Jesus, in sending out his 12 disciples to go and to proclaim the kingdom of heaven, gave them a list of instructions, and he also gave them some warnings.
He told them that he was sending them out as sheep among wolves, so they were to be as wise as serpents and as innocent as doves. And he told them that they would be flogged in synagogues, and dragged before rulers for His sake, to bear witness to them.
And, then he warned them that family members would betray one another to death, and that they (the disciples) would be hated by all for his sake, but that the one who endures to the end would be saved.
And, then he told them that just as he was persecuted, and just as he was falsely accused and even called Beelzebul, how much more would the Lord’s enemies also malign those of his household, i.e. his servants, his followers.
Yet, he told them that they were not to fear those who can kill the body but who cannot kill the soul. They were to speak whatever the Lord said to speak to whomever he said to speak it from wherever he said to speak it. For, the Lord was watching over them, and he would take care of them.
For, he said, whoever acknowledges him before men, he will acknowledge before his Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies him before men, he will also deny before His Father in heaven (See: Matt. 10:1-33).
“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.” Matthew 10:34-39 ESV
A False Picture
Many people these days are presenting a picture of Jesus Christ that is not a completely accurate description of who he was and is. They are painting this picture of Jesus as this person who just went around doing good to everyone, healing the sick and afflicted, feeding the hungry, and ministering to the poor, but that he never did anything to ruffle people’s feathers or to make people uncomfortable or to offend anyone. They paint a picture of him as just a “nice guy” who went around being “nice” to everyone and who just went around “loving on everyone” and “blessing them.”
They also present this idea of his salvation which he provided for us, via his death on a cross and via his resurrection back to life, as totally being about us and about giving us forgiveness of sins and the hope of heaven when we die, but that absolutely nothing is required of us other than some nondescript belief in him absent of repentance and walks of obedience.
The way a lot of people present the plan of salvation these days, you would think that God’s grace is all about making life easy for us. It is all about gifting us salvation, giving us forgiveness of sins, and promising us heaven when we leave this earth, but that it is easy sailing from this point forward.
Very few people sharing the gospel these days talk about the cost of being the Lord’s disciples, or taking up our cross and following Jesus, or how we are going to have to suffer for the sake of his name.
And, very few, it seems, talk about how we need to die with Christ to sin and live with Christ to righteousness, and how we need to walk daily according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh.
They don’t like to even say the words “sin” or “repentance” or “obedience” because these words offend people and they make them feel uncomfortable, and they want the world to feel at home in their gatherings, not be offended with the truth of the gospel which convicts people of sin and calls for repentance and obedience to Christ’s commands.
Not Peace, A Sword
But, Jesus didn’t come to the earth to bring peace to the earth, not the way in which the world clamors for peace, anyway. For, his gospel of salvation is not this “nicey-nice” feel-good message that tells everyone they can just pray a prayer, they are now part of the family of God, heaven is secured for them, and it can never be taken away no matter how they live their lives.
His message was and is one that says if we truly follow him, and we do what he says, and we go where he sends us, and we say what he commands us to say, we will be hated, persecuted, beaten, falsely arrested and even killed for the sake of the name of Jesus. And, we will even have our family members, our loved ones, turn against us, and even betray us to death, and it is the one who endures this suffering to the end who will be saved.
His was a message that said if we deny him before men, he will deny us before his Father in heaven. And, we can deny Jesus in many different ways, and not just verbally. We deny him by ignoring his commands to us, and by going our own way and doing what we want to do despite what he says we are to do. And we deny him when we are too ashamed to even mention his name in front of others for fear that they may think we are weird.
And, his was and is a message which says that if we love our family members more than we love him, and so we compromise our faith and convictions to be liked, and to be accepted, and so we don’t talk about him in front of them, and so we don’t share his gospel message with them, because we are afraid they might not like us, then we are not worthy of him.
And, his was and is a message that says if we are not willing to take up our cross daily and follow him that we are not worthy of him. For, Jesus didn’t die on that cross just to forgive us our sins and to promise us heaven when we die. He died that we might die with him to sin and live with him to righteousness. And, he demands that we deny self and that we die daily to sin and the self-life and that we follow him in obedience if we want to be his followers and if we want to have the hope of eternal life with him.
For, he says that if we are not willing to give up our former lives of living for sin and self, we will lose our lives for eternity. Heaven will not be guaranteed us. But, if daily, by the Spirit, we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh and we are walking in obedience to his commands, then we have the hope of eternal life with God (Lu. 9:23-25; Rom. 8:1-17; Gal. 5:16-21; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).
Thus, the way to eternal life with God and salvation from sin is not this easy broad road that many are traveling, for it leads to destruction. The way to salvation from sin and eternal life with God is on a narrow (restricted) road that few find, and that few travel, for it is the way of the cross, in death to sin and living to righteousness, and in suffering for the sake of the name of Jesus and for the sake of his gospel, even unto death.
An Original Work / January 10, 2012
Fellowshipping with my Lord, Savior, King.
He is Lord of all; Lord of ev’rything.
He is with me through ev’ry hour of day,
List’ning to me speak, as I humbly pray.
He cares for my needs,
and He intercedes for me,
‘cause He loves me in ev’ry way.
Obey His commands, and do all He says.
Sitting at His feet, daily in His word,
Let His word speak to me in ev’ry way,
Giving comfort and healing through each day.
Oh, how Jesus loves,
And He cares for you,
Which is why He died for our sins, in truth.
Love our Lord God, Savior, and King of kings.
Worship Him in truth, for He reigns supreme.
He created us with a plan in mind
For us to be His servants, and Him mind.
Follow Him in truth;
Go where’er He leads.
Share His love with others, and their needs meet.
Others: their needs meet.