Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Matthew 10: 24-42 Sermon Notes

Matthew 10:24-42
Sermon Notes 
You can listen here:
Love Jesus Most
Lynchburg, Virginia

         In the last section Jesus sent His disciples out two by two to minister and preach the kingdom of God. The disciples were no doubt excited about this as the kingdom of Jesus was now coming together. As Jesus sent them, He gave them all sorts of dire warnings. He continues in this chapter. The kingdom is definitely shaping up. It is just not shaping up as the disciples had planned.
         They are going to experience great success in the very near future. Remember the day of Pentecost and how 3000 believe and are baptized. But they will also experience great persecution. Remember how those who killed Stephen laid their cloaks at the feet of a young man named Saul. And after Stephen’s death, many disciples fled from city to city proclaiming the gospel.
         Later, Nero would carry out a great persecution against the Christians. Paul and Peter perished in that persecution in Rome but the faith flourished in the blood of the martyrs. The blessings of serving Jesus are paramount both in this life and the life to come and the cost is high.

24 The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. 25 It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?
Of course, the disciples might think. We will follow our Lord and we expect Him to come into His Kingdom and so we will be His vice-regents.  But Jesus is driving at something different.
The disciples expect servants and flatterers. What they get is opposition and hatred.
If Jesus was perfectly righteous and they called Him a devil, what will they do with His followers who are not so righteous as He? Yes, they will even do worse!

26 Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known.
This takes faith and patience. Jesus is telling them that God is taking note and they should be content with this. When wicked men seek to cover up their sins, God will reveal them. Beware your secret sin will find you out.
We have to be willing to let God take care of these kinds of things. At the core of this sort of faith is what happens when false accusations are leveled. False accusations are just the sort of thing that are difficult to defend. If you accuse someone of speaking lies or dealing falsely, then to defend yourself often becomes a lesson in futility. The more you try to explain what really happened, the more guilty you may look. I am not saying that you should not defend yourself, and neither is Jesus saying that. But the truth will win out. You have to know this and believe it in order to withstand false accusation.
Often, the truth wins out even in the human court. If you wait long enough, then fruit shows up. The bad fruit from the bad tree and the good fruit from the good tree. Thus the hidden things, the fruit in the bud, is eventually revealed.  But sometimes only God can deliver justice. Some men die in the midst of false accusations and are never vindicated on earth. Jesus is like that. God vindicated Him at the Resurrection. Are you willing to die and let God reveal the covered things? You can only do this if you are already dead in Jesus Christ. Which is to say, alive in Christ.

27 What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops.
Jesus speaks to them in evening and expects them to declare these truths in the light of day. Furthermore, the darkness of the age is upon them, accusing Jesus and His disciples of wickedness. But they are men of the light and should speak these truths boldly to shed light in a dark world.
Furthermore, what Jesus speaks to them in a small circle shall be declared from the housetops to the four corners of the Earth. Do not despise the day of small beginnings.

28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
Jesus has been exhorting His disciples to faith in the face of opposition and persecution. He now tells them to not be afraid of those who can kill the body only. If men choose to fear those who can kill the body only, they show by this fear that they do not fear God. To fear God is to put your trust in Him that He not only can destroy a body but He has the power of life and death, heaven and hell. To fear those who control this world is to fail to fear the living and true God.

29 Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.
Furthermore, God is watching over all things, Sparrows are relatively insignificant creatures. They abound and they are of little monetary value. Particularly when compared to the value of a man, a sparrow is nothing. A cat might catch a sparrow and no one would ever notice that the sparrow population has decreased. No one except the God who made the sparrow. He notices. Whenever a sparrow dies, God takes heed.  Then how much more shall He notice one of His children who are in need.
If we believe that God is all knowing and sovereign over His creation, then we must know that He takes not of our plight. The sparrow is also a reminder that in God’s world, hard things happen. Sparrows do fall. God’s children do suffer. But God is neither indifferent to these things nor unfeeling about them. He takes note. He keeps track. All will be revealed and all accounts will be reckoned. If we believe this to be true, then we will not fear those who can only kill the body.

30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.
It is true figuratively and literally. God knows the number of the hairs of your head. The point is that if God knows such an insignificant matter, then He surely knows the more important needs.
Furthermore, He cares. You are of more value than many sparrows. If He notices every single one, then He notices you as well. He is driving home to believe these things to be absolutely true. If you do not believe it, then your faith will wane and you will misplace your fear. If you believe, then your fear will be placed where it should. It is not whether you fear but whom.

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.
The student is not above His master. The master will be condemned and killed. Peter finds this intolerable and fears men, denying the Lord. Had he stayed in that state of denial, then Jesus would have disowned him. But Peter repented.
To our shame, many of us have had the opportunity to shrink from confessing Jesus before men. We were cool shamed into denying the simple truths of our own need for a Savior. Thanks be to God that He is gracious and kind. He grants us a place of repentance, forgives us and owns us in the presence of His Father.
But now comes the hard truth. Do not believe in God’s sovereignty over all things and wax faint to the fear of men. If then, you deny the Lord of Heaven before men that you fear, then Jesus will deny that He knows you.

34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.
How did Jesus come to send a sword? This can be taken in two ways. He sends the sword of the Word of God. That sword divides. It divides the truth from the lie. It divides various claimed commitments. It causes men to take up arms to kill Jesus. As the Kingdom of Jesus threatens nations, they, too, take up arms against God and His people.
This is exactly true of what is happening right now with Islamic terrorism. They hate the word of truth and so attack it. Standing for God’s truth causes strife with God’s enemies. So, Jesus, the great peacemaker is also a cause of strife and division.

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.
This strife and division is not just with the powers that hate Jesus. Some of them are political. Some are religious. But Jesus causes trouble even within homes. He cause division between sons and fathers, daughters and mothers, daughter in laws and mother in laws.
How does a man’s foes end up being those of his own household? Sometimes it is obvious. When a Muslim coverts to Christianity, his family considers him dead to them. The separate and count him as an enemy.
But even within Christian homes, strife can arise over Jesus. Children may rebel against the Lord and expect their families to continue to support them in their rebellion. Many parents cave in to the desire of the rebellious one to get rid of the strife. They choose peace with their loved one over peace with God.
Jesus is calling us to consider these things, to count the cost of discipleship so that when trouble arises, our allegiances are clear. My own children know that if they forsake Jesus, then they are out of favor with their dad. They will always be my children but they will not be my brothers and sisters if they forsake the Lord. They will not be in my will. They will not receive financial support from me. They will be made to suffer the consequences of their rebellion. This does not mean that I don’t love them. But it does mean that I love Jesus most. And that is a very important lesson they need to know now when they are little and if they ever wander or forsake the Lord, it is a lesion that they must see their parents teach.

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.
Folks, this is important. You ought to love your own parents greatly. You ought to love your own children above just about anyone else. But not above your love for Jesus. If you love Jesus most then you are likely to gain your son and daughter for the Kingdom of God. If you love Jesus most, then your parents are likely to come around to the glory that is Christ.
But if you love your children more than Jesus, you will lose both.

38 And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.
Jesus was willing to die for the glory of His Father. He died to save sinners. We Christians are to take up our cross. What does that mean? It means that we love Jesus more than anyone. We follow Him to the cross. We are willing to die to obey the Father, to obey Jesus. If you won’t do this, you are not worthy of Jesus, which is to say that you do not love Him above all else. Your fears are comprised and your loves are compromised.

39 He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.
What is He saying here? If you choose those things that have the promise of earthly blessings, including parents, spouse and children above the choice of Jesus first, then you are not really living. You are dying and will ultimately perish. But if you lose yourself in Christ, you will find that His ways are faithful and true.

40 He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.
This  is still part of Jesus’s admonition to sending the disciples to heal and preach the kingdom. Jesus is now expressly saying that those who receive His people, receive Him and those that receive Him receive the Father.
Think about the negative explanation of this verse. If you refuse Christ’s ministers, you refuse Jesus. And if you refuse Jesus, you refuse His Father. You cannot receive God, the Father without receiving Jesus and His ministers.

41 He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward.
God’s people are everywhere. If they receive His ministers for Christ’s sake, they receive Him and are thus blessed accordingly. If you treat a prophet kindly simply because you recognize that he is a prophet, the Lord will bless you as He would bless that prophet.
A modern example of the prophetic office is that of Pastor. If you show kindness and charity towards a pastor simply because you recognize that he is a pastor and thus seeking to fulfill his office, the Lord will reward you just as he would reward a faithful pastor. Is that not a good incentive to hospitality?
This is also true of a righteous man. A righteous man might be a minister or any faithful Christian you seek to bless simply because he is a righteous man. Such a deed is righteous and the Lord will recognize and bless it

42 And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.
The Lord blesses good deeds done to those of a high calling, pastors, ministers, righteous men but His blessing does not end there. If you show kindness to any saint simply because they belong to Christ, the Lord will take note and bless you accordingly. Again, I say, is this not a great incentive to hospitality? It is no shame to look to the reward. Jesus looked to the reward on the other side of suffering and God blessed Him mightily.
We ought not to do our good deeds merely for the reward of blessing. We ought to do them because we love God and His people. But we should expect God to be true to His Word and bless us as we bless others.

         Have you counted the cost to serving Jesus?
         We often speak of the blessings of the Christian life. God promises to provide all of our needs. If we are in  Christ, trusting the Lord, we will suffer no lack. For those of you who have walked long with Jesus, know this to be true. But having our earthly needs met is no guarantee against all sorts of trouble.
         Trouble can come from God’s enemies. In our present culture there are many. At the top of that list are those who consider Christians as simpletons. The intelligentsia of our society despise Christians and their book. Among them, I include most of the highest higher learning institutions. They cannot tolerate the exclusivity of Jesus. They hate the limitations put upon men by God. They hate Thou Shalt Nots. Academia is almost always an enemy of Christ. I say Academia but not deep learning. Christians should be learned. But you need to understand that when you start to rub shoulders with the most learned of the learned, they will despise you and your little book.
         Our modern media hates Jesus. Right now, at the top of that list, I would put ESPN, CNN, CNBC.  I would include most major newspapers. Among the haters of God are all the cool kids with their cool music and their cool movies.
         If you think you can run the course of commitment to Christ without conflict with God haters, you are greatly mistaken. Some of those who oppose the Word of Jesus may be related to you. This should not surprise you.
         Who will you love most? If you love Jesus most, you will be hated by some of the smartest, most well connected, rich erudite people of our land. Are you willing for them to hate you?

         I hope so. Just love Jesus most.

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