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In the dark? Look for The Son

MATTHEW 10:5-40

These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: "Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. 6 Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. 7 As you go, proclaim this message: 'The kingdom of heaven has come near.' 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, [a] drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.

    9 "Do not get any gold or silver or copper to take with you in your belts— 10 no bag for the journey or extra shirt or sandals or a staff, for workers are worth their keep. 11 Whatever town or village you enter, search for some worthy person there and stay at that person's house until you leave. 12 As you enter the home, give it your greeting. 13 If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you. 14 If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town. 15 Truly I tell you, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.

    16 "I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. 17 Be on your guard; you will be handed over to the local councils and be flogged in the synagogues. 18 On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. 19 But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, 20 for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.

    21 "Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. 22 Everyone will hate you because of me, but those who stand firm to the end will be saved. 23 When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another. Truly I tell you, you will not finish going through the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.

    24 "Students are not above their teacher, nor servants above their master. 25 It is enough for students to be like their teacher, and servants like their master. If the head of the house has been called Beelzebul, how much more the members of his household!

    26 "So do not be afraid of them. There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. 27 What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs. 28 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father's care. [b] 30 And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

    32 "Whoever publicly acknowledges me I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. 33 But whoever publicly disowns me I will disown before my Father in heaven.

    34 "Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn
       " 'a man against his father,
       a daughter against her mother,
       a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—

    36 your enemies will be the members of your own household.' [c]

    37 "Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves a son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.

    40 "Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.

  

 

 

SADDLE UP!

Message I over Matthew 10:5-40

 

Matthew 10

5These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: "Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. 6 Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. 7As you go, preach this message: 'The kingdom of heaven is near.' 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give. 9Do not take along any gold or silver or copper in your belts; 10 take no bag for the journey, or extra tunic, or sandals or a staff; for the worker is worth his keep.

            Jesus chose His twelve to fulfill His earthly missions. What we just read are part of the instructions He gave them. Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. Was Christ trying to leave gentiles out? Were they/we not good enough to receive the Gospel message? No, of course not. However, gentiles had to wait due to prophecies needing to be fulfilled. As you go, preach this message: 'The kingdom of heaven is near.' Christ’s instructions just prior to His re-entry ascension to Heaven known as the Great Commission are similar to this instruction. We, like His original 12, are to preach His gospel, His love, His Grace, and most definitely, His return.   

            Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give. Could men do this? But listen someone, a non-believer, cries. Modern medicine can do all that stuff. People can be healed by antibiotics, CPR can bring someone back, and leprosy is a thing of the past. Yes, modern medicine has made so many advances, my head hurts from thinking too much about it, but modern advances, tiny advances, anything and everything comes from the Grace of the Almighty. Christ’s believers know this. Freely you have received, freely give. Christians have no right to pick who is saved and who is lost. If we think that way, we buy into the “elect” concept and the words of Christ are made false. You really want to tell God Almighty, He is wrong? Jesus’ boys were given freely the power to do that He said. He told them to freely give. This means to all people open to Him. What do you mean open to Him? Jesus once explained to the false teachers that they did not understand Him because He was of God and they were of their father the devil. Being open to God is hearing the Word, believing the Word, and following the Word’s example.

            Do not take along any gold or silver or copper in your belts; take no bag for the journey, or extra tunic, or sandals or a staff; for the worker is worth his keep. As Jesus taught when using the example of the flowers in the field and the birds, we go as He instructs, and we should rely, like His original 12, on God to provide for us.

 

 

 

 

SADDLE UP!

Message II over Matthew 10:5-40

 

           

11"Whatever town or village you enter, search for some worthy person there and stay at his house until you leave. 12As you enter the home, give it your greeting. 13If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you. 14If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town. 15 I tell you the truth, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town. 16 I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.

 17"Be on your guard against men; they will hand you over to the local councils and flog you in their synagogues. 18 On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. 19 But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, 20 for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.

 

            Continuing in Matthew chapter 5, let us examine verses 11-20. We have our orders. Now we must march. Whatever town or village you enter, search for some worthy person there and stay at his house until you leave.  Before addressing this verse, I want you to understand the word “worthy.” The disciples were not going to pick one house over another based on social class, best looking camel, or donkey, but they were going to use a different standard. Jesus answered many times that He had come to heal the sick not the righteous. If the Bible says there is none righteous before God, how can there be righteous? We are not righteous, we are like Isaiah says, like filthy rags. But, we are cleansed and transformed into saints when we believe that Jesus is the Christ, that He died for our sins and rose on the third day defeating hell, death, and the grave. So getting back to the worthy issue, the worthy person is the one who knows and recognizes who Jesus really is. So go to a believer’s house and stay. Do not move from house to house.

            12 As you enter the home, give it your greeting. 13 If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you. Peace is not just a state of mind. Jesus often said, “Peace be with you.” Go to a house of a worthy person, bring your peace with you. If they are peaceful stay, but if not, leave. If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town. In other words, let me say this. The disciples are traveling salesmen. They are selling Salvation through Jesus Christ at the price of FREE! If they go to a house that refuses to believe, do not be pushy and try to force yourself or the Christ down their throats. That truly reflects bad on us as a Christian people. When we witness door to door, we must be careful not to do that. We turn more people away from Christ by our intensity than we truly witness too. We must balance it out.

 

            I tell you the truth, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town. We know that the Bible is true. I rest assured in that knowledge. One day every knee will bow. In the end, regardless of our commitment or lack thereof, the planet will know Jesus Christ is the Lord of All. What about those who are lost? What about the ones who refuse to talk to you when you attempt to witness? Look again at this verse: it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town. In case we have forgotten, those places don’t exist anymore. Woe be a people who do not acknowledge the Lord God’s Grace. Hebrews teaches that is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God.

 

            I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. Sheep, we are figuratively His sheep as He is our shepherd. The wolves are the ones who hate us. It’s okay though. Jesus said the world would hate us, but it was okay, because the world hated Him first. How sad that the very creation hates the creator. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. We like the disciples are to show wisdom like the snake, but be innocent like the dove. The snake as Genesis teaches was the most subtle in the field prior to Satan using it. As Christians, we are to be of a sober mindset. We need to be serious in our study of God’s Word, but equally serious in living it. As Christians, we such be filled with peace as we are filled with the Holy Spirit. That’s the problem. We don’t think about the things we say. As Christians, we should say nothing or do anything that does not bring glory to the Lord Jesus.

            "Be on your guard against men; they will hand you over to the local councils and flog you in their synagogues.” The world today does not acknowledge the name, existence, and deity of Christ. People talk of God, but they never associate the Trinity meaning Jesus is the Lord. Christians today are associated with zealots that say God hates so and so. Christians are thought to be prudes because we stand firm on the Word and live by the Word. In America we don’t really know anything about faith persecution. In the days that Jesus walked, people were beaten and killed for professing faith. Missionaries today hide and seek out those to share the Gospel.

            On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. 19 But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. In other words, we are brought before unbelievers of our faith, we must not depend upon our own understanding, but to trust to the Lord. Jesus said do not worry about what to say or how to say it. When you have to defend faith in Christ, do not rush to quote scripture without first praying to the Lord for guidance. Any scripture can be twisted to mean something it doesn’t. Look at the sCopes Monkey Trial for example. Anyway, when you speak of the faith in Christ focus on Him and not trust your own feelings as your feelings and temper can flare. At that time you will be given what to say, 20for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Isn’t it a wonderful thing to know that Our Lord will guide us through the rough times.

 

SADDLE UP!

Message III over Matthew 10:5-40

21"Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. 22All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. 23When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another. I tell you the truth, you will not finish going through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes.

            The name of Christ divides PEOPLE. As I have said earlier, no name divides more than Jesus Christ. “All men will hate you because of me,” Jesus said. John 15:18 records Jesus saying, “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you.” We live in a free country where at the moment we still have the ability to worship Jesus. Who knows how long that will last considering the disintegration of the Christian character among the secular masses. Jesus said it more than once. If you are with Him, the world that is ruled by the prince of the air, Satan will be against you. Let us finish verse 22.  “But he who stands firm to the end will be saved.” A lot of critics and unbelievers love to say that verse 22 implies loss of salvation. That is not the case at all. God’s time and our time is not the same. The end refers to the final destruction of the holy city and ultimately His return. We cannot be Christians one second then the next not. Conviction from the Holy Spirit sees to that. When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another. Old Karate Kid saying: Best block for punch, is no be there. When we as Christians are persecuted, we should not wait for our deaths. Preach the Gospel, but as He teaches, take off when you are persecuted. I tell you the truth, you will not finish going through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes. This could refer to the apostles receiving the Comforter, the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost or it could refer to the grand finale, the Second Coming. Either way, let me tell you what it doesn’t mean: It doesn’t mean that this is a throwaway line for nonbelievers to use to their benefit. Scripture teaches that God doesn’t want anyone to perish. Again His timing is everything where our time is nothing.

 24"A student is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. 25It is enough for the student to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If the head of the house has been called Beelzebub,[c] how much more the members of his household!

We live in a world where respect is a concept that most young do not grasp. So many have so little respect for elders, superiors, and instructors. This is what Jesus was explaining. We as Christians consider Jesus the master teacher among other things. It is enough for the student to be like his teacher. Are we better than Jesus? Are we on the same level? No, of course not. It is better for us to be like the teacher, Jesus, the Lord of lords. So if we are like Jesus, everything should be perfect, right? Not so much. We know that. We have discussed how much the world truly hates its Creator. What can we expect from the world? If the head of the house has been called Beelzebub,[c] how much more the members of his household! Critics of Christ called Him the very devil. So if the Lord Himself was called Beelzebub, what should we expect if we are living the Christian life? That will be coming up next time.

SADDLE UP!

Message IV over Matthew 10:5-40

 

 26"So do not be afraid of them. There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. 27What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs. 28Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29Are not two sparrows sold for a penny[d]? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. 30And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

            Last time I asked what should we expect from the world when Jesus said he was called a devil. We know what to expect. We as Christians know that we will be condemned for our belief. How should we react? “So do not be afraid of them.” We should not fear because the Lord will take care of us. There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. This statement is very similar to Jesus saying in regard to His return in John chapter 14, “if it were not so, I would have told you.”  Jesus has given us His Word. Whether He said it to His disciples or  inspired to the prophets of old, He has given us His wisdom to live by. 27What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs.

If we are real Christians that don’t play church when the doors are open, we will honor our Lord, the only Lord by taking His Word and gladly share with all people. Why are we not doing that? The answer is simple: We can say we love Him, but if our lives reflect anything other than glory to Him, we are not truly apart of His flock. See people say to that thought, “Don’t judge me. The Bible says not to judge.” It does, but one thing it does not say is it is okay to live with God. If we love Christ, people will see that love by our walk through life.

 

            28Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are we going to doubt the God we supposedly serve? We are told to fear the One, meaning the Lord God Almighty that can destroy us in hell. The wording is unique here folks. An entire sermon could be devised on this wording of hell. The soul and the body in hell. Geographically speaking the soul and the body both will be destroyed not in limbo, the grave, but hell. Hmm.  

 

29Are not two sparrows sold for a penny[d]? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. 30And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

            These verses are very reassuring and distressing in the same breath. We are told how sparrows do not fall to the ground apart from the will of God. It is safe to say that due to our human nature, even the strongest in faith will have moments maybe not so much doubt, but rather questions as to the will of God. People ask, “Why?” all the time. Why me, why her, why can’t I have kids, Why did I have kids? Why did she have to die? Why did the cancer come back? The only thing harder than explaining the will of God to an unbeliever is explaining the will of God to believers. So the question presents itself, “How do we live as Christians when the will of God for our life and those close to us seems unfair, cold, and distant?” The answer is simple in my mind. The answer lies within faith. The Bible says to trust not in our own understanding, but trust the Lord.

            Here is an example: How could the death of an innocent child ever be the will of a loving God? King David and Bathsheba’s son died shortly after birth. The child died because of the sin David committed. Is tragedy a consequence of sin? Possibly, but not always. After the child died, David, who had prayed and fasted, clean himself up and ate. His people asked him why he cleaned up and ate. He told them that he would go to his child. His faith in God was stronger than ever. The death of his son allowed David to  demonstrate his faith in God. Why today do so many young, precious ones suffer with cancer and other diseases? I don’t know. I do know without a doubt that the will of God whatever the reason despite my limited understanding will be done.

            Is tragedy always the consequence of sin? No. Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son, the Son of Man lived a sinless life yet died a sinner’s death for us. His tragedy became our triumph. God in the flesh demonstrated His true love for us and his unequaled supremacy over life and death reigned that day at Cavalry.


 

 

SADDLE UP!

Message V over Matthew 10:5-40

32"Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. 33But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.

            This is real simple to understand here. If we in today’s terminology say to the Lord, “I got your back, JC,” we can know that The Lord God Almighty will again in today’s slang, “Have our back when we face the Father.” The verse is simple to read, but it is something else to follow. 

            We fail to acknowledge God every time we allow our family members, peers, and co-workers use language in our presence that is wrong. We fail to acknowledge God when we think negative thoughts about our enemies, loved ones and everyone else. We fail to acknowledge, see where this is going. We all fail daily unless we live as John the Baptist in the woods eating bugs and honey. Yet we go on. Seriously, if we deny Him now in life, He said He will deny us in front of the Father. Remember that Jesus also said as recorded in John chapter 14:6 "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Please understand that there is no other way to spend eternity with God in Heaven apart from Jesus Christ.

34"Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn
   " 'a man against his father,
      a daughter against her mother,
   a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law -
    36a man's enemies will be the members of his own household.'

I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. Wait! But Jesus was a peaceful man that did not like violence liberals scream. Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, is, was and will be the same God of Abraham and Jacob as He is to you and me. What sword is He talking about? Jesus said He came to bring a sword. The sword is apart of the full armour of God Paul writes about in Ephesians. It is the same sword found with Christ in Revelation upon His coming to destroy the evil.

I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. 12 His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. 13 He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. 14 The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. 15 Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations.

            When the King of kings returns to finish the game so to speak, He will not be a meek servant. I get chills reading the return. Oh my Lord, praise be to God, we serve a truly awesome God that has given Himself for us. I’m glad I don’t have to stand on the opposing team’s side when the Lion of Judah Jesus Christ returns.

For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law - a man's enemies will be the members of his own household. 37"Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me;

            Jesus Christ lived a peaceful life as a man. But again, if we remember that we as Christians are to live our lives 24/7, 365 says a year for Christ’s glory, then we know that the Lord deserves nothing but our best worship. As His children, we must put our devotion to Christ before anything else. If we do not, then how can we live with ourselves knowing in our hearts that we have truly cheated God Almighty? I love my children and my wife. But they too are destined like all of us to die. After I take my last breath, I’ll be face to face with eternity and the Living God. If I cannot say to Him, “Father, I put you first in my life,” woe to me and anyone else that did not truly acknowledge the Lamb of God.  

 38and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

            Does Jesus want us as Christians to come to worship, mumble a few hymns, throw our two cents in the offering plate, close our eyes and pretend to pray? No. Anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. We are to take the cross and follow Him. We as His people should follow Him wherever He leads whether it be to mission work, ministry roles, or whatever. To be Christian is more than just acknowledging God, we have to follow Christ daily. Look at Luke’s gospel in chapter 9:

23 Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. 25 What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self? 26 If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.

            Am I saying sell everything and abandon all your current responsibility? No. I am saying that we as Christians must act when God call us. Out lives are to Him and Him alone. You shall have no other Gods before me should come to mind right about now.

 

 

 

v. 40 "Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.”

            How reassuring is that line if ever you have doubted your walk with Christ, your work for His kingdom? “Anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.”

We are welcomed by God through belief in His son, the very same, only Son He allowed to die so that our sin debt would be paid.

Precious Father, I pray that these words today have touched a heart that needed to hear them or read them. Oh Lord, I thank you for the gift of eternal life through your Son’s sacrifice. Father I pray for the lost that do not know your love and those who have not yet tasted Your grace. Father I pray that they hear you knocking at the door of their heart. Lord, I pray that they look to you for salvation and that they realize the need they have for you. Lord, I pray that you find your children faithful and ever growing in your Word. May we bring glory to Your name by the words of our mouths and the actions we do in our bodies. I pray others see your Grace, Love, and Desire to be with us all. Forgive us when we fail you of Father. In Christ’s precious, atoning, righteous name, Amen.