32 “Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. 33 But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.
34 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 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 – 36 a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’
37 “anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38 and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
40 “He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives the one who sent me. 41 Anyone who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and anyone who receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man will receive a righteous man’s reward. 42 And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward.”
Today’s verses are heavy.
Last time, Jesus encouraged us to “Fear not!” Do you remember?
- Because he suffered for us.
- Because our God will bring everything to light.
- Because we fear God alone. (The fear of God removes all other fears.)
- Because God cares for his children (even a sparrow doesn’t die without his knowing – and all our hairs are numbered).
1 Peter 5:7 “Cast all your anxieties on him because he cares for you.”
One more “Fear not” today.
- Because Christ honors those who honor and acknowledge him. (v. 32-33)
To acknowledge, confess Jesus = MORE than just saying “Jesus is king.” We must show it with our lives also. Walk and talk must go together.
In heaven, Jesus has 2 ministries:
- High Priest: gives grace, continual grace to keep us from sinning.
- Advocate: forgives and restores us when we sin.
He is faithful even if we aren’t faithful. The benefit of his heavenly ministry = benefits of his sacrificial work on the cross.
Double loyalty of the Christian life:
- If we are loyal now, he is loyal then (eternal life)
- If we are proud to confess him as Lord now, he will be proud to confess us as his servants then.
Historical Fact: if there were not BOLD, PROUD servants who acknowledged Jesus before men in the past, there would be no church today.
- Disown Jesus, ashamed of Jesus now, he will be ashamed of us before the Father God in heaven.
Paul “I’m not ashamed of the gospel of Christ because it is the power of God for everyone who believes.”
How can we deny/disown him before men?
3 Ways we deny/disown Christ:
1. Our Words
Someone asks you “Do you believe in Jesus?” We say, “Yeah… I go there, but I don’t really care about it. You guys are better. Don’t worry about it.”
There is a threat of things unsaid in the Christian life. Many times, this life gives us an opportunity to say something against evil, to defend doctrine, to take a stand, to show what side we are on. But, if we keep silent again and again, such a silence is a DENIAL of Christ before men.
Do something before men that Jesus doesn’t like.
So, Jesus offers a SWORD. (v. 34-36)
Strange. This looks very strange.
Yes, in the Bible, it is very clear that Jesus has come to give us peace.
- Isaiah (700 years earlier) “A son is given to us, the government will be upon his shoulders, and he will be called: Everlasting Father, Wonderful Counselor, Prince of Peace.”
- Luke “Peace on earth to men on whom his favor rests.”
- Paul “We have peace with God through Christ based on the grace on which we now stand.”
- We have peace with God through the cross.
- Before his crucifixion: “Peace I give you, my peace I leave with you.”
So…. what’s up with the SWORD?
To give us TRUE peace, Jesus must destroy FALSE peace.
True peace can only be found in Jesus.
The Christian life is a spiritual war. Once we have confessed him and identified with him, we are part of the war. If we deny him, or remain silent, that is sin.
The sword is to FIGHT.
Ephesians 6:12 “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the powers and principalities of the spiritual realm.”
We are IN spiritual warfare.
Sword also means DIVISION/SEPARATION.
Among humans, there are already many divisions in this world (Olympics). One day, ALL divisions will be destroyed – race, nation, language, sex, age, etc. One day, there will be only ONE division: Christ acceptors, Christ deniers. This will be an eternal, everlasting division.
(v. 36) Did you experience this among your own family members?
In Jesus’ time, in the early church time, if a Jew became a Christian, he wasn’t cast out by the Roman government, but he was excommunicated from his own synagogue, from his own people.
Even today, if a man converts to Christ truly, the greatest persecution happens to him from his own immediate family members: Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Secularists, etc.
There is a basic principle we must keep in our marriage:
- Marry the OTHER sex (this is biblical)
- Marry the SAME faith
2 Cor 6:14 “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. What do righteousness and unrighteousness have in common? What fellowship have light and darkness? What connection is there between the temple of God and idols?”
This means, a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.
Jesus offers a CHOICE: v. 37
Can you accept this verse by faith truly?
The discipleship road is a continual choice, a resolution, determination. This road is not only the FIRST day of the new year, or new life, but EVERYDAY throughout the year, we must make our resolution. We must make our singular loyalty to Jesus Christ.
When Jesus met Peter after his resurrection, he only asked one question: “Do you truly love me?” (3 times) “Feed my lambs; take care of my sheep; feed my sheep.”
- If we believe in Jesus, he will save us.
- If we love him first, he will give us a great commission to save others.
We know he doesn’t want our family love to be broken – he wants us to love and help each other. But the secret is: if you love Jesus first, then when you love your wife.
- If you force your wife to obey, she will obey less.
- If you encourage your wife to love Jesus more, she will love you more.
Jesus offers the cross (v. 38)
Christianity = the religion of the cross
There is ALWAYS some cross.
During Jesus’ time they knew what the cross was. A Roman general (Barrus) crucified 2,000 Jews and strung their crosses out along the entire road to Galilee. And those people had to carry their own crosses to the place of their own execution.
Taking the cross is a symbol of utter humility. It doesn’t mean just wearing some jewelry. It means to do Christ’s will, to preach the gospel, to follow Jesus.
To “follow Jesus” doesn’t mean “walk behind.” It means “take the SAME road of sacrifice and service Jesus took.”
1 Peter 2:21 “To this you were called, that you would follow in Jesus’ steps.”
Jesus offers Adventure (v. 39)
Christian life = a paradox. A positive and negative statement of the same truth. If we cling to this life, we will lose the best life in this world and the world to come.
There are only 2 choices:
- Spare our life
- Sacrifice our life
True work = selfishness vs. sacrifice
- Matthew 16:25 “Whoever wants to save his life will lose it. Whoever loses his life will find it.”
- Mark 8:38? Same
- Luke 9:24 Same
- Luke 17:33 “Whoever tries to KEEP it, loses it…”
- John 12:25 “The one who LOVES his life will lose is. Whoever HATES his life will keep it for eternal life.”
The more we love this earthly life’s rewards:
Honor, Glory, Recognition, Worldly success, Money, Popularity, Fame,…
The more we will find how empty they are really.
The best way to find true life is to LOOSEN our greedy grasp on this life, and be FREE to be a blessing to as many others as possible.
We receive blessing from God, we are to give that blessing to others.
This chapter is the Missionary Chapter. (Not the Baby Christian Chapter.) v. 40-42
Not everyone will accept our message, nor will everyone reject our message. Those who receive it will receive a reward. We are the ambassadors of Christ, his representatives. We know why God called Abraham (Genesis 12)
- To bless him
- To save him
- To send him
- To bless others
- To save others through him
- “I will bless those you bless, I will curse those you curse.”
- All people, all nations on earth will be blessed through you.
Jesus calls us, saves us, to send us, to bless others, to save others through us.
If this is true, that Jesus is God, become Man, to die on the cross for our sins, and was raised again, and is coming again soon…how is it possible to be ashamed? If we truly believe this. He’s still alive with us. What a Savior! What a Lord! He is coming soon!
God bless us.