RSS Feeds

  • Subscribe to the RSS Feed
  • Subscribe to the ATOM Feed

Need Legal Assistance?

Try these Christian Legal Firms if you need help defending your religious freedoms.

- Thomas Moore Law Center
- Alliance Defense Fund
- Pacific Justice Institute
- Christian Law Association
- American Center For Law & Justice

Sermon Audio: More Hard Sayings

Scripture Reference:  2 Thessalonians 1:3-12

Commentary: The Hard Sayings of The Gospel

By: Pastor Roy L. Crane

Listen to Pastor Roy’s Sermon Audio regarding this commentary Here!

Read the Scripture: Matthew 10:24-39

The disciples of the Lord would often have occasion to wonder why they should have to endure ill treatment. If Jesus was the Messiah, why were His followers suffering instead of reigning? In verses 24 and 25, He anticipates their perplexity and answers it by reminding them of their relationship to Him. They were the disciples; He was their Teacher. They were servants; He was their Master. They were members of the household; He was the Master of the house. Discipleship means following the Teacher, not being superior to Him. The servant should not expect to be treated better than his Master. If men call the worthy Master of the house “Beelzebub” (“lord of flies,” an Ekronite god whose name was used by Jews for Satan), they will hurl even greater insults at the members of His household. Discipleship involves sharing the Master’s rejection.

Three times the Lord told His followers not to fear (vv. 26, 28, 31). First, they should not fear the seeming victory of their foes; His cause would be gloriously vindicated in a coming day. Up to now the gospel had been relatively covered and His teachings had been comparatively hidden. But soon the disciples must boldly proclaim the Christian message which up to this point had been told them in secret, that is privately.

Second, the disciples should not fear the murderous rage of men. The worst that men can do is kill the body. Physical death is not the supreme tragedy for the Christian. To die is to be with Christ and thus far better. It is deliverance from sin, sorrow, sickness, suffering, and death; and it is translation into eternal glory. So the worst men can do is, in a real sense, the best thing that can happen to the child of God.

In the midst of fiery trials, the disciples could be confident of God’s care. The same God who takes a personal interest in the tiny sparrow keeps an accurate count of the hairs of the head of each of His children. A strand of hair is of considerably less value than a sparrow. This shows that His people are of more value to Him than many sparrows, so why should they fear?

In view of the foregoing considerations, what is more reasonable than that the disciples of Christ should fearlessly confess Him before men? Any shame or reproach they might bear will be abundantly rewarded in heaven when the Lord Jesus confesses them before His Father. Confession of Christ here involves commitment to Him as Lord and Savior and the resulting acknowledgment of Him by life and by lips. In the case of most of the twelve, this led to the ultimate confession of the Lord in martyrdom.
 
Denial of Christ on earth will be repaid with denial before God in heaven. To deny Christ in this sense means to refuse to recognize His claims over one’s life. Those whose lives say, in effect, “I never knew You” will hear Him say at last, “I never knew you.” The Lord is not referring to a temporary denial of Him under pressure, as in Peter’s case, but to that kind of denial that is habitual and final.

He says He did not come to bring peace but a sword. Actually He did come to make peace (Eph. 2:14–17); He came that the world might be saved through Him (John 3:17).  But the point here is that whenever individuals became His followers, their families would turn against them. A converted father would be opposed by his unbelieving son, a Christian mother by her unsaved daughter. A born again mother-in-law would be hated by her unregenerate daughter-in-law. So a choice must often be made between Christ and family. No ties of nature can be allowed to deflect a disciple from utter allegiance to the Lord. The Savior must take precedence over father, mother, son or daughter. One of the costs of discipleship is to experience tension, strife, and alienation from one’s own family. This hostility is often more bitter than is encountered in other areas of life.
 
But there is something even more apt to rob Christ of His rightful place than family—that is, the love of one’s own life. So Jesus added, “And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.” The cross, of course, was a means of execution. To take the cross and follow Christ means to live in such devoted abandonment to Him that even death itself is not too high a price to pay. Not all disciples are required to lay down their lives for the Lord, but all are called on to value Him so highly that they do not count their lives precious to themselves.