Friday 23 June 2023

Matthew 10 v 24 TO 39


Jesus had just appointed twelve Apostles, and is in this passage giving them instructions and advice for the work they are going to do in His name. Jesus is warning His disciples they must expect to be treated as He was.

 The Jews had a saying, ‘ it is enough for the slave to be as his master’ and in the later days to use it in a special way. Jerusalem was destroyed so completely, a plough could be used  across its destruction. The Jews were dispersed throughout the world, and they lamented and complained about the terrible fate that had happened to them.  The Rabbis said to them, that when God’s Temple was destroyed, how can any Jew  complain about his personal misfortune.

There is a warning, that as Christ had to carry a cross, so must the individual Christian do so. 

 When Christianity costs us something, we are close to the fellowship of Jesus Christ, and if we know the sufferings of His fellowship, we shall think we are treading where the saints trod, and elsewhere where Jesus trod.         

 The opponents of Jesus called him Beelzebub, meaning he was the devil, so he said by calling him that, it makes his followers be condemned. He tells his followers they should not be afraid, for whilst up to then the Jews were noted for their secrecy, a time would come when all will be revealed about them and they would be exposed to the world.

 Jesus said there would be those who would want to kill or harm them, but whatever they could do to the body, only God could harm the soul. Sparrows were cared for by God, and none could even fall to the ground without God knowing, and  God was always watching over us, and will protect us from harm.

 They were to  speak with boldness the things He had taught them. They must tell others what He had taught, here is the function of a preacher.  First the preacher listens to Christ,  and he then becomes the voice of Christ. The famous Scottish preacher John Knox, said he feared God so much he feared no man

 A Christian should not fear anyone when speaking for Christ. Jesus stated that man could do no harm, and any on who fails to do so is guilty of infidelity. Man can harm a man’s body, but God can cause the death of a soul.

 Jesus wanted his people to acknowledge Him, but some were denying any relationship with Him. He also wanted them to realise His followers would be challenged and persecuted just for being His people.

 So what message is there for us? If we are really faithful followers of Jesus, we will let him be our example and try to practise his ways, and most certainly follow his teaching.

 Today, Ministers of the Church are ever ready to give different interpretations of Scripture for fear of upsetting people, or/and because the Bible is unacceptable to them in its original form.

 As I have said many times, we cannot claim to be Christians if we come to hear all Jesus is and said, and then ignore to do our own thinking. Paul made it clear in his Letters that it was false, and clearly unacceptable, to listen to the words of Scripture, and then go and do the opposite of his commands

 But things are going beyond that even. There are clergy who from the highest level to the lowest, who are deliberately and purposely, teaching and practising that which is complete contradiction to what they are bound to preach. This is blatant arrogance, and a betrayal of vows made by Ministers at Ordination, and a number of bishops are campaigning for same sex marriage, and this means the abandonment at  their consecration service..

 Jesus was here warning them to count the cost of following Him, knowing that His followers would face hardship abuse and be isolated from, friends. He always sought quality, never quantity, just people ready to be loyal to him.

 Christian Concern is a legal defence team, formed to help Christians who are penalised in any form, because of having expressed a belief. So many cases have been reported to them, that they are constantly defending in the Courts.

 I have stated before how politicians in this country don’t do God; it has become an anathema to them. We have had a continuous line of Prime Ministers, who have been anxious to create legislation which offends Christianity, and in addition have made laws to prosecute any who dare criticise the same.

 I find it so hypercritical to hear people expressing criticism of a United States President, just because some liberal minded comedian or BBC television presenter condemns him, when in fact he has given full support to Christians in his country and rescinded the immoral laws of his predecessor.(He may be back soon)

 Jesus tells how God will protect us. He states that we may suffer from physical and verbal attacks which may harm us, but no one can affect or harm our soul. Jesus does this with an illustration.

 Sparrows are the smallest of creatures, and a penny is the lowest form of currency, yet God cares for all the sparrows which can be bought for so little, how much more will He care for the sons and daughters in his Christian family, when He knows so much about them,.

 God will care for all who stand firm in faith, answering prayers when we turn to Him, if we are asking for that which is within his purpose. But remember just as an earthly father will at times not answer what his children ask for, only because he will know to grant what they ask for may not be in their best interests or even harm.

 I have heard preachers say you can’t ask God for trivial things, like make it possible for me to find a parking space, to find a lost article, and the like; but God wants to be involved in all parts of our lives, and if He is so prepared to grant big requests, why is it not acceptable to ask for the smallest. The Bible tells us to make our request to God for all things, and it does not put a stipulation regarding the prayer request.

 Finally, Jesus warns He did not come to bring peace, rather a sword, by which He means opposition. He came to earth to proclaim the gospel, which would lead to division. He knew that even among families, there will be friction because of Him.  How true I have found this to be so.

 I had a lady who joined my congregation, who had a most captive personality. Within a short time, she brought in other women with their children, and even extended her participation to hold Bible study meetings in her home. 

 Her husband worked on a North Sea oil rig, and was away from home for weeks at a time. One evening he called home, and heard voices on the phone and asked for an explanation. When she told him, it was a Church meeting, he gave  her an ultimatum, give up Church or give up your marriage. Because of her two young children, we didn’t see her again.

 The same has happened when children have been drawn to a Church, and found objection from their parents and relationships are broken.

 Like all Ministers, I have been ready always, to visit any member admitted to hospital. It was a common request from men, not to go  and see  them in hospital if dressed in clerical dress.

 Why do so many men think Jesus died only for women, and was not interested in the male gender. Muslim men are proud of their faith, and vigorously defend and admit to it, and deserve much applause for doing so. There is the stupid belief it  makes them look weak, and think it less macho to stand and declare your faith, so run   away like a frightened child.

 Be bold, be strong, for the Lord your God is with you. May the Lord bless you 

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