Join us sundays at 10:00AM

Following Jesus at All Cost

November 3, 2019 Preacher: Lyndon Shook Series: Matthew

Scripture: Matthew 10:21–25

16 “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. 17 Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues, 18 and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles. 19 When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour. 20 For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. 21 Brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death, 22 and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. 23 When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next, for truly, I say to you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes. 24 “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. 25 It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household. (Matthew 10:16-25)

Jesus continues telling His disciples what it will be like for them to be His followers and to speak out on His behalf. It is not a pretty sight. He had begun by telling them what they would face from religious leaders who would oppose Him and them. Then He tells them they would be opposed by community and civil leaders.

While being opposed by religious leaders and community and civil leaders may be difficult. Jesus then tells them their persecution will even come from family.

This could be very hard to hear and apart from true conversion, and a genuine love for Jesus these words would halt them in their tracks. This may be the point where a real counting of the costs of following Jesus needs to take place.

The analysis, counting the cost would start with a question - “Are you willing to follow Jesus even if it means being treated as an enemy by your brother, by your child, by your parents?” How dear is Jesus to me? Will He really be my all?

These are questions that they had to come face to face with and questions that we must answer as well.

There are two passages I want us to consider before looking more closely at this one. There first is Matthew 13:44

44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. (Matthew 13:44)

Jesus tells of a man who was willing to give everything for one thing. A man who so prized the one thing that he gave up all other things. The treasure represents Christ. in this parable, the treasure is assumed to be worth more than the cost of the field and the cost of all other things this man possesses. If we were in the same situation then surely we would do the same thing.

As we try to think of the parable in a spiritual sense the question is this - is Jesus of more value than all that we have? Are we willing to give up all to walk with Him? Is gaining Christ more valuable to us than having all that we already possess?

Or, to put it in the context of Matthew chapter 10, are we willing to be persecuted by people, religious leaders, civil authorities and even rejected by family members to be followers of Jesus? Is He our Treasure?

The second passage I want to mention is from 2 Corinthians 5:14-15.

14 For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; 15 and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. (2 Corinthians 5:13–15)

Paul confesses here that for the believer, it is the love of Christ that controls us. Being controlled means, in this sense that we have relinquished control of ourselves to be controlled by another. It is the love of Christ that controls us and then in verse 15 a further explanation of what drives us who drives us

15 ... that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. (2 Corinthians 5:15)

Do you see that? Those of us who live, who have spiritual life in Christ are those who no longer live for ourselves but for Jesus.

Our lives have been, hidden in Christ. We are not about ourselves, we are not to live for ourselves and the lusts of our flesh but we are to live for another, live for Christ, our lives are His and we are to live for Him.

This is Christianity.Who are you living for?

We talked last week about how if we have a true and vibrant relationship with Christ through His word and through prayer then we will want to and more and more consistently live our lives for him even if it means suffering and persecution. And we will on some level face persecution.

And so like the disciples, we can face hard things in the name of our Lord.

To show the seriousness and the very personal that persecution may cause, Jesus brings to our attention that we may even and will most likely face persecution from those we love the most.

Persecution is not limited to coming from people whom we may know at arm's length. It may come from family.

IF we are threatened by a child, your child, will you oppose Jesus or oppose your child? If your child threatens you with harm or with abandonment because of your faith will you obey Christ, or will you relent, disobey out of fear and give in to your child? is obedience, faithfulness to God more important to you or is appeasing your child more important to you?

If because of threat or fear you give into your child then what you you teaching your child about the value of Christ?

21 Brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death, (Matthew 10:21)

None of us have been threatened with being delivered over to death by a family member, I don't think. But if we were threatened, how could we avoid such a threat? Well, by turning our backs on Jesus. If a brother said, recant your love for Jesus or I will turn you in to the authorities who will kill you then the way to avoid such a fate would be to recant, right? This is what the passage is getting out. It is a passage about love for Jesus and ultimate allegiance to our Lord.

But the point I am making is that though we are not, right now threatened with death, we can be threatened with a family member rejecting us because of our firm stand with Christ. And if we disobey our Lord to maintain a family relationship, then we probably would not stand with Christ in the face of death either, right?

The passage is about life and death. But what if your brother, whom you love says, look, if you don’t stop all this religious stuff I am done with you then what do you do?

How deep does our conviction go with Christ? What are we willing to face in His name? Will we stand firm with Christ no matter what our brother, or child, or parent says? Or are we always adjusting our behaviors to appease people? This is something to think about.

22 and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. (Matthew 10:22)

The “all” here is all types of people, family, religious people, government, all types of people from all walks of life will oppose believers.

But the one who endures to the end will be saved.

Not saved from earthly persecution but saved eternally. Those who endure with Christ are true believers, that is the point.

A False believer, will turn away when faced with difficult persecution. A true believer will endure.

This is how many times throughout history the Lord has purified His church. When hard times come and society turns against God then the pretenders will turn away, there is nothing to hold them. They played along when there were obvious benefits but when difficulties arise, they are the first to go. Believers will persevere, will not turn away.

23 When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next, for truly, I say to you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes. (Matthew 10:23)

We are not to go looking for perfection. In fact here Jesus says flee persecution. Be faithful don’t recant but don’t hesitate to move on with the gospel of Christ where it may be accepted by others. This is consistent with with what Jesus had said back in verse 14

14 And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet when you leave that house or town. (Matthew 10:14)

The end of verse 23 is one of the most difficult in the book of Matthew. Here is what it says:

23 ... for truly, I say to you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes. (Matthew 10:23)

There are many who have made good attempts at helping us to understand this. The best and i think most probable explanation has to do with the fulfillment of Daniel 7:13

Daniel 7:13 says this:

13 “I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven \nthere came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days \nand was presented before him. (Daniel 7:13)

Daniel 7:13, does not speak of the ‘son of man’ coming to earth, but rather coming to God to receive authority, France, R. T. (1985). Matthew: an introduction and commentary (Vol. 1, p. 188). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

This is the exaltation of Christ post resurrection in all his glory presented to the Father as the faithful risen Lord. The disciples work will continue after the resurrection of Jesus as our work does even today in His name.

Jesus ends this section with these words:

24 “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. 25 It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household. (Matthew 10:24-25)

Jesus faced troubles. Jesus went against the mainstream of the world. Jesus came with a message of truth that was inconsistent with how most wanted to live and for this He suffered persecution.

He is our master and teacher and we are His disciples. We are to be like Him. If Jesus was mistreated, and He was, then the simple message is this…expect to be mistreated. Mistreated by all kinds of people, outwardly religious, government, even family.

Our duty is to be faithful to Him as He has been faithful to us.

Is He that priceless treasure to you? Are you ready to live your life for Him? Are we willing to face troubles for the sake of His name?

In Christ, if you are in Christ you can. You can not because you are special or great or strong but because He lives in you. It is by His power, His strength and His might given to you that you can stand strong.

Three times in Joshua chapter 1 God told Joshua to be strong and courageous. Why did He tell him that? Because He was about to face hard things that would humanly look impossible to face, but with God all things are possible. He is our strength and our fortress an ever present help. Stand strong, be courageous, trust the Lord.

16 “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. 17 Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues, 18 and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles. 19 When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour. 20 For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. 21 Brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death, 22 and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. 23 When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next, for truly, I say to you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes. 24 “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. 25 It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household. (Matthew 10:16-25)

More in Matthew

December 1, 2019

Unity and Serving in Christ

October 27, 2019

Boldness in Christ part 2

October 20, 2019

Sent Out by Jesus