experience resentment from the enemies of the Gospel even though the Gospel is good because they prefer evil.

So, the indirect result of the Lord’s good work is trouble from enemies of the Gospel even when they are members of one’s own families, the alternative is to not accept the truth. In such situations, the choice will be, follow Jesus or give in to the family.

Now the Lord Jesus said in Matthew 10:320-33

‘Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.’

These statements are made when He was advising the twelve before sending them to preach throughout the land of Israel where they would experience some hostility, but He predicts much greater hostility which came after the ascension.

‘These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: ‘Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give. ‘Do not get any gold or silver or copper to take with you in your belts—no bag for the journey or extra shirt or sandals or a staff, for the worker is worth his keep. Whatever town or village you enter, search there for some worthy person and stay at their house until you leave. As you enter the home, give it your greeting. If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you. If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet. Truly I tell you, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town. ‘I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore, be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. Be on your guard; you will be handed over to the local councils and be flogged in the synagogues. On my account, you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time, you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. ‘Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another. Truly I tell you, you will not finish going through the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes. ‘The student is not above the teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for students to be like their teachers, and servants like their masters. If the head of the house has been called Beelzebul, how much more the members of his household! ‘So, do not be afraid of them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs. Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So, don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. ‘Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven. ‘Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law— a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’ ‘Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it. ‘Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. Whoever welcomes a prophet as a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever welcomes a righteous person as a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward. And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.’ Matthew 10:5-42

Such hostility has been experienced by His followers right down to the present time. To those who compromise He says,

‘Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you, for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets.’ Luke 6:26

On the other hand, resentment, mustn’t be met with resentment. The Lord goes on to say in Luke 6:27-28

‘But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.’

God’s children must

‘not be overcome by evil’ but must ‘overcome evil with good.’ Romans 12:21

 

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God."

Ephesians 2:8

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