Text: Matt 10:34-42
38 And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
Yam Sing came from China to California and was brought to know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ [through the proclaimed word of truth]. When asked before baptism concerning his own faith, how he found Jesus. "I no find Jesus at all; He find me," was the answer from the converted man, an answer which showed the work of God’s Holy Spirit in him, and which showed that he had learned something of the love of Him who came to "seek and to save that which was lost."
S. S. Advocate.
Being lost in Christ is life eternal!
34 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.
We as a people certainly know the difference between peace and war. The sword of war was brought to our shores after the Declaration of Independence was ratified on July 4, 1776.
It read in part:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
To achieve these self-evident truths peace fell into war for a time. Thankfully those who fought for our freedom and the life, liberty and happiness we all pursue were victorious. The war continues to rage in our life and work, on college campuses, and in the politically charged debate and talk that stretches across this great but troubled nation.
But peace … true peace came to the Earth at the promised birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He came to restore the peace that was lost through the fall into sin and the separation between God and man. Peace was earned, not by we who broke the peace but at the cross by Jesus Christ, where the price of sin was paid in full and satisfaction was finished.
God and man are now at peace but war still rages.
There is also another effect of God’s peace and the Gospel being proclaimed.
Maybe you’ve experienced it? Jesus tells his disciples:
36 And a person's enemies will be those of his own household.
Man against father and daughter against mother, daughter-n-law and mother-n-law will be at odds. Even during the Revolutionary War the colonists were divided between British Loyalists and American Patriots dividing families and loyalties within homes and families.
Christ says also that there is only one truth and one way, only one way for true peace. This sounds very similar to last week’s reading and Jesus’ warning as well.
37 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. 38 And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds his life in this life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
Where Jesus says that he came not to bring peace but a sword we need to understand this a bit more. What is the sword that Jesus Christ brings that his disciples should be aware of?
Paul gives us a glimpse in Ephesians chapter six when he uses the metaphor of putting on the whole armor of God and he here also gives us a better picture of who the fight is truly against
12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood … but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
The fight is real but many times the true foe is hidden. It may appear that the fight is against father and son or mother and daughter and these fights will have real battle scars of a true fight, but the truth is first that those who are opposed to the word of truth proclaimed and received by the work of the Holy Spirit are lead by a different spirit … the spirit of darkness whose fight is against the sword that Christ has – the word of God. Paul gives us the armor:
13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.
The armor that is put on has different functions:
14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,
All of the armor that is given for the use of the disciples and us is defensive.
All that we put on gives protection from the darts of the evil one though one … is given for our use as a weapon. The sword of the Spirit which is the word of God!
Being received into Christ is your great reward!
I had a conversation a number of years ago with a friend who I had been witnessing to. I had invited him to church and he said, “Sunday mornings are the time that my wife and I do things and go places.”
His wife was not a believer or interested in hearing about Christ at all.
I asked, “Do you get up early Sunday and do things?” He said, “No, we don’t really get up until about 10:00 am.” So, I said, “Why don’t you go to an 8:00 am service and you can be back home before your wife gets up and 10:00, then you have the whole day to spend together? I’ll even help you find one.” “No, that won’t work.” “Why not, I asked? Because she’ll be mad that I went to church … she thinks it’s stupid.”
Ultimately, they got a divorce. Both were at fault in the relationship. Unfortunately, their marriage was not built on the hope and comfort that Christ gives.
38 And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds his life in this life will lose it, even if it appears that the love of wife, brother, sister, father, son-n-law, daughter-n-law or whomever, is a reason to forsake Christ and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
Being lost in Christ is life eternal!
Jesus comforts us all:
40 “Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me. 41 The one who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet's reward, and the one who receives a righteous person because he is a righteous person will receive a righteous person's reward.
Your reward is in Christ. He has given you the most blessed reward of eternal life which is the prophet’s reward and the reward of a righteous person … Jesus Christ! It is yours because you are His!
This gift is not only for you but for all who have been brought to faith by the work of the Holy Spirit.
42 Whoever gives one of these little ones a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.” Your reward is held fast in Christ by God Himself and you are His now and for eternity!
In the name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit.