Wednesday, July 19, 2017, 3:33 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “He Touched My Mouth.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Matthew 10:16-39 (ESV).
Sheep Among Wolves (vv. 16-23)
“Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues, and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles. 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. For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death, and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. 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.”
When the Lord Jesus sends us out into the world to be his witnesses, he is sending us out as sheep among wolves, for not everyone will receive our messages with joy, but many will malign us, and will resist the truth. So, we need the wisdom of God in knowing what to say, and in what not to say. And, we need to trust the Lord, that he will give us the words to speak.
Many Christians who have gone before us have already experienced what this passage speaks of. In our world today, many followers of Christ are experiencing this persecution in spades (to a very high degree). Some of us have already faced this, to some degree, while others of us have yet to undergo any of it. Yet, it will most surely come. So, we need to be prepared.
Yet, we should not fear being persecuted or maligned (slandered) for our faith in Jesus Christ, or for our stand on his Word of Truth. We should not be afraid of being hated and mistreated even by those within our own families, or even by those who also profess faith in Jesus Christ. But, we must trust our lives into God’s capable hands, and believe him to give us all we need to endure to the end, and to remain faithful to him in love, faith, and in service. And, if God leads us to do so, there may be times when he says to “leave” where we are, and to “go” where he is sending us next.
They Malign You (vv. 24-33)
“A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. 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.
“So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.”
When we follow (obey) Jesus Christ with our lives, and we allow him to put his words into our mouths, and we choose not to be afraid to speak the truth in love, we must be prepared for repercussions. People, even those within the gatherings of the church, will not like us, and they will think all manner of evil against us, and they will reject us and what we tell them. We will be accused of being hyper-religious, or of being unkind, hateful, opinionated, critical, bigoted and/or judgmental. Even some pastors of some church fellowships are being trained to watch out for people like us, and to discourage us from participation within their gatherings, because they are afraid we may tell people the truth and/or offend them with the truth.
But, again, we are not to be afraid of them. We are not to shrink back from sharing the messages God gives us to speak from his Word, just because we are persecuted, ignored, ostracized or rejected in return. If God gives us words to speak, which are in line (consistent with, not contrary to) his Word, then we are to speak them, and not be afraid. Yet, I know that not everyone who claims to have a word from God is actually speaking from God, so we must be very discerning about what we hear, and we must test it against the Word of God to make certain that what we are listening to is actually truth, and from God, and not out of someone’s own imagination.
So, regarding us speaking the words God gives us to share, we must remember always that God can take care of us. He will never abandon us. We are extremely valuable to him. He has a plan and a purpose for everything that he does. His thoughts and ways are much higher than ours, and we don’t always comprehend why he does things the way he does. So, be bold, be brave, and keep on speaking in his name and for the sake of his gospel, because he is working in ways which we cannot see.
Not Peace; A Sword (vv. 34-39)
“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”
There are many preachers and religious speakers today who like to give the impression of Jesus that he was a do-gooder who just loved on everyone and that he didn’t make waves or ever say anything to offend anyone. They would like you to believe that if you follow Jesus as your model, that you will be liked by all, and that you will “stay in your own lane,” and that you will not ruffle any feathers, i.e. that you will never irritate or annoy anyone with your words. Some of them go so far as to imply that Jesus would be inclusive of other gods from other religions, and that he would be accepting of sinful lifestyles, as well. But, they would be dead wrong!
Jesus Christ would never compromise with the one world religion which is pushing the notion of “world peace” in order to get people to compromise their faith and convictions for the expressed goal of “unity” or “solidarity” with the rest of the world. Jesus didn’t come to bring “world peace” or to get us to join hands and hearts with the people of this world in singing “Kumbaya,” either. He came so that we might be delivered out of slavery to sin and be set free from the control of Satan over our lives. And, the devil doesn’t like that, so he fights back, and he fights dirty, too. And, so he tries to convince professing Christians that Jesus would be pleased if we all united together as the people of this world in denying our faith.
But, Jesus’ goal was never to bring harmony (agreement) among the people of the world regardless of religion or lifestyle choice. His goal was our salvation, and since Satan hates that, the devil’s followers also hate it, and so they will hate us, will persecute us, and they will turn against us – even those of our own households. So, we can either love ourselves and others more than God, and compromise with the world of sin, in order to be accepted, or we can stand tall and strong in our faith and convictions, without wavering, and be prepared for some strong persecution.
Jesus said that if we lose our lives (die to sin and self), we will find our lives (live with him eternally), but if we hold on to our lives, in order to be accepted of men, we will lose them (die in our sins without Christ) (See: Lu. 9:23-25). So, what shall it be?
He Touched My Mouth / An Original Work / June 13, 2012
Based off Isaiah 6:1-8; Jeremiah 1:4-9
Oh, I saw the Lord seated on His throne,
High and lifted up; Holy is the Lord!
The earth is full of His glory.
“Woe to me,” I cried,
“I’m of unclean lips.”
My Lord touched my mouth
With His cleansing pow’r;
Removed all my guilt, paid for by His blood.
He asked, “Whom shall I send;
Who will go for us?”
I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
Before I was born, God set me apart;
He appointed me to His servant be.
I said, “I don’t know how to speak.
I am but a child.” Then, the Lord replied:
“Do not say to me, ‘I am but a child.’
You must go to all, and do what I say.
Do not fear them, for I’m with you.”
My Lord touched my mouth;
Gave me words to say.