1. Hello, listening friends.
2. From time to time, people would say to me that there are some words that Jesus said that are very hard to understand;
3. and that is why, today, I want to deal with one of those hard words.
4. One of these statements that seem to puzzle a lot of people is in Matthew, Chapter 10, verses 34 to 36;
5. so let’s read that passage together.
6. To understand these verses, we also need to understand the verse that precedes them.
7. Listen to Matthew 10:32.
8. “Whoever acknowledges Me before men, I will also acknowledge him before My Father in Heaven,
9. but whosoever disowns Me before man, I will disown him before My Father in Heaven.”
10. What does it mean to “acknowledge” Jesus before men?
11. It is not just saying, “I am a follower of Jesus.”
12. It means far more than that.
13. It is more than just recognizing some truth about Jesus and agreeing with it.
14. Acknowledging Jesus publicly means that I am not embarrassed to confess that Christ is my Lord and Savior,
15. even at the risk of ridicule,
16. even at the risk of financial loss,
17. even at the risk of physical injury;
18. but does that mean that, if a believer lapses in faithfulness and becomes ashamed of Christ at some point, it is the unforgivable sin?
20. Peter denied Christ three times;
21. but, when he repented, he was forgiven and restored.
22. Timothy, who was a leader in the church, became afraid about openly and boldly proclaiming the Gospel;
23. and so Paul wrote to him the following words, in 2 Timothy 1:8:
24. “So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord…”
25. but there is a world of difference in lapsing and continually being embarrassed about your faith.
26. God always forgives lapsing people.
27. God is always ready to restore lapsers;
28. and that is why Jesus warns us that He did not come to bring peace on earth.
29. What does He mean by that?
30. Simply put, not everyone will accept Christ,
31. and that will create a problem for believers in Christ.
32. Some may say, “But did not the angels say at Jesus’ birth, ‘Peace on earth and goodwill toward men?’
33. Did not Isaiah prophesy about Jesus and call Him the ‘Prince of Peace?’
34. Did not Jesus say to His Disciples, in John 14:27, ‘Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you.
35. I do not give to you as the world gives.
36. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.’
37. Did not Jesus Himself say, ‘I have told you these things so that in Me you will have peace…?’
38. Don’t we witness to family members, neighbors and friends about peace that God gives?
39. Don’t we tell them that, when they come to Christ, He gives them peace that passes all comprehension?
40. Don’t millions of Christians testify that the Gospel of Jesus Christ brought them inner peace that cannot even be explained?”
41. So what’s happening here?
42. What did Jesus mean by saying, “I did not come to bring you peace, but a sword?”
43. Some people may misunderstand these words of Jesus.
44. Some people may say, “If that is the case, I don’t want to be a Christian.
45. The world is full of swords and I am looking for peace in my life.
46. The world is full of anger and hatred, but I want to live in peace.”
47. So many people are weary of the stresses and the demands of life and are searching for peace.
48. Just about everyone is seeking for that inner peace;
49. so, once again, what does Jesus mean when He said, “I did not come to bring peace, but a sword?”
50. Oh, my listening friend, if you look at these words of Jesus on the surface,
51. you have to conclude that this is the worst advertising of all times.
52. If you look at these words of Jesus on a superficial level,
53. you have to conclude that Jesus was not trying to get people to follow Him;
54. but the truth, my listening friend, is this:
55. these words of Jesus have nothing to do with inner peace.
56. These words of Jesus have nothing to do with the peace and the joy that only Jesus can give you;
57. so, what do they mean?
58. First, you have to understand that Jesus was not speaking about the inner peace that only He can give.
59. Jesus was speaking to the Disciples, who had come to know inner peace because they had met and followed Jesus;
60. and, therefore, they understood that He was not speaking of the inner peace that only He could give;
61. and, so, what is Jesus speaking about?
62. Jesus was preparing them to understand that the very Gospel of peace that brought peace between the Holy God and a sinful people,
63. the very Gospel of peace that brought them inner assurance of forgiveness and joy,
64. the very Gospel of peace that made peace between two former enemies and made them brothers and sisters,
65. that very Gospel of peace will be rejected by others;
66. and those who reject the Gospel of peace will also reject those who believe that Gospel;
67. and the rejection of the Gospel of peace by some will bring conflict between them and those who have accepted It,
68. even and especially between family members.
69. How does this work?
70. Those who reject Jesus will reject those who have accepted Jesus;
71. and that, in itself, will cause disturbance.
72. Those who reject the claims of Jesus -- that He is the only way to Heaven–
73. will view those who accept His truth as arrogant;
74. and that will disturb the peace with them.
75. Those who are too prideful to acknowledge that only Jesus can save them,
76. they will reject those who do accept Christ’s salvation;
77. and that will disturb our peace with them.
78. In other words, believers and non-believers will be in opposition;
79. and the closer non-believers are to us, the more likely we are to feel the loss of our peace.
80. When members of our family are not believers, they may mock us.
81. They may alienate us.
82. Imagine if that person was your father or mother.
83. Imagine if that person is your husband or wife.
84. Imagine if that person is your son or daughter.
85. I want you to imagine if you had to live with this person every single day.
86. Imagine if you had to have difficult conversation with that person every single day.
87. Now, imagine if this were somebody who is dear and near to you.
88. I can’t imagine what my life would be like under these circumstances,
89. life with constant discord about my faith,
90. and with constant anger, and constant snickering and bickering, and constant needling.
91. Now, my listening friend, remember that Jesus has already given the believers inner peace,
92. and no one can take that away from them;
93. and this kind of sword of separation between those who believe and those who don’t is what Jesus is talking about.
94. This separation between believers and non- believers creates outward loss of peace.
95. In 1 Corinthians 7, the Apostle Paul says
96. that the believing spouse should live with the unbelieving spouse;
97. but, if the unbelieving spouse refuses to live with the believing spouse,
98. don’t force him or her.
1. First Corinthians 7:15 says for the sake of the believer’s peace;
2. and so, when Jesus speaks of His coming “not to bring peace,”
3. it is a Semitic way of expressing what is going to be done to the believer by those who reject the peace of Christ,
4. that they will cause them to temporarily lose their peace;
5. that they will cause them to temporarily lose their joy;
6. that they will temporarily lose their serenity;
7. so, the question, my listening friend, is what should we do in the face of family opposition?
8. Should we hide from those family members who reject Christ?
9. Not really.
10. Just because the sword divides,
11. and just because the sword cuts,
12. it does not mean that we walk away from the unbelieving family member, friend or neighbor.
13. We are to keep on loving them.
14. We are to keep on praying for them.
15. We are to keep on serving them.
16. We are to keep on ministering to them.
17. We are to keep on reaching out to them.
18. The Apostle Paul said that the unbelieving spouse or family member is sanctified in the believing spouse or family member.
19. What does that mean?
20. It means that, somehow, when God brings to Himself one member of the family,
21. He has a plan for that whole family,
22. and so, my listening friend, if God has placed someone in your heart to pray for, fervently and consistently,
23. it’s an indication that God has a plan for that person,
24. and your prayer for that person is part of God’s plan.
25. In humility, therefore, we love everyone, even those who hate us;
26. and the cost of the disturbance of our peace is nothing in comparison to the joy of seeing that person come to Christ.
27. There may be someone listening to us today who would say,
28. “I have seen that inner peace in my friend or co-worker.
29. I have watched how Christian friends so lovingly reach out to me,
30. and I don’t know why they love me.”
31. They love you because of the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ in their lives,
32. and they want you to have that inner peace in your life.
33. God wants you to have that inner peace in your life today.
34. Will you open your heart to Him?
35. Will you receive His peace that passes understanding;
36. and, if you are a person who is living with disturbed peace,
37. remember that Jesus Christ is your Peace.
38. Until next time, I wish you God’s richest blessing.